SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

DoT for sharing of infrastructure 
New Delhi, December 4
The Department of Telecom (DoT) is looking at the possibility of amending the existing licensing conditions to encourage sharing of infrastructure among operators.

Haryana gets Rs 680-cr FDI 
Chandigarh, December 4
Haryana has received foreign direct investment totalling Rs 680 crore in the state during the past one-and-a-half-years. Besides, industrial projects worth Rs 10,000 crore had been implemented by generating employment for 15,000 persons.

India, France to boost trade ties
Set $10 billion target in five years
New Delhi, December 4
India and France today expressed confidence in doubling and surpassing the bilateral trade turnover target of $7 billion in the next five years from the current level of $3.5 billion, by stepping up business-to-business ties between small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

French Minister for Foreign Trade Christine Lagarde lights the inaugural lamp for a two-day Indo-French business meeting in New Delhi on Monday as Commerce Minister Kamal Nath looks on. — AFP 
French Minister for Foreign Trade Christine Lagarde lights the inaugural lamp for a two-day Indo-French business meeting in New Delhi

Kalam advocates energy independence by 2030
New Delhi, December 4
The President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today asked business and industrial fraternity of India and abroad to integrate their core competencies in order to develop and realise world-class knowledge products.

US keen on Consulate in Hyderabad
India needs to update patent laws, says Lavin
New Delhi, December 4
India needs to update its patent laws as these are backdated and nowhere match the world standards, US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Franklin L Lavin said here today. "Both countries need to sit down and work out a proper regulatory framework by identifying the weak areas," Mr Lavin observed.

M’rashtra corners maximum SEZs
New Delhi, December 4
As many as 237 special economic zones (SEZs) have received the official nod, with Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh cornering the lion's share.


 

 

A model presents a TD-SCDMA 3G mobile on the first day of International Telecommunication Union Telecom World, 2006, in Hong Kong
A model presents a TD-SCDMA 3G mobile on the first day of International Telecommunication Union Telecom World, 2006, in Hong Kong on Monday. TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Assess), a 3G mobile telecommunication standard, will be adopted in China. — Reuters

 

 
Mr Mohamed Rahman, Manager, After Sales, Porsche, West Asia and Africa, and Managing Director, Porsche India, poses with a Porsche 911 Carrera at the opening of a company's showroom in New Delhi
Mr Mohamed Rahman, Manager, After Sales, Porsche, West Asia and Africa, and Managing Director, Porsche India, poses with a Porsche 911 Carrera at the opening of a company's showroom in New Delhi on Monday. Porsche launched its first state-of-the-art facility in India. The facility will showcase Porsche model range starting with a sports car, Boxster S, to the iconic 911 Turbo and the complete derivatives of Cayenne SUV family. The company would expand its sales network in the country and drive in four-door coupe Panamera in 2009, likely to cost around Rs 1 crore. — AFP  

Reliance to supply CNG to Chennai
Chennai, December 4
CNG will be supplied directly to homes in Chennai through pipelines from the Krishna-Godavari belt in Andhra Pradesh, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani said. Mr Ambani said he had discussed the project with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi here, which "will be completed within three years".

Amend FC (R) Act to curb manipulation of prices: Assocham 
New Delhi, December 4
With a view to provide adequate deterrent provisions to curb manipulation of prices of commodities by speculations, Assocham has mooted a proposal for urgently amending the Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1952.

Air Sahara announces special fares
New Delhi, December 4
Air Sahara today announced special fares with up to 91 per cent discount to mark 13 years of operations. The tickets valid for travel between January 1 to April 30 next year will be available for sale till December 15. However passengers will have to pay Rs 1,121 extra — Rs 750 for fuel surcharge, Rs 221 for passenger service fee and Rs 150 for congestion surcharge.

