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BUDGET 1999-2000

March 31, 2000
Murasoli Maran's Tightrope
Exim Policy talk keeps exporters, importers guessing.

Banking reforms panel moots stronger debt recovery tribunals
The Andhyarujina Committee has also said this is the time to take a close look at the concept of securitisation.

Controversy erupts over Goa's new airport
The central government gave its nod yesterday for an 'international' airport in Goa. But political parties are debating the decision to build the airport at Mopa.


'India not to cut petro-product prices'
Union petroleum minister Ram Naik said that though India stands to benefit from the hike in crude oil production by OPEC, the rates of petroleum products will not be pared for now.

Power, soft drinks dearer in Rajasthan
The state has decided to focus on financial discipline and fiscal consolidation along with growth, and plans to mobilise additional resources through new tax proposals.

Punjab Assembly adopts Appropriation Bill
The bill was accepted after a voice vote after finance minister Kanwaljit Singh replied to a day-long discussion on budgetary demands.

India joins select club of high-tech flexible, rechargeable-battery producers
US-based Telcordia and Twenty-First Century Battery have inked a deal for tech-transfer to make batteries that will revolutionise powering of cellular phones, laptops and satellites.

March 30, 2000
'There are more advantages in India than in China'
Australian media magnate Kerry Packer says that India has an enviable talent-pool, and this sets it apart from other Asian nations. He also holds forth on the future of IT and print sectors in an exclusive interview.

Cabinet nods to Goa's 'international' airport
The proposed project will come up at Mopa on build-own-operate-transfer basis. Selection of the private party will be made through a global tendering process.


Silicon Triangle holds great prospects for India
'It is estimated that India will have 9 million Internet users and 400 ISPs by 2003. Indian e-business revenues will reach $ 162 million in 2001. Within India, Tamil Nadu is likely to surge ahead of both Karnataka and Andhra,' say Nirupam Bajpai and Navi Radjou of the Harvard University.

5 govt stalwarts produce 'pedestrian' report on oil and petroleum
Industry has flashed a thumbs-down to the effort of Yashwant Sinha, Ram Naik, Jaswant Singh, K C Pant and N K Singh. The report has no concrete recommendations, no specifics, it charged.

Tata Engineering declares lock-out in Lucknow after violence, police firing
Workers are demanding higher wages on par with those at TELCO's other units. The incident may prove a setback to Uttar Pradesh's industrialisation campaign.

Goa spares cashew, taxes liquor
Goa has proposed new taxes and seeks to generate revenue from various areas to help tide over the state's financial problems.

March 29, 2000
Housing sector breathes free as interest rates are pared
The budget proposals have breathed new life into the housing industry. It is now on way to revival with a cut in housing finance interest rates, tax incentives against loans, and a change in the buyers' perception.

Banks must curb bad loans, take wilful defaulters to task, thunders Sinha
India's finance minister said that his ministry is working towards reduction in the corporate tax structure, import duty, and non-planned expenditure to achieve an annual growth rate of 7 to 8 per. He also frowned upon banks' laxity with regard to NPAs.

'Globalisation will destroy India!'
'Do you want India to be ruled by greedy, power-hungry corporates? Or would you rather be ruled by your own people, whatever their failings may be? That is the choice before India,' Edward Goldsmith, environmentalist and editor of the Ecologist, tells Pritish Nandy.

Cochin International Airport to levy user's fee of Rs 500 per passenger
The CIACL move comes in the wake of the PricewaterhouseCoopers' recommendations. However, passengers and travel agents are likely to oppose the proposed charge.

Auto sales pick up pace in February
The automotive sector is looking up across all vehicle categories, with car sales rising to 436,239 units in February alone this year.

IT industry biggest gainer from Clinton's visit to India
During the US President's visit, deals worth over $ 4.4 billion were signed between Indian and US firms, but a majority of the in-principle accords were amongst IT companies.

