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Govt approves Reliance gas pricing formula
New Delhi, September 12
The government today approved the issue of pricing gas from Reliance Industries’ (RIL) deep-water block in the Krishna-Godavari basin at $4.20 per million metric British thermal unit (mBtu), marginally lower than the company’s proposal for the gas it plans to produce from the fields from next year.

RBI: RRBs’ recapitalisation needs 1,800 cr
Kolkata, September 12
The Reserve Bank of India today said about Rs 1,800 crore would be required to strengthen the balance sheet of regional rural banks (RRBs), even as the regulator acts to revive urban co-operative banks (UCBs).

Industrial growth dips to 7.1 pc
New Delhi, September 12
India’s industrial growth slowed down to 7.1 per cent in July this year from 13.2 per cent in the same month last year with high interest rates adversely impacting the growth of manufacturing sector.

Tariff Hike: TRAI, TDSAT on warpath
New Delhi, September 12
The recent tariff hike by three private mobile operators appears to have ignited a turf war between TRAI and TDSAT, with the regulator contending that the issue does not come under the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Rangarajan for reducing govt stake in PSBs
Mumbai, September 12
The government should look at reducing its stake in public sector banks (PSBs) below 51 per cent as banks need capital to fuel growth, the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council chairman C Rangarajan said today.

Pegs GDP  growth at 9 pc

COAI notice to DoT on spectrum delay
New Delhi, September 12
Fearing that existing players may find it difficult to get additional spectrum if telecom regulator TRAI’s recommendations are accepted, GSM operators have slapped a legal notice to the government for delay in allocating the frequency to them. “Several applications for allotment of spectrum had been cleared by all relevant competent authorities, making it clear that the spectrum was available for allotment,” COAI director general T V Ramachandran said.




A model displays Sony's new Blu-ray disk recorder, equipped with a HDD (hard disk drive) recorder, in Tokyo
A model displays Sony's new Blu-ray disk recorder, equipped with a HDD (hard disk drive) recorder, in Tokyo on Wednesday. Sony will put four models on the market on November 8. — AFP 




EARLIER STORIES

 

Premji world’s richest Muslim tycoon
New York, September 12
India’s software czar Azim Premji now has a new nomenclature - the world’s richest Muslim entrepreneur - as he holds more wealth than any other Muslim outside the Persian Gulf royalty, a US media report said. Financial daily ‘Wall Street Journal’ has written a front-page profile on chairman of India’s third largest IT exporter Wipro, saying Premji defies all conventional wisdom about Islamic tycoons-he does not hail from the Persian Gulf, did not make his money in petroleum, and does not wear his faith on his sleeve.

No unsolicited calls : HC to telcos
New Delhi, September 12
The Delhi High Court yesterday restrained telemarketers from making unsolicited calls to mobile phone users, irrespective of the fact whether or not they are registered with the DND facility.
Dieter Zetsche (R), CEO of DaimlerChrysler AG, and actress Sonja Gruendemann dressed in a historic costume from 1888 of Bertha Benz, wife of Karl Benz, pose in front of a Mercedes F700 concept car at the 62nd International Motor Show in Frankfurt
Dieter Zetsche (R), CEO of DaimlerChrysler AG, and actress Sonja Gruendemann dressed in a historic costume from 1888 of Bertha Benz, wife of Karl Benz, pose in front of a Mercedes F700 concept car at the 62nd International Motor Show in Frankfurt on Wednesday. — AFP

ArcelorMittal buyout
Jerusalem, September 12
Steel giant ArcelorMittal has agreed to buy 51 per cent of Turkish steel company Rozak, which had sales of $358 million last year.

RIL allotment to IPCL shareholders by Oct 12
Mumbai, September 12
Reliance Industries Ltd has fixed October 12 as the record date for allotting fully paid-up equity shares to shareholders of IPCL, which has been merged with it.

Wipro launches supercomputers in India
Bangalore, September 12
Wipro Infotech, the India, West Asia and Asia Pacific IT business unit of Wipro Ltd, today announced the launch of Wipro Supernova — a range of supercomputers and superstorage in India.

