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Inflation marginally up at 4.27 per cent
New Delhi, July 13
Soaring prices of food items, especially vegetables, pushed inflation up marginally to 4.27 per cent for the week ended June 30 as against 4.13 per cent previous week.

Dabhol gets gas, finally
New Delhi, July 13
State-run gas firm GAIL (India) has delivered the first-ever gas to the Dabhol power plant in Maharashtra, paving the way for the beleaguered unit to switch from expensive naphtha to the cheaper green fuel.

HMT to enter strategic sectors
Bangalore, July 13
HMT Ltd today said it was planning to foray into strategic sectors of railways, defence and aerospace and is negotiating with foreign firms to acquire technology for the purpose. HMT chairman and managing director A.V. Kamat said the company was in talks with Polish, German and American firms for technology acquisition in eight to 10 areas.

Stay on Pakistan State Oil sale
In an another blow to the government's privatisation
plans, the Supreme Court has stayed the sale of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and hinted at forming a larger Bench to take up the privatisation process on a challenge moved by Attock Group against its disqualification from bidding for the concern.



EARLIER STORIES

 
Actress Amrita Arora poses for photographs while inaugurating Cotton Council International's 'Cool with Cotton' carnival in Chennai on Friday.
Actress Amrita Arora poses for photographs while inaugurating Cotton Council International's 'Cool with Cotton' carnival in Chennai on Friday.—PTI photo

Central nod to crop insurance scheme in HP
Shimla, July 13
The National Agricultural Insurance Scheme will be implemented in the state for maize, potato and paddy crops during the kharif season.

PMK against corporates in retail trade
Chennai, July 13
After having asked the Tamil Nadu government to emulate Gujarat in the matter of imposing total prohibition in the state, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), an ally of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) here, wants the state to follow the policy of the ruling Marxists in neighbouring Kerala regarding entry of corporates in retail business.

IOC to issue bonds worth Rs 2,800 cr
New Delhi, July 13
The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) today said it will issue oil bonds of about Rs 2,800 crore in the market next week.

HCL to open 100 outlets by year-end
Karnal, July 13
HCL Infosystems has decided to open 100 outlets by the end of the year. Talking to The Tribune here today, country head (retail and consumer finance) of HCL, Vivek Seigell said the company has proposed to focus on class B and C towns due to the growing demand among the masses.
In this file photo, ABN Amro building is shown in central London.
In this file photo, ABN Amro building is shown in central London. The Royal Bank of Scotland led a European consortium in a titanic attack against British rival Barclays on May 29, 2007, with a record-breaking bid for Dutch target ABN Amro worth almost $100 billion. The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday lifted a major obstacle to British bank Barclays' bid to buy ABN Amro for 67 billion euros ($90.1 billion) because the deal included the sale of US arm LaSalle to Bank of America. — AFP photo

BenQ’s dual-input projectors unveiled
Chandigarh, July 13
BenQ, a leading player in digital networks and LP projectors, today unveiled its SP831\SP830 dual-input projectors in the Indian market. The state-of-the-art projectors are said to have a unique dual-input feature that allows them to take inputs from two different sources, while projecting them at the same time with the help of the split-screen.

German Co to invest Rs 650 cr
in Haryana

Chandigarh, July 13
Germany-based Metro Cash and Carry company has offered to invest Rs 650 crore in Haryana. The offer has been made by the vice-president, international affairs, Metro Group, Henry O.E. Birr, who called on Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here.


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Inflation marginally up at 4.27 per cent
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 13
Soaring prices of food items, especially vegetables, pushed inflation up marginally to 4.27 per cent for the week ended June 30 as against 4.13 per cent previous week.

The annual rate of inflation, calculated on point-to-point basis, stood at 5.21 per cent during the corresponding period last year (July 1, 2006).

Though inflation has raised for two consecutive weeks due to rain impacting supply of vegetables, analysts here feel that the RBI may not alter the present borrowing rates.

The RBI, which would announce its quarterly credit policy on July 31, would be happy to maintain the same credit rates as the inflation is well within its target rate of 4.5 per cent, they said.

During the week under review, the index for ‘food articles’ group rose by 0.7 per cent to 221.0 from 219.5 for the previous week due to higher prices of masur, fruits and vegetables and condiments and spices (2 per cent each) and jowar, fish-marine and grame (1 per cent each). However, the prices of bajra (1 per cent) declined.

The index for ‘non-food articles’ group declined by 0.2 per cent to 204.7 from 205.2 for the previous week due to lower prices of fodder (12 per cent), raw rubber (9 per cent) and raw cotton (1 per cent). However, the prices of castor seed (3 per cent), cotton seed and groundnut seed (2 per cent each) and linseed and raw jute (1 per cent each) moved up.

