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BUDGET 1999-2000

May 31, 2000

Enhancing wealth
Financial houses' services enrich high net worth individuals.

Rupee sinks to all-time closing low of Rs 44.56 per $: Reuters
Dealers said steady month-end dollar-demand from corporates and importers pressured the Indian currency which was in short supply.

Venture capitalists flock to Bangalore as dot-com firms boom: AFP
Every day each fund manager is approached by three or four aspiring IT companies and individuals who hope to set up new projects in India's IT capital, analysts said.

Microsoft break-up issue is a 'setback' for NRIs and investors in the new horizon
'The onrush of economic legislation choking the Indian parliament indicates that life is not worth living unless we do the bidding of the US, the superpower in love with the free-market philosophy,' says Ashok Mitra.


Ratan Tata hints at Telco forging global tie-ups: Reuters
Tata Engineering is in talks with German-US auto giant DaimlerChrysler for product-swaps.

Maruti to borrow Rs 3 billion, profitability may be hit
'The increased capital investment through borrowings may impact Maruti's bottomline. However, its coverage indicators would remain strong due to low leveraging,' said credit rating agency ICRA.

Emirates denies plans to buy Air-India pie
'We have no interest in Air-India. We can't buy the whole world,' Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum said.

SEBI yet to decide on circuit breakers: Reuters
'A panel has been set up to discuss the derivatives markets, but no decision has been taken on scrapping circuit filters for Sensex, Nifty,' SEBI chairman D R Mehta said.

Economic reforms to continue, says Sinha
'The days of populist moves are over. The government will not hesitate to take unpopular decisions if they benefit India,' Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said.

Leftists demand FM's resignation
The Communist Party of India-Marxist said that the finance minister's move to let off Mauritius-based funds was to 'help his daughter-in-law', and demanded the withdrawal of the double taxation avoidance treaty with Mauritius.

Another victory for animal rights group against Indian leather trade: AFP
Now American and European retailers like J Crew, Liz Claiborne, Clarks, Fiorucci and Florsheim will also stop using leather from animals killed in India and China.

Rs 390-million Japanese aid for polio campaign in India
The grant will be for vaccines and meeting expenses for the polio immunisation campaign.

May 30, 2000

Most Wanted
Germany, Japan vie with the US for Indian 'infotechies'

Re firms up to 44.29/$ at close: Reuters
The Indian currency strengthened smartly from lows of 44.48 in late afternoon to close at 44.29 per dollar. 'There were no big corporates out to buy today,' dealers said.


Palmolein futures likely in June: Reuters
"There has been some delay due to changes in our by-laws and some incomplete infrastructure work," Bombay Oilseeds & Oils Exchange president Navinchandra Shah said.

Soy bourse gets govt permission to trade in mustard: Reuters
'The DCA has given us the nod for futures trading in rapeseed/mustard for five years from June 1, 2000,' Kailash Shahra, chairman, Soybean Processors Association of India, said.

Indian rapeseed farmers hold back stocks: Reuters
With rapeseed prices having dropped sharply, farmers are awaiting a government decision for a hike in customs duty which may bolster prices.


Red carpet to MNCs, foreign investors fails to bring inflows
'As against the proposed outlay of about Rs 8,000 billion under India's 8th Five-Year Plan, the actual FDI inflow from 1992 to 1996 was only Rs 206 billion,' a research report said.

May 28, 2000

Infosys unveils plans to globalise operations
The board will have 18 directors. The company would go in for strategic overseas acquisitions. The FII holding may go up from 30 to 40 per cent.

Ad wars of cola corporates to enliven Asia Cup in B'desh
Pepsi and Coca-Cola said the tournament will be a boon for Bangladeshi drinkers who will be inundated with a variety of gifts.

May 27, 2000

'Unlike families, professionals run businesses better'

Sunil Arora is interim, part-time chief of Indian Airlines
He is a joint secretary in the civil aviation ministry and a 1980 batch IAS officer from the Rajasthan cadre.


India seeks US aid to boost IT sector
IT Minister Pramod Mahajan also met NRIs in the US and asked them to comment on the changes they could like in the telecom sector to help India's IT revolution take off.

'Indian khadi for Gulf markets soon'
'The world is looking at India for IT and SSI projects, which are big employment-generators. A new policy on SSIs will be ready in 18 months,' Vasundhara Raje, Minister for Small-Scale Industries said.