Return Of The Native
Indian IT professionals homebound

Chennai, September 12
With India becoming a favoured destination of several multinational companies, thousands of Indian IT professionals in the United States are returning to their homeland with good pay packets, according to a survey.

Angad Paul Entrepreneur of the Year
London, September 12
Angad Paul, CEO of the Caparo Group, has received the GG2 Leadership and Diversity award for Entrepreneur of the Year in recognition of his dynamic role in the massive expansion of the  $ 1.5 billion group.

Finnish Co opens unit in TN
Sriperumbudur,September 12
Finnish mobile charger giant Salcomp yesterday opened its manufacturing facility here, 70 km from Chennai, which will generate generate direct employment for 2,500 persons.

Tally’s ‘earn while you learn’ programme
New Delhi, September 12
Accounting software major, Tally, today launched ‘Pragati’ - earn while you learn’ programme, aiming to empower the youth of India with a unique opportunity with multi-pronged benefits.


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Govt approves Reliance gas pricing formula
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 12
The government today approved the issue of pricing gas from Reliance Industries’ (RIL) deep-water block in the Krishna-Godavari basin at $4.20 per million metric British thermal unit (mBtu), marginally lower than the company’s proposal for the gas it plans to produce from the fields from next year.

The Empowered Group of Minister (EgoM) headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee tweaked the price formula, leading to a price of $4.20 dollar per million mBtu against $4.33 per million mBtu as proposed by the company.

The EGoM modified the formula, recommended by PM’s Economic Advisory council headed by C Rangarajan, by removing exchange rate component and lowering the ceiling of the price band from $65 to $60 a barrel.

“This price basis / formula will be valid for five years from the date of commencement of first commercial production and supply. The price discovery process on arms-length basis will be adopted in the future NELP contracts only after the approval of the price basis / formula by the government. The price discovered through this process would be applicable to all sectors uniformly,” an official release said.

The above decision of the EGoM will lead to a gas price of $ 4.20 per million mBtu at delivery point, which translates into a price of Rs172.20 per million mBtu at the prevailing Indian Rupee-US dollar exchange rate. The approved price is 8.32 per cent lower than the price proposed by the contractors, it said.

The EGoM concluded that for all NELP-I to NELP-VI contracts, for natural gas price calculation, the constant would be pegged at $ 2.50/MMBTU. It observed that since ‘C’ was the only biddable component in the submitted formula, assigning a value of ‘0’ (zero) to this component would also address the transparency aspect of the bidding process.

RIL had proposed the value of ‘C’ at Rs.4/MMBTU whereas the fertiliser units had bid a low of Rs 1/MMBTU for ‘C’.

The EGoM, which met for the third time today, was of the view that upstream oil & gas companies should have the freedom in setting the price as well as in marketing.

Sources said the EGoM left the final decision on Pranab Mukherjee, who will go on a five-day foreign visit tomorrow afternoon.

The production-sharing contract (PSC) signed between the government and the contractor (RIL-Niko) under NELP provides marketing freedom to the contractor, and the Centre’s role is only confined to approving the pricing formula or process for valuation of its share. The petroleum ministry is in favour of honouring PSC.

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries wants higher prices and more customers for the gas, off India’s east coast, a move opposed by his brother Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources and the state-run National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC).

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RBI: RRBs’ recapitalisation needs 1,800 cr

Kolkata, September 12
The Reserve Bank of India today said about Rs 1,800 crore would be required to strengthen the balance sheet of regional rural banks (RRBs), even as the regulator acts to revive urban co-operative banks (UCBs).

"There are 96 RRBs in the country and only some require recapitalisation. Total estimated amount would be Rs 1,800 crore for recapitalisation," RBI deputy governor Usha Thorat said here at a state-level banking meet.

"The RRB board should decide on capital infusion. Recapitalisation is needed though they are growing through normal profit," Thorat said.

She, however, did not clarify whether RBI would make RRBs' recapitalisation mandatory.