Deaths make Pfizer cut off trials 
New York, December 4
Pfizer Inc said it had cut off all clinical trials and development for a cholesterol drug that was supposed to be the star of its pipeline because of an unexpected number of deaths and cardiovascular problems in patients who used it.
Mr Atul Chandra Varma, who assumed charge as Managing Director of the State Bank of Patiala
Mr Atul Chandra Varma, who assumed charge as Managing Director of the State Bank of Patiala on Monday. Prior to joining SBoP, Mr Varma was Chief General Manager, Personnel & HRD at Corporate Centre, SBI, Mumbai. — TNS

Two Indian entrepreneurs awarded
Houston, December 4
Indian entrepreneurs Mr Vikram Akula, founder of SKS Microfinance, and Mr Sameer Sawarkar of Neurosynaptic Comm are among the 10 South Asian origin persons who were awarded the 2006 Global Indus Technovators Awards by the Indian Business Club at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Reva receives $20 m funding
Bangalore, December 4
Reva Electric Car company has received an investment worth $20 million, which it would use to expand its capacity to 2,500 units by next year and 30,000 units in the next five years. The company, which also showcased its new prototype, Reva NXG, here, said Draper Fisher Jurveston (DFJ) and Global Environment Fund (GEF) had provided the money, which was expected to consolidate its position as one of the leading electric car companies globally. — TNS

More IT returns may be under scanner
New Delhi, December 4
The Income Tax Department is planning to raise the ceiling of 2 per cent for taking up returns for scrutiny to unearth tax evasion by individual and corporate tax payers.

SEBI to set up Investor Protection Fund
Kochi, December 4
Market regulator, SEBI, is in the process of raising resources for setting up the Investor Protection Fund.

 

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DoT for sharing of infrastructure 

New Delhi, December 4
The Department of Telecom (DoT) is looking at the possibility of amending the existing licensing conditions to encourage sharing of infrastructure among operators.

The DoT has already asked TRAI to look at this issue with stakeholders. It has flagged the milestone of passive infrastructure sharing and is exploring the possibility of an appropriate legislation or amendment in the licence for ensuring effective sharing of passive infrastructure.

As of now, the sharing of passive infrastructure building, tower, dark fibre is permitted whereas active infrastructure sharing still has not been allowed.

It is also mulling over the need to permit active infrastructure sharing by modifying the existing licensing conditions. This includes sharing of antenna, feeder cables, nodes, transmission equipment and can ultimately include the sharing of spectrums allocated to companies individually.

The DoT has also expressed its concern that while increasing effectiveness of infrastructure sharing, it should be ensured that such sharing should not come in the way of growth of mobile subscribers in the country.

Taking note of the exponential growth of mobile subscribers in the country, a DoT official said mobile companies needed a large number of the towers to sustain this growth pattern, huge expenditure and time to roll out services.

The overriding concern is to ensure that any derived efficiencies do not result in tainting the competitive environment. This has been one of the main reasons that regulators the world over have been desisting from mandating infrastructure sharing.

Active sharing has not been favoured by various regulators in this background. Regulators favour passive sharing of infrastructure

The capital costs for creating new infrastructures are formidable. It is estimated that 60 per cent roll-out cost of a mobile service is towards the setting up of passive infrastructure and only 40 per cent contributes towards active infrastructure.

Though active infrastructure sharing considerably reduces the cost and time to roll out networks by the service providers, the issues involved are more complex as compared to passive infrastructure sharing. Provision of exit clause in case of dispute will be almost impossible as separation of Networks between the service providers may not be easy.

Active infrastructure sharing is not popular across the globe as it increased inter- dependency between the service providers. — PTI

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Haryana gets Rs 680-cr FDI 

Chandigarh, December 4
Haryana has received foreign direct investment totalling Rs 680 crore in the state during the past one-and-a-half-years. Besides, industrial projects worth Rs 10,000 crore had been implemented by generating employment for 15,000 persons.

An official spokesman said after the new industrial policy, 29 large and medium- scale industrial units had been set up in the state at a cost of Rs 348 crore and employment provided to 3,365 persons in these units.

As many as 1,356 small-scale units had also been set up during the same period by investing Rs 31 crore, besides providing employment to 8,415 persons.

The Central Government had also accorded approval for setting up a national institute of food technology entrepreneurship and management in the state at a cost of Rs 350 crore.

This project would be first of its kind in the country. The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation had offered to allot 100 acres for this project at Kundli.

The spokesman said the Union Ministry of Heavy Industries had approved the setting up of a national automotive testing and R and D infrastructure project at a cost of Rs 400 crore at Manesar. The government would provide 40 acres for this project.

