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$384 b needed for infrastructure: FM
London, June 28
India has revised investment needs to upgrade its crumbling infrastructure to $384 billion over the next five years from $320 billion previously estimated.

Govt to get RBI’s stake in SBI today

New Delhi, June 28
The government will tomorrow buy the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) entire 59.7 per cent stake in the country’s largest lender the State Bank of India (SBI) for more than Rs 35,000 crore in cash. The centre will pick up 31.43 crore equity shares of the RBI with a face value of Rs 10 each on June 29 for a cash payment of Rs 35,351.33 crore, official sources said.

SBI's chairman O. P. Bhatt listens to a question at a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday. SBI announced it would consider a share sale by December-end this year, which may reduce the government's stake in the state-run bank to 51 per cent.
SBI's chairman O. P. Bhatt listens to a question at a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday. SBI announced it would consider a share sale by December-end this year, which may reduce the government's stake in the state-run bank to 51 per cent. — AFP photo


EARLIER STORIES

 
Country manager of Nokia Enterprises G.K. Chakrapani, along with models display the E-90 communicator at its launch in New Delhi on Thursday. The phone, featuring a GPS, two cameras, video conference and active notes is priced at Rs 40,499.
Country manager of Nokia Enterprises G.K. Chakrapani, along with models display the E-90 communicator at its launch in New Delhi on Thursday. The phone, featuring a GPS, two cameras, video conference and active notes is priced at Rs 40,499. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan
General manager, sales and marketing, Acer India, S. Rajendran (left) and director, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business, Intel India, Prakash Bagri, pose with Acer notebooks at their launch in New Delhi on Thursday. Acer introduced two notebook designs priced between Rs 59,999 and Rs 69,999.
General manager, sales and marketing, Acer India, S. Rajendran (left) and director, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business, Intel India, Prakash Bagri, pose with Acer notebooks at their launch in New Delhi on Thursday. Acer introduced two notebook designs priced between Rs 59,999 and Rs 69,999. — AFP 

Chinese Co leaves many Indians in Oman without work
Kathmandu, June 28
A Chinese construction company working in the irrigation sector has landed hundreds of Indian and Nepali workers in trouble in Muscat after its work in the oil-rich country stopped abruptly, a report said.

Iran seeks changes in IPI pact
New Delhi, June 28
Iran today sought last-minute changes in the agreement on pricing of natural gas that it is to supply India and Pakistan through a $7.4 billion pipeline even as New Delhi and Islamabad reached an agreement on transportation charges.

Aviation policy may be delayed
New Delhi, June 28
The ambitious plan of the civil aviation ministry to bring in a new aviation policy, Vision 2020, could face a major hurdle at the hands of the ministry of defence (MoD) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) with serious objections being raised over the release of defence airspace.

CEOs of CPSEs under revival to get more time
New Delhi, June 28
The Union Cabinet today approved proposal for relaxation up to 65 years in the retirement age of incumbent chief executive or functional director who contributed exceedingly well in the turnaround of a sick or loss-making Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE).

Nath woos US firms
Washington, June 28
Marketing India as a lucrative investment destination, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath has invited investments from US firms in sectors like agriculture, energy and civil aviation.

Asia’s first catheter-making unit in Hyderabad
Hyderabad, June 28
Signalling a major milestone towards indigenisation of medical equipment, Asia's first catheter manufacturing facility is coming up near Hyderabad.

Plan to generate power through renewable sources
New Delhi, June 28
Energy starved India has drawn up an ambitious plan to generate 80,000 MW of power from renewable sources by 2032 and provide electricity to 75 million rural households in the next five years.

Boeing to spread wings in India
New Delhi, June 28
Global aviation leader Boeing said it is strengthening its presence in India through new product offerings in both defence and commercial aircraft.

Microsoft education PC for Rs 21,000
New Delhi, June 28
Global leader in software for personal and business computing Microsoft yesterday announced the launch of IQ PC at an entery-level cost of Rs 21,000 targeting students and parents.

Corporate News
Tata Steel to invest Rs 2,500 cr in TN
Mumbai, June 28
Tata Steel today signed a memorandum with the Tamil Nadu government for setting up of a titanium di-oxide project involving an investment of Rs 2,500 crore in Tirunelveli district.

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$384 b needed for infrastructure: FM

London, June 28
India has revised investment needs to upgrade its crumbling infrastructure to $384 billion over the next five years from $320 billion previously estimated.

“We have revised investment requirement in infrastructure sector in the 11th Plan to $384 billion from $320 billion earlier,” finance minister P Chidambaram said at the London Business School here today.

