SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Inflation to come down to 5.5 pc by March: Rangarajan
Chandigarh, December 27
Inflation is expected to come down to 5.5 per cent by March 2011, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan said today. Besides, the PM’s panel also sees the country to achieve a GDP growth rate between 8.5- 9 per cent in the current fiscal.
The rate hike depends upon how overall inflation behave in coming weeks ... I think if there is further fall in WPI inflation then Monetary Policy would remain as it is now ... they (RBI) have not made any change in policy rate.
— C. Rangarajan
Chairman, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council 

Now, cotton exports to be registered with DGFT
Ludhiana, December 27
The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has reversed its decision and entrusted the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) with the job of registration of cotton and cotton yarn export. Earlier, this function was being performed by the Textile Commissioner of India. A notification has been issued by the ministry in this regard.

Car sales crash in Beijing after new curbs
Beijing, December 27
Car sales in Beijing have crashed overnight after new rules restricting the sale of vehicle to 2.40 lakh per year were introduced this week to reduce traffic congestion on the roads.



EARLIER STORIES




A shopper looks at an Apple Inc iPad at an electronic shop in Tokyo on Monday. Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co will buy a majority stake in a Hitachi Ltd display unit for about $1.2 billion, making it the world's top ranked maker of small and medium-sized LCDs, the Nikkei newspaper said on Monday.
A shopper looks at an Apple Inc iPad at an electronic shop in Tokyo on Monday. Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co will buy a majority stake in a Hitachi Ltd display unit for about $1.2 billion, making it the world's top ranked maker of small and medium-sized LCDs, the Nikkei newspaper said on Monday. — Reuters

Rupee sheds 12 paise
Mumbai, December 27
Paring its early gains, the rupee today lost 12 paise to close at 45.24/25 against the US currency due to late dollar buying by banks and importers amid weak equity markets. Demand for dollar is on the rise from importers in view of surging crude oil prices in the international markets , a dealer said.

Patel recommends Rs 2,000 cr equity in AI
Mumbai, December 27
The Civil Aviation Ministry has recommended an equity infusion of Rs 2,000 crore in Air India in the next financial year after the beleagured national carrier gets Rs 1,200 crore soon.

Dabur Nepal dragged to court
Kathmandu, December 27
Misfortunes contained to rain down on Indian multinational Dabur India's independent group company in Nepal, with a public interest litigation dragging it to Supreme Court on Monday, just a week after its godown was raided by state vigilance bodies. Supreme Court judge Bharat Upreti was on Monday scheduled to hear a petition asking for Dabur Nepal's manufacturing licence to be cancelled for allegedly producing substandard goods.

Economics Year Ender
Tamil Nadu’s thrust shifts to automobile from IT
Chennai, December 27
The year 2010 marks a clear shift of thrust in the industrial sector from IT to the automobile industry in Tamil Nadu, even while the capital Chennai moves up to the second position in India in the City Competitiveness Rankings and also finds a place in the Forbes' list of fast-developing cities in the world.





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Inflation to come down to 5.5 pc by March: Rangarajan

Chandigarh, December 27
Inflation is expected to come down to 5.5 per cent by March 2011, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan said today. Besides, the PM’s panel also sees the country to achieve a GDP growth rate between 8.5- 9 per cent in the current fiscal.

"I think by March (2011), we can expect (WPI) inflation to come down to 5.5 per cent," Rangarajan said on the sidelines of the 93rd annual conference of Indian Economic Association here.

"I think any level of inflation beyond 5 per cent (threshold level of inflation) is uncomfortable," he asserted.

The wholesale price index-based inflation stood at 7.48 per cent in November against 8.58 per cent in October while food inflation shot up to 12.13 per cent for the week ended December 11.

Asked about the possibility of hardening of interest rate in January in the wake of double-digit food inflation, Rangarajan said it would depend upon how inflation behave in coming weeks.

"It (rate hike) all depends upon how overall inflation behave in coming weeks ... I think if there is further fall in WPI inflation then Monetary Policy would remain as it is now ... they (RBI) have not made any change in policy rate ... we need to watch the behaviour of overall inflation before monetary authorities can take any decision," he said while asserting that there was a possibility of moderation in inflation even though food inflation have shown rise.

Asked about the GDP growth, Rangarajan said against the forecast of 8.5 per cent, the country could achieve higher growth. "We had forecast the GDP of 8.5 per cent we will achieve 8.5 per cent ... perhaps we will do better than that ... I expect growth rate between 8.5 and 9 per cent," he said. On being asked about when liquidity situation would ease, he said that liquidity situation would improve in the last quarter of the current fiscal on the back of increase in public expenditure and RBI’s recent measures.

"RBI has already taken some measures to ease liquidity ... to some extent liquidity was strained because of payment of taxes ... I think liquidity situation will considerably improve in last quarter of this fiscal when public expenditure rises with measures taken by RBI," he said.

Rangarajan said though the economy has the potential to grow at 9 per cent, but there were two areas of concerns which needed to be looked at.

"Looking at constraints on growth, there are two sectors which must be focused on first is agriculture and second is infrastructure particularly power," he said.

"Agriculture growth is necessary important from the point of view of reducing poverty in the country and for a more balanced regional development and for food security. In the field of infrastructure, power generation is important and we need to add capacities of sufficient order to enable economy to grow at 9 per cent," he said.

He further said the Indian economy would become middle income country by 2020. — PTI 

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Now, cotton exports to be registered with DGFT
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 27
The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has reversed its decision and entrusted the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) with the job of registration of cotton and cotton yarn export. Earlier, this function was being performed by the Textile Commissioner of India. A notification has been issued by the ministry in this regard.

However, no fresh registration of export of cotton and cotton yarn is being made as the same was suspended by the Government following rise in the prices of cotton and cotton yarn. The weaving and apparel manufacturers had raised their voice against the hike in the prices of cotton yarn.

The Group of Ministers had allowed the export of 55 lakh bales of cotton during the season 2010-11. The registration of the cotton export was completed and the actual export of cotton started on November 1 and the exporters were asked to make exports within 45 days according to the official notification.

According to the notification, the decision to permit export of 55 lakh bales in the current season stands. Further registration would only be done by the DGFT after ascertaining the balance quantity of cotton. The notification further says that it has been brought to the notice of the Government that actual exports registered with the Textile Commissioner are much less than the quantity approved by the GoM.

Meanwhile, the cotton prices continue to rule high in the markets of Punjab circle comprising Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The prices of Narma cotton once again crossed the figure of Rs 5,000 per quintal. The current prices were quoted between Rs 4,750 and Rs 4,970 per quintal. The markets were receiving daily about 40,000 bales of cotton in the three states. As many as 20 lakh bales have been received in the mandis so far. Punjab mandis are receiving daily 18,000 bales of cotton while in Haryana the arrival of cotton is 17,000 bales, respectively.

The total arrival of cotton in the markets of the country is estimated to be over 100 lakh bales. In Gujarat, the prices of cotton range between Rs 4,200 and Rs 4,700 per quintal while in Maharashtra the prices were between Rs 4,000 and Rs 4,500 per quintal.

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Car sales crash in Beijing after new curbs

Beijing, December 27
Car sales in Beijing have crashed overnight after new rules restricting the sale of vehicle to 2.40 lakh per year were introduced this week to reduce traffic congestion on the roads.

The holiday season on the New Year eve, regarded as the busiest for car dealers in the Capital turned to be a damp squib as most of them mulled plans to either shut down their business in view of drastic fall in sales.

Wang Yang, a salesperson at the Beijing Qingyang FAW (First Automobile Works)-Volkswagen 4S shop in Fengtai District said that in just under two weeks before new rules came out, his dealership sold as many cars as it normally does in a month. But the numbers took a major hit over the weekend, and sales aren't expected to rise anytime soon.

"Our customers decreased by 80 per cent compared with usual times," Wang told state run 'Global Times'.

The new regulations, announced Thursday after a series of citywide debates on how to fight the capital's traffic gridlock, include restricting the licensing of new vehicles to just 240,000 in 2011, increasing parking charges and expanding public transportation.

In 2010, more than seven lakh new cars were sold in Beijing, bringing the city's total number of cars to more than 4.7 million. More than 20,000 cars were sold on Thursday, the day the restrictions were announced as people rushed to buy cars before the new rules came into affect.

From now prospective buyers including foreigners have to take part in bidding during which 2.40 lakh new number plates would be auctioned.

The new rules came under heavy criticism locally and on the same day the Vice Mayor of Beijing city, Huang Wei, has resigned from his post and shunted to work in restive Xinjiang province which has witnessed deadly riots between Muslim Uighurs and Chinese Hans last year.

Despite being touted as the toughest congestion-tackling measure in history, new regulations are a far cry from what the general public sees as the best way to ease traffic, 'Global Times' said quoting several people in its report. — PTI

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Rupee sheds 12 paise

Mumbai, December 27
Paring its early gains, the rupee today lost 12 paise to close at 45.24/25 against the US currency due to late dollar buying by banks and importers amid weak equity markets.

Demand for dollar is on the rise from importers in view of surging crude oil prices in the international markets , a dealer said.

Crude oil prices were hovering above $91 a barrel in Asia after some OPEC ministers indicated that they did not plan to boost output. At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the local unit opened higher at 45.08/10 a dollar against last closing level of 45.12/13 per dollar and moved up further to a day's high at 45.05. — PTI

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Patel recommends Rs 2,000 cr equity in AI

Mumbai, December 27
The Civil Aviation Ministry has recommended an equity infusion of Rs 2,000 crore in Air India in the next financial year after the beleagured national carrier gets Rs 1,200 crore soon.

"Equity infusion of Rs 1,200 crore in Air India is expected in a few days... We have asked from the government further equity infusion of Rs 2,000 crore to be provided in the coming year's budget," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters on the sidelines of a function to induct the first seaplane by Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited.

He said he was hopeful of the government looking at the proposal "objectively" and added "anyway, the Group of Ministers is seized of the matter. It is the commitment of the government to help it (Air India) out and ensure that the national carrier is in good health".

Maintaining that Air India should live up to the people's expectations at a time when competition was the name of the game, he said "I would like to see it performing better. Some parameters have been met but a lot more needs to be done".

Pointing out that RBI was working on the airline's proposal to restructure its debt, he said "the exercise will help Air India reduce the interest on loans and also enable moratorium on the repayment of loans". The exercise is likely to be completed by January-end. — PTI

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Dabur Nepal dragged to court

Kathmandu, December 27
Misfortunes contained to rain down on Indian multinational Dabur India's independent group company in Nepal, with a public interest litigation dragging it to Supreme Court on Monday, just a week after its godown was raided by state vigilance bodies. Supreme Court judge Bharat Upreti was on Monday scheduled to hear a petition asking for Dabur Nepal's manufacturing licence to be cancelled for allegedly producing substandard goods.

The petition was filed on Sunday by Bhushan Giri, a resident of Birgunj in southern Nepal, where Nepal's vigilance officials last Monday raided the godown of Dabur Nepal and found 74,000 cartons of its Real brand of fruit juice carrying post-dated manufacturing labels. The cartons, worth nearly NRS 80 million, have been sealed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), which started an investigation accompanied by the Department of Revenue Investigation.

Giri's writ says the prime minister, commerce minister, industries and supplies minister and CIAA should have responded promptly to the raid following the revelation that there were 74,000 cartons carrying a January 2011 manufacturing date and should have cancelled Dabur Nepal's licence. — IANS

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Economics Year Ender
Tamil Nadu’s thrust shifts to automobile from IT
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, December 27
The year 2010 marks a clear shift of thrust in the industrial sector from IT to the automobile industry in Tamil Nadu, even while the capital Chennai moves up to the second position in India in the City Competitiveness Rankings and also finds a place in the Forbes' list of fast-developing cities in the world.

Tamil Nadu has reaped the fruits of the IT revolution in the country and presently has the highest growth rate in software exports (29.04 per cent) in India. It has 28 IT Special Economic Zones in operation and 234 IT parks with a built-up space of 131 million square feet in the pipeline. At present, it has 1,683 software exporting units with an export performance of Rs 36,680 crore.

Despite these remarkable achievements in IT, the State is clearly moving its thrust towards automobile sector this year, as it sees more potential for development. Chennai has emerged as one of the top 10 global automobile manufacturing centres this year with an installed capacity to produce 12,80,000 cars and about 3,50,000 commercial vehicles each year. The city, which accounted for 32 per cent of India’s automobile production, is all set to surpass this figure by March 2011. Besides, Hyundai Motors and Ford which have already set up their units close to Chennai, Caterpillar USA, Komatsu Japan and Doosan South Korea had selected the city to establish large earth moving equipment manufacturing plants. The State government is planning to announce a new automotive sector-specific policy in 2011 to strengthen and deepen the matured manufacturing.

The city has also become the electronic hardware manufacturing and exporting hub in India. Some of the key companies which have set up manufacturing facilities in the city’s neighbourhood include Nokia, Motorola, Dell Computers, Samsung, Foxconn, Sanmina-SCI, Flextronics, and Nokia-Siemens. The total Investment in Electronics hardware industry in Tamil Nadu is estimated to be about Rs 11,500 to 12,000 crore employing about 40,000 workers.

In the agro-based industry, the sugar industry has survived the challenges and continues its contribution of 9 to 10 per cent of the total production in the country.

However, the major setback has come in the textile industry, due to the spiraling prices of cotton. Surge in international and domestic textile consumption this year has led to heavy demand for cotton.

However, the overall industrial picture in the State is rosy this year. Two developments by the end of 2010 also confirmed this reading. The Forbes magazine listed Chennai as one of the fast-growing cities in India, along with Ahmedabad and Bangalore. The Institute for Competitiveness at New Delhi, in its report said Chennai has moved to the second place, in City Competitiveness Rankings, pushing Mumbai and Bangalore to the third and fourth places. But, the State should overcome its problems in the power sector, if it should continue to sustain this impressive growth next year.

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BRIEFLY

Reliance Money to double gold coins sales
New Delhi:
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Money Infrastructure Ltd (RMIL) on Monday said it has sold 1,000 kg gold coins till November and aims to double sales by March-end. The company, which is bullish on its growth prospects, plans to double the gold coin sales from the current 1,000 kg by the end of the current financial year.— PTI
A worker lays out newly made red lanterns to dry at a lantern factory in Jishan county, Shanxi province, on Monday. The lanterns are being prepared for New Year celebrations and the coming Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on February 3, 2011
A worker lays out newly made red lanterns to dry at a lantern factory in Jishan county, Shanxi province, on Monday. The lanterns are being prepared for New Year celebrations and the coming Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on February 3, 2011. — Reuters

ONGC to hike stake in Pawan Hans
Mumbai:
ONGC is hiking its stake in Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL) from 21 to 49 per cent, even as another top public sector company firms up plans to invest Rs 55 crore in the state-run chopper firm. This was announced by PHHL chief RK Tyagi at a ceremony here to launch seaplane services between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to promote tourism. — PTI

Union Bank ups lending rate by 50 bps
Mumbai:
Union Bank of India on Monday raised base rate (or the minimum lending rate) by 50 basis points to 9 per cent in line with other lenders. The revision is in alignment with the current rate scenario as also the increase in the cost of funds, Union Bank of India informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).— PTI

Venus gets patent for antibiotic drug
New Delhi:
Drug firm Venus Remedies on Monday said it has received patent grants for its antibiotic drug Sulbactomax from Russian and Ukrainian authorities. With this patent grant the company can now enter the $780 million antibiotic market in Russia and also strengthen its presence in Ukrainian market, it added.— PTI

Oil stays above $91
Singapore:
Oil prices hovered above $91 a barrel on Monday in Asia as some OPEC ministers signaled the group doesn't plan to boost output to cool the recent jump in crude. Benchmark oil for February delivery fell 17 cents to $ 91.34 a barrel midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. — AP

KEC Int'l wins orders worth Rs 1,018 cr
Mumbai:
KEC International on Monday said the company has won Rs 1,018-crore transmission lines construction and various supply and civil orders. “With these orders, our total order intake for the quarter reaches to approximately Rs 2,400 crore," KEC International CEO Ramesh Chandak said. — PTI

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