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Refund taxes on exports, FM tells states
New Delhi, December 19
Amid apprehension that hardening Rupee would further cripple Indian exports, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today urged state governments to ensure that their taxes do not burden external trade.

Give more to education, healthcare: Amartya to govt
New Delhi, December 19
Amartya Sen The government needs to allocate more funds for basis amenities like primary education and healthcare in order to attain its inclusive growth target, noted economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said today. "The governmental revenues are witnessing a fast paced growth but this is not being utilised to generate resources where it is needed," Sen said here on the sideline of a CII summit on "Right to Education - Actions Now."

SEBI to create database of market participants
Mumbai, December 19
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will create a database of all participants in the bourses, a move that will help the regulator keep a watch on traders, investors and intermediaries operating in the market.

Ban against ADAG brokerage firm withdrawn
Mumbai, December 19
The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has let off Reliance Share and Stock Brokers Pvt Ltd, an Anil Ambani group firm, from a four-month suspension for violating fair business practices on payment of Rs 50 lakh as fine.

SC notice to RIL
New Delhi, December 19
The Supreme Court has sought a reply from Reliance Industries (RIL) on a plea by tax authorities which alleged that the Mukesh Ambani-led company evaded excise duty on a sales promotion scheme announced for distributors and agents of its textile brand Vimal in 1999.

Differences in review panel; decision left to govt
New Delhi, December 19
The row over spectrum allocation is far from over as an official panel, constituted to look into the controversial recommendations of Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) for distributing airwaves to GSM mobile firms, has failed to reach a decision due to differences among members.

Bollywood actress and Nakshatra brand ambassador Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the launch of Nakshatra’s latest collection in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Bollywood actress and Nakshatra brand ambassador Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the launch of Nakshatra’s latest collection in New Delhi on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

EARLIER STORIES

 

Andrew Yule to separate into three entities
Kolkata, December 19
Andrew Yule & Company (AYCL), a PSU under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and referred to BIFR in 2003, is expected to turnaround this financial year, a top company official said today.

‘People’s Car’ to be unveiled on January 10
New Delhi, December 19
Auto major Tata Motors will unveil its 1-lakh car in the upcoming Auto Expo here, but the commercial launch will take place in the later part of the year.

Indian Film Censor Board chief Sharmila Tagore shakes hands with Assocham president V.N. Dhoot as union minister of state for mines T Subbarami Reddy (2nd from left) and Spice Corp chairman B.K. Modi (L) look on during the inauguration of 'Focus 2007', Global Summit on Entertainment and Media, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Indian Film Censor Board chief Sharmila Tagore shakes hands with Assocham president V.N. Dhoot as union minister of state for mines T Subbarami Reddy (2nd from left) and Spice Corp chairman B.K. Modi (L) look on during the inauguration of 'Focus 2007', Global Summit on Entertainment and Media, in New Delhi on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

India, Hong Kong revise aviation pact
New Delhi, December 19
India and Hong Kong have finally revised their bilateral civil aviation pact after prolonged negotiations that at one point threatened to remain deadlocked.

IFCI aborts stake sale process
New Delhi, December 19
Rejecting the demand for the management control by the successful bidder, term-lending institution IFCI today aborted the process for equity sale to a strategic partner.

ONGC among world’s most admired Cos
New Delhi, December 19
State-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is the only Indian company to enter the list of world's most admired firms compiled by Fortune magazine and global consulting firm Hay Group.

IBN7 to merge with GBN
Mumbai, December 19
Global Broadcast News (GBN), a part of media group Network 18, today said it will merge Hindi news channel IBN7 with itself, as the move will help it to emerge as a integrated player in the general news segment.

Yakult Danone to pump in additional 100 cr
New Delhi, December 19
Probiotic dairy products maker Yakult Danone India will pump in an additional Rs 100 crore over the next 3-4 years to expand its presence and market its product 'Yakult' in the country, after its parent company Danone got a no objection from estranged partner Wadias.

Suzlon to raise Rs 2,182 cr
Mumbai, December 19
World's fifth largest wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy today said it will raise over Rs 2,182 crore through qualified institutional placement of shares.

 

 

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Refund taxes on exports, FM tells states
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
Amid apprehension that hardening Rupee would further cripple Indian exports, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today urged state governments to ensure that their taxes do not burden external trade.

So the Centre today asked the state governments to help rupee-hit exporters by refunding their taxes as it has already given three packages to the sector involving around Rs 5,200 crore.

