SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

RBI tightens norms to check flow
Bank funds to MFs, FIIs
Mumbai, December 14
Concerned over the increasing flow of banking funds into the stock markets, the Reserve Bank today tightened the credit facility for Mutual Funds and asked banks not to guarantee payments to stock exchanges on behalf of Foreign Institutional Investors.

Global Fertiliser Prices
Govt apprehends 35 pc spurt
New Delhi, December 14
The whopping fertiliser subsidy bill is likely to go up even further next kharif season with the Centre estimating a 35 per cent spurt in the phosphate and potassium-based fertilsers in the international market.

Inflation rises to 3.75 per cent
New Delhi, December 14
Inflation rose sharply to 3.75 per cent for the week ended December 1 from 3.01 per cent in the previous week due to spurt in the prices of some food products and manufactured items and also 16 per cent increase in Aviation Turbine Fuel.


EARLIER STORIES

 

IT returns can be filed till Feb 29
New Delhi, December 14
The Supreme Court today directed taxpayers all over the country to file returns under the prescribed new forms for assessment year 2007-08 by February 29, 2008 - the new deadline set by the government.

India inc give thumbs up to UPA govt: Assocham
New Delhi, December 14
The performance of UPA government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been “more than satisfying” in the last three and a half years and its Business Confidence Index is investment-friendly to fair extent, according to an Assocham survey.

Citigroup COO quits
New York, December 14
Only two days after taking over as the new chief executive of Citigroup, America’s largest bank, Vikram S. Pandit has announced the resignation of the financial giant’s chief operating officer Robert Druskin.

ICICI, IL&FS, Kotak pick up 9.55 pc stake in MCX
Mumbai, December 14
Financial Technologies, parent company of Multi Commodity Exchange, today said leading banking and financial services groups ICICI, Kotak and IL&FS have picked up 9.55 per cent stake in MCX, at an enterprise value of up to $ 1.1 billion.

Telcos to give undertaking on life-time plans
New Delhi, December 14
Telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have agreed to submit their undertakings before fair trade practices watchdog MRTPC over misleading lifetime prepaid services scheme.

RCom files caveat in Delhi HC
New Delhi, December 14
Reliance Communications is believed to have filed a caveat in the Delhi High Court to ensure the court hears its side in the event of rival GSM-based mobile operators challenging telecom tribunal TDSAT’s decision on new licences and spectrum allocation.

GDP growth expected at 8.5 pc: Reddy
Chennai, December 14
GDP growth for the current year is expected to be about 8.5 per cent, while inflation is likely to be below 5 per cent, Reserve Bank of India Governor Y V Reddy said here today.

TRAI for auctioning spectrum for TV on cells
New Delhi, December 14
Telecom regulator TRAI today said it would submit its recommendations to the government next week for auctioning spectrum used for watching television on mobile phones.

Dominique Soulard, Chairman & Manager Director of Gautier (L) and Manhad Narula, Director of Ebony Retail, at a press conference to launch Ebony-Gautier Home Adornment Store, in New Delhi

Gautier-Ebony JV

Dominique Soulard, Chairman & Manager Director of Gautier (L) and Manhad Narula, Director of Ebony Retail, at a press conference to launch Ebony-Gautier Home Adornment Store, in New Delhi on Friday. French home furnishing retailer Gautier and domestic firm Ebony today announced a joint venture to set up exclusive home decor stores with an initial investment of Rs 120 crore in the next two years. The JV will set up around 20 home adornment stores in north and west India to sell contemporary furniture, furnishing and home decor products, Narula said.
— A Tribune photograph


Videos
TCS to collaborate with TAFE.
(56k)
Pak to import cotton from India.
(56k)





Top








 

RBI tightens norms to check flow
Bank funds to MFs, FIIs

Mumbai, December 14
Concerned over the increasing flow of banking funds into the stock markets, the Reserve Bank today tightened the credit facility for Mutual Funds and asked banks not to guarantee payments to stock exchanges on behalf of Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs).

Issuing the guidelines after the close of trading session today, the RBI said: “Entities such as FIIs are not permitted to avail of fund or non-fund based facilities such as Irrevocable Payment Commitments (IPCs) from banks.” The RBI further said that funds provided by banks to the equity-oriented MFs would be factored into individual banks’ capital market exposure limit.

As far as other MFs are concerned, the central bank said they can borrow up to 20 per cent of the net asset of the scheme from banks for six months to meet temporary liquidity needs like repurchase of units or payment of interest or dividend to the unit holders.

The RBI has issued these guidelines after it came to the notice of the central bank that “banks have extended large loans to various MFs and have also issued IPCs to stock exchanges (BSE and NSE) on behalf of MFs/FIIs”.