According to official data released here today, the final Wholesale Price Index for “all commodities” for the week ended May 5, 2007 stood at 212.0 as compared to 211.4 (provisional) and annual rate of inflation based on final index, calculated on point to point basis, stood at 5.74 per cent as compared to 5.44 per cent (provisional), respectively as announced earlier on May 18, 2007.

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Dabhol gets gas, finally

New Delhi, July 13
State-run gas firm GAIL (India) has delivered the first-ever gas to the Dabhol power plant in Maharashtra, paving the way for the beleaguered unit to switch from expensive naphtha to the cheaper green fuel.

"We delivered first gas to Dabhol plant around midnight on July 10," GAIL chairman and managing director U.D. Choubey said here.

Gas was transported through a 577-km pipeline from Dahej in Gujarat where Petronet LNG is importing 1.25 million tonnes of natural gas in liquefied form (LNG) from Qatar.

This is the first time the Dabhol plant has received gas supplies since beginning operations in May 1999. But it will not be before next weekend that the plant starts generating electricity from gas as the system gradually shifts from liquid fuel to gas.

Choubey said GAIL's Dahej-Uran-Dabhol pipeline was a landmark as it was completed in a record eight months despite several obstacles, notably opposition from farmers in Maharashtra and Gujarat, difficult terrain and bad weather.

Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd, the new owner of the project originally promoted by bankrupt US energy major Enron, will by month-end start generating about 1,400 MW of electricity from gas. It will scale up to peak capacity of 2,184 MW by the year-end when a third unit is commissioned. — PTI

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HMT to enter strategic sectors

Bangalore, July 13
HMT Ltd today said it was planning to foray into strategic sectors of railways, defence and aerospace and is negotiating with foreign firms to acquire technology for the purpose. HMT chairman and managing director A.V. Kamat said the company was in talks with Polish, German and American firms for technology acquisition in eight to 10 areas.

"We have to bring in new technology useful for defence, railways and aerospace. We are going to bring in technology as a joint working partnership with some outside companies," he said.

HMT is trying to acquire technology, including high-speed machining centres and special machines for the three strategic sectors.

The acquisitions would be done either by way of forging joint venture or entering into technology transfer agreements by paying royalties. Kamat said two-three deals are expected to be signed by the end of the current financial year.

"This year we will be getting orders worth Rs 300 crore from new technologies and partnerships," Kamat said.

HMT, which has six subsidiaries including for machine tools, tractors and watches businesses, clocked Rs 611 crore turnover in 2006-07. The company targets to achieve Rs 900 crore turnover in the current fiscal, he said.

It plans to launch at least two tractor variants this year. Its annual tractor sales is around 10,000 units. The company has submitted a Rs 50 crore revival plan for its tractor business, he said.

The company also plans to offer voluntary retirement scheme to 3,000 employees, including 1,000 each in machine tools and watches businesses, over the next three years, that would bring down its total headcount to a healthy 7,000.

HMT is also planning to sell some of its assets to fuel expansion activities, he said. — PTI

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Stay on Pakistan State Oil sale
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

In an another blow to the government's privatisation plans, the Supreme Court has stayed the sale of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and hinted at forming a larger Bench to take up the privatisation process on a challenge moved by Attock Group against its disqualification from bidding for the concern.

"No further process in the privatisation of the PSO will take place," ordered a Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Falak Sher and Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar while putting off the hearing for the last week of August.

The government intends to sell 51 per cent of the shareholding of the PSO to the successful bidder. In a landmark judgment last year, a full court Bench of the Supreme Court annulled the sale of Pakistan Steel Mill as illegal and unconstitutional.

The judges criticised privatisation of profit-making units, rather than sick units. The court observed that it would also examine whether the privatisation of the PSO was in the national interest. Opposition MPs and analysts have criticised the privatisation of the PSO and the lack of transparency of the entire process designed to favour a chosen buyer.

At the last hearing, the court served notices on seven bidders participating in the privatisation of the PSO after the petitioner Attock Group had impleaded all bidders participating in the process. Directives were also issued to the Privatisation Commission (PC) to submit in the court the entire record of the privatisation process.

However, advocate Wasim Sajjad, appearing on behalf of the PC, opposed production of the record in the court, but said he could produce it in the judges' chambers. He said the PSO had been put on sale under the Privatisation Commission Ordinance, 2000, for the third time after due deliberations.

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Central nod to crop insurance scheme in HP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 13
The National Agricultural Insurance Scheme will be implemented in the state for maize, potato and paddy crops during the kharif season.

The centre accorded its approval for the scheme and the Agriculture Insurance Company of India will be the implementation agency. Risks like natural fire and lightning, storm, hailstorm, cyclone, drought, dry spells and attack by pests and diseases would be covered under it. Losses arising out of war and nuclear risks, malicious damage and other preventable risks would not be covered under the scheme.

