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CHANDIGARH

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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Economy up 6.7% despite slow industrial growth
New Delhi, May 29
Braving the global recessionary trends, India managed 6.7 per cent economic growth in 2008-09 despite the manufacturing sector recording a dismal performance. A 5.8 per cent growth rate during the last quarter of the fiscal, at a time when most developed economies have shrunk, puts India among the top-most growing nations.

Unitek Power Solutions targets North India
John Zachariah Chandigarh, May 29
Kerala-based Unitek Power Solutions (India) Ltd, a pioneer in manufacturing UPS (under brand name Unitek and Alltek) for industrial purposes, is targeting North Indian market in a big way.

Govt may deregulate oil prices soon
New Delhi, May 29
Petrol and diesel prices in the country are again going to be free from government regulation. This de-control of prices is likely to be announced within six weeks. This was stated by Petroleum Minister Murli Deora as the primary target of his ministry. The second term of the UPA government takes off on this issue from where the NDA government had left in 2004 i.e. deregulating fuel prices.



EARLIER STORIES




Employees at a call centre in Srinagar. This call centre works 24/7 at Access Infrastructure, which serves clients of one of India's largest cell phone networks. "Access Infrastructure is in Srinagar, famous for a Islamic insurgency and the bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Opened in 2004, it is largely a fruit of relative peace returning to Srinagar.
Employees at a call centre in Srinagar. This call centre works 24/7 at Access Infrastructure, which serves clients of one of India's largest cell phone networks. "Access Infrastructure is in Srinagar, famous for a Islamic insurgency and the bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Opened in 2004, it is largely a fruit of relative peace returning to Srinagar.— AFP

Industry drafts 100-day action plan
New Delhi, May 29
To spur the sagging economy, industry chambers Confederation Of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have asked the government to cut interest rates.

Exporters in the region fail to get duty drawback
Ludhiana, May 29
As if the global meltdown was not enough, the exporters in the region have got another setback in recent times as the Customs' Department here has failed to disburse duty drawback lying pending since February 2009. According to sources, duty drawback worth crores has not been given to exporters of Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Jammu and Srinagar region, reasons best known to the department officials.

Airtel digital TV
New Delhi, May 29
Bharti Airtel on Friday announced the launch of the “Magic Dekho, Talktime Pao” offer on its DTH service - digital TV. This is an exclusive offer for Airtel Prepaid Mobile customers across the country where on buying a digital TV connection.

Corporate Results

 





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Economy up 6.7% despite slow industrial growth
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, May 29
Braving the global recessionary trends, India managed 6.7 per cent economic growth in 2008-09 despite the manufacturing sector recording a dismal performance. A 5.8 per cent growth rate during the last quarter of the fiscal, at a time when most developed economies have shrunk, puts India among the top-most growing nations.

Commenting on the growth figures released by the government today, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said: “It is on the expected lines”. The growth rate during 2008-09 is lower than the 9 per cent in the preceding fiscal, but that is not as low as expected by certain analysts and quite in the range projected by the RBI: 6.5-7 per cent.

The slowdown is attributed to poor performance by manufacturing sector despite robust growth in some service sectors. The manufacturing output has expanded by a mere 1.4 per cent adding a cause of worry to the already sagging economy. As per statistics released, the higher-than-expected growth came about despite the farm sector logging a mere 2.4 per cent growth.

The main reason why the overall growth got a boost was the 13 per cent jump in the expansion of community services, 9 per cent in transport and communications sectors, and 7.8 per cent in financial and other services sector.

Expansion in construction activities was also higher than the overall growth at 7 per cent. This apart, mining output was up 3.6 per cent and electricity and fuel production grew by 3 per cent, the fresh data showed.

The major reason for the slippage, therefore, was due to the sharp slide in both industrial and agricultural growth, which fell from 8.2 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively, in 2007-08.

Vehicle sales and the production of cement, electricity and refined petroleum are showing signs of revival. India’s passenger-car sales increased 4.2 per cent in April from a year earlier, after a 1 per cent gain in March. Cement production jumped 10.1 per cent in March and electricity output rose 5.9 per cent from a year ago, according to government data.

This shows resilience of the economy against the background of global recession during the later part of last year, said industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

With the reversal of the contractionary monetary policy and fiscal stimulus measures, the growth rate should now show improvement in the current fiscal, said the chamber president Harsh Pati Singhania.

While the policy stimulus should take care and give a boost to manufacturing sector, the monsoon pattern this year would very critically determine the farm economy, he said.

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Unitek Power Solutions targets North India
Sanjay Khurana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Kerala-based Unitek Power Solutions (India) Ltd, a pioneer in manufacturing UPS (under brand name Unitek and Alltek) for industrial purposes, is targeting North Indian market in a big way.

The company, which started its operations in 1982 by manufacturing emergency lights and burglar alarms, entered the UPS market in 1990 in South India. At present, the company has marketing and service centres at Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Dehradun, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram. The company opened its office for this region at Mohali only two months ago.

John Zachariah, managing director and CEO, Unitek Power Solutions, in an exclusive interview to The Tribune, said: “We see a huge potential for our products in this region, particularly in the states of Punjab and Haryana, where the power situation is grim. We are aiming at a turnover of Rs 7 crore from this region in the very first year of our operations.”

The company posted a turnover of Rs 50 crore in the last financial year (2008-09) and hopes to achieve a turnover of Rs 100 crore in the present fiscal.

Zachariah further said: “We have products catering to power conditioning requirements from small to bigger units. We have UPS in different configurations, from 1 KVA TO 4,800 KVA.” He said in Chandigarh they had formed a core team to cater to the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. “As of now, we have been well accepted by the market for our products. We have already installed our power solutions at Kapurthala in Punjab, besides having more than 1 lakh online UPS installations,” he said.

The company has a tie-up with Italian multinational Borri, one of the biggest manufacturer of UPS in the world. Borri has a 20 per cent stake in Unitek Power Solutions.

The company has a complete manufacturing set-up, such as fabrication, painting shop, PCB manufacturing, magnetic division etc. under one roof and its products are certified by ISO 9001-2000 standards.

Talking about the company’s future plans, the CEO disclosed that they were coming up with a second factory in Kerala at an investment of Rs 20 crore, which was likely to be commissioned by November this year.

When asked about setting up their unit in this region, Zachariah said they were looking forward to set up a factory in North India in the coming years. He further disclosed that the company had potential customers in the IT sector, Railways and telecom sector. “Our focus is to market our products and provide after-sales services effectively in the region.”

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Govt may deregulate oil prices soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
Petrol and diesel prices in the country are again going to be free from government regulation. This de-control of prices is likely to be announced within six weeks. This was stated by Petroleum Minister Murli Deora as the primary target of his ministry. The second term of the UPA government takes off on this issue from where the NDA government had left in 2004 i.e. deregulating fuel prices.

The issue is being discussed and would be put up to the Cabinet for a decision, Deora said after taking charge of the Petroleum Ministry. “We will ensure that fuel reach people at the right time and at the right price,” Deora said.

By ending a policy of administered price mechanism, the government will achieve two objectives - one lifting the burden from state refiners who are reeling under losses and, two, it will bring down the subsidy burden on the government.

Sources in the Oil Ministry say it is an important step in reform agenda though policy agenda still have not be clearly defined. The UPA government had re-imposed administered price mechanism in wake of rising crude oil prices on the plea of protecting consumers.

Among the other agenda, Deora said the government planned to resume its biggest auction of oil and gas fields. A tax holiday for gas production would also be discussed soon, he said.

India postponed the April 17 auction on concern that the absence of the tax break for producing gas would keep domestic and overseas bidders away.

State-owned refiners used to set retail fuel prices twice a month after the government ended control on oil products in April 2002. That was stopped in 2003 after the then NDA government barred them from raising rates before the May 2004 elections.

Hopes propel Sensex

Mumbai: The statement by Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on deregulation of petroleum prices proved a major booster for the Sensex, which surged 329 points to close at 14,625 points.

The benchmark index hit a low of 14,384 and a high of 14,726 in intra-day trade. In the broader markets, the Nifty shot up 112 points to close at 4449. Investors were also encouraged by the country's Q4 GDP growth numbers which stood at 5.8 per cent. Though much lower than the nearly 9 per cent growth rate of a year ago, the markets were predicting far lower numbers, analysts said.

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Industry drafts 100-day action plan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
To spur the sagging economy, industry chambers Confederation Of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have asked the government to cut interest rates.

The paper - Economic Agenda for Action: CII Suggestions- aims at addressing resilience and competitiveness of the economy. Key recommendations include monetisation of fiscal deficit and reducing interest rates to counter large government borrowings that are negating efforts of the RBI.

The report stated that the government would have to undertake policy measures for the short as well as for medium and long term.

CII president Venu Srinivasan said: “Last year, the economy has had to face significant challenges due to the onset of the global crisis. It is imperative that the government takes concrete steps in strengthening policies that would promote employment and growth across the key sectors along with driving investment in infrastructure and manufacturing..”

Interest rates should come down to single digit levels even for MSMEs, FICCI chief Harsh Pati Singhania said, adding:

Faced with high borrowing rates and demand slowdown, industry chambers have presented separate 100-day action plans to the government asking for steps to restore the economy back on high growth trajectory. 

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Exporters in the region fail to get duty drawback
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
As if the global meltdown was not enough, the exporters in the region have got another setback in recent times as the Customs' Department here has failed to disburse duty drawback lying pending since February 2009. According to sources, duty drawback worth crores has not been given to exporters of Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Jammu and Srinagar region, reasons best known to the department officials.

As per information available, the department officials have become “over-cautious” in recent times in disbursing the incentives (duty drawback) to exporters specially after the embezzlement of Rs 10 crore by a fake agent. There are allegations that some officials of the Customs’ Department were involved in the embezzlement. Following an enquiry, 32 officials, including superintendents and inspectors, were also suspended from the department.

One of the inspector, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that duty drawback worth Rs 18-20 crore was pending since February. “The names of many officials involved in embezzlement came to light during the enquiry. We are taking precautions to avoid any such incident in future. It is not that we are not willing to disburse the amount. It is their due and will be handed over to them after getting their credentials verified,” he said.

It may be mentioned here that textile, automobile, tools, cycle parts and gensets exporters have been in constant touch with the officials since February for the early clearance of duty drawback. They have also been assured by the officials that pending cases will be cleared within 10 days.

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Airtel digital TV
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
Bharti Airtel on Friday announced the launch of the “Magic Dekho, Talktime Pao” offer on its DTH service - digital TV. This is an exclusive offer for Airtel Prepaid Mobile customers across the country where on buying a digital TV connection. 

Announcing the offer, Ajai Puri, director and CEO-DTH, Bharti Airtel, said: “Our offer delivers on the promise we made at the time of the launch of our DTH service i.e, to bring the benefit of a One Airtel experience to our customers and offer them loyalty benefits of being an Airtel customer. This exclusive offer for our existing prepaid mobile customers also gives us an opportunity to increase our share of the customer’s wallet.” 

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Corporate Results
BPCL declares 70% dividend

Mumbai, May 29
BPCL today reported a 62-fold growth in net profit at Rs 3,628.02 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31. The oil major had a net profit of Rs 58.39 crore in the March quarter of FY'08, BPCL said. The board has declared a dividend of 70 per cent at the rate of Rs 7 each, on shares of face value of Rs 10 a piece, for the financial year ended March 2009.

IndianOil

IndianOil has reported a net profit of Rs 6,622.96 crore in the fourth quarter of 2008-09. IOC had posted a net loss of Rs 7,047 crore in Q2 and a net profit of Rs 415 crore in Q1 and Rs 2,959 crore in Q3. For the fiscal, IOC posted a net profit of Rs 2,599.40 crore, which was lower than Rs 7,912.74 crore in FY'08, IOC Chairman Sarthak Behuria said.

Tata Motors

Tata Motors has reported a 50.65 per cent fall in its net profit at Rs 1,001.26 crore for the 2008-09 fiscal. The company's board has recommended a dividend of Rs 6 per share of Rs 10 each . Meanwhile, Tata Motors has appointed Ravi Kant as non-executive vice-chairman and PM Telang is new India MD.

Colgate Palmolive

Colgate Palmolive India has said its net profit in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009, stood at Rs 77.07 crore, while it had a net profit of Rs 55.62 crore for the same quarter ended March 2008. Total revenue of the company stood at Rs 472.20 crore for the quarter ended March.

Bank of India

Bank of India has reported a 57.54 per cent jump in its consolidated net profit at Rs 3,087.54 crore for the financial year ended March 31. The PSU lender had a net profit of Rs 1,959.84 crore in FY'08, BoI said. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

CPI-IW rises by 2 points
SHIMLA
: All-India Consumer Price Index for industrial workers (CPI-IW) rose by 2 points to 150 in April due to increase in prices of rice, wheat flour, pulses, fruit and vegetables and sugar among others. — PTI

Re up 49 paise
MUMBAI:
The dollar's slide against major currencies helped in the rise of the rupee, which ended stronger by 49 paise to a one-week high of 47.11/12 on reinforced expectations of market-friendly moves and increased capital inflows into equity markets. — PTI

Oil at 6-mth high
LONDON:
Oil extended gains above $65 a barrel today to reach a fresh six-month high after the US reported a fall in oil inventories and further signs of economic improvement. Benchmark crude for July delivery was up 67 cents to $65.75 a barrel by late morning in Europe in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. — PTI

Coal India pact
KOLKATA:
Coal India on Friday signed the much-awaited fuel supply agreement with NTPC for the supply of coal to the thermal power generating company, having both penalty and bonus clauses. "Coal India signed the model FSA with NTPC, which represents all PSU power utilities,” CIL chairman Partha S Bhattacharyya said. — PTI

Suzlon Energy
MUMBAI
: Wind power major Suzlon Energy on Friday said it had paid about $124 million as part payment of the third tranche for purchasing Martifer group's stake in Germany's REpower Systems, hiking its total stake in REpower to 83.43 per cent. — PTI

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