SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Cabinet approves setting up of coal regulator
New Delhi, February 20
The Union Cabinet today gave its go-ahead for setting up an independent coal regulator to infuse transparency and efficiency in the coal sector.

CCEA okays FDI proposals of Hitachi, GlaxoSmithKline
New Delhi, February 20
The government today approved the proposal for acquisition of Prizm Payment Services by Hitachi, a Japanese firm, which would result in foreign investment of around Rs 1,540 crore. The CCEA also approved the proposal of GlaxoSmithKline for acquisition of 24.33% of shares in the existing Indian subsidiary company by way of an open offer to shareholders in the pharmaceutical sector. 

Sale of beer on the rise, scientists for contract farming of barley 
Karnal, February 20
Consumption of beer with low alcoholic content has been increasing at the average rate of 10% annually, pushing up the demand for malt in the country.


EARLIER STORIES


Panel for merger of Haryana cooperative, HARCO Bank
Chandigarh, February 20
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today directed to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) Rajan Gupta to chalk out the modalities of merger of Haryana State Cooperative and Agriculture Rural Development Bank (HSCARDB) with HARCO Bank.

Manitoba govt to set up Food Development Centre in Punjab
Chandigarh, February 20
The Government of Manitoba in Canada is set to provide technology to the Punjab Government for setting up a state-of-the- art Food Development Centre (FDC) here. This centre will help develop the food processing industry in the state. The centre, which is already established in the province of Manitoba, will not only help Punjab emulate the "farm-to-fork" models of food processing, but also train farmers from Punjab in Manitoba on the new techniques in horticulture and food processing.

Deutsche Bank may replace
Frankfurt, February 20
Deutsche Bank is considering possibly replacing co-chief executive Anshu Jain if he is implicated in an ongoing probe into currency manipulation, according to a magazine report yesterday.

Govt relaxes telecom M&A norms, ups market share limit to 50%
New Delhi, February 20 
In a bid to spur M&As in the crowded telecom sector, the government today eased rules by allowing mergers between firms with up to 50 per cent combined market share.





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Cabinet approves setting up of coal regulator
Decision on supply of coal to thermal projects put off
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
The Union Cabinet today gave its go-ahead for setting up an independent coal regulator to infuse transparency and efficiency in the coal sector.

Even as the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) deferred a decision on supply of coal to some thermal power projects with tapering linkages beyond the three-year period, the setting up coal regulator would come as a boost for the sector which has been reeling under allocation scams.

"The CCEA has given its nod to the proposal to set up coal regulator," officials said after the meeting of the CCEA.

The non-statutory regulator would be set up through an executive order as the Coal Regulatory Authority (CRA) Bill, 2013, is still pending before Parliament.

The authority would determine methodology for coal price fixation, methods for testing and declaration of grades, specify procedures for coal sampling, and adjudicate upon disputes between parties and monitor mine closure plans.

Sector experts said the government's move will create an atmosphere in the country for a more disciplined use of coal.

The regulator would not have the power to decide prices of coal in the domestic market and Coal India Ltd (CIL) will continue to enjoy freedom in setting prices. The regulator will have no say in the allocation of coal acreages too.

The coal sector has been marred with allegations of lack of transparency in distribution of reserves and controversy over allegedly favorable allocations that there had been a notional loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer according to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) due to faulty allocation of coal blocks.

Coal mining is an exclusive domain of the public sector in India. CIL and Singareni Collieries (SCCL) account for 82% of the domestic 557 million tonne production annually. Private companies are allowed to mine coal for their small captive use. Consumers currently blame CIL of monopolistic behaviour to set prices and terms of supply apart from poor quality of coal. Meanwhile, officials said the proposal for tapering linkage had been postponed.

Tapering Linkage is a short-term linkage provided to those consumers who have been allocated captive coal blocks but the mines could not be developed on time.

The CCEA approval is needed with regard to supply of coal for six power units with tapering linkages, a source has said declining to share the names of the units.

Role of regulator

* The non-statutory regulator would be set up through an executive order as the Coal Regulatory Authority (CRA) Bill, 2013, is still pending before Parliament

* The authority would determine methodology for coal price fixation, methods for testing and declaration of grades

* It will also specify procedures for coal sampling and adjudicate upon disputes between parties and monitor mine closure plans

* The regulator would not have the power to decide prices of coal in the domestic market

* Coal India Ltd will continue to enjoy freedom in setting the prices. The regulator will have no say in the allocation of coal acreages too.

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CCEA okays FDI proposals of Hitachi, GlaxoSmithKline
To bring in foreign investment of Rs 7,930 crore
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
The government today approved the proposal for acquisition of Prizm Payment Services by Hitachi, a Japanese firm, which would result in foreign investment of around Rs 1,540 crore. The CCEA also approved the proposal of GlaxoSmithKline for acquisition of 24.33% of shares in the existing Indian subsidiary company by way of an open offer to shareholders in the pharmaceutical sector. The approval would result in foreign investment of approximately Rs 6,390 crore in the country.

The said acquisition would help the Japanese firm to grow its revenue from India. Tokyo-based Hitachi sees India as an important region in its global strategy and is stepping up development of the group's social innovation business in the country.

Since it was set up in 2008, Prizm has grown to have over 10,000 ATMs and has over 52,400 Point of Sale devices under management. The network is managed by over 1,000 employees in eight offices and 105 service locations covering 600 points of presence across the country.

Rs 77.4-cr package for HMT

The government today announced a financial package of about Rs 77.4 crore for the state-run HMT Limited, Bangalore, and its subsidiary HMT Machine Tools Ltd to make payments of wages and statutory dues such as PF and gratuity to its employees.

The decision to provide financial assistance to the two public sector units of the Central Government was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) here.

The companies are under the administrative control of the Department of Heavy Industry. This decision would mitigate hardships being faced by employees and would also motivate employees and help to achieve the goal of revival/restructuring of the companies.

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Sale of beer on the rise, scientists for contract farming of barley 
Parveen Arora
Tribune News Service

Karnal, February 20
Consumption of beer with low alcoholic content has been increasing at the average rate of 10% annually, pushing up the demand for malt in the country. To meet the increasing demand of malt by beer-manufacturing companies, the area under cultivation of barley has become imperative for increase, said Dr AS Kharub, Principal Scientist, Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR).

He said barley was sown on 69 lakh hectares and its annual production was 1.74 million tonne and average productivity was 25 quintals per hectare in the country. The area under barley cultivation has been increased to 92,000 hectares and production increased to 5,47,000 tonne in the past six years.

He said, "Around 35% of total barley produced in India is utilised for malt production. Total malt production is around 3.5 lakh tonne, but the demand of beer and malt is increasing at the rate of 10% annually," adding to meet this demand, the area and production of the barley should be increased by farmers.

Dr Indu Sharma, Project Director, DWR, said barley grain has been traditionally used as animal feed and grain crop for human consumption in India. In recent years, due to the increasing demand of malt, it has been observed that barley can be utilised as a commercial crop for malting and brewing industries of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, UP.

"Malt barley varieties developed and released by Central Variety Release Committee (CVRC) for north-western plain zone are DWRUB 52, DWRB 73, DWRUB 64, DWRB 91, DWRB 92," she said, adding the quality parameters of these varieties are of international standards for malting and brewing as defined in India to classify them as malt barley.

The Project Director said to meet the demand of malt for beer, the farmers of Haryana and Punjab have come forward for contract farming of barley. She said in the current situation, barley has become more important as an industrial crop due to increased number of brewing units being established in India.

By doing contract farming, not only the farmers are getting good price for barley, but beer-manufacturing companies are also getting good quality barley, she said.

"We have to increase the production of barley. If it's not done, the country might have to import malt," she said. 

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Panel for merger of Haryana cooperative, HARCO Bank
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today directed to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) Rajan Gupta to chalk out the modalities of merger of Haryana State Cooperative and Agriculture Rural Development Bank (HSCARDB) with HARCO Bank.

Hooda was presiding over a meeting with NABARD chairman HK Bhanwala here today. The other members of the committee would include Secretary, Cooperation, Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Managing Directors of Haryana State Cooperative and Agriculture Rural Development Bank and HARCO Bank and a representative of NABARD. Hooda directed the Managing Director of HSCARDB to increase the loan recovery of the bank. He directed the departments concerned for full utilisation of the fund released by NABARD so that various ongoing development projects complete in a time-bound manner.

On the demand of increase in quantum of refinance from 50% to 70% to make substantial increase in the advances to farmers, Bhanwala said NABARD was in the process of increasing the quantum of refinance and initially it might be increased to 60%.

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Manitoba govt to set up Food Development Centre in Punjab
To train farmers for increasing output, skills in food processing
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Government of Manitoba in Canada is set to provide technology to the Punjab Government for setting up a state-of-the- art Food Development Centre (FDC) here. This centre will help develop the food processing industry in the state.

The centre, which is already established in the province of Manitoba, will not only help Punjab emulate the "farm-to-fork" models of food processing, but also train farmers from Punjab in Manitoba on the new techniques in horticulture and food processing. Farmers from the state, identified by the state government and the FDC here, will also be taught techniques for increasing crop productivity and skills in food processing.

Besides setting up the FDC, the government of this Canadian province is also looking at investors from Punjab to set up base in Manitoba.

Bidhu Jha, special envoy for International Trade, Government of Manitoba, said he was in talks with the Punjab Food and Supplies Minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon for setting up the FDC in Punjab. "We have invested millions of dollars for setting up the FDC in Manitoba. We specialise in transforming all food product ideas into market winners through our agri-business experts and the techniques developed by the Centre. We will replicate this Centre in Punjab, thus helping the nascent food processing industry in the state grow," he said.

Jha said as part of this technology transfer, the Punjabi farmers will also be trained in Manitoba on the best agricultural practices adopted there for not just increasing crop productivity, but also on post-harvest technologies, sorting, grading and packaging of agri produce.

Jha, who is also an MLA in Manitoba, said the provincial government of Manitoba was also keen to explore investment opportunities by Indian businessmen in Manitoba. "We can offer land at reasonable rates, power supply and huge hydo energy potential. Besides, the Centre Port of Canada is being established in Manitoba, which gives access to businesses in Manitoba to ferry their goods from Manitoba to as far as Mexico by road. This will give access to businesses in Manitoba to a huge North American market," he said, adding the government was keen on looking at investment in manufacturing, pharma, services and food processing sector.

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Deutsche Bank may replace
Anshu Jain

Frankfurt, February 20
Deutsche Bank is considering possibly replacing co-chief executive Anshu Jain if he is implicated in an ongoing probe into currency manipulation, according to a magazine report yesterday.

Without revealing its sources, the monthly Manager Magazine said former UBS chief financial officer John Cryan is being eyed as Jain's possible replacement.

The supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank is discussing who could replace Jain, the former head of investment banking, as regulators investigate whether a number of global banks were involved in rigging foreign exchange reference rates. In January, Deutsche Bank said it suspended "at least one" currency trader and said it is cooperating with regulators in the global forex probe. ó AFP

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Govt relaxes telecom M&A norms, ups market share limit to 50%

New Delhi, February 20 
In a bid to spur M&As in the crowded telecom sector, the government today eased rules by allowing mergers between firms with up to 50 per cent combined market share.

At present, telecom firms are allowed to merge if their combined market shares in terms of subscriber base does not exceed 40 per cent in any of the nation's 22 circles or zones.

The government will determine market share based on both subscriber number and adjusted gross revenue which is earned through telecom services.

The Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) guidelines issued today, however, stated that a market-determined fee will have to be paid if the merged entity was to hold low-priced 4.4 MHz spectrum.

The long-awaited guidelines pave the way for fresh investments through consolidation activity in the industry which has 12 telecom service providers. ó PTI

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