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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Satyam Saga
CBI probe welcome: CM
Hyderabad, January 28
Facing flak from the opposition over Satyam fiasco, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh today said it was willing to hand over the case to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to ferret out facts.

Raju created 300 Cos to divert funds: Minister
New Delhi, January 28
The government said today that Satyam Computer's disgraced founder Ramalinga Raju created a network of about 300 companies and diverted funds from one company to another in a complex but carefully planned process.

4,000 MW Tilaiya project for RPower
New Delhi, January 28
Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Power today bagged its third 4,000 MW Ultra Mega Power Project, at Tilaiya, in Jharkhand. "Reliance Power has bagged the 4,000-MW Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) at Tilaiya in Jharkhand," a source said.



EARLIER STORIES



Wendelin Wiedeking, chief executive of German luxury carmaker Porsche SE poses next to the Porsche 356 'Nr. 1' Roadster from 1948 in the newly built Porsche Museum after the opening ceremony in Stuttgart on Wednesday.
Wendelin Wiedeking, chief executive of German luxury carmaker Porsche SE poses next to the Porsche 356 'Nr. 1' Roadster from 1948 in the newly built Porsche Museum after the opening ceremony in Stuttgart on Wednesday. From January 31, more than 80 cars and 60 years of Porsche history will be presented for the visitors in the new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.— Reuters

TCS bags $100-m deal from UK’s 4U Group
Mumbai, January 28
The country's largest software exporter, Tata Consultancy Services, today said it has signed a $100-million deal for providing IT services to UK-based 4U Group.

Global crisis to trigger more unemployment: ILO
New Delhi, January 28
The global economic crisis is expected to lead to a "dramatic increase" in the number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed and working poor and those in vulnerable employment, says the ILO.

‘Domestic demand to drive Indian economy’
Davos, January 28
India's domestic demand will help sustain economic growth in the midst of the global downturn, which has not hit the country as much as it has impacted other economies, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has said.

TRAI seeks views on next generation networks
New Delhi, January 28
Telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has started the process for the telecom operators to migrate to next-generation networks (NGN) from the present networks they operate on.

A cockpit section of the Airbus A380 is moved to the production hall after being unloaded from a special transport ship at the Airbus facility in Finkenwerder near Hamburg on Wednesday.
A cockpit section of the Airbus A380 is moved to the production hall after being unloaded from a special transport ship at the Airbus facility in Finkenwerder near Hamburg on Wednesday. The new Ro-Ro transport ship 'City of Hamburg' arrived for the first time at the Airbus plant in Finkenwerder on Wednesday to transport fuselage sections and wings of the A380 to the French Airbus plant in Bordeaux. — Reuters

Pvt dairy owners rue hike in milk procurement price
Chandigarh, January 28
The private dairy entrepreneurs in the region are feeling the pinch because of high procurement price of milk being fixed by the dairy federations in Punjab and Haryana. The dairy federations are increasing the milk procurement prices during the flush season, forcing the private dairy entrepreneurs to follow suit.

Corporate Results
Tata Steel Q3 net dips 56 pc
Mumbai, January 28
Tata Steel today reported a 56.37 per cent decline in net profit at Rs 466.24 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008.





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Satyam Saga
CBI probe welcome: CM
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 28
Facing flak from the opposition over Satyam fiasco, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh today said it was willing to hand over the case to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to ferret out facts.

“Our government will welcome the CBI taking over the case, if deemed appropriate,” the Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy said in a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Chief Minister also wanted a thorough probe by all central agencies concerned into the Rs 7,100 crore accounting fraud in Satyam Computers, once seen an IT icon of the state.

Reddy also brought to the notice of the Prime Minister the tendency among the opposition parties in the state to “exploit” the Satyam crisis for political gains ahead of the elections.

Ever since the scandal broke out in India’s fourth largest software company, the Congress government has been the target of attack by the opposition parties who accused it of showering “undue favours” to Maytas Infra, an infrastructure and construction company owned by Ramalinga Raju’s son.

The state CID’s handling of the investigation has also come under the opposition scanner and there is criticism over lack of coordination between the central and state agencies.

“The present political context just ahead of the general elections made the issue more sensational. The political parties exploited the issue and made targeted attacks that the state government is interested in diluting the gravity of the case,” the Chief Minister said in his letter.

“There have been reports in the media carrying comments supposedly made by central government agencies to the effect that required cooperation with central investigating agencies is wanting,” he said.

