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Doing business not easy in India: WB report
New Delhi, September 26

Continuing economic reforms have cemented India’s position on the global arena, especially when it comes to cross-border trade, but the country still lags behind a number of other nations in terms of ease of doing business, according to a new report by the World Bank.

India less corrupt now
India has improved its position in the comity of nations in terms of integrity as it is ranked 72 among 180 countries in the corruption index this year, Transparency International has said.It was at the 70th position among 163 countries last year.

Govt may dole out more sops to exporters: FM
Washington, September 26
The Indian government is concerned over the rapid rise in rupee vis-a-vis dollar but will not intervene other than providing some succour to exporters, finance minister P Chidambaram said here.It (rise of rupee) has some consequences, particularly for exporters," he told PTI on the over 11 per cent rise in rupee against the greenback this year. 


 

EARLIER STORIES

 
The Sukhoi Superjet-100 civil passenger airplane stands on an airfield in Komsomolsk-na-Amur on Wednesday. The Superjet-100 is being shown to the public for the first time today. It is the first non-military aircraft to be produced by Sukhoi, which is known for its fighter jets.
The Sukhoi Superjet-100 civil passenger airplane stands on an airfield in Komsomolsk-na-Amur on Wednesday. The Superjet-100 is being shown to the public for the first time today. It is the first non-military aircraft to be produced by Sukhoi, which is known for its fighter jets. — AFP photo

Mallya buys 50% in US firm
New Delhi, September 26
Continuing his overseas takeover drive, liquor baron Vijay Mallya today acquired 50 per cent stake in US private jet maker Epic for $120 million (about Rs 480 crore).

Mukesh Ambani world’s richest Indian
New Delhi, September 26 
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has overtaken NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal to become the richest Indian in the world, thanks to the unprecedented boom in the domestic stock market.

SEBI raises cap on overseas investment for MFs
Mumbai, September 26 
The SEBI has raised the cap on overseas investments by individual mutual funds to $300 million, following the RBI’s liberalisation of overseas investment norms to rein in the rising rupee.Earlier, the limit was $200 million or 8-10 per cent of the total assets under management, whichever was lower.

Air Deccan offer for infants
Kolkata, September 26
Air Deccan today announced a new fare which would enable the infants to fly by paying a token amount of Rs 225.

Russian Co bags 10% in Shyam Telelink
New Delhi, September 26
Russian telecom firm Sistema today acquired 10 per cent stake in Shyam Telelink, a service operator in Rajasthan which has now applied for nationwide telecom licences.

BHEL bags Rs 765-cr SAIL contract
New Delhi, September 26
Engineering major Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has won a turnkey order valued at around Rs 765 crore for setting up a captive power plant at a steel plant in West Bengal.

Tariff Hike
TDSAT notice to TRAI, telcos

New Delhi, September 26
The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today issued notices to regulator TRAI and mobile operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea over the recent hike in tariff. During the hearing on a petition filed by an NGO, the Telecom Users Group of India, TDSAT chairman directed TRAI and the three operators to file their reply within a week.

Indiabulls to foray into retail, power
Mumbai, September 26
Indiabulls Real Estate (IREL) today announced its plans to foray into the power, retail and telecom businesses.

First cement consignment from Pak lands 
Amritsar, September 26
In view of the growing economic boom, need of cement for building infrastructure have increased manifold and first consignment of cement from Pakistan has arrived in India. The consignment of 500 metric tonnes arrived in a special railway rack today on an order placed by a local trader to overcome the urgent requirement of the booming construction business in the country.

Nikon sets up subsidiary in India
Plans to capture 10 per cent market share    

New Delhi, September 26
Nikon Corporation, which today set up wholly-owned subsidiary in India, has said it plans to capture 45 per cent of Indian digital SLR market and 10 per cent of the Indian compact camera market by 2010.

A Tribune photograph  

Future Group to invest Rs 750 cr
New Delhi, September 26
Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group will invest up to Rs 750 crore in the next three years for setting up 50 "Brand Factory" outlets, which will offer around 120 brands across various categories cheaper by 20-50 per cent.

A Tribune photograph

HSIIDC pays Rs 5 cr dividend
Chandigarh, September 26
The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) has declared an all-time high dividend of Rs 5 crore for 2006-07. The dividend cheque was presented today to Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda by chairman, HSIIDC, M.L.Tayal.

