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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Nath told to make Cabinet note on opening up retail
New Delhi, December 26
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have asked Commerce Minister Kamal Nath to prepare a note for the Cabinet on allowing FDI in retail areas such as stationery, electronics and sports goods that do not affect small and neighbourhood shop owners.

Lalu to share Rly success mantra with Harvard boys today
Lalu Prasad New Delhi, December 26
After impressing the IIMs with the dramatic turnaround of the Railways, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad would share tomorrow the success story with a group of students from the elite B-schools in Harvard and Wharton in the US.

India Inc satisfied with UPA govt: Assocham survey
New Delhi, December 26
As 2006 draws to its end, India Inc rated the performance of the UPA government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “reasonably satisfying”, particularly under coalition politics, both on internal and external front in calendar 2006, giving it 6.5 marks out of 10.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Assocham recipe for 9 pc growth
New Delhi, December 26
Industry Board Assocham has suggested multi-pronged strategy, including integration of multiple indirect taxes under goods and service tax (GST), to sustain current plus 8 per cent GDP growth and subsequently put India on a growth trajectory of 9 per cent growth during the 11th Plan period.

Govt to review FDI norms in mineral sector
New Delhi, December 26
The government is planning to revisit FDI norms in the mineral prospecting sector to attract greater investment and better technology. "We have huge reserves of coal, iron ore and manganese. We are having a look at FDI in mineral prospecting so that more investment and technology flows into the sector," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said after an award function for exporters organised by the FIEO.

Focus on agri-exports: Kamal Nath
New Delhi, December 26
There is need for greater focus on increasing agricultural exports so that agriculture also engages in the global economy, Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath said here today. “The agriculture sector has to be sustainable in India. With 650 million persons engaged in agriculture contributing just 23 per cent of the GDP, there is a need to focus on identifying areas for increasing the agricultural exports so that agriculture also engages in the global economy”, the minister told a gathering at the inauguration ceremony of Niryat Bhavan, the building housing the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath presents the Niryat Shree Award to Chairman of PP Jewellery Pawan Gupta in New Delhi on Tuesday
Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath (right) presents the Niryat Shree Award to Chairman of PP Jewellery Pawan Gupta in New Delhi on Tuesday. — AFP photo

Panoramic to invest Rs 1,200 cr in realty
Mumbai, December 26
After consolidating its position in hospitality sector, Panoramic Universal is now planning to enter the realty sector with an investment of close to Rs 1,200 crore over the next four years.

Japan's Takashimaya Department store employee displays a 100 million-yen ($850,000) strap for mobile phones, decorated with a 6.02-carat yellow diamond, a 0.61-carat blue diamond, a 0.36-carat pinkish diamond and a total of 2.10 carat in colorless diamonds, at a preview of the "New Year Lucky Bag" in Tokyo on Tuesday
Japan's Takashimaya Department store employee displays a 100 million-yen ($850,000) strap for mobile phones, decorated with a 6.02-carat yellow diamond, a 0.61-carat blue diamond, a 0.36-carat pinkish diamond and a total of 2.10 carat in colorless diamonds, at a preview of the "New Year Lucky Bag" in Tokyo on Tuesday. The strap, designed by Japanese jewellery brand Diaddict, will be available at New Year's sale from January 2, 2007. — AFP

Traditional Slovenian slippers are displayed at a Christmas stand with prices, both in euros and Slovenian tolars, in Ljubljana on Tuesday
Traditional Slovenian slippers are displayed at a Christmas stand with prices, both in euros and Slovenian tolars, in Ljubljana on Tuesday. Slovenia is to become the 13th member of the eurozone on January 1 when it adopts the European single currency. The price in euros has already been displayed alongside the price in Slovenian tolars since March this year. This will continue until June 1 next year when the tolar price will disappear. — AFP 

Teledensity set to increase to 22 pc
New Delhi, December 26
The country's telecom sector which has witnessed esponential growth of 50 per cent this year is poised for a further push next year. With the government setting a target of 250 million phones by December, 2007, the teledensity of the country will increase to 22 per cent from the existing 16.28 per cent, according to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Tax sops to coal sector denied
New Delhi, December 26
The Finance Ministry has refused to grant infrastructure status to coal mining industry, while also rejecting a proposal from Coal Ministry to give tax sops to mining firms and increase the limit of overseas debt these companies can raise. In an official note, the Coal Ministry said the Finance Ministry has turned down its proposal for permitting coal exploration and mining projects to tap External Commercial Borrowings to the extent of 50 per cent of their total cost.

SBI hikes PLR by 0.5 pc
Mumbai, December 26
The SBI has announced a hike in its benchmark prime lending rate (PLR) by 0.5 per cent with effect from tomorrow -- a move that may prompt other public sector banks to follow suit.

GM may bring back Opel brand
New Delhi, December 26
General Motors India is pondering over bringing back its Opel brand in the niche segment of the domestic market. The company's thinking of re-launching the Opel brand in the Indian market comes in the wake of a possible revival of fortunes of German technology here with the entry of the likes of BMW and Volkswagen.

PM assures panel on iron ore policy
Kolkata, December 26
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of constituting a new expert panel on iron ore policy. "The Anwarul Hoda committee report was not correct and did not take care of the ground realities," Mr Bhattacharjee said at the AGM of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today.

Rupee gains 11 paise
Mumbai, December 26
The rupee today closed higher at 44.44/45 against the US dollar with a modest gain of 11 paise compared to the previous close of 44.56/57, on sustained heavy selling by foreign banks and local investors.

 

 

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Nath told to make Cabinet note on opening up retail

New Delhi, December 26
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have asked Commerce Minister Kamal Nath to prepare a note for the Cabinet on allowing FDI in retail areas such as stationery, electronics and sports goods that do not affect small and neighbourhood shop owners.

The direction, according to sources, came after Mr Nath broached the subject with the Prime Minister recently.

When asked, Mr Nath confirmed to reporters that the government was looking at allowing FDI in retail areas such as sports goods, stationery, construction material and electronics.

Sources said the Commerce Ministry had already taken up the matter with Consumer Affairs Ministry as part of efforts to unleash FDI potential in the retail sector without affecting farmers and traditional shop owners.

They said the Commerce Ministry was expected to pursue the matter next month, adding that up to six potential areas could be opened up for retail FDI.

The sources said a draft of the Cabinet note had already been prepared.

At present, FDI up to 51 per cent is allowed only in single-brand retail with prior government approval. In wholesale cash-and-carry, up to 100 per cent FDI is allowed.

The government wants to encourage foreign investment in back-end retail activity like logistics, cold chain and technology so that it even helps the traditional retailers.

All investments in the retail sector have to be routed through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. So far, 11 proposals have been received and four cleared.

For back-end operations, the world's biggest retailer Wal-Mart has already tied up with the Bharti group. Similarly, French retailer Carrefour is reported to be exploring a tie-up with the Wadias.

Mr Nath said FDI inflows in the first nine months of the current fiscal had grown 134 per cent to $6.1 billion and would cross $11 billion by March next.

He said most of this was 'first mile' investment and much more would follow.

More than $3 billion of FDI was in the pipeline in sectors like automobiles, telecom and financial services. — PTI

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Lalu to share Rly success mantra with Harvard boys today

New Delhi, December 26
After impressing the IIMs with the dramatic turnaround of the Railways, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad would share tomorrow the success story with a group of students from the elite B-schools in Harvard and Wharton in the US.

Mr Prasad would give a lecture on the Indian Railways’ performance to the students at the Railway Museum.

The Railway Minister recently gave management tips to students at the IIMs,Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

Mr Prasad is credited with the financial turnaround of the loss-making Indian Railways which earned a revenue surplus of Rs 13,000 crore by March 31, 2006.

Mr Prasad had delivered a lecture at the IIM, Ahmedabad, where the students were impressed by his down-to-earth approach and appreciation of hard-nosed economic realities.

US corporate giant General Electric's chief also came to India to study the phenomenal success of the Railways. Management experts from Germany, Japan and France followed him. They all wanted to know what lies behind the Railways' success within a short span of 30 months.