Child labour in Moradabad's brass industry declines
With residents and civic administration working in tandem to fight the social evil, fewer kids are employed in this industry. This has also boosted the literacy rate in the region, a survey revealed.


The return of the British company
'India, especially south India, holds matchless charm for British companies. More funds will come to this region if there is a good investment climate.' High Commissioner Sir Rob Young on doing business with India.

May 26, 2000

'I expect to see exponential growth in India's Internet economy': Craig Barrett


High inflation, dipping foreign fund inflows maul rupee
Late intervention by the RBI rescued the rupee from 44.78 levels. Analysts said the Indian currency may test 45.00 levels. Owing to the US rate-hike, FIIs are moving out funds to the US marts, pressuring the rupee, they said.
Rupee closes at record low of 44.29/$
Analysis: Will history repeat itself?
Re's fall unlikely to worry foreign funds


'IT Bill is a great work of cyber-art'
'The Information Technology Bill will boost e-commerce and increase Internet-usage in India, but it will need balanced implementation,' says Dewang Mehta.


'What oil is to Middle East, IT is to India'
'It's a good time to buy software stocks. Indian IT firms will grow much bigger. Soon NASDAQ will follow our bourses,' Unit Trust of India chairman P S Subramanyam tells Pritish Nandy.


Recovery will not accelerate this year
'An immediate rally will only come about if the government's signals are good or there's more cash available,' says Devangshu Datta.


Petition filed against FM's decision on Mauritius-based funds
The petitioners have alleged that Sinha's move may cost India Rs 30 billion. They have urged a probe into how much did Mauritius-based India Fund benefit by this step. Sinha's daughter-in-law is a portfolio manager at India Fund.

IDF vows aid for India's poverty-cut plan
The India Development Forum also said that India must rein in the fiscal deficit, pare subsidies, and control establishment costs.

'Service sector more vital than industry for Uttarakhand'
'The hilly region of Uttarakhand is an impediment to industry-based growth. The only sources of employment are knowledge-based enterprises and the service sector,' said an expert.

Fisherfolk revolt against proposed mega port
A probe panel on environment and human rights said that the Maroli-Umbergaon port may lead to thousands of fishermen being displaced or losing their means of livelihood.

CBI chargesheets 5 FCI officials
The investigating agency has rapped the food officials for criminal conspiracy in siphoning off PDS grains meant for Sikkim.

May 25, 2000

Goa scripts plan to attract tourists during monsoons


Giant who gave Godrej its global presence
B K Karanjia salutes Sohrab Pirojsha Godrej.


'Appointments policy for financial institutions needed'
"Irrespective of his seniority, the best man must get the top job at an important institution, and he should be granted a two-year tenure at least," says T V R Shenoy.


Congress in a dilemma over shift in its economic policy
Party leaders denied knowledge of any economic review panel being set up, but said that the Congress is divided over whether to endorse former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh's economic polices or to go for a pro-poor image.

Maruti suffers sales setback, pares production of MUVs in April
Overall car sales in the automobile industry grew by 27.25% to 53,499 units in April 2000. A total of 42,042 cars were sold in April 1999.

May 24, 2000

Market research firm predicts colour television market's doom

Pramod Mahajan meets US IT majors
India's IT minister said that his government was committed to carrying information technology to the masses in order to fully exploit the potential in the new economy sectors.



India's gold demand up 1% in Q1
A higher GDP forecast, overall industrial growth and anticipation of a good monsoon are cited by a World Gold Council report as factors that will boost demand for gold.

Consolidation seen in auto-component sector
There trend of mergers, acquisitions and alliances in the automotive components market is expected to intensify soon, said an ICRA study.

Mesco group chief held in fraud case
Besides availing loans by submitting fake documents, Mideast India Limited had cheated United India Insurance Company to the tune of Rs 120 million, the Central Bureau of Investigation said.


Competition panel moots govt nod for mega mergers
The committee on competition policy has also suggested that the MRTPC be replaced by the Competition Commission, all public sector enterprises be privatised, and a competition law be enacted.

Presidential nod for 13 legislations
The bills which still await presidential assent are the IT Bill, two Constitutional amendments, Designs Bill, the National Housing (Amendment) Bill, and the bills relating to salaries of MPs.

