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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Pension for all from today
New Delhi, April 30
All citizens of the country will be able to avail of pension facility from tomorrow, with the interim pension regulator PFRDA confirming the scheduled launch of the mega pension plan in a statement today.

PNB cuts PLR by 0.5 pc
New Delhi, April 30
The country's second-largest public sector lender, Punjab National Bank, today slashed benchmark lending rate by 50 basis points to 11 per cent, a move that will benefit millions of home, consumer and corporate loan borrowers.

HSIIDC to set up cluster-based industrial estates
Chandigarh, April 30
With economies of scale being the prime concern for industry in these recessionary times, Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) is now concentrating on cluster development approach.

Bharti Airtel, Alcatel ink $500-m deal
New Delhi, April 30
Telecom major Bharti Airtel today signed a five-year managed services deal valued at $500 million with Alcatel Lucent for its fixed-line and broadband operations.



EARLIER STORIES



Chevron exits RPL
Mumbai, April 30
Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries has bought back US energy giant Chevron Corp's five per cent stake in Reliance Petroleum for Rs 1,350 crore. In a disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Reliance Petroleum (RPL) said Chevron India Holdings has sold 22.50 crore shares, representing five per cent stake in RPL, to Reliance Industries (RIL).

RCom Q4 net dips 3 pc
Mumbai, April 30
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Communication today reported a 3.26 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 1,454.31 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009.

A Fiat Panda is parked next to a Jeep Wrangler (L) at a Chrysler dealership in Rome on Thursday. Chrysler LLC rushed to clinch a deal to stave off collapse ahead of a midnight deadline imposed on the No. 3 US automaker by the Obama administration. As of Thursday morning, Chrysler still had not gained the bondholder support it needs to move forward with a restructuring and avoid the first-ever bankruptcy A Fiat Panda is parked next to a Jeep Wrangler (L) at a Chrysler dealership in Rome on Thursday. Chrysler LLC rushed to clinch a deal to stave off collapse ahead of a midnight deadline imposed on the No. 3 US automaker by the Obama administration. As of Thursday morning, Chrysler still had not gained the bondholder support it needs to move forward with a restructuring and avoid the first-ever bankruptcy filing by a Big Three US automaker. — Reuters





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Pension for all from today

New Delhi, April 30
All citizens of the country will be able to avail of pension facility from tomorrow, with the interim pension regulator PFRDA confirming the scheduled launch of the mega pension plan in a statement today.

"The necessary infrastructure for the rollout of New Pension System (NPS) is now ready and it will be available to all citizens of India from May 1, 2009," Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) said.

Tier-I of NPS constituting non-withdrawable pension account will become operational from tomorrow and Tier-II (withdrawable account) of the NPS account will become operational in about six months.

Pension fund managers will manage three separate schemes, each investing in a different asset class. These asset classes are equity, government securities and credit risk-bearing fixed income instruments.

"On the basis of recommendations of the NPS Trust and on advice from the government, it has been decided that investment by an NPS participant in equity would be subject to a cap of 50 per cent," it said.

The authority has appointed 22 points of presence (PoPs) and six pension fund managers. Branches of the registered PoPs, to be called PoP Service Providers, will be the contact and collection point for all citizens other than government employees wanting to obtain a Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN).

The investment will only be in index funds that replicate either BSE sensitive index or NSE Nifty 50 index. The subscriber will have the option to actively decide as to how the investment will be in the three asset classes.

In the event of the subscriber being unable or unwilling to decide, his contribution will be invested according to the 'auto choice' option, which is based on a predefined portfolio varying with the age of the subscriber.

The NPS architecture has been operational for central government employees for over a year now, since April 1, 2008, and the NPS corpus amounting to over Rs 2,100 crore stands invested in it.

"...the three pension funds have generated returns varying from 12 per cent to 16 per cent on the NPS corpus during the year 2008-09, weighted average return being over 14.5 per cent," PFRDA said citing unaudited results.

The states are at different stages of adopting NPS.

In August 2008, the government advised PFRDA to extend NPS, currently subscribed to by government employees, to all citizens on a voluntary basis.

Central government employees, who joined service on or after January 1, 2004, are covered under NPS. Unlike the old pension scheme, in NPS both employees and the employer (in this case, government) contributed an equal amount to the pension fund. As many as 21 states have also joined the scheme. — PTI

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PNB cuts PLR by 0.5 pc

New Delhi, April 30
The country's second-largest public sector lender, Punjab National Bank, today slashed benchmark lending rate by 50 basis points to 11 per cent, a move that will benefit millions of home, consumer and corporate loan borrowers.

The Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR) has been slashed from 11.5 per cent to 11 per cent effective tomorrow, the bank said in a statement.

The announcement comes after a week the RBI reduced short-term policy rates by quarter percentage.

The bank has cut interest rate on personal loan by 50 basis points and floating home loan would become cheaper by 25 basis points, it said.

Besides, the bank has also reduced its peak deposit rate by 50 basis points to 7.5 per cent.

Interest rates on housing loan has been revised downward by 25 basis points in all tenors of floating option loans, it said, adding, with this revision, the floating rate housing loan would range from 8.75 per cent to 10 per cent depending upon tenors and amounts.

Besides, the threshold limit under the PNB Special Housing Loan Scheme (Fixed) has been enhanced to Rs 50 lakh. Home loan is available at 9 per cent under the scheme for the limited period up to June 30. Interest rate on Reverse Mortgage Scheme has also been reduced by 0.5 per cent.— PTI

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HSIIDC to set up cluster-based industrial estates
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
With economies of scale being the prime concern for industry in these recessionary times, Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) is now concentrating on cluster development approach.

After having successfully developed dedicated theme parks, HSIIDC is now set to come up with a Electronic Hardware Technology Park at Kundli. Also, in the pipeline are auto parts cluster in Gurgaon and a cluster for light engineering goods at Faridabad.

Sources informed TNS that of late there has been a growing demand that industrial developers introduce cluster approach while developing new industrial estates so as to improve global competitiveness and encourage specialisation of domestic industry. Thus HSIIDC is now focusing on hardselling Haryana as a cluster- based industrial destination.

The sources further informed that the Electronic Hardware Technology Park, the first-of-its-kind in North India, is being developed on a 100-acre area within the existing industrial estate at Kundli. HSIIDC has already floated the scheme for allotment of 168 plots, which will be allotted on a freehold basis. This is being developed for housing electronic hardware industry that is manufacturing computing devices, network controlling electronic components as well as IT and ITeS industry.

With the growing IT and ITeS sector in the NCR region of the state, it was a natural progression to develop a electronic hardware technology park for sustainability of the software development industry, said an official.

“We have just created an Agriculture Implements park at Karnal, which is spread over 100 acres. In spite of the economic downturn, we have managed to allot all 80 plots in this cluster from amongst hundreds of applicants,” said an official. He added that the two food parks at Rai and Saha, the apparel park at Barhi and footwear park at Bahadurgarh, too, had got a good response as these focused on specific industry. 

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Bharti Airtel, Alcatel ink $500-m deal

New Delhi, April 30
Telecom major Bharti Airtel today signed a five-year managed services deal valued at $500 million with Alcatel Lucent for its fixed-line and broadband operations.

The services would be managed by a joint venture in which Alcatel Lucent would hold 74 per cent, while the remaining 26 per cent would be held by Airtel, Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli said. The JV would be run by Alcatel Lucent with 4,000 employees, some of whom would come from the network management firm.

"The JV will manage Airtel's fixedline and broadband services," Kohli said.

Bharti has already outsourced its network management to Nokia Siemens and Ericsson in two different deals for its wireless business while its IT infrastructure is managed by IBM. — PTI 

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Chevron exits RPL

Mumbai, April 30
Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries has bought back US energy giant Chevron Corp's five per cent stake in Reliance Petroleum for Rs 1,350 crore.

In a disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Reliance Petroleum (RPL) said Chevron India Holdings has sold 22.50 crore shares, representing five per cent stake in RPL, to Reliance Industries (RIL).

RIL has paid Rs 60 per share aggregating to Rs 1,350 crore, the same price at which the US firm had bought five per cent stake in RPL in April 2006.

Last month, RIL merged RPL with itself in an all-share deal valued at about Rs 8,500 crore. The merger also involved RIL buying back Chevron's five per cent stake in RPL for Rs 1,350 crore. Pursuant to the acquisition, the promoter group firm RIL holds a 75.38 per cent stake in RPL.

Meanwhile, as per the agreement in 2006, Chevron had the right to increase its stake in RPL to 29 per cent within three months of commissioning of the only-for-exports refinery at Jamnagar or exit the company completely. RPL commissioned the 580,000 barrels per day refinery in December 2008. — PTI

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SBOP to hire 1,300
Chandigarh: State Bank of Patiala has decided to hire 1,300 persons as it plans to open 50 branches in the current fiscal with a target to achieve a business volume of Rs 1,25,000 crore by the end of 2009-10. "We will be recruiting 1,100 clerical staff and 200 probationary officers during the current fiscal for the effective functioning of banking operations as well as for handling expanding branch network," SBoP managing director Ashok Nayar said here on Wednesday. — PTI

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RCom Q4 net dips 3 pc

Mumbai, April 30
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Communication today reported a 3.26 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 1,454.31 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009.

The total income of the company rose 15.29 per cent to Rs 6,123.67 crore in the March quarter 2009, from Rs 5,311.38 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

For the financial year ended March 31, RCom reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 5,907.55 crore, up 9.38 per cent from Rs 5,401.14 crore in the year-ago period.

The total income rose 20.31 per cent to Rs 22,941.07 crore during FY'09, from Rs 19,067.76 crore in FY'08. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Inflation rises to 0.57%
New Delhi:
Inflation rose marginally to 0.57 per cent for the week ended April 18 as food items continued to remain expensive. Besides, the cost of some fuels like aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and furnace oil, used in manufacturing, also rose and exerted pressure on the index. Essential food items like tea became costlier by seven per cent, urad prices went up by five per cent and condiments and spices by four per cent. Inflation was 0.26 for the week ended April 11 and 8.23 per cent in the corresponding period a year ago. — TNS

Plan panel moots National Electricity Fund
New Delhi
: The Planning Commission has proposed setting up a National Electricity Fund with a corpus of Rs 1,00,000-1,50,000 crore to finance development of power transmission and distribution (T&D) network by state utilities so as to reduce T&D losses. This was disclosed by Planning Commission Member B K Chaturvedi. — PTI

Import of sensitive items up 30 pc
New Delhi
: India's imports of sensitive products, items whose shipments are monitored for their effect on domestic industry, went up by 30.5 per cent to Rs 43,000 crore during April-February 2008-09 from Rs 32,953 crore in the same period last year. — PTI

ATF prices cut marginally
New Delhi
: After three consecutive hikes, state-run oil companies on Thursday reduced jet fuel or ATF prices marginally by about one per cent in tandem with international rates for the same. Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum cut aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price by Rs 311 per kilolitre in Delhi to Rs 31,615 per kl with effect from midnight tonight, an IOC official said. — PTI

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