The Centre would need to infuse Rs 50 crore into the capital of these banks in order to support the process, Thorat said.

The role of RRBs was significant in achieving financial inclusion and RBI was keen to spread financial literacy to help this process.

Speaking on UCBs, Thorat said the regulator might wind up banks which could not be revived or merged. — PTI

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Industrial growth dips to 7.1 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 12
India’s industrial growth slowed down to 7.1 per cent in July this year from 13.2 per cent in the same month last year with high interest rates adversely impacting the growth of manufacturing sector.

According to the quick estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) released by the government today, growth in the manufacturing sector came down to 7.2 per cent during July 2007 as compared to 14.3 per cent in July 2006.

Manufacturing sector has taken a hit due to the stringent monetary policy being adopted by the RBI as the spurt in interest rates has curbed consumer spending in automobile and consumer goods industry.

The output of consumer durables such as refrigerators and television fell 3.2 per cent against a growth of 16.1 per cent in July 2006. Similarly, production of consumer non-durables decelerated to 8.4 per cent from 17.1 per cent a year ago.

The growth of consumer goods sector in July slowed down to 5.3 per cent from 16.8 per cent last year.

Mining and electricity sector also witnessed deceleration in output. During the month, mining production grew at a slower rate of 4.9 per cent from 5.1 per cent last year, while electricity generation was down to 7.5 per cent as against 8.9 per cent in the corresponding month last year.

Poor performance in July also pushed down the cumulative growth in industrial production during April-July 2007 to 9.6 per cent as compared to 11.1 per cent in the corresponding period last fiscal.

Meanwhile, Industry Chambers, blaming the tight monetary policies of the RBI for the deceleration in industrial growth, called for reduction in interest rates.

Ficci president Habil Khorakiwala urged the authorities to reduce the interest rates and nudge the entire system to follow suit.

“This would ensure that the manufacturing sector comes back on the high growth track,” said Khorakiwala.

Expressing shock, Assocham president Venugopal N Dhoot said “possible reasons for this deceleration could be misappropriation on part of the government rather than due to stringent monetary policies of RBI.”

“Therefore, the government and industry should sit across the table and objectively analyse consequences that led to fall in industrial production so that these are timely arrested to achieve the GDP growth of over 9 per cent for current fiscal,” he added.

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Tariff Hike: TRAI, TDSAT on warpath

New Delhi, September 12
The recent tariff hike by three private mobile operators appears to have ignited a turf war between TRAI and TDSAT, with the regulator contending that the issue does not come under the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

“TDSAT has no right to pass any direction because the dispute involved is not covered under Section 14 of the TRAI Act. TDSAT could only entertain against the TRAI order,” Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh, appearing for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

During a hearing in the tribunal, TRAI also said it was not the right time to step in as price hike was done only recently.

Admitting the petition filed by Delhi-based NGO Telecom Watchdog against the tariff hike, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) issued notices to TRAI and Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar and Idea Cellular.

Last week, TDSAT had pulled up TRAI for not intervening in the issue as the price hike had direct bearing on users.

TRAI sought to justify the present prices, saying that due to intense competition call charges have come down from Rs 16 a minute a few years ago to Re 1 at present.

TDSAT has directed TRAI and three operators to file their reply and posted the case for next hearing on November 13. — PTI

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Rangarajan for reducing govt stake in PSBs

Mumbai, September 12
The government should look at reducing its stake in public sector banks (PSBs) below 51 per cent as banks need capital to fuel growth, the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council chairman C Rangarajan said today.

Pegs GDP  growth at 9 pc

The country's GDP growth rate for the year would be about 9 per cent, a top government official said today.

"For the year as a whole, the growth rate would be maintained...there could be some special features...I have not yet analysed it. But overall the growth rate of the economy during the year will be about 9 per cent," Rangarajan said.

On interest rate cut by the RBI in the light of softening inflation, Rangarajan said the monetary policy had played a role in keeping price level well anchored but price trends have to be well established before reducing interest rates.