 

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Doing business not easy in India: WB report

New Delhi, September 26
Continuing economic reforms have cemented India’s position on the global arena, especially when it comes to cross-border trade, but the country still lags behind a number of other nations in terms of ease of doing business, according to a new report by the World Bank.

India has been ranked at 120th position, up by 12 positions from last year, in the ‘Doing Business-2008’ report released by the World Bank and its private sector lending arm IFC today.

Neighbouring countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and China, as well as lesser known places like Tonga, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Ghana, Antigua and Barbuda have been placed at higher ranks than India in the list, which is topped by Singapore for the second consecutive year.

However, India has been ranked as the top reformer worldwide for trading across the borders. In terms of overall economic reforms, Egypt has been ranked at the top position. India does not find place in this list.

The report noted that south Asia picked up the pace of regulatory reform over the past year to become the second-fastest reforming region in the world, at par with the speed of reform in the OECD countries.

“The pickup in reform was led by India, which rose by 12 places on the ease of doing business and made the reform of business regulation a policy objective,” the report said.

Bhutan and Sri Lanka are the other top reformers in south Asia this year.

The top countries in south Asia were Maldives (60) and Pakistan (76). India achieved a bigger gain than China, which rose by nine places to 83rd among a total of 178 economies.

The report finds that equity returns are highest in countries that are reforming the most. Investors are looking for upside potential and they find it in economies that are reforming regardless of their starting point.

The report noted large emerging markets were reforming fast with China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Egypt, improving their rankings for the ease of doing business and due to regulatory reform, more businesses were starting up.

“Besides making it easier to trade across borders, India increased access to credit by expanding credit bureau coverage to individuals as well as businesses. It also introduced an electronic registry for security rights granted by companies,” the report said.

The rankings were based on 10 indicators of business regulation that track the time and cost to meet government requirements for business start-up, operation, trade, taxation, and closure. The rankings, however, do not reflect such areas as macroeconomic policy, quality of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perceptions, or crime rates, IFC said. — PTI

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India less corrupt now

India has improved its position in the comity of nations in terms of integrity as it is ranked 72 among 180 countries in the corruption index this year, Transparency International has said.

It was at the 70th position among 163 countries last year.

Accordingly, India’s integrity index has marginally improved to 3.5 in 2007 from 3.3 a year ago on a scale of 10 points, TI said today.

India’s rank at 72 in corruption index is also shared by China, Mexico, Morocco and Peru. Pakistan is way down at 138th position.

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand are the least corrupt countries, which jointly top the list with integrity index of 9.4 points each.

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Govt may dole out more sops to exporters: FM

Washington, September 26
The Indian government is concerned over the rapid rise in rupee vis-a-vis dollar but will not intervene other than providing some succour to exporters, finance minister P Chidambaram said here.

"It (rise of rupee) has some consequences, particularly for exporters," he told PTI on the over 11 per cent rise in rupee against the greenback this year. If the package given in July was not sufficient the government could think of more steps to help them tide over the situation, he added.

Chidambaram, who also addressed the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said unless the US government takes some steps India cannot do anything in this regard.

"Our exchange rate has a symbiotic relationship with the exchange rate of the US... The rupee is stable against the euro and many other currencies. It is only against the dollar the rupee has appreciated by nearly 10 to 10.5 per cent in the past eight to nine months," he said.

In this context, Chidambaram made it clear neither the government nor the Reserve Bank had a view on the exchange rate, which he said was market-determined and would remain so.

In a bid to calm the market, he said "if there is any volatility or disorderly movement I suppose the central bank will intervene using whatever instrument it has. The central government does nothing on that behalf".

Chidambaram said the government was concerned about rupee appreciation. The policy was to allow two-way movement of the exchange rate, but the movement should be "orderly", he said.

The rupee touched 39.63 to a dollar today, its highest level since April 1998. The RBI has refrained from intervening as this makes imports cheaper, helping it to contain prices in the world's second-fastest growing economy.

The government had given a Rs 1,400 crore package to exporters in July and has earlier indicated the export target of $160 billion for 2007-08 could be scaled down if the rupee continues to rise.