"Exports are under some stress due to rapid appreciation of the Rupee against a weak dollar. At present, number of taxes including value added tax (VAT), octroi and electricity duty is borne by exporters. They should be rebated or refunded. I would urge state governments to look into this issue carefully," Chidambaram said addressing the National Development Council (NDC) here, which met to approve the 11th Five Year Plan.

He said any state, which relieves exporters of tax burden tends to gain as more exporters-oriented industry would locate there.

"Hence, it is in the long-term interest of the state to rebate or refund all taxes on exports," the Finance Minister said.

"Regardless of the exchange rate or any other external circumstance, it is an universally accepted principle that taxes shall not be exported," he said.

"The government of India has announced major relief packages and we are hopeful that these will bring some measure of relief to exporters," Chidambaram said.

His statement comes at a time when an estimated 1.5-lakh people have lost their jobs due to slow down in exports in some sectors due to appreciating rupee and hardening of interest rates.

"The Central government rebates or refunds every tax that is payable or paid and if attributable to goods and services that are exported. I submit that state government should do the same," Chidambaram said.

The Finance Minister also said unless the Eleventh Plan target of each of infrastructure areas like roads, ports, railway line and power plants are achieved, it would be difficult to reach the goal of 10 per cent GDP growth in the terminal year of the plan.

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Give more to education, healthcare: Amartya to govt

New Delhi, December 19
The government needs to allocate more funds for basis amenities like primary education and healthcare in order to attain its inclusive growth target, noted economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said today.

"The governmental revenues are witnessing a fast paced growth but this is not being utilised to generate resources where it is needed," Sen said here on the sideline of a CII summit on "Right to Education - Actions Now."

"Fear of wastage stops the government from spending too much on education and healthcare," Sen said, adding the overall economic growth cannot be enough in itself if these resources are not properly developed.

The government, he said, is more involved in endorsing narrow priorities rather and than being involved in the overall well being of its citizens.

A step in this direction can be to bring reforms urgently in the public services, innovative practices like involving the teachers and health services' trade unions that could greatly help in bringing that change, Sen added.

"There is no room for imaginative thinking when one is struggling with the basics," he said.

So, a computer per child should not be the target, bringing in more teachers to primary schools, updating the basic infrastructure like providing reading material and laboratories in every school should be the first step in this direction, he added.

Bringing about this change calls for proper deployment of public resources and make it a continuous process, Sen said.

A step in this direction has been taken by Pratichi Trust, an organisation set up by Amartya Sen from his Nobel Prize money, in association with All-Bengal Primary Teachers Association (ABPTA) and Unicef.

Sen said that the initiative is aimed at ensuring enrolment, attendance, teaching, learning and greater public participation in 150 primary schools in Kolkata. — PTI

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SEBI to create database of market participants

Mumbai, December 19
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will create a database of all participants in the bourses, a move that will help the regulator keep a watch on traders, investors and intermediaries operating in the market.

Besides, the National Institute of Securities Market (NISM) will co-ordinate certification in the country's securities markets and would engage agencies to administer computer-based tests across the country, a SEBI release said.

NISM, established by SEBI, would also put in place a comprehensive continuing professional education framework involving reputed institutions, the release said.

SEBI had, earlier today, organised a workshop for market participants on `Certification of associated persons in the securities markets' wherein its chairman, M Damodaran, and other officials interacted with market participants.

Certification has been mandated in the US, UK and Singapore among other countries. In India, certification has been mandated for distributors of mutual funds, traders in derivatives segment and depository participants. The new regulations, introduced earlier this year, enlarge the scope of mandated certification to a number of new segments of intermediaries and their associated persons.

All persons handling investors' money, investor complaints, dealing with operational risk, attending to compliance and persons responsible for management of intermediates will have to demonstrate minimum proficiency standards in order to maintain their registration with SEBI.

The certificate is to be obtained by passing an examination approved by SEBI and would be valid for three years. — PTI

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Ban against ADAG brokerage firm withdrawn

Mumbai, December 19
The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has let off Reliance Share and Stock Brokers Pvt Ltd, an Anil Ambani group firm, from a four-month suspension for violating fair business practices on payment of Rs 50 lakh as fine.

The company had appealed against the market regulator's order dated December 11, 2006, but SAT agreed for disposal of the case on the plea that the applicant offered to pay the fine on the basis of a formula approved by SEBI and a High Powered Advisory Committee.

