SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


B U S I N E S S

SEBI plans online trading in securities
New Delhi, May 28
Market regulator SEBI plans to extend the facility of Internet trading in securities on exchanges by enabling the use of wireless technology.

Manmohan hints at divestment of PSUs
New Delhi, May 28
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today indicated that the full Budget for 2009-10 may announce a disinvestment of government stake in public sector companies.

World economy to shrink 2.6 pc: UN
New York, May 28
The United Nations has forecast the world economy to shrink 2.6 per cent in 2009, downgrading the already-pessimistic estimate made five months ago. "The world economy is expected to shrink by 2.6 per cent in 2009, according to the pessimistic scenario of the forecast presented in January," the world body said in a mid-year report by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).



EARLIER STORIES


THE TRIBUNE
 SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS


Tata Motors' new range of trucks are displayed during a news conference in Mumbai on Thursday.
Tata Motors' new range of trucks are displayed during a news conference in Mumbai on Thursday. Besides India, the range will also be gradually introduced in South Korea, South Africa, the SAARC countries and the Middle East, Tata Motors said.— Reuters

RBI announces concessions for industry in J&K
Chandigarh, May 28
The RBI has come up with a new package of concessions and credit relaxations for trade and industry in Jammu and Kashmir. The various concessions that have been announced for the terror-hit state include increased working capital facilities, finance against accepted hundis (usance bills) and concessions in service tariffs for remittances.

FinMin mulls special audit of Satyam
New Delhi, May 28
The Finance Ministry is evaluating options of conducting a special audit of scam-tainted IT firm Satyam Computer's accounts to ascertain the company's tax liability.

FM to start pre-Budget consultations next week
New Delhi, May 28
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will start the customary pre-Budget consultations with different interest groups like captains of industry, economists, agriculturists and bankers next week.

A car transporter loaded with Opel cars passes the Opel plant in Ruesselsheim on Thursday.
A car transporter loaded with Opel cars passes the Opel plant in Ruesselsheim on Thursday. German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said on Thursday there was still a risk the Opel unit of struggling US carmaker General Motors would not be granted state guarantees. — Reuters

Sistema, Aegis BPO in pact
New Delhi, May 28
Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL), a joint venture between Russia's Sistema and the Shyam Group, has entered into a strategic agreement with Aegis BPO for outsourcing customer service operations of its mobile service brand MTS.

Nirula’s opens 65th outlet
Pathankot, May 28
Aimed at catering to travellers and pilgrims on their way to Vaishno Devi shrine, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh, Nirula's, in collaboration with the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), opened a restaurant on the National Highway 1A, popularly known as Kashmir road, here today.






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SEBI plans online trading in securities

New Delhi, May 28
Market regulator SEBI plans to extend the facility of Internet trading in securities on exchanges by enabling the use of wireless technology.

"It is proposed to explore the possibility of extending the existing framework of Internet trading to enable use of wireless technology for securities trading," it said in a statement today asking for public comments by June 15.

The SEBI said all relevant requirements applicable for Internet based trading will also be applicable for securities trading using wireless network.

SEBI registered stock brokers who provide Internet based trading services will be eligible to provide securities trading using wireless medium, subject to approval from respective exchanges, the statement said.

As per the proposed safeguards for wireless trading, the market regulator said there should be secure access, end-to-end encryption and security of communication from hand held device to server.

Adequate measures would be taken for user identification, authentication and access control using means such as user id, passwords, smart cards, biometric devices to prevent misuse.

SEBI further said network security protocols must be as per prevalent industry standards and sound audit trails must be available for all transactions using wireless devices.

Apart from order confirmation, the user must be provided with modification and cancellation facilities. The user must also get trade confirmation along with history of trades, the list of planned safeguards said.

"Information made available on the hand held device should be timely and should not put the user at a disadvantage vis-ŕ-vis other means of communication," the regulator said.

And, in case of a network failure, alternative means such as telephone or Internet should be available, it said.

Further, as it may not be possible to give detailed investor information on hand held devices, addresses of the websites should be provided where detailed information is available, SEBI added. — PTI 

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Manmohan hints at divestment of PSUs

New Delhi, May 28
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today indicated that the full Budget for 2009-10 may announce a disinvestment of government stake in public sector companies.

"Fiscal prudence and disinvestment of public sector units — all these issues will be tackled by the Finance Minister in the Budget," Singh told reporters after the second round of swearing-in of Union Ministers at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The Prime Minister said economic growth would not come at the cost of fiscal prudence. "We would ensure economic growth momentum but at the same time fiscal prudence will be kept in mind," he said.