Mr Prasad says it was achieved by raising volume and through capacity enhancement. — PTI

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India Inc satisfied with UPA govt: Assocham survey
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 26
As 2006 draws to its end, India Inc rated the performance of the UPA government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “reasonably satisfying”, particularly under coalition politics, both on internal and external front in calendar 2006, giving it 6.5 marks out of 10.

The just-conducted assessment carried out by Assocham on the UPA government’s performance for 2006 is based on a random opinion poll in which nearly 300 CEOs and MDs of large, medium and small industries participated.

As many as 65 per cent of the CEOs felt that the UPA government’s performance was good in terms of keeping the GDP growth to over 8 per cent, maintaining export buoyancy by over 50 per cent and taking savings rate to 31 per cent and containing inflation a little over 5.3 per cent and maintaining confidence in the growth momentum.

As many as 35 per cent of the CEOs have rated the current government performance, describing it just an average, arguing that neither employment has increased nor reforms in labour market were initiated and therefore, the growth rate cannot be termed as ‘inclusive’.

However, 85 per cent CEOs felt that Dr Manmohan Singh did all humanly possible during the year on almost all fronts under coercion of coalition politics and particularly in maintaining an excellent foreign policy with equally balanced approach towards economies of scale and those of developing countries.

Resurgence in the global economy will help India touch an impressive figure of $125 billion in exports by the end of current fiscal while the widening trade deficit will be contained provided fiscal reforms and reforms in financial sectors are introduced with aggressive speed.

However, Assocham President Anil K. Agarwal said improvement in the investment climate - particularly in the infrastructure sector, both in the rural and urban areas - captured the attention of the CEOs surveyed by it. Eighty per cent of the CEOs complimented the UPA government for taking the Sensex to an all-time high of 14,000 points, the credit for which goes to the Finance Minister and the UPA government in particular as the capital market maintained almost a steady pace during the whole 2006, barring an exception of few weeks.

As many as 90 per cent of the industry leaders agreed that buoyancy in the steel, cement, banking, metals, construction material is a result of the boost given to the infrastructure and housing sectors apart from a global firmness in prices.

The corporate results show that despite certain sectoral glitches, the companies have been maintaining a net profit growth ranging between 15 and 20 per cent. 

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Assocham recipe for 9 pc growth
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 26
Industry Board Assocham has suggested multi-pronged strategy, including integration of multiple indirect taxes under goods and service tax (GST), to sustain current plus 8 per cent GDP growth and subsequently put India on a growth trajectory of 9 per cent growth during the 11th Plan period.

As part of the multi-pronged strategy, the chamber has urged the government to promote India as international headquarter of entrepreneurs and encourage repatriation of profits from overseas and create common market for growth and competitiveness.

Assocham president Anil K Agarwal said the chamber has also proposed that the Finance Minister should modernise excise duty regime in a manner that reduce industrial cost and give relief to consumers for which appropriate announcements be made when the Finance Minister P Chidambaram presents the Budget proposals for 2007-08.

He said India needed to increase the rate of investment from the current level of 33-34 per cent of GDP to 39-40 per cent of GDP for accelerated economic growth.

A large portion of this has to be invested on key infrastructure sectors like power, ports, roads, airports, roads, mining and high quality infrastructure for services. India needs an investment of approximately $320 billion in next 5 years to upgrade infrastructure alone for sustained 9 to 10 per cent economic growth rate.

In addition, a large investment is required to expand manufacturing capacities in thrust areas and rapidly growing export production.

The chamber strongly recommends that where the Indian shareholding in an overseas company is more that 40 per cent, the dividend remittance from such company to India should be exempted from Indian income tax.

Alternatively, the tax paid in the overseas country on the underlying profit from which dividend is declared, should be given credit. Such tax policy will not only increase the remittance of foreign exchange earnings, but will also encourage companies to choose India as their international headquarter along with their key decision-makers.

Since CST (central sales tax) is not vat-able, it encourages fragmentation of manufacturing with small state specific units and multiple depots to avoid CST. It, therefore, has significant adverse impact on growth and competitiveness of Indian industry and trade.

