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B U S I N E S S

Black Friday
Sensex crashes by 541 points
‘Oh, my God’ Sensex tanks. Ditto Nifty Mumbai, July 27
Taking a cue from the jittery global markets, the Sensex today plunged by 541 points. The benchmark index opened nearly 250 points lower after the Asian markets took a beating in the wake of a falling Dow.

‘Oh, my God’ Sensex tanks. Ditto Nifty — AFP photo

Air India plane creates history
Becomes first Indian aircraft to fly non-stop from US to India
On Board Boeing 777-200, July 27
A new experience is what Air India promises its passengers who have bought tickets for the non-stop Mumbai-New York flight beginning August 1.

e-banking facility for rural folks in Himachal soon
Shimla, July 27
The rural folks in the hill state will soon have access to e-banking with the government deciding to introduce mobile biometric ATMs and smart cards with the technological assistance from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).



EARLIER STORIES

 


In this file photo, Volkswagen Golf model is being lifted past VW emblems on a production line at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg plant. Volkswagen, Europe's biggest car maker, on Friday reported excellent second-quarter results driven by strong sales and said it was banking on profits of 5.1 billion euros ($6.9 billion) this year.
In this file photo, Volkswagen Golf model is being lifted past VW emblems on a production line at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg plant. Volkswagen, Europe's biggest car maker, on Friday reported excellent second-quarter results driven by strong sales and said it was banking on profits of 5.1 billion euros ($6.9 billion) this year. — AFP photo

Tatas in trouble in TN
Protest against Rs 2,500-crore project
Chennai, July 27
After West Bengal, the Tatas have now run into trouble in Tamil Nadu as the state government plans to acquire 10,000 acres of land for the Tata group’s project to set up a titanium dioxide plant here.

High interest rates deter home loan seekers
New Delhi, July 27
High property prices and rising interest rates appear to have lowered the demand for home loans, with the country’s top two lenders recording a fall in disbursements during the first quarter of this fiscal compared to the January-March quarter.

Inflation up at 4.41 pc
New Delhi, July 27
Increase in the prices of fruits and vegetables and other food items pushed the inflation up to 4.41 per cent for the week ended July 14 as against 4.27 per cent the previous week.

Bank Account
Canara Bank nets Rs 241-cr profit
New Delhi, July 27
Canara Bank has reported a net profit of Rs 241 crore for the first quarter of the current fiscal, up by 26 per cent from Rs 191 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.

 
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Black Friday
Sensex crashes by 541 points
Tribune News Service

An investor reacts while watching share prices plunge on a digital display outside the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai on Friday.
An investor reacts while watching share prices plunge on a digital display outside the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai on Friday. — AFP photo

Mumbai, July 27
Taking a cue from the jittery global markets, the Sensex today plunged by 541 points. The benchmark index opened nearly 250 points lower after the Asian markets took a beating in the wake of a falling Dow. The plunge continued with the Sensex falling more than 600 points in intra-day trade before recovering slightly to close at 15,234 levels.

In the broader markets, the Nifty tanked 3.8 per cent or 174 points to settle at 4,445 levels.

Analysts here said Wall Street was hit by worries over home mortgages and corporate lending in the US.

Among today's big losers were Tata Steel, which fell 7.4 per cent or Rs 52. Reliance Communications, BHEL, Hindalco,

Satyam Computer, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Energy, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Tata Motors and Hindustan Unilever were some of the other top losers.

The only spot of green was ITC Limited, which surged 3.1 per cent by end of trade. Ranbaxy and Ambuja Cements were the other gainers.

All sectoral indices ended in the red. The BSE metals index took a hammering to close 5.6 per cent or 675 points lower.

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Air India plane creates history
Becomes first Indian aircraft to fly non-stop from US to India
A.J. Philip
Tribune News Service

On Board Boeing 777-200, July 27
A new experience is what Air India promises its passengers who have bought tickets for the non-stop Mumbai-New York flight beginning August 1.

The ferry flight of the gleaming aircraft from Boeing's delivery centre at Everett in Seattle to New Delhi provided just that to those who were on board. The flight took 14 hours and 15 minutes to cover the distance.

The aircraft, christened Andhra Pradesh in the alphabetical order, created history when it became the first Indian plane to fly non-stop between the US coast and India. Commanded by Amitabh Singh and three other pilots, the aircraft flew over the North Pole, the first Indian plane to do so.

On board the aircraft were Air India chairman and managing director V. Thulasidas, senior officials of the civil aviation ministry and Air India and Boeing vice-president Dinesh Keskar, the seniormost Indian among the Boeing staff.

On arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, two tankers of the Delhi Fire Brigade gave the new aircraft a welcome shower. On a specially erected platform, a Hindu priest conducted a vedic ceremony to welcome the new aircraft and ward it off from evil spirits.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit the aircraft tomorrow morning. There will be five new aircraft for him to see, including an Airbus acquired by Indian and another Boeing by Air India.

The ferry flight lived up to the expectations created by Air India's publicity blitz. At the end of the flight, nobody complained of jetlag, though frequent flyers insist that it was too early to give such a certificate.

The plane has many facilities that make the journey a pleasant experience. Every seat has an individual LCD monitor whose size goes up to 23 inches in the case of first class. A large variety of programmes, including videos of popular films in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi and Gujarati, are available and can be chosen by a click on a remote available individually to first class and executive class passengers.

Whether it is the lighting system or the size and design of the baggage cabins or the seats, the passengers have a lot to look forward to. In the first and executive classes, the seats recline to 180 degrees to provide the passengers full-flat beds. Bunkers where two pilots and six crew members, who are off duty, can sleep have been provided on the upper deck to free as many seats for passengers.

As Air India and Indian are slated to merge on August 1 and come under the aegis of the newly created National Aviation Company Limited, the paint scheme adopted for the new aircraft has taken into account the proposed changes.

It has a new logo — a flaming red flying swan with the Konark chakra in orange, placed inside it. The flying swan has been morphed from Air India's logo, the Centaur, whereas the Konark chakra is reminiscent of Indian's logo.

The flight from the Boeing facility was preceded by a signing and ribbon cutting ceremony in which Thulasidas and Dinesh Keskar took part. The aircraft cost Air India a total of $260 million. It has a total capacity of 238 seats with eight in first class and 35 in executive class. Air India has ordered a total of 68 Boeing aircraft which are in various stages of production at the Boeing factory in Seattle.

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e-banking facility for rural folks in Himachal soon
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 27
The rural folks in the hill state will soon have access to e-banking with the government deciding to introduce mobile biometric ATMs and smart cards with the technological assistance from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The rural people will not require any security code for effecting money transactions using the mobile biometric ATM as the account holder will be recognised by his finger print. The biggest advantage is that the smart card could not be misused even if it is lost or stolen. The hand-held biometric ATM could be easily carried anywhere to provide banking services to rural people at their doorstep.

Besides, the government also plans to provide subsidies and other financial benefits to the people through the banking channel to cut down delays and minimise the scope of corruption.

The state, which has achieved the distinction of being the first “fully banked” state in the country, is being used by the RBI as a crucible for technological innovations in the banking sector. More importantly, the government feels that better financial integration through the banking network will benefit the people in rural areas, particularly farmers, as it will afford them easy access to credit.

As per the plan worked out by the RBI, the banks will appoint local unemployed youth as business correspondents and provide them portable biometric ATMs. The villagers will be able to deposit and withdraw money with their assistance. The portable machine will also provide printouts of the transactions made to the customers for record. The RBI has already organised demonstrations to acquaint the bankers with the functioning of the portable biometric ATM.

Various nationalised and private banks have already agreed to implement the scheme. To begin with, ICICI Bank and the State Bank of Patiala will introduce mobile e-banking in Solan district and the State Bank of India in Shimla. Punjab National Bank and UCO Bank will come out with integrated proposals for their respective areas.

The emphasis will be on introducing mobile e-banking in districts which are already covered under the national rural employment guarantee programme. The objective is to make payments under the scheme through the banking network. The social security pensioners will also be able to get pension through banks as they will not have to go far to withdraw or deposit money.

According to bankers, the sparse population in the hill terrain was a major bottleneck which could hamper the implementation of the scheme in far-flung areas. For sustainability, mobile banking has to be a viable proposition. However, the viability will depend on density of population.

