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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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B U S I N E S S

Relief to exporters
Excise duty arrears, CST backlog to be cleared soon
New Delhi, June 13
Commerce minister Kamal Nath today gave wide-ranging assurances, including enhancement of Duty Entitlement Pass Book Scheme (DEPB) and Duty Drawback Rates (DDR) by 5 per cent, to counter the negative impact of rupee appreciation on the country’s exports.
Minister for commerce and industry Kamal Nath (right) is greeted by president of the FIEO S.K.Gupta in New Delhi on Wednesday. Minister for commerce and industry Kamal Nath (right) is greeted by president of the FIEO S.K.Gupta in New Delhi on Wednesday. — AFP

Cabinet to take up new aviation policy today
New Delhi, June 13
The new “Aviation Policy” for the country is expected to get the nod of the union cabinet tomorrow.

Bourses attract fancy of housewives, students
New Delhi, June 13
After the usual gossip and discussions on jewellery and designer clothes, the talks veer around the hitherto uncharted territory of IPOs, demat accounts, BSE and NSE indices and what shares to buy.

Rupee sheds 23 paise
Mumbai, June 13
The rupee turned weak after a sharp appreciation of 38 paise in the past two days and ended at 40.9750/9850 against the US currency on good import coverings amid sustained capital inflows into Indian equity markets.

Gold loses shine
New Delhi, June 13
Gold prices continued to roll down to touch a nine-month low on the bullion market today on sustained selling by stockists, triggered by weak overseas trend and low demand.


Actress Shilpa Shetty launches her perfume, S2, in London, late on Tuesday.
Actress Shilpa Shetty launches her perfume, S2, in London, late on Tuesday. — AP/PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
The new 'Peugeot 207 SW Outdoor' is displayed at the Barcelona's International motor show on Tuesday.
The new 'Peugeot 207 SW Outdoor' is displayed at the Barcelona's International motor show on Tuesday. — Reuters

Anti-dumping duty sought on Chinese products
New Delhi, June 13
In the backdrop of rising rupee, engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has demanded 20 per cent anti-dumping duty on Chinese products imported into the country saying the communist nation is taking advantage by artificially pegging its currency low.

Danone to set up plant in Haryana
New Delhi June 13

Unruffled by its legal battle with the Wadias, French food major Groupe Danone will set up a dairy plant in Haryana through a joint venture with Yakult Honsha of Japan as a part of its Rs 136 crore investment plan in the country.

The new air traffic control tower at London's Heathrow airport is pictured shortly after its launch in west London on Wednesday. The tower took more than two years to develop and will oversee up to 90 arrivals and departures per hour at the world's most intensively-used airport.
The new air traffic control tower at London's Heathrow airport is pictured shortly after its launch in west London on Wednesday. The tower took more than two years to develop and will oversee up to 90 arrivals and departures per hour at the world's most intensively-used airport. — AFP

Simplex Infrastructures bags Rs 1,006-cr orders
Bangalore, June 13
Simplex Infrastructures Ltd today announced bagging of two overseas orders aggregating to Rs 1,006.7 crore. It bagged the first order from Qatar-based Gulf Cement Company amounting to Rs 654.6 crore, while the second one is worth Rs 352.01 crore from Al Mazaya Real Estate, Dubai.

Kent RO Systems awarded
New Delhi, June 13
Kent RO Systems has bagged the Golden Peacock Eco Innovation Award 2007.

J&K exports may touch Rs 1,500 cr
New Delhi, June 13
The annual export turnover of exports from J&K is likely to go up by about 30 per cent this fiscal, thanks to improvement in the overall law and order situation and normalcy limping back in the valley, according to Assocham.

Ludhiana region nets Rs 1,244-cr tax
Hoshiarpur, June 13
The income tax collection from the Ludhiana region, comprising Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahar, Ludhiana, Moga and Malerkotla, has registered a 31.66 per cent growth during the last financial year. The department’s gross collections have reached Rs 1,244 crore, surpassing their target by more than 3 per cent.

 

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Relief to exporters
Excise duty arrears, CST backlog to be cleared soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13
Commerce minister Kamal Nath today gave wide-ranging assurances, including enhancement of Duty Entitlement Pass Book Scheme (DEPB) and Duty Drawback Rates (DDR) by 5 per cent, to counter the negative impact of rupee appreciation on the country’s exports.

The minister gave this assurance following interaction with a high-level delegation of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) and all Export Promotion Councils (EPCs), led by FIEO president G.K. Gupta here.