Chidambaram said a few years ago the infrastructure was “creaking but not cracking”. However, rapid economic expansion at a rate of 8.5 per cent to 9.4 per cent in the last three years has put additional strain on the infrastructure, he said, adding but for this India’s GDP would have grown by another 1 to 2 percentage points.

“No other country in the world requires such huge investment nor can any other absorb it,” he said, inviting foreign investors to grab the opportunity.

“India is the fastest growing free market economy in the world... the challenge is how to sustain it,” he said.

On the rise in rupee value against dollar, the finance minister said the government does not interfere in such matters and the currency rates were market-determined.

The Indian currency has appreciated nearly 14 per cent against the US greenback since August last year, hurting exporters on one hand but making imports cheaper.

Chidambaram added that India must learn to manage the huge capital flows coming into the country.

India was also in discussions with Mauritius to make changes in the bilateral Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, which many foreign institutional investors use to pump in money in the country.

Chidambaram informed that the government intended to increase the limit of foreign direct investment in insurance sector to 49 per cent. Besides, it was also trying to build a consensus on liberalising the retail sector, he added. — PTI

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Govt to get RBI’s stake in SBI today

New Delhi, June 28
The government will tomorrow buy the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) entire 59.7 per cent stake in the country’s largest lender the State Bank of India (SBI) for more than Rs 35,000 crore in cash.

The centre will pick up 31.43 crore equity shares of the RBI with a face value of Rs 10 each on June 29 for a cash payment of Rs 35,351.33 crore, official sources said.

In Mumbai, SBI chairman O P Bhatt said the government equity would be brought down to 51 per cent once necessary transfers of the RBI share in the SBI to the government are completed.

The government had promulgated SBI Amendment Ordinance, 2007 on June 21 to amend the State Bank of India Act, 1955 for buying RBI’s entire shareholding. The move is aimed at enabling the central bank to concentrate on its core function of banking regulator.

The deal will not have revenue implications for the government since the RBI is expected to transfer the surplus to the centre during the first half of August. — PTI

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Chinese Co leaves many Indians in Oman without work

Kathmandu, June 28
A Chinese construction company working in the irrigation sector has landed hundreds of Indian and Nepali workers in trouble in Muscat after its work in the oil-rich country stopped abruptly, a report said.

Over 1,000 Indians and nearly 400 Nepalis were working on an irrigation project being executed by Chinese Sino Hydro Corporation in Oman, Nepal’s leading daily Kantipur said today.

A storm, about a month ago, disrupted the work of the project commissioned by the Muscat municipal authorities, the report said.

The underwater pipes were filled with mud due to the storm and the Chinese company asked the Muscat authorities for more time as well as money, it said.

However, the authorities refused and the project was stopped after only 20 per cent of the work had been completed.

While the officials of the Chinese company left Muscat nearly a month ago, the unskilled labourers found themselves left high and dry, without money or work. — IANS

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Iran seeks changes in IPI pact

New Delhi, June 28
Iran today sought last-minute changes in the agreement on pricing of natural gas that it is to supply India and Pakistan through a $7.4 billion pipeline even as New Delhi and Islamabad reached an agreement on transportation charges.

At the tripartite official level talks here, Tehran sought insertion of a clause for revision in pricing formula every three years based on international fuel prices and energy mix, a stipulation that was opposed by India and Pakistan, a source said.

India and Pakistan had agreed on the price formula proposed by Iran, according to which gas would be priced at $4.93 per mBtu, and wanted it to remain the basis of pricing of natural gas for the entire 25 year duration of the supply contract.

The source also said India and Pakistan reached an agreement on the principle of computing the transportation charges payable to Islamabad for wheeling the gas through the 1,050-km section of the pipeline in that country.

But the issue of transit fee, payable to Islamabad for allowing passage of the pipeline to India, was not resolved as the officials decided the issue may be best left for the political leadership to discuss.

While the transportation tariff was purely an economic issue related to the cost involved in transmission of gas, transit fee was more of a political goodwill issue and the charges, many times waived, depend on agreement between the nations.

The source also said the transit fee issue would be decided when oil ministers of India and Pakistan meet just before the tri-nation ministerial conference in the second half of July. — PTI

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Aviation policy may be delayed
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 28
The ambitious plan of the civil aviation ministry to bring in a new aviation policy, Vision 2020, could face a major hurdle at the hands of the ministry of defence (MoD) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) with serious objections being raised over the release of defence airspace.

The indications for the possible delay in bringing in the new policy, which envisages to not only make air travel more affordable but also relax the norms for the private airlines to fly abroad besides bringing in new norms for the sharing of the airspace, were available in the statement of defence minister A.K. Antony who on Tuesday night said his ministry would voice its concerns over the new civil aviation policy to the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up to have wider consultations on the policy.