Talking about India's economic growth, he said the outlook for the medium term was extremely positive.— PTI

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Mukesh Ambani world’s richest Indian 

Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani

New Delhi, September 26 
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has overtaken NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal to become the richest Indian in the world, thanks to the unprecedented boom in the domestic stock market.

Ambani's net worth has soared past $50 billion, making him the first Indian and only the fourth person in the world to have a wealth higher than this amount. The RIL chief is now believed to be next only to software czar Bill Gates of the US, Mexican business baron Carlos Slim Helu and Warren Buffett, regarded as the world's greatest investor.

Based on the closing share prices of various group companies such as RIL, Reliance Petroleum, IPCL and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure, Mukesh Ambani is estimated to hold shares worth $50.1 billion (about Rs 2,00,000 crore) through promoter holdings in these companies.

The four companies together have a market value of Rs 4,09,325 crore ($103 billion).On the other hand, Mittal owns shares worth about $48.4 billion in ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker in terms of revenue, assets and market value.Shares of ArcelorMittal, in which Mittal family holds 44.79 per cent, were trading around 55 euros ($77) in European market today, giving it a market cap of about $108 billion .

While the net worth of Ambani and Mittal are based on the current market values of their group companies, that of Gates, Buffett and Carlos Slim are based on figures for August-end.
According to US-based business magazine Forbes, which publishes lists for richest Americans and the wealthiest in the world every year, Bill Gates is the richest in the US with a net worth of $59 billion followed by Warren Buffett with $52 billion.

This list was published earlier this month. The magazine had also put Carlos Slim's net worth near $59 billion. The magazine in its world's richest list published in March this year had placed Mittal at fifth position with a net worth of $32 billion while Mukesh Ambani was at 14th rank with $20.1 billion.— PTI

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SEBI raises cap on overseas investment for MFs

Mumbai, September 26 
The SEBI has raised the cap on overseas investments by individual mutual funds to $300 million, following the RBI’s liberalisation of overseas investment norms to rein in the rising rupee.

Earlier, the limit was $200 million or 8-10 per cent of the total assets under management, whichever was lower.

The RBI’s new measures include higher ceiling of money parked abroad by all MFs to $5 billion from $4 billion earlier.

“Within the overall limit of $5 billion, mutual funds can make overseas investments subject to a maximum of $300 million per mutual fund,” SEBI said.
It also said the overall cap of $1 billion for investment in overseas exchange traded funds is subject to a maximum of $50 million per MF.

Under the cap of $300 million for individual mutual funds, MFs can invest in American Depository Receipts and Global Depository Receipts by Indian or foreign companies, initial and follow on public offerings for listing on stock exchanges overseas, besides other instruments.

The RBI had yesterday eased the norms for overseas investment by entities to flush out excess liquidity in the system and to limit the rise in the value of rupee against the dollar.

According to the revised norms, MFs can also invest in equity of overseas companies listed or recognised stock exchange overseas, foreign debt securities in the fully convertible currencies, short and long term debt instruments with rating not below investment grade. — PTI 

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Mallya buys 50% in US firm

New Delhi, September 26
Continuing his overseas takeover drive, liquor baron Vijay Mallya today acquired 50 per cent stake in US private jet maker Epic for $120 million (about Rs 480 crore).

The investment by the UB Group head is in his personal capacity and a formal announcement of the deal would be made shortly in New York.

This will be Mallya's second personal acquisition after a 50 per cent stake in Dutch Formula 1 team Spyker.

Both the Formula 1 team as also the US company match up to the flamboyant image of the Bangalore-based industrialist, whose domestic airline Kingfisher is seeking permission to fly global. — PTI

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Air Deccan offer for infants
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 26
Air Deccan today announced a new fare which would enable the infants to fly by paying a token amount of Rs 225.

Air Deccan's CEO Ramki Sundaram said they were restructuring entire fare structure for facilitating poor people to fly.

He said they would be focusing more on people below the poverty level for facilitating them to fly at least once in their lives.

The airlines has already declared a "first-come-first-served" booking system which was enabling the first buyer to pay a negligible amount to fly. 

