SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Biometric PAN cards by Oct
FM rules out extending last date for
filing IT returns
New Delhi, July 17
If you have not yet filed your income tax return for 2006-07, file it before July 31.

Ford draws up small car plan
Says no to Rs 1-lakh price tag
New Delhi, July 17
Ford India, a unit of America's second largest car maker, is open to launching a compact car for the local market, but said it would not be a product in the Rs 1,00,000 price range proposed by competitors.
President & MD, Ford India, Arvind Mathew, poses with the new Ford Fusion Diesel at its launch in New Delhi on Tuesday.
President & MD, Ford India, Arvind Mathew, poses with the new Ford Fusion Diesel at its launch in New Delhi on Tuesday. Powered by a 1.4-litre Duratorq engine, the vehicle is priced at Rs 6.59 lakh. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan

2 pharma firms face WB’s wrath
Washington, July 17
Accusing two India-based firms of indulging in collusive practices, the World Bank has declared the firms ineligible to be awarded contracts financed by it.


EARLIER STORIES

 
Top 5 worth nearly $120 billion
New Delhi, July 17
The bull run on the Indian stock market, which has pushed the benchmark Sensex by about 40 per cent in one year, is also making the country's rich even richer with the combined wealth of top five led by Mukesh Ambani swelling past $100 billion. The net worth of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, India's richest in terms of stock market valuation, today rose to over Rs 1,50,000 crore as his group's flagship company Reliance Industries became the first Indian firm to achieve a market capitalistion of 2,50,000 crore.


Toddler PAN club swells
Mumbai, July 17
No sooner two-month-old Krishhney Sameer Thacker was reported as the youngest PAN card holder in India, parents of another Mumbai-based girl Anisha Nimish Kenia have claimed their daughter to be the youngest at 33 days.

Anisha Nimish Kenia displays PAN card.
Anisha Nimish Kenia displays PAN card.

RCom to expand with Rs 20,000 cr
Mumbai, July 17
As if unsatiated by the acquisition of Yipes, Reliance Communications (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani today unveiled an exponential growth plan using the inorganic route, while announcing Rs 20,000 crore investment this year to expand its
telecom network.
A Greenpeace activist dressed as a turtle protests in Mumbai on Tuesday.
A Greenpeace activist dressed as a turtle protests in Mumbai on Tuesday. Greenpeace activists protested outside the head office of the Tata group claiming that a port being built by group subsidiary Tata Steel in Orissa province would kill endangered Olive Ridley turtles and other marine life and demanded its shutdown. — Reuters photo

AI keen to join Star Alliance
Merged entity will fly to US on August 1
New Delhi, July 17
Air India, the entity born out of the merger of two national carriers, is all dressed up and ready for induction into 17-airline global grouping, Star Alliance.

Govt eases rules for foreign firms
New Delhi, July 17
The government today eased rules relating to issue of Indian Depository Receipts (IDRs) by overseas firms, a move that will facilitate greater outflow of money from the domestic economy, which is flush with foreign capital receipts.

Iffco takes over Senegal firm
Dakar, July 17
Indian fertiliser giant Iffco has assumed a major stake in Senegal's key chemical firm after injecting $80 million into the cash-strapped company, Senegal's mines minister has announced.
Mandira Bedi and LG officials pose at the launch of Technovation 3D LCD monitor in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Mandira Bedi and LG officials pose at the launch of Technovation 3D LCD monitor in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

PNB to widen rural credit sphere
Ludhiana, July 17
The Punjab National Bank (PNB) has decided to broaden the rural credit sphere in the state. It has already increased the agriculture lending by about 88 per cent in the last financial year.

Corporate News
Satyam bags four major
overseas deals

Mumbai, July 17
IT solutions provider Satyam Computer Services today said it has recently bagged four major deals in Singapore, Australia and the UAE.

In video
Brand boom in India.
(56k)
Reliance buys Yipes for $300 million.
(56k)


Top



 

 

 

Biometric PAN cards by Oct
FM rules out extending last date for filing IT returns
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 17
If you have not yet filed your income tax return for 2006-07, file it before July 31.

Union finance minister P. Chidambaram, after a meeting with chief commissioners of income tax here today, has ruled out extending the last date for filing IT returns.

