SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Remittances from Indian diaspora touch $25 b
‘One-stop shop’ set up to attract investment

New Delhi, May 28
As the Indian economy has breached the trillion-dollar mark, the remittances from the over 25 million strong Indian diaspora spread across 130 countries is also rising steadily and have already reached $25 billion.

Power paucity can trip growth, says PM
Asks states to cut thefts, raise generation
New Delhi, May 28
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said power shortages were a major concern and power supply had to grow at a faster pace if the economy was to grow at 9 to 10 per cent annually.

Bottlenecks hit IT ‘Refund Banker’ Scheme
New Delhi, May 28
Bottlenecks have surfaced in the ‘Refund Banker’ scheme, launched by the centre to ensure speedy and secure income tax refunds to the assessees.

Paper industry against customs duty cut
New Delhi, May 28
The paper industry, which is reeling under the twin pressure of raw material crunch and a serious technology gap, has cautioned against reduction of duties on paper under Free Trade Agreements and demanded creation of a Technology Upgradation Fund.

Coke to invest $250 m in India
Atlanta, May 28
Within days of acquiring Glaceau, American giant Coca-Cola today said it would invest $250 million in India in next three years and said its bottling operations would turn profitable in 2008.

Ashwani Kumar woos Arab world
Chandigarh, May 28
Union minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar has called upon the Arab world to invest in India. "Investing in stable markets such as India is indeed a step in the right direction.

High attrition, realty prices to hit BPO industry
New Delhi, May 28
Due to high attrition rate (40 per cent) and unprecedented hike in property prices (100 per cent) in metros, growth of BPO firms is likely to be impacted, according to a study conducted by the industry chamber Assocham.


Actress Shilpa Shetty at the launch of Romanov Diet Mate vodka in Noida on Monday.
Actress Shilpa Shetty at the launch of Romanov Diet Mate vodka in Noida on Monday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
Chairman of Hero Honda Motors Brijmohan Lal and managing director and CEO Pawan Munjal pose with the newly launched Hero Honda Splendor NXG motor cycle in New Delhi on Monday. The new Splendor NXG costs Rs 40,990 (ex-showroom Delhi).
Chairman of Hero Honda Motors Brijmohan Lal (right) and managing director and CEO Pawan Munjal (left) pose with the newly launched Hero Honda Splendor NXG motor cycle in New Delhi on Monday. The new Splendor NXG costs Rs 40,990 (ex-showroom Delhi). — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan

Re at 9-year high
Mumbai, May 28
Rupee today marked a fresh nine-year high of 40.27/28 as strong capital inflows continued to boost-up the local unit.

Ashok Leyland enters used truck market
Jaipur, May 28
Pre-owned commercial vehicle market is all set to get a complete make-over with ALTRUX from Ashok Leyland, the flagship of the Hinduja Group in India, announced its foray into the used vehicles market, making it the first commercial vehicle manufacturer in the country to take this pioneering step.

Corporate Results
Unitech profit soars 15-fold
New Delhi, May 28
Real estate developer Unitech has posted nearly 15-fold growth in consolidated profit after tax to Rs 1,305.49 crore for the year ended March 31, as against Rs 87.64 crore in the same period a year ago.

  • M&M revenue touch $4.5 b

  • IOC Q4 net slips 60 pc

Top



 

 

 

Remittances from Indian diaspora touch $25 b
‘One-stop shop’ set up to attract investment
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
As the Indian economy has breached the trillion-dollar mark, the remittances from the over 25 million strong Indian diaspora spread across 130 countries is also rising steadily and have already reached $25 billion.

However, the investment by overseas Indians has been far short of its potential given the profile of the prosperous overseas Indians. Now the ministry of overseas affairs, created by the government for tapping the full potential of the Indian diaspora, is focusing on promotion of investments by overseas Indians, including innovative investment and policy initiative.

As part of its new strategy to boost the level of investment from overseas Indians, minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi today launched the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC).

The centre will function as a non-profit body with the objective of promoting overseas Indian investment in India and facilitating business-to-business partnership between Indian business and overseas Indians and extend a host of advisory services to PIOs (people of Indian origin) and NRIs.

At the launch function here, Ravi announced that this would be a “one-stop shop” for the overseas Indians where at one platform they can get information, assistance and handholding services.

