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Cut export duties, WTO tells India
New Delhi, June 10
At a time when Indian exporters are facing pressure due to rise in rupee value and lobbying with the government for a hike in drawbacks, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has asked India to re-look the duty neutralisation incentives given to the exporting community.

Now, stock exchanges under RTI purview
New Delhi, June 10
In a move that could bring in greater transparency in functioning of the bourses, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has brought the country's stock exchanges under the purview of Right to Information Act.

DLF to build nation’s largest mall
Mumbai, June 10
DLF has drawn up plans to set up country's largest mall with nearly 40 lakh sq ft lettable area and a chain of multiplexes in major cities. It plans multiplexes at Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

BSNL slashes ISD rates
New Delhi, June 10
Triggering another price war in the ISD segment, state-run telecom major BSNL has reduced call rates to the USA, Canada and the Gulf to Rs 1.75 per minute and Rs 6.75 per minute, respectively, slightly lower than the rates offered by private firms.


EARLIER STORIES

 
Nokia unveils N-92
New Delhi, June 10
To cash in on the booming mobile entertainment market, which is expected to touch $10 billion by 2010, global mobile handset giant Nokia has launched a new N-series multimedia device that will support live TV on mobile. The handset — Nokia N92 — is the world's first DVB-H enabled device that would support live broadcast mobile TV, Nokia said.
Amway to boost reach in Punjab
Patiala, June 10
Amway India yesterday marked its entry into another city of Punjab by opening a new office here. Narjinder Singh Sekhon, Superintendent of Police (HQ), Patiala, and Srinivas Rao, vice- president of Amway, along with the Amway business owners of Patiala inaugurated the office.


The high-speed ICE 3 train arrives at the cental station in Saarbruecken, Germany, on its first regular route to Paris from Frankfurt, on Sunday.
The high-speed ICE 3 train arrives at the cental station in Saarbruecken, Germany, on its first regular route to Paris from Frankfurt, on Sunday. Trains from French state-owned rail company SNCF and Germany's DB share this new eastern line from Paris to Saarbruecken slashing travel times and opening up Germany to France's TGV network. — AFP

AI to start domestic budget service
Mumbai, June 10
India's national carrier Air-India plans to start its own budget service domestically, post its merger with Indian.

Tax Advice
Proceeds from RBI Relief Bonds tax-free
Q. I retired from govt service in June 2002. I received my retirement benefits and invested the same in 8 per cent RBI Relief Bonds 2002, which is to mature in August 2007. Kindly advise me:

Market Scan
Tata Investment Corp good for long-term investors
During the last week, the Sensex has slipped by 432 points from 14,496 points as June 4 to 14,064 points when the market closed on Friday. There has been a very high degree of Fluidity. It is not possible to predict the market behaviour for it is determined by many divergent factors. One can, however, make a guess. This week the market is likely to slide down further.

Video
India tops global consumer index.
(56k)

 

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Cut export duties, WTO tells India

New Delhi, June 10
At a time when Indian exporters are facing pressure due to rise in rupee value and lobbying with the government for a hike in drawbacks, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has asked India to re-look the duty neutralisation incentives given to the exporting community.

The WTO, while carrying out the trade policy review of India, found that the country’s export regime was highly complex and needs reforms.

India’s export regime remained highly complex, partly as a consequence of various measures to neutralise duties levied on imported inputs used in exports, export processing zones and special economic zones also offer tax holidays to investors, the WTO commented in its review.

It asked the Indian government to consider reducing duties across the board rather than refunding to exporters through complex schemes.

While the WTO chaffs at the complex system of duty neutralisation, the government is seriously considering hike in the DEPB and drawback rates to make up for revenue loss by exporters due to appreciation in the rupee.

Meanwhile, the exporters have warned the government that the much-touted export target of $160 billion for this year would not be met if immediate steps were not taken to neutralise rupee impact. — PTI

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Now, stock exchanges under RTI purview

New Delhi, June 10
In a move that could bring in greater transparency in functioning of the bourses, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has brought the country's stock exchanges under the purview of Right to Information Act.