May 22, 2000

Greenpeace drops anchor in India, serves notice to industry

NASDAQ blues spread to Indian market: Sensex closes under 4k
Inactive funds and Wall Street's dive affected the market sentiment; Sensex was down 3.6 per cent from Friday's close, S&P CNX Nifty ended down 2.7 per cent. NSE revamps Nifty.

West Bengal to set up hi-tech habitat in Durgapur
The IT habitat will be established in collaboration with computer major IBM. State Chief Minister Jyoti Basu will meet IBM officials on May 24 to finalise the project.


Internal crisis may spell doom for India's tea auctions
"The Tea Board directive will slash the number of buyers and lead to auctions being abolished," said industry players.

May 21, 2000

Archies plans Web site, e-commerce foray to counter e-greetings threat

Panel to submit draft Competition Bill on Monday
'The bill provides for prevention of business activities that may restrict or distort competition,' said Ram Jethmalani, Union Law Minister.

It's here! Tech to monitor cyber-surfers' activities developed
Insight, a system developed by UK-based Acnielsons E-ratings, tracks every click made by users to gather information that is relayed back to its control centre in California via the Net.


India to make tea auctions Web-compatible
"If we are not e-commerce friendly, we might as well forget tea trade," said Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Commerce.

Foreign funds' absence hits markets
Most players feel that the worst seems to be over for the Indian bourses, but nobody is willing to take any bets.

PSUs demand clearer sell-off policy
"The Standing Conference of Public Enterprises is not against divestment, but this should be planned and in conjunction with restructuring," said Uddesh Kohli, SCOPE chairman.

Govt readying Telecom Policy
The amended TRAI Act confers full powers upon the regulator and any company hoping to reap the benefits of convergence would have to 'disciplined', said Dhanendra Kumar, additional secretary, Ministry of Communications.

Govt apathy uproots Orissa artisans
Lack of support and incapacity of Orissa's state-run units to clear long-pending dues have forced despairing craftsmen to migrate to other states in search of a living.

May 20, 2000

Karnataka's Krishna all set to allure global, domestic investors


'No going back on divestment drive'
Despite unfavourable market conditions and opposition from political groups and unions, the government will go ahead with its sell-off plan for public sector units, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said. "We need more bulls. Sensex will touch 6,000 again."

'Goa's voluntary retirement scheme can pull it out of fiscal quagmire'
Though the initial outlay for the scheme will outweigh the salaries, Goa will gain in the long run due to shedding of flab, said Rajib Sen, joint secretary in the state finance ministry.


Car majors speed into used-car arena
Maruti, Ford and General Motors offer brand name, credibility and even car finance to the consumer in India's used-car mart. But, dealers and brokers in the unorganised sector are unruffled.

Changes in indices, market swings and all that
Is there more to the market's seemingly knee-jerk reaction to the changes in India Index of Morgan Stanley Capital International than meets the eye, wonders Hiten Jhaveri.


Gains for government will be immense
'If one analyses the Information Technology Bill with a bias towards discovering the possible profit motives of the government and the people who run it, it appears to be an effective document,' says Devangshu Datta.

May 19, 2000

25 power projects fail to materialise in Karnataka
Many of the so-called power developers managed to use the papers of agreement with the state government for raising huge bank loans, an official said.

Reliance, Malaysia's Petronas likely to set up LNG plant in Iran
The two companies and Iran's NIOC will each hold 25 per cent equity in the $3.5 billion project. The fourth partner is yet to be decided, Indian industry officials said.


'A billion? So? Population is not a problem,' says Amartya Sen
'Over the last 24 years, global food price has come down by 50 per cent. Only in India, we have not witnessed this downslide in the food prices,' the Nobel laureate told school students in Calcutta.

May 18, 2000

Krishna steps up effort to get international airport for Bangalore

Indian Parliament clears IT Bill
"It will facilitate amendments to the Indian Penal Code and the Reserve Bank of India Act," said Information Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan after the Upper House of Parliament too approved it.

TISCO net profit up 59% at Rs 4.99 billion
Tata Iron & Steel Company's turnover for the fiscal 1999-2000 was up 9.82% at Rs 68.90 billion.


Germany ready to grant green card status to Indian IT specialists
"Germany sees India as a big investment destination and efforts are on to reinforce trade ties," said German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who is leading a high-level business delegation to India.