“No chance. I suggest you file IT returns today itself. Don’t wait until the last day,” Chidambaram said when asked whether the government proposes to extend the date for filing returns beyond July 31.

He also said the e-filing of tax deducted at source (TDS) returns will be mandatory from September 1, 2007, for corporates and those companies whose turnover is Rs 40 lakh or more a year. E-payment of TDS would be made mandatory from January 1, 2008, he said.

Asked whether more heads will be added to Annual Information Reports (AIRs) to widen and strengthen further the information collection about the investments of income tax assessees, the finance minister said: “There is a plan to extend the AIRs, but there is no urgency to expand. But it will happen.”

The investment information available through AIRs is used by the IT department to detect tax evasion.

The government is so far collecting information from banks, credit card companies, mutual funds and property registrars on specified amount of investment by investors.

Chidambaram said through AIRs, government would have access to information about expenditure of over Rs 60,00,000 crore and this would be utilised for better tax assessment.

The Income Tax Department would also soon introduce biometric PAN cards, which would not only be tamperproof, but also can’t be duplicated.

“We have plans to introduce biometric PAN cards. The date has not yet been finalised. It could be in October,” Chidambaram said.

Right now, the department is engaged in de-duplication of PAN cards. “There were about 13 lakh duplicate PAN cards, of which 11 lakh have already been de-duplicated. Once the de-duplication process is over then the biometric PAN card will be introduced,” he said.

“The existing PAN card will be valid, but we would pursuade people to go for biometric cards, which would not cost much,” he said.

Asked about certain confusion that prevailed relating to tax on ESOPs (employee stock ownership plan), the minister shot back saying, “there is no confusion or ambiguity.”

He, however, hastened to add that the government would soon issue guidelines on ESOPs.

Top

 

Ford draws up small car plan
Says no to Rs 1-lakh price tag

New Delhi, July 17
Ford India, a unit of America's second largest car maker, is open to launching a compact car for the local market, but said it would not be a product in the Rs 1,00,000 price range proposed by competitors.

"At the moment we are not looking at that price point, we are just looking at a small car. Ford does not have any product in that price range," Ford India Managing Director and President Arvind Mathew told reporters here.

He, however, said the company may consider such a low cost car coming at $3,000 as announced by Renault-Nissan if "customers demanded it". Homegrown auto major Tata Motors is planning to roll out a compact car priced at Rs 1,00,000 by middle of next year.

"We are always focused on what our consumers want... if our consumer comes back and says here are the trade-offs, I am willing to make ($3,000 car) and this is what I will accept and live with," he added.

He was non-committal on the company's plans if such a scenario were to happen. "At the moment I am not being categorical, I am very curious to see how this car looks like," Mathew added.

On possible synergies between Ford India and Volvo, Mathew said two companies would exist as independent entities in India and there was no scope for joint marketing. — PTI

Top

 

2 pharma firms face WB’s wrath

Washington, July 17
Accusing two India-based firms of indulging in collusive practices, the World Bank has declared the firms ineligible to be awarded contracts financed by it.

While Nestor Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Nestor) was debarred for a period of three years, Pure Pharma Ltd (Pure Pharma) was debarred for an year, it said in a statement.

Both firms were found to have engaged in collusive practices in connection with the bank-financed Reproductive and Child Health Project (RCH-I) in India.

The action was taken after investigations found the firms guilty of impropriety in procurement of pharmaceuticals under the RCH-I project.

This was the first case heard by the bank's Sanctions Board, which replaced the Sanctions Committee in October 2006 when the bank's Sanctions Reforms became effective.

"The Sanctions Board decision is in keeping with the bank's mandate to ensure that its funds are properly utilised, and in this case, it was found that the two firms had behaved improperly and the requisite penalties were imposed," Danny Leipziger, vice-president of the World Bank group and Chairman of the bank's Sanctions Board said.

The board weighed the evidence presented both by the bank's Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) as well as the firms themselves. In the end, it found that both firms had engaged in sanctionable misconduct.