Disposing two different applications filed against two stock exchanges, the CIC directed all bourses in the country to comply to the RTI rules within three months.

It also directed the Jaipur Stock Exchange (JSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE), against which the applications were filed, to put in place a RTI regime within one month.

"The Commission holds that a stock exchange being a quasi governmental body working under the statute and exercising statutory powers has to be held a 'public authority' within the meaning of the RTI Act," the bench said.

The Commission was hearing appeals of Raj Kumari Agrawal and K. Lall (both investors) who had moved against the JSE and the NSE for turning down their information request on grounds that the bourses were beyond the purview of the RTI Act.

The bench headed by chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah also considered the application of Yogesh Mehta (ex-member broker) who had asked the applicability of the RTI Act on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Terming the government's control over the functioning of the stock exchanges as "pervasive", the Commission in its 24-page order said bourses can not be exempted from sharing information under the provisions of the Act.

The Commission in its decision referred to the contentions of SEBI which had submitted that the government and SEBI had concurrent control over functioning of the stock exchanges.

The CIC had earlier sought the comments of the market regulator and the ministry of finance on the subject. — PTI

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DLF to build nation’s largest mall

Mumbai, June 10
DLF has drawn up plans to set up country's largest mall with nearly 40 lakh sq ft lettable area and a chain of multiplexes in major cities. It plans multiplexes at Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

DLF, which is hitting the capital markets tomorrow, has worked out an ambitious strategy to expand its retail business covering the entire spectrum of the sector.

It has already tied up with Trent, the retail business of the Tata Group, to partner across their intended retail formats, occupying a minimum of 150,000 sq ft feet in each mall. DLF also has an MoU with Metro Cash and Carry to identify suitable retail spaces in various locations across the country.

Slated to be India's largest mall, the Mall of India will come up at Gurgaon on a 32.87 acres. — PTI

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BSNL slashes ISD rates

New Delhi, June 10
Triggering another price war in the ISD segment, state-run telecom major BSNL has reduced call rates to the USA, Canada and the Gulf to Rs 1.75 per minute and Rs 6.75 per minute, respectively, slightly lower than the rates offered by private firms.

The USA, Canada and the Gulf are the busiest ISD routes from India and with the drop of rates, BSNL hopes to scale up volumes, a senior BSNL official said.

Private players offer ISD calls at the rate of Rs 1.99 per minute to the USA and Rs 6.99 a minute for the Gulf countries.

BSNL will soon introduce a new STD/ISD calling card, Call Now, that will enable a user to make a call to the USA at the rate of Rs 1.75 per minute using a card of Rs 2,000, which will have a validity of three months.

Call charges in the same card are Rs 3.25 a minute to France, Russia, the UK and south-east Asia, Rs 5.50 per minute to the rest of Europe and Sri Lanka, and Rs 8 a minute to the rest of the world.

Under this plan, local and STD charges are Re 1 per minute. — PTI

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Nokia unveils N-92

New Delhi, June 10
To cash in on the booming mobile entertainment market, which is expected to touch $10 billion by 2010, global mobile handset giant Nokia has launched a new N-series multimedia device that will support live TV on mobile.

The handset — Nokia N92 — is the world's first DVB-H enabled device that would support live broadcast mobile TV, Nokia said.

The public broadcaster Doordarshan had recently launched mobile TV services in Delhi. The service currently comprises eight free-to-air Doordarshan channels, including DD National, DD News and DD Sports supported on DVB-H compliant handsets, it said. — PTI

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Amway to boost reach in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 10
Amway India yesterday marked its entry into another city of Punjab by opening a new office here. Narjinder Singh Sekhon, Superintendent of Police (HQ), Patiala, and Srinivas Rao, vice- president of Amway, along with the Amway business owners of Patiala inaugurated the office.

The launch of new office here has come up when Amway completed nine years of operation in India and finished the year 2006 (FY Jan 06-Dec 06) with a turnover of Rs 738 crore from Rs 633 crore last year.