Indo-Japan panel meet to forge IT pacts
The meeting assumes significance as Japan recently said it will grant work visas to over 10,000 software engineers from India.


Govt mulls dual citizenship for Persons of Indian Origin
The problem of high fees for issuance of PIO cards will also be addressed, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said.

CSE's May 12 online snag puts Net-based trading under scrutiny
"The Calcutta Stock Exchange has been using age-old software. If you can't keep pace with the changing times, you should do away with online transactions," an industry chamber has said.

Goa government offers VRS to employees
Goa is the first Indian state to offer a voluntary retirement scheme to its employees. The scheme will be open till August 15.

National Internet backbone node by July
The service, heralding a new era in India's telecommunication history, would be introduced simultaneously in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Pune.

May 17, 2000

Leather industry sees 'calculated move' to harm India's growing clout in world market

Clark's too may stop buying Indian leather
With PETA stepping up its campaign against Indian leather, British shoe-maker Clark's has decided to review its sourcing policies.

Indian law-makers approve IT Bill amid pleas to go slow
'There may be some flaws in this statute, but these can be overcome through amendments after watching its implementation for some time,' said Information Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan.


Modern Foods staff move Delhi HC against govt divestment
The Delhi high court has transferred the petition against the sell-off to Hindustan Lever to a division bench. It will be heard on July 18.

RBI releases draft norms for NBFCs keen on insurance foray
'Registered NBFCs having net owned funds of Rs 50 million can undertake insurance business as agents of insurance firms on a fee basis without any risk participation,' the RBI said.


Hudco offers loans to NRIs
The 13 per cent per annum interest rate will be computed on a monthly reducing basis. The maximum size of the loan will be 85 per cent of the cost of property or Rs 5 million, whichever is less. This can be repaid over a period of ten years.

May 16, 2000

Autobahn Ahoy!

Govt keen to push IT Bill through, drops controversial amendment
'Hacking is now an offence with imprisonment up to three years and fine up to Rs 200,000. Monitoring of cyber-cafe users by proprietors will not be required,' said Infotech Minister Pramod Mahajan.

Computers unleash chaos at Calcutta Stock Exchange
A faulty online trading system led to the execution of transactions at Friday's post-closing rates. Some brokers have suffered huge losses.


IA to get 'instant' MD: selection board advertises job
Applicants have been asked to submit their candidature within 15 days. Besides suitably qualified people with an MBA, government servants holding additional secretary or equivalent rank are eligible.

India's pace of globalisation very slow: study
'There is a positive angle to the slow pace at which India is globalising. Slow globalisation leads to better distribution of income,' a study by management consultants A T Kearney has said.

Germany keen to strengthen economic ties with India
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer will meet young infotech professionals in Bangalore. The issue of offering green cards to India's IT experts could figure in the discussions, said officials.

Escorts to sell off ECL stake to LG arm
'We have decided to concentrate on Hughes Escort Communications Limited and Escotel,' said Rajan Swaroop, chief executive, ECL.

PAL hopeful of reviving PAL-Peugeot
The company is in talks with ICICI to help rehabilitate the defunct joint venture, said Vinod Doshi, chairman, Premier Automobiles.

May 14, 2000

PM's security concern 'freezes' Sankhya Vahini
A final decision will be taken only after the IT ministry submits the findings of its probe into the controversial aspects of the ambitious project.

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Cabinet clears a slew of economic bills
New IT Bill okayed: jail for hackers, cyber criminals; NASSCOM criticises clause on cybercafes; transport subsidy for J&K; Rs 1 bn for coconut sector; SFC Act to be amended; credit guarantee scheme for SSIs; Rajasthan Power Project cost revised.

SBI cuts interest rate on housing loans

  • Up to Rs 200,000 = 11.50%.
  • Rs 200,000 to Rs 1 million = 12.50%.
  • Above Rs 1 million = 12.75%.

    May 13, 2000

    Dormant Dragon
    China's Konka adds a sober dimension to India's hyperactive white goods market.

    Headline logo
    India's 1999/2000 industry output jumps, worries remain
    The Index of Industrial Production rose eight per cent. Analysts cautioned that the recovery could slow down if interest rates rose on heavy government borrowings.


