Rediff Logo Business Rediff Movies Banner
Find/Feedback/Site Index


July 31

Demand intensifies for inclusion of software scrips on Sensex
The non-inclusion of the investor's hot favourites on Sensex is causing heartburn among industry people. But, with heavyweights like Telco, ACC, BHEL, L & T, Tisco and Bajaj Auto commanding a pre-eminent position, the question is: which scrips have to make way for software shares?

Sinha to team up with Hegde to plan exports boost, calls Q1 results 'mixed'
The government will expedite project implementation. September is the deadline for projects in both public and private sectors, the finance minister has assured the parliamentary standing committee on finance.

Corruption, cry leaders as Krishna Valley rocks Maharashtra assembly
Opposition leaders alleged that several project works worth millions of rupees have been closed down, pushing the government to bankruptcy. Funds to the tune of Rs 35 million have been misappropriated. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was interfering in the Krishna Valley project and he was not prevented as he was supporting the BJP government at Centre, they added.

Price-cuts will further strain margins in TV industry, says study
In light of the relatively mature technology in the television industry, CRISIL believes that brand differentiation would increasingly be driven by price competitiveness and distribution and service strengths.

M&M net down to Rs 350 million in Q1
39 million job-seekers on government registers


Forex: Rs 42.55/56; rupee depreciates by six paise

BSE: 3212.10; Sensex loses over seven points

NSE: 932.60; S&P CNX Nifty loses over five points

July 30

Vajpayee moots measures to kickstart SAARC economic integration
The Indian prime minister has offered bilateral free trade agreements, lifting of quantitative restrictions on more than 2,000 products and raising upto $ 15 million the investment limit for Indian entrepreneurs to encourage economic co-operation among south Asian countries.

Heavy demand for power foreseen; Parliament okays private transmission
Power Minister P R Kumaramangalam has visualised a quantum jump in the annual peak demand of power within the next 13 years and said that the demand is likely to go upto 176,000 mega watts by the year 2011-12.

Private touch at public spots -- it's good for health, discovers Tamil Nadu
For the first time in India, Tamil Nadu will involve the private sector in the upkeep of government hospitals and primary health centres. It is said the project is the baby of former Union industry minister Murasoli Maran.

Time not ripe for tight money policy, cautions banking expert
Speaking at a seminar in Madras, banking reforms architect M Narasimham said inflation is rising because of monetary expansion and low agricultural production. The commercial sector was not availing the available credit, leading to higher monetisation. The farm output fell by 3.5 per cent and foodgrain production fell from 198 million tonnes to 194 million tonnes, he pointed out.

World Bank's power sector loans to Pakistan blocked
The World Bank has suspended $ 750 million in power sector loans to Pakistan. The decision was taken soon after the nuclear tests in May but has been confirmed now.

Fiscal concessions mark new housing policy
SBI puts RIB on Web to net NRIs, OCBs
ACCnet down to Rs 84.8 million in Q1


Forex: Rs 42.48/50; rupee up four paise

BSE: 3219.93; Sensex up 53 points

NSE: 937.85; S&P CNX Nifty gains over 20 points

July 29

New panels will look into WTO, TRIPS, patents issues, Hegde assures Rajya Sabha
India will prepare papers on imbalances in the TRIPS agreement of the World Trade Organisation and will place them before General Council for consideration, the commerce minister has said.

SEBI committed to derivatives and reforms, says its chairman
Inaugurating new CNX indices at the NSE, the SEBI chairman said that the 100 per cent computerisation in the stock markets and transparency are the achievements of the market reforms. Mehta said the charge that SEBI is killing market by introducing stringent norms is baseless.

Parliament: Opposition flays government over economy, price rise
Manmohan Singh said that the current inflation was due to all-round failure of the government with no control on finance. While tax revenue was stagnant, borrowings were increasing. Nobody would believe the government's claim about fiscal deficit, he said.

Power tariff hike in Tamil Nadu sparks criticism
While political parties in Tamil Nadu say it will add to the burden of the common man, industrialists claim it will badly affect production and prices.