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Russian Co bags 10% in Shyam Telelink

New Delhi, September 26
Russian telecom firm Sistema today acquired 10 per cent stake in Shyam Telelink, a service operator in Rajasthan which has now applied for nationwide telecom licences.

The company has plans to expand service throughout the country.

Shyam Telelink, a group firm of Shyam Telecom, is a basic telecom service licensee for Rajasthan. It offers both wireless as well as wireline services. Sources said the company has also applied for getting Unified Services Access (UAS) licences to start operations in 21 circles.

Shyam Telelink offers only CDMA-based service in Rajasthan under the brand name "Rainbow". It was earlier offering GSM-based services as well, but sold it to Bharti Airtel about four years ago. — PTI

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BHEL bags Rs 765-cr SAIL contract
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
Engineering major Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has won a turnkey order valued at around Rs 765 crore for setting up a captive power plant at a steel plant in West Bengal.

The power plant will be equipped with state-of-the-art multi-fuel gas-fired boilers, specifically designed to utilise waste gases emanating from the steel making process like blast furnace gas, basic oxygen furnace gas and coke oven gas.

Steel Authority of India (SAIL) had placed the order for the expansion project of its IISCO Steel Plant at Burnpur in West Bengal.

The power plant will meet the power requirement of the upcoming expansion project of the steel plant and is slated for commissioning in a tight schedule of 26 months.

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Tariff Hike
TDSAT notice to TRAI, telcos

New Delhi, September 26
The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today issued notices to regulator TRAI and mobile operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea over the recent hike in tariff.

During the hearing on a petition filed by an NGO, the Telecom Users Group of India, TDSAT chairman directed TRAI and the three operators to file their reply within a week.

In the petition, the NGO has challenged the recent price hike by Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea, requesting the tribunal to put the hike in tariff on hold. It also sought a direction to TRAI to look into the hike.

The NGO, during the proceedings, requested for a direction to the three operators to put on record that they would refund the excess amount back to their customers if they loose this case.

The operators had raised charges for local calls by 20 per cent and international calls by 20-32 per cent in August.

The petitioner said the companies were increasing the prices just to earn huge profit. It said the operators, which are virtually controlling around 64 per cent of the market, are already earning a lot of profit and there was no urgency to increase the rate in such a manner.

“Even without this hike, there was substantial profit in this sector... Companies were earning around Rs 7,200 crore per month,” it said. “It was not just a 20-paisa hike in the tariff. It was virtually a 20 per cent increase and by it the telcos would earn Rs 8,600 crore extra every year.” The NGO’s cousel Meenakshi Arora said. — PTI

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Indiabulls to foray into retail, power

Mumbai, September 26
Indiabulls Real Estate (IREL) today announced its plans to foray into the power, retail and telecom businesses.

“We will spend Rs 1,500 crore to foray into the wholesale retailing business and Rs 500 crore to put up a 500 MW power plant in the Nasik SEZ for captive use,” IREL spokesperson Gagan Banga said. IREL has also applied for licences to launch telecommunication services in 22 regions of the country. — PTI

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First cement consignment from Pak lands 
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, September 26
In view of the growing economic boom, need of cement for building infrastructure have increased manifold and first consignment of cement from Pakistan has arrived in India.

The consignment of 500 metric tonnes arrived in a special railway rack today on an order placed by a local trader to overcome the urgent requirement of the booming construction business in the country. Pakistan have added cement into wide range of products to overcome the adverse trade balance vis a vis India.

Rajdeep Uppal, a leading importer, said the cement would be available in the local market at the rate of Rs 220-230 per bag and would be at least 10 per cent cheaper than the major brands available in the country. He said the cement has been purchased from a reputed cement manufacturer and conforms to BIS quality standards. He added that Pakistan has offered very competitive international price to meet the global price bracket and itching to build up business with India.

Uppal said large quantities were in the pipeline and expected that more cement would be imported into the country in the next few months to offset the adverse trade balance. He stated that the consignment was immediately sold out in Punjab and other states through a network of stockists and dealers.

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Nikon sets up subsidiary in India
Plans to capture 10 per cent market share 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
Nikon Corporation, which today set up wholly-owned subsidiary in India, has said it plans to capture 45 per cent of Indian digital SLR market and 10 per cent of the Indian compact camera market by 2010.