"It is good that the year-on-year inflation is below 4 per cent, but we also need to watch how the prices behave during the year and therefore monetary policy changes have to come after a clear trend has been well established," he said. — PTI

Other options before the government include bringing in additional capital in banks or include in the definition of government quasi-government entities such as Life Insurance Corporation, he said at a Ficci conference here.

However, to do this, appropriate statutory amendments are necessary, the former RBI governor said.

With the banking industry moving toward adoption of Basel II norms, it will require more capital.

On consolidation in the industry, Rangarajan said it has so far primarily been confined to a few mergers in the private sector, "although some recent consolidation in the state-owned segment is evident as well".

Rangarajan said as banks' bottomlines come under pressure and the options for organic growth exhaust themselves, banks in India would need to explore the inorganic expansion route.

However, consolidation must emerge out of a felt need for merger rather than as an imposition from outside, he said, adding "the synergic benefits must be felt by the entities themselves".

Rangarajan emphasised the point that consolidation did not mean that there was no future for small and medium-sized banks.

On risk management, he said there was a need to have a different methodology in assessing credit risk in lending to service sectors as compared to manufacturing. Similarly, housing and consumer credit would need new approaches.

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COAI notice to DoT on spectrum delay

New Delhi, September 12
Fearing that existing players may find it difficult to get additional spectrum if telecom regulator TRAI’s recommendations are accepted, GSM operators have slapped a legal notice to the government for delay in allocating the frequency to them.

“Several applications for allotment of spectrum had been cleared by all relevant competent authorities, making it clear that the spectrum was available for allotment,” COAI director general T V Ramachandran said.

He contended that GSM operators had been facing a severe crunch on spectrum and have been waiting for months or even years in some cases to get spectrum.

Sources said COAI’s move was prompted by TRAI’s recommendations, which suggested up to six times higher subscribers to become eligible for additional spectrum.

Expressing concern over flood of new applications for licenses, Ramachandran said: “It would be desirable that DoT first address the applications that were already pending with it when it issued last licenses in December 2006.” — PTI

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Premji world’s richest Muslim tycoon

New York, September 12
India’s software czar Azim Premji now has a new nomenclature - the world’s richest Muslim entrepreneur - as he holds more wealth than any other Muslim outside the Persian Gulf royalty, a US media report said.

Financial daily ‘Wall Street Journal’ has written a front-page profile on chairman of India’s third largest IT exporter Wipro, saying Premji defies all conventional wisdom about Islamic tycoons-he does not hail from the Persian Gulf, did not make his money in petroleum, and does not wear his faith on his sleeve.

“Azim Premji has tapped India’s abundant engineering talent to transform a family vegetable-oil firm, Wipro Ltd, into a technology and outsourcing giant. By serving Western manufacturers, airlines and utilities, the company has brought Premji a fortune of some $ 17 billion,” the report said.

The daily quoted Premji in the report titled “How a Muslim Billionaire Thrives in Hindu India” as saying that such success shows globalisation is turning into “two-way traffic” that can bring tangible benefits to developing countries.

“We have always seen ourselves as Indian. We’ve never seen ourselves as Hindus, or Muslims, or Christians or Buddhists,” Premji told WSJ in an interview. — PTI

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No unsolicited calls : HC to telcos

New Delhi, September 12
The Delhi High Court yesterday restrained telemarketers from making unsolicited calls to mobile phone users, irrespective of the fact whether or not they are registered with the DND facility.

A Bench said if any telemarketer continues with such activities it would be illegal and the consumers can move against telecom companies in the consumer court.

The court passed the order on a contempt petition filed by Nivedita Sharma saying she had been getting unsolicited calls despite a consumer court order.

60 lakh register

Nearly 60 lakh mobile subscribers have enrolled with the National-Do-Not-Call (NDNC) registry within just 10 days of its launch to avoid getting unsolicited sales calls from telemarketers. — PTI

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ArcelorMittal buyout

Jerusalem, September 12
Steel giant ArcelorMittal has agreed to buy 51 per cent of Turkish steel company Rozak, which had sales of $358 million last year.