The RBI has also given six months time to the banks to comply with its notification on exposure of banks to capital markets through loans to MFs and issuance of IPCs. — PTI

Top

 

Global Fertiliser Prices
Govt apprehends 35 pc spurt
S Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
The whopping fertiliser subsidy bill is likely to go up even further next kharif season with the Centre estimating a 35 per cent spurt in the phosphate and potassium-based fertilsers in the international market.

Keeping this volatility in international prices in mind, the Centre has urged all states to emulate states like Punjab and Haryana in taking timely action for identifying supply gaps and nominate a state agency to place orders well in advance.

With high volatility in the international market, advance information on the requirement will help the agencies like MMTC and IPL to place order at an appropriate time and at a price, which is low or at least competitive, Vijay Chibber, a joint secretary in the fertiliser ministry said here today.

The burden of fertiliser subsidy on the Centre is over Rs 46,000 crore this year, including the subsidy backlog of Rs 8,000 crore. With an estimation of 35 per cent spurt in prices, the subsidy bill is also expected to go up correspondingly in the near future.

This year the urea prices have shot over $ 407 per tonne, while DAP has touched an unprecedented $ 600 per tonne, Chibber said.

This year Punjab and Haryana had done commendable work by placing advance requirements and thus the importing agencies like MMTC and IPL were in a position to contract the supply on time, he said.

“Each state government is expected to take timely action for identifying supply gaps, nominate a state agency to place orders and thereafter arrange for receiving and marketing the imported stocks of fertilisers,” he added.

Asserting that there is no overall shortage of either urea, DAP or MOP at the macro-level and that shortage if any at the local level is due to deficiencies in the transportation and marketing, he said.

The Centre on its part has from this year started monitoring the delivery of fertilisers at the district level and the subsidy component is paid to the company only on delivery at the District level, he said adding, “This has helped a great deal in removing the supply constraints at the local level.”

However, still in some states, due to deficiencies in transportation and marketing, fertilisers are not hitting the shelves at local level,” he added without naming the states.

Top

 

Inflation rises to 3.75 per cent
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
Inflation rose sharply to 3.75 per cent for the week ended December 1 from 3.01 per cent in the previous week due to spurt in the prices of some food products and manufactured items and also 16 per cent increase in Aviation Turbine Fuel.

The Wholesale Price Index stood at 5.56 per cent in the corresponding week a year ago.

While prices of fruits, vegetables, condiments and spices went up by 1 per cent, naphtha and bitumen became dearer by 9 per cent and bajra rose by 3 per cent, according to official data released here today.

Inflation figure for the week ended October 6 was revised to 3.22 per cent against the provisional figure of 3.07 per cent as the WPI finally stood at 215 points compared to the earlier estimate of 214.7 points.

Despite sharp increase, inflation rate of 3.75 per cent is below the RBI’s projection of close to 5 per cent for the current fiscal.

Top

 

IT returns can be filed till Feb 29

New Delhi, December 14
The Supreme Court today directed taxpayers all over the country to file returns under the prescribed new forms for assessment year 2007-08 by February 29, 2008 - the new deadline set by the government.

The direction was passed after Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran informed the Bench headed by Justice B N Agarwal that the Centre was issuing a notification today extending the time for filing returns till February 29, next year in relation to all categories of assessees.

The Bench also set aside the Allahabad High Court order that allowed business class and professionals having income below Rs 20 lakh to file tax returns under both SARAL-2D and new return forms for the assessment year.

“It is for the statutory authority to decide the type of forms.”

Earlier, the apex court on October 30 had allowed UP taxpayers to file returns under 2D Saral Form as well as the new forms for assessment year 2007-08 to avoid inconvenience to tax payers who were trying to meet the October 31 deadline for filing returns. — PTI

Top

 

India inc give thumbs up to UPA govt: Assocham
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
The performance of UPA government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been “more than satisfying” in the last three and a half years and its Business Confidence Index is investment-friendly to fair extent, according to an Assocham survey.

The survey, in which 70 per cent of the CEOs and MDs participated, rated the government’s performance at seven points out of 10 and described its Business Confidence Index as investment-friendly to fair extent and for keeping average GDP growth to around 8.3 per cent.

The CEOs, however, felt that inflation remained a prime concern for the government in the past three and half years which despite its best effort, stayed at 6 per cent and caused a great deal of criticisms for the UPA government.

As many as 35 per cent of the CEOs and MDs have rated the current government performance, describing it just an average, arguing that neither employment increased substantially nor reforms in labour market were introduced and therefore, the growth rate cannot be termed as ‘inclusive’.

