SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

World Bank predicts slower growth for India
Washington, March 31
As the global economy deteriorates sharply, the World Bank has projected a slower 4 per cent growth for India in 2009, down from 5.5 per cent in 2008, before picking up speed to reach 7 per cent in 2010.

ADB sees growth at 5 pc
New Delhi, March 31
The Asian Development Bank on Tuesday projected that India's economic growth would slow down to 5 per cent in 2009-10, the fiscal which begins tomorrow.

Monetise fiscal deficit, says CII
New Delhi, March 31
Industry chamber CII has demanded that cheap loans should be available and the government should monetise the fiscal deficit so that credit flow is not choked and asset reconstruction should be worked out for companies likely to default on loans.

ATF prices hiked
New Delhi, March 31
State-owned oil firms today raised jet fuel or ATF price by an average of Rs 2,750 per kilolitre or about 10 per cent, making it the second such hike in 15 days.

IMF okays $846-m loan to Pak
Washington, March 31
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved immediate disbursement of $847.1 million financial aid to Pakistan, even as its officials acknowledged that the political and security situation in the country added to the economic uncertainty.

Dual Spectrum Allocation Policy
TDSAT upholds govt’s decision
New Delhi, March 31
Telecom tribunal TDSAT today upheld the dual
spectrum allocation policy that allowed Anil Ambani
group company RCom and Tatas to get GSM spectrum
for operating mobile services.

Nano booking forms at Croma stores
New Delhi, March 31
Tatas have chosen its large-format, multi-brand consumer durables and electronics chain Croma to make available booking forms for cheapest car of the world, Nano.



German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves after giving a speech during her visit at the plant of car maker Opel in Ruesselsheim, western Germany, on Tuesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves after giving a speech during her visit at the plant of car maker Opel in Ruesselsheim, western Germany, on Tuesday. Merkel said she wants to negotiate a new corporate structure for Opel in talks with its troubled US parent group, General Motors. Opel, a unit of struggling US carmaker General Motors, employs about 25,000 people in Germany and has said it needs $4.4 billion in state aid from European governments to save jobs and keep plants open. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES




In this file photo, headquarters of French oil giant group Total is seen in La Defense, western Paris.
In this file photo, headquarters of French oil giant group Total is seen in La Defense, western Paris. Tyre maker Michelin, oil firm Total and sports firm Adidas are facing investigation in France for evading taxes via accounts in the Alpine principality of Liechtenstein, prosecutors said on Tuesday. — AFP

SIDBI to raise $900 m
New Delhi, March 31
The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) on Tuesday said it was looking at foreign borrowings to the tune of $700-900 million for the next fiscal year. "This (foreign borrowing) is (a) substantial amount. It would be in the range of $700-900 million," SIDBI chairman and managing director R M Malla told reporters on the sidelines of a conference by Sa-Dhan here. — PTI

Transactions worth Rs 2,700 cr effected on last day of fiscal
Chandigarh, March 31
Transactions worth Rs 2,700 crore were effected in the region today as the 2008-09 fiscal drew to a close today.

‘Green’ chewing gum launched in UK
London, March 31
The world's first biodegradable chewing gum, which is completely environment- friendly, has been introduced in supermarkets all over Britain.

 





Top








 

World Bank predicts slower growth for India

Washington, March 31
As the global economy deteriorates sharply, the World Bank has projected a slower 4 per cent growth for India in 2009, down from 5.5 per cent in 2008, before picking up speed to reach 7 per cent in 2010.

World Bank estimates released Tuesday have reduced its November 2008 projection of 5.8 per cent growth for India in 2009 rising to 7.7 per cent in 2010.

GDP growth in the developing world as a whole will slow to a projected 2.1 per cent in 2009 from 5.8 per cent in 2008.

Without India and China their growth would grind down from 4.6 per cent last year to a complete halt in 2009 before slowly recovering to 2.67 per cent in 2010 instead of growing at 2.9 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, as predicted earlier.

The bank has more than halved its November 2008 projection of 4.4 per cent growth in developing countries in 2009, reflecting the rapid deterioration of global financial and economic conditions.

The new Global Economic Prospects update also notes that global growth is expected to contract by 1.7 per cent this year.

This would be the first decline in world output growth since World War II. GDP is projected to decline by 3 per cent in OECD countries and by 2 per cent in other high-income economies.