The transaction is subject to government's anti-trust authorities' approval and is expected to be completed by year-end 2007.

"This acquisition is an important step for ArcelorMittal to meet the strong Turkish demand in all products", 'Turkish Daily News' quoted a press release from ArcelorMittal as saying. — PTI

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RIL allotment to IPCL shareholders by Oct 12

Mumbai, September 12
Reliance Industries Ltd has fixed October 12 as the record date for allotting fully paid-up equity shares to shareholders of IPCL, which has been merged with it.

In accordance with the scheme, RIL will issue and allot fully paid up equity shares of Rs 10 each to the shareholders of IPCL as on the record date in the ratio of 1 equity share of RIL for every 5 equity shares of IPCL, it said.

Unitech to replace IPCL

Meanwhile, realty firm Unitech will replace IPCL on NSE’s benchmark index Nifty from October 5. Unitech will be included on the S&P CNX Nifty index as trading in shares of IPCL would be suspended pursuant to its amalgamation with Reliance Industries Ltd, an NSE statement said. — PTI

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Wipro launches supercomputers in India

Bangalore, September 12
Wipro Infotech, the India, West Asia and Asia Pacific IT business unit of Wipro Ltd, today announced the launch of Wipro Supernova — a range of supercomputers and superstorage in India.

Wipro is building Supernova grounds up in India in exclusive partnership with Z RESEARCH, Inc., a California-based organisation specialised in commoditising supercomputers and superstorage.

Supernova includes a complete range of supercomputers with an entry level configuration delivering one trillion mathematical calculations per second going up to hundred thousand trillions of calculations per second and superstorage scaling to multiple hundred petabytes, company officials said.

Wipro officials said Supernova promises to meet faster data-crunching and storage needs of high-end scientific research labs in defence, geological surveys, biotechnology, animation and other high end design space. — PTI

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Return Of The Native
Indian IT professionals homebound

Chennai, September 12
With India becoming a favoured destination of several multinational companies, thousands of Indian IT professionals in the United States are returning to their homeland with good pay packets, according to a survey.

The survey, conducted by Indus Entrepreneurs, an association of Indian IT professionals settled in the US, found that around 60,000 professionals have returned to India in recent years, Michael M Bala, business head of recruitment portal clickjobs.com, said.

Several couples in age group of 27 to 35 were looking forward to come back to India, he said, quoting the survey.

“Most young Indian couples preferred to return to India to protect their kids from the western culture and to educate them in Indian atmosphere,” he said.

Infrastructure development and job opportunities at the more or less same salary in India were cited as the factors behind the trend.

Bala, who recently conducted a job fair in New Jersey to recruit personnel for multinational companies, said more and more Indians were coming forward to return to their motherland with the country becoming favoured destination of several MNCs, financial institutions and IT companies.

“The growth of these institutions in India have thrown open the doors to talented people, who had so for thought that the West was their only resort,” he said.

In the recently held job fair, over 3,000 people, mostly couples, had come forward to attend interviews for companies like Yahoo, Canon, IBM and HP, he said.

Encouraged by this, the portal would be conducting another fair in the US within six months, he said. — PTI

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Angad Paul Entrepreneur of the Year

London, September 12
Angad Paul, CEO of the Caparo Group, has received the GG2 Leadership and Diversity award for Entrepreneur of the Year in recognition of his dynamic role in the massive expansion of the 
$ 1.5 billion group.

Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown presented the award to Angad, younger son of NRI industrialist Lord Swaraj Paul, in a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London.

Other award recipients included Malti Sitaram (Community Award), John Powell, (Metropolitan Police Community Award), Stephen Wiltshire (Achievement through Adversity), Rajini Vaidyanathan (Young Journalist of the Year), Bangladesh Football Association (Football in the Community Award), Abdul Basil, Community Cohesion Officer, Bolton (Beautiful Game Award). — PTI 

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Finnish Co opens unit in TN
Arup Chanda
TNS

Sriperumbudur,September 12
Finnish mobile charger giant Salcomp yesterday opened its manufacturing facility here, 70 km from Chennai, which will generate generate direct employment for 2,500 persons.