Bombay Stock Exchange said in a circular issued today that the SAT, through an order passed on December 7, disposed off an appeal filed by RSSB on terms agreed with the regulator and accordingly the previous SEBI order stands withdrawn.

The SEBI had passed an order on December 11 suspending RSSB's certificate of registration as a stock broker for a period of four months, which was scheduled to be effective from January 1, 2007, after it found that RSSB had committed "some serious irregularities in the conduct of its business as a stock broker." However, RSSB had subsequently appealed against the order, which was followed by SAT on December 27, 2006 staying the SEBI order during the pendency of the appeal.

In its final order in the matter on December 7, 2007, SAT said during the pendency of the appeal, RSSB filed an application for a consent order before the SEBI, which was put up before the Advisory Committee.

The committee examined the terms of settlement as proposed by RSSB and recommended that the dispute be settled on payment of Rs 50 lakh. — PTI

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SC notice to RIL
Excise Duty Evasion

New Delhi, December 19
The Supreme Court has sought a reply from Reliance Industries (RIL) on a plea by tax authorities which alleged that the Mukesh Ambani-led company evaded excise duty on a sales promotion scheme announced for distributors and agents of its textile brand Vimal in 1999.

A bench headed by Justice S H Kapadia issued a notice to the company on excise department's petition alleging RIL's failure to pay excise duty on the extra amount of 1 per cent collected as incentive on the invoice value from customers.

The department challenged the Customs Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal's judgement that dismissed its appeal saying the dealers had sought help from the company to manage the scheme. The department sought the apex court's direction to decide whether the incentive of 1 per cent on the invoice value can be included in the value of goods for the purpose of calculating excise duty.

RIL, which had valid central excise registration under the Central Excise Tariff Act 1985 and availed modified value-added tax (MODVAT) credit facility, had announced a one-year incentive scheme for retailers with effect from January 1, 1999. It had collected 1 per cent value under the head "Vimal Millennium Fortune Scheme" from its customers so as to buy gifts on their behalf, the department said.

Alleging that the company had failed to pay excise duty on such extra amount charged by it, the department had issued showcause notice asking RIL why excise duty of more than Rs 28.53 lakh between January to March 1999 and June to November 1999 should not be recovered and penalty with interest should not be imposed on it. — PTI

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Spectrum Row
Differences in review panel; decision left to govt

New Delhi, December 19
The row over spectrum allocation is far from over as an official panel, constituted to look into the controversial recommendations of Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) for distributing airwaves to GSM mobile firms, has failed to reach a decision due to differences among members.

"In view of sharp division among the members regarding this important issue (subscriber-linked criterion), the committee felt that this decision is best left to the government," the panel said in its report.

As per the existing subscriber-based methodology, most GSM players have acquired more subscribers than the prescribed norm and that too without getting any additional spectrum.

"Depending on the parameters assumed one can get widely varying numbers, including numbers higher than those obtained by TEC... The committee is not in a position to recommend any specific numbers/criterion at this juncture. The government needs to take a decision in this regard," it said.

The government had set up the committee on November 6 to recommend revision of present spectrum allocation criterion to operators based on subscriber figures in a scientific and practicable manner. The committee was formed after GSM players such as Bharti Airtel opposed TEC's report that suggested 4-15 times more subscribers for getting additional airwaves.

The committee, however, favoured auction route for allotment of incremental spectrum while recommending that initial spectrum be allotted to operators along with license.

The panel, headed by R Bandyopadhyay, said incremental allotment of spectrum for GSM players might be reduced to one MHz from the existing 1.8-2.4 MHz. For auction of additional frequency, a combination of methods could be considered along with subscriber-linked method, it said.

The committee noted that spectrum was a scarce resource and if its allocation was not market-driven, at least in part if not in full, then its value vis-à-vis capital expenditure on network infrastructure does not get factored in. — PTI

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Andrew Yule to separate into three entities

Kolkata, December 19
Andrew Yule & Company (AYCL), a PSU under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and referred to BIFR in 2003, is expected to turnaround this financial year, a top company official said today.

The company was expected to make profits during 2007-08 following implementation of the revival package which had been already approved by Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), CMD of AYCL Kallol Datta told reporters here today.

Datta said that AYCL, which was engaged in the businesses of electrical, engineering and tea, would be separated into three entities as per the package.

While electrical and engineering would be hived off into two separate companies, AYCL would continue with the packaged tea business.

As per the BIFR package, non-cash support to be provided by the government would be to the tune of Rs 490.83 crore, of which Rs 122.16 crore would be conversion of loans into equity, Rs 111.96 crore as guarantee to banks, Rs 32.59 crore as waivers and Rs 224.12 crore as write-down of equity.