The scheme is compulsory for farmers who have raised seasonal agricultural operation loans from the financial institutions like commercial banks, cooperative banks, regional rural and primary agriculture cooperatives. The uniform level of indemnity for maize, paddy and potato crops has been kept at 80 per cent of the average yield.

Small and marginal farmers are eligible for 10 per cent government subsidy on total premium as per provision of the scheme and they will be required to pay only 90 per cent of the total premium payable.

The cut off date for accepting the crop insurance proposals from non-loanee farmers is July 31 and for loanee farmers it October 31.

Fixation of cut-off dates for furnishing of yield data by the state government to the implementing agency is February 15, 2008, for maize and paddy and March 15, 2008, for potato crops. It has been decided to select two tehsils namely Baijnath and Pachhad for individual basis approach of loss assessment for localised calamities during the kharif season.

The state-level bankers committee, the lead bank managers, cooperative banks and Agriculture Insurance Company of India will take necessary action to ensure the implementation of the scheme in the state. The Agriculture Insurance Company of India will ensure that claims are paid at the earliest after release of state government share litigation, if any, for delay in payment of claims and would be the sole responsibility of the implementing agency.

The banks will also ensure that the amounts are disbursed to the beneficiaries within a fortnight from the date of receipt of claims. Convener of the strict level banks committee will monitor the progress of the scheme and hold periodical meetings for the purpose.

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PMK against corporates in retail trade
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 13
After having asked the Tamil Nadu government to emulate Gujarat in the matter of imposing total prohibition in the state, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), an ally of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) here, wants the state to follow the policy of the ruling Marxists in neighbouring Kerala regarding entry of corporates in retail business.

Talking to the media here, PMK founder Dr S. Ramadoss said he would not rest until some key demands of his party — preventing big companies to enter retail trade and taking over of cable television distribution by the state government — were met.

While he lauded Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to listen to its allies against building of satellite townships near the metropolis, this old militant leader and father of union minister for health Anbumani Ramadoss, wanted the Chief Minister to handle the entry of Reliance Group into retail business in a similar manner.

"The Chief Minister has taken this decision to respect the views and representations of friendly parties like the PMK," Ramadoss said and added those in power should handle issues with an open mind with tolerance, which would strengthen democracy.

He cited the example of neighbouring Kerala in dealing with entities like Reliance, and felt that the DMK should not have any problem at all over this issue here.

Ramadoss recalled: "The PMK and the DMK have committed themselves against foreign investment in retail sector and this is clear in the 2006 election manifesto of both parties."

Though PMK is part of the ruling UPA at the Centre, few months ago Ramadoss had openly praised the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat for implementing prohibition and taking the state ahead economically.

With the two main Dravidian parties, the DMK and the Opposition AIADMK having television channels which toe their political lines but not the PMK, Ramadoss had long been propagating that the "State take over cable television business."

He said, "Even if the government decides to charge only a concessional rate for cable connections, it would fetch about Rs 600 crore to the exchequer which is much more than what the state gets through liquour trade."

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IOC to issue bonds worth Rs 2,800 cr
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 13
The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) today said it will issue oil bonds of about Rs 2,800 crore in the market next week.

The move comes in the wake of the petroleum ministry seeking Rs 19,000 crore worth of oil bonds to partly compensate refiners, who are selling fuel below the cost.

Currently, the total under-recovery on sale of petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene is expected to be above Rs 55,000 crore this fiscal. This is to offset this huge under-recoveries that the government is seeking issuance of the bonds.

Meanwhile, Chennai Petroleum Corporation, an IOC subsidiary, has commissioned a Rs 85 crore windmill power project of 17.6 MW capacity at Palghat pass near Pollachi. The company is also exploring the possibility of setting up a 25 MW wind power project in Gujarat.

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HCL to open 100 outlets by year-end
Tribune News Service

Karnal, July 13
HCL Infosystems has decided to open 100 outlets by the end of the year. Talking to The Tribune here today, country head (retail and consumer finance) of HCL, Vivek Seigell said the company has proposed to focus on class B and C towns due to the growing demand among the masses.

Today, he inaugurated ‘HCL Digilife’ stores at Karnal, Kurukshetra and Panipat.

He stated that the new-generation stores would provide quality products of HCL, Apple, Canon, Toshiba, Casio and other brands under one roof.

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BenQ’s dual-input projectors unveiled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
BenQ, a leading player in digital networks and LP projectors, today unveiled its SP831\SP830 dual-input projectors in the Indian market. The state-of-the-art projectors are said to have a unique dual-input feature that allows them to take inputs from two different sources, while projecting them at the same time with the help of the split-screen.