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Tatas in trouble in TN
Protest against Rs 2,500-crore project

Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 27
After West Bengal, the Tatas have now run into trouble in Tamil Nadu as the state government plans to acquire 10,000 acres of land for the Tata group’s project to set up a titanium dioxide plant here.

Farmers, rights activists and political organisations are up in arms and have threatened that it is another ‘Nandigram’ in the making.

Opposition Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary

Vaiko and actor-turned-politician Sarath Kumar alleged that most of the 10,000 acres of land, which the state government sought to take over for the Tata chemical project, was cultivable and would deprive the farmers of their livelihood.

Tata group’s Rs 2,500-crore project is to mine ilmenite, an ore of titanium, from the sands of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts in southern Tamil Nadu and extract titanium, which will be used to manufacture titanium dioxide, a white pigment that can be used as applications in paints and inks.

Vaiko argued: “It is impossible to give jobs to thousands of people. The government must give up its plan to acquire land from them otherwise there will be another Nandigram in the state.”

He pointed out: “These people are dependent on agricultural and palm products and will lose their livelihood, if displaced. Moreover, such large scale displacement will also result in sea water incursion into agricultural land.”

On the other hand, Sarath Kumar alleged that the land would be acquired at very low rates depriving thousands of agrarian families.

He apprehended that though the company had promised to employ one person from each displaced family, the chemical project could, at the maximum, employ only 1,000 persons.

The Tata group has so far remained silent to the growing agitation and political opposition.

However, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said: “Any attempt to stall this Rs 2,500-crore project will only deprive these drought-prone areas of industrial growth and many other benefits.”

The Tata group had signed an agreement for the project with the former Jayalalithaa-headed regime in 2002 for a techno-feasibility study but the formal MoU between Tata Steel and the state government was signed only last month.

According to the agreement, the state would provide 10,000 to 12,000 acres of land for the project, which would employ 1,000 persons directly and another 3,000 indirectly. A desalination plant and a power plant are also planned as part of the project.

Justifying his stand, Karunanidhi argued that the decision to give land to the Tata group was a rational step as illegal mining was going on in any case and private parties, indulged in it, did not possess the proper technology to mine ilmenite.

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High interest rates deter home loan seekers

New Delhi, July 27
High property prices and rising interest rates appear to have lowered the demand for home loans, with the country’s top two lenders recording a fall in disbursements during the first quarter of this fiscal compared to the January-March quarter.

HDFC and ICICI Bank, together, disbursed about Rs 10,000 crore in home loans in the April-June quarter this year, down from over Rs 16,000 crore in the previous quarter.

HDFC recorded a 35 per cent dip in home loan disbursements at Rs 5,645 crore during the quarter ending June 30 from Rs 8,713 crore in January-March 2006-07.

ICICI Bank saw a sharper erosion of 42 per cent sequentially in home loan disbursal during the quarter. Disbursements dropped to about Rs 4,500 crore in the quarter ended June 30 from over Rs 7,700 crore in the previous quarter.

According to market observers, loan volumes declined as consumers deferred their home purchase plans on expectations of a correction in interest rates as well as property prices.

The RBI has increased key interest rates six times to check credit demand and keep inflation under check. This had prompted most banks to increase interest rates on home loans. — PTI

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Inflation up at 4.41 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Increase in the prices of fruits and vegetables and other food items pushed the inflation up to 4.41 per cent for the week ended July 14 as against 4.27 per cent the previous week.

Since the inflation is more or less under control, analysts here feel that the RBI is unlikely to effect any changes in the interest rate.

According to the data, prices of vegetables rose sharply by 7 per cent during the week while those of cereals rose by 0.9 per cent.

In the non-food articles category, prices of fibre rose by 2.2 per cent.

Among manufactured products, rates of rice and bran oil rose by 3 per cent each, while imported edible oil, groundnut oil, cotton seed oil and oil cakes became costlier by one percentage point.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for all commodities for the week ended July 14 rose by 0.1 per cent to 212.9 while the index for primary food articles rose by 0.7 per cent to 222.5.