However, 85 per cent of CEOs felt that Dr Singh did all humanly possible ever since he took over as the Prime Minister on almost all fronts under coercion of coalition politics, particularly in maintaining an excellent foreign policy with equally-balanced approach towards economies of scale and those of developing countries. FTA’s performance and foreign exchange reserves were appreciated by 85 per cent of CEOs.

Nearly 30 per cent of CEOs and MDs have hailed the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh in handling the nuclear issue with United States of America without any offensive and belligerent approach to some of its nuclear partners, saying that such a delicate issue was handled with much more maturity and statesmanship and at times, the government faced embarrassment on this issue because of domestic political reason.

Nearly 70 per cent CEOs said that Dr Singh’s leadership deserves only 7 marks out of 10 because prices of agricultural commodities showed a sharp rise in the 3 and half years of the UPA rule primarily due to stagnating production and rising demand. Commodities prices like pulses, wheat and edible oil have seen a jump of 40-100 per cent thereby contributing to overall inflation.

Majority of the CEOs appreciated the allocation of UPA government towards education. Compared to 2001-02, financial outlays for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan increased 15-fold from Rs 665 crore and stood at Rs.10,671 crore in 2007-08.

Top

 

Citigroup COO quits

New York, December 14
Only two days after taking over as the new chief executive of Citigroup, America’s largest bank, Vikram S. Pandit has announced the resignation of the financial giant’s chief operating officer Robert Druskin.

It was not clear whether the move was linked to Pandit’s plans for fixing Citigroup hard hit by its exposure to mortgage-related investments to the tune of about $18 billion and shoring up its stock price, which has plunged 38 per cent this year.

But DealBook, a New York Times blog, noted Thursday that Druskin, a longtime adviser and friend to former CEO Charles O. Prince III, spearheaded the reorganisation at the firm that led to 17,000 layoffs last spring.

The news was conveyed to Citi employees via internal memorandums from Pandit and Druskin, who would be retiring at the end of the year.

“I am sorry to see him leave, but after 16 years of exceptional service to Citi, he certainly has earned that right. I clearly understand and respect his decision,” said Pandit, describing Druskin as “an outstanding executive and an extraordinary individual.”

“The company is in very good hands with Vikram as Chief Executive, Sir Win (Winfried F.W. Bischoff) as Chairman and all of you in our businesses, regions and functions; I can’t imagine a more talented or dedicated team,” said Druskin noting that “with the company entering an important next phase now seems right (time) to me” to leave.

DealBook also said that with the appointment of Pandit as CEO, attention is increasingly turning to the question of whether he will break up the financial behemoth.

In an interview for BusinessWeek, Pandit remained vague about whether asset-sales were on the table. One of his main focuses, Pandit said, is “to look at every one of our businesses...individually and collectively, to make sure they’re the right businesses and they are positioned for the future we see in financial services.”

The company’s diversified model, masterminded by Sanford I. Weill, has come under criticism from investors who say Citigroup has become too unwieldy to be managed effectively. Its stock price has fallen 40 per cent this year. The company could face billions of dollars in additional losses on troubled credit card, auto and home loans. — IANS

Top

 

ICICI, IL&FS, Kotak pick up 9.55 pc stake in MCX

Mumbai, December 14
Financial Technologies, parent company of Multi Commodity Exchange, today said leading banking and financial services groups ICICI, Kotak and IL&FS have picked up 9.55 per cent stake in MCX, at an enterprise value of up to $ 1.1 billion.

ICICI Group has picked up a 3.5 per cent stake in the country’s largest commodity exchange, while Kotak and IL&FS have acquired 5 per cent and 1 per cent respectively, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

“This milestone is a testimony of the quality of the institute we have built in and from India where the global and domestic best have converged,” MD and CEO of MCX, Jignesh Shah said.

The transactions valued MCX at $ 1 billion to $ 1.1 billion, the communiqué said.

Other shareholders in MCX include Fidelity International, State Bank of India, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Indore, State Bank of Saurashtra, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, SBI Life Insurance Co Ltd, HDFC Bank, National Stock Exchange, NABARD, Canara Bank, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Corporation Bank.

Earlier this year, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup bought a 5 per cent stake each in the exchange. Financial Technologies is the parent firm of the Multi Commodity Exchange. — PTI

Top

 

Telcos to give undertaking on life-time plans

New Delhi, December 14
Telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have agreed to submit their undertakings before fair trade practices watchdog MRTPC over misleading lifetime prepaid services scheme.

During a hearing before the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) last month Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, and government-run BSNL and MTNL agreed to submit the undertaking.

MRTPC was hearing a case filed by its investigative arm DGIR alleging the use of deceptive advertisements by operators to promote their lifetime prepaid services.

The life-time prepaid scheme holds good till the time the license of a telecom operator is valid and not the life time of the customer.