Assocham has suggested that CST must be phased out without any further delay. Any perceived revenue lose will be more than made up by high growth of trade and industry. It is recommended that CST should be reduced to 2 per cent from April 1, 2007.

As a first step, the government should set up an empowered committee consisting of state and Central Government representatives at the earliest to finalise the structure of GST and roadmap for its implementation.

According to Assocham, replacement of multiple taxes by GST will increase the tax-GDP ratio by 2 per cent. Thus, apart from providing the revenue buoyancy, GST will simplify the tax structure, reduce tax administration cost and reduce compliance cost. GST will also improve the competitiveness of Indian industry by eliminating the cascading effect of taxes on production cost.

The government should also integrate excise and service tax into a ‘Central VAT’ to facilitate introduction of GST at a later date. This integration will also reduce cost of compliance and tax administration, it said.

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Govt to review FDI norms in mineral sector

New Delhi, December 26
The government is planning to revisit FDI norms in the mineral prospecting sector to attract greater investment and better technology.
"We have huge reserves of coal, iron ore and manganese. We are having a look at FDI in mineral prospecting so that more investment and technology flows into the sector," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said after an award function for exporters organised by the FIEO.

When asked by how much the government would raise the FDI limits, he said the issue was not of percentages but that of attracting investments.

At present, FDI limits are liberal but it is routed through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. They are also subjected to various restrictions put by other laws.

The relook at FDI norms in mineral prospecting is part of a larger review.

Officials said the review of FDI in all sectors was similar to the one undertaken early this year. The government wants to make this an annual exercise.

The review may lead to further liberalisation of the FDI norms in various sectors. — PTI

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Focus on agri-exports: Kamal Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 26
There is need for greater focus on increasing agricultural exports so that agriculture also engages in the global economy, Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath said here today.

“The agriculture sector has to be sustainable in India. With 650 million persons engaged in agriculture contributing just 23 per cent of the GDP, there is a need to focus on identifying areas for increasing the agricultural exports so that agriculture also engages in the global economy”, the minister told a gathering at the inauguration ceremony of Niryat Bhavan, the building housing the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

Pointing that India has exceeded its export growth target of $250 billion, transforming it into a major “engine for growth”, Mr Nath stressed that growth in exports needed to be sustained to achieve 10 per cent the GDP.

“Exports form a vital part in a country’s growth”, he said congratulating the exporters for exceeding the target set for exports and assured the exporters of the government’s continued support to achieve higher targets in future.

Mr Nath urged the exporters to look at the potential of agriculture and agricultural products for export purposes. The minister called upon the FIEO to undertake a study on how to boost agricultural exports in the next five years.

The Union Minister also gave away the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Export Awards, Niryat Shree and Niryat Bandhu, for 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Niryat Shree awards were given to exporters for achieving outstanding export performance while Niryat Bandhu were awarded to export promotion agencies for providing valuable support to the exporting community.

On behalf of the federation, the minister also conferred Life Time Achievement Awards on renowned bureaucrat P.M.A. Hakeem and noted industrialist R. L Toshniwal.

A special award was given to the ECGC for its admirable support to exporters of the country.

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Panoramic to invest Rs 1,200 cr in realty

Mumbai, December 26
After consolidating its position in hospitality sector, Panoramic Universal is now planning to enter the realty sector with an investment of close to Rs 1,200 crore over the next four years.

The company has already purchased land worth Rs 200 crore for residential and commercial complexes across Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, Chandigarh and West Bengal, Panoramic Group Chairman Sudhir Moravekar said here today.

He said the company has already received approval from its Board and shareholders to go ahead with the projects, to be built mainly in tier-II cities.

"In all probability, these projects will take off at the beginning of the next financial year and would require 24-48 months for completion," he said.

The company, listed in the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, plans to raise $12 million next month to finance the projects, Mr Moravekar said.

Panoramic Universal owns and operates five hotels in US, one in New Zealand and three in India. It has lined up two five-star hotels — one each in Pune and Goa.