Besides enhancement of DEPB and DDRs, Nath assured the exporters that his ministry would recommend to the finance ministry to reduce rate of interest on pre-shipment and post-shipment credit for exporters to 6 per cent as against the present interest rate, which ranges between 9 to 11 per cent and to make it mandatory for scheduled commercial banks to meet 15 per cent export credit disbursement target.

Besides, Exchange Earners’ Foreign Currency (EEFC) Accounts may be made interest bearing (as on date, EEFC account is stated as current account and interest on it is discontinued since 2000) and the service tax exemption/refunds for exports announced in the Foreign Trade Policy 2007 might be notified without further delay, Nath said.

The minister also said all arrears of TED (Terminal Excise Duty) and CST (Central Sales Tax) reimbursement would be cleared by June 30 and the ministry of finance will be requested to provide additional funds, if necessary, and Export Credit and Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) will reduce its premia rates by 10 per cent to make exports more competitive.

Nath informed that a committee was also being set up to assess job losses due to rupee appreciation and loss of export orders.

While agreeing with exporters that rupee appreciation was currently a major problem, the minister exhorted the exporting community to look at it also as an opportunity to enhance their competitiveness and to look at new markets.

In his presentation to the minister, FIEO president said the exporting community had been badly hit due to the sharp appreciation of the rupee over a short period of time.

“We have reached a stage where we have stopped entering into new contracts. This will be reflected in sharp dip in exports from July onwards. Many of small exporters of traditional items in price sensitive segments have already closed their factories,” Gupta said.

“The loss of exports will have serious implications for employment opportunities and we are likely to lose 40 lakh jobs this year. The wages will also be squeezed with drop in export value on account of rupee appreciation and increase in input cost due to inflation and firming up of international metal prices,” he added.

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Cabinet to take up new aviation policy today
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13
The new “Aviation Policy” for the country is expected to get the nod of the union cabinet tomorrow.

Official sources said the civil aviation ministry had prepared a detailed note on the new aviation policy and forwarded it to the cabinet secretariat for the final clearance from the union cabinet.

The policy is expected to suggest relaxation of norms to allow domestic carriers fly abroad, among other issues. However, such relaxation proposed in the policy would be done on a "need-based" manner.

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel had recently said the “Vision 2020” statement had been sent to senior government ministers and would be ready in a couple of months.

He said the Vision 2020 statement for aviation would help resolve a lot of issues. There are a number of issues in the aviation industry, which remain unresolved.

If the new guidelines are approved by the cabinet, the civil aviation ministry would be able to take decisions on allowing private domestic carriers to operate on international routes as and when required and on whichever route the demand exists.

Sources said the policy was, however, not likely to recommend any change in the norms to allow foreign direct investment in the sector, which stands capped at 49 per cent.

The union cabinet has already approved 100 per cent FDI in the operation of sea-planes and helicopters as well as greenfield airports.

Existing norms mandate airlines to complete five years of operations on domestic routes and have a fleet of 20 aircraft to be eligible for launching international flights.

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Bourses attract fancy of housewives, students

New Delhi, June 13
After the usual gossip and discussions on jewellery and designer clothes, the talks veer around the hitherto uncharted territory of IPOs, demat accounts, BSE and NSE indices and what shares to buy.

As the stock markets boom, housewives and even some college students are taking interest in the markets and some of them are managing their portfolios well too.

"There is a feeling among youth and housewives that they too should invest. Call centre employees, who earn a good salary, easily invest up to Rs 5,000 per month in mutual funds (MFs). Housewives, too, invest in small if not big amounts," says Dwij Seth, assistant vice-president online, India Bulls.

"You can attribute the awareness among the housewives to channels like NDTV Profit or 'Awaz' or CNBC," says Ravinder Seth, managing director, Elite Stock Exchange Ltd.

"If 50 per cent of the housewives watch the saas-bahu soaps on the television, there are 50 per cent watching the programme on the economy," he adds. Agreeing that there is increased interest among women in investments, he says that if three years ago, 10 out of 100 queries his company was receiving on investment were from women, the number has gone up to 30 out of 100.

"Housewives have come out of kitchens and engaging themselves in various vacations like direct sales, event management. They are earning money and contributing to the household income," says Raju Vyas, Chartered Accountant. And as they start earning money, they want it to be managed in intelligent way, he says.

The formula is simple in such families, says Seth. The husband's income goes in to day-to-day expenses. What the wife earns goes into investment, he says. In years to come, every family would require a family financial consultant as there used to a family doctor, Seth says.

Pratibha Rai, a professor in business management says women indeed are coming out of their kitchens. Not many, however, are dealing directly in investments, but are using advice given by experts, she says.