This will function in a public-private partnership mode. While the ministry will provide policy support, the centre will be managed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), he added.

The centre will establish and maintain a diaspora knowledge network by creating a database of overseas Indians.

It will also assist states in India to project investment opportunities to overseas Indians in infrastructure and social sectors. The objectives of the OIFC will be to bring the Indian states, Indian business and potential overseas investors on the same platform and to facilitate the investors to identify investment opportunities.

The move assumes significance as India is emerging as a much sought after destination for investment in the world. Overseas Indians are an important economic constituency with the ability and willingness to invest in the emerging opportunities in their home country.

Top

 

Power paucity can trip growth, says PM
Asks states to cut thefts, raise generation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said power shortages were a major concern and power supply had to grow at a faster pace if the economy was to grow at 9 to 10 per cent annually. He asked both states as well as the power ministry to reduce thefts, raise generation capacity, and attract private investment to provide electricity to all households by 2012.

''The country's power sector did not look very promising. We are having an energy shortage of around 10 per cent and a peaking shortage of over 13 per cent,'' he said, while inaugurating conference of Chief Ministers on power-related issues.

“In fact, time is running out, and unless we are able to arrest the growing shortages, the effect on our economy may well prove disastrous," he said.

He called for a determined campaign against the cancer of power theft.

"Honest consumers who pay electricity bills regularly bear the brunt of the cost of theft," he told the conference, attended by finance minister P Chidambaram, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and state Chief Ministers.

He said open access in transmission and distribution and competition is the key to improved power supply and greater investment in the power sector.

"We have to look closely at all regulations to ensure that there is 'open access' in transmission and distribution. State policy has to proactively encourage the utilisation of transmission and distribution corridors to ensure the free flow of power to any consumer who may be willing to contract for the power," he said.

Listing his priorities, he said the states and the centre must take effective steps to check losses during transmission and distribution of electricity.

Expressing concerns over the inability to attract private investment in power sector on a significant scale, the Prime Minister said, "The key to attracting investment, particularly from the private sector, lies in ensuring open access to consumers. It will encourage investment. It will also put competitive pressure on the incumbent utility."

He said lack of competition results in inefficiency, which in turn manifests itself in the form of high tariffs, poor standards of consumer service and low internal resource mobilisation.

He called for investment, both in capacity addition and in upgrading the transmission and distribution systems. He also expressed concern over the slow pace of capacity addition, with only half of the 10th Plan target of 41,000 MW being met in the five-year period.

Singh said the sector required a "crash programme" for capacity addition to eliminate shortages by 2012 and pegged the investment needs at over Rs 6,00,000 crore during the 11th Plan period.

Top

 

Bottlenecks hit IT ‘Refund Banker’ Scheme
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
Bottlenecks have surfaced in the ‘Refund Banker’ scheme, launched by the centre to ensure speedy and secure income tax refunds to the assessees.

The bottlenecks are not due to the ills in the scheme, but more due to the folly of the assessees themselves, who fail to give their correct bank account numbers or provide incorrect or incomplete communication address.

In some cases, the State Bank of India (SBI), which has been appointed by the finance ministry as refund banker, has found that the assessee is not present at the premises to receive the refund letter, which leads to return of the refunds back to the Income Tax Department.

More common problem that is bothering the SBI is the assessees failure to intimate to the IT Department the new 12-digit bank account number to ensure speedy refund through ECS.

“As such the pilot project of the ‘Refund Banker’ scheme launched in an IT ward, each in Delhi and Bihar, is going on well. But in an average 4 per cent cases, we are not in a position to deliver the refund due to incorrect bank account number or incorrect or incomplete address of the assessees,” B Ranganathan, deputy general manager (cash management product) of SBI told The Tribune over phone from Mumbai.

In such cases, the SBI has no other way but to return the money to the Income Tax Department, which through its helpline tries to get the correct details from such assessees and then generates fresh refund data.

“This delays the refund process by anywhere between one and two months, thus defeating the very purpose for which the scheme has been introduced," Ranganathan said.

Under the scheme, processing and determination of refund is done by the assessing officers of the IT Department and intimation of the refunds is sent to the central system of the IT Department which, in turn, transmits the refund data to SBI’s cash management product department in Mumbai.

The SBI then segregate payments data for ECS or cheque refund and arrange for payments within three days of receipt of the data to the assessees.