A textile cluster at Panipat was being developed at an investment of Rs 54.53 crore.

Besides, a light engineering goods cluster at Faridabad was also coming up at an investment of Rs 80 crore.

The Centre was also actively considering the setting up of an auto parts cluster at Gurgaon at a cost of Rs 67 crore. — PTI 

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India, France to boost trade ties
Set $10 billion target in five years
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
India and France today expressed confidence in doubling and surpassing the bilateral trade turnover target of $7 billion in the next five years from the current level of $3.5 billion, by stepping up business-to-business ties between small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and French Minister for Foreign Trade Christine Lagarde set a target to raise the bilateral trade engagement to $10 billion in the next five years.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the ‘Indo-French Business Meeting, 2006’, organised by FICCI here today, Mr Nath said the presence of 217 French businessmen, half of them representing SMEs in sectors such as manufacturing, IT, pharmaceutical, environment, aeronautics, life sciences and food processing testified to the fact that the French meant business.

He sought the cooperation of the French side in developing and modernising India’s food processing sector as the demand gets stimulated by changing socio-economic situations like rapid urbanisation, bias towards nuclear families and greater work participation among women.

The French Foreign Trade Minister, Ms. Christine Lagarde, said the largest-ever French business delegation comprising 217 business representatives and 1,000 Indian company representatives who were meeting over 2,000 scheduled appointment showed that bilateral trade was set to rise.

France had targeted India as one of the five countries for enhanced trade and investment cooperation. “We will deliver on the promise of doubling the number of French companies operating in India as also those in the SME sector,” she said.

FICCI President Saroj Kumar Poddar said the Indian business community remained committed to continuing the ongoing engagement in Indo-French relations in the known territory as also to explore the hidden potential in areas such as education, environment, energy, infrastructure, software services and agro processing. 

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Kalam advocates energy independence by 2030
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
The President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today asked business and industrial fraternity of India and abroad to integrate their core competencies in order to develop and realise world-class knowledge products.

Inaugurating an international conference on “India R&D 2006: Mind Market”, here today, Dr Kalam unfolded a world knowledge platform that would enable joint designs, development, cost-effective production and marketing of knowledge-based products in various domains based on core competence of partner nations to international markets.

The conference, organised jointly by Ficci, Department of Science and Technology and the CSIR, is aimed at bringing a closer interaction between academia and industry.

The President said the country had natural and human resources, besides core competence developed during the last two decades.

Defining the world knowledge platform to integrate core competence of partner countries to develop knowledge products, the President said initially its mission would be to connect and network R&D institutions, universities and industries, using fiber broadband from partner nations to selected R&D missions.

Energy, water, healthcare, agriculture and food, knowledge products, automobile and traditional medicine were the areas requiring utmost attention under the world knowledge platform to make the world a safe, sustainable, peaceful and prosperous place to live, Dr Kalam said, calling for energy independence by 2030.

He said the target was to achieve energy security by 2020, leading to energy independence by 2030 and beyond to combat the challenges of continuous depletion of fossil fuels, environmental protection and availability at an affordable cost.

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US keen on Consulate in Hyderabad
India needs to update patent laws, says Lavin
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
India needs to update its patent laws as these are backdated and nowhere match the world standards, US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Franklin L Lavin said here today.

"Both countries need to sit down and work out a proper regulatory framework by identifying the weak areas," Mr Lavin observed.

Drawing attention to the areas of concern, Mr Lavin stressed "India needs to seek more participation by US companies in retail, financial services and infrastructure." Infrastructure is an important area where India needs to concentrate seriously to sustain the current growth.

Mr Lavin, who is in India with more than 225 top corporate leaders, was speaking at a seminar on India-US trade.

Expressing interest in opening a US Consulate in Hyderabad, Mr Lavin noted there had been an increase of 50 per cent in business visas this year compared to last year. The waiting time for the same had been reduced to a week.

The delegation includes, among others, Exxon, GE, Motorola, AT&T, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Bank of America as well as small and medium firms.

Representatives of US nuclear energy companies are also at hand looking for opportunities following the Indo-US nuclear deal for peaceful uses being charted by the two countries.