"The Reproductive and Child Health program was designed by the Government of India to help deliver much-needed medical services to some of the most vulnerable citizens. The actions of both companies harmed the very people this project was meant to help," said Praful Patel, World Bank Vice President for South Asia. — PTI

Top

 

Top 5 worth nearly $120 billion

New Delhi, July 17
The bull run on the Indian stock market, which has pushed the benchmark Sensex by about 40 per cent in one year, is also making the country's rich even richer with the combined wealth of top five led by Mukesh Ambani swelling past $100 billion.

The net worth of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, India's richest in terms of stock market valuation, today rose to over Rs 1,50,000 crore as his group's flagship company Reliance Industries became the first Indian firm to achieve a market capitalistion of 2,50,000 crore.

Mukesh's younger brother Anil has also consolidated his second position, while DLF's Kushal Pal Singh and telecom czar Sunil Mittal have moved up the ranks to the third and fourth positions respectively on the back of strong share price rally in their respective listed group companies.

However, Wipro's Azim Premji, once India's richest person, has moved down to the fifth position, mainly due to dilution in his stake in the country's third largest IT firm.

Earlier in March this year, US-based business magazine Forbes had ranked Mukesh the richest in India with a net worth of $20.1 billion, Anil at second with $18.2 billion, Premji at third with $17.1 billion, Singh at fourth with $10 billion and Mittal at fifth with $9.5 billion of wealth.

Based on today's market value of the group companies of the five billionaires, their collective net worth stood at about $119 billion - representing nearly 60 per cent from about $75 billion mentioned in the Forbes list.

In rupee terms, their collective wealth stood at about Rs 4,80,000 crore - which is over 10 per cent of total investors wealth of about Rs 45,00,000 crore.

The surge in the dollar value of the billionaires' wealth has been relatively higher due to a sharp appreciation in the rupee value against the US currency over the past few months.

At current share price levels of their listed group companies, Mukesh Ambani's net worth is estimated at Rs 1,55,000 crore ($38.3 billion), Anil Ambani at Rs 1,01,600 crore ($25.2 billion), KP Singh about Rs 91,000 crore ($22.5 billion), Sunil Mittal about Rs 74,000 crore ($18.4 billion) and Premji at Rs 59,000 crore ($14.5 billion).

While Mukesh Ambani's wealth comes mainly from about 51 per cent stake in RIL (market cap of Rs 2,54,600 crore), that of Anil Ambani has been largely driven by over 66 per cent stake in Reliance Communications (market cap of Rs 1,14,700 crore).

Besides, Mukesh Ambani group firms include Reliance Petroleum (Rs 52,000 crore), IPCL (Rs 11,000 crore), and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd (Rs 400 crore).
Anil Ambani group has also stakes in Reliance Capital (Rs 29,000 crore), Reliance Energy (Rs 16,000 crore), Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (Rs 3000 crore) and Adlabs Films (Rs 2,000 crore).

Wipro's current market cap stands at about Rs 74,000 crore, while that of DLF and Bharti Airtel are at Rs 1,03,000 crore and Rs 1,64,000 crore respectively. — PTI

Top

 

Toddler PAN club swells

Mumbai, July 17
No sooner two-month-old Krishhney Sameer Thacker was reported as the youngest PAN card holder in India, parents of another Mumbai-based girl Anisha Nimish Kenia have claimed their daughter to be the youngest at 33 days.

"Anisha was born on October 29, 2006. Soon after we decided to make investment in her name so that she has substantial capital by the time she turns 18. About 25 days after we received her birth certificate, we applied for a PAN card and received it within a week on December 1, 2006," Anisha's father Nimish Kenia told PTI.

Anisha is the fourth claimant to the title for the ‘youngest PAN holder in the country'. The other claimants were Krishhney Sameer Thacker at 56 days from Mumbai, two month-and-a-week old Panrika Sahu of Indore and three-month old Ayush Ranjan Rout of Rourkela.

Incidentally, Anisha has also managed to pip her ‘closest rival' Krishhney in fortunes as her father has reportedly invested Rs 2 lakh in stocks and mutual funds against Rs 1.5 lakh invested by Krishhney's father.

