Govt neglecting
agriculture, manufacturing
sectors: Sonia

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Congress president Sonia Gandhi today lashed out at the Government accusing it of neglecting agriculture as..more

Satyam Infoway among
10 top technology
companies: Fortune

NEW YORK, Dec 17: Satyam Infoway, India’s largest internet service provider, is among the ten ......more

HM-RTV starts giving
boost to CNG wave

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: The new HM-RTV, a 15 seater vehicle launched by Hindustan Motors Ltd, ....more

FDI inflows stage
remarkable recovery

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Government’s concerted action to enhance Foreign Direct Investments........more

Rising input costs,
high subsidies cloud
fertiliser industry

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Controversy and uncertainty triggered by the contentious pricing and subsidy......more

FIIs net buyers in
capital market

MUMBAI, Dec 17: Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) were net buyers in capital market worth...more

Inflation rises
to 7.45 per cent

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Continuing its upward trend, the annual rate of inflation rose marginally by...more

K’taka: Emerging
industrial giant

BANGALORE, Dec 17: The year saw the state riding the industrial scene like a colossus, earning...more

 

Govt neglecting agriculture, manufacturing
sectors: Sonia

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Congress president Sonia Gandhi today lashed out at the Government accusing it of neglecting agriculture as well as manufacturing sectors and said her party was committed to economic reforms with social content.

"We are purturbed that the Government, which is mesmerised by the new economy, has not taken the crisis in agriculture seriously despite the onion crisis two years ago", she said at the 73rd annual session of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here.

Hitting out at the Government for its delay in increasing the import duty on edible oil to prevent cheap import and distress sale, Gandhi said it had caused untold miseries to lakhs of farmers in the country.

She said although mountains of foodgrains continued to rot people still faced scarcity.

Reaffirming her party’s commitment to economic reforms, she said Congress was aware of its responsibility and took leadership role on issues relating to the insurance sector and company law. "Reports that Congress is not clear about its position on reforms are baseless and unfounded", she said.

Stating constructive cooperation should be on the basis of "give and take" , Gandhi charged the Government was not keen on building consensus on several important issues.

However, the Congress president made it clear that economic reforms must have social content and the focus should be on abolition of poverty and welfare of the weaker section. Referring to privatisation of Public Sector Undertakings, Sonia Gandhi said "we regret the systematic ideological assault on the public sector".

Underlining the need for strengthening public sector units in the strategic and infrastructure sectors and making them more efficient, she said India cannot become a super power by neglecting core sectors like steel and infrastructures.

The Congress president said privatisation may be necessary but it should be carried out according to a well laid down plan and detailed strategy.

She said her party’s commitment to reforms was amply demonstrated by the records of its past Governments as also by the performance of Congress ruled states.

On challenges of globalisation, she asked the Government to assume leadership role in seeking removal of various trade barriers and said such a role cannot come automatically.

The country would have to build a robust and strong economy in order to play a prominent role in the rapidly changing global economic scenario, she said.

Gandhi said her party had extended cooperation to the Government on several issues. Whenever it decided not to cooperate it was to protect national interest and public good.

While stating that Congress would not play narrow politics on crucial issues, she said that at the same time the party’s views on major national issues could not be ignored.

Stressing the need for consensus, Gandhi said "unanimity is desirable but may not be always possible but consensus can be achieved through discussions and debate". (PTI)

Satyam Infoway among 10 top technology
companies: Fortune

NEW YORK, Dec 17: Satyam Infoway, India’s largest internet service provider, is among the ten top technology companies world-wide recommended for investment by the prestigious American business magazine, Fortune.

"Satyam’s rich media content and large internet subscriber base could position it as the AOL-time warner of India," the magazine says.

In fiscal 1999-2000, Fortune says the company posted a loss of eight million dollars on a revenue of roughly 15 million dollars.

Quoting analysts of Salmon Smith Securities, the magazine said Satyam’s revenues would grow to 54 million dollars this fiscal and its losses will widen to 12.9 million dollars.

But the company should turn the corner in 2001 when Salmon expects Satyam to post first net profit of 6.3 million dollars and net profits to quadruple the following year.

Until those profits roll in, Satyam should remain financially stable. With 220 million dollars in cash from two well in time NASDAQ stock offerings earlier this year, Satyam looks to remain standing while other Indian dotcom companies may topple, it says.

Others in the group include five Eurpoean companies - Alcatel (French), (Nofinnish), Stmicroelectronics (Swiss), Philips (Dutch) and Kudelski (Swiss). The group also includes two Chinese, one Japanese and one Singaporean companies.

Fortune says if there is one theme that Unifies Asia’s diverse technology spectrum, which ranges from one-man software startups in India to huge semi-conductor factories in South Korea, it is that NASDAQ’s recent troubles have spread to the region and creamed stock prices. (PTI)

HM-RTV starts giving boost to CNG wave

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: The new HM-RTV, a 15 seater vehicle launched by Hindustan Motors Ltd, has started giving a boost to the CNG wave in the capital.

The Supreme Court which has paved the way for a cleaner Delhi has bought its first two vehicles. The company has also sold 50 more vehicles in Delhi.

HM-RTV is being manufactured at HM’s Pithampur plant in Madhya Pradesh in technical collaboration with Oka Motor Company, Australia.

Mr Devinder Zalpari, Zonal Manager, Hindustan Motors, said the plant has enough capacity to meet the emerging demand.

He said it has a sturdy and safe rugged design, high level of manoeuvrability and 100 per cent indigenous components. It has two cng cylinders of 14 kg each giving a single stretch run of more than 250 km at a running cost of about Rs 1.15 per km.The vehicle is priced at Rs 4.36 lakh.

The company has offered special price for Government buyers. (UNI)

FDI inflows stage remarkable recovery

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Government’s concerted action to enhance Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the country has borne rich fruit and the inflows should easily cross the 4 billion dollar mark during 2000 as against 2.2 billion dollars (excluding global depository receipts) in 1999.

The year saw the policy makers, in their commitment towards economic reforms and wooing in greater FDI, placing several items and activities under the automatic route for 100 per cent FDI, Non Resident Indian (NRI) and Overseas Corporate Body (OCB) investments.

Since the FDI inflows have already touched about 3 billion dollar during the first eight months of the current year, Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoli Maran’s optimism about a high level of FDI in comparison to the previous year cannot be considered misplaced.

Besides allowing FDI upto 100 per cent in oil refinery and Business to Business (B2B) E-commerce, the Government this year removed the upper limit of FDI under automatic route for electric generation, transmission and distribution (except atomic power plants).

It has also done away with the dividend balancing condition in respect of 22 consumer goods industries since this condition was perceived by foreign investors as dangerous.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in its latest report, has said that though India remained the single largest FDI recipient in 1999 at over 2 billion dollars, the ongoing liberalisation of FDI policies is expected to raise inflows in the years to come.

India’s FDI inflows averaged 234 million dollars during the period 1988-93, following which it edged up to 973 million dollars in 1994 and 2.14 billion dollars in 1995. After growing to the levels of 2.42 billion dollars in 1996 and to 3.58 billion dollars in 1997 , it declined to 2.64 billion in 1998 and to about 2.25 billion (excluding about 1.9 billion dollars of gdr) in 1999.

Maran told a foreign investment implementation authority meeting in New Delhi in October that the Government had taken note of the concerns expressed by the investors and would do its best.

This would be through doing the required follow-up with the State Governments so that bottlenecks hindering implementation of the policies are removed, he said. (PTI)

Rising input costs, high subsidies cloud fertiliser industry

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Controversy and uncertainty triggered by the contentious pricing and subsidy mechanism for urea dogged the fertiliser sector throughout the year which failed to see the much awaited long term fertiliser policy.

A perplexed Government, a distressed industry and helpless farming community kept groping fervently for a balanced approach to end inherent contradictions and inconsistencies afflicting the sector, but in vain.

As the new year knocks at the door, a major challenge ahead would be the changes which would follow the removal of Quantitative Restrictions (QRs) from April one, 2001 even as Fertiliser Minister S S Dhindsa told PTI that a comprehensive fertiliser policy would be announced by budget session of Parliament next year.

Yet the industry kept complaining of its mounting overdues estimated at Rs 2,000 crore now in the wake of sharp increase in petro feedstock that alone accounts for a lion’s share of subsidy bill and inordinate delays in incorporating the increased cost of production in the pricing mechanism.

Government, pressurised by the recommendations of the Expenditure Reforms Commission to curb subsidies, found it very difficult to stem the outflow which are expected to be much higher than the budgeted Rs 12,600 crore (both for urea and decontrolled nutrients) for current fiscal due to high production costs.

In the face of the payment problem, industry warned that Government’s neglect could lead to the peril of this high capital intenstive sector as the signs of doom are already visible in the shape of depressed stock prices of both public and private sector companies.

But the Government charged the industry with foul play and set up an expert committee to probe alleged "gold plating" apart from referring some cases to CBI for inquiry into excess drawal by some units.

Dhindsa said that new policy would be in tandem with the recommendations of the committee set up under Prof Y K Alagh to probe industry margins and wrong doings if any.

Vehemently refuting the allegation, Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), an apex body of manufacturers, mounted a counter attack claiming that the possibility of such unfair practice could exist only in public sector units.

The year also witnessed a drive towards privatisation of PSUs in fertiliser sector with the Government deciding to disinvest its stake in National Fertilisers Ltd (NFL), Madras Fertilisers Ltd (MFL) and Paradeep Phosphates Ltd (PPL).

The move, however, failed to draw warm response from the manufacturers with FAI saying it would turn out to be a non-starter as there would be no taker for "unattractive" Government equities.

New FAI Chairman and Chief Executive of DCM Shriram consolidated Ajay Shriram told PTI that his company would not bid for any Government equity in fertiliser PSUs as this did not make a business sense in the prevailing atmosphere. (PTI)

FIIs net buyers in capital market

MUMBAI, Dec 17: Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) were net buyers in capital market worth Rs 150.2 crore during the week ended December 15.

According to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)’s FIIs investment trend, the gross buying by FIIs (both in security and debt) were Rs 1460.3 crore during the week against their net selling of Rs 1310.1 crore.

In security market FIIs’s net buying stood at Rs 232.1 crore, while in debt market, they were net sellers for Rs 81.9 crore during the week.

The gross buying by FIIs for December stood at Rs 2753.8 crore against their gross sales of Rs 2561.7 crore, showing a net investment of Rs 192.1 crore.

The grand total purchase of FIIs for the year 2000, was Rs 75,968.9 crore while their total sales for the year stood at Rs 68,630.5 crore, registering a net investment of Rs 7,338.4 crore. (UNI)

Inflation rises to 7.45 per cent

NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Continuing its upward trend, the annual rate of inflation rose marginally by 0.02 percentage points to 7.45 per cent.

The point-to-point inflation rate based on Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for all commodities (base: 1993-94 = 100) continued to remain above seven per cent for the fourth consecutive week from 7.43 per cent in the previous week and a mere 2.52 per cent a year ago.

The WPI again declined by 0.2 per cent to 157.3 from the previous week’s level of 157.6 and 146.4 a year ago.

The final WPI for week ending october seven, stood higher at 157.4 than the provisional level of 156.9.

The final inflation rate during first week of October stood at 7.37 per cent as against the provisional level of 7.03 per cent.

Primary articles continued to be cheaper by another 0.3 per cent and manufactured items fell by 0.1 per cent while fuel items stood firm at the previous week’s mark.

The index for primary articles’ group declined to 161.4 from 161.9 in the previous week due to fall in prices of food items. The index was only 157.2 a year ago.

Food articles’ group index fell by 0.5 per cent to 169.4 from 170.3 a week ago due to cheaper beef and buffalo meat (five pe cent), fruits and vegetables and tea (two per cent each), poultry chicken and pork (one per cent each).

However, prices rose in the case of barley, gram and moong (two per cent each) and ragi (one per cent).

The index for non-food articles’ group, however, rose by 0.4 per cent to 145.1 from 144.5 in the previous week due to costlier fodder (six per cent), kardi seed (five per cent), and raw cotton, rape and mustard seed (one per cent each).

Unlike the previous two week’s rise, the index for fuel, power, light and lubricants’ group stood firm at the previous week’s figure of 217.9. The index was only 167.2 a year ago. (PTI)

K’taka: Emerging industrial giant

BANGALORE, Dec 17: The year saw the state riding the industrial scene like a colossus, earning the sobriquet of ‘IT and investment capital’ of the country, with the Veerappan saga being the only check in its stride.

The year began with cheers for the Congress through victory in the coveted Bellary parliamentary constituency, vacated by AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

Even as the celebration was on, caste clash raised its ugly head in Kambalapalli in Kolar village in which seven persons, including three women were burnt alive.

The international airport project, which had been hanging fire for quite sometime, was cleared at last by the Centre with the Union Civil Aviation Minister, Sharad Yadav announcing that the project would be developed as a greenfield venture with private sector participation.

The power sector received a much needed shot in the arm with the State Government inviting private participation in power generation after dedicating Kadra and Kodasalli projects to the nation.

On the Alamatii Dam issue also, which has been the bone of contention between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the state scored a point. A constitution bench of Supreme Court gave the green signal to Karnataka to raise the height of the dam to 519.6 metres.

Fast becoming the ‘Mecca of fashion and glamour’, the city left cosmo Mumbai gasping for breath in the race, while the Bangalore’s girl, Lara Dutta walked away with the ‘Miss Universe 2000’ crown.

The summer month of June saw the state racked by two bomb explosions in churches in Wadi in Gulbarga and Bangalore district.

The year also saw the state bag Rs 27,000 crore investments through the global investors meet.

The month of July would go down as the ‘blackest month’ in the history of Karnataka with Kannada matinee idol, Rajkumar being kidnapped by notorious smuggler-poacher Veerappan, along with three others.

The Kannada superstar, whose following in the state almost borders on hysteria, was kidnapped along with three others from his farm house in Gajanur in Tamil Nadu, on July 30.

Security was beefed up in the city following sporadic violence and the Government declared a two-day holiday for schools and colleges.

In response to the forest fugitive’s demands, the Government decided to drop TADA charges against 51 of his suspected associates.

The detenus, who moved bail application in view of the state’s move, were checked midway by Abdul Kareem, the spunky father of slain Sub-Inspector Shakeel Ahmed, who moved Supreme Court against dropping of TADA charges.

The Apex Court stayed the release, rapping the State Government for its laidback approach and resultant failure in nabbing the brigand.

All the four missions undertaken by Nakkaran Editor R R Gopal failed in negotiating release of Raj Kumar and with the escape of one of the hostages, Nagappa Maradagi, the situation was complicated further.

This made the state seek the help of Tamil Nationalist Movement leader, Nedumaran, who in the sixth mission succeded in securing the release of Rajkumar on November 15.

Close on the heels of the release of Kannada thespian, Chief Minister declared the Government’s commitment to end the ‘Veerappan menace’ under a unified operation with Tamil Nadu and the Centre, announcing the launching of operations by the Karnataka Special Task Force (STF) to nab the outlaw.

The STF would be headed by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), H T Sangliana.

The two states have also sought the help of Border Security Force (BSF) and National Security Guard commandos. With a specialised battalion of BSF, STF is all set to enter the forest.

The year also witnessed the demise of Nonegerian Nijalingappa, former Karnataka Chief Minister and president of the undivided Congress.

The month of November saw the country’s IT capital, hosting Bangalore it.Com 2000, Asia’s biggest IT trade show in which 376 companies from across the world showcased their products and services.

The mega show generated a business to the tune of Rs 350 crore.

The year ended on a sombre note with the demise of former Chief Minsiter, J H Patel. (PTI)



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