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M’rashtra corners maximum SEZs

New Delhi, December 4
As many as 237 special economic zones (SEZs) have received the official nod, with Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh cornering the lion's share.

Maharashtra leads among the states with 48 SEZ proposals getting Central clearance, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 45 projects, indicating the states' eagerness to go the SEZ way.

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also appear gung ho about the process and have cornered 29 and 25 SEZs, respectively, official figures here show.

Despite frequently expressed misgivings from various quarters, the states are on land-acquisition spree for setting up these special zones. Land being a state subject, the Centre is granting approvals for SEZs based on the recommendations of the state government concerned.

According to Commerce Ministry sources, the states have been advised that while acquiring land for SEZs, "if a portion of double cropped agricultural land has to be acquired to meet the minimum area requirements, especially for multi-product SEZs, the land so acquired should not exceed 10 per cent of the total land required for the zone." The Centre is chary of giving clearance to any SEZ proposal which will gobble up prime agricultural land and provokes opposition from the farmers, the sources said. — UNI

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Reliance to supply CNG to Chennai

Chennai, December 4
CNG will be supplied directly to homes in Chennai through pipelines from the Krishna-Godavari belt in Andhra Pradesh, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani said.

Mr Ambani said he had discussed the project with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi here, which "will be completed within three years".

Mr Ambani said pipes would be laid to thousands of individual homes. Mr Ambani said the company also planned to procure agricultural products from Tamil Nadu farmers for the international market.

Union Minister for IT and Communications Dayanidhi Maran, who was also present at the meeting, said supplying CNG to homes would reduce the price of gas by 25 to 30 per cent. Vehicles could also use CNG, he added. — PTI 

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Amend FC (R) Act to curb manipulation of prices: Assocham 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
With a view to provide adequate deterrent provisions to curb manipulation of prices of commodities by speculations, Assocham has mooted a proposal for urgently amending the Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1952.

In a paper brought out by Assocham, in the wake of volatility and recent rise in essential agro commodities prices such as wheat, sugar and pulses, it observed that the supply and demand in the real economy has little to do but it was primarily because of lack of proper mechanism to guide growers about the future price trends.

Assocham paper on ‘Regulatory reforms required in Indian commodity futures market’ says “even though price fluctuations are part of a market economy, allowing speculation without price risk management will make the market a casino with an overwhelming majority of speculators and hardly any real merchandising interest. Futures markets are basically designed towards price discovery and hedging requirements of the actual users of the commodities.”

Releasing the paper, Assocham president Anil K Agarwal said what needed to be done was to tighten the margin system by deploying a variety of them like exposure margins, concentration margins, special margins on purchases in a rising market, and special margins on sales in a falling market.

Also to be considered are limits on price fluctuations, restricting outstanding positions, taking into consideration available stocks, taking drastic penal action against offenders, etc. While doing so, care has to be taken to ensure that the restrictions do not affect liquidity. 

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Air Sahara announces special fares

New Delhi, December 4
Air Sahara today announced special fares with up to 91 per cent discount to mark 13 years of operations. The tickets valid for travel between January 1 to April 30 next year will be available for sale till December 15.

However passengers will have to pay Rs 1,121 extra — Rs 750 for fuel surcharge, Rs 221 for passenger service fee and Rs 150 for congestion surcharge.

''Despite booming demand, there is excess seat capacity with us,'' said Air Sahara's president Alok Sharma.

Meanwhile, the company said it was in talks with upcoming low-cost carrier Indus Air, promoted by Kapil Mohan of the Mohan Meakins Group, among others, for a strategic tie-up, including providing pilot, engineers and maintenance support.

Mr Sharma said Air Sahara was open to such a strategic alliance, which could be operational or marketing support.

"We could provide pilot, engineers and maintenance facility to Indus Air. It needs support for the CRJ aircraft of the Bombardier," Mr Sharma said. Indus Air is expected to start service soon. — Agencies

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Deaths make Pfizer cut off trials 

New York, December 4
Pfizer Inc said it had cut off all clinical trials and development for a cholesterol drug that was supposed to be the star of its pipeline because of an unexpected number of deaths and cardiovascular problems in patients who used it.