“Of late all banks are moving towards core banking solutions and as such are doing away with the old bank account numbers and are allotting to their customers the new 12-digit account numbers in its place. Since the IT returns contain old numbers and the assessee fails to communicate the new bank account number, even the refunds which could be electronically dispatched need to be routed through paper refund mode, causing avoidable delay,” he pointed out.

Another problem, which is peculiar to Delhi is non-availability of the assessee to collect the refund letter and non-intimation of change in address by the assessee to the IT Department.

However, Mr Ranganathan was confident that ultimately the scheme would be a grand success.

“The very purpose of the pilot project is to identify any possible bottlenecks and remove the same to ensure that the scheme is implemented universally in a smoother and efficient manner,” he said asserting that the experience during this pilot project will help fix the deficiencies at the assessees’ end as well as at the department end.

Top

 

Paper industry against customs duty cut
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
The paper industry, which is reeling under the twin pressure of raw material crunch and a serious technology gap, has cautioned against reduction of duties on paper under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and demanded creation of a Technology Upgradation Fund (TUF).

The Ficci survey, based on the feedback of the industry, has suggested rationalisation of custom duties on import of plant and machinery for paper industry, creation of TUF for paper industry on the lines of textile industry, which will provide interest and capital subsidy to paper industry for technology upgradation.

In case of agro-residue based paper industry, the survey has suggested incentivising technology flow from Europe with the help of fiscal concessions.

All respondents of the survey strongly felt that custom duties on paper should not be reduced under the FTAs. Currently, the basis custom duty on paper is at 10 per cent (which is the peak rate).

Countries from which there could be a surge in imports of paper if the custom duties are reduced/eliminated include Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Chile, China, South Korea, the USA, EU, and the Gulf countries.

“It is important to keep this in mind, as India is negotiating FTA with many of these countries, which are low-cost pulp producers or emerging low-cost producers of paper. India is negotiating FTAs with Asean (which includes Indonesia, Thailand),” it pointed out.

Currently, the total domestic demand for paper is 7.2 million tonnes whereas the production is 6.7million tonnes.

It is estimated that this gap may widen if adequate steps are not undertaken both by industry and government to spur the growth of the sector, it said.

Imports of paper have grown at the rate of over 19 per cent per annum since 2001-02. In April-January 2006-07, imports registered a growth rate of 22 per cent over April-January 2005-06.

Top

 

Coke to invest $250 m in India

Atlanta, May 28
Within days of acquiring Glaceau, American giant Coca-Cola today said it would invest $250 million in India in next three years and said its bottling operations would turn profitable in 2008.

"In bottling operations, the business will move into profitability next year. In one of the months in 2007, we broke even but on the full year basis we are expecting to be in profits in 2008," Irial Finan, head of Coke's bottling operations worldwide, said.

He said most of the investment would stay within India as the required infrastructure like coolers and trucks are manufactured in India.

Along with the $250 million by Coke, franchises of the company's bottling operations in India are also likely to put in between $50-100 million to ramp up infrastructure.

Finan said the company is also open to divest in the bottling business and move towards more and more in the hands of franchises.

"This is a long-term policy of the company. There are, however, no immediate plans or any set time frame to do so," Finan said, adding at least for next 12 months there wouldn't be any divestment in the bottling operations. — PTI

Top

 

Ashwani Kumar woos Arab world
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
Union minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar has called upon the Arab world to invest in India. "Investing in stable markets such as India is indeed a step in the right direction. We welcome Arab investments and look forward to developing special mechanisms and modalities to facilitate such investments," he said.

He was addressing a symposium on 'South-South cooperation in the fields of energy and industry — challenges and opportunities' organised by the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organisation at Rabat yesterday.

Referring to the Arab region as a part of India’s natural economic hinterland, evidence of commercial ties between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley civilisation and the Arab region having been an ancient trade route between India and Europe, Kumar stated that India has had a rich history of unique linkages with the Arab world over several centuries and this special linkage has been reinforced in recent times with a mutual recognition and desire to strengthen economic ties between India and Arab countries.

Speaking, inter alia, on energy security, Kumar stressed that hydrocarbons would remain the global energy source for the foreseeable future. He mentioned that countries of South which are major producers and consumers of hydrocarbons need to develop necessary technical and managerial expertise to address issues relating to energy efficiency and conservation, pricing mechanisms and environment concerns.