“As a part of our vision-2010, we hope to capture 45 per cent of Indian digital SLR market and 10 per cent of the Indian compact camera market. Our subsidiary in India will help consumer to get first hand experience,” Nikon (India) managing director Hidehiko Tanaka said here.

By the end of 2006-07, Nikon plans more than 100 per cent expansion in retail consumer outreach through its dealer network. It will also introduce five new models of ‘Coolpix’ and two models of D-SLR cameras by year end.

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Future Group to invest Rs 750 cr

New Delhi, September 26
Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group will invest up to Rs 750 crore in the next three years for setting up 50 "Brand Factory" outlets, which will offer around 120 brands across various categories cheaper by 20-50 per cent.

The Brand Factory format of the Future Group is aimed at providing best apparels brands in men's, women's and kids segment along with luggage, mobile, accessories and footwear at "smart prices".

"Our plan is to set up 50 'Brand Factory' stores in the metros and grade A cities of the country by 2010-11," Brand Factory marketing chief Rajesh Seth told PTI.

He said an average investment of Rs 15 crore will go into setting up a store spread across 6,500 feet. Seth said youth with high purchasing power and a brand conscious attitude was the target for the company.— PTI

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HSIIDC pays Rs 5 cr dividend
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) has declared an all-time high dividend of Rs 5 crore for 2006-07.
The dividend cheque was presented today to Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda by chairman, HSIIDC, M.L.Tayal.

The dividend is the result of an all-time high profit of Rs 40.89 crore during this period as against Rs 29.43 crore during 2004-05.
Tayal said the corporation had registered a quantum jump of 186 per cent in its net profit after tax during this year, which is a record.

Managing director Rajeev Arora said the HSIIDC had incurred an expenditure of Rs 940.42 crore on the development of industrial infrastructure in the state, which was significantly higher than Rs 841.63 crore during the previous year. Recovery from allottees during the current year was much higher at Rs 752.86 crore as against Rs 252.98 crore during the previous year.

The corporation had drawn an ambitious plan for setting up new industrial estates and infrastructure projects for which a land bank was being created. The investment outlay on providing infrastructure for these projects would be Rs.12,000 crore. Prominent among these projects were the KMP Expressway, industrial model townships(IMT) at Rohtak, Faridabad and Jagadhari and expansion of IMT Manesar, Bawal, Barhi, Rai, Karnal and Saha industrial estates.

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BRIEFLY

Glenmark Pharma
Mumbai, September 26
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals today said it has received approval from the UK regulatory agency for its semi-solid (ointments and creams) product manufacturing plant in Himachal Pradesh. The plant, located in Baddi, has been approved for good manufacturing practice by UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

ABB India
New Delhi, September 26
ABB India today said it has won Rs 93.3 crore contract from German KHD Humboldt Wedag GmbH to provide a turnkey electrics and automation solution for a 5,000 tonnes per day capacity greenfield cement plant at Katrana in Jordan. 

Accentia Tech
New Delhi, September 26
Accentia Technologies Ltd today said it has bagged a $3.5 million order from its UK clients for its BPO services. “After acquiring 100 per cent stake in Bangalore-based Thunga Software Ltd and majority stake in Asscent Infoserve Ltd, we are trying to increase the scale of our operations at these two companies with the new order that the company has procured,” the company said. 

Max New York Life
Chandigarh, September 26
Max New York Life today launched ‘Smart Steps’ range of unit linked child plans. These plans facilitate planning for children’s needs and provide financial protection. The ‘Smart Steps-Plus’ plan has an additional inbuilt feature of family income benefit, which ensures that the child’s recurring needs are taken care of by way of extra yearly payouts on the death of the parent for the rest of the policy term.

Airtel offer
Chandigarh, September 26
Airtel today announced the launch of a special handset bundle offer in association with Nokia for a range of attractive Nokia handsets. Customers in Punjab, who buy a Nokia 5200, 5300, 5700, N 70M or an N 72 handset, will get a free Airtel SIM card with all local, STD and national roaming calls (outgoing and incoming) at Re 1 per minute. The cost of each local and national SMS will be also Re 1. In addition, the first 10 minutes of incoming roaming will be free every day. Till October 31, customers will also get 50 per cent off on full song downloads from Airtel live.

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