The world's largest drugmaker said it was told yesterday that an independent board monitoring a study for torcetrapib, a drug that raises levels of good cholesterol, recommended that the work end because of "an imbalance of mortality and cardiovascular events."

Pfizer said it was asking all clinical investigators conducting trials to warn patients to stop taking the drug immediately.

Frankfurt: Shares of Pfizer were down nearly 11 per cent on Monday in German trading after the company halted the development of a key new cholesterol treatment because of an unexpected number of deaths. The stock fell 10.7 per cent to $24.55 on the Frankfurt stock exchange. — AP

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Two Indian entrepreneurs awarded

Houston, December 4
Indian entrepreneurs Mr Vikram Akula, founder of SKS Microfinance, and Mr Sameer Sawarkar of Neurosynaptic Comm are among the 10 South Asian origin persons who were awarded the 2006 Global Indus Technovators Awards by the Indian Business Club at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Mr Akula, founder of SKS Microfinance — one of the fastest growing microfinance organisations in the world, has been felicitated for having provided over $33 million in loans and helping over 300,000 people in becoming economically self-reliant.

Mr Sawarkar, founder of Neurosynaptic Communications Pvt. Ltd, works in the areas of remote medical diagnostics and telemedicine, and has developed ReMeDiV solution for rural telemedicine. — PTI 

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Reva receives $20 m funding

Bangalore, December 4
Reva Electric Car company has received an investment worth $20 million, which it would use to expand its capacity to 2,500 units by next year and 30,000 units in the next five years. The company, which also showcased its new prototype, Reva NXG, here, said Draper Fisher Jurveston (DFJ) and Global Environment Fund (GEF) had provided the money, which was expected to consolidate its position as one of the leading electric car companies globally. — TNS

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More IT returns may be under scanner

New Delhi, December 4
The Income Tax Department is planning to raise the ceiling of 2 per cent for taking up returns for scrutiny to unearth tax evasion by individual and corporate tax payers.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has informed the Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance that in line with the recommendation of the committee, the IT Department would consider increasing the ceiling of 2 per cent cases for scrutiny out of the total returns filed every year.

"Leaving a large percentage of tax returns unassessed might prompt the assessees to take a calculated risk in concealing their actual income," the committee, headed by BJP's B.C. Khanduri, noted in its 42nd report on 'Widening of Tax Base and Evasion of Tax'.

In view of the computerisation of the Revenue Department and ability of the assessees, especially the corporates, to file returns electronically, the government should consider enhancing the ceiling on scrutiny. — PTI

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SEBI to set up Investor Protection Fund

Kochi, December 4
Market regulator, SEBI, is in the process of raising resources for setting up the Investor Protection Fund.

The fines and penalties levied from the listed companies would be used to set up the fund, SEBI Chairman M Damodaran told reporters on the sidelines of a CEO summit. For the fund, the SEBI Act, 1992, would have to be amended, he said.

The draft of the proposed new Act had been sent to the Inter-Ministerial Committee, which would later be placed before Parliament either in the tail-end of this session or during the Budget session, he said.

By the second half of 2007, the bill is likely to become an act, he said, adding the new act would be on the lines of the US Security Act.

By mid 2007, the market regulator would be conducting a country-wide massive investor education programme to educate small and retail investors, he said.— PTI

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BRIEFLY

Bharti plans telecom hub
Kolkata, December 4
The Bharti group will create a telecom hub-cum-research and development centre. Bharti group Chairman Sunil Mittal said here today that the West Bengal Government would handover five acres of land for this project. ''Apart from a telecom hub, we will also create an R&D facility,'' he added. The company was also planning to foray into the food processing and horticulture sector. — UNI

PFC offering
New Delhi, December 4
The Power Finance Corporation (PFC) is all set to enter the capital market with an IPO of 11.74 crore equity shares at a price band of Rs 65-70 each on January 12, 2007. ''The price band of the shares has been fixed at Rs 65-70 per share of Rs 10 face value. The bid may open on January 12. — UNI

Indian Bank IPO
Chennai, December 4
Indian Bank will soon come out with an IPO with 85.95 lakh shares, each costing Rs 10. The bank said the price of the share would be decided through a 100 per cent book-building process. After the offer, the Centre's investment in the bank would be diluted by 20 per cent, the bank said. — PTI

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