    Mahyco denies it got govt nod for marketing of gene-tech crops
    The company, along with Monsanto, has been conducting trials on 'Bt.cotton'. It has now been authorised to approach the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee for further action.

    'SKY' is not the limit for Assam's strife-hit economy
    Experts said the Samridha Krishak Yojana, an innovative irrigation scheme, has the potential to tackle Assam's problems like irregular crop patterns, unemployment, militancy, inequitable distribution of wealth and food insecurity.

    Leather exporters to stop cruelty to animals
    The leather industry will not procure hides from dealers engaged in cattle trafficking.

    Govt mulling SEBI's proposal to allow foreign firms to list on Indian bourses
    The government has also initiated action to amend the RBI Act, including provisions relating to non-banking finance companies.

    Madhya Pradesh tobacco industry practises gender discrimination
    About 2.4 million women are engaged in leaf-plucking. But the men get paid for the women's work, at less than Rs 45 (or a US $) a day.

    UAE keen to forge ties with India in IT sector
    Joint initiatives are also being considered in the fields of marketing, warehousing, human resources and energy.

    Workers oppose SAIL unit divestment
    Employees of Visveswaraya Iron and Steel Industries have urged the government to transfer the ownership of the unit to the Ministry of Defence.

    May 12, 2000

    Nationwide strike signifies opposition to government's economic agenda

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    Hunt on for Indian Airlines top gun
    With the current IA chairman and managing director Anil Baijal's tenure ending on May 26, the battle for succession to the coveted post has begun.

    Experts oppose clearance to Monsanto's genetically-modified cotton
    Environmentalists say that transgenic technology needs to be thoroughly tested before being made available to consumers.


    'Old Economy is going to be right here'
    'Privatising public sector mammoths in aviation, tourism and telecom industries will rid the country of national debt worth more than Rs 300 billion,' says Arun Bharat Ram, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry.


    EU to allow hike in Indian textile imports
    India will be granted an additional 3,500 tonnes of textile imports to the European Union, EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said.

    Premier Auto ties up with Mitsubishi arm for multi-utility vehicle
    The MUV launch will mark the reopening of the company's closed Kalyan unit and its comeback into the passenger vehicle manufacturing arena.

    May 11, 2000

    Rupee crashes to record low of 44.04/44.07 per dollar
    The Indian currency plunged on worries of dipping foreign portfolio inflows, a drought in parts of the country and speculation that the government was buying dollars to fund defence imports.

    Bankers' strike on Thursday
    Over 700,000 employees of Indian banks will protest against privatisation and globalisation.


    Populist schemes, dwindling revenues push Andhra into debt trap
    Left with no choice, Andhra's Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu now plans to raise taxes, mop up more revenue from liquor sales, increase power and transport tariffs, and cut subsidies.


    Dot-com overdrive
    Only the dot-coms that match click for brick and swiftly integrate new stratagems with old revenue models will thrive. The rest will stumble, says Pritish Nandy.


    McDonald's advertisement atop a Bombay city bus-stop The cricket match-fixing controversy is a recurring theme in ads. US fast food corporate McDonald's has advertised its ice-creams through hoardings atop Bombay city bus-stops. Indian cricketers (?) 'have certainly eaten' -- so runs the naughty ad-line. Photograph: Jewella C Miranda.


    US may lift curbs on H-1B visas
    The US House Judiciary Committee is considering a bill, which would remove visa limits for the next three years. This will be a bonanza for computer whiz-kids in India.

    Ten Indian firms banned from exporting meat to the UAE
    The companies did not comply with health regulations, said Khalid Sharif, an official at the Dubai municipality. He did not name the companies.

    Cost overruns play havoc with projects
    Rs 530 billion is locked up in litigation. If these funds were available many projects would have been completed, said Minister of State for Programame Implementation Arun Shourie.

    Ford plans to hike dealerships by 50%
    The auto giant is also planning to despatch the 'Ikoncept', the 1.6 GT concept car based on Ikon, to its dealerships to gauge customer perception.

    May 10, 2000

    Monetary Mess
    Cyber-savvy Andhra Pradesh on verge of bankruptcy.

    Air-India floats global tender for leased aircraft
    The airline has invited offers for dry lease of six Airbus and two Boeing aircraft to expand services, a company official said.

    India mulls welfare fund for workers abroad
    This will help repatriate stranded workers and provide financial aid to kin of workers who die or are disabled during foreign employment.


