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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Now, trusts can invest in stocks
New Delhi, December 24
The government today allowed all the trusts to invest in securities, including shares and bonds of listed companies, a move that would further boost the booming market.

Sensex zooms by 691 points
Mumbai, December 24
Positive global cues and a possibility of political stability domestically following the BJP's victory in Gujarat elections propelled the Sensex to a 691-point gain today.

Spectrum Row
No relief for GSM operators
Delhi High Court declines to pass any order
New Delhi, December 24
The Delhi High Court today refused to pass any order on the telecom appellate tribunal's decision pertaining to spectrum allocation.

Postal Outsourcing
Britons send X-mas cards via India
London, December 24
Don't be surprised if you see British citizens queuing up in post offices in India to post Christmas cards to friends and family in Britain.

Ficci seeks fund for SMEs’ development
New Delhi, December 24
Ficci has urged the government to consider setting up of Global Technology Acquisition Fund (GTAF) for Indian small and medium enterprises (SME) manufacturers out of the existing foreign exchange reserves.

JCT, Dakshidin Corp in pact for windmills
New Delhi, December 24
The Rs 600-crore Indian group, JCT Limited, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US-based Dakshidin Corporation, producers of the worlds most powerful water pumping windmill, for distribution and manufacturing capabilities of Dakshidin’s Restec windmills
in India.

Corruption in World Bank too, says report
New Delhi, December 24
The World Bank employees, rated highly for their professionalism, integrity and credibility, are not free from the corruption virus.

GBN to sell 26 pc stake for Rs 500 cr
19 FDI proposals okayed
ew Delhi, December 24
The government today gave its approval for 19 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals amounting to Rs 726.88 crore, which include Global Broadcast News Ltd's proposal to sell 26 per cent stake for Rs 500 crore. GBN is a part of media group Network 18.




Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone at the launch of LG’s new mobile handset, Viewty, in New Delhi on Monday.
Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone at the launch of LG’s new mobile handset, Viewty, in New Delhi on Monday. Priced at Rs 21,990, it has a 5 mega-pixel camera and is 3G-enabled and pre-loaded with Google maps among other applications.
— Tribune photo by
Mukesh Aggarwal
 

EARLIER STORIES

 
Labourers paint a building under a huge advertisement in Jakarta on Monday. Labourers paint a building under a huge advertise-
ment in Jakarta on Monday. Actual foreign direct investment in Indonesia reached $10.2 billion as of mid-December, the highest since 2002, National Invest-
ment Coordinating Board chief Muhammad Lutfi said. — AFP photo

Check credentials before investing in IPOs: Govt
New Delhi, December 24
The government today cautioned small investors against misleading advertisements of companies looking to tap the capital market and advised them to verify their credentials before putting in their money.

Mayawati not averse to
corporate retail

New Delhi, December 24
About five months after her government ordered the closure of western-style food retail stores, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has said she is not against corporate retailing and there was retail space for every one, "if planned well."

Fly Delhi-NY non-stop from Feb 8
Mumbai, December 24
National air-carrier, Air India, today said that it will launch its Delhi-New York non-stop flight on February 8.

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Now, trusts can invest in stocks

New Delhi, December 24
The government today allowed all the trusts to invest in securities, including shares and bonds of listed companies, a move that would further boost the booming market.

For this purpose, an amendment to the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, will be moved in Parliament in the next session to enable the government notify a class of securities as eligible for investment by trusts, said a government statement issued after the meeting of the Union Cabinet here.

A finance ministry official told PTI that after the amendment to the Act, the government would allow all trusts set up under the Act, which include private and public trusts like educational trusts, to invest in shares, scrips, stocks, bonds, debentures, debenture stock or other marketable securities.

Analysts said the measure could release thousands of crores of surplus funds, presently invested in risk-free bank deposits, into the stock markets.

Earlier, the government used to allow trusts to invest in securities on a case by case basis. This practice would now be done away with, the official said.

As per the Indian Trusts Act, the trusts are already allowed to invest in units issued by the Unit Trust of India (UTI) under any unit scheme.