New paper sees no link between forward exchange rate and future spot rate
Himanshu Joshi and Mridul Saggar of the RBI opine that the Indian forex market does not pass the test of efficiency. Their paper suggests that since the events in the spot and forward markets are somewhat insulated from each other, intervention in one market needs to be supplemented by the same in the other.

Mega tea ventures can stimulate Lankan economy, says expert
The industry thinks this Indian Ocean island should cash in on its reputation of being the top exporter and set up the biggest trading centre, stocking every kind of tea produced in the world. Sri Lanka's Tea Promotion Bureau feels the shop would create employment, lead to a boom in new blending and packing companies, swell the country's foreign exchange coffers, and stave off competition from emerging markets like Dubai and Pakistan.

BJP-led economic slide will lead to adverse BoP: Manmohan
Addressing a Mahila Congress seminar in New Delhi, the former finance minister said the spiralling prices, which had put a burden on the common person, was a direct result of the BJP-led 18-party coalition government's ''muddled'' Budget.

Telco suffers Rs 356 million Q1 loss
Panel to plan Air-India revival
Adopt SAFTAby 2001, SCCI urges SAARC
Reliance on railway internal funds stressed


Forex:Rs 42.52/54; rupee steady in dull market

BSE: 3166.84; Sensex recovers 82 points

NSE:917.25; S&P CNX Nifty gains 18 points

July 28

RIB poised to 'create a new benchmark for sovereign borrowing'
An official of SBI Caps, lead arranger to SBI's Resurgent India Bond issue, says that the bonds are cheap five-year funds, considering the annual depreciation of about five per cent of the rupee. A JP Morgan report points out that the issue provides an excellent opportunity for investors especially for rupee returns.

SBI hopes RIBs will net $ 1 billion from Gulf states
"This is an opportunity for NRIs and OCBs to participate in the process of growth and development in India," SBI chairman MS Verma said in Dubai, while taking part in a roadshow. "India is today a nation on the march. In the next ten years, India will emerge as one of the strongest economies in the world. It will be the fourth or fifth largest economy."

SAARC sets up group to oversee SAPTA-to-SAFTA transition
The standing committee, which met on Saturday and Sunday, considered the progress in the implementation of the South Asian Preferential Trading Arrangement, and matters relating to transition from SAPTA to South Asian Free Trade Agreement and other issues relating to cooperation in the core economic areas.

Taskforce to protect NBFCs' depositors
The taskforce will be asked to submit its report to finance minister Yashwant Sinha within six weeks, it was announced in the Rajya Sabha today.

Public sector banks wrote off Rs 61 billion as bad debts, SBI worst hit
The total amount which was written off during 1994-95 was Rs 22.67 billion, in 1995-96 Rs 17.42 billion and in 1996-97 Rs 21.62 billion. The introduction of the financial sector reforms and revised guidelines have necessitated banks to desist from the practice of taking unrealised income in their books and also to provide against possible loan losses.

Power Grid to invest $ 450 million WB loan in Orissa, Bihar
The fund would also be utilised to spruce up functioning at the corporation's eastern and western region load despatch centres. Power Grid is also going ahead with its plans to put in place a grid for SAARC countries.

Centre, states to meet on September 1 to ponder cinema's industry status
I&B minister Sushma Swaraj has said that there is no proposal to set up any financial institution for funding film production. But the I&B ministry has initiated proposals with the primary objective of making film production eligible for institutional and bank finance.

Bollywood to protest against cable piracy on August 11
Nearly 11 film industry wings will be closed so that everyone from top stars to spot boys can participate in the rally.

Patents office to be shored up; Rs 30 billion FDI to flow into mining
Bata row gets curiouser as leader quits union
Money-starved food processing ministry may wind up, fears panel


Forex: Rs 42.54/55; rupee down one paise

BSE: 3085.17; Sensex crashes 86 points

NSE: 899.35; Nifty loses 21 points

July 26

Fema, Money Bills: Cabinet nods, Parliament's turn next
Fema seeks to erase the long-standing belief that foreign exchange is a scarce commodity. It is expected to usher in a liberal forex regime, besides empowering the Reserve Bank of India to have total control over foreign exchange dealings and stability of the rupee. The Money Laundering Bill seeks to check black money generation and white collar crimes.