The company also plans to set up three budget hotels in Kerala, Rajasthan and Shimla and two three-star hotels at Thane in Maharashtra and Durgapur in West Bengal. — PTI

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Teledensity set to increase to 22 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 26
The country's telecom sector which has witnessed esponential growth of 50 per cent this year is poised for a further push next year.
With the government setting a target of 250 million phones by December, 2007, the teledensity of the country will increase to 22 per cent from the existing 16.28 per cent, according to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The total number of telephones has swelled to 183.46 million as on November 30 this year compared to 125.79 million on December 31 last year. The share of wireless phones has increased from 68 per cent in December, 2005, to 78 per cent in 2006," noted the DoT.

In the year under review, the country surpassed the target of 100 million GSM mobile subscribers thus becoming the fifth country to achieve this benchmark after China, the USA, Japan and Russia.

"Under the Bharat Nirman programme, out of 66,822 villages a total of 36,014 village public telephones have been provided as on October 31 this year. The rest of the villages will be covered well ahead of November 2007."aThe telecom sector's phenomenal growth has compelled global telecom companies to set up manufacturing bases in this country. Fresh commitments of about $2 billion are expected in telecom manufacturing in the next one year. Companies like Alcatel and Cisco had evinced interest in setting up their R and D centres in India, the DoT added.

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Tax sops to coal sector denied

New Delhi, December 26
The Finance Ministry has refused to grant infrastructure status to coal mining industry, while also rejecting a proposal from Coal Ministry to give tax sops to mining firms and increase the limit of overseas debt these companies can raise.

In an official note, the Coal Ministry said the Finance Ministry has turned down its proposal for permitting coal exploration and mining projects to tap External Commercial Borrowings to the extent of 50 per cent of their total cost.

Similarly, the Finance Ministry torpedoed a proposal to grant income tax exemption up to 40 per cent of the profits earned by financial institutions through investment in coal exploration, it said.

The Coal Ministry had also sought 20 per cent tax rebate for investments in shares, debentures and bonds of coal mining companies or units of mutual funds subscribing to those securities up to Rs 70,000. This proposal was also refused by the Finance Ministry, the note said.

Besides, the Finance Ministry refused to provide relief in import duty of machinery and equipment for coal industry.

The Finance Ministry also denied full tax exemption for the first five years for coal projects (seven years for those in the North-East).

The Finance Ministry has turned down another suggestion for exemption sought by the Coal Ministry from capital gains if capital assets were invested in securities of the companies engaged in coal mining for three years or if the capital gains are invested for seven years. — PTI

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SBI hikes PLR by 0.5 pc

Mumbai, December 26
The SBI has announced a hike in its benchmark prime lending rate (PLR) by 0.5 per cent with effect from tomorrow -- a move that may prompt other public sector banks to follow suit.

The PLR has been hiked to 11.5 per cent from 11 per cent, the SBI said.

Though the bank has not stated the reasons or impact of the hike, the decision would make all loans linked to the PLR, whether corporate or retail, expensive. Further, there could be a repricing of loans offered to corporates on sub-PLR rates, sources said.

The impact on the home and retail loan rates is not yet clear but some of them linked to the PLR could go up.

The PLR hike is the third in the year for the SBI, which hiked it by 0.5 per cent first in April from 10.25 per cent to 10.75 per cent and then again in August by 0.25 per cent to 11 per cent.

Other banks -- OBC, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Yes Bank and Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP) -- had raised their PLRs following the RBI's decision to raise the CRR. — PTI

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GM may bring back Opel brand

New Delhi, December 26
General Motors India is pondering over bringing back its Opel brand in the niche segment of the domestic market.
The company's thinking of re-launching the Opel brand in the Indian market comes in the wake of a possible revival of fortunes of German technology here with the entry of the likes of BMW and Volkswagen.

"There is a possibility of re-introducing the Opel badge in the niche segment," a company source said.

GM, which had shifted its focus to the Chevrolet brand after the global acquisition of erstwhile Daewoo, has found the latter's technology not only cost-efficient but much more suitable to the Indian market. — PTI

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PM assures panel on iron ore policy

Kolkata, December 26
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of constituting a new expert panel on iron ore policy.
"The Anwarul Hoda committee report was not correct and did not take care of the ground realities," Mr Bhattacharjee said at the AGM of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today.

