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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

IPI Gas Pipeline
Pakistan, Iran can start off without India
It is legally justified, says Iranian envoy Masha Allah Shakeri
Islamabad, November 17
A high-level delegation from Iran will visit Pakistan next week to finalise the gas pipeline project and the two countries can start the joint venture without India as it is “legally justified”, Iranian Ambassador Masha Allah Shakeri said today.

Made-in-Britain curry for India
London, November 17
In a bold new twist to globalised trade, British retailer Marks & Spencer is to deliver curry to India.


A
Marks & Spencer store
A Marks & Spencer store.

OPEC may launch environment fund
Riyadh, November 17
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is likely to launch an environment fund to cut carbon emissions, even as the oil cartel looks set to reject calls for output hike to cool prices.

 
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addresses the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Business and Investment Summit in Singapore on Saturday.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addresses the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Business and Investment Summit in Singapore on Saturday. Lee called on Asean to accelerate further economic integration among the 10-member grouping in order to keep up with China and India. — AFP photo

Group to explore Indo-Pak
export potential

New Delhi, November 17
An Indo-Pak joint study group at the private sector level will be formed to explore the possibilities of co-ordinated export strategy between the two countries in potential areas. Four members from the private sector will be identified from each country to be part of the joint study group.

China, India to sign pact on steel
New Delhi, November 17 
As leading steel utilities embark on major capacity expansions and need for coking coal shoots up, both India and China have decided to join hands in extending cooperation in iron and steel sector and are all set to sign a memorandum of understanding for the same next month.

Aviation Notes
AAI, DIAL at loggerheads
by K.R. Wadhwaney
Public memory is short. This seems to be the thinking of the Delhi airport authorities who are trying to place lid on the untimely death of the aeronautical engineer Sanskriti Sinha, 26, on the tarmac on October 21. The forensic experts have given their opinion. They have disclosed that Ms Sinha was crushed under the wheel.

Investor Guidance
Notionally let out house may attract wealth tax
by A.N. Shanbhag
Q: As per my knowledge if a property has been rented for at least 300 days in the year, wealth tax is not applicable. My query is regarding a person owning two houses. 

 
Video
Sri Lanka to import Indian rice.
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IPI Gas Pipeline
Pakistan, Iran can start off without India
It is legally justified, says Iranian envoy Masha Allah Shakeri

Islamabad, November 17
A high-level delegation from Iran will visit Pakistan next week to finalise the gas pipeline project and the two countries can start the joint venture without India as it is “legally justified”, Iranian Ambassador Masha Allah Shakeri said today.

Talks between Islamabad and Tehran on the pipeline are in the final stages and Iran still hoped that India would join this “important project”, Shakeri told a press conference at the Iranian embassy here.

He was hopeful the project to build a pipeline to carry gas to Pakistan would be finalised “soon after the arrival of the Iranian delegation”.

Replying to a question, Shakeri expressed the hope that India would join the project. Pakistan and Iran can start the project without involving India as it is “legally justified”.

“However we welcome India to the project,” he said.

“We would like to make the project operational as soon as possible.” Asked about the pricing of the gas to be supplied by Iran to Pakistan, the ambassador said, “These are very minor issues, and will be resolved amicably between the two countries.” Answering a question about the availability of gas, Shakeri said there is an abundance of gas and it will be sufficient for at least three generations.

Asked about the right of sale of gas to any other country, he said it is possible but only under an agreement and with the consent of Iran.

Iran is also ready to provide electricity to Pakistan for domestic and commercial use as this would help promote trade relations between the two countries, Shakeri said.

Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari has, meanwhile, said there was no deadline for India to join the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline service, and expressed the hope that New Delhi would not buckle under pressure from Washington to join the rival gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan.

“We have not set any deadline for India to join the IPI pipeline project,” The News quoted Nozari, as saying.

“What we are told is that India has kept their interest in the project. Both Iran and Pakistan expect and welcome India to join the project, we have not and will not set any deadlines (for India joining the project),” he added.

The project, in its present state, envisages the construction of a 2,600-km-long pipeline that would bring gas from Iran’s giant South Pars field to Pakistan and India.

India, which has not been able to resolve the issue of transit fee with Pakistan, has said that it would not participate in the trilateral talks till it is decided. — PTI, ANI

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Made-in-Britain curry for India

London, November 17
In a bold new twist to globalised trade, British retailer Marks & Spencer is to deliver curry to India.

Ten days after announcing major investment plans in India, Marks & Spencer said it will sell its 'Made in Britain' curry sauces and a canned curry at the M&S food hall in Delhi — one of 12 stores the company runs in India.

M&S curry sauces are popular in Britain where chicken tikka masala is often described as the national dish.

Like shipping coals to Newcastle, the creamy tikka marinade to be sold in Delhi will be made in Littleborough, Lancashire, and the canned mild chicken curry in Chichester, Sussex, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.

