SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Industry grows 1.4 pc in April
New Delhi, June 12
After remaining in negative territory for months, factory output has shown signs of recovery, rising by 1.4 per cent in the month of April over last year. In March 2009, the industrial output had fallen to 0.8 per cent.

Indian basmati on Iran’s platter
Chandigarh, June 12
Iran is the latest destination for basmati exports, says Gurnam Arora, joint managing director, Kohinoor Foods, hoping that against eight lakh tonnes last year, exports will cross 1 million tonne-mark this year.

Tax benefit likely for NPS subscribers
New Delhi, June 12
With the New Pension System (NPS) attracting lukewarm response from citizens, interim regulator PFRDA today expressed hope that the Budget would provide tax exemption to individuals at the time of entry to encourage them to opt for the scheme.

13 lakh may lose jobs in export units
New Delhi, June 12
About 1.3 million people are likely to lose jobs in the export units in the current financial year due to recession in the developed countries, an UNCTAD study said today.



EARLIER STORIES




Wilfried Aulbur (left), managing director and CEO, Mercedez-Benz India and Sanjay Thakker, president, Benchmark Cars, pose next to an AMG car at its launch in Ahmedabad on Friday.
Wilfried Aulbur (left), managing director and CEO, Mercedez-Benz India and Sanjay Thakker, president, Benchmark Cars, pose next to an AMG car at its launch in Ahmedabad on Friday. — PTI

Assocham pegs growth at 7.2 pc
New Delhi, June 12
Indian economy may grow at 7.2 this fiscal on the back of improvement in consumer sentiment, policy reforms and projected growth in agriculture and industrial sector, a Assocham survey said.

Infosys eyes emerging markets
Bangalore, June 12
From being one-10th of the size of the Indian BPO industry five years ago, the BPO industry in the Philippines is on verge of catching up with the BPO industry in India in terms of size and revenue earning. If this bit of information gives the impression that the Indian industry is facing a tough challenge from the Philippines, you have got it wrong.

Industry gives Punjab a miss
Only 21 proposals received in 3 years
Jalandhar, June 12
The tall claims of the government over major industrial investment in Punjab seem to have come a cropper with only 21 companies showing interest in setting up their units in the state in the past three years.

Domestic air traffic down 11%
New Delhi, June 12
The financial slowdown hit passenger traffic in India with the number of air travellers dropping by almost 11 per cent between January and May compared with that in the same period last year.





Top








 

Industry grows 1.4 pc in April
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 12
After remaining in negative territory for months, factory output has shown signs of recovery, rising by 1.4 per cent in the month of April over last year. In March 2009, the industrial output had fallen to 0.8 per cent.

Manufacturing, which has a weight of around 80 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), grew by modest 0.7 per cent from 6.7 per cent in April 2008. The areas of concern in manufacturing are consumer non-durables, which have shrunk by 10 per cent. Production of capital goods has declined by 1.3 per cent.

However, the electricity generation has grown substantially faster at 7.1 per cent. Mining grew by 3.8 per cent in the month compared with 6.1 per cent in April last year.

Suresh Tendulkar, head of Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, said there were signs of recovery in the data. “The worst is over for economy,” he said.

“The overall IIP figures show encouraging signs of recovery and the stimulus packages may be having some impact. It is critical now to sustain this pace of recovery,” observed Harsh Pati Singhania, president, Ficci.

PTI adds: Processed food items declined by a whopping 34 per cent. Also, 1.4 per cent growth in factory output is no match for the 6.2 per cent expansion it clocked in the same month last year.

Provisional figures showed industrial contraction for almost every month since Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in mid-September last year which deepened the global financial meltdown.

"We have bottomed up and we are on a path of recovery," economic think-tank National Institute for Public Finance and Policy's director Govinda Rao said.

However, the good news on industrial production failed to enthuse the stock markets with benchmark equity index Sensex shedding nearly 153 points at 15,355 points at mid-session.

Industry had grown by merely 2.6 per cent last fiscal against 8.5 per cent in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the industrial growth figures for March was revised up to (-) 0.75 per cent from provisional estimates of (-) 2.3 per cent.

As many as 11 out of 17 industry groups showed a growth.

However, food products continued to contract drastically by 34.4 per cent in April. Production of another employment generating sector, leather decelerated by 12.4 per cent.

Economists also attributed better than expected industrial figures in April to pay hikes of government employees and predicted that May and June will give better numbers as a result of increased spending during elections.

"It is a preliminary sign of recovery...I think we are perhaps in initial stage of recovery which will pan out gradually. Pay hikes have been a big factor," HDFC Bank chief economist Abheek Barua said.

Some economists also expected another stimulus package in the Budget, which would further boost industry in July.

Earlier, six core sectors, which has a weight of around 27 per cent in IIP grew by 4.3 per cent in April against 2.3 per cent a year ago, hinting at a decent performance by industry.

Top

 

Indian basmati on Iran’s platter
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Iran is the latest destination for basmati exports, says Gurnam Arora, joint managing director, Kohinoor Foods, hoping that against eight lakh tonnes last year, exports will cross 1 million tonne-mark this year.

Earlier, the favourite destination for all basmati exporters was Saudi Arabia. As of now, this king of all varieties of rice is now being sold in 60 countries. Since a new Indian restaurant is added abroad everyday, demand for basmati has been rising. Five new nations are added to the basmati exports list every year, adds Gurnam Arora.

The total exports are in the range of Rs 1,200- Rs 1,500 crore. The market share of the Kohinoor group is about 38 per cent. At present, its annual turnover is Rs 635 crore and the company hopes to achieve Rs 1,000-crore turnover by next year.

Gurnam was here to launch three different categories of basmati — platinum, gold and silver — to facilitate customers to know why some varieties cost more than others besides removing doubts from the mind of a consumer about the quality of basmati rice.

Platinum is the original basmati variety while 1121 and new hybrid PUSA are categorised as gold and silver varieties. The prices of these varieties will vary by about Rs 20 a kg with platinum remaining the premium brand.

Food industry has remained free from the current worldwide financial meltdown and recession. “It is one industry that never faces recession,” he said maintaining that the decision of the government, after series of deliberations to recognise third basmati variety has come as a big boost to the rice industry.

Though India was still the largest exporter of basmati, rice industry was still far from organised. It started as a cottage industry and has blossomed into a major foreign exchange earner for the country.

Arora disclosed that the concept of contract farming of basmati was not popular as those in the trade of basmati enter the markets and buy different varieties depending upon the quality of basmati.

“More and more farmers are taking to basmati as return has been in the range of Rs 35 a kg against Rs 10 to 12 for ordinary rice,” he says maintaining that Indian basmati, though costlier, was more acceptable than single variety Pakistani basmati worldwide.

Top

 

Tax benefit likely for NPS subscribers

New Delhi, June 12
With the New Pension System (NPS) attracting lukewarm response from citizens, interim regulator PFRDA today expressed hope that the Budget would provide tax exemption to individuals at the time of entry to encourage them to opt for the scheme.

However, the government might take some more time to provide tax benefits for those opting for NPS at the time of withdrawal, a senior Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) official told PTI.

"Exit stage may take a longer time for examination, but at entry stage (of NPS) we expect to come in the next Budget," he said. The regulator has sought tax exemption for individual subscribers at all stages of the pension scheme — contributions, returns and withdrawal — in line with other provident fund schemes.

However, there is no notification yet on entry-stage exemption, the official added.

PFRDA further said the tax exemption issue at entry stage is under the active consideration of the government and expects the Budget to come out with some clarifications on the issue and that will give boost to the NPS.

The NPS was extended to all citizens from May 1 this year, but evoked lukewarm response with only 400 persons opening pension accounts so far.

"May be with the Budget certain clarification will come on the nature of investment in this particular scheme. Once those clarifications come, probably we will get more subscribers joining us," he added.

While contribution, returns and withdrawals under Public Provident Fund (PPF), Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and General Provident Fund (GPF) are exempted from tax, in case of the New Pension System (NPS), these tax benefits are not provided to individual subscribers.

For organisations, tax is exempted at the entry and return stage.

Besides, the PFRDA has also asked the government to bear the cost of maintaining accounts of policy holders under the New Pension System, a move that will further encourage people to opt for the scheme. — PTI 

Top

 

13 lakh may lose jobs in export units

New Delhi, June 12
About 1.3 million people are likely to lose jobs in the export units in the current financial year due to recession in the developed countries, an UNCTAD study said today.

However, the net job loss in the export sector is estimated to be 7.48 lakh since some sectors like plantation may witness a positive growth. The study said, during 2009-10, India's total exports are likely to dip by 2.2 per cent.

"Petroleum products will experience the maximum decline in export growth followed by gems and jewellery, ores and minerals and textiles and its products," it said.

However, the situation will improve in the next fiscal, when new jobs would be created in the sector, which employs about 50 million people.

"In 2010-11, about 5.22 million jobs could be created. "No job losses are expected as all sectors are expected to experience positive export growth," it said.

In 2008-09, about 1.16 million people lost their jobs due to negative export growth in sectors such as textiles.

With external shipments contracting for the sixth month in a row, the country's exports aggregated $168.70 billion in 2008-09, managing a paltry growth rate of 3.4 per cent.

The study said to mitigate the impact of global slowdown on India's exports, policy intervention like diversification of exports to new geographical destinations and new products, simplification in customs procedures for reducing transaction costs are required.

"Around 958 products have been identified where India has the potential to increase its exports. These include organic chemicals, cotton, iron and steel, apparels and man-made staple fibres," it said, adding in these areas, India may be able to increase its exports by almost 21 per cent. It added that despite targeted efforts by the government for seeking new destinations for India's exports, the US and the US continue to be the main markets. — PTI

Top

 

Assocham pegs growth at 7.2 pc

New Delhi, June 12
Indian economy may grow at 7.2 this fiscal on the back of improvement in consumer sentiment, policy reforms and projected growth in agriculture and industrial sector, a Assocham survey said.

In a survey of 300 businessmen, about 42 per cent of the respondents said that policy reforms would cast large impact on the GDP growth.

"Indian economy is expected to register a GDP growth rate of 7.2 per cent in 2009-10 on account of improvement in consumer sentiment, rural India and policy reforms," the chamber said.

Majority of the respondents said the government would be able to bring about significant reforms this year, and about 91 per cent believed that there are good chances of improvement in consumer sentiments in the following months.

About 40 per cent respondents felt that isolation of the rural India from the impact of recession has a huge impact on the GDP growth rate, it said.

"The agriculture sector is expected to record the growth rate of 3.5 per cent as good monsoons, better crop prices and upward revision of the crop forecast has ensured a healthy growth rate for the agriculture sector," it said.

The industry sector which was reeling under pressure due to high interest rates, reduced demand and global recession is expected to record the growth rate close to 4.6 per cent in the fiscal.

With the improvement in consumer sentiment, increased government spending and anticipated reforms, the services sector is estimated to chart 9.7 per cent growth in 2009-10, Assocham said.

About 75 per cent of the respondents believed that government would use further fiscal incentives to stimulate the economy, it said.

However, the factors which continue to inhibit the economic growth rate from pacing up include poor state of the world economy and money market conditions, it added. — PTI 

Top

 

Infosys eyes emerging markets
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, June 12
From being one-10th of the size of the Indian BPO industry five years ago, the BPO industry in the Philippines is on verge of catching up with the BPO industry in India in terms of size and revenue earning. If this bit of information gives the impression that the Indian industry is facing a tough challenge from the Philippines, you have got it wrong.

Indian IT companies have set up shops in Philippines and are having a handsome share of the revenue earnings by the BPO industry of the Philippines.

“Both Infosys and Wipro are present in Philippines. Other Indian IT companies are also having their set-ups in the country”, Kris Gopalkrishnan, chairman of Infosys Technologies Ltd, said.

Talking to reporters here today on the sidelines of the inaugural day of Fifth Indian Innovation Summit organised by the CII, Gopalkrishnan said Infosys was now looking beyond the USA and advanced countries of Europe for expansion.

“We are looking at emerging markets in developing countries in South America and Eastern Europe. We have already set up a centre in Mexico and have announced setting up a centre in Brazil as well. We have also decided to go to Hungary and intend to make inroads in other countries of Eastern Europe as well”, Gopalkrishnan said.

According to him, the global economic downturn has reached its extreme limit and is unlikely to worsen any further. The recovery of the economy, however, has not started as yet. The global economy was likely to regain its pre-downturn robustness sometime next year, Gopalkrishnan said.

He said because of the global economic downturn, the growth of the Indian IT industry would be “muted” during the current financial year and the year that would follow. The affect of the downturn on the IT industry would also give a “temporary advantage” to the public sector industry in terms of recruiting bright engineering graduates, Gopalkrishnan said.

On what the government could do to support the IT industry in view of the global downturn, he said more investment by the government on the e-governance projects would come handy for the IT industry. “This will help improve the lives of citizens and also give business to the domestic IT industry”, he said.

Top

 

Industry gives Punjab a miss
Only 21 proposals received in 3 years
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 12
The tall claims of the government over major industrial investment in Punjab seem to have come a cropper with only 21 companies showing interest in setting up their units in the state in the past three years.

Interestingly, out of these only four companies were multinationals while the rest were home grown and a majority were investing less than Rs 100 crore. Only two NRIs of Punjabi origin showed interest but backed out later for personal reasons. It was not clear whether the remaining companies had even started work on their projects.

These shocking facts are contrary to the statements by the government that the state was poised for a major leap in industrialisation and employment generation. Only yesterday, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had claimed here that a new industrial policy had been prepared in consultation with UNIDO and would usher in a new era of economic development.

Parvinder Singh Kittna of Human Empowerment League of Punjab (HELP) said as per information supplied under the RTI Act, only 21 firms had shown an interest for the years 2006-2008. A perusal of the information reveals that apart from some companies, most were only investing less than Rs 100 crore and in many cases the government had signed MoUs with them the day their proposals were received.

In 2006, only two companies were investing more than Rs 100 crore. These were Premium Farm Fresh Produce Ltd, which was to invest Rs 170 crore while Godrej Agrotech proposed to set up poultry retail unit at Rs 100 crore.

In 2007, Delhi-based Siti Energy Limited approached the PSIDC with a proposal to supply natural gas in Mandi Gobindgarh and Ludhiana at a cost of Rs 450 crore. The government approved the project four months later.

The biggest proposal this year came from Green Planet Energy that was to set up special purpose vehicle and biogas-based power generation plant at Amritsar a cost of Rs 957 crore. The government approved it.

In 2008, Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd approached the state to set up an airport and allied facilities near Ludhiana at a cost of Rs 1,795 crore. The haste of the government in lapping up this investment can be gauged from the fact that proposal was received on May 23 and an MoU was signed the same day.

Sucha Singh Gill, an economist, is of the opinion that the economic health of the state has suffered on this account. The state is also plagued with corruption, a bad law and order situation and tax holidays and other concessions enjoyed by neighbouring states. Kittna says that the government should stop misleading the people by painting a rosy picture of huge investments. The government figures show that the much-hyped proposals have remained on paper only. 

Top

 

Domestic air traffic down 11%

New Delhi, June 12
The financial slowdown hit passenger traffic in India with the number of air travellers dropping by almost 11 per cent between January and May compared with that in the same period last year.

Even though a marginal increase was witnessed in passenger traffic last month, official figures released today showed that the passengers carried by all airlines in the first five months of 2009 fell to 173.34 lakh against 194.11 lakh in the same period last year, thus registering a negative growth of 10.7 per cent.

Total passengers carried last month, however, went up to 39.29 lakh from 33.15 lakh in April this year, the statistics showed.

Kingfisher Airlines and its no-frill arm Kingfisher Red led the way flying 10.1 lakh passengers, followed by Jet Airways and JetLite, which together carried 9.12 lakh passengers. While Air India (domestic) flew 6.9 lakh, all-business class carrier Paramount Airways carried 82,000.

Among the no-frills airlines, IndiGo took 5.4 lakh air travellers, followed by SpiceJet with 4.96 lakh and GoAir 1.88 lakh.

The market share of all the scheduled domestic airlines either remained around the same or changed marginally compared to the April figures, the statistics showed. — PTI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Vedanta to raise up to $1.25 b
New Delhi
: Metal and mining major Vedanta Resources will raise up to $1.25 billion through issue of convertible bonds to fund its acquisition and expansion plans besides hiking stakes in its group subsidiaries. The company has launched the $1-billion convertible bond issue due 2016 and said its size could be further increased by up to $250 million. — PTI

BHEL bags Rs 4,015-cr order
New Delhi
: State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals on Friday said it has bagged a Rs 4,015-crore from Hindalco Industries for supplying boilers, turbines and generators at its 900-MW captive power plant in Orissa. The order comes on the heels of an order placed on BHEL by Hindalco recently for a similar main plant package for its captive power plant (6x150 MW) at the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh, it said. — PTI

Tatas, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp in pact
Chandigarh
: The Tata Group and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., on Friday signed an agreement in Mumbai for Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) to manufacture Sikorsky S-92 helicopter cabins in India . The first cabin is scheduled for delivery in late 2010 from a new greenfield facility that TASL will construct at Hyderabad. — TNS

Vedanta to up stake in Sesa Goa
New Delhi
: Vedanta Resources on Friday said it will subscribe to the preferential share offer being made by Sesa Goa to hike its stake in the group iron ore company to 55 per cent with a cash outgo of $120 million (Rs 569.79 crore). At present, Vedanta Resources' shareholding in Sesa Goa is 53.1 per cent. — PTI

Royal Enfield to launch two bikes
New Delhi
: Heavy-weight motorbike maker Royal Enfield on Friday said it will launch two models by early next year and plans to expand its overall production capacity by over 35 per cent by 2010. "We have plans, we have enough engine platforms for bringing in new models. We will be launching two more models by the end of this year or early next year," Royal Enfield divisional general manager (sales and marketing) Shaji Koshy said. — PTI

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 |