He said the Union Ministry of Finance or Ministry of Company Affairs could suggest a coordinating mechanism involving central investigating agencies like SEBI or SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) to coordinate with the state CID.

“The state government is also sensitive to the fact that the huge human potential of 50,000 IT professionals should not be dissipated,” he said and called for steps to protect the interests of the employees of the scam-hit company.

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Raju created 300 Cos to divert funds: Minister

New Delhi, January 28
The government said today that Satyam Computer's disgraced founder Ramalinga Raju created a network of about 300 companies and diverted funds from one company to another in a complex but carefully planned process.

"There has been an issue of siphoning (off of) funds.

This is what we have understood from the information we have received from (the) RoC, SFIO and various other agencies (probing the Satyam case)," Union Minister of Corporate Affairs Prem Chand Gupta said today in a TV interview.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on the CNN-IBN news channel, Gupta said, "Our information is that there was a network of almost 300 compnaies and funds were diverted from one company to (another) and then to (a) third." "So like this, it was a very complex process he had adopted," Gupta said, but added that "unless the investigation is complete we can't say what exactly happened".

Asked if it meant a carefully planned process to avoid detection, Gupta said, "...Well, to some extent I would agree with you that it was a carefully planned operation, but ... still what we personally feel it was a complex process." Asked if other people might also be involved in the scam, Gupta said, "I feel there are other people involved ..." "But if you go into the systematic inspection and investigation of the structure of the company, you come to the conclusion that the whole thing (revolves) around the Raju family only."

On the employee count, Gupta said there were reports that 10,000 ghost employees have been identified but the issue is being looked into by those specially appointed CA firms, KPMG and Deloitte.

"They are looking into this and I think the fact would come before all of us... It is difficult to verify because Satyam has operations in more than 50 places..." If there are fake employees, no salary will be paid against their names, the minister said. — PTI

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4,000 MW Tilaiya project for RPower

New Delhi, January 28
Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Power today bagged its third 4,000 MW Ultra Mega Power Project, at Tilaiya, in Jharkhand.

"Reliance Power has bagged the 4,000-MW Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) at Tilaiya in Jharkhand," a source said. The Reliance bid for the project was Rs 1.77 per unit.

Five companies, including NTPC, Reliance Power, Lanco Infratech, Jindal Power and Sterlite Energy, of the 11 pre-qualified bidders, were in the fray for the project.

The financial bids for the project were opened today. A high-level committee, which includes state representatives from Bihar and Jharkhand, selected the developer.

The financial and technical bids for the coal-based thermal power project were invited on December 29 and the final financial bids were to be opened within 15 days.

The bidding process for the UMPP had been delayed due to various reasons, including the global slowdown.

Apart from the delays in bidding, the Tilaiya project faced loss of time on identifying the site, getting the water source and obtaining other regulatory clearances.

The project entails an investment of Rs 16,000-18,000 crore and will have a debt-equity ratio of 70:30.

PFC is the nodal agency for UMPPs and is facilitating the process of selecting the developer of the Tilaiya project.

Tilaiya is the fourth UMPP to be awarded to a developer. Earlier, two UMPPs bagged by Reliance Power are those of Sasan and Krishnapatnam. Tata Power got the Mundra UMPP. — PTI

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TCS bags $100-m deal from UK’s 4U Group

Mumbai, January 28
The country's largest software exporter, Tata Consultancy Services, today said it has signed a $100-million deal for providing IT services to UK-based 4U Group.

Under the agreement, TCS will provide a full range of IT and business change services to the 4U Group to enable the group to increase capacity, boost skills, create a more flexible IT model and enhance the business to meet current and future demands, the company said in a filing to the BSE.

4U Group is the holding company behind Phones 4U and other firms in the UK telecommunication and financial services marketplace.

The services would also include service management, application support, maintenance, data centre and desktop services, networks and communications and management of third party contracts for the company's retail operations, it added.

"This significant contract win underlines the important role that TCS plays in enabling UK businesses to enhance their competitiveness and retain market share, especially in the current economic environment," TCS VP and country manager (UK and Ireland) A S Lakshminarayanan said. — PTI

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Global crisis to trigger more unemployment: ILO

New Delhi, January 28
The global economic crisis is expected to lead to a "dramatic increase" in the number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed and working poor and those in vulnerable employment, says the ILO.

Global unemployment in 2009 could increase over 2007 by a range of 18 million to 30 million workers, and more than 50 million with the situation likely to deteriorate, the International Labour Office (ILO) said in its annual Global Employment Trends report released today.