March 28, 2000
'Clinton wears our T-shirts. We rule the export market. Nothing can stop us from succeeding in India now'

Kerry Packer teams up with Vinay Maloo, Ketan Parekh for venture fund
Australia's richest man unveiled the $ 250-million fund for infotech and biotech start-ups, with contributions from Himachal Futuristic's MD and India's most celebrated stockbroker.

Liquor, not IT, saves Andhra the blushes
Hyderabad may have emerged as a top infotech centre in India, but it has been the revenue from liquor sales -- and not IT -- that has helped the state tide over its financial problems.

Kerosene, LPG price-hikes: Congress to continue protests
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said his party will fight until the price-hikes are withdrawn.


'Rapid Info on Stocks and Corporates': new offering of BSE-Dun & Bradstreet India
Launching the companies-centric feature for rediff readers. Check out the latest developments across Corporate India.


Govt mulls new airports in bigger cities
India's civil aviation minister Sharad Yadav says that these airports will be big enough to handle 50-seater aircraft and will be built along the lines of those at Kochi and Devanahalli.

New taxes proposed in Karnataka budget
The state chief minister S M Krishna has simultaneously announced a slew of schemes to benefit the rural poor, as also a 5-year tax stability for knowledge industry.

Ford not to launch Land Rover in India
The US car major feels that India is a very price sensitive market and introducing this premium brand here would not make much business sense.

DaimlerChrysler buys stake in Mitsubishi
The German giant acquired a 34 per cent stake in the Japanese company, becoming the third-largest car-maker in the world and gaining a significant toe-hold in Asia.

March 26 - 27 2000
BSE in expansion mode; Net-based trading in three months
The Bombay Stock Exchange would expand its trading network BOLT to 2000 centres. A separate section within the BSE for commodities trade is also on the anvil.

Devanahalli near Bangalore gets international airport status
The existing Hindustan Aeronautics airport would be accorded international status until the construction of the new airport in Bangalore is completed.

March 25, 2000
Vision for the New Economy
Clinton's Theory of Infotech Haves and Have-nots

The Prez dazzles corporate chiefs
The big-wigs of the Indian industry were suitably impressed with the US President's words, which though 'on expected lines still gave indications of better things come.

CEOs grapple to shake Clinton's hand
Industry chieftains could not let go of this opportunity and, behaving like their political cousins, jostled with each other to greet the US President in a poorly organised function.


'Business houses in and outside US will look more seriously at India'
'The old economy is over -- it is the Internet, the cyberspace that is the future. Other knowledge-based industries like pharma and biotech will also see India leading the world,' says A J Patel, chairman, Odyssey Enterprises Inc, and a member of the Clinton entourage.


'No rollback in LPG, kerosene price hike'
The Bharatiya Janata Party said that laden with a crippling debt burden and a continuously rising oil pool deficit, it was impossible for the government to cut back the hike in prices.

Kuoni acquires Sita Travels, eyes more buy-outs
The Swiss travel major has bought out the Indian operator, creating the largest travel agency in India. It is also planning an initial public offering in October, 2000.

Tamil Nadu unveils people-friendly budget
While no new taxes have been proposed in the Tamil Nadu budget for the fiscal 2000-2001, sops to various sections of the society have been offered.

March 24, 2000

Prez with Biz sense
The US-based Sunil Puri, CEO, First Rockford Company, on why India commands Bill Clinton's attention. Puri is a member of the US president's entourage.

India liberalises acquisition norms
The Indian government has eased the norms for overseas buy-outs by IT, pharma and other knowledge-based companies to acquire business up to $ 100 million.

Five airports up for grabs, says Sinha; 'India will be out of fiscal mess'
'The government is enacting a Fiscal Responsibility Act to help India permanently move out of the fiscal deficit problem,' the finance minister told US Commerce Secretary Bill Daley.


Indo-US pacts during the visit touch $2 billion
'These agreements are win-win for India and the United States,' Daley said.