SAARC to reaffirm faith in free trade concept
The forthcoming summit in Colombo will primarily be an economic summit, Sri Lanka's foreign minister L Kadirgammar has said. This is the first time that a SAARC summit will concentrate on economic issues.

One million slum-dwellers may benefit from Bombay's housing project
The declaration of the housing industry and other organisations resolved to work with the government and its various agencies and the Shivshahi Punarvasan Prakalp in particular, to achieve the objective of constructing 200,000 tenements before the year 2000. The larger aim is to make Bombay a slum-free metropolis.


Stocks Weekly Review: Asian markets, Cauvery and Tisco factors sink Sensex by 300 points

July 25

RBI modifies investment ceiling for NRIs
The investment limit for a single non-resident Indian, person of Indian origin and overseas corporate body owned by such persons to the extent of at least 60 per cent in a company, has been enhanced from the existing level of one per cent to five per cent of the paid-up equity capital of the company.

BSE, NSE to launch index-based derivatives trading
The NSE is one step ahead than the BSE and is seeking Securities and Exchange Board of India's permission to launch a membership drive.

Delhi HC asks government to explain swindle by agro-forestry companies
In a case filed against shady agro-plantation companies, the petitioners contend that Sebi failed to register and regulate such companies. It also did not issue any caution or warning for years. This led investors to believe by implication that such companies are doing fair business and that investment in such schemes was prudent and safe.

Experts pick holes in takeover code, call for new policy initiatives
Speakers at a seminar in Bombay called for new policy initiatives to ensure that takeovers would have a positive impact on the economy. The norms cannot be restrictive, as constraints on foreign capital taking over Indian companies will remove the flexibility that Indian industry sorely needs, they said.

Sebi probe into four volatile scrips to be over in September
Referring to last month's undue volatility of BPL, Videocon, Sterlite and Pentafour scrips, Yashwant Sinha informed Parliament that steps are being taken to assure the small investor that proper safeguards had been built in to ensure that it was safe to invest in stocks.


Thermax ties up with AlliedSignal to market power systems
Cogentrix final hearing on August 18
Tata rethinks Bangalore airport project


Forex: Rs 42.51/53; rupee down 3 paise

BSE: 3171.30; Sensex crashes 56 points

NSE: 920.10; Nifty loses 14 points

July 24

Suresh Prabhu seeks clean chit in WIFSL cheque-bouncing case
The court has overruled the investors' counsel's charge that the letter issued by Maharashtra's assistant registrar of companies, correcting Union environment minister Suresh Prabhu's date of resignation from WIFSL, was obtained either by bribing or through political pressure. The magistrate has however accepted the contention that the assistant registrar was also not sure about Prabhu's resignation date.

Report stresses need for legal system to protect India's biodiversity
More than one hundred Indian plants, besides neem and turmeric, have already been patented by developed countries and this trend would continue if India did not chalk out a clear strategy to protect its precious bioresources, according to a report.

Union leaders rain blows on Bata's MD until he bleeds
The incident occurred when Keith Weston allegedly refused to give a patient hearing to the union leaders, who demanded revocation of the suspension of their comrades. A fisticuff ensued...

Transport operators plan strike against hike in motor insurance premium
The All India Motor Transport Congress has decided to keep commercial vehicles indefinitely off roads from August 22 midnight. The hike in motor insurance premium, proposed by the finance ministry's Tariff Advisory Committee, is sharp and pinches the commercial vehicles sector the hardest, it says.


Tisco's net and sales down
The steel giant's net profit for the quarter ended June 30, 1998 stood at Rs 270.9 million and sales touched Rs 13.5 billion.