The commission had granted the telcos three weeks to file the undertaking .

Earlier this year, taking a suo motto cognisance, the Commission had directed the Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR) to look into the advertisements published by telcos promoting life-long free incoming calling cards.

The DGIR found the ads deceptive and recommended action against the telcos. The matter will come up for next hearing in mid-January. — PTI

Top

 

RCom files caveat in Delhi HC

New Delhi, December 14
Reliance Communications is believed to have filed a caveat in the Delhi High Court to ensure the court hears its side in the event of rival GSM-based mobile operators challenging telecom tribunal TDSAT’s decision on new licences and spectrum allocation. Although Cellular Operators Association of India, the GSM players lobby, has not yet approached the High Court, sources said that CDMA mobile operator RCom has filed a caveat as a precautionary step.

Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Authority had on December 12 refused to stay the government’s process of awarding new licences and allocating airwaves to mobile firms, a decision which existing GSM players say would hurt them Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular are the major GSM players in COAI, but it is learnt that there is no consensus within the lobby group over moving the High Court. — PTI

Top

 

GDP growth expected at 8.5 pc: Reddy

Chennai, December 14
GDP growth for the current year is expected to be about 8.5 per cent, while inflation is likely to be below 5 per cent, Reserve Bank of India Governor Y V Reddy said here today.

Reddy also said the external sector continued to be stable and strong. “The fiscal situation is likely to be on track. The financial market, particularly money market, government securities market and products market, are expected to be reasonably stable,” he said. — PTI

Top

 

TRAI for auctioning spectrum for TV on cells

New Delhi, December 14
Telecom regulator TRAI today said it would submit its recommendations to the government next week for auctioning spectrum used for watching television on mobile phones.

“‘We are talking about delinking licence from spectrum. Operators may like to bid for spectrum marked for mobile television,” TRAI Chairman Nripendra Mishra told reporters on the sidelines of a conference at India Telecom Summit 2007 here.

TRAI will submit the recommendations to the government by Wednesday, he added. — UNI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Maharashtra Seamless
Mumbai, December 14
Maharashtra Seamless Ltd (MSL), the flagship company of DP Jindal Group, today said it has secured export orders worth $ 40 million dollars (over Rs 157 crore) from the US as well as Latin America and is in talks with global oil majors to penetrate in the international market. The company will supply seamless pipes to the companies for exploration and drilling activities and is also in talks with global oil majors like Shell and Occidental for further market penetration, MSL said in a filling to the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

Mahindra IPO
Mumbai, December 14
Mahindra Holidays and Resorts Ltd, a subsidiary of Mahindra and Mahindra, has filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) with the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The objects of this issue include financing the expansion of some of its existing resorts and setting up of new projects, the company said. As per the Draft Red Herring Prospectus filed with SEBI, the IPO will consist of 10,719,347 equity shares of Rs10 each for cash at a price to be decided through a 100 per cent book-building process. The issue would constitute 13 per cent of the fully diluted post-issue paid-up capital of the Company. The company has plans to construct new resorts and projects at Pondicherry, Kumbalgarh (Rajasthan), Kadambakkam (Tamil Nadu), Binsar (Uttaranchal), Theog (Himachal Pradesh) and Tungi (Maharashtra). — TNS

Intel
Chandigarh, December 14
Intel Technology today launched new range of processors for desktop and laptop computers using the 45 nm (nano meter) technology here, besides announcing the launch of a campaign for scaling its operations in smaller cities. “The processors would enhance the performance of computers by 20 per cent and reduce power consumption by 30 per cent,” Intel’s Sandeep Aurora said here today. — PTI

$10 b GFH zone
Mumbai, December 14
Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House (GFH) today announced it would develop a $ 10 billion complex near Mumbai that will house software, energy, telecom and entertainment facilities. The 1,600-acre Economic Development Zone, alongside the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, will house - Energy City India, Software City Mumbai, Telecom City Mumbai and Entertainment City Mumbai, Peter Panayiotou, CEO of the Bahrain-based bank, said. — PTI

VSNL renamed
Mumbai, December 14
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), which was divested by the Indian government to the Tata in the early part of this decade, has been renamed Tata Communications Ltd. The proposal to rename VSNL was approved at the Extraordinary General meeting of the company today. As part of the Tata policy, the company will pay a branding fee for using the Tata word in its name. The fee has been pegged at 0.25 per cent of the turnover or 5 per cent of PBT, whichever is less. — TNS

Rel Energy
New Delhi, December 14
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Energy has emerged as a qualified bidder for setting up a $ 1 billion gas-based power project in Bahrain. The greenfield project would also include a desalination plant, sources said. — PTI

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 |