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Manmohan warns industry against making cartels
New Delhi, May 24
Reminding the Indian industry about its responsibility towards inclusive growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked it to desist from cauterization to keep prices high.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with CII vice-president Sunil Bharti Mittal at the inauguration of CII's annual session, in New Delhi on Thursday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with CII vice-president Sunil Bharti Mittal at the inauguration of CII's annual session, in New Delhi on Thursday. — AFP photo

Don’t raise prices arbitrarily: FM
New Delhi, May 24
In the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assertion that the Congress-led UPA government was committed to bring down the inflation below 5 per cent, finance minister P Chidambaram today asked the industry to refrain from raising prices arbitrarily and help the government in checking inflation.

Qualcomm-RComm royalty row resolved
New Delhi, May 24
CDMA technology pioneer Qualcomm today said it has resolved the royalty row with telecom operators, especially with Reliance Communications, following the reduction in handset prices. 



EARLIER STORIES

 

Alliance Air to be merged with Air-India Express
The image of one of India's historic monuments, Jantar Mantar, adorns the innovative tail design of Boeing 737-800, the seventh aircraft from the company to join the Air-India Express fleet, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Thursday.Mumbai, May 24
After the merger of Indian and Air-India, their subsidiaries - Alliance Air and Air-India Express - would be merged as well, a top Air-India official said today.

The image of one of India's historic monuments, Jantar Mantar, adorns the innovative tail design of Boeing 737-800, the seventh aircraft from the company to join the Air-India Express fleet, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Thursday. — PTI photo

Punjab Tractors to get facelift
Chandigarh, May 24
Three months after Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) acquired 43.5 per cent stake in Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL), M & M’s financial arm Mahindra Financial Services Limited (MFSL) is now helping to improve retail sales of Swaraj Tractors.

Vodafone directors quit Airtel board
New Delhi, May 24
British mobile giant Vodafone’s two nominees on the board of Bharti Airtel have resigned following its takeover of Hutch-Essar and stake sale in the Sunil Mittal-led company.

Reliance Bluemagic forays into DTH sector
New Delhi, May 24
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Bluemagic (RB) today became the fourth private player to secure licence to offer direct-to-home (DTH) services and plans to start operations by the fourth quarter of the year.

Unorganised Sector Bill
Industry welcomes, workers decry

New Delhi, May 24
While industry welcomed the cabinet decision to table the Bill providing social security to unorganised sector workers in the monsoon session of Parliament, trade unions taking umbrage to the decision termed the legislation as vague, skeletal and an attempt to hoodwink crores of workers.

Haryana beopar mandal seeks sops for industry
Fatehabad, May 24
The Federation of Consumers Cooperatives Wholesale Stores Limited (Confed) chairman Bajrang Dass Garg today urged the centre to provide Himachal and Uttranchal-type excise benefits to industries in Haryana so that the state could attract industries.

London mayor assures investment
Kolkata, May 24
The Lord mayor of London, John Stuttard, who has been leading a 33-member business delegation to India, has assured of a larger financial investment and technological assistance from Britain in the coming years.

Markfed earns profit of Rs 8.56 cr
Chandigarh, May 24
Markfed has achieved profit of Rs 8.56 crore during the year 2006-07, which is 154 per cent more than the budgeted profit of Rs 3.37 crore. The overall profits of all Markfed plants have touched Rs 393 lakh as compared to the profit of Rs127.26 lakh in the previous year.


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Marks & Spencer plans to expand in India, China.
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Manmohan warns industry against making cartels
Tribune News Service

The 10 commandments

  • Respect for workers and invest in their welfare

  • Corporate social responsibility must not be defined by tax planning strategies

  • Industry to be pro-active to the less privileged

  • Resist excessive remuneration to promoters and senior executives

  • Invest in people and in their skills

  • Desist non-competitive behaviour

  • Invest in environment-friendly technologies

  • Promote enterprise and innovation

  • Fight corruption

  • Promote socially responsible media and finance socially responsible advertising

New Delhi, May 24
Reminding the Indian industry about its responsibility towards inclusive growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked it to desist from cartelisation to keep prices high, resist excessive remuneration to promoters and senior executives and to remain pro-active in offering employment to the less privileged.

Spelling out a ten-point ‘social charter’ for the industry to follow, Singh said: “The operation of cartels by groups of companies to keep prices high must end. It is unacceptable to obstruct the forces of competition from having freer play….Cartels are a crime and go against the grain of an open economy.”