Accumulated losses of the company stood at Rs 430 crore.

The company expected to come out from the BIFR fold in next three to four years.

Besides non-cash support, cash funding under the revival package would be of Rs 151.21 crore, which would be realised through unlocking of investments and bond issues.

Datta said that AYCL would divest its shares in Dishergarh Power Supply Corp, Tide Water Oil and Phoenix Yule.

The divestment is expected to be completed by the next financial year. — PTI

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‘People’s Car’ to be unveiled on January 10

New Delhi, December 19
Auto major Tata Motors will unveil its 1-lakh car in the upcoming Auto Expo here, but the commercial launch will take place in the later part of the year.

"Tata will also present its 'People's Car', which will be unveiled on January 10, but the commercial launch will take place later in the year," said a company statement.

Tata Motors will also display a range of new passenger vehicles, while joint venture partner Fiat will display passenger cars from its international range.

The Rs 1-lakh car is slated to roll out of Tata Motors' Singur factory in June 2008. R A Mashelkar, former CSIR Director General, who is now an independent non-executive director on the Tata Motors board described the car as "an eco-car with a 25 km-per-litre mileage on petrol, meeting every international standard and specification, including Euro-4 norms. Acceleration wise, it's the same as a Maruti 800." He was recounting his recent ride on the prototype at the Tata Motors' Pune plant.

Mashelkar further said, "Every other company manufactures products for the top of the income bracket pyramid and I am concerned about middle, lower middle and the bottom of this pyramid. — UNI

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India, Hong Kong revise aviation pact
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
India and Hong Kong have finally revised their bilateral civil aviation pact after prolonged negotiations that at one point threatened to remain deadlocked.

The main result following the prolonged negotiations was the approval to carriers of the two sides for 27 new frequencies to each other's country and permission to fly to a third country — called fifth freedom rights, an official statement said. The two countries presently have eight frequencies.

As per the new agreement, while Indian can operate these 27 services from any point in India, the Hong Kong carriers can operate 10 services to Delhi, six services to Mumbai and 11 services altogether to Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata.

The statement added that Chennai was added as a new point of call during these talks for Hong Kong.

The Indian delegation at the talks here was led by R.K. Singh, joint secretary in the ministry of civil aviation, while the Hong Kong side was led by Esmond Lee, deputy secretary for Hong Kong's Transport and Housing Bureau.

Out of the 27 services, Indian carriers will be able to operate 14 services to west coast of North America, including the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.

The Hong Kong carriers can exercise beyond fifth freedom rights through India on 14 services to Europe, excluding the UK.

The two sides also entered into a liberalised code-sharing pact to enable their carriers to fly to any point beyond their respective cities, either with their own airlines or those of a third country carrier. "Indian carriers are already looking at serving New Zealand through code-sharing over Hong Kong with Air New Zealand," the statement added.

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IFCI aborts stake sale process

New Delhi, December 19
Rejecting the demand for the management control by the successful bidder, term-lending institution IFCI today aborted the process for equity sale to a strategic partner.

The decision to call off the sale of 26 per cent equity, a process started eight months ago, was taken after three days of discussion at the Board of IFCI on the conditions spelt out by the successful bidder-a consortium of Sterlite Industries and Morgan Stanley.

"The bidder (Sterlite Industries and Morgan Stanley) was putting to many conditions along with the bid which was not acceptable to the board," an IFCI official told PTI.

Conditional offers, including the management control, could not be negotiated, he said.

The process started with the appointment of Ernst & Young as consultant to identify a strategic partner in March- end the last stage on December 14 when the three suitors finally submitted the financial and technical bids.

Besides Sterlite and Morgan Stanley pool, two other consortia which submitted bids were Shinsei Bank Ltd, PNB and JC Flowers and Co; and Cargill Financial and Texas Pacific Group. — PTI

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ONGC among world’s most admired Cos

New Delhi, December 19
State-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is the only Indian company to enter the list of world's most admired firms compiled by Fortune magazine and global consulting firm Hay Group.

The company ranks at ninth position among firms operating in mining and crude oil production space for efficient human resource management.

"Hay Group and Fortune annual survey studies the corporates' reputation across various factors, maps the performance of the companies on both quantitative and qualitative aspects and finally rate the companies," Hay Group director (India) Srini Srinivasan said while felicitating ONGC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma.

"The key differentiating factor in our research this year was as to study the role that board of directors play in effective human capital management," Srinivasan said. — PTI

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IBN7 to merge with GBN

Mumbai, December 19
Global Broadcast News (GBN), a part of media group Network 18, today said it will merge Hindi news channel IBN7 with itself, as the move will help it to emerge as a integrated player in the general news segment.

IBN7 is owned by Jagran TV, a joint venture between Gupta family-promoted media house Jagran Group and the TV18 group.

In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, GBN which manages the operations of IBN7, said pursuant to the merger it would issue 14.67 lakh shares of Rs 10 each to the Gupta family and another 17.93 lakh shares of Rs 10 each are proposed to be held in a trust.

The proposal was approved by the board of directors in a meeting held today.

Earlier, GBN said it would acquire a 10 per cent stake in Jagran TVPvt Ltd for Rs 20 crore.

Meanwhile, the meeting also approved stock split in the ratio of 1:5 following which shares of Rs 10 each would be split into five shares of Rs 2 each. — PTI

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Yakult Danone to pump in additional 100 cr

New Delhi, December 19
Probiotic dairy products maker Yakult Danone India will pump in an additional Rs 100 crore over the next 3-4 years to expand its presence and market its product 'Yakult' in the country, after its parent company Danone got a no objection from estranged partner Wadias.

The company, which launched its probiotic milk here today, has already invested Rs 136 crore in setting up a dairy product manufacturing facility in Sonepat, Haryana, near here.

"YDI is focused on the Indian market and we would invest an additional Rs 100 crore to expand this market. Though we are initially launching the product in Delhi and NCR, we plan to be present in majority of the metros and North India in the next 6-9 months," YDI managing director Kiyoshi Oike said. — PTI

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Suzlon to raise Rs 2,182 cr

Mumbai, December 19
World's fifth largest wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy today said it will raise over Rs 2,182 crore through qualified institutional placement of shares. A committee of the board of directors has approved to offer placement of 11,386,000 equity shares under Chapter XIII-A of the SEBI Guidelines, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. The shares of Rs 10 each would be issued at a price of Rs 1,917 each, it added. —  PTI

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BRIEFLY

GAIL dividend
New Delhi, December 19
State-run gas firm GAIL India has declared a 40 per cent interim dividend for financial year 2007-08. The board of directors of the company in a meeting yesterday approved the payment of the interim dividend to the shareholders of the company, GAIL said in a press release here. It has fixed December 22 as record date for the purpose of determining the eligibility of members of the company for the interim dividend.— PTI

L&T bags order
Mumbai, December 19
Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro today said it has secured an order worth Rs 287 crore from Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for construction of an elevated road. Under the order, the company will construct elevated access road from Western Express Highway, Mumbai, to the Chatrapathi Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), L&T said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

HCL pact
Chennai, December 19
HCL Technologies today announced a multi-year and multi-service agreement with Merck Inc to expand the existing relationship that began in 2004. Under the terms of the new deal, HCL would provide strategic support to Merck’s key IT initiatives, a company release here said. — UNI

Jagran pact
Mumbai, December 19
Media conglomerate Television Eighteen India (TV 18) and print major Jagran Prakashan have joined hands to form a 50:50 joint venture to launch a Hindi business daily next year. The primary mandate of the JV would be to launch a Hindi business daily for the Indian market in 2008 and it will be the first Hindi business paper at the national level, TV18 said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

VSNL project
Mumbai, December 19
Tata group company Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) today said it is constructing a $250-million (about Rs 988 crore) worth cable system for linking Mumbai directly to Paris, London and Madrid via Egypt. The cable system would be built in partnership with Seacom and Telecom Egypt, and will provide VSNL a new capacity of 1.28 terabit on the route during 2009, VSNL informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

JK Tyres
New Delhi, December 19
JK Tyre and Industries plans to increase tyre prices in the next quarter to pass on the rising costs of inputs such as rubber and petroleum products. "The prices of most raw materials have increased, especially that of rubber and crude. By the next quarter there will be an increase of our tyre prices," JK Tyre and Industries marketing director A S Mehta said. — PTI

Frisco Foods
New Delhi, December 19
US-based Frisco Foods today said it will set up a food processing plant at Hardwar, Uttarakhand, with an initial investment of Rs 27 crore. The plant will manufacture tetra pak packages by the beginning of 2008. In the first phase, the company will set up an integrated high acid beverage plant suitable for beverage juice and other high acid beverages. — UNI

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