Based on new developments in the labour market, the report said some 200 million workers, mostly in developing economies, could be pushed into extreme poverty if the situation worsened.

"The ILO message is realistic, not alarmist. We are now facing a global jobs crisis. Many governments are aware and acting, but more decisive and coordinated international action is needed to avert a global social recession," ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said in a statement from Geneva.

The latest report said that based on November 2008 IMF forecasts, the global unemployment rate would rise to 6.1 per cent in 2009 compared to 5.7 per cent in 2007, resulting in an increase of the number of unemployed by 18 million people in 2009 in comparison with 2007.

If the economic outlook deteriorates beyond what was envisaged in November 2008, "which is likely", the global unemployment rate could rise to 6.5 per cent, corresponding to an increase of the global number of unemployed by 30 million people in comparison with 2007, it said. — PTI

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‘Domestic demand to drive Indian economy’

Davos, January 28
India's domestic demand will help sustain economic growth in the midst of the global downturn, which has not hit the country as much as it has impacted other economies, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has said.

"India's growth story is based on domestic demand. It is not based on the export market entirely...we can continue to keep our domestic demand-driven growth," Nath said in an interview to BBC’s Hard Talk.

India's exports worth around $200 billion contribute about 20 per cent to its domestic production.

The economy, which grew by over 9 per cent in the past three financial years in a row, has shown signs of weakness in the current fiscal. The Reserve Bank of India has lowered the growth projection to 7 per cent for 2008-09 in the wake of slowdown in the world economy.

"We cannot insulate or isolate ourselves from it (global downturn) but we can continue to keep our domestic demand," he said.

He said the Central government has announced $4 billion for infrastructure projects, which would take off in the next couple of months.

"That is creating domestic demand...and that is what is going to sustain (us) through. We are not going to get hit as (badly) as other countries," Nath said.

Asked whether the two stimulus packages announced by the government are adequate to stem the impact of the meltdown, he said different industry segments are showing signs of picking up.

"I had meetings with industry. They said in the last 15 days they have seen a pick-up...they are seeing things brighten up...of course they want more," he added.

Nath said government expenditure is bound to increase, leaving a wide fiscal gap. "Our fiscal deficit is going to increase but I think it will be manageable," he said.

Asked about the anti-outsourcing feelings in the US, Nath said, "The heart of globalisation lies in global competitiveness." He expected the US manufacturing sector to realise the virtues of outsourcing.

Nath expressed hopes that businesses would "prevail upon the US administration to look at how competitive it (outsourcing) can be in a global market". — PTI

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TRAI seeks views on next generation networks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
Telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has started the process for the telecom operators to migrate to next-generation networks (NGN) from the present networks they operate on.

As a first step, it has sought the views of various stakeholders on the issue before it issues the roadmap for telecom operators to migrate from their existing infrastructure to the NGN platform.

The views have been specifically called as migration to NGN requires heavy investments and involves replacing the existing infrastructure with Internet protocol-based core networks.

Rising acceptability of a common Internet protocol, or IP, backbone for all services, declining average revenue per user, intense competition and demand for new value-added services and applications has resulted in many leading operators migrating to NGN the world over, TRAI said, while issuing the consultation paper.

TRAI said the operators must be provided with stable regulatory and policy framework so that they can take risks associated with NGN deployments, particularly the high upfront investments required.

In the consultation paper, TRAI has specifically asked the telecom operators to point out what changes, if any, should be made in the regulatory and policy framework due to the emergence of NGN.

TRAI has also asked the industry’s view on who should regulate the space and how to execute the process.

TRAI has sought the industry’s opinion if if a time-frame for migration to NGN should be specified. This, as currently, it is not mandatory for operators to migrate to NGN and there is no specified timeframe for replacing their existing networks.

It has also asked operators to state if any industry- specific standardisation would be necessary to ensure interoperability in the NGN environment in view of the many optional fields in the existing standards.

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Pvt dairy owners rue hike in milk procurement price
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The private dairy entrepreneurs in the region are feeling the pinch because of high procurement price of milk being fixed by the dairy federations in Punjab and Haryana. The dairy federations are increasing the milk procurement prices during the flush season, forcing the private dairy entrepreneurs to follow suit.

The private entrepreneurs in the region say that the recently announced hike in milk procurement price of Rs 280 per kg fat by the dairy federation of Haryana, is unprecedented. Post Diwali, the availability of milk increases and prices generally fall during this flush season. But, Haryana has increased the procurement price by Rs 20 per kg fat, and Punjab is likely to follow suit later this week.