ICICI net in first quarter higher
Profit after tax of Rs 1.86 billion for first quarter of 1998 comprises ICICI's reported profit of Rs 2.23 billion (audited) and attributable loss of Rs 370 million (unaudited) of the erstwhile ITC Classic, which has merged with ICICI effective April 1, 1997.

SBI puts in improved performance, net up at Rs 4.27 billion
SBI's total deposits rose by 17.89 per cent to Rs 1.36 trillion as on last Friday of June this year, total advances of the bank were higher by 16.16 per cent to Rs 705.75 billion.


Forex: Rs 42.49-51; rupee down 6 paise

BSE: 3227.52; Sensex plunges 117 points

NSE: 934.40; Nifty loses 31 points

July 23

What in the heck do kids want?
Move over Levis, Wrangler et al, the favourite brand of the jean generation is the eminently desi Ruf n Tuf. In the age of Nike, Reebok and Adidas, good old Bata remains the favoured brand of shoes. Action is next, with Reebok and Nike trailing behind. The TNT Kids Survey packs a lot of surprises for marketers.

They dig the US, adore Sachin, and are hassled by political instability!
What do kids think are top jobs?

Boys 7-18
Girls 7-18
1. Engineer
1. Doctor
2. Doctor
2. Lecturer
3. Cricketer
3. Engineer

US not to block new IMF loans to Pakistan
The US said it was critical that the IMF be allowed to resume negotiations on reinstating Pakistan's IMF programme, the minimum necessary to forestall a collapse of confidence in Pakistan's economy but unlikely by itself to prevent default.

Vajpayee assures American business of pursuing liberalisation
But the prime minister said the government's only concern while pursuing the liberalisation programme was protecting the interests of the common man.

Pakistan announces plan to shore up sagging economy
Pakistan's finance minister Sartaj Aziz said restrictions on foreign exchange accounts imposed following the nuclear tests will remain. ''In the aftermath of sanctions, it is absolutely vital that we have the foreign exchange resources to finance all our essential imports,'' he said.


Government to allow wet lease of aircraft
No proof of involvement of PV's son in urea scam, CBI tells court


Forex: Rs 42.43-55; rupee down 3 paise

BSE: 3344.33; Sensex down 9 points

NSE: 965.70; Nifty makes marginal gain

July 22

Sebi may allow MFs to invest abroad, ponders legal move in HLL case
''The committee headed by Khizer Ahmed of the Reserve Bank of India tabled its report yesterday. Sebi will shortly take a decision on the report to allow open-ended and close-ended schemes to invest in overseas markets,'' Sebi chairman D R Mehta said.

Marketmen's apathy forces government to import 150,000 tonnes of edible oil
The first shipment of edible oil from Asian countries is likely to reach India by the first week of August. Regarding shortage of vegetables and fruits and resultant rise in prices, the finance minister said both the commodities were perishable and it was difficult for the government to ensure their supply.

Divestment panel likely to quit en masse
Commission member D M Nanjundappa said, "Even if others do not resign, I am firm in my decision. My last attendance would be on July 24."

FM blames rupee meltdown on turmoil in Asian markets
Yashwant Sinha also informed the Rajya Sabha that the government collected excise duty to the tune of Rs 477.82 billion last year.

Mutual funds sink as debt schemes mushroom
Although the ratio of incremental funds to financial savings did rise marginally between 1993-94 and 1997-98, the growth could not keep pace with the increase in household savings. Household incomes have been climbing since 1991, but the public interest in MF schemes has been on the decline.

Reliance sales up 37 per cent in first quarter
Net profit rose by 18 per cent, in spite of the weak economic environment in India and abroad.


Forex: Rs 42.40-42; rupee up nine paise

BSE: 3353.30; Sensex down 31 points

NSE: 965.50; Nifty loses 12 points

July 21

Power sector unaffected by sanctions, full foreign equity okay in Rs 15 billion projects
The government does not perceive reluctance in foreign companies to pursue their power project proposals. Guidelines have been issued to encourage setting up of port-based captive power projects by the private sector. It has been found that the indigenous coal reserves are likely to last over 100 years. Efforts are on to exploit non-conventional energy sources like nuclear sector, solar, wind and hydel projects to their optimum levels.