"I told the Prime Minister that Hoda report was not proper and the Prime Minister had assured of constituting a fresh expert panel again," he told the gathering.

He said there was need for a clear policy on iron ore, and added he had also apprised the Prime Minister on the issue of iron ore exports.

Mr Bhattacharjee said export of iron ore was not in the interest of Indian steel industry.

The Chief Minister also said the state government was planning to set up a sea port, 22 km away from Sagar Island. — PTI

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Rupee gains 11 paise

Mumbai, December 26
The rupee today closed higher at 44.44/45 against the US dollar with a modest gain of 11 paise compared to the previous close of 44.56/57, on sustained heavy selling by foreign banks and local investors.

The rupee rose against the dollar on Friday as tight cash supply in the banking system made the market favour the higher-yielding local currency.

Inflows from foreign funds as well as Oracle Corporation helped the rupee. Oracle brought in cash to fund an open offer for Indian banking software provider, i-flex solutions. — UNI

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BRIEFLY

Reliance health insurance policy
New Delhi, December 26
Reliance General Insurance, a subsidiary of Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Capital, today launched a new health insurance policy. The new 'Reliance HealthWise Policy' would be available in three plans — standard, silver and gold — in which a cover of Rs 1 lakh for a couple would attract a premium of Rs 820, Rs 900 and Rs 1,000 respectively. Depending upon the plan, policy holders would be offered variable features that would cover expenses incurred for hospitalisation, day-care treatments and critical illness.The policy would be available for children above three months and adults below 65 years. — PTI

Atlanta SEZ
Mumbai, December 26
After picking up a 50 per cent stake in N.G. Realty Private Ltd, Atlanta Ltd has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ahmedabad-based realty firm for setting up a SEZ for engineering units at Rajoda village and Vasna Chacharwadi in Bavla taluka, about 25 km from Ahmedabad. Atlanta Ltd MD Rajhoo Bbarot said 183 units could be adjusted in the SEZ. — UNI

Kotak 30 Fund
Mumbai, December 26
Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund today declared a tax-free dividend of 55 per cent in Kotak 30 Fund. The net asset value (NAV) of Kotak 30 units as on December 19 was Rs 37.20, the company said here. The company has fixed December 27 as the record date for the investors to be eligible for the dividend. — PTI

Havells plan
New Delhi, December 26
Electrical products manufacturing company Havells India Ltd said today it would raise $150 million through Qualified Institutional Placement, Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCB), American Depository Receipts (ADRs) and Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) issue. — UNI

Vardhman Ind
New Delhi, December 26
Vardhman Industries Ltd, engaged in manufacture and export of auto parts, hand tools, garden tools and castings, today announced its plans to foray into the real estate sector. ''The Board of Directors has decided to amend the memorandum of association of the company by including an enabling clause in other objects so as to decide in future to diversify into real estate business,'' the company said. The members of the company will meet on January 31, 2007, to consider the resolution. — UNI

IndusInd Bank
Mumbai, December 26
IndusInd Bank said today it had received RBI approval for opening 19 branches, especially in the North-East. This is in addition to the 21 licences the bank had received from the RBI during the current financial year. The bank has opened seven branches and the remaining would be opened before March, 2007, the bank said. IndusInd currently has 147 branches and 86 offsite ATMs spread over 118 geographical locations. — PTI 

PHDCCI chief 
New Delhi, December 26 
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) said today it has elected Mr Sanjay Bhatia as its new president. Mr Bhatia, currently the Managing Director of Hindustan Tin Works Ltd, took over the charge from Ms Sushma Berlia at the chamber's 101st annual general meeting (AGM) here. — PTI 

REC bonds 
New Delhi, December 26
Conceding the demands of investors, the Finance Ministry today allowed Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd (REC) to issue additional tax-saving capital bonds worth Rs 3,500 crore this fiscal. REC and National Highways Authority of India Ltd were permitted in June to issue bonds for Rs 4,500 crore and Rs 1,500 crore, respectively during 2006-07.— PTI

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