“It (cartalisation) is even more distressing in a country where the poor are severely affected by rising commodity prices…If a liberalised economy has to succeed, we must give full play to competitive forces and the private sector should show some self-restraint in this regard,” the Prime Minister said asserting that even profit maximisation should be within the bounds of “decency and greed”.

He was addressing the inaugural session of CII’s national conference and annual session on ‘Inclusive growth: challenges for corporate India’ here.

Asking the industry to resist excessive remuneration to promoters and senior executives and discourage conspicuous consumption, Singh warned of social unrest if rising income and wealth inequalities did not match a corresponding rise of incomes across the nation.

“In a country with extreme poverty, industry needs to be moderate in emolument levels adopted,” he said pointing vulgar display of wealth by industrialists.

“It is socially wasteful and it plants seeds of resentment in the minds of the have-nots,” he remarked in the presence of top Indian industrialists.

Admitting that corruption is eating into the vitals of our body politic, the Prime Minister said: “Businessmen who enter politics should erect a Chinese wall between their political activities and their businesses. Corruption need not be the grease that oils wheels of progress. There are many successful companies today that have refused to yield to this temptation. Others must follow,” he said, adding CII should develop ‘codes of conduct’ for their members with respect to business practises and corruption.

Asserting that the government was committed towards making growth process both efficient and inclusive, the Prime Minister wanted corporate India to remain pro-active in offering employment to the less privileged, at all levels of the job ladder.

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Don’t raise prices arbitrarily: FM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24
In the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assertion that the Congress-led UPA government was committed to bring down the inflation below 5 per cent, finance minister P Chidambaram today asked the industry to refrain from raising prices arbitrarily and help the government in checking inflation.

“There is demand-supply gap and some of the industry is working at near full capacity… Thus, pricing power has returned to the industry and it is being exercised by some industry. I urge them not to exercise pricing power arbitrarily,” the finance minister said without pointing fingers at any particular industry.

He was addressing the CII’s national conference here.

Elaborating on the circumstances that has led to spurt in inflation, he said: “Besides the worldwide increase in prices of metals and commodities such as crude oil, there is a supply-demand mismatch in essential food items like wheat, pulses and sugar.”

“Substantial increase in justified public expenditure in social sector and increase in per capital income, which has increased the purchasing power of the people have also put pressure on inflation,” he said.

While we have already initiated measures to increase supply of goods and moderate demand, it is not possible for the government to intervene in metal and commodity price rise worldwide, he said.

“Wherever we can augment the supply, we are augmenting the supply, and wherever we can moderate the demand, we are moderating the demand and that is the reason behind increase in interest rates,” the finance minister said.

Laying importance on inclusive growth, Chidambaram rejected the thinking in some quarters that ‘high growth is non-inclusive’.

In this context, he said fiscal rectitude is where the foundation of growth lies and that the government would not compromise on that.

Referring to the surge in foreign capital inflows, Chidambaram said nothing should be done to restrict these 'copious flows', but instead there was a need for dextrously managing them. In this regard, he cited the instance of China, which was managing much larger volumes of foreign capital.

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Qualcomm-RComm royalty row resolved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24
CDMA technology pioneer Qualcomm today said it has resolved the royalty row with telecom operators, especially with Reliance Communications, following the reduction in handset prices.

"The royalty row with Reliance is over. In fact, it is over with the industry," Qualcomm India president Kanwalinder Singh said here on the sidelines of a CDMA event.

This came as the TRAI released the monthly data on telecom subscribers, which indicated that the telecom sector added another 4.9 million subscribers in April, taking the total number of telephones to more than 211.7 million, recording a growth of 44.8 per cent during May 06-April 07 period.

The GSM segment has also shown an increase of 4.13 million during the month of April 2007. While the CDMA segment registered an increase of 1.01 million, the fixed segment has declined by 0.23 million. All these made the teledensity to improve further to 18.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel has entered into a partnership agreement with PCCW Global Limited (PCCW Global), a subsidiary of PCCW Ltd, to offer enhanced end-to-end global solutions through the extended international connectivity. 

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Alliance Air to be merged with Air-India Express

Mumbai, May 24
After the merger of Indian and Air-India, their subsidiaries - Alliance Air and Air-India Express - would be merged as well, a top Air-India official said today.

“Air-India Express and Alliance Air would be merged into a single company. The new company would be called Air-India Express,” Air-India chairman V Thulasidas told reporters here.

Alliance Air is a subsidiary of Indian while Air-India Express is a subsidiary of Air-India.