"We wanted to start an investment portfolio for our daughter. It needs a demat account for which a PAN card is essential. We have already invested around Rs 2 lakh in her portfolio," says Kenia, who runs a stock and commodity firms SK Investments and SK Tradex. — PTI

Top

 

RCom to expand with Rs 20,000 cr

Mumbai, July 17
As if unsatiated by the acquisition of Yipes, Reliance Communications (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani today unveiled an exponential growth plan using the inorganic route, while announcing Rs 20,000 crore investment this year to expand its telecom network.

Unfolding his growth strategy a day after announcing the acquisition of US-based Ethernet services provider Yipes Comm for $300 million, Ambani said the company "would leverage... and pursue any significant opportunities available in the telecommunications sector."

For this, he said resources would not be a constraint as the company had a borrowing potential of Rs 50,000 crore, while pointing out that RCom had become a Rs 100,000 crore company in less than one year — a feat that took peers like Infosys and Bharti Airtel over 12 and four years, respectively.

Addressing the AGM of RCom, he said of the total investment planned this year, Rs 16,000 crore would go for network expansion and the remaining for putting up 23,000 more cell-sites to improve mobile connectivity.

Aiming to have the single largest wireless network in the world by this year-end, Ambani said Reliance Communications would cover 900 million Indians in 23,000 towns, thereby virtually providing network for every Indian habitation with a population of over 1,000.

He announced that Reliance Communications would launch the next generation DTH service before the end of the year.

"We also plan to launch premium IPTV service in the top cities. This multi-play IPTV network will leverage optical fiber ethernet network with 10 GBPS capability to deliver the most advanced suite of interactive TV and video services, including movies, music on demand and gaming," Ambani said.

On unlocking value initiatives, Ambani said RCom would make a private equity placement of its tower infrastructure company RTIL. "This would be followed by a public listing." He said Flag Telecom would also go through a similar exercise and an international listing of shares of the undersea cable network subsidiary.

Ambani said a part of the 132-acre Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City would be developed as a Special Economic Zone focused on IT and ITeS. — PTI

Top

 

AI keen to join Star Alliance
Merged entity will fly to US on August 1
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, July 17
Air India, the entity born out of the merger of two national carriers, is all dressed up and ready for induction into 17-airline global grouping, Star Alliance.

Air India, whose maiden non-stop flight to the US is scheduled for August 1, will make a presentation about its strengths before working groups of the Star Alliance on September 13, official sources said.

The CEOs of all member airlines of the alliance would then meet on December 13 to take a final decision on the induction of Air India as a partner, they said.

Once the Star Alliance decides to induct Air India, the integration of the airline with other members of the group would take between 12 and 18 months, the sources said.

The alliance, which includes Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and United Airlines, is the largest global grouping. The other such alliances are SkyTeam and Oneworld.

Such alliances facilitate partner airlines to jointly undertake many activities, including those involving passenger and baggage transfers, sharing of airport lounges and other facilities worldwide.

Come August 1 and the country’s two public sector airlines Air India and the Indian will fly as a merged entity with the launch of first non-stop flight of the combined entity to the US.

Besides six regional jets, which were to be leased by the erstwhile Indian's subsidiary Alliance Air, would also be inducted into the merged carrier.

These decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by civil aviation minister Praful Patel here today to review the progress made in the merger of Air India and Indian.

According to reports the merged entity Air India would launch its first non-stop flight from Mumbai to New York using a latest Boeing 777-200 (long range) aircraft, which would be delivered in the last week of this month. That is when the merged entity would also showcase the latest A-321 aircraft supplied to the Indian by Airbus Industrie earlier this month.

The merged entity called National Airline Company Ltd, which has been registered by the Registrar of Companies, would operate its domestic and international services under two separate codes for at least one more year till the two public sector carriers fully synergise their entire network.

The merged Air India would soon launch a new website presenting a unified face to the customers.

Top

 

Govt eases rules for foreign firms

New Delhi, July 17
The government today eased rules relating to issue of Indian Depository Receipts (IDRs) by overseas firms, a move that will facilitate greater outflow of money from the domestic economy, which is flush with foreign capital receipts.

The limit for an overseas firm to raise money from India in a financial year has been raised from 15 per cent of its paid-up capital and free reserves to 25 per cent of the post-issue number of equity shares.

