SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Telcos divided over cap on operators
New Delhi, August 15
The controversy over the capping of players in the burgeoning telecom sector of the country has pitted big players against those who have presence in limited circles, and have plans to grow.

Shoppers look at Barbie & Tanner toys at a store in Beijing on Wednesday.
Shoppers look at Barbie & Tanner toys at a store in Beijing on Wednesday. Mattel Inc, the world's largest toy maker and the maker of Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels and Fisher Price toys, on Tuesday recalled millions of toys made in China due to lead paint and hazards from small, powerful magnets that can be swallowed and cause injury. — Reuters photo

India Inc favours reforms in agriculture, social sector
New Delhi, August 15
Unsatiated by individual success stories essayed through mega acquisitions globally, industry titans Ratan Tata, Sunil Mittal and Venugopal Dhoot today said India needs to push reforms
to overcome economic disparities and be counted among the top nations.

MMTC allowed to import cement
New Delhi, August 15
In order to check spiralling price of cement, the government has permitted MMTC to import cement from foreign manufacturers. The government has, however,
set a condition.





EARLIER STORIES

 
A mobile phone battery of type BL-5C made by Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is pictured on Wednesday in the western German city of Hanover.
A mobile phone battery of type BL-5C made by Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is pictured on Wednesday in the western German city of Hanover. Nokia, the world's leading maker of mobile phones, said on Tuesday it would offer free-of-charge replacements for some of its Nokia BL-5C batteries after around 100 incidents of overheating were reported globally. — AFP photo

Coming, laptop for Rs 15,000
Mumbai, August 15
For the tech savvy but cost-conscious Indians, this could be one offer they can't resist — a laptop for
Rs 15,000.

700 top Cos to come under
IT Dept scanner

New Delhi, August 15
The Income Tax Department is likely to scrutinise
tax returns of over 700 top companies, which include A-group category companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and NSE-500, to detect possible
tax evasion.

Airtel in Sri Lanka
New Delhi, August 15
Telecom major Bharti Airtel today said it will launch its mobile services in Sri Lanka with an investment of $200 million in the next five years.

Reliance Retail to create 5 lakh jobs
Mumbai, August 15
Reliance Retail Ltd (RRL) would create half-a-million jobs and provide indirect employment to another one million over the next three years.
Vendors protest

 

Top



 

 

 

Telcos divided over cap on operators
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
The controversy over the capping of players in the burgeoning telecom sector of the country has pitted big players against those who have presence in limited circles, and have plans to grow.

The TRAI had recently come out with consultation paper on the ‘Review of licence terms and conditions and capping of number of access providers.’

It is learnt that big players are lobbying in favour of capping, as they do not want more competitors, as it will be in their interests to divide the growing market amongst the existing players.

While the well-established national operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, BSNL and Tata Teleservices on one side want capping, there are those who want to enter or expand their presence in the mobile segment, like HFCL, Internet service providers (ISPs), Spice Telecom and Shyam Telecom backed by Reliance Communications who want the regulator to continue with the existing policy.

Over the past 10 years, India’s teledensity has grown phenomenally from around 2 per cent in 1998 to about 20 per cent today. With an increase of about 6 million subscribers per month presently, India is the world’s fastest growing mobile market.

The reason for the review is the government’s inability to find adequate spectrum to accommodate a larger number of operators as the mobile subscriber base skyrockets towards the 500-million mark.

At present, there are at least six-seven operators for each circle and each operator is demanding at least 15 Mhz per circle. The existing operators with national footprint claim that they are already facing a huge spectrum crunch in most parts of the country and, therefore, whatever radio frequency is available should be first kept aside for their requirements before new operators are allowed.

On the other hand, there are at least 40 fresh applications awaiting clearance from the Department of Telecom, from companies wanting to offer cellular services but cannot do so due to non-availability of spectrum. These applications belong to single-circle small operators such as HFCL and Spice and also semi-national operators, including Aircel and Idea Cellular.

The move by the COAI and the big operators to cap the operators number to the existing level of seven only facilitates the process of stifling the competition. If the argument of the capping camp is accepted, it will mean that all seven telecom operators could actually carve the country with each getting 18 crore subscribers.

The consumers can really look forward to further fall in tariffs if new players enter. There is already a move towards cartelisation in the wake of the price war and this move may further intensify in the coming days if the TRAI opts for capping, analysts said.

Top

 

India Inc favours reforms in agriculture,
social sector

New Delhi, August 15
Unsatiated by individual success stories essayed through mega acquisitions globally, industry titans Ratan Tata, Sunil Mittal and Venugopal Dhoot today said India needs to push reforms to overcome economic disparities and be counted among the top nations.

Though agonised by the painfully slow pace of growth in agriculture and social sector like education, the captains of industry felt that the country had achieved remarkable success since Independence 60 years ago.

They were unanimous that India's time has come and that the country is universally recognised as a nation on the move to take its place amongst the successful economies in the world.

The industry icons and associations — CII, Ficci and Assocham — were responding to PTI on India's progress since 1947 and the path ahead.

"After decades of protection through licensing and high tariffs, corporates have restructured to meet global competition and step out into the international marketplace as competitive and strong entities," Mittal, who heads one of the biggest Indian conglomerates Bharti Enterprises and apex association CII, said.

Tata, on the other hand, said: "One must recognise that great disparity still exists and that a large portion of the population survives at or below subsistence level while a smaller, more fortunate segment enjoys wealth and well-being.

"One must also recognise that the absence of a strong unified ideological construct in Parliament, deprives the country of unified decisions, singleness of purpose and often hinders the momentum of growth."

"In some areas, notably agriculture, progress remains painfully slow. We need a second infusion of technology and reforms in the farm sector," Mittal said.

He said India continued to lag in areas such as education and health and "there is no reason why we should not have universal literacy after six decades of freedom."

Ficci secretary-general Amit Mitra said while the country had gained remarkable successes since Independence, it is still plagued by some stark failures.

Assocham president and Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot said: "With the same zeal and dedication, India Inc will place the country on top of the world in the coming years." Given the country's robust manufacturing and services sector, India's economy may soon touch the coveted 10 per cent growth figure, he said.

Ficci's Mitra feels that the road ahead for development would be based on a public private partnership (PPP) and government must capitalise on the framework wherever possible.

Mittal also felt "private and the public sector have to continue playing the lead role in the economy as after many years of reforms, we have access to the required resources and can utilise them efficiently for the best results."

Declaring India's time has come in its 60th year of Independence, Tata said the country needed to move from small increments to bold large initiatives, set bigger goals and performance to be measured and for all allocated government fund to reach people for whom they were intended.— PTI

Top

 

MMTC allowed to import cement
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
In order to check spiralling price of cement, the government has permitted MMTC to import cement from foreign manufacturers.

The government has, however, set a condition that MMTC will ensure conformity of imported cement to the specified standards of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and MMTC will also ensure special marking on each bag of imported cement.

The exemption from standard mark shall be applicable for 150 days from the date of recording of their applications or till the grant of regular licence by BIS, whichever is earlier, an official press note said here.

MMTC will leverage its strength and experience in the field of import to bring large quantity of cement into the domestic market, which is likely to have a salutary effect on the cement prices.

This unique mechanism has been devised to facilitate import of cement without compromising on the quality, it said. This step is in continuation of the government’s efforts to augment the availability of cement in the domestic market.

An analysis of various inputs for cement showed that only marginal rise have taken place in the input costs while the prices of cement have risen by nearly 45 per cent between January 2006 and July 2007.

The government had initiated measures like reduction of import duty from 12.5 per cent to nil, withdrawal of countervailing duty and special additional customs duty and introduction of a combination of specific duty and ad-valorem duty structure on cement.

Top

 

Coming, laptop for Rs 15,000

Mumbai, August 15
For the tech savvy but cost-conscious Indians, this could be one offer they can't resist — a laptop for Rs 15,000.

Allied Computers International (Asia) (ACi), the only player to focus solely on the laptop space in the country, plans to launch this laptop in the first quarter of next year.

"We presently sell laptops priced below Rs 20,000 and the response has been encouraging. We now plan to launch our laptop priced around Rs 15,000," Hirji Patel, managing director, ACi, told PTI here.

A five-year-old company with investments totalling Rs 10-12 crore till now, ACi plans to enhance its production of laptops from the present 10,000 units.

The new laptop will weigh less than a kg and be much smaller in size than the conventional laptop. — PTI

Top

 

700 top Cos to come under IT Dept scanner

New Delhi, August 15
The Income Tax Department is likely to scrutinise tax returns of over 700 top companies, which include A-group category companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and NSE-500, to detect possible tax evasion.

As part of the finance ministry's efforts to meet the target of corporate and income tax collections for the current fiscal, all NSE-500 companies and BSE A-group companies listed as on March 31, 2007, will be "compulsorily scrutinised", official sources told PTI. At present, 217 companies are listed at BSE under the A-group.

Under the scrutiny process, the Income Tax Department can send notices to the firms to explain any discrepancy in the information provided through tax returns filed, advance tax deposits, TDS, and their income and expenditure for up to three years.

For the returns filed till July 31, the sources said, the income tax officers can serve the scrutiny notice any time on or before July 31, 2008.

The department is also likely to scrutinise all those cases, where refunds are more than Rs 25 lakh in a year, the sources added. — PTI

Top

 

Airtel in Sri Lanka
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15
Telecom major Bharti Airtel today said it will launch its mobile services in Sri Lanka with an investment of $200 million in the next five years.