Air-India Express, which flies to the UAE, Oman, Singapore and Sri Lanka, is awaiting the approval from the Malaysian Government to fly there, Thulasidas said on board of newly acquired Boeing 737-800. — PTI

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Punjab Tractors to get facelift
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Three months after Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) acquired 43.5 per cent stake in Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL), M & M’s financial arm Mahindra Financial Services Limited (MFSL) is now helping to improve retail sales of Swaraj Tractors.

With the tractor’s sales dipping in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, MFSL has now launched its operations to finance the tractors in these states. Sources said MFSL field staff had started conducting surveys to assess customers. This financial support by MFSL is expected to double retail sales of Swaraj Tractors in coming years.

With crash in tractor sales a couple of years ago, share in retail sales of PTL tractors in Madhya Pradesh had dropped to 11 per cent, in Rajasthan to seven per cent and in Uttar Pradesh to 18 per cent. The share in retail sales in Punjab and Bihar had remained constant at 18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. It was during this time that agri-development branches of public sector banks and land development banks had started withdrawing themselves from tractor and farm equipment financing business in most states, with an emphasis on promoting Kisan Credit Cards. The private banks, too, withdrew later from financing farm machinery and equipment because of high NPAs.

With the Swaraj Tractor sales remaining a constant at about 31,000 units for the past two years, financial strength provided by MFSL will help increase sale in rural areas, said a senior PTL official. He added that some new farm products designed by PTL in the recent months were also being assessed by M &M so that these could be launched in the market to up sales.

Senior officials in PTL said following the tie-up with M & M, teams from M &M had also started assessing the possibility of outsourcing of spare parts from vendors of PTL, for their tractor plant at Rudrapur. Since Swaraj Tractors are known for their low material cost, M & M’s farm equipment sector and automobiles units could also be tying up with local cost effective suppliers of PTL for better economies of scale. 

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Vodafone directors quit Airtel board

New Delhi, May 24
British mobile giant Vodafone’s two nominees on the board of Bharti Airtel have resigned following its takeover of Hutch-Essar and stake sale in the Sunil Mittal-led company.

Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Mittal said both directors - Gavin Darby and Paul Donovan - have resigned. A Vodafone spokesperson also said the two directors have quit.

In January, the directors had abstained from the board meeting when the company was in race to acquire Hutchison Telecom International’s stake in India’s fourth-largest mobile operator Hutch-Essar. — PTI 

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Reliance Bluemagic forays into DTH sector

New Delhi, May 24
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Bluemagic (RB) today became the fourth private player to secure licence to offer direct-to-home (DTH) services and plans to start operations by the fourth quarter of the year.

An agreement to this effect was signed by Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG) president A N Sethuraman and ministry of information and broadcasting director Arvind Kumar.

With this, RB becomes the fourth private player after Dish TV, Tata Sky and Sun TV to have secured licence to operate in the fast growing DTH segment.

RB’s foray into DTH is a part of ambitious plans by ADAG to expand in media and entertainment business, where it has started a slew of services.

In the big screen entertainment, group company Adlabs plans to have 125 screens across India by September.

In the FM Radio segment, the group has got licence to operate in 40 cities across India and has already made 17 of them operational. It runs FM channel under the brand Big FM. — PTI

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Unorganised Sector Bill
Industry welcomes, workers decry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24
While industry welcomed the cabinet decision to table the Bill providing social security to unorganised sector workers in the monsoon session of Parliament, trade unions taking umbrage to the decision termed the legislation as vague, skeletal and an attempt to hoodwink crores of workers.

Describing the cabinet decision as a step in the right direction, which was long awaited, Assocham president Venugopal N. Dhoot said the UPA government had promised it and the scheme has had the cabinet nod.

He, however, suggested that National Advisory Board, which will design the scheme, should form it in a manner so that it is sustainable for which the entire nation should proportionately contribute to.

The cabinet decision giving its approval of a so-called social security for the unorganised sector workers has come as a rude shock to the 93 per cent of the workforce in the country. It is a breach of the commitment in the National Common Minimum Programme as well as a mockery of the tripartite consultation process, said W R Varada Rajan, secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions.

The cabinet has gone about the issue in a cavalier fashion by just putting in an enabling provision for bringing in schemes, instead of concrete provisions ensuring regulation of employment and duly funded pre-defined schemes, with a universal coverage.

The proposed legislation is nothing but an attempt to hoodwink the huge work force in the country. There is no concrete proposal on how the government proposes to fund the social security nor there is any time frame for covering the entire workforce.