Hope for crisis-hit US farmers as Pakistan buys 300,000 tonnes of wheat
Islamabad had doubled the quantum of wheat purchases partly to compliment the US farmers for their efforts in getting the sanctions relaxed and partly to capitalise on the rock bottom prices.


Forex: Rs 42.50-51; rupee up one paise

BSE: 3384.75; prices crash, Sensex dives 86 points

NSE: 977.30; Nifty loses 24 points

July 19

Hegde hints at cargo complexes for agri-business and sops for light engineering
The commerce minister has said India had the capability and wherewithal to become a leader in agri-business. The need of the hour was focussed attention to the sector.

World Bank to extend Rs 10 billion more for Haryana power sector reforms
The second instalment of the loan aims at transmitting and distributing the additional 1200 mega watt power which will be generated in the state by March 2000.

Scam waves rock Goa's oceanarium venture
One of the reasons is the unseemly delay in commissioning the Rs 1 billion dream project which was expected to be ready by August. The Australian company contracted to execute the project but whose credentials are being questioned now, assures to begin work from August and commission it by February 2000.

Karnataka CM urges Centre to clear world's first private sector airport project
Patel said an emissary of the Tatas-led consortium had met him recently and explained about the economic viability of the project being affected by the delay in according sanction. Patel said he had assured the emissary that the state had already cleared the project and would persuade the Centre to give its nod at the earliest.

Developing countries agree to articulate investment concerns
Participants at a New Delhi symposium emphasised that due to the variety and differences in bilateral agreements, it may not be possible to convert them into a global regime. They said there is a need for obligations on the multinational corporations to transfer technology along with foreign direct investment.


Stocks Weekly Review: Sensex climbs 69 points, 3470.80; Nifty 21 points, 1000.95

July 18

Finance Minister moots withdrawal of NOR status and exemption on interest on ECB
As the Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill by voice vote, Yashwant Sinha said the government would not succumb to any international blackmail and assured that the government had enough resources to ensure that no project suffered due to sanctions. He also assured Parliament that all efforts would be made to achieve revenue target for 1998-99, keep the fiscal deficit at 5.3 per cent and prices under control. He said the main reason for inflation was the galloping fiscal deficit.

'Sanctions and all that is big boys' game -- the game is poker, not draughts'
Multilateral sanctions can and will hurt India. So this one year grace period which the US president is likely to give India will be used by Bill Clinton to garner worldwide support on imposing sanctions against India. Hence it is up to New Delhi to prevent that from happening, says Professor Jagdish Bhagwati of New York's Columbia University.

Interest rates set to rise further, says J P Morgan
The steep rise to 9.05 per cent in the 364-day treasury bill cut-off yield has come as a surprise to the market, particularly since the yield had held steady at 8 per cent for more than nine months. The jump in yield is an indication that the Reserve Bank will allow rates to increase to market clearing levels.

'Industry should have its own consumer complaints cells'
Government official N N Mukherjee and consumer rights activist H D Shourie debate whether India's consumer forums are effective and what needs to be done to improve the scenario. The transcript of TV programme Crossfire.


Government needs to get off the backs of India's farmers
The dramatic increase in foodgrain and horticulture produce in post-Independence India proves that the nation's farmers have the capability to absorb technology and improve crop yields. All that the nation's farmers require of government is speedy construction of a rural infrastructure which facilitates the movement of farm produce to markets and for government to get off their backs, says Dilip Thakore.


Forex: 42.51/53 ; Rupee gains 3 paise

BSE: 3,470.80; Sensex slips 18 points over sanctions story

NSE: 1000.95; Nifty loses 3 points

July 17

US senate paves way for waiver of sanctions up to one year
The measure does not permit waiver for US government sales of defence articles, design and construction services, foreign military financing under the Arms Export Control Act. Nor does it waive curbs on the export of specific goods and technology relating to the Export Administration