A host of companies waiting for the government nod for disinvestment include Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), railway consultancy firm RITES, National Aviation Company, and Ircon.

The government has already cleared the disinvestment of NHPC and Oil India but could not tap the capital market due to the prevalent negative sentiment.

Fund mobilisation by the government by way of initial public offers (IPOs) declined in 2008. There was only one PSU IPO, which was that of Rural Electrification Corporation, worth Rs 1,421 crore. — PTI 

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World economy to shrink 2.6 pc: UN

New York, May 28
The United Nations has forecast the world economy to shrink 2.6 per cent in 2009, downgrading the already-pessimistic estimate made five months ago. "The world economy is expected to shrink by 2.6 per cent in 2009, according to the pessimistic scenario of the forecast presented in January," the world body said in a mid-year report by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

In January, the UN had forecast that the world economy would shrink 0.5 per cent this year.

Rob Vos, Director of DESA's Development Policy and Analysis Division, told a news conference on Wednesday that "We are less sanguine than some observers about possible green shoots emerging. If they are there they don't give much sign of being spring time.

It is still very wintry landscape." With its increasing impact both in scope and depth worldwide, the global financial crisis poses a significant threat to world economic and social development, including the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals, according to DESA.

The report predicted that with a coordinated, development-oriented policy scenario, the world economy would recover to an annual growth of 4-5 per cent in 2010-2015, led by a robust growth of 7 per cent a year in developing nations.

"This is in contrast to the uncoordinated scenario in which developing countries would recover at only half that rate," DESA said.

Although the crisis originated in developed countries, "it is now evident that developing countries are being hit disproportionately hard through capital reversals, rising borrowing costs, collapsing world trade and commodity prices, and subsiding remittance flows", it stated.

During the first quarter of 2009, world trade dwindled at a "dramatic" annual rate of more than 40 per cent, with the deepest impact felt by the exporting countries of Asia. — PTI

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RBI announces concessions for industry in J&K
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
The RBI has come up with a new package of concessions and credit relaxations for trade and industry in Jammu and Kashmir. The various concessions that have been announced for the terror-hit state include increased working capital facilities, finance against accepted hundis (usance bills) and concessions in service tariffs for remittances.

Though some credit relaxations had been announced by the RBI and have been in effect for almost five years now, the apex bank has extended these concessions till March 2010.

Besides these, new concessions have been announced to ensure larger flow of credit to trade and industry and bring about appropriate changes in the monitoring mechanism.

Sources informed TNS that banks have now been asked to sanction increased working capital facility, depending on the merits of each case. For small borrowers in the unorganised sector, relaxation up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the norms accepted for last sanction may be allowed.

RBI has also asked all banks operating in Jammu and Kashmir to review all their borrowal accounts within three months. Banks have also been asked to encourage extending finance against accepted hundis (usance bills) and give concessions in service tariffs for remittances and for collection of outstation cheques.

Coming to the help of the Kashmiri migrants, banks have been asked to honour all fixed deposit receipts up to Rs 10,000 at the designated branches, without verifying details from the branch of origin against indemnity bond (where necessary).

RBI has also said that the existing concessions to trade and industry in Jammu and Kashmir will continue for another year. These include a more flexible approach with regards to debt-equity ratio, especially for small projects, re-scheduling of payment programme, regularising irregular accounts within the next three months by sanctioning additional working capital et al.

Banks have also been asked to allow transfer of bank accounts/funds maintained with their branches in the Kashmir valley to some other designated branches outside the Valley with the necessary safeguards so that unauthorised withdrawals are not encouraged. RBI has said that banks could designate specific branches outside the Valley to receive instruments drawn on their branches located in the Kashmir Valley.

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FinMin mulls special audit of Satyam

New Delhi, May 28
The Finance Ministry is evaluating options of conducting a special audit of scam-tainted IT firm Satyam Computer's accounts to ascertain the company's tax liability.

A decision on this will be taken after the tax authorities go through the report of the Serious Fraud Investigations Office, (SFIO) which they have requested from the Corporate Affairs Ministry.

"We have written to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to provide us the SFIO report on Satyam Computer," a source said.

Recently, the income-tax authorities conducted a special audit of the accounts of several firms including real estate major DLF, which got a tax notice of about Rs 400 crore.

However, in the case of Satyam, the tax department may not conduct a special audit if reports from other government agencies like the SFIO serve the purpose.