However, dairy experts say that this year there is a cyclical decline in milk production by 15 per cent. So, the dairy cooperatives are increasing their milk procurement prices so that the flow of raw milk in their plants remains unaffected. The private dairy entrepreneurs say that not only are they forced to pay a higher price than the dairy federations, but their production is hit because of the low availability of dairy milk.

M M Verma, president of Milk Plant Association of Punjab, and associate vice-president of Wockhardtt, said the milk procurement prices have never gone up beyond Rs 230- Rs 240 per kg fat. “The demand for milk is increasing, but the availability is low. With the procurement price being increased, we will be left with no option but to increase the retail price of milk,” he said.

Vinod Dutt, managing director of Chanakya Dairy Products, said there was need to address the milk procurement system in the organised sector. “The pricing of raw milk is worked out on fat percentage basis, which means that other constituents like proteins, minerals and vitamins get ignored. As a result, farmers are being encouraged to produce the fat percentage of milk and disturb the natural composition of milk. So pricing should be re-worked wherein weightage is given to both fat and solids not fat (SNF),” he said.

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Corporate Results
Tata Steel Q3 net dips 56 pc

Mumbai, January 28
Tata Steel today reported a 56.37 per cent decline in net profit at Rs 466.24 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008.

Tata Steel had a net profit of Rs 1,068.58 crore in the third quarter of last fiscal, steel major said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The total income dipped 3.45 per cent to Rs 4,802.14 crore for the quarter under review, from Rs 4,973.92 crore in the same period last fiscal.

The total income rose 27.65 per cent to Rs 17,815.22 crore during the quarter under review, from Rs 13,956.59 crore in the same period last fiscal.

JetLite posts 22-cr loss

Budget carrier JetLite incurred a loss of Rs 22 crore for the third quarter ended December, taking the total loss of the first nine months of the current fiscal higher than that of its parent airline Jet Airways.

According to reliable sources, JetLite has a total loss of Rs 498.9 crore for the first three quarters of the ongoing financial year, while that of Jet in the same period stands at Rs 455.3 crore.

As for the latest quarter, JetLite recorded revenues of Rs 474.1 crore, up 10.3 per cent from the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.

GAIL net dips 59 pc

State gas utility GAIL India Ltd today reported a 59 per cent dip in its net profit to Rs 253 crore in the third quarter ended December 31, 2008, as against Rs 621 crore in the same period last fiscal.

The company's turnover increased to Rs 5,812 crore in the October-December period from Rs 4,298 crore a year ago, a company statement said. — TNS/PTI

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BRIEFLY

Nabard sanctions Rs 124-cr loan to Punjab
Chandigarh:
Nabard has sanctioned a loan of Rs 124.25 crore to Punjab under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund. The money would be spent on widening/ strengthening/reconstruction of rural roads in Amritsar, Barnala, Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Muktsar, Sangrur, Taran Taran and SAS Nagar; lining of distributories in Ferozepore distribution system; and to tackle waterlogging problems in Ferozepore and Muktsar. — TNS

Goldman posts $850-m loss
New York:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc said it incurred a loss of about $850 million last month on loans extended to bankrupt units of petrochemicals company LyondellBasell. Yet the December loss, equal to more than 1 per cent of Goldman's book value, may never be reflected in any of Goldman's announced annual results. — Reuters

Alpha G:Corp awarded
Gurgaon:
Realty Plus, a monthly magazine on real estate, has presented the Realty Plus Excellence Award of "Emerging Developer of the Year" to Alpha G:Corp Development for its contribution in developing and delivering real estate properties. The award was received by S K Sayal, director and CEO of Alpha G:Corp. — TNS

RCI Capital to expand network
Chandigarh:
RCI Capital, a licenced investment dealer in Quebec, Canada, will be expanding its network across Punjab to attract more people for the Immigrant Investment Programme in Canada. Steven J. Gardiner, general manager and Anuraj Cheema, marketing manager of the company, said they were hoping to double the number of people who avail this programme to get permanent residency this year. — TNS

Piramal Healthcare buyout
Mumbai:
Piramal Healthcare, formerly known as Nicholas Piramal, has acquired outstanding capital stock of US-based RxElite Holdings for $4.2 million. This acquisition gives Piramal ownership of RxElite Holdings' sales and distribution network in the US and complements Piramal's pending acquisition of inhalation anesthetic gas manufacturer Minrad International in December 2008. — PTI

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