India, US finalise terms for trade talks
After signing the pact, US commerce secretary William Daley felt India is serious business. He said that trade and investments between India and the US are not just state issues and must be seen in the light of public-private sector initiative.

CII, USEA plan trade, environment groups
The USEA and the CII today signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a Green Business Centre, which will be opened by US President Bill Clinton on March 24.

Prez to powwow with India's young entrepreneurs at 'heritage cafe'
Bombay's Cafe Royal has been chosen as the venue for the much-hyped meet featuring Clinton and a select, not-yet-identified group.


Recast of divestment panel ruled out
The next phase of the sell-off of public sector units will begin next month, said divestment minister Arun Jaitley while ruling out reconstitution of the Disinvestment Commission.

Panel moots 100% FDI in refining sector
The committee, headed by India's finance minister Yashwant Sinha, has also recommended complete restructuring of public sector oil companies within three to five years.

Maharashtra budget proposes more taxes
The Indian state's budget has levied a slew of taxes but does not spell out any major steps to contain the ballooning fiscal deficit.

European firm warns Indian manufacturers
H&M, the garments retailer, says that it will withdraw imports from India if code of conduct related to workers' wages, employees' health and safety, overtime compensation, and child labour is not followed.

March 23, 2000

Fight of the titans
Global and domestic automobile giants clash to increase their share in the Indian market.

Clinton urges better Indo-US economic ties
The US President says the two nations will make major benefits from strong ties, especially in the cutting edge fields of information technology, biotechnology and clean energy. He was hopeful that the US and India will work together to launch a new global round that will promote economic development for all.

BSE waits for Clinton eagerly
The FICCI has decided upon India's premier bourse as the venue of the meeting with the US President, where he will address industrialists.

Panel to mull raising FDI limit in tea plantations
The tea industry's request for a hike in FDI limit to 74 per cent will be taken up, although the issue of foreign ownership of land in India is yet to be resolved.

Maharashtra state's economy seen growing by 7.1 per cent
The Economic Survey presented to the Indian state's legislature paints a rosy picture, projecting all round growth in all sectors.

Tatra puts off tractor-trailor launch in India
The Czech truck-maker has decided to improve its service set-up before it goes on to introduce its vehicles sometime at the end of this year.

India reigns supreme over the world of spices
India's position as the biggest producer and exporter of spices would remain unchallenged for the next decade, says Spices Board chairman V Jayashankar.


Meet the richest Indian in France
March 22, 2000

'But for the regulatory mechanisms, India is quite conducive for investments'
"The US realises it'll require Indian expertise in the knowledge-based industries to fuel its economic growth. The timing of Clinton's visit is significant. The point is not for how much longer he is going to be in office, but that the beginning has been made at the right time," says Kailash Joshi of The Indus Entrepreneurs, who is part of Clinton's entourage to India.

Big US business fails to make appearance
But the apex industry chambers in the country are still very optimistic of the outcome of the events they have planned.

General Motors to launch Vectra in India
The world's largest car-maker will roll out its luxury saloon Opel Vectra in India this year. The car is likely to be priced between Rs 1.4-1.6 million.

Delphi plans software centre in India
A large pool of exceptional talent has enthused passenger car component major Delphi Automotive Systems to consider expansion of operations in India.

Goa proposes entry tax
The Sardinha government in Goa plans to impose entry tax to mobilise funds to improve the state's fiscal health.

Ease rules for residents holding assets abroad, says Tarapore
The former deputy governor of the RBI said the total ban on holding capital assets abroad is a punitive control which infringes on personal liberty.

March 20-21, 2000

Big US business fails to make appearance
But the apex industry chambers in the country are still very optimistic of the outcome of the events they have planned.

March 19, 2000

Playing Santa
India Inc hopes US President Bill Clinton's visit will help boost bilateral trade.

Clinton's visit seen as a precursor to lifting of sanctions
US ambassador to India Richard Celeste hinted at the possibility in New Delhi.