The World Bank's baseline forecast predicts growth momentum to turn weakly positive in 2010 as financial-sector consolidation, lost wealth and knock-on effects from the financial crisis continue to dampen economic activity. However, the pace and timing of the recovery is still highly uncertain.

South Asia has been marked down to 3.7 per cent growth for 2009 from 5.4 per cent anticipated earlier — and down from 5.6 per cent registered in 2008.

The region's growth projection for 2010 too has been reduced from 7.2 per cent to 6.2 per cent. — IANS

Top

 

ADB sees growth at 5 pc

New Delhi, March 31
The Asian Development Bank on Tuesday projected that India's economic growth would slow down to 5 per cent in 2009-10, the fiscal which begins tomorrow.

Growth for 2008-09 had been kept at 7.1 per cent with downward risk, said Bruno Carrasco, director, South Asia department, ADB, while releasing ADB outlook 2009.

Carrasco further said since the scope for further fiscal stimulus is limited, the RBI can consider monetary measures in the backdrop of inflation coming down.

As regards the rate of inflation, he said, "It may turn negative in the coming weeks but there is no possibility of India moving into a deflationary mode". The Consumer Price Index is still high and not likely to show negative trends, he said.

Inflation dropped to a three-decade low of 0.27 per cent, raising fears that the economy is moving towards deflation.

The growth rate, following the global financial meltdown, is likely to dip from a high of 9 per cent in 2007-08 to 7.1 per cent in 2008-09.

As against the 7.1 per cent GDP growth rate also projected by the Central Statistical Organisation for 2008-09, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had earlier said that it could be around 6.5 per cent. — PTI

Top

 

Monetise fiscal deficit, says CII
Bhagyashree Pande
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
Industry chamber CII has demanded that cheap loans should be available and the government should monetise the fiscal deficit so that credit flow is not choked and asset reconstruction should be worked out for companies likely to default on loans.

Speaking to mediapersons, CII president Venu Srinivasan said the cost of doing business was very high and that the prime lending rates should be brought down to 8-12 per cent as against the current rate of 12-15 per cent.

“To bridge fiscal deficit and keep the economy afloat, which is reeling under the impact of global financial meltdown, the government should monetise the fiscal deficit,” he said.

“If the government is going to borrow from the market to fill the fiscal deficit, then they are going to suck up all the money available in the banks as their demand is so huge and industry will be crowded out,” he said.

Pitching for monetisation of the budget deficit, he said, “It means printing notes. Which means there is a risk of increasing inflation but at the same time you will keep the economy afloat”.

On the issue of precarious health of loans taken by India Inc and the restructuring of loans, Srinivasan said the focus of the chamber would be on working with the government to manage bad loans through asset reconstruction of the companies.

On the issue of inflation, the new CII president said, “though the wholesale price index is falling sharply, the chances of retail prices going down sharply are very less. There would be a lag in wholesale and retail prices, and that the retail price levels will come down to around 2-3 per cent.”

He also said this would definitely bring down the cost of borrowing which was very high at the moment.

He further said the government should also amend the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, which imposes restrictions on public expenditure, so as to manage the fiscal deficit better.

Raising concerns over the government's decision to raise an additional Rs 3,00,000 crore during 2009-10 to fund public expenditure, the CII chief said very little money would be left for the private sector.

Adding off-budget items and state deficits, total government deficit is likely to be in excess of 10 per cent of the GDP, he said, adding revenue deficit accounts for over 70 per cent of the fiscal deficit.

Commenting on the issue of governance, Srinivasan said they have set up a task force under the chairmanship of Naresh Chandra to enunciate principles which would help listed companies take voluntary steps to restore credibility of India Inc., which has been misplaced due to the recent corporate scandal.

Top

 

ATF prices hiked

New Delhi, March 31
State-owned oil firms today raised jet fuel or ATF price by an average of Rs 2,750 per kilolitre or about 10 per cent, making it the second such hike in 15 days.

Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) will cost Rs 29,926 per kl or 9.7 per cent in Delhi from midnight tonight, against Rs 27,274.95, an Indian Oil Corp official said. On March 16, the oil companies had raised jet fuel price marginally by Rs 158 per kl.

Prior to these increases, the public sector oil firms had reduced jet fuel prices 11 times since September last year. In between, the oil firms had raised ATF prices by 3.3 per cent on January 16.