Sources in the official circles also said it was due to the objections raised by the MoD during the Cabinet Meeting on June 15 last that the policy had to be referred to the GoM. The civil aviation ministry was hopeful that the new aviation policy would be cleared during that Cabinet Meeting paving the way for new norms, but had not accounted for the objections from the MoD and the IAF.

Releasing of the airspace under the IAF's control for the movement of civilian aircraft is a major issue with the MoD as it has serious implications for the security of the country.

Incidentally, it was after prolonged negotiations that the MoD had recently allowed the civilian aircraft to use the airspace over its Hindon airbase near here in order to help out in the decreasing the air traffic and delays over its Palam airbase. Now the civilian aircraft are allowed to fly at a height of over 3,600 feet above the Hindon airbase during congestion in the air corridor over the IGI Airport and the neighbouring Palam airbase.

The MoD has in its reservations stressed that the policy needs to be re-framed and formulated as a national aviation policy by incorporating its views as well as those of the IAF, the sources said.

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CEOs of CPSEs under revival to get more time
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 28
The Union Cabinet today approved proposal for relaxation up to 65 years in the retirement age of incumbent chief executive or functional director who contributed exceedingly well in the turnaround of a sick or loss-making Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE).

The relaxation will be subject to annual review of their performance by the secretary of the administrative ministry concerned, parliamentary affairs minister P R Dasmunsi told newspersons after the Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.

Where fresh appointment of the chief executive or functional director is proposed, if a suitable candidate does not apply, age relaxation up to 62 years as the cut-off age for applying, with minimum tenure of 3 years could be considered.

In this case, serving/retired CPSE executives, government servants and private sector executives could also be considered, the minister said.

“Relaxation in the process for selection, appointment and grant of extension would provide continuity at the level of chief executives/functional directors, which is essential for the implementation of revival plan in respect of sick CPSEs,” Dasmunsi said.

Besides pay, allowances and perks attached to the post, a lump sum incentive up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh out of the profits of the CPSE may also be considered, provided the CPSE has achieved or executed all projected targets of the revival plan in a timely manner, he said.

The administrative ministry concerned will take a decision in this matter on the basis of broad guidelines to be formulated by the DPE in consultation with the Department of Expenditure and Department of Personnel and Training, he said.

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Nath woos US firms

Washington, June 28
Marketing India as a lucrative investment destination, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath has invited investments from US firms in sectors like agriculture, energy and civil aviation.

“A majority of US firms in India have been reporting double-digit year-on-year growth... there is immense scope to have greater trade, investment and technology cooperation between India and the USA,” he said, adding that American investors need to avail the growing opportunities in India’s agriculture, energy, tourism and civil aviation sectors.

Speaking at the plenary session on ‘Listening to one another-The importance of a deeper trade relationship’ of the Indo-US business council here, Nath said the USA is India’s largest trading partner and foremost export destination accounting for 16.83 per cent of India’s export and around 6.34 per cent of its imports in 2005-06.

An official statement quoted Nath as saying that companies like Coke, Bank of America, Citibank and GE have been operating successfully in the country.

He also quoted a Goldman Sachs report predicting that productivity growth will help India sustain an over 8 per cent growth till 2020 and it would become the world’s second largest economy by 2050.

The USA is the second highest foreign direct investor (FDI) in India and since 1991 US companies have invested $5.9 billion in the country. In 2006-07, FDI proposals from the USA, amounting to $856 million, were granted approvals. — PTI

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Asia’s first catheter-making unit in Hyderabad
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, June 28
Signalling a major milestone towards indigenisation of medical equipment, Asia's first catheter manufacturing facility is coming up near Hyderabad.

Set up by the city-based Relisys Medical Devices Ltd at a cost of Rs 30 crore, the integrated centre, comprising catheter manufacturing and stent development units and R&D facility, will be inaugurated by the President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during his day-long visit to the city tomorrow.

"This will be the first facility in Asia built as per global standards and the United States' FDA norms," the company chairman Dr Krishna Reddy said.

At present, the catheters, used in various angiographic procedures in radiology and cardiology, are being imported from the United States and Europe at a high cost of Rs 4,000 each. About 6 lakh angiographic procedures are done in India every month.

The indigenous manufacturing of catheters would not only help save foreign exchange but also make them affordable. "We can even export the global quality catheters at a competitive rate," the company's managing director N.G. Badrinarayana said.

The facility will meet the needs of a growing market for medical devices which add up to as much as 30 to 50 per cent of the total cost of surgical procedures.

It will be equipped to manufacture catheters used in cardiology, nephrology, gastroenterology and other medical fields from basic raw material polymers.