After Shenzen in China, this is the second largest manufacturing hub for mobile phone chargers in Asia.

Speaking at the inaugural function, Finnish Ambassador Asko Numminen said currently there were 70 Finland companies who have invested in India.

Arto Makela, Director of Salcomp Indian Operations said, “Salcomp's investment in India is to address, drive and support the growth of Indian mobile industry and serve its customers better. India is a strategically important location for Salcomp.

"Hence it is important that we employ the best of the resources available. We scrutinise and identify the best available resources when it comes to recruiting. Salcomp will definitely benefit out of the vast experience and skills of its employees in Chennai," he added.

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Tally’s ‘earn while you learn’ programme
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 12
Accounting software major, Tally, today launched ‘Pragati’ - earn while you learn’ programme, aiming to empower the youth of India with a unique opportunity with multi-pronged benefits.

Students enrolling for Pragati not only get an opportunity to hone their skills as Tally-certified accounting professionals, but also to become self-reliant by availing of the earning opportunities. In addition to this, they would also get to experience real-life entrepreneurial skills depending on their career aspirations, a company release said.

Addressing the growing need for trained accounting professionals across India, students, irrespective of their educational backgrounds, can enroll either in the Tally Financial Accounting Program (TFAP) or Tally Financial Accounting Certification (TFAC) or a bundled offer and get certified through a 1,000-plus TallyAcademy network spread across India . 

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BRIEFLY

Alchemist buyout
Mumbai, September 12
Drug firm Alchemist Ltd today said it is going to acquire a majority stake in super specialty health care facility Kaiser Hospital Ltd, which is valued at Rs 200 crore. The company's board in August last year had approved a proposal to merge Kaiser with the company, Alchemist said in communique to BSE. — PTI

Awarded
Mumbai, September 12
Jet Airways today said its chairman Naresh Goyal has been accorded the Tata AIG-Lifetime Achievement Award at the closing ceremony of Travel Agent's Federation India International Travel Convention awards nite in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Jet Airways has also won TravelBiz Monitor's most innovative product launch award for its first class product on its long-haul flights. — Agencies

Mary Kay foray
New Delhi, September 12
Mary Kay, world’s largest direct sellers of skin care and colour cosmetics, today said it plans to invest $20 million in the next five years and the first phase of the launch would focus on New Delhi, Chandigarh and Ludhiana. The company launched its India operations today with its base in Gurgaon. “We anticipate generating same success in India that we are experiencing in other Asia-Pacific markets,” said K.K. Chua, president, Mary Kay Asia-Pacific. — TNS

Lotus fund
Mumbai, September 12
Lotus India AMC, a joint venture between Fullerton Fund Management Group and Sabre Capital Worldwide, today announced the launch of Lotus India Overnight Fund, an open-ended liquid scheme to provide liquidity to the investors. The new fund offer (NFO) opened for subscription today and closes on September 13. Minimum subscription amount for the fund is Rs 5,000 and in multiples of Re 1 thereafter. — UNI

Purvankara
Mumbai, September 12
The Bombay Stock Exchange today said it has decided to include Puravankara Projects Ltd in BSE-500 index, replacing Aztecsoft Ltd, with effect from September 17. The Puravankara scrip would be also added in BSE Realty Index effective from September 17, an exchange release said here today. — PTI

Maruti school
New Delhi, September 12
Maruti Udyog Ltd today said it has tied up with the Gujarat government to set up an automobile driving training institute in Vadodra. Apart from imparting training in driving, The Gujarat Regional Automobile Training Institute at Gajadara village would offer automobile technical training to young population in villages of Gujarat, MUL said.— PTI

Cairn Energy
London, September 12
Cairn Energy, the UK oil explorer that sold shares in India's second-largest initial public offering, returned to profit in the first half of the year because of proceeds from the share sale. Net income was $1.52 billion compared with a loss of $5.8 million a year earlier, Edinburgh, Scotland-based Cairn said in a statement today. 
— Bloomberg

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