In Mumbai, home to the nation's busiest airport, ATF rates were raised to Rs 30,785 per kl from Rs 28023.34 per kl.

The increase in jet fuel prices announced today varied from airport to airport depending on local taxes and levies and on an average worked out to be Rs 2,750 per kl. — PTI

Top

 

IMF okays $846-m loan to Pak

Washington, March 31
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved immediate disbursement of $847.1 million financial aid to Pakistan, even as its officials acknowledged that the political and security situation in the country added to the economic uncertainty.

"These (current political and security condition) affect economic and investment climate and also raise financial risk," IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan Adnan Mazarei said at a teleconference with media after IMF executive board completed a first review of the country's economic performance under a programme supported by a 23-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).

Besides giving a nod to immediate release of $847.1 million, the executive board also approved Pakistan's request for a waiver for restrictions on imports on "a few items," especially in the auto industry, Mazarei said. The waiver was granted because "they will remove them by June," he added. — PTI

Top

 

Dual Spectrum Allocation Policy
TDSAT upholds govt’s decision

New Delhi, March 31
Telecom tribunal TDSAT today upheld the dual spectrum allocation policy that allowed Anil Ambani group company RCom and Tatas to get GSM spectrum for operating mobile services.

Rejecting GSM operators' allegations, TDSAT said: "We do not find any ground
to level mala fide intention on the part of DoT and accordingly hold that the
issue of early completion of formalities is not a matter that would require
intervention at our level."

After DoT's decision on October 18, 2007, that amended the telecom licence allowing CDMA players to enter GSM mobile space, the COAI had questioned the manner in which Telecom Minister A Raja had implemented the decision.

"We are unable to agree with COAI that the DoT's impugned order of October 19, 2007 has disturbed the level-playing field," the TDSAT said in its judgement, adding that "we hold that there is nothing irregular in grant of 4.4 MHz as startup spectrum to respondent (RCom)."

The tribunal also rejected the GSM group's contention that as per licence condition and National Telecom Policy of '99, they had a right to hold spectrum up to 15 MHz.

TDSAT also clarified that concept of dual technology under which CDMA operators such as RCom and others got GSM spectrum was not new.

Moreover, the tribunal also slammed sectoral regulator TRAI for not being fair enough and doing proper exercise over the concept of technology neutrality.

The tribunal hit out at telecom regulator TRAI for recommending subscriber-linked criteria for allocating additional spectrum, saying these were not fair or transparent.

Interestingly, the tribunal gave a clean chit to DoT which implemented TRAI’s
recommendation as interim measure but directed to revise the figures within
one month. — PTI

Top

 

Nano booking forms at Croma stores
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
Tatas have chosen its large-format, multi-brand consumer durables and electronics chain Croma to make available booking forms for cheapest car of the world, Nano.

While the sale of application forms will start from April 4 and booking will start from April 9 till April 25, Croma has also introduced an attractive offer for prospective customers of the Tata Nano.

The forms will be available at a price of Rs 300 across all Croma stores in India and a customer, purchasing the application form from the store, would also be able to a discount of Rs 300 on select products making the applications forms virtually free.

Speaking on the initiative, Ajit Joshi, CEO & MD, Infiniti Retail Ltd, said, “The Tata Nano is an original and an innovative concept that reflects a fundamental transition that our country is going through and we are delighted to be a part of it”.

Nano will also be on display at 15 Croma stores across India, including Mumbai (High Street Phoenix , Juhu, Malad, Belapur, Domestic Airport), Pune (Aundh), Ahmedabad (Himalaya Mall), Bengalooru (Koramangala, Eva), Delhi (Rohini), Faridabad, Baroda , Surat and Hyderabad (Jubilee Hill, Punjagutta).

Top

 

Transactions worth Rs 2,700 cr effected
on last day of fiscal

Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Transactions worth Rs 2,700 crore were effected in the region today as the 2008-09 fiscal drew to a close today.

The transactions were carried out through 2.64 lakh instruments (cheques) on March 30 and 31.

Inquiries made by TNS revealed that while cheques worth Rs 1,246.16 crore were affected yesterday, instruments worth almost Rs 1,463 crore were cleared today.

The maximum transactions were affected in Chandigarh (Rs 1,100 crore), because of the high government tranasactions in the city, which is the seat of three governments - Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Ludhiana, being the financial capital of the region, followed with transactions worth Rs 917.98 crore.