'Subsidy for rich pared to help the poor'
India's consumer affairs minister Shanta Kumar claims that cutting subsidy for 20 million tax-payers would help the 330 million people living below the poverty line.

Karnataka CM urges Toyota to expand Indian operations
'With the demand for Qualis rising in India, it is time for the Japanese car major to expedite the second phase of construction at its Bidadi plant.'

Sinha says govt is ready to tackle NPAs in public sector banks
Finance minister Yashwant Sinha says that non-performing assets in banks are not a result of liberalisation and can be tackled easily. He also ruled out public sector banks' privatisation.

March 17, 2000

Enter: Entrepreneurs!
Cyberabad's Net crowd is in a rush to avail Budget benefits

Sinha to consider NDA allies' demands
The finance minister said the sentiments of the coalition partners and Opposition for a rollback of PDS and fertiliser prices "will be kept in mind".

Millennium Maharajas
Corporates ranging from blue chip MNCs to dot-com start-ups vie for tomorrow's managers at India's premier management institutes.

Govt faces flak over proposed 'sell-off' of SAIL plants
The Opposition and NDA allies say that the government is resorting to wholesale sell-out of public sector steel plants under the garb of privatisation.

Vajpayee concerned over rising unemployment
The prime minister said that only economic development would generate new jobs. He felt that government offices need new work culture.

T-Series mulls joint venture with Warner EMI Music
The new company will introduce international rock bands under the T-Series brand in India.

March 16, 2000

Millennium Maharajas
Corporates vie for tomorrow's managers at India's business schools. On offer: jobs with dream dollar salaries.

Tax proposals won't be rolled back: Sinha
The finance minister chided the industry leaders for demanding rollbacks of export earning tax and dividend tax while preaching political parties to accept food and fertiliser subsidies cut.

Murdoch keen to spread distance education in India
The News Corporation supremo explained the advantages of direct-to-home transmissions to Arun Jaitley, India's minister for broadcasting. Murdoch's STAR TV Network has had plans to launch DTH operations in India.

Konka to 'change Indian mindset' on colour TV usage at homes
The Chinese company is confident that in three years, it will convince India's upper middle class to buy 29-inch TVs for the sitting room and 21-inch sets for other rooms. "India then will be the second largest market after China," an official said.

Delhi govt to ban registration of private diesel vehicles
It is also planning to extend by two years the deadline for converting all taxis and public transport buses to compressed natural gas or CNG-driven vehicles.

OTC, NSE would emerge as premier exchanges, says UTI chief
"There are several companies likely to tap the market through the venture capital route and the Over The Counter Exchange of India would be the perfect platform for them," said P S Subramanyam, who is also its chairman.

ICICI, India's best-known and largest financial institution, reinvents itself for the new economy.

Congress to bring cut motion on subsidy issue
"Even a couple who are fourth grade employees are above the poverty line. But, in real terms, they are not rich. In my opinion, food subsidy should be given to them also," said A K Antony, former food minister.

March 15, 2000

ICICI, India's best-known financial powerhouse, reinvents itself for the new 'e'conomy.

Kerala flays Sinha, allocates Rs 390 million for food subsidy in its Budget
Kerala's finance minister Sivadasa Menon has said the Union Budget is lopsided and puts states at a disadvantage. "Hardly any sector had been given a boost. There is a 'regressive movement' towards a tax regime that preserves and protects the interests of a small fraction of the population that owns 80 per cent of the total wealth of the country."

'Rapid Info on Stocks and Corporates': new offering of BSE-Dun & Bradstreet India
Launching the companies-centric feature for rediff readers. Check out the latest developments across Corporate India.

March 14, 2000

Biz-hungry AP awaits Clinton
Naidu steps up efforts for a fruitful visit

What can we expect from Clinton?
The US President's visit may improve India's image and help American policy-makers get a better idea of India as a potential market, says Sucheta Dalal.

Plan panel targets 8.2% industrial growth rate in Ninth Plan period
The panel's targets cover only 75 selected industries and not overall industrial growth, Industry Minister Murasoli Maran told the Rajya Sabha.

'Rapid Info on Stocks and Corporates': new offering of BSE-Dun & Bradstreet India
Launching the companies-centric feature for rediff readers. Check out the latest developments across Corporate India.

Apex court asks govt to outline stance on biodiversity in four weeks
The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology has filed a petition alleging that the government is merely giving assurances without really doing anything substantial to protect the rich biodiversity of the country.

Demolishing the poor, sparing the rich
'Yashwant Sinha should have left food subsidies untouched and focused on aggressive privatisation, downsizing of public sector units and desubsidisation of higher education,' says Dilip Thakore.

March 13, 2000

Murdoch meets Narayanamurthy and Premji
A spokesman for Murdoch said that the media baron had his breakfast meeting at Infosys and he spent an hour at the company headquarters.

Lakshmi Mittal is richest Asian in Britain
Steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, worth # 2.2 million, has ousted the Hinduja brothers and moved back into the top slot.

March 11-12, 2000
Finance Secretary forecasts 8% GDP growth next fiscal
ASSOCHAM has expressed concern over the cascading effect of the increase in the tax on dividends. Piyush Mankad said he would have the issue examined closely and take corrective action if necessary.

Finance Secretary forecasts 8% GDP growth in next fiscal
ASSOCHAM has expressed concern over the cascading effect of the increase in the tax on dividends. Piyush Mankad said he would have the issue examined closely and take corrective action if necessary.

Delhi-weary Kerala to go ahead with Thiruvananthapuram airport project
An airport development society will be set up on the lines of those in Kochi and Kozhikode. The new terminal is estimated to cost Rs 900 million and the 70-acre plot Rs 400 million.

'Rapid Info on Stocks and Corporates': new offering of BSE-Dun & Bradstreet India
Launching the company-focused feature for rediff readers. Check out the latest developments at Aventis Cropscience formerly AgrEvo, TV18, Sony Entertainment Television and Bata India.

Private sector is no angel, so govt has business to be in business
'Through liberalisation and privatisation in the early '90s, the Russian economy had all but collapsed. The great Russian people have transformed themselves into a nation of blackmarketers and pimps. The privatisation process in India could have even worse consequences,' says Ashok Mitra.

March 10, 2000
Click here to access the edition of March 9, 2000

March 08, 2000
Back in form
Stunning deals and lightning moves pitchfork the Tatas back into corporate limelight.

Kerry Packer spreads his wings over India, buys 10 pc of Himachal Futuristic
HFCL is also setting up two joint ventures with the Australian media tycoon's Consolidated Press Holdings, marking its foray into information technology and e-commerce businesses.

BSE, NSE and Forex:Sensex soars 66 points or 1.19 per cent to 5588; Nifty up 19 points or 1.12 per cent to 1708; rupee steady at 43.57 to US $

March 07, 2000
Thoughts for Food
Agri experts decry India's silence on WTO issues

Sinha rules out rollback of subsidies
"I consider it extremely unlikely," the finance minister said in a television interview. Cuts in subsidies, he said, was a well-considered opinion.

SEBI chief urges 'experts' to see the human angle in Budget
Economists and financial whizkids are insensitive towards critical issues such as population control and job creation, D R Mehta said. "We can't remove food subsidies when a majority of our population is below the poverty line. The 50-year old legacy of subsidising agriculture sector can not be wiped out overnight."

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex soars 144 points or 2.67 per cent to 5522; Nifty up 22 points or 1.31 per cent to 1689; rupee steady at 43.57 to US $

March 05, 2000
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March 04, 2000
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March 03, 2000
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March 02, 2000
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March 01, 2000
Click here to access the Budget edition of February 29, 2000 Archives