The proposed Bill is nothing but an expression of intent, as it fails to bring in these workers under coverage of labour laws and does not incorporate a dedicated and defined funding arrangement.

He said the NCMP had assured a comprehensive protective legislation for all agricultural workers and ensuring the welfare and well being of all workers, particularly those in the unorganised sector who constitute 93 per cent of our workforce. 

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Haryana beopar mandal seeks sops for industry
Our Correspondent

Fatehabad, May 24
The Federation of Consumers Cooperatives Wholesale Stores Limited (Confed) chairman Bajrang Dass Garg today urged the centre to provide Himachal and Uttranchal-type excise benefits to industries in Haryana so that the state could attract industries.

Talking to media persons here today, Garg, who is also state president of the Haryana Pradesh Beopar Mandal, said industry in Haryana do not enjoy level play-field with its counterparts in the hills states.

He said in a highly competitive era of today, it is difficult for an industry to survive in a state like Haryana when industries in the neighbouring towns of Baddi, Kala Amb, Ponta Sahib and Dehradun were exempted from paying central excise and some other duties.

He emphasised the need for simplification of value added tax (VAT) and demanded that VAT on commodities of daily use be reduced from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent and totally withdrawn from food items.

Adding, Garg said the Haryana Pradesh beopar mandal would resist any move by Reliance Fresh to open its stores in Haryana.

He said wherever the Reliance Fresh had opened its stores for retail sales of fruits and vegetables, business of vegetable venders had suffered badly.

He maintained that the Congress government would not compromise with the interests of traders and small shopkeepers. 

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London mayor assures investment
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, May 24
The Lord mayor of London, John Stuttard, who has been leading a 33-member business delegation to India, has assured of a larger financial investment and technological assistance from Britain in the coming years.

He said emphasis would be given for developing the country’s major metropolis like Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai at par with London and New York.

Stuttard was speaking at a seminar on the UK and India business partnership organised jointly by the British deputy high commission, Kolkata and the Ficci here.

Earlier, Stuttard along with the delegation met Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and exchanged views on various matters of mutual interests of both countries.

He said Britain was interested in developing partnerships with India in financial services, education, training and qualifications and the maritime business with their Indian counterparts. He will be visiting New Delhi, Mumbai and several other cities during his present stay in India.

Stuttard invited businessmen from India to invest in Britain and assured that he would negotiate with new business entrepreneurs in Britain and persuade them to invest in developing India’s backward and neglected areas.

The state industries minister said the Left-Front government has decided to invite larger foreign investments for the state’s rapid industrial expansion and accordingly he was welcoming the Lord mayor’s initiative in helping the Bengal Government on various development works. He was also confident that companies from Kolkata would play a model role in the UK’s development activities. 

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Markfed earns profit of Rs 8.56 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Markfed has achieved profit of Rs 8.56 crore during the year 2006-07, which is 154 per cent more than the budgeted profit of Rs 3.37 crore. The overall profits of all Markfed plants have touched Rs 393 lakh as compared to the profit of Rs127.26 lakh in the previous year.

Centurion Bank of Punjab

The Centurion Bank of Punjab today announced that it has netted profit of Rs 1.21 billion, up by 38 per cent over last year. The net profit for the last quarter was Rs 280 million, up by eight per cent as compared to the same quarter last year. During the last financial year, it witnessed a growth of 72 per cent in advances and 58 per cent in deposits. Profit before tax of the bank was Rs 1,837 million. 

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BRIEFLY

Sunil Mittal is CII president
Mumbai, May 24
Bharti group CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal has been elected president of the CII for the year 2007-08. Mittal will assume office as the new president of the apex industry association tomorrow. He succeeds R Seshasayee. Mittal was vice-president of CII during 2006-07 and is a member of the Prime Minister's council on trade and industry. — UNI

Frankfinn plan
New Delhi, May 24
Frankfinn Aviation Services Pvt Ltd today said it would start a low-cost airline by 2009 and plans to tap the capital market for funding the new venture. "After having established strong presence in training of skilled manpower for the industry, we are planning to start an airline named 'Air Frankfinn' by the end of 2009 or early 2010," Frankfinn Aviation Services chairman K.S. Kohli said. — PTI

Canbank MF
Chandigarh, May 24
Canbank mutual fund has declared a tax-free dividend of 50 per cent (Rs 5 per unit) on the face value of Rs 10 in its CanExpo Scheme, an open-ended equity-oriented sectoral scheme. The record date for the dividend has been fixed as May 29, 2007. All unit holders, whose names appear in the register as on record date, are eligible for the dividend. — TNS

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