An M&S spokesman said: "Our Indian ranges are developed by top Indian chefs.

"Many of the spices we use we have sourced from India, while our cooking process replicates the traditional stages of Indian cooking." Industry experts back M&S' brave move.

The newspaper quoted analyst Bryan Roberts as telling Retail Week magazine: "There's a lot of potential there. The Indian consumer has proved to be very aspirational and a well-regarded brand such as M&S should prove extremely popular."

Indian sales figure heavily in M&S's growth plans. After indifferent sales at home, the company announced November 6 that it will invest £1.1 billion (about Rs 91 billion) in India and China next year.

M&S has been trading in the Indian market for six years and its chief executive said: "India is an exciting long-term opportunity and a market where we have been trading for six years. We are looking to accelerate the pace of growth in this fast developing economy over the next few years." — IANS

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OPEC may launch environment fund

Riyadh, November 17
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is likely to launch an environment fund to cut carbon emissions, even as the oil cartel looks set to reject calls for output hike to cool prices.

The third summit at its conclusion tomorrow is likely to announce a fund, which will have contributions from energy consuming countries and oil producers, to provide technological support for reduction of the environmental impact of fuel use, OPEC officials said.

OPEC was unlikely to announce any production increase and instead would make a commitment to ensure energy supply and seek to reduce carbon emissions released from pumping and refining oil and gas, they said.

OPEC general secretary Abdalla Salem el-Badri has said OPEC is concerned about climate change and is willing to help develop ways to cut emissions such as carbon capture and storage.

“This needs a lot of money, this needs a lot of research,” he said. “Developed countries have the financial backup, they have the technological backup to take the lead.

Also, we will try to contribute.” One idea floated in forums ahead of the summit was for OPEC, industrial nations and developing countries to each stump up $1 billion to research carbon capture.

Harmful emissions could be reduced if the carbon can be captured and stored, for example in depleted oilfields.

The oil cartel is also expected to reject a proposal from members Iran and Venezuela asking for pricing the produce in currencies other than dollar as weakening of the US currency had impacted revenues.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, has opposed the move saying it did not want the US currency to “collapse”. Saudi Arabian foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said his country would not discuss pricing oil in currencies other than the dollar. — PTI

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Group to explore Indo-Pak export potential
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 17
An Indo-Pak joint study group at the private sector level will be formed to explore the possibilities of co-ordinated export strategy between the two countries in potential areas.

Four members from the private sector will be identified from each country to be part of the joint study group, which not only makes recommendations for enhancing the combined share of India and Pakistan in the world market but also the likely social costs, if any, of such arrangements incidental on business. Special focus would be on cooperation in the textile sector.

Chief executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan Tariq Ikram disclosed this at an interface with Indian businessmen organised by the PHD chamber last evening here.

Referring to the scope of such arrangements in the textile sector, he pointed out that the combined market share of India and Pakistan in world textile exports in segments like garments, made-ups, towels, etc was far below that of China.

“A joint strategy for marketing such goods in the international market would be of great help to both the countries. There could be possibilities for forming joint ventures between the two countries in product lines that hold promise to make inroads into export of goods, where world market is increasing phenomenally,” he said.

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China, India to sign pact on steel

New Delhi, November 17
As leading steel utilities embark on major capacity expansions and need for coking coal shoots up, both India and China have decided to join hands in extending cooperation in iron and steel sector and are all set to sign a memorandum of understanding for the same next month.

“It is in the interest of the steel and iron sector of both countries that we enhance more cooperation in this sector. We expect to sign an MoU for this purpose with National Development and Reform Cooperation (NDRC) of China next month,” a top steel ministry official told PTI.

According to the draft MoU, being considered by the steel ministry, both nations would resolve to ensure transfer of technology in steel and ferro-alloys and undertake joint exploration, development and production of coking coal through joint biddings or establishment of ventures. — PTI

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Aviation Notes
AAI, DIAL at loggerheads
by K.R. Wadhwaney

Public memory is short. This seems to be the thinking of the Delhi airport authorities who are trying to place lid on the untimely death of the aeronautical engineer Sanskriti Sinha, 26, on the tarmac on October 21.

The forensic experts have given their opinion. They have disclosed that Ms Sinha was crushed under the wheel. The findings say that the one behind the wheel was driving recklessly. The police and other controlling authorities, like the Airports Authority of India (AAI), have all clues

but they seem to be unwilling to apprehend the culprit. It is a shocking state of affairs. Even Deccan Airlines has not raised questions for the authority’s indifference.

While this mysterious death remains unsolved for about a month, another lady official, Aman Saini, assistant general manager of Terminal II, had a providential escape as heap of false ceiling roof of the new renovated room came crashing on her during office hours.