Addressing a press conference, Rao said Punjab was amongst the top five markets in the country, and a new office at Patiala would further consolidate our position and reach in the Punjab.

He said that in the coming months, Amway planned to open more offices across the country.

The office at Patiala will service the adjoining areas. The decision to start this new facility was taken keeping in mind the high growth of business in Patiala over the past two years.

Besides Patiala, the company has offices in Ludhiana, Bathinda, Amritsar, Jalandhar, and Chandigarh.

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AI to start domestic budget service

Mumbai, June 10
India's national carrier Air-India plans to start its own budget service domestically, post its merger with Indian.

"We are already successfully running our budget service, Air-India Express internationally, and this Air-India Express will now run a domestic service as well after Air-India's merger with Indian," Air-India's chairman, V Thulasidas, who will now be the chairman of the merged entity, said here in an interview.

He said the national carrier may even consider operating a long-distance international budget service if found viable. — PTI

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Tax Advice
Proceeds from RBI Relief Bonds tax-free
by S.C. Vasudeva

Q. I retired from govt service in June 2002. I received my retirement benefits and invested the same in 8 per cent RBI Relief Bonds 2002, which is to mature in August 2007. Kindly advise me:

(1) How its payment would be made to me?

(2) Is there any tax liability on me on its maturity. If yes, then how much?

(3) Where should I re-invest this amount (Rs 14,80,250) with minimum tax hurdles?

(4) Can it be rounded off to Rs 15,00,000 at the time of reinvestment?

I am also getting monthly pension of Rs 8,000.

— Harish Sharma, Ludhiana

A. (1) The payment would be made to you on the basis on which you have filled the form at the time of making the deposit. It could be either direct deposit to your bank account, the particulars of which you must have given at the time of buying the bonds or in case you have asked for the cheque or draft to be sent to you, the same would be sent by the RBI at the address notified by you.

(2) The amount received on maturity is not taxable. It will be advisable to invest the proceeds in selected mutual funds as the income from mutual funds is exempt from tax.

(3) There would be no difficulty in rounding off the amount to Rs15 lakh provided the balance amount is paid from your bank account.

Past IT returns

Q. If a man had not been filing his returns since 2001 as he had less than taxable income, but it was brought to his notice on December 11, 2006, that the income, which he believed was not taxable, is taxable. Thus, by adding this his income turned taxable. Now he wants to file his past returns together.

(1) Can he file his past returns this year?

(2) If yes, then what is the procedure to file past returns?

(3) What penalty will he have to pay?

— Ram Dulary, Malerkotla

A. In accordance with the provisions of Section 139(4) of the IT Act, any person who has not furnished the return within the time allowed to him under sub section (1) of the said section, may furnish the return for any previous year at any time before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year. Accordingly, if a person has not filed return for 2006-07 up to July 31 / October 31, 2006, as the case may be, he can file the return for the said assessment year up to March 31, 2008.

(1) As on today, the return can be filed for the assessment year 2006-07 by March 31, 2008.

(2) The returns for the earlier assessment year cannot be filed as such returns are time barred. However, you can approach the chief commissioner under Section 273A of the IT Act for reducing or waiving the penalty for concealment of income for assessment years prior to 2006-2007 and enclose past returns, which may lead to the reopening of assessments for such years by the department. A notice for reopening can be issued for the relevant assessment year if four years have elapsed from the end of the assessment year in case the escaped income is less than Rs1 lakh. If the escaped income exceeds Rs1 lakh, the period for reopening is six years. Accordingly, the assessment for the assessment year 2001-02 can be reopened before March 31, 2008 in case the escaped income exceeds Rs1 lakh.

(3) The penalty would be in regard to the concealment of income, if any, and for delay in filing the returns together with interest payable for delay in filing returns and non-payment of advance tax.

Senior citizens saving scheme

Q. I am a senior citizen aged 71 years. My yearly income for the assessment year 2007-08 will exceed Rs 1,85,000 after including bank interest, MIS interest and senior citizens saving schemes interest. I am a handicapped person. I am allowed a rebate of Rs 50,000 under Section 80U and my taxable income comes to nil.