Giving details, Ish Bawa, head of marketing and communications, said the product of the $16-billion company was sure to impress the clients with its "one projector, two views feature". Customers will now be able to display slides and complimentary video side-by-side and experience richer and livelier shows.

At least 40 channel partners from the tri-city, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Padesh and Jammu and Kashmir participated in a special technical session on the product.

Bawa said: "While at meetings, two notebooks can be connected to one projector and both contents can be discussed simultaneously. With a simple touch of a button, two presentation files can be shown alongside."

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German Co to invest Rs 650 cr in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Germany-based Metro Cash and Carry company has offered to invest Rs 650 crore in Haryana. The offer has been made by the vice-president, international affairs, Metro Group, Henry O.E. Birr, who called on Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here.

He said the land had been identified for constructing warehouses at Kundli, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Panchkula.

Hooda suggested him to invest in fisheries and hatcheries as the state is the second largest producer of inland fish. The Chief Minister said the Haryana government was promoting contract farming in the state and thrust was being laid on diversification of crops so that farmers could get remunerative prices of their produce.

He added that Cash And Carry Company had already invested in five states, including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Vishal Sehgal, head (corporate affairs), said they would purchase the agricultural produce from the farmers directly and sell the same to the customers, hotels, restaurants, caterers, small businessmen, retailers and traders.

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BRIEFLY
This combo picture shows Swiss watch Swatch's new line up "Puzzle Motion" series (L-R) Disco Vibe, Moving Flower and Blue Satellite at a preview of the company's fall and winter collection, in Tokyo on Thursday.
This combo picture shows Swiss watch Swatch's new line up "Puzzle Motion" series (L-R) Disco Vibe, Moving Flower and Blue Satellite at a preview of the company's fall and winter collection, in Tokyo on Thursday. The Puzzle Motion series has eight small discs on its face with patterns and all eight discs rotate every minute to change patterns of its face like a kaleidoscope. Swatch will put it on the market next month. — AFP photo

Orders for L&T
Mumbai, July 13
Larsen and Toubro (L&T) today said it has bagged contracts worth Rs 853 crore from domestic as well as foreign firms. L&T has secured a Rs 366 crore order from Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority for design and commissioning of two substations at Saadiyat Island, the company informed the BSE. It has also received a Rs 200 crore order from Power Grid Corporation of India for construction of high-voltage substations, it added. — PTI

Arvind Virmani
New Delhi, July 13
The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved the appointment of Arvind Virmani as the chief economic adviser in the department of economic affairs, ministry of finance, an official release said here today. He succeeds Ashok Lahiri, who laid down office yesterday and is joining Asian Development Bank at Manila. — TNS

ICICI Prudential
Panaji, July 13
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance today launched insurance products to cover over 1,000 surgeries, in a bid to tap the potential in healthcare sector. “The company already has six products in health insurance space and now has introduced hospital care to cover over 1,000 surgical procedures and hospitalisation,” ICICI Prudential Life Insurance senior vice-president Rahul Hora told reporters here. — PTI

JSW Energy
New Delhi, July 13
JSW Energy Ltd will soon hit the capital market to raise Rs 1,000 crore to fund its expansion plans that include ramping up its power generation capacity to 3,200 MW. “The company is coming out with an Initial Public Offer (IPO) to raise Rs 1,000 crore to fund its expansion plans,” JSW Energy director finance Seshagiri Rao said. — PTI

ICICI stake
Dubai, July 13
Dubai International Capital (DIC), investment arm of Dubai Holding, has bought 2.87 per cent stake in ICICI Bank, India’s second largest bank. DIC’s investment in the Indian bank follows its recent purchase of 3.12 per cent stake in the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), the parent company of aircraft manufacturer Airbus. — PTI

Central Bank IPO
Mumbai, July 13
The Central Bank of India today said it would hit the equity market on July 24 through an IPO to raise up to Rs 816 crore and has fixed the price band at Rs 85-Rs 102 per equity share. The bank is offering 8 crore equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at a price to be decided through the 100 per cent book-building process. Post-issue, the government's shareholding in the bank would come down to 80.20 per cent. — PTI

UTI Bank net up
Mumbai, July 13
UTI Bank has posted a 45.15 per cent rise in net profits in the first quarter of financial year 2008. The net profit stood at Rs 174.98 crore as against Rs 120.55 crore in the previous fiscal. The net interest income was up by 38.84 per cent at Rs 446.83 crore. — PTI

Forex reserves
Mumbai, July 13
India's foreign exchange reserves increased by $1.349 billion for the week ended July 6 to $214.835 billion as against $213.486 billion in the previous week. — PTI

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