"I was getting almost nothing from my bank savings. But then a suggestion from a friend I met at a kitty party made me invest in the market. I have now invested in three mutual funds and also have taken IPOs of some companies," says Geeta Sujeet, a housewife in the capital's Sarojini Nagar locality.

Industry experts point out that there is a growing trend among youngsters and housewives who till very recently busied themselves with sundry chores around their homes to invest in the markets.

Gauri Kapoor, another housewife, used to invest in banks and fixed bonds. But when she came to know about faster returns in stock market through her 'kittie party friends', she took a piece from her savings and invested in the market.

Faced with the knowledge about volatility of the market, small investors are putting their money in equities, mutual funds, Kisan Vikas Patriks, Post Office Savings and many more such schemes.

"Small investors are now playing a greater role because of the booming economy, sustained bull-run at stock exchange and the healthy increase in trading volumes at the national exchanges, says Sunil Thakkar, relationship manager, Kotak Securities. — PTI

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Rupee sheds 23 paise

Mumbai, June 13
The rupee turned weak after a sharp appreciation of 38 paise in the past two days and ended at 40.9750/9850 against the US currency on good import coverings amid sustained capital inflows into Indian equity markets.

The local currency touched a low of 41.08 a dollar but inflows from FIIs for DLF's public issue trimmed the losses.

In fairly active trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the Indian unit moved in a wide range of 40.83 and 41.08 after resuming firm at 40.85/87 a dollar against yesterday's close of 40.7450/7550 per dollar.

The rupee came under pressure despite comfortable supply position after importers resorted to dollar buying, forex dealers said.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) bought over $2 billion during April 2007 through intervention in the forex market as per the data. — PTI

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Gold loses shine

New Delhi, June 13
Gold prices continued to roll down to touch a nine-month low on the bullion market today on sustained selling by stockists, triggered by weak overseas trend and low demand.

The metal, which had lost Rs 275 in last five sessions, today recorded a fall of Rs 75 at Rs 8,725 per 10 gm, a level seen on October 24 last year.

According to marketmen, poor demand from local parties and jewellery fabricators due to off-marriage and festival season against weakening trend on the overseas front mainly pulled down both gold and silver prices.

Standard gold and ornaments plunged by Rs 75 each at Rs 8,725 and Rs 8,575 per 10 gm respectively. — PTI

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Anti-dumping duty sought on Chinese products

New Delhi, June 13
In the backdrop of rising rupee, engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has demanded 20 per cent anti-dumping duty on Chinese products imported into the country saying the communist nation is taking advantage by artificially pegging its currency low.

The rupee appreciation has given further advantage to the Chinese industry and the government should put anti-dumping duty of 20 per cent on Chinese products until that country free floats its currency, L&T CMD A.M. Naik said.

"Chinese yuan is artificially pegged low, India's capital goods industry is suffering because of that," Naik, who met finance minister P Chidambaram yesterday, said.

The rupee has risen more than 12 per cent against the currency of the US, one of the country's main trading partner, so far this year making exports expensive and imports cheaper. The RBI has so far not intervened aggressively to check the rapid rise in rupee value against the greenback. — PTI

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Danone to set up plant in Haryana

New Delhi June 13
Unruffled by its legal battle with the Wadias, French food major Groupe Danone will set up a dairy plant in Haryana through a joint venture with Yakult Honsha of Japan as a part of its Rs 136 crore investment plan in the country.

“The company has acquired eight acres of land in Rai Food Park, Sonepat in Haryana to set up a facility to manufacture ‘Yakult’ (a fermented sweetened milk) in India,” Yakult-Danone (India) managing director Kiyoshi Oike said.

He stated that the pro-biotic plant will have a production capacity of one million bottles a day, which will be achieved in a phased manner. The plant will be operational by the end of this year.

Groupe Danone and Yakult Honsha had entered into a 50:50 joint venture agreement in 2005 to make pro-biotic dairy products using live bacteria in India.

Commenting on its India plans, Okie said currently there is no market for pro-biotic food in India. However, research has indicated a healthy growth for yogurt and sour milk in the country.

“Sour milk (or fermented milk) is growing at 33 per cent while the yogurt market is growing at 14 per cent,” he said, adding, the JV would first launch ‘Yakult’.

“We will be launching ‘Yakult’ in Delhi and NCR first followed by other cities,” he said. Yakult is available in over 24 countries worldwide. — PTI

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Simplex Infrastructures bags Rs 1,006-cr orders

Bangalore, June 13
Simplex Infrastructures Ltd today announced bagging of two overseas orders aggregating to Rs 1,006.7 crore. It bagged the first order from Qatar-based Gulf Cement Company amounting to Rs 654.6 crore, while the second one is worth Rs 352.01 crore from Al Mazaya Real Estate, Dubai.