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Bank Account
Canara Bank nets Rs 241-cr profit

New Delhi, July 27
Canara Bank has reported a net profit of Rs 241 crore for the first quarter of the current fiscal, up by 26 per cent from Rs 191 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal. Operating profit for the quarter rose to Rs 612 crore compared to Rs 575 crore recorded during the corresponding quarter of 2006-07.

Bank of India

Bank of India has reported a 51 per cent increase in its net profit at Rs 315.2 crore for the first quarter ended June 30 as compared to Rs 208.73 crore in the corresponding period a year ago. The total income also grew from Rs 2,271.51 crore in 2006 to Rs 3,108.41 crore during 2007.

Indian Bank

Indian Bank’s net profit has jumped by 28.65 per cent to Rs 212.03 crore for the quarter ended June 30, compared to Rs 164.81 crore for the same quarter a year ago. Total income of the bank has risen by 31.31 per cent to Rs 1,376.74 crore for the June quarter from Rs 1,048.42 crore in the same quarter last year.

IndusInd Bank

IndusInd Bank has posted a 65.04 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 13.22 crore for the quarter ended June 30, as compared to Rs 8.01 crore for the same quarter last year. The total income increased by 30.39 per cent to Rs 495.6 crore for the quarter from Rs 380.09 crore a year ago.

Karur Vysya Bank

Karur Vysya Bank has posted a 25 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 47.95 crore for the first quarter in 2006-07 and the total income rose from Rs 218.24 crore to Rs 292.15 crore. The operating profit for the first quarter increased to Rs 66.23 crore from Rs 53.93 crore, a growth of 22.81 per cent. — Agencies

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BRIEFLY

Tata Power
Mumbai, July 27
Tata Power has proposed to make a preferential issue of shares and warrants to Tata Sons to raise Rs 1,200 crore to finance its expansion plans. In its annual report for 2006-07, it said it is considering various options to meet its funding requirement and is well positioned to raise the required borrowing from overseas and domestic markets. — PTI

Moser Baer
New Delhi, July 27
Moser Baer India Ltd today said its subsidiary Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Ltd (MBPV) and Norway-based REC Group have signed a contract for sale of silicon wafers by REC to MBPV valued at $800 million over an eight-year period beginning 2008. — UNI

Reliance order
New Delhi, July 27
Reliance Gas Transportation and Infrastructure has placed a Rs 498-crore order with Punj Lloyd for laying pipeline and associated facilities for its East-West pipeline project. The contract is for laying off a 48-inch pipeline with varying wall thickness for 285 km, with nine MLV stations, two compressor stations, two tap-off stations and seven river crossings. — PTI

PNB lok adalats
Chandigarh, July 27
Punjab National Bank will hold special lok adalats in all districts of Haryana tomorrow to provide speedy settlement of loan cases. The special adalats will be inaugurated by Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mr Justice Vijender Jain at Gurgaon. — TNS

Compact Disc
Chandigarh, July 27
Entertainment animation company Compact Disc India today announced it would acquire 60 per cent stake in Singapore-based Interactive Creative Media and UK’s MediaOne Ventures Companies. The board of directors of the company had approved an investment of about Rs 12.98 crore for the same. — TNS

STPI Awards
Chandigarh, July 27
STPI Mohali has selected 10 companies from the region for the STPI Software Exports Awards for the year 2006-07. The awards will be presented on August 2 by the Governor of Haryana as a part of the e-Revolution 2007. For software development Infosys Technologies is chosen from MNC category and Mobera Systems from the SME category. — TNS

Gold plunges
New Delhi, July 27
Gold prices declined further on the bullion market today on increased selling by stockists, in line with the weakening global trend. Standard gold and ornaments closed Rs 145 each down at Rs 8,830 and Rs 8,680 per ten grams respectively.
— PTI

IT returns
New Delhi, July 27
The centre has clarified that the scheme of filing IT returns at the post offices has been discontinued. Income tax offices through out the country will remain open on July 28 and 29 (Saturday & Sunday) to accept returns of income from taxpayers. — TNS

Bathinda refinery
Chandigarh, July 27
The State Bank of India (SBI) led consortium of 26 lenders including banks and LIC, has committed Rs 7,793 crore to finance 9 million tonne Guru Gobind Singh Refinery to be set up in Bathinda. — TNS

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