THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE
Financial Daily
from THE HINDU group of publications

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

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News

Banking and Finance
Sinha proposes changes in Finance Bill -- VRS amortisation for banks from 2000-01
IN a move that would provide relief to public sector banks, the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, is set to move an amendment to the Finance Bill, 2001, allowing them to amortise the expenditure incurred on the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) from f iscal 2000-01 itself, thereby enabling the banks to avail themselves of the consequent deduction for income-tax purposes a year ahead of the earlier proposal.

Merger with IDBI ruled out -- IFCI told to access market for capital
WHILE ruling out any immediate plans of merging the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) with Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), the Government today also deferred a decision on providing capital support to IFCI. It asked the institut ion to look for alternative sources of raising capital from the market to meet its immediate requirements.



RBI paper on directed lending soon
THE Reserve Bank of India proposes to prepare a technical paper on directed lending, to eliminate the discrimination between foreign and public sector banks, the Deputy Governor of RBI, Dr Y.V. Reddy, has said.

Corporate
IBF to set norms for TV ratings
THE Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) is likely to finalise a set of standards for calculating television ratings, at its board meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Swap ratio fair, says HLL official
THE share exchange ratio assigned for the amalgamation of International Bestfoods Ltd (IBL) with Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) is a `fair' one notwithstanding the higher price usually quoted in the stock market for the HLL scrip, Mr D. Sundaram, HLL's Financ e Director, said today.

Economy
`Flexibility in labour laws is the need of the hour'
THE Indian industry needs to restructure itself to meet global competition in the changed economic environment. Restructuring will necessitate right-sizing of work force, which is possible only through flexibility in labour laws.

Vote on Finance Bill today -- Hike in standard deduction likely
THE Government has decided to introduce some major amendments to the Finance Bill 2001, including granting a one-time waiver on capital gains for ensuring a smooth transition towards corporatisation of stock exchanges and also an increase in the standard deduction limit for the salaried class.

Infrastructure sector clocks 5.3 pc growth
THE six infrastructure industries -- electricity, coal, steel, crude petroleum, petroleum refinery products and cement -- have registered a growth of 5.3 per cent during the fiscal year 2000-01.

Slowdown, VRS payments hit tax collections
THE slowdown in the capital market, huge payments made by public sector banks in connection with voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and lesser payment of advance tax by many top companies have all contributed to the low collection of direct taxes during 2 000-01.

Financial Performance
Ashok Leyland net up 16.8 pc
ASHOK Leyland Ltd has reported a 16.8 per cent increase in net profit and a marginal increase in income for the year ending March 31, 2001 compared to the previous year.

Sterlite PAT up 52 pc in Q3
STERLITE Industries (India) Ltd has ended the third quarter of January-March 2001 with a 52 per cent increase in profit after tax at Rs 32.11 crores against Rs 21.13 crores in the corresponding period of the previous year.

HLL net up 20% at Rs 317 cr in Q1
HINDUSTAN Lever Ltd (HLL) has registered a 20.68 per cent rise in profit after tax to Rs 316.94 crore for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001, from the Rs 262.61 crore of the previous corresponding period.

ABB net sales, PAT up in Q1
NEW DELHI: Asea Brown Boveri Ltd (ABB) has registered net sales of Rs 204 crore and a profit after tax of Rs 4.7 crore for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001. For the corresponding period last year, the company posted a net sales of Rs 151.7 crore an d a PAT of Rs 0.7 crore.

Gillette India sales up 3 pc
GILLETTE India Ltd (GIL), a subsidiary of The Gillette Company of the US, has reported a three per cent increase in its net sales during the first quarter of the year 2001. The volume of domestic sales too showed an increase of 19.7 per cent over the cor responding period last year.

Indal net up 38 pc, to pay Rs 4
INDIAN Aluminium Company Ltd (Indal), a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Ltd, has reported a 38 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 116 crore for the year ended March 31, 2001 as compared to Rs 83.94 crore in the earlier year.

Foreign Trade
Malaysia, Indonesia offer `rail for oil' barter deal
MALAYSIA and Indonesia have offered award of mega rail projects to the IRCON in return for the country offering a `non-discriminatory' tariff regime for imports of palm oil vis-a-vis soyabean oil.

Information Technology
Homing in to jobsville
TILL December last, headhunters here were flooded with requests from Indians for placements in the US. It is the opposite now.

PSU
AIBEA aid for Balco staff
KOLKATA: All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) has donated Rs 2 lakh in aid of striking workers of Balco. A cheque for the amount has been handed over to a representative of Balco Bachao Sanyukta Abhiyan Samiti here.

Pharmaceuticals
Production of low-cost drugs -- Govt urged to review 2nd amendment to Patents Act
AGAINST the backdrop of the South African pharmaceutical case, the Government needs to take a ``relook'' at the second amendment to the Indian Patents Act (1970), currently on the anvil, and ensure the continual generic production of low-cost drugs.

Shipping
CBI conducts surprise check at NMPT
OFFICIALS of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted a surprise check at the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT), ostensibly to ascertain the veracity of certain information received by them. The surprise check was carried out along with the vigi lance cell of NMPT.

States
Bengal Govt plans to set up biotech park
THE West Bengal Government is planning to set up a bio-technology park, according to Prof M.K. Banerjee, the State's Principal Secretary for Science & Technology.

Cochin SEZ plan for infrastructure
AS part of its infrastructure developmental activities, the Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) would set up a multi-storeyed buildings complex at an estimated cost of Rs 14.96 crore.

Maharashtra bandh today
OFFICES and other establishments in Maharashtra today closed resigning themselves to a day of near-inactivity tomorrow, a day of State-wide bandh called by trade unions of all political hues.

Privatisation of power distribution -- IBRD tells Karnataka to stick to deadline
THE World Bank has asked the Karnataka Government to stick to a firm deadline of December 2001 deadline for the completion of privatisation of distribution.

A h(e)aven for senior citizens in Pune
A PUNE-BASED construction company, Paranjape Schemes, has launched `Athashree', a housing scheme that promises to make living a hassle free experience for senior citizens, at a time when the break up of the joint family and the pressures of urban living has resulted in their increasing marginalisation from the mainstream.

Medical colleges can house dental colleges
HYDERABAD: The State Government has decided to permit private medical colleges to start dental colleges in their premises.

Ravishankar school in Hyderabad
HYDERABAD: To work for the creation of a better world where human values stand foremost, the management committee of Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir, wants to achieve its goal by offering a holistic, value-based education to children in their early stage of life.

VRS package for Nandyal mill staff
HYDERABAD: The employees of the Nandyal Cooperative Spinning Mills will now be offered a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) package from out of the Rs 1.79 crore released by the State Government to pay to the VRS scheme as also clear its dues.

Pan masalas to become dearer
HYDERABAD: Pan Parag and Manikchand Gutka and other related tobacco products are set to become costlier in the State with the proposal to levy higher tax rates on these products.

TIDCO seeks Rs 9-cr equity from State for biotech venture
THE Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) has sought Rs 9 crore financial assistance from the State Government as a part of the equity for the Rs 62.5-crore biotechnology incubator park proposed at Chennai.

Road mishaps in TN remain a concern
THE growing number of road accidents in Tamil Nadu, which claim thousands of lives every year besides maiming a few thousand more, has brought to the centre-stage the need for effective laws to punish errant drivers apart from taking measures to prevent their occurrence.

Bengal bid to check hazardous chemical mishaps
THE West Bengal Government will set up crisis groups in every district and also in industrial towns to tackle any accident occuring from the transportation of petroleum products and hazardous chemicals.

Stocks
SEBI makes case for barring Rathi firms
THE Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has argued for continuation of ban on trading by broking firms owned by Mr Anand Rathi, former BSE President.

`Revamp badla to curb volatility'
BADLA financing encourages volatility and if volatility has to be curbed in the Indian markets, badla has to be revisited, according to Mr Georges Ugeux, Group Executive Vice-President, International and Research, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

`SEBI has directed introduction of rolling settlement'
THE Government on Tuesday said the SEBI has directed stock exchanges that all scrips which are included in the automated lending and borrowing mechanism, borrowing and lending securities scheme or modified carry forward system or in the BSE 200 list will be traded in the compulsory rolling settlement from July 2.

`Blips in stocks will not deter long-term investors'
THE Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, has said too much attention need not be paid to the tightening of liquidity in the stock markets after the ban on short sales and the perception of uncertainty prevailing in the markets, after SEBI's action agains t some stock broking entities.

Technology
Need to process thorium for N-power stressed
INDIA'S modest uranium reserves has rendered imperative the development, in double quick time, of a closed nuclear fuel cycle involving efficient conversion, reprocessing and recycling of its infinitely large thorium reserves in order to achieve a growth rate in nuclear energy production that matches the projected demand.


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