Both the projects are scheduled to be completed within a period of two years, the company said. — PTI

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Kent RO Systems awarded

New Delhi, June 13
Kent RO Systems has bagged the Golden Peacock Eco Innovation Award 2007.

The company was selected for the award by the World Environment Foundation jury headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice P N Bhagwati. The award was presented by Ola Ullsten, former Prime Minister of Sweden, at the 3-day international convention on ‘Climate change’ at Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. — TNS

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J&K exports may touch Rs 1,500 cr
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13
The annual export turnover of exports from J&K is likely to go up by about 30 per cent this fiscal, thanks to improvement in the overall law and order situation and normalcy limping back in the valley, according to Assocham.

The industry body has estimated that the annual export turnover of handicrafts, sports and leather goods etc is likely to exceed over Rs 1500 crore in 2007-08.

In a vision paper being prepared by the Assocham on J&K, preliminary findings have indicated that tourists arrival in the state could also see a phenomenal jump and the number could cross over 10 lakh.

As per information available, the state in the last few months received about 2 lakh tourist because of restoration of normalcy.

With better law and order situation, industrial activities have started commencing and its reflection has been noticed particularly in exports of various Kashmiri goods like sports goods, handicrafts, walnuts, wooden furnitures, leather goods, software, silk & silk products. Their annual turnover in 2005 was estimated at Rs 900 crore, which shot up by Rs 250 crore following year, and is expected to go over Rs 1500 crore by end of current fiscal, Assocham president Venugopal Dhoot said.

The other areas, in which the usual industrial activities will resume in J&K at a large scale, include exports of fresh and dry fruits like apples, almonds and walnuts. They have already brought in a revenue of Rs 21 billion in 2007. The export potential in these items are likely to be over Rs 28 billion in next three years, as per projections of the Assocham vision paper.

Dhoot said pharmaceutical companies would be setting up chains of their small and medium-size manufacturing units in J&K because of incentives provided by the state.

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Ludhiana region nets Rs 1,244-cr tax
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 13
The income tax collection from the Ludhiana region, comprising Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahar, Ludhiana, Moga and Malerkotla, has registered a 31.66 per cent growth during the last financial year. The department’s gross collections have reached Rs 1,244 crore, surpassing their target by more than 3 per cent.

Talking to the media persons here today, chief commissioner, Income-Tax, Ludhiana, M.S. Rai, said about 266 partial survey operations have been conducted in the Ludhiana region through which income of Rs 120 crore had been disclosed.

He advised that for clubbing the loopholes of tax evasion, computerisation of income tax accounts in all the offices was being done.

With the addition of 1,16,771 new assesses during last financial year, the number had increased to 7.07 lakh in Ludhiana region. Target of 1.4 lakh had been fixed to add new IT assesses in the current financial for which door to door survey was being conducted.

He advised all those persons who had not filed their IT returns for the last six years, should submit the same without any delay. No penalty or interest would be imposed on these delayed returns.

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BRIEFLY

ICICI Bank
Mumbai, June 13
ICICI Bank today said it would raise up to Rs 8,750 crore through a Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) in domestic markets. The bank would issue equity shares of Rs 10 each amounting to Rs 8,750 crore for cash at a price to be determined by book building process, ICICI Bank said. It added that five per cent of the FPO would be reserved for existing shareholders holding shares worth Rs 1 lakh as on today, which is the record date for the issue. — PTI

Emami plan
New Delhi, June 13
Emami Group today said it will invest about Rs 220 crore for expansion in the FMCG segment, which includes acquisitions in personal care and healthcare space and product portfolio enhancement through forays into new categories. The company is eyeing over Rs 500 crore of revenue in the next 3-4 years by foraying into new segments. — PTI

IOC contract
Tiruchirappalli, June 13
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) today said it has bagged orders worth Rs 430 crore from Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) to supply steam generators from IOC’s Vadodara project. BHEL will supply two heat recovery steam generators and design, engineering, manufacture, commissioning of six gas turbines for IOC’s oil residue upgradation and quality improvement projects at the Gujarat refinery, a release said. — PTI

Wipro-EMC pact
Bangalore, June 13
Wipro Limited and EMC Corporation today announced a global strategic alliance to address customers’ information infrastructure requirements, while expanding both the company’s reach in the $60 billion worldwide information infrastructure market. They intend to explore collaboration of industry and application specific solutions in key business areas that solve customer needs related to storage management, information management, content management, and information security. — PTI

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