All cheques cleared today were the taxes deposited by the residents. Information collected by TNS from various clearing houses in the region revealed that government taxes worth Rs 56.38 crore were collected in Chandigarh alone.

During the day time, a huge rush of people could be seen at the tax collection counters set up by the authorised banks across the region, who were depositing their advance income tax, central excise tax and fringe benefit tax.

It may be noted that daily transactions worth Rs 1,500 crore take place in various banks in the region through almost 2 lakh cheques per day.

Sources in the banking sector informed TNS that during the last week of March, the transactions increased manifold.

RBI had asked banks to take certain special measures so as to meet the probable rush of taxpayers towards the end of the year.

These banks - State Bank of India and its associate banks, all public sector banks, IDBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank - had extended their working hours by two hours yesterday and remained functional till midnight today.

Banks had kept their counters open for conducting all government business, besides payment of advance income tax, service tax, central excise duty, Fringe Benefit Tax in the banks.

A special clearing session was held yesterday and today evening to ensure that all cheques were cleared.

Even today, two special clearing sessions was conducted in the evening, so that the clearing instruments received from members of public are realised and credited to government account today itself.

Meanwhile, the RBI has also asked all banks to ensure that all payments and revenue and tax collections (direct and indirect taxes) made on behalf of the government, towards the end of March, are accounted for in the current financial year as “March 2007 Residual Transactions”. The date of closure for these transactions has been fixed as April 16.

Top

 

‘Green’ chewing gum launched in UK

London, March 31
The world's first biodegradable chewing gum, which is completely environment- friendly, has been introduced in supermarkets all over Britain.

According to a report in The Guardian, Chicza Rainforest Gum, as it is called, is manufactured in Mexico by Consorcio Chiclero, which is a consortium of 56 co-operatives employing some 2,000 chicleros (gum farmers) and their families.

The workers extract natural gum from the sap of the chicle tree, which is then used to make the product.

Unlike conventional chewing gum, which contains petrochemicals, the organic chewing gum does not stick to clothing or pavements.

Once disposed of, it will crumble to dust in about six weeks, dissolving harmlessly in water or being absorbed into the soil. Chicza comes in lime, mint and spearmint flavours. It is going on sale at £1.39 a packet.

It is costly and difficult to remove conventional chewing gum from public places
because of its chemical content, with cleaning typically costing between 10p
and 30p per piece.

It takes 17 weeks for chewing gum to be removed from the entire length of Oxford Street in London, for example, but only 10 days for it to be littered with gum again.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has calculated that local authorities spend up to £200,000 a year each on clearing gum.

Westminster city council in London, which has one of the highest clean-up bills, is backing the new product. — ANI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

PNB cuts interest rates on FDs
New Delhi:
PNB will cut interest rates by 50-100 bps on fixed deposits of less than three years from Wednesday. "PNB has informed BSE that the bank has decided to realign the interest rates on retail term deposits by reducing interest rates by 50 bps to 100 bps in the time slabs from 91 to 179 days' to '2 years to less than 3 years'," the bank said.

VW opens plant in Pune
Pune:
Global auto major Volkswagen on Tuesday inaugurated its plant at Chakan near Pune, built at an investment of Rs 3,800 crore, the biggest investment made by any German company in India so far. The plant will begin making Skoda Fabia compact car in May 2009.

Canara, Vijaya Bank cut BPLR by 50 bps
Bangalore:
Public sector banks, Canara Bank and Vijaya Bank, have reduced their Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR) by 50 basis points, effective Wednesday. While Canara Bank cut BPLR from 12.50 per cent to 12 per cent, Vijaya Bank reduced BPLR by 50 bps to 12.25 per cent.

Boeing research centre
Bangalore:
Aerospace giant Boeing on Tuesday announced the opening of its Research and Technology-India Centre here, its third outside the US. This centre will carry out continued collaboration with Indian R&D organisations in government and private sectors to help sustain the company's competitive technological edge while enhancing India's aerospace capabilities, Boeing officials said.

Ashok Nayak is HAL chief
Bangalore:
Ashok Nayak will take over as the new chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on April 1. Nayak succeeds Ashok K. Baweja, who retired from service on Tuesday. — Agencies, TNS

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |