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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

NCAER pegs growth at 7.2 per cent
New Delhi, July 31
Within days of RBI projecting a 6 per cent plus growth rate, economic think tank NCAER today said the country's economy could expand by 7.2 per cent in the current fiscal, mainly on account of higher government spending and low inflation.

NHPC public offer opens on August 7
New Delhi, July 31
NHPC chairman SK Garg (right) with Power Secretary HS Brahma at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd announced its initial public offer and plans to raise between Rs 5,032 crore and Rs 6,039 through the issue. The corporation will use two-thirds of the funds raised through the issue for its projects

NHPC chairman SK Garg (right) with Power Secretary HS Brahma at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Alitalia Airlines told to pay Rs 70 lakh
New Delhi, July 31
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has slapped a cost of over Rs 70 lakh on Alitalia Airlines for negligence and deficiency in service while handling a cargo of garments about 12 years ago.



EARLIER STORIES




Sri Lankan traditional dancers perform during the launch of ‘Meet in Sri Lanka’ campaign, launched by Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry and Sri Lankan Airlines to attract tour operators and Indian tourists, in New Delhi on Friday.
Sri Lankan traditional dancers perform during the launch of ‘Meet in Sri Lanka’ campaign, launched by Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry and Sri Lankan Airlines to attract tour operators and Indian tourists, in New Delhi on Friday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

2004-05 to be new base year for inflation index: FM
New Delhi, July 31
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the wholesale price index (WPI) series, used to calculate inflation in the country, will have 2004-05 as the base year.

OTS Scheme: Punjab plans to cover more borrowers
Chandigarh, July 31
In order to ensure maximum recovery of dues from sick industrial units in Punjab, the state government proposes to expand the scope of its One-Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme for borrowers of Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation.

Reliance Capital net dips 56%
New Delhi, July 31
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Capital today reported a 56 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 151.04 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2009, as it booked lower capital gains.

Now, Haryana BSNL users can roam free in Gurgaon
Ambala, July 31
BSNL has decided to launch from August 1 free roaming for Haryana BSNL GSM subscribers within MTNL areas of Faridabad and Gurgaon SSAs and that for MTNL subscribers within BSNL areas of Faridabad and Gurgaon SSAs.

Rupee gains 40 paise
Mumbai: The Indian rupee on Friday appreciated further by 40 paise to close at a four-week high of 47.94/95 against the American currency on sustained rally on equity markets. In active trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market, the domestic unit resumed higher at 48.24/25 a dollar from its previous close of 48.34/35. It touched a low of 48.26 before bouncing back to a high of 47.93 before concluding the day at 47.94/95 a dollar, a steep rise of 0.83 per cent over its last close. — PTI





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NCAER pegs growth at 7.2 per cent

New Delhi, July 31
Within days of RBI projecting a 6 per cent plus growth rate, economic think tank NCAER today said the country's economy could expand by 7.2 per cent in the current fiscal, mainly on account of higher government spending and low inflation.

The projected growth is higher by 0.2 per cent over the previous estimate of 6.9 per cent made in April, 2009, NCAER said in its latest quarterly review of the economy.

Some of the key changes since previous forecast are the 10 per cent deficient rainfall and a more expensive central government Budget. "Incorporating these changes and revision of some of the other parameters, the overall real GDP growth for 2009-10 is projected at 7.2 per cent," it said.

Earlier this week, RBI in its quarterly review of the monetary policy, projected economic growth of 6 per cent with an upward bias in FY'10.

Appreciating the government efforts to prop up the economy through series of stimulus packages, the think tank said the push to growth is through expenditure. The Budget proposes to increase aggregate level of spending by 12 per cent over the previous year's revised estimates, it added.

The government has proposed additional expenditure to the tune of Rs 67,000 crore over the interim Budget, NCAER said.

"We also assume that the external shocks to private investment and private consumption spending will continue as in FY'09," it said.

The recovery in the growth, it said, would be driven by internal factors and financial flows from the external economy.

On the rate of price rise which is currently in sub-zero range, the review projects inflation to be lower than 4 per cent.

For the week ended July 18, inflation stood at (-)1.54 per cent against 12.54 per cent in the corresponding week a year ago.

"The current trends provide a benign opportunity for adjustments in the economy to achieve greater competitiveness.

However, the window of low inflation may not be open for long," it said.

The lower inflation rate is also a stimulus to export performance and at the same time leads to stiffer competition to imports, it added.

Acknowledging deficient rainfall in the country, the think-tank expects agriculture growth to 1 per cent in the current fiscal against 2.5 per cent projected earlier. — PTI 

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NHPC public offer opens on August 7
Tribune News service

New Delhi, July 31
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd announced its initial public offer and plans to raise between Rs 5,032 crore and Rs 6,039 through the issue. The corporation will use two-thirds of the funds raised through the issue for its projects, three of which are located in Jammu and Kashmir, two in Himachal Pradesh and one each in Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal.

“We are raising around Rs 6,039 crore through our IPO to part-finance our Rs 14,000 crore capex plan,” NHPC chairman and managing director, SK Garg said while announcing the IPO.

The company has fixed the price band between Rs 30 and Rs 36 a share for its IPO of 168 crore equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at a price to be decided through the 100 per cent book-building process.

The mini-ratna firm has also lined up robust expansion plans to almost double its capacity from 5,175 MW currently to 9,467 MW by December 2013. It is also looking to diversify its generation mix by undertaking non-hydropower projects

The issue, which opens on August 7 and closes on August 12, will constitute 13.64 per cent of the post-issue capital of NHPC. The issue comprises a fresh issue of 112 crore equity shares by NHPC and an offer for sale of 56 crore equity shares by the Ministry of Power.

The government will get Rs 2,013 crore through divestment and Rs 4,026 crore will flow into our kitty, Garg said, adding that there are no anchor investors for the IPO.

Following this public offer, NHPC is likely to come out with a follow-up issue in the near future.

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Alitalia Airlines told to pay Rs 70 lakh
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 31
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has slapped a cost of over Rs 70 lakh on Alitalia Airlines for negligence and deficiency in service while handling a cargo of garments about 12 years ago.

In addition, the airlines would have to pay an annual interest of 12 per cent, from February 1998 till the day of actual payment of the cost awarded.

The airlines was "grossly negligent/deficient in service" in releasing the cargo on the basis of a forged delivery order, Justice KS Gupta, the Commission's presiding member, and Rajyalakshmi Rao, member, ruled in a judgment delivered yesterday.

The forgery was "writ large" on the delivery order as it was dated December 19, 1997, predating the booking of the consignment at New Delhi on December 24 for sending it to Sau Paulo, Brazil, the Bench pointed out.

Arguing for the complainant, Toy N Toy International, Senior Advocate OP Dua and counsel M Sufian Siddiqui had also contended that the documents pertaining to the "To Order" shipment had been sent to bankers, Banco Portuguese Do Atlantico, for payment collection.

In the case of "to order" shipment, the bank "does not" issue a delivery order. Instead, the bank endorses the original airway bill. This point and the date of the delivery order "should have alerted the opposite party (the airlines) about the authenticity of the delivery order," Dua had argued.

"…we are in total agreement with the submission advanced on behalf of the complainant that the present case being a 'to order' shipment, the delivery of the cargo could have only been made on production of duly endorsed original airway bill," the Commission said.

Interestingly, the complainant had sought a payment of only $113,600 towards the cost of the cargo, while the Commission awarded a higher amount of $125,000. The Commission worked out the cost at the rate of $20 a kilogram under Rule 22(2)(a) of the Second Schedule of the Carriage by Air Act, 1972. The consignment of garments had weighed 6,250 kg.

Besides the cargo cost, it directed the airlines to return the freight charges of Rs 10,55,010. It, however, rejected the claim for Rs 6,91,356 towards duty draw back and another $1 lakh as compensation for business loss. While the duty draw back must have been written off, the business loss could not be allowed in view of the 12 per cent interest ordered, the Commission clarified.

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2004-05 to be new base year for inflation index: FM

New Delhi, July 31
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the wholesale price index (WPI) series, used to calculate inflation in the country, will have 2004-05 as the base year.

"The WPI series is being upgraded with base year 2004-05 in lieu of the existing one with base year 1993-94," Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha, replying to a queation on price indices.

With the advancement of the base year and probably a revision of commodities in the index and their weights, it is expected that the index would provide a better picture of the current scenario of prices.

"The WPI will now become more representative of today's reality. I believe it will come along with the revision in commodities and weights," rating agency Crisil Principal Economist DK Joshi said. — PTI 

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OTS Scheme: Punjab plans to cover more borrowers
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
In order to ensure maximum recovery of dues from sick industrial units in Punjab, the state government proposes to expand the scope of its One-Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme for borrowers of Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation.

Sources informed TNS that the Industries Department has recommended to the Chief Minister that the bridge loan advanced to these units (now sick units) be treated as part of the principal loan, so that more units can avail the scheme and pay back their long-standing dues.

The department is also seeking the Chief Minister’s approval for granting concessions to riot-affected families availing OTS and bringing them at par with other beneficiaries. These borrowers (from riot-affected families) were given some special concessions with regard to paying only the balance of principal amount in the OTS policy of PSIDC, but this concession was not included in PFC. The government now proposes to extend this in PFC as well.

“So far, the PSIDC has realised almost Rs 110 crore (as 15 per cent upfront amount) from the borrowers availing this scheme, while PFC has realised over Rs 50 crore. If the above mentioned concessions were to be approved by the Chief Minister, and later by the Cabinet, the amount realised would go up substantially,” said Principal Secretary, Industries, SS Channy.

The OTS policy was announced and approved by the state cabinet in March this year. Though the scheme was to expire in May, the state government has now expanded it to August 31, 2009. Though the Industries Department claims that the scheme has been quite successful, various industrial bodies in the state feel that the policy has failed to match up to their expectations. Kuldip Singh, a representative of Punjab Small Industries Association, said the rate of interest being charged was very high. “Even the banks are now charging 10 per cent interest, while the sick units, who have closed down operations are being asked to pay at the rate of 12 per cent (compounding every six months). Also, there is no relief for units that have been taken over by other companies,” he said.

RS Sachdeva, co-chairman of Punjab Committee of PHD Chamber, rued that many sick units were unable to avail this scheme because of the stipulation that the corporations first verify that no wilful defaulters avail this policy. “The employees in the corporations are not ready to take responsibility of checking antecedents of OTS applicants, so they are not being allowed to avail the scheme,” he said. 

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Reliance Capital net dips 56%

New Delhi, July 31
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Capital today reported a 56 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 151.04 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2009, as it booked lower capital gains.

Total income also declined three per cent to Rs 1,469.25 crore in the same quarter, Reliance Capital said in a statement.

The company said the profit was lower on the back of "lower capital gains booked this quarter as substantial gains likely to be booked later this year from planned stake sale in Reliance Life Insurance." As of June 30, the net worth of the company stood at Rs 7,500 crore.

RCom net up 8 pc

Reliance Communications has posted 8.3 per cent growth in its net profit for the first quarter of the fiscal at Rs 1,637 crore.

The income form the core business as measured by EBITDA was at Rs 2,453 crore, a growth of 9 per cent. EBITDA margin was stable at 39.9 per cent with strong contributions from across all businesses – wireless, global and enterprise, the company said.

Nalco profit plunges

National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) today reported a fall of 76 per cent in its net profit to Rs 126.45 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, over the corresponding period a year ago.

Total income of the company also fell to Rs 1,036.50 crore during the April-June period of current fiscal from Rs 1,593.70 crore of the same quarter last year, Nalco said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Hindalco profit down

Aditya Birla Group firm Hindalco Industries today reported a net profit of Rs 480.56 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, while the same was at Rs 696.76 crore during the corresponding period a year ago.

Total income of the company stood at Rs 3,974.81 crore during the April-June period of the current financial year (2009-10), whereas the same was at Rs 4862.19 crore during the June quarter last year, Hindalco said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Aban Offshore

Drilling and oil services firm Aban Offshore today said its consolidated net profit declined by 10.34 per cent to Rs 110.8 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2009, over the same period last year.

Total income increased to Rs 803.4 crore in the latest quarter, against Rs 770.2 crore in the same period in the previous fiscal, Aban Offshore said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

In a separate filing to the BSE, the board of directors have approved to raise $400 million by issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bond, American Depositary Receipt and Global Depositary Receipt from international market. — PTI

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Now, Haryana BSNL users can roam free in Gurgaon
Tribune News Service

Ambala, July 31
BSNL has decided to launch from August 1 free roaming for Haryana BSNL GSM subscribers within MTNL areas of Faridabad and Gurgaon SSAs and that for MTNL subscribers within BSNL areas of Faridabad and Gurgaon SSAs.

For BSNL subscribers, while roaming in above stated MTNL areas, outgoing call rates of their home tariff plan will apply. SMSes will be charged as per applicable existing roaming tariff.

MTNL provides GSM mobile services under its license area covering Delhi and NCR towns of Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad. BSNL subscribers are charged roaming tariff while they move into these areas.

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BRIEFLY

CPI-IW up two points
Shimla:
The All India Consumer price index for industrial workers CPI (IW) rose by two points to 153 points in June on account of rise in the prices of vegetables and fruits. The index recorded maximum increase of seven points in Vijaywada centre, six in Poducherry, five each in Godavarikhani and Warrangal, four in two centres, three in 9 centres, two in 25 centres and 1 point in 23 centres. — PTI

Adani Power IPO subscribed 14 times
Mumbai
: The initial public offer of Adani Power, which closed on Friday, got subscribed over 14 times with most of the bids coming in from institutional investors. The issue which has roped in institutional investors like Credit Suisse and T Rowe Price International Inc, received bids for over 350.26 crore shares against 24.87 crore shares on offer, achieving a demand for 14.08 times the shares on offer. — PTI

Parsvnath to raise up to Rs 750 cr
New Delhi
: Realty major Parsvnath Developers plans to raise Rs 500-750 crore through private placements of shares within two weeks for reducing its debt and completion of the ongoing projects. In the first phase, the company is likely to raise $100-150 million (Rs 500-750 crore) through qualified institutional placements (QIPs), sources said, adding that the QIP is likely to be launched in the next two weeks. — PTI

Exim Bank to raise Rs 19,500 cr
Kolkata
: Exim Bank will raise Rs 19,500 crore during 2009-10 to provide export finance to Indian corporates, its CMD T C Venkat Subramanian said on Friday. During the current year, the bank would raise $1 million from foreign resources and Rs 14,500 crore from domestic markets. — PTI

Can Fin Homes cuts interest rates
Bangalore
: Housing finance company Can Fin Homes Ltd (CFHL), a part of Canara Bank, on Friday announced reducing lending rates for fresh housing loans with effect from Saturday. The revised interest rate for all fresh loans would be 8.7 per cent for loans up to Rs 20 lakh, 9.00 per cent for loans above Rs 20 lakh to Rs 30 lakh and 9.75 per cent for loans above Rs 30 lakh. — PTI@@Andhra Bank to open 16 branches

ANDHRA BANK TO OPEN 16 BRANCHES
Chandigarh:
Andhra Bank will open 16 new branches across Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand during this financial year. The bank, which already has 24 branches across North India, has now set up a zonal office in Chandigarh, said V S Sarma, zonal manager. This zonal office will cover Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Chandigarh, he said. — TNS

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