    Ostrich farming set to take off in India
    The Tamil Nadu veterinary university has imported 100 ostrich chicks from Malaysia to study their adaptability in India and give a boost to ostrich farming.

    Govt urged to make Income Tax law assessee-friendly
    The model Income Tax Act should have easily intelligible and the tax rate should be lowered, said Congress member NKP Salve during the debate on Finance Bill in Parliament.

    SAIL gets nod to divest non-core units
    The shareholders of Steel Authority of India gave permission to divest some units of the company, while protecting existing employees' jobs.

    South Indian tea industry faces major crisis
    Dropping prices and mounting costs have hit the south Indian tea sector, said the United Planters Association of Southern India.

    'National highways being upgraded'
    A project is underway to provide 'riding quality' to all the national highways and other roads in the country in two years, Surface Transport Minister Rajnath Singh said.

    May 9, 2000

    CII stance on Maruti sparks fresh privatisation debate

    India's stockmarket tumbles on tech stock meltdown
    The weekly trading opened on a steady note but the bourses belied expectations of an upswing. Infosys fell 11 per cent on a day when the Financial Times of London rated it among the top three Indian corporates.

    Budget had no scope for rollbacks: FM;
    PM urges exporters to target 20 pc growth

    The subsidies bill, interest payments and defence and establishment expenses have made the budget rigid, the finance minister said.


    Corporatise rural India to avoid droughts
    Lifting curbs on sale of rural holdings, delicensing storage-construction, and promoting agro units are a must to avoid man-made catastrophes like the current drought, says Dilip Thakore.


    SEBI chief urges more freedom for venture capital funds
    'An FII registered in India should be allowed to bring in any money it likes and take out what it likes without any problem. Hopefully this will be a part of our regulation on venture capital funds,' D R Mehta said.

    India losing Rs 5 billion forex annually due to illegal import of cigarettes
    Contraband trade in cigarettes is rising at a rate of 20 per cent per annum in India causing massive outflow of foreign exchange, said a document prepared by the World Health Organisation.

    PMCG sector growth can spur rural development, says study
    The packaged mass consumption goods sector has vast potential for growth and can boost employment and social development, revealed a CII-McKinsey study.

    Govt plans to simplify tax structure
    Only two per cent of the population pay taxes. Efforts are on to raise their number, said Union Minister of State for Finance Dhananjay Kumar.

    May 8, 2000

    Bank unions call for strike on Thursday
    Instead of formulating a scheme to recover bad debts from the corporate sector, the government was keen to hand over the banking sector itself to the companies, they said.

    May 7, 2000

    ESOPs fables
    Corporates dangle bait to reward and retain employees

    Britannia still gung-ho over ties with cricket
    Despite the match-fixing scandal currently gripping the game, the company is set to launch a major promotional campaign involving cricket to boost its sales.

    CISF to look after airport security
    The Central Industrial Security Force will be assigned the task of looking after security at airports in the country, said Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav.


    It's not just the mines that teeter on the verge of extinction
    Declaring the Kolar Gold Fields 'dead' may spell doom for them, fear gold-miners and their families. "Do something to keep hopes alive," they plead.

    NALCO to commission phase-I expansion by month-end
    The company's Rs 37-billion spread projects are targeted at increasing capacity and the final phase will be completed by 2002, said NALCO director S K Banerjee.

    Tax realisation set at Rs 1.990 trillion for current fiscal

  • Target for 2000-2001= Rs 1.990 trillion.
  • Target for 1999-2000 = 1.690 trillion.
  • Actual collections = Rs 1.701 trillion.
    (1,000 million = 1 billion; 1,000 billion = 1 trillion)

    May 6, 2000

    Digital Dilemma
    Uncertainty shrouds Project Sankhya Vahini

    'It won't spawn a private monopoly': Paswan
    The equity structure of Sankhya Vahini will be such that its control will not be with the foreign partner, the communications minister said.

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    Govt sets up panel to curb economic frauds
    The Economic Intelligence Council will be headed by the finance minister -- with the RBI, SEBI and the CBI as members. It will evolve ways to check securities scams, extortion, cyber-frauds and match-fixing.


    India's Decade of Development
    Besides scripting for itself an enhanced global role, India must urgently focus on ten areas to emerge as an economic superpower by 2010, say Jeffrey D Sachs and Nirupam Bajpai of the Harvard University.


    Tax collections in 1999-2000 exceed revised estimates

  • Revised target = Rs 1.693 trillion.
  • Actual collections = Rs 1.701 trillion.
  • Collections last fiscal = Rs 1.426 trillion.
    (1,000 million = 1 billion; 1,000 billion = 1 trillion)

    Govt readies two model pacts for private investment in highway sector
    One agreement is for projects costing Rs 1 billion or more, the other for the rest.


    Rs 1,000 notes to be in circulation by July
    "Preparations for printing of the Rs 1,000 notes are in an advanced stage. By July, they may be put into circulation," said Minister of State for Finance Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil.

    May 5, 2000

    On a Roll!
    Yashwant Sinha staves off attempts to undo his Budget 2000. After months of sound and fury over subsidies and hikes in prices of foodgrains, the Lok Sabha stamps its seal of approval on the Budget.

    Govt mulls reservation for women on company boards
    Company Affairs Secretary Dr P L Sanjeeva Reddy said that the nomination of women members on the board of directors would eliminate gender discrimination.


    It's official: FIIs can take 40% stake in Indian companies
    India's central bank has issued a circular giving effect to Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha's Budget proposal to enhance the ceiling from 24% to 40%.

    'India must enact transfer pricing law at the earliest'
    'India, being an infotech superpower, should institute an electronics-based transfer pricing enforcement mechanism,' said Stephen Breckenridge, partner, Global Transfer Pricing Services Group, at a seminar in New Delhi.

    India to have 7.5 million Net connections by 2003
    The Internet subscriber base has just crossed the one million mark. There are about 280 Internet Service Providers' licensees; 65 of them are already operational.

    May 4, 2000

    Leading Indian banking into the e-commerce age
    The StanChart-Grindlays deal has unleashed a hurry among tech-savvy, growth-hungry banks to acquire other banks with a good retail base. The concept of gradual, methodical growth has been laid to rest.
    FM grants sops for VC funds, raises basic customs duty on tea, coffee
    There will be no tax on distributed or undistributed income of venture capital funds. The income distributed by the funds will only be taxed in the hands of the investors, Sinha said while seeking Parliament' nod to the Finance Bill.
    Budget concessions at a glance.


    Rolling settlement will not only continue but encompass all scrips: SEBI
    The rolling settlement process would gradually cut down the volatility of the market with majority of the scrips being in demat form, D R Mehta said.

    Tata Engg rolls out Indica 2000
    Packed with a 16-bit microprocessor-controlled engine management system, the Indica 2000 is the most powerful car in its class and is being launched in two trim levels, a company official said.

    May 3, 2000

    As ICE stocks melts, markets test the new price bands.

    Air-India to lease ten aircraft; minister promises turnaround in one year
    Steps like rationalisation of air routes, introduction of voluntary schemes and abolition of posts abroad will be taken to improve the national carrier's financial performance, Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav told Parliament.

    Sinha denies probe into 30 infotech companies
    A news report said the companies are being investigated by the Ministry of Finance for questionable stock market related activities, mergers and acquisitions. This dampened the market sentiment today.


    Check tobacco companies' brazen adverts, urges anti-smoking body
    The Action Council against Smoking said cigarette companies should desist from advertising at playgrounds and sportspersons should not wear clothes bearing the logo of cigarette brands and tobacco companies.

    US puts India under trade dept scrutiny list
    The US is dissatisfied with India's intellectual property protection regime, subjecting US motion picture industry to annual loss of $ 66 million due to audio-visual piracy.

    Hyundai to invest $ 400 mn on 3 new models for India; Sonata priced at Rs 1 million
    Hyundai Motor India is re-looking at plans to divest equity for raising funds. "If we can raise money through internal accruals and debt, there is no need to go in for private placement of equity or for an initial public offering," an official said.

    UB group recast to unfurl two umbrellas for beer and liquor companies
    The objective is to enhance the shareholder value and establish the group's brands internationally, chairman Vijay Mallya said.

    Arun Ram-led CII honours L&T founder Holck-Larsen
    Holck-Larsen has been a visionary par excellence. Decades ago, he had visualised today's buzzwords like merit, indigenous know-how, export promotion, reinvestment of surplus, said L&T's MD A M Naik.