Since for senior citizens saving scheme interest is deducted at source, can I submit Form 15H so that tax is not deducted at source, as my taxable income comes to nil after getting rebate of Rs 50,000.

— Kewal Krishan Sanon, Patiala

A. A plan reading of Section 197A(IC) of the Act gives an indication that you should be able to file Form 15H for the purposes of non-deduction of tax at source from interest earned on senior citizen saving scheme. However, the issue has become debatable in view of the amended provisions of Section 139 of the Act, which requires every person to file the return if his total income, without giving effect to the provisions of Chapter VI-A, exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to income tax. Section 80U is part of Chapter VI-A of the Act. There is an ambiguity on account of this new introduced provision. You may file Form 15H with the concerned authority and if no objection is raised by the department with regard to such filing, you may continue to do so till any clarification is issued by the government. I may add that w.e.f. June1, 2007, the limit of the amount, on which tax is to be deducted in case of interest on senior citizen saving scheme, has been raised to Rs10,000.

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Market Scan
Tata Investment Corp good for long-term investors
by J.C. Anand

During the last week, the Sensex has slipped by 432 points from 14,496 points as June 4 to 14,064 points when the market closed on Friday. There has been a very high degree of Fluidity. It is not possible to predict the market behaviour for it is determined by many divergent factors. One can, however, make a guess. This week the market is likely to slide down further.

There have been, however, some high flyers even in this declining market. One such company is Tata Investment Corporation (known some years back as Investment Corporation of India). A front page news in a leading financial paper has stated that the Tatas are working on a proposal to consolidate their financial service businesses under one company. It would, as news stated, make Tata Investment Corporation as an umbrella and a broad group-holding company in which different businesses will be organised as divisions. This news has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Tatas. But, it appears to have some solid basis. The Tata Investment scrip has moved up from Rs 380 to close at Rs 480 last week after touching Rs 495 during the past three weeks.

Besides this news, Tata Investment is a good long-term investment. According to its annual results for the financial year ended March 31, 2007, the company has made a net profit of Rs 184 crore (as against Rs 163.94 crore for the corresponding period last year) on an equity capital of Rs 36.46 crore. During the year 2004-05, the company had declared a bonus issue in the ratio of 1 for 2 shares held. It has already announced an equity dividend of Rs 15/- per share (Rs 13/- as equity capital plus Rs 2/- as special dividend for the company completing its 70th year. Interestingly, 29.5 per cent of its subscribed equity capital is made by bonus shares.

The company’s detailed results are not yet available but it is possible to calculate that outgo as dividend will not be more than Rs 52 crore. The total book value of long-term investment is Rs 604.76 crore, of which quoted investments are of the value of Rs 296.37 crore and the unquoted investments are of the value of Rs 308.39 crore. This data relate to the company’s accounts as on 31.3.2006. The market value of quoted long-term and current investment was Rs 2133.08 crore. This does not include the market value of unquoted investments which included investments in Tata Industries, Tata Sons, Tata Asset Corporation P. Ltd. etc. During the last year, the EPS was Rs 47.34. For the year ended 31.3.2007, it is likely to be higher.

On April 1, 2006, the Sensex was around 11,280. Though there was some midair correction, but the Sensex ended at around 14,000 points on March 31, 2007. This implies that the market value of Tata Investment's long-term quoted investments would be much higher than it was during the previous year. The company has a highly diversified investment portfolio and is a gold mine for long-term investors. In case the newspaper report that the Tatas are converting this company into an umbrella and holding company for its financial service businesses is correct and materialises, the market value of Tata Investment script would move up spectacularly as has happened in the case of Reliance Capital scrip of Anil Ambani group. It appears that Tata Investment Corporation is being modelled on the Reliance Capital of Anil Ambani group in organising their investments and financial business services. It is a safe, sound and highly promising long-term investment.

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