He stressed the need to recognise the role of international cooperation in managing the externalities generated by excessive consumption of hydrocarbons and master new technologies in achieving these areas. Kumar also emphasised that the non-aligned movement (NAM) should take the lead in articulating ‘new paradigm of energy security’ and greater cooperation is needed for developing new and clean sources of energy such as solar energy, wind energy, hydrogen fuel cells and bio-fuels, including bio-mass and bio-diesel.

Earlier, Kumar met Tayeb Fassi Fihri, minister-delegate in the ministry of foreign affairs and cooperation and discussed ways to strengthen Indo-Moroccan relations. Kumar said the visit of the delegation of Moroccan industrialists with specific identified sectors of cooperation could pave the way for exploitation of opportunities jointly.

Top

 

High attrition, realty prices to hit BPO industry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
Due to high attrition rate (40 per cent) and unprecedented hike in property prices (100 per cent) in metros, growth of BPO firms is likely to be impacted, according to a study conducted by the industry chamber Assocham.

As against the projected growth rate of 35 per cent, the BPO industry might have to remain satisfied with 25 per cent growth during the next 2 to 3 years, it said.

The attrition rate in BPO firms is at the highest because of opportunities factor which encourages its technical pool of human resource for greener pastures and particularly at a time when property prices are sky rocketing, its adverse impact is the largest on BPO industry.

Expectation of higher salary is other key cause identified for high attrition rate in the BPO industry, according to the study on `Rising property prices & high attrition in outsourcing industry’. The feedback was received from the leading BPO firms, including Genpact.

Forty per cent of BPO companies fear that attrition rate will rise because of stagnation in career graph, long duty hours, night shifts and non-conducive HR policies.

The study emphasises that over 80 per cent of leading BPO companies that took part in Assocham initiatives on attrition rates felt that their attrition rates in future will rise even over 40 per cent whereas the remaining 20 per cent firms are optimistic that the attrition rate will drop down and should stabilise between 20-25 per cent.

Releasing the study, Assocham president Venugopal N. Dhoot said the impact of attrition would lead to increase in expenditure of training and development, loss of clientele, failure to attract more business based on high output, inconsistent delivery and quality issues/loss of productivity, high turn-around-time, costly recruitment process which would create a dearth of 300,000 professionals by 2009.

The study also points out that the industry is currently undergoing a growth of 25-30 per cent annually running on sub-competent employees.

It says that about 80 per cent of the BPO companies believe that the property prices have grown by nearly 100 per cent in the last decade. It has two aspects to this, one side shows the growth of the economy and other reveals rising cost burden on the business, as half of the total establishment cost still constitute the land cost.

Top

 

Re at 9-year high

Mumbai, May 28
Rupee today marked a fresh nine-year high of 40.27/28 as strong capital inflows continued to boost-up the local unit.

This was the strongest performance of the local unit since May 1998, dealers said.

The domestic unit opened the trade today at 40.54/56.

However, strong capital inflows carried the domestic unit from its recent nine-year high of 40.51 to a fresh high of 40.27/28 per dollar. Later, the Indian currency closed the trade at 40.50 per dollar. — UNI

Top

 

Ashok Leyland enters used truck market

Jaipur, May 28
Pre-owned commercial vehicle market is all set to get a complete make-over with ALTRUX from Ashok Leyland, the flagship of the Hinduja Group in India, announced its foray into the used vehicles market, making it the first commercial vehicle manufacturer in the country to take this pioneering step.

Used Ashok Leyland vehicles will be purchased from the market and re-conditioned by the company, using an exhaustive 140-point check to achieve a quality standard that will ensure trouble-free operation. All ALTRUX vehicles will come with up to six months warranty. — UNI

Top

 

Corporate Results
Unitech profit soars 15-fold

New Delhi, May 28
Real estate developer Unitech has posted nearly 15-fold growth in consolidated profit after tax to Rs 1,305.49 crore for the year ended March 31, as against Rs 87.64 crore in the same period a year ago.

Consolidated total income of the Ramesh Chandra-promoted company rose by over three times to Rs 3,388.36 crore for the year ended March 31, as compared to Rs 954.50 crore for the corresponding period in 2006.