Referring to the Securities Contract Regulations Act, 1956, the official said option in securities would also allow trusts to purchase or sell securities in future, including put and call in securities. — PTI

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Sensex zooms by 691 points
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 24
Positive global cues and a possibility of political stability domestically following the BJP's victory in Gujarat elections propelled the Sensex to a 691-point gain today.

Analysts said the central government looks a lot more stable with neither the Congress nor the Left Front likely to risk a general election and this would encourage market sentiments.

Consequently, the Sensex gained 3.61 per cent to close at 19,854. In the broader markets, Nifty was also up 3.79 per cent to close at 5,985 points.

It was the sixth biggest absolute intra-day gain for Sensex and Nifty ever.

Among the major gainers today were Wipro, HDFC, TCS, Infosys, Bharti Airtel, Satyam and Reliance Energy which gained more than 6.07 per cent each. Other gainers included Nalco, BHEL and Mahindra & Mahindra, which closed 5.05 per cent higher, respectively.

Among sectoral indices, the IT sector was the biggest gainer closing 6.02 per cent or 268 higher. Wipro at Rs 535 jumped 8.86 per cent or Rs 44. Patni Computers, up 4.97 per cent, HCL, up 5.39 per cent, NIIT Tech, up 4.37 per cent, NIIT Ltd, up 2.56 per cent and Mphasis, up 4.96 per cent, were some of the key gainers.

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Spectrum Row
No relief for GSM operators
Delhi High Court declines to pass any order

New Delhi, December 24
The Delhi High Court today refused to pass any order on the telecom appellate tribunal's decision pertaining to spectrum allocation.

GSM mobile players sought a probe into the government's move to allow use of
dual technology.

"I can't pass status quo order without going into the details. Let me go through the petition. You (Ram Jethmalani) yourself saying that matter is complicated," Justice Sanjeev Khanna said while posting the matter for hearing on January 3, 2008.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, along with Fali S Nariman, appearing for COAI, contended that the biggest scam has occurred and it needed police inquiry and hence it required urgent hearing. But the court turned down the request.

The matter was originally listed for hearing before Justice Aruna Suresh, who transferred it to Justice Khanna.

At the very beginning, Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh contended there was no urgency involved in the matter.

Telecom tribunal TDSAT had, on December 12, passed the order allowing the government to go ahead with spectrum allocation and dual technology.

The petition filed by COAI sought stay of the government's October 18 and 19 decisions to permit the use of dual technology and regulator TRAI's recommendation of enhanced subscriber-linked criteria for allocation of additional spectrum.

The COAI's petition also sought direction from the court to restrain the government from allocating any GSM spectrum to CDMA operators and any licence/spectrum to any new applicant.

The petitioner submitted that the said "in principle" approval and decision of DoT of December 18 and 19 allowing use of dual technology to Reliance and others is unfair, unreasonable and legally malafide denying equal opportunity and a level-playing field to GSM operators, the petition said.

COAI submitted that permitting dual technology requires prior approval of the union cabinet. However, instead of procuring requisite approval for its decision to amend National Telecom Policy 1999, the DoT with unseemly haste issued an "in principle" nod to Reliance on December 18 for use of GSM and CDMA technology by single player. — PTI

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Postal Outsourcing
Britons send X-mas cards via India

London, December 24
Don't be surprised if you see British citizens queuing up in post offices in India to post Christmas cards to friends and family in Britain.

Many Britons have found that the Indian postal system is cheaper and more reliable than Royal Mail.

There have been several instances when Britons travelling to India for other purposes at this time of the year have used their trips to carry their Christmas cards along and post them in India instead of in Britain.

Amidst a welter of complaints about Royal Mail losing millions of Christmas cards and parcels, several Britons have discovered that the doughty Indian postal system — set up during the colonial era — is a more reliable and cheaper alternative.

In fact, it may not be too long before entrepreneurs come up with the idea of "postal outsourcing" from India.