Spread over seven acres at Mangalapally village on the city outskirts, the facility has 1 lakh sq ft built up area to house production, R&D, cell culture, metallurgical, analytical and design laboratories.

This is one of the dream projects of Kalam, who, in collaboration with renowned cardiologist B Soma Raju, had developed India's first indigenous coronary stent in 1998, which was christened as "Raju-Kalam stent" and marketed by Relisys. Since then, the company has come up with many advanced products focusing on cardiology disposables and catheters.

"Our goal is to acquire technological capabilities in the manufacture of various medical disposables, provide competition to the imported goods through cost-advantage and high quality, compete in the international market and finally perform cutting-edge research to offer new generation technologies," Reddy said.

The plans were also on to develop new stent materials, which will be bioresorble and vascular- friendly. The company was also looking at tapping the US, European Union and Latin American markets.

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Plan to generate power through renewable sources
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 28
Energy starved India has drawn up an ambitious plan to generate 80,000 MW of power from renewable sources by 2032 and provide electricity to 75 million rural households in the next five years.

The ministry of renewable energy plans to achieve 80,000 MW of electricity generation through renewable sources by 2032 said Vilas Muttemwar, minister of state for new and renewable energy.

He said India has the largest government initiated programmes in renewable energy sector in the world and the government plans to provide electricity to around 75 million rural un-electrified households in the next five years.

Inaugurating ‘Green Power, 2007’, international conference-cum-exposition on renewable energy organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here today, the minister said the wind power project has been highly successful and India now currently occupies 4th position globally, with an installed capacity of 7,000 MW.

Muttemwar added that a biofuel policy is under formulation to encourage the use of biofuels mainly in the transportation sector. The government is emphasising on renewable energy education through awareness campaigns and have been trying to include renewable energy and energy conservation in the curricula in schools and technical institutions, he informed. He also mentioned that renewable energy clubs are being set up in engineering colleges apart from energy parks in different parts of the country.

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Boeing to spread wings in India

New Delhi, June 28
Global aviation leader Boeing said it is strengthening its presence in India through new product offerings in both defence and commercial aircraft.

"Boeing is actively developing important, integrated relationships with Indian industry to strengthen its presence across both defence and commercial sectors," Boeing chairman and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement here.

Boeing received the Global Vision Award from the US-India Business Council in Washington yesterday. — PTI

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Microsoft education PC for Rs 21,000

New Delhi, June 28
Global leader in software for personal and business computing Microsoft yesterday announced the launch of IQ PC at an entery-level cost of Rs 21,000 targeting students and parents.

‘’Through this offering, we want to make technology more relevant to the students at affordable price,’’ said Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan. IQ is combination of an online and offline content tied into all aspects of a students’ learning process and growth, he added.

It will include Windows, office/work, encarta, student 2007 and education solutions from partners such as Brilliant Tutorials, Junior Achievement, Pacsoft, Karadi tales , Gurujiworld, Edurite and TutorVista.

Initially, the company will launch IQ PC and educational channel in Bangalore and Pune starting July 1, and will roll out to the rest of country by November. — UNI

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Corporate News
Tata Steel to invest Rs 2,500 cr in TN

Mumbai, June 28
Tata Steel today signed a memorandum with the Tamil Nadu government for setting up of a titanium di-oxide project involving an investment of Rs 2,500 crore in Tirunelveli district. The MoU was signed by Tata Steel CMD B Muthuraman and industries secretary Shaktikanta Das in the presence of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata in Chennai.

Bharat Electronics

Bharat Electronics Ltd has announced a 23.18 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 718.16 crore for the year ended March 31and the total income increased by 3.52 per cent to Rs 4,149.05 crore, the defence products maker said in a communique to the BSE. The company has declared a final dividend of 140 per cent.

Nirma Q4 net loss

Nirma Ltd today reported a net loss of Rs 93.45 crore for the quarter ended March 31, as compared to a net loss Rs 35.62 crore for the same quarter last year. The total income of the company increased by 26.44 per cent at Rs 639.91 crore for the quarter ended March 31, from Rs 506.06 crore a year ago.

UTI opportunities fund

UTI opportunities Fund has declared a tax-free dividend of 17 per cent per unit on the face value of Rs 10. The record date for the dividend is June 29. All unit holders, registered under the dividend option of UTI opportunities Fund as on the record date, will be eligible for this dividend, a release said.

Fortis Healthcare

Fortis Healthcare Ltd has reported an over 84 per cent increase in net loss during the fiscal ended March 31 to Rs 97.39 crore from Rs 52.92 crore in the previous year. The company’s consolidated total income during the fiscal under review stood at Rs 525.4 crore as against Rs 297.08 crore during the previous year, up two-fold, Fortis said. — TNS, Agencies

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