The service will be launched through a subsidiary, Bharti Airtel Lanka Private Limited, and include 2G and 3G services to be commissioned by end of current fiscal, a release said here.

Sanjay Kapoor, president (mobile services) Airtel said: “With mobile penetration of around 30 per cent and growing at a rate of approximately two million mobile users per annum, we are excited about our entry into this market.”

He added: “Our plans for Sri Lanka clearly demonstrate our commitment to the market and also our confidence in the potential that this market holds in Airtel’s overseas expansion journey.”

Top

 

Reliance Retail to create 5 lakh jobs

Vendors protest

Lucknow: The anger against big players entering the horticulture retail business and the proposed state government’s contract farming policy spilled on the roads when vegetable and fruit vendors held statewide demonstrations and downed shutters.

An estimated 12 lakh vegetable and fruit vendors and arhtiyas observed a day-long strike on Tuesday when all major mandis in the state remained closed.

“Large retail chains are planning stores which may affect the livelihood of vegetables vendors across Lucknow as big players will try to wean away customers” said Lucknow Fruit & Vegetable Merchants’ Association president Prem Kumar Kandhari. — TNS

Mumbai, August 15
Reliance Retail Ltd (RRL) would create half-a-million jobs and provide indirect employment to another one million over the next three years.

RIL president and chief executive (operations and strategy) Raghu Pillai said: “Organised retail is expected to touch $60 billion by 2011 and has the potential to trigger socio-economic transformation on an unprecedented scale in our country.”

Reliance Retail is expecting a top-line of Rs 1,000 per sq ft per month from Reliance Mart, Pillai said.

The hypermarket format is the latest to be unveiled by Reliance Retail, which last year unveiled its fresh food format store Reliance Fresh, followed by consumer electronics store Reliance Digital.

RRL also plans to enter tier-II and tier-III cities of India by launching 700 Reliance Town Centres (RTC) in the next four years. The RTCs will be spread in a range of 30,000 to one lakh sq ft area, depending on the size of the town, to cater to a population below three lakh.

Chief executive (hypermarkets) K Radhakrishnan, at the launch of Reliance Mart in Ahmedabad, said: “Out of the total Rs 25,000 crore, major chunk of investment will go into setting up of 700 RTC centres. It will house shopping centre, markets, health centre, multiplexes, auto centre and vocational centre.” RRL has already finalised 1,024 properties for Reliance Fresh, of which 350 stores are likely to be opened this year. — PTI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Yahoo beats Google
Silicon Valley, August 15
Yahoo, for the first time, has outperformed web giant Google in overall customer satisfaction, says a new survey. According to the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Yahoo’s score in the index improved by about four per cent over the past year to 79 (out of 100 points) while Google’s score fell by nearly four per cent to 78. — PTI

Punj Lloyd
New Delhi, August 15
Engineering company Punj Lloyd today said it will raise Rs 814 crore from domestic and overseas market to finance the Pipavav Shipyard Project in Gujarat. The Delhi-based company would raise the money through qualified institutional placement (QIP) of 2.9 crore shares at Rs 275 each, Punj Llyod director (finance) Ravi Keswani said. "Out of Rs 814 crore, about Rs 400 crore will be invested for the acquisition of a 25.1 per cent stake in Pipavav Shipyard Project, where Punj Lloyd is a co-promoter," Keswani said. — PTI

Oil prices up
London, August 15
World oil prices swirled higher today as traders looked to stormy weather that could threaten energy facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Market participants were also awaiting the latest update on crude reserves in the USA. The price of London’s Brent North Sea crude for September delivery touched $70.78 per barrel, while New York’s main future contracts increased to $72.56 per barrel. — AFP

IPTV service
Bangalore, August 15
IPTV is expected to be available in around 30 cities in the next 18-20 months, industry officials said. IPTV is currently commercially available in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata and is now showing signs of gaining traction in the Indian market. Mumbai-based IPTV content provider IOL Broadband Ltd plans to deploy the triple-play service - telephone, high speed internet and cable television - in as many as 28 cities by March 2009. — PTI

SBICAP plans
Mumbai, August 15
SBI Capital Markets Ltd (SBICAP) plans to enter commodity broking and expand aggessively its on-line equity trading to take on competition from ICICI in the sector. “We plan to expand into commodity broking where volume could be phenomenal in times to come... but we may have to form another subsidiary as the regulator is different,” SBICAP’s managing director and CEO R Sridharan said. — PTI

Steel coins
New Delhi, August 15
The government has promised to address within six weeks the problem of shortage of coins in some parts of the country. Finance minister P Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha during question hour yesterday that the coins earlier made of copper and nickel, would now be made of ferro stainless steel. This is being done to stop unscrupulous elements from hoarding and melting coins for their metal value. The new metal would not have any value even if it is molten. He said some incidents of melting have come to the notice of the government and the Reserve Bank of India has initiated action. — 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 |