Kathy Miller, who runs The Neem Tree Trust, a charity organisation focussed on disadvantaged children in Tamil Nadu, had a pleasant experience with the Indian postal system recently. On a visit to India in October, she took along her charity Christmas cards designed by the children her organisation supports.

Her original idea was to write the Christmas cards there, bring them back to Britain and post them in December. But while in India, she discovered that if the envelopes were left unsealed, the cost of sending a card from India to Britain was Rs 8.

If the same cards were posted in Britain, one can save £21 for 150 cards.

Miller posted the cards in India, and they duly arrived at their addresses in Britain a week later. Her friends here were delighted to receive cards from India, and some even suggested that next year she take their own lot of Christmas cards to India to post.

Miller told IANS that her experience was not a criticism of Royal Mail, but she had heard of people going to India for dental treatment and operations, but wondered if others had taken advantage of the "excellent and inexpensive Indian postal system".

This Christmas, Royal Mail will deliver two billion items within Britain.

But there have been several complaints following two million cards and presents being lost by Royal Mail.

Hundreds of thousands of items have been delayed or are awaiting collection at depots where queues of up to two hours have formed. A Royal Mail spokesman said that most postal depots were not experiencing problems but any complaints would be treated seriously. — IANS

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Ficci seeks fund for SMEs’ development
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
Ficci has urged the government to consider setting-up of Global Technology Acquisition Fund (GTAF) for Indian small and medium enterprises (SME) manufacturers out of the existing foreign exchange reserves.

The GTAF could be formed from the existing foreign exchange reserves of the economy, that would not only ensure optimal utilisation of forex reserves, but also help the economy to manage the growing problem of forex inflows, said Ficci in a representation to National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC).

“Such a fund would fast track the development of technology in domestic SME manufacturers and enable them to acquire latest technology without getting into the expensive, risky and long developmental process of technology” said Ficci secretary-general Amit Mitra.

Ficci said the primary objectives of GTAF would be three-fold: (a) Improving the competitiveness of Indian SMEs through technology acquisition; (b) Easing the pressure on rupee; and (c) optimal utilisation of forex reserves.

The support provided through this fund to Indian SMEs would enable them to acquire high technology or high technology companies abroad.

Regarding corpus of the fund, it said if 2 per cent of SME production is taken as a yardstick for investment in technology, then the fund amount comes to around Rs 5,500 crore or $1.4 billion, which is less than 1 per cent of existing forex reserves.

The fund could consider supporting either 50 per cent of technology acquisition cost or $2 million, whichever is lower, Ficci pointed out.

Ficci further said that worldwide, countries are operating funds in which they allocate their excess forex reserves.

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JCT, Dakshidin Corp in pact for windmills
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
The Rs 600-crore Indian group, JCT Limited, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US-based Dakshidin Corporation, producers of the worlds most powerful water pumping windmill, for distribution and manufacturing capabilities of Dakshidin’s Restec windmills in India.

The technologically superior Restec windmills, which is low wind speed high performance water pumping windmill, can pump water from 4,000 feet at 4 MPH speed wind and has the capacity to distribute water in 10 km radius or more from the bore hole.

This windmill will be first-of-its-kind to be manufactured and distributed in India. Conventional windmills require wind speeds of 15 to 18 MPH to pump up to 300 feet.

“JCT is committed to helping solve India’s water crisis and this innovative product is bound to help a great deal, especially when water tables almost everywhere in India are falling between one and three metres each year,” JCT vice-chairman Samir Thapar said here today.

JCT has a strong and efficient distribution network within India and abroad. In addition to the distribution of Restec windmills, the project aims to eventually manufacture the products as well, Thapar said, adding the first windmills were expected in India in the first quarter of 2008.

The market for Restec technology is in developing countries, like China and India, where average wind speeds are less than 10 MPH and conventional water-pumping windmills cannot operate, the statement said.

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Corruption in World Bank too, says report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
The World Bank employees, rated highly for their professionalism, integrity and credibility, are not free from the corruption virus.

The bank has taken action against 11 of its staffers in India for indulging in corrupt practices and frauds.