The decision came just a day after Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council raised concern over the excessive capital inflows into India and advised measures to facilitate the reverse flow of money.

The new rules require that a foreign company wanting to raise money in India through IDRs should have a continuous trading record on a stock exchange in the parent country for at least three immediately preceding years. — PTI

Top

 

Iffco takes over Senegal firm

Dakar, July 17
Indian fertiliser giant Iffco has assumed a major stake in Senegal's key chemical firm after injecting $80 million into the cash-strapped company, Senegal's mines minister has announced.

One of the world's largest fertiliser producers Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (Iffco) inked the deal allowing it to invest $80 million to recapitalise Industries Chimiques du Senegal (ICS).

"This agreement allows us to pass on the control (of ICS) to Iffco," minister of mines Madicke Niang told a news conference yesterday.

The Senegalese government which previously held a 46.38 per cent stake in ICS will see its interests reduced to a minority shareholder with just about 10 per cent.

Iffco's new stake in ICS was not immediately specified, but it would be the majority shareholder while the remainder of shares will possibly be split among the former partners of the company, especially India, Nigeria and Cameroon.

Ridden by years of debt, ICS had stopped producing over the past eight months, costing the country between 1.0 and 1.5 per cent in overall growth rate.

The new investment is expected to help bolster the west African country's growth which slumped to 2.1 per cent last year from 5.5 per cent in 2005.

With 2,500 permanent staff and some 12,000 casual workers, ICS is Senegal's top single private sector employer. — AFP

Top

 

PNB to widen rural credit sphere
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The Punjab National Bank (PNB) has decided to broaden the rural credit sphere in the state. It has already increased the agriculture lending by about 88 per cent in the last financial year.

The bank, according to its Executive Director JM Garg, has been giving due importance to the lending to the agriculture and small-scale industrial sector.

The bank has also launched the scheme of "financial inclusion" in the state, thereby ensuring that at least one member in each family had a bank account, Garg said.

Garg said, the bank did not aim at providing big capital to big industrialists alone, but was focussing on giving credit to the weaker and neglected sections of the society as well.

He disclosed that in Punjab lending to the agriculture sector rose to Rs 3,169 crore till March 2007, registering a growth of 88 per cent. Similarly the lending to the small-scale industrial sector had increased by 27 per cent amounting to Rs 1,969 crores.

Top

 

Corporate News
Satyam bags four major overseas deals

Mumbai, July 17
IT solutions provider Satyam Computer Services today said it has recently bagged four major deals in Singapore, Australia and the UAE.

"We get almost 17 per cent of our revenues from ROW region, which consists of all geographies other than Europe and America. The outsourcing forecasts in the coming years is promising in this region," Saytam director and senior vice- president (APAC and MEIA) Virender Aggarwal said.

Tata Motors’ venture

Tata Motors has ventured into Saudi Arabia's passenger car market with the launch of its three car models.

Tata had launched its 2008 models of Tata Indica, Tata Indigo and Tata Marina, which conforms to all safety, quality and reliability specifications of the Kingdom, at a price range of SR30,000-35,000, Arab News reported.

Tata Tea net dips

Tata Tea today posted a 2.27 per cent decline in profit after tax (PAT) at Rs 43 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, as compared to Rs 44.56 crore for the same period last year.

Total income of the company increased 14.40 per cent to Rs 303.85 crore for the quarter from Rs 265.58 crore for the corresponding period a year ago, Tata Tea informed BSE.

Total income of the group increased to Rs 1,028.79 crore during the period ended June 30 from Rs 806.37 crore a year ago.

Order for Hafed

The Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (Hafed) has bagged export orders from Australia to export superior basmati rice after a gap of five years, state minister for cooperation Meena Mandal said here today.

She said a novel scheme for the production of basmati paddy through contract farming had been introduced in Haryana, especially to cater to the demand for the best quality rice in Australia and West Asia.

Tata AIG Life

Tata AIG Life Insurance Company Ltd today launched its InvestAssure Gold unit-linked policy which offers full-life cover till the age of 100 years.

Customers can apply for the policy till 70-years of age and enjoy protection for
their entire life, the maximum age being 100 years, a company press release said.
— PTI/TNS

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 |