Aman Saini did sustain bruises. She was dazed when she was pulled out from under the debris by her colleague, who was around. "I am lucky that I am living", said Aman, adding: "Anything could have happened".

"Only a single panel had got detached and fell down," says Delhi International Airport (DIAL) official, adding: "Aman was not hurt". Whether the official was hurt or not was not the fit point to debate. What is cause for concern is that the goings-on are not satisfactory and the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has become a cesspool of corruption and inefficiency. The bone of contention is that two main functionaries — AAI and DIAL — are on loggerheads. They are interested in settling their own scores than providing a healthy picture of the international airport.

Contrary to DIAL's claims, animals continue to roam around two runways. Recently, a stray dog was found near the subsidiary runway. This shows utter negligence of the authorities responsible for guarding the tarmac and other sensitive areas.

The situation will improve considerably only when the ministry directs two premier bodies to `behave' and work together for the upkeep of the airport.

Judging from the goings-on, aviation analaysts are of the firm belief that passengers will be subjected to inconvenience during foggy season. The IGIA is not ready to organise smooth operations. Providing tea and snacks to waiting passengers will not solve the problem. What is suggested is that the authorities in consultation with the airlines, domestic and foreign, should reschedule flights in such a way that operations of flights during foggy hours are considerably reduced.

Jet Airways had yet another emergency landing at the Delhi airport on Wednesday, November 14. All 127 passengers and crew from Varanasi had a difficult time. The plane landed under full emergency and luckily nothing untoward happened. The fact is that too many incidents of such kind are taking place. This is not a healthy sign.

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Investor Guidance
Notionally let out house may attract wealth tax
by A.N. Shanbhag

Q: As per my knowledge if a property has been rented for at least 300 days in the year, wealth tax is not applicable. My query is regarding a person owning two houses. One of the houses is treated as self-occupied and hence exempted from payment of income tax on notional income from the house. Though the second house is not let out, notional income thereon is worked out and income tax at the applicable rate is paid thereon. Is the market value of this property has to be included for the purpose of working out the wealth tax.

As the second is house is treated as notionally let out under income tax, will it not be automatically exempt from wealth tax as wealth tax is not payable on houses rented for over 300 days?
— Anil Patro

A: Your point is extremely valid and fair, however, our laws were never known for their fairness. As it happens, the Income Tax Act and the Wealth Tax Act are two distinct and separate laws and the treatment of a particular item in one may not necessarily be recognised and considered by the other. Therefore, when the WTA specifies that a house let out will be considered as exempt from wealth tax, it means the term ‘let out’ in the conventional sense and not ‘notionally let out’ in terms of the treatment in the ITA.

Extra tax

Q: In March 2007, I invested Rs 70,000 in PPF and Rs 30,000 in tax saving funds. However, my employer has deducted full tax on my salary without taking cognizance of the tax saving investments. The HR department tells me that they had asked for proof of investments in the first week of February but I couldn’t provide the same since I was travelling. Now, for no fault of mine, I have ended up paying higher tax. What is my recourse in such cases? Can the extra tax be adjusted this year?
— Raju Gangwani

A: Each company has its own policy regarding the last date till which they will accept proof of tax saving investments. Though the last date for the taxpayer is March 31, employers cannot wait till that date as payroll processing has to be finished in time. As per law, once the tax deducted has been paid to the government, the same cannot be refunded by the employer. Neither can it be adjusted in the current year. The refund had to be claimed through your tax return indicating the extra tax deducted. If you haven’t filed your tax return till date, it would be advisable to do so immediately.

Home loan

Q: I am a salaried person and live in a rented apartment in Mumbai. I have also bought a property in my native place at Chennai for which I have taken a home loan. I wish to know whether I would be eligible for the tax deduction on home loans in spite of the fact that I am not staying in the house purchased and, in fact, living in a rented flat.
— Chandan

A: Your not staying at Chennai or renting an apartment in Mumbai has got no bearing on the home loan deductions available to you. As long as it is residential property that you have purchased and you have taken a loan for purchasing the same, notwithstanding anything else, home loan deductions are available to you. Consequently any interest up to Rs 1.50 lakh and principal payment up to Rs 1 lakh are deductible.

The authors may be contacted at wonderlandconsultants@yahoo.com

Nepalese passport holder and NRI

Q: I am married to a Nepalese citizen and live permanently in UK. I first came here on a Nepalese passport. What should I do to get NRI status? Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
— Dagli

A: The status of NRI is obtained on the basis of the number of days stay outside India and the individual is not required to do anything special. Incidentally, Nepal is not a part of Indian territory. You cannot become an NRI by virtue of your marriage or having Nepalese passport. Yes, you are a PIO (person of Indian origin) if you or any of your parents or grandparents were born in India. The rights and privileges of a PIO are more or less the same as those of an NRI.

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