An integrity report of the bank for 2007 said it has terminated the services of 11 employees during the year for claiming excessive overtime allowance and also for sexual harassment.

A total of 14 substantiated cases of fraud and corruption affecting the bank’s administrative budget and human resources were established and 11 staffers were finally found guilty of serious charges warranting their termination after a thorough investigation.

During the year, a total of 206 complaints related to corruption and other charges were processed against staff members of which 123 were new and 83 carried forward from the previous year for further probe.

The complaints related to acts of misconduct, fraud, corruption, abuse of authority and sexual harassment, the report said.

The bank has an internal mechanism filing complaints and investigations. Some staff members, terminated were found submitting inflated overtime bills, stealing fuel and submitting fraudulent expense claims, the report said.

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GBN to sell 26 pc stake for Rs 500 cr
19 FDI proposals okayed

ew Delhi, December 24
The government today gave its approval for 19 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals amounting to Rs 726.88 crore, which include Global Broadcast News Ltd's proposal to sell 26 per cent stake for Rs 500 crore. GBN is a part of media group Network 18.

The proposal of Cyprus-based Dunbay to acquire additional 5 per cent stake in Delhi Stock Exchange for Rs 10.61 crore has also been approved.

"The finance minister approved 19 FDI proposals recommended by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in its meeting held on December 14," said a finance ministry statement here.

GBN has proposed to induct up to 26 per cent FDI worth Rs 500 crore, including investment by foreign institutional investors (FIIs).

The broadcaster, which runs English news channel CNN-IBN, had raised around Rs 105 crore from the capital market with an initial public offer (IPO) early this year.

The company has also announced to set up a joint venture with Jagran Group to bring out a business newspaper in Hindi language.

The government also gave its approval to the UK based- Middlebrough Oils to invest Rs 200 crore to set up a subsidiary to undertake extraction of crude Jatropha oil from Jatropha seeds. Daimler Chrysler of Germany has also been allowed to set up a joint venture company to undertake body building of buses.

Mitsui & Co has also been allowed to issue shares in lieu of transfer of liaison office, besides NSK, Japan to set up a subsidiary to undertake cash and carry business.

However, the decision on BAG Films' proposals to induct investment through FDI and foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) was deferred.

Nortel Networks, Canada, which had approached the FIPB to induct foreign equity, has been asked to follow the automatic route. — PTI

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Check credentials before investing in IPOs: Govt

New Delhi, December 24
The government today cautioned small investors against misleading advertisements of companies looking to tap the capital market and advised them to verify their credentials before putting in their money.

The ministry of corporate affairs has, in fact, offered its services to investors for helping them check the promoters' track record and regulatory compliances, among others.

The caution came in a public interest advertisement in leading newspapers today and assumes significance in the wake of over 50 IPOs awaiting regulatory clearances.

The initiative of the ministry is on the lines of alerts issued by the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange, which had categorically said: "Do not get swayed by promises of high returns. Verify the tall claims made in advertisements."

The information needed to make an informed decision for IPO investments is available with the ministry on its website as also on other investor-focused government websites.

The ministry said information like master data of companies, details on directors and documents like annual returns and balance sheets as well as a list of those that had duped investors are available on its website.

It said that in order to get an overview of the company, investors should
compare the financial results and performance of the company over the past 3-5 years. — PTI

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Mayawati not averse to corporate retail

New Delhi, December 24
About five months after her government ordered the closure of western-style food retail stores, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has said she is not against corporate retailing and there was retail space for every one, "if planned well."

"I welcome private investment in all sectors of the economy. Corporate retailing will not be stopped," she said in an interview with the CFO Asia magazine. However, she asked the corporate willing to enter retail space to provide jobs to the people being adversely impacted by their venture.

When asked her role in the closure of organised retail networks opened by companies like Reliance, she said: "I have not ordered their closure...There was a law and order problem with affected people taking to the streets after these retail outlets were opened. Many lost jobs at kirana stores run by families." The Chief Minister said that law and order that had deteriorated over the years was being restored and "once that is done, investors of all hues are bound to make Uttar Pradesh their home."