The board of directors of the company have recommended issue of bonus shares in the ratio of 1:1. This is the second bonus issue from the company in the past 12 months. The board also announced 25 per cent dividend for the fiscal year.

M&M revenue touch $4.5 b

Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), the fourth largest tractor manufacturer in the world, posted a 20.6 per cent growth in net revenues for the quarter ended March 31 at Rs 3,176.5 crore as against Rs 2632.8 crore for the quarter in previous fiscal.

The group's consolidated revenues for the full year grew 39.7 per cent to Rs 19,436.8 crore ($ 4.5 billion) from Rs 13,908.4 crore in previous fiscal while the standalone revenues of M&M for the fiscal escalated by 22.3 per cent to Rs 11,558 crore as against Rs 9,451.4 crore.

The director board, which recommended a 25 per cent dividend to unit holders, also announced a 15 per cent additional dividend to customers ''in view of the successful listing of Tech Mahindra in bourses''.

IOC Q4 net slips 60 pc

Even as IndianOil Corp (IOC) became the country’s only firm to cross the Rs 200,000 crore ($50 billion) annual revenue mark, it has posted a 60 per cent drop in net profit for the fourth quarter of FY07 at Rs 1,609.67 crore.

It earned net profit of Rs 4,030.57 crore during the fourth quarter. Revenue in the quarter ended March 31 rose to Rs 55,412.07 crore as against Rs 51,420.3 crore. Net profit in 2006-07 grew 52.5 per cent to Rs 7,499.47 crore from Rs 4,915.12 crore in 2005-06.

Total income soared to Rs 2,17,533 crore in the year. It declared a final dividend of 130 pc in addition to the interim dividend of 60 pc paid in December 2006. — Agencies, TNS

Top

 
BRIEFLY


Toshiba unveils new multimedia player "gigabeat V801", equipped with a 80GB harddisk drive, enabling the user to store 339 hours of video images or 20,000 music contents and digital broadcasting for mobile gadgets, in Tokyo on Monday. Toshiba will put it on the market on June 1 with a price of $500.
Toshiba unveils new multimedia player "gigabeat V801", equipped with a 80GB harddisk drive, enabling the user to store 339 hours of video images or 20,000 music contents and digital broadcasting for mobile gadgets, in Tokyo on Monday. Toshiba will put it on the market on June 1 with a price of $500. — AFP

Deepak Fertilisers
Pune, May 28
Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation today said it would be investing Rs 400 crore to set up a greenfield ammonium nitrate plant in Paradip in Orissa. "The plant will have a capacity of 3-lakh tonne ammonium nitrate per annum and will be operational by mid-2009," S C Mehta, vice-chairman and MD, Deepak Fertilisers told reporters here. — PTI

Crompton buyout
Mumbai, May 28
Electrical equipment maker Crompton Greaves today said it would acquire Ireland-based Microsol Holdings Ltd for an enterprise value of over Rs 57 crore. The company has concluded arrangements to acquire Microsol Holdings together with other companies in the Microsol Group, Crompton Greaves informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

Ranbaxy Labs
Mumbai, May 28
Ranbaxy Laboratories today said it has acquired the US marketing rights for 13 dermatology products from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS). The acquisition from BMS enables the company to establish an immediate presence in segments such as dermatitis, psoriasis, scabies and anti-fungals, in addition to acne, where the company already has a dominant brand, vice-president and regional director for Ranbaxy in North America Venkat Krishnan said. — PTI

TCS financial
Mumbai, May 28
Designed specifically for financial services, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today launched a strategic business unit (SBU), 'TCS Financial Solution' to further consolidate its position in financial products segment. TCS Financial Solution will function as a product company within the TCS family and will drive its financial products business. — UNI

Insurance plan
Chennai, May 28
To cater to the needs of the people who desire to have long-term insurance coverage by paying premium for a short term, LIC today launched ‘Jeevan Amir Plan’. “The plan is especially suitable for NRI’s, young software professionals and persons in the entertainment industry,” LIC Zonal Manager B. Manivannan told newspersons here. — UNI

Accentia in UAE
Mumbai, May 28
BPO player Accentia Technologies Limited will set up a subsidiary in UAE with a view to cater its rising BPO product demand, said a release. The company is mainly focused on providing services like medical transcription, coding, billing and insurance claims. — UNI

Top

 



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |