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January 30, 2000

Sinha to present Budget at noon on Feb 29
The Railway Budget will be presented on February 25 and the Economic Survey on 28.

BSE, NSE and Forex:

January 29, 2000

'Cheap second-hand cars won't affect the two-wheeler market'
"Consumers are already aware of the pollution problems, now if you give them a solution, I think they will buy it," says Arun Firodia, chairman, Kinetic Engineering, which is launching eco-friendly two-wheelers.

India's GDP growth rate in 1998-99 put at 6.8 pc
The growth in GDP has been attributed to impressive performance in construction, agriculture, communications and banking sectors.

Green row over new unit Metamorphoses into political puzzle in Goa
As parties trade charges and locals harden their stance, the promoters of Meta Strips wonder what is next.

States are free to fix sales tax for commodities, clarifies Sinha
The national government has only recommended the lowest and highest rates of sales tax and the states concerned could fix such taxes according to their desire, the finance minister said.

North-south divide in India widening: Padma Vibhushan K N Raj
``We think of large mansions, wasting a lot of money on it, whereas we fail to recognise that even in countries like the USA, more industrial growth was achieved through the small-scale sector," the famous economist said.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 35 points or 0.65% at 5336; Nifty down 9 points or 0.56% to 1594; rupee dips to 43.60 vs US $

January 27-28, 2000

Noble Souls Limited
Bangalore benefits from big businessmen's bounty.

Recast of Coca-Cola India is 'absolutely necessary'
"There is a lot of underutilised and unwanted employment at our bottling plants.We don't have the money to go for high-profile advertising and promos. Soft drink companies have been badly affected in the last one year," a Coke official told

10 pc of Coke staff in India to be hit by global downsizing
"About 80 people working in managerial positions would be affected out of the total strength of 800," said a senior official in Coca-Cola India who asked not to be identified.

Punjab's first commercial winery faces closure due to govt apathy
Golden Agro Winery, a joint venture between an entrepreneur and Punjab's public sector unit, was set up in 1993. Ever since, bureaucratic hurdles hampered its operations.

Five myths about second hand cars
Import of second hand cars would not harm the domestic industry in any way. The resistance to the move only exposes the Indian companies' incompetence, says Pritish Nandy.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex steady at 5371; Nifty up 14 points or 0.88 per cent to 1603; rupee climbs a tad to 43.57 vs US $

January 26, 2000

Pocketful of business
New markets beckon the grass-mats of Tamil Nadu. A Republic Day business feature.

SEBI nods to Internet trading of shares of Indian companies
The market regulator decided that the Internet trading could take place under the existing legal framework through use of order-routing systems.

Indian Airlines, Modern Food privatisation decision draws plaudits
The government has decided to privatise state-run domestic carrier Indian Airlines by divesting 51 per cent of its stake.

Pak economy meanders as the army completes 100 days in power
"Cent per cent credit cannot be extended to Musharraf's government for the improved economic outlook," a Pakistani economist said.

Kerala's rubber growers ignorant of imminent futures trading
There are about a million small and marginal growers who do not know how to play in the futures market. Still the Rubber Board is setting up a futures exchange.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 87 points or 1.59 per cent to 5371; Nifty down 25 points or 1.54 per cent to 1589; rupee makes a smart recovery to 43.58 to US $

January 25, 2000

'Marketing through the Net will become intuitive and thought-driven'
'India will capture the global change in attitude and ideas. India has the potential, technology will be the means, to become truly global. We can take on each American one-to-one and beat them to pulp,' says Seagram Asia-Pacific chairman Ramesh Vangal.

Rupee could slip to 43.80/$ by March
With exporters no longer being able to derive any benefits from the forward premia (high premia are good for exporters), the RBI may feel obliged to compensate them with a weaker rupee.

Reforms boost investments in Andhra's power sector
"The reforms have kindled investor interest. Investors are eager to invest in AP's power sector," said A K Kutty, chairman and managing director, the Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh.

Lottery ban causes socio-economic problem in Kerala
The luck trade in Kerala is a major economic activity providing direct employment to about 300,000 people.

Global spice summit to denounce chemical-fed industry growth
The growing awareness about the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides has brought about a demand on spice growers to adopt organic farming.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex gains 35 points or 0.64 per cent to 5458; Nifty sheds eight points or 0.49 per cent to 1614; rupee slips to all-time closing low of 43.6150 to US $

January 23, 2000

Maruti marketshare drops to 64.7 pc from 81 pc
Some 456,238 cars were sold in India during April-December 1999 as against 291,916 the previous year. Maruti sold 295,357 cars, up 24.5 per cent from 237,268 units a year earlier.

Price and spice: Kerala's cardamom growers blunt Guatemalan attack
Farmers don't want to hike the price because it would bring down the consumption of cardamom. Any price hike would also encourage Guatemalan traders to consider dumping the commodity in India.


Online trading: glad tidings for small investors
Despite the reforms, brokers are still under-capitalised and may be driven out of business by online trading. Retail investors could make the markets vibrant again, says
R C Murthy.


Lease for Luxury
The government paves the way for world-class airports in India: five facilities to be leased out to private parties.

January 22, 2000

Govt paves way for world-class airports in India

Port workers' strike continues on Day Four
Fresh talks between the government and the worker unions are scheduled for Saturday. "We will find a solution by afternoon," Surface Transport Minister Raj Nath Singh said.

Free tech imports, encourage R&D incubators, CII tells Sinha
India needs incubators which are funded by the private sector -- be these companies or funds, the CII said in its pre-budget proposals.


'So why should the common man pay for someone else's theft?'
'If the SEB cannot improve its financial position, slowly there will be no investment available for further expansion and the present system will just not be able to cope. Such states will have darkness!' says P R Kumaramangalam.

'The Infotech Bill isn't controversial; in the cyber area, no law will be perfect'
'Today, the cyber area is getting top priority from the government. You can walk into the Prime Minister's Office and get the officials to address the issues,' says ICICI's CEO and MD
K V Kamath.


Attention chairpersons, CEOs, MDs, top executives: 'cover' yourselves
A company can insure its decision-makers under the Key Man Insurance Policy, says Murali Iyer.


Farewell, MAC
C Subramaniam, T T Vasu and Raju Bharatan salute a titan's memory.

January 21, 2000

Andhra's CEO joins the global biz-bigwig club


'Liberalisation under the controlled coterie of bureaucracy'
"The policy of divestment, conceived by Manmohan Singh, has undergone a miscarriage. Today, it is an absolute plunder of national resources, plunder of our best assets, created by our predecessors," says Gurudas Das Gupta, leader of the CPI in the Rajya Sabha.


M A Chidambaram passes way at 81
MAC, as he was popularly known, was a corporate legend in his own lifetime.

Govt invites striking port workers for talks
Negotiations will resume on Friday though settlement is not a certainty, union leaders said.

Reliance Q3 net up 56 pc to Rs 6.27 billion
For the nine months ended December 31, 1999, RIL's sales of Rs 137.07 billion and net profit of Rs 17.49 billion are the highest in the private sector.

January 20, 2000

''There is a good case to delink divestment from the Budget'
Arun Jaitley: Exclusive Interview on Divestment

'Govt is selling the jewellery to pay the grocer'
"Whatever assets our predecessors have built up are being put on sale, but no new assets are being created. Not a single power station was built; not a school was set up; not a hospital was established; not even a metre of rural road was constructed," says Gurudas Das Gupta, leader of the CPI in the Rajya Sabha.

Port strike continues on Day II
Dock workers continue strike for more pay as government hardens its stance.

Indian fashion industry continues to sway Europe
Major fashion labels source a lot of their work from India, especially the embroidery on their garments and jewellery.


The return of morals to capital market
There is a link between the cut in interest rate of the Public Provident Fund and the 'moral influence factor', says Devangshu Datta.

January 19, 2000

Ports of Pain!
Dock-workers strike for more pay, govt hardens stance

Modern Foods sold, Indian Airlines divestment next
The move to divest government equity in IA is largely driven by the Ministry of Civil Aviation's need to raise an ambitious $1.5 billion to enable IA to purchase 39 new aircraft over five years. The government is also to delink the divestment process from Budget 2000.


Problem of the Plenty: Kerala is flush with money, short of investment avenues
Nearly 80 per cent of the 'Gulf-returned Keralites' do not earn enough to invest in areas like real estate, business and stock markets. They deposit whatever remains of their savings in banks.


e-communications or e-commerce?
The Internet as he knew it is dead, laments Pritish Nandy.

Perils of badla financing
Badla is a complex system that contains many a pitfall for the uninitiated and the unwary, says Murali Iyer.


'The two-wheeler market in India is moving towards motorcycles'
"Nobody -- not even our competition -- saw the shift in preference for motorcycles coming. So the entire industry is suffering," says Rajiv Bajaj, vice-president of scooter major Bajaj Auto.

January 18, 2000

Paradise Lost
Uncertainty engulfs rich Gulf returnees in Kerala

Giving Dubai a leg-up
Nara Chandrababu Naidu offers the emirate AP's expertise in information technology.


'Political stability, huge scientific base, large English-speaking workforce are an advantage for India over China'
'India should use the rhetoric of democracy and transparency on the Western nations to get men of their choice appointed as the heads of the IMF and the World Bank,' says Harvard economist Prof Jeffrey D Sachs.

January 15, 2000

PPF rate cut: low interest regime is not easy to establish, aver bankers
The government is signalling to the banks to cut their deposit and lending rates. But the banks would find it difficult since the market forces would exert opposite pressure, senior bankers said.

Clean and Mean
Auto companies in India are keen to bring out eco-friendly vehicles.

Pepsi may buy Goa bottling unit for Rs 700 million
When Coca-Cola tried to buy out the Goa Bottling Company in 1997, the latter switched its franchisee operations to Pepsi.

Naidu in Dubai, may powwow with select biz group, investors
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister's three-day 'private visit' comes amid talk that the emirate is keen on outsourcing businessmen and information technology professionals from Hyderabad for the Dubai Internet City.

CPI-M's bid to control trade union arm brews discord
''CITU is a CPI-M wing and it has to remain so," a senior party leader said. But the leadership of India's largest trade union network is divided over the issue.

Big law puts rogue companies' small print under microscope
The Companies Amendment Bill 1999 seeks to make the directors of 'vanishing companies' punishable for scams committed by the promoters, says Dilip Thakore.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 26 points (0.47 per cent) to 5471; Nifty down 8 points (0.49 per cent) to 1623; rupee down a tad at 43.53 to US $

January 14, 2000

DaimlerChrysler not to hike stake in Bajaj Tempo
The Bajaj Tempo Matador van will be phased out from March 2000; its replacement would be in the form of upgraded versions of the Tempo Excel.

Hyundai mulls launch of 4 Korean models in India
The EF Sonata (higher luxury), Kia Sportage (sports), Grandeur XG (limousine) and the Starex (multi-utility) are being considered for the Indian market.

Skoda to debut in India with Octavia, not Felicia
The Czech luxury sedan would be priced at Rs 900,000 and positioned between the Mitsubishi Lancer and Mercedes E-class.

Tata unveils plans for Merc-type mid-size car
The Magna will not be positioned against the Maruti Baleno, the Daewoo Cielo or any of the existing luxury cars. Telco will also make a two-seater roadster concept car Aria.

Tale of two expos and a capital
Stall-flaunting automobile companies vie with each other in offering cultural shows for visitors at the Auto Expo 2000 in New Delhi.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 46 points (0.83 per cent) to 5445; Nifty down 13 points (0.80 per cent) to 1631; rupee up a tad at 43.52 to US $

January 13, 2000

Cabinet gives in-principle nod to leasing out 5 airports
Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav refused to divulge the names of the airports.

'India's auto industry will soon see a million new cars a year'
'India is a truly global market reflecting the global trends. Cut in customs duty on second-hand cars won't affect the existing players much,' says Kosuke Yamamoto, executive vice-president, Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan.

Indian, English firms tie up to boost bilateral trade
Vishal Surgical will market Antec International's biosecurity products. The joint venture of Gemini Dataloggers and Giriraj Associates will deal in datalogging equipment involving cold chain technology.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex recovers 173 points (3.25 per cent) to 5491; Nifty recovers 56 points (3.55 per cent) to 1631; rupee down one paisa to 43.51 to US $

January 12, 2000

'We must benchmark ourselves against the best in the world'
'The creation of wealth is very badly needed in India because we need to create more and more jobs. I don't see that happening in the agricultural sector. So we have to move more and more people from agriculture to industry,' says Infosys chairman N R Narayana Murthy.

'There is need for a negotiated settlement of trade issues'
'The British government is firmly opposed to the use of trade sanctions to enforce labour standards. Driving countries into deeper poverty through trade sanctions will not improve their labour standards. It does not make sense,' says Stephen Byers, British secretary of state for trade and industry.

GM unveils major plans for India
This is as part of the company's attempts to broadbase its product range in India to cover the entire strata of the passenger car industry. However, no time-frame has been set for the introduction of the new models.

PSU oil company officers strike work
Officers of the public sector oil companies on Tuesday went on an indefinite strike all over the country protesting against the government's 'apathetic attitude' to their various long-pending demands.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 200 points to 5318; Nifty down 57 points to 1575; rupee down three paise to 43.52 to US $

January 11, 2000


Many are the benefits of open trade, WTO chief tells India, Third World
"Continued opening of the trade regime could translate into even higher growth rates and better jobs. India has shown already its commitment to a stable, liberal, rules-based multilateral trading system," Mike Moore said.

India urges Third World to resist WTO's gameplan
"The WTO can't be allowed to become another world government. We can't allow ourselves to be threatened by sanctions," said Industry Minister Murasoli Maran.

One from the heart: 'I'm not a dictator, I'm not a general, I'm the D-G trying to direct world trade'
Mike Moore reveals what it means leading a disparate group of national governments on issues like trade, social concerns, First World Vs Third World.

Law of Diminishing 'Returns' hits CII summits
Each passing year sees less and less number of participants returning to the annual CII Partnership Summit. This year is no different.


Farmers continue to suffer despite bumper onion crop
Prices have plummeted to below Rs 100 per quintal due to a bumper crop and lack of demand, triggering mass agitations by farmers in Maharashtra. Pakistan's produce enjoys demand in export markets.

Reliance paraxylene plant expands before schedule
RIL has emerged as the third largest producer of PX in the world after BP-Amoco and Exxon-Mobil.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 104 points to 5518; Nifty up 18 points to 1630; rupee up three paise to 43.49 to US $

January 9-10, 2000

DC ready with his own small car
With a build-up cost of Rs 80,000 per unit, the car is likely to sport a price tag of Rs 1.6 lakh, Chhabria said in Bombay.

January 8, 2000

'India is unstoppable in the new millennium'
Osamu Suzuki, president and CEO, Suzuki Motors, and chairman, Maruti Udyog, unveils his Vision 2000. "India has a vibrant democracy, a high number of technically educated people, an industrial base that is ready to take off, a strategic location. It is poised to take on the world. I recommend it with pride to all global companies."

Arunachal to get world's biggest power project
The $ 200 billion project is expected to generate 21,000 MW from 2008. But the north-east suffers from a shortage of transmission lines and excess electricity generation.

A case for foreign direct investment in agri sector
"The government must look at patents and gene technology more positively. Genetically modified organisms could not only raise yields further but help in reducing consumption of pesticides and other chemicals," says Gurnam Arora.

Andhra is the destination for investors, Naidu tells US team
The AP chief minister projected the information technology, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors as gold mines for American companies and NRIs.

Goa's tobacco lobby gets a breather as govt dithers on ban
"Who gets disturbed if you smoke in open? My government is practical and not theoretical. We'll streamline the Goa Prohibition of Smoking & Spitting Act with a rational approach," Chief Minister Francisco Sardinha said.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex sheds seven points (0.12 per cent) to 5414; NSE slips by four points (0.24 per cent) to 1612; rupee steady at 43.52 to US $

January 7, 2000

President stamps assent on insurance, forex bills
These bills will now be known as the respective Acts (laws).

Europe's Technical Barriers to Trade scare Indian farm exporters
TBTs like environment concerns and production methods are amongst the most common non-tariff barriers that developed countries use to keep imports from developing countries out.

Maruti raises prices as cars get Euro-fit
New tax slabs at 12 per cent and introduction of multi-point fuel injection engines have caused the price-hikes.

Four forces and an axis that ripped WTO asunder
American youth who unleashed themselves in Seattle, hate the materialism which is conspiring to make everyone slaves of a Web site non-civilisation. International monopoly capital has received a setback. But the MNCs and the governments they support will regroup themselves in a few months, says Ashok Mitra.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex recovers 64 points (1.19 per cent) to 5421; NSE gains 17 points (1.06 per cent) to 1616; rupee steady at 43.52 to US $

January 6, 2000

'A business should be run only by professionals'
'If six out of ten billionaires in India are first-generation entrepreneurs, it doesn't mean that others are doing badly. It could simply be that the market is not giving high valuations to non-pharma, non-IT and non-consumer goods companies,' says Vijay Sankar, heir to the Chemplast Sanmar fortune.

British insurers to commence operations in India in 2001
British entrepreneurs are bullish on India, and are targeting agro, food processing and environment technology industries. They are also keen on assisting India in the privatisation process of the public sector.

Kerala's print publications launch ad-war, vie for market-share, mindspace
In a seemingly endless campaign to woo more readers and advertisers, newspapers and magazines are trying to belittle each other, much to the amusement of the readers and advertisers.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex sheds 134 points (2.44 per cent) to 5357; NSE loses 42 points (2.55 per cent) to 1599; rupee steady at 43.52 to US $

January 5, 2000

Fiscal deficit is the issue in pre-budget parleys
Economists fear that there could be price hikes that would hurt the common man. The price of liquified petroleum gas is likely to be raised by 33 per cent while kerosene prices might go up by 15-20 per cent.

Anti-tobacco law remains on paper in Goa
"We delayed notifying the smoking prohibition act a bit because thousands of tourists are still in the state but not aware of the provisions of the Act," officials said. Others said the tobacco industry is lobbying against the law.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex climbs 116 points (2.15 per cent) to all-time high of 5491; NSE spurts 49 points (3.07 per cent) to all-time high of 1641; rupee dips three paise to 43.52 to US $

January 4, 2000

'LIC will be more than a match for competitors'
''We've 650,000 agents and 125,000 employees. Yet, we are able to cover only about 110 million out of the 350 million insurable population. The untapped field is huge, offering scope to competitors.... Privatisation of insurance will generate more funds for the government," says LIC chairman G Krishnamurthy.

Bulls welcome Y2K with a sensational rally
The New Millennium's opening sessions at India's stock markets were marked by feverish buying. All the major indices touched all-time highs. The BSE Sensex closed at 5375, the S&P CNX Nifty at 1592.

Transport strike unsettles India's commercial capital
As 225,000 taxis and goods vehicles went off-road in protest against air pollution control measures, Bombay made alternative arrangements for supply of essentials.

The BSE Sensex closed at 5375, the S&P CNX Nifty at 1592. The rupee ended at 43.49 to US $

January 2, 2000

RBI puts Y2K-OK seal on banks, FIs; BSE, NSE mock trades smooth
All the computer systems, payment details and accounts of government departments, banks and financial institutions have been tested at the central bank offices and found to be Y2K-compliant.

January 1, 2000

EC seeks India's help to bolster WTO
European Commission's efforts will involve a shuttle diplomacy to various capitals to see whether a consensus can be found to relaunch the Seattle process.


Auto/The most dynamic industry in 1999
Passenger car, mobike segments drive the upbeat market
India now has installed capacity for 1.25 million units while the demand is for 0.65 million vehicles. Yet, new models are being planned for the New Year.

Stocks/The most monitored market in 1999
Bulls greet Y2K, catapult Sensex beyond 5K
On January 1, the BSE Sensex ended at 3060.34 points. On December 30, it ended at 5005.80, up 1945.40 points or 63.56 per cent.

Banking/The most criticised sector in 1999
From making choices to second generation reforms
When the government announced that it would change the laws to enable bank privatisation, there was not much opposition from the unions.

Economy/The most appreciated subject in 1999
Entering the new millennium in comfort
A low level of inflation, reasonably good foreign exchange reserves, a stable rupee exchange rate, a downward trend in interest rates and satisfactory liquidity in the system buoyed the sentiment through the year.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex gains 65 points, rises to 5005; Nifty up 3 points to 1480; rupee gains a tad to Rs 43.50 to US $

December 16-31, 1999