"The corporations will have to provide jobs to people whose livelihood is adversely impacted. Over 600 million rural families in India are facing the threat of losing their livelihood owing to the unabashed opening up of the Indian market to foreign goods and services," Mayawati said.

Mayawati was quoted by the Hong Kong-based magazine as saying that three large areas had been identified in the state to shape them into SEZs on the lines of a model adopted in China.

"Infrastructure development is also being done the Chinese way, with big projects as the driver. The private sector is a major focus area where private investments are encouraged in a big way," Mayawati said.

Mayawati said Indian industry was yet to undertake corporate responsibility, "like in America, where blacks have been allowed to develop skills and climb the social ladder." — PTI

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Fly Delhi-NY non-stop from Feb 8

Mumbai, December 24
National air-carrier, Air India, today said that it will launch its Delhi-New York non-stop flight on February 8.

"We have scheduled the launch of this non-stop flight for February 8," a senior Air India official told PTI here today.

The air-carrier would be taking delivery of another Boeing 777-200 by then and that would be used for the flight, he said.

Earlier in August, Air India had launched its Mumbai-New York non-stop flight.

Air India has already so far received four 777-200LRs and the deliveries have been as per the agreed schedule between Air India and Boeing, he said. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Honda plan
New Delhi, December 24
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) today said it will invest about Rs 300 crore to expand its business over the next three years. The funds will be used to upgradate the company's Manesar plant, besides, investing in the R&D for new models, and capacity augmentation. The company will also unveil a premium segment scooter in the upcoming Auto Expo. — UNI

Iffco MoU
New Delhi, December 24
The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (Iffco) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Senegal Government for revival of 6.6 lakh-tonne capacity phosphoric acid plant in Senegal. Under the MoU, Iffco will invest $100 million in the next three years for increasing the production to the optimum level of efficiency at approximately 600,000 tonne. — UNI

Luxottica arm
Mumbai, December 24
The world’s biggest manufacturer of sunglasses, Luxottica Group has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary in the country by the name, Luxottica India Eyewear Pvt Ltd to distribute luxury and fashion brand eyewear. Luxottica plans to commence distribution of luxury and fashion brand eyewear, other than RayBan, in India from January 2008. — PTI

LT Overseas
Mumbai, December 24
LT Overseas, manufacturer of ‘Dawat’ brand basmati rice today said it has acquired US-based Kusha Inc for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was carried through LT Overseas North America Inc, California — a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, LT Overseas said in a communique to the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

Orient Global
Mumbai, December 24
Singapore-based investment group Orient Global will acquire 6.48 per cent stake in domestic brokerage firm India Infoline for Rs 555 crore. Orient Global proposes to invest Rs 555 crore for acquiring 32 million shares in India Infoline, representing 6.48 per cent of the current equity capital, India Infoline said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

HB Stockholdings
Mumbai, December 24
Investment firm HB Stockholdings, which made a hostile takeover bid for DCM Shriram Industries, today said it has increased its stake in the sugar maker to
21.46 per cent through open market transactions. Delhi-based HB Stockholdings, promoted by Harish Bhasin, now holds 32.82 lakh of equity shares in DCM Shriram Industries. — PTI

ONGC dividend?
New Delhi, December 24
ONGC has declared 180 per cent interim dividend amounting to Rs 3,850 crore for
the financial year 2007-08. ''In absolute terms, this interim dividend works out
to a payout of Rs 3,850 crore on the post-bonus paid-up capital of Rs 2,139
crore, including government’s share (74.14 per cent) of Rs 2,854 crore,'' company said. — PTI

MRF facility
Chennai, December 24
Tyre maker MRF Ltd expects to get possession of 500 acres land at Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, by next month where it plans to invest Rs 1,000 crore to set up a new facility. The company will be investing Rs 500 crore initially in the facility which wil then be scaled upto Rs 1,000 crore later, MRF chairman and managing director KM Mammen said.— PTI

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