“We may or may not order a special audit as that may further delay the order. If our points are covered in the reports filed by other agencies, we don't need to conduct a special audit,” the source said. — PTI

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FM to start pre-Budget consultations next week

New Delhi, May 28
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will start the customary pre-Budget consultations with different interest groups like captains of industry, economists, agriculturists and bankers next week.

The pre-Budget meetings will begin next week after the Minister returns from his trip to West Bengal, said a ministry official, adding that the Minister has already met several important functionaries to firm up his views about the budget, to be presented in the first week of July.

Among others, the Finance Minister met Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and discussed the budget proposals of the Rail Ministry.

Talking to reporters after the meeting Banerjee said, in addition to seeking relief for the cyclone-hit people in West Bengal, she also held discussions about the Rail budget with the Finance Minister.

Mukherjee, who is leaving for West Bengal and his constituency Jangipur after assuming charge as the Finance Minister, is expected to return to the capital by the weekend.

The Minister has already said that he would make endeavour to get Budget, the first of the new UPA government, approved by Parliament before the end of the next month.

As a general practice, Finance Minister along with senior officials meets representatives of trade and industry, senior economists, trade union leaders unions, agriculturists and bankers to elicit their views on the budget.

"The regular budget 2009-10 exercises are underway in full swing," Mukherjee had said yesterday pointing out that Congress in its manifesto had promised to come out with the Budget within 45 days of formation of the new government.

As Finance Minister in the previous government, Mukherjee presented an interim budget on February 16 and sought vote on account for four months to withdraw funds from the consolidated fund of India to meet necessary expenditure.

The Interim Budget runs till July 31, so the Budget has to be passed by Parliament by that date to avoid another vote-on-account.

Revenue Secretary P V Bhide had been meeting representatives of industry chambers like CII even before formation of the new government. — PTI

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Sistema, Aegis BPO in pact
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL), a joint venture between Russia's Sistema and the Shyam Group, has entered into a strategic agreement with Aegis BPO for outsourcing customer service operations of its mobile service brand MTS.

Aegis BPO will facilitate SSTL in the delivery of quality customer care solutions to customers and establishing customer loyalty for the MTS brand. SSTL, which has recently forayed into Kolkata, is looking to gradually expand its presence to the eastern states of West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

MTS has already invested about $1.2 billion in India, for spectrum allocation and other infrastructure, out of the total capital expenditure plan of $5.5 billion.

SSTL is currently offering its service in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Kolkata, and has acquired licenses and spectrum to provide mobile telephony services in all 22 circles across the country.

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Nirula’s opens 65th outlet

Pathankot, May 28
Aimed at catering to travellers and pilgrims on their way to Vaishno Devi shrine, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh, Nirula's, in collaboration with the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), opened a restaurant on the National Highway 1A, popularly known as Kashmir road, here today.

Samir Kuckreja, CEO, Nirula’s Group of Companies, said it was their 65th outlet and another venture would be opened by the end of this year on the Delhi-Jaipur highway.

He further informed that they would also open its outlets at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

M&M net up 89%
Mumbai:
Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra on Thursday reported an 89.09 per cent jump in its net profit at Rs 418.07 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. The total income increased 17.02 per cent at Rs 3,715.88 crore during the quarter as against Rs 3,175.45 crore in the corresponding period the previous fiscal. The board has declared a dividend of 100 per cent at the rate of Rs 10 a piece, on shares of the face value of Rs 10 each, for the financial year ended March 31, 2009.— PTI

Inflation stays at 0.61%
New Delhi:
Inflation remained unchanged at 0.61 per cent for the week ended May 16 in comparison to the previous week, giving head room to the government to initiate expansionary measures. Inflation stood at 8.66 per cent during the same week a year ago.— PTI

Reliance Infra Fund
Chandigarh:
Reliance Mutual Fund has announced the launch of its new ‘Reliance Infrastructure Fund’, investing predominantly in companies engaged in infrastructure and infrastructure-related sectors in the country. Reliance Infrastructure Fund is an open-ended equity fund with the primary investment objective of generating long-term capital appreciation. This fund will invest significantly in equity and equity-related instruments of companies engaged in infrastructure and infrastructure-related sectors such as transport, banks and financial institutions, energy, power and oil, metals and minerals, telecom and urban infrastructure amongst others. — TNS

IOL Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals
Chandigarh:
Ludhiana-based IOL Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Limited has started manufacturing of mono-chloro acetic acid and acetyl chloride at its new manufacturing units and has become the second largest producer of these chemicals in the country. Both of these chemicals will be used by the company as raw materials for its popular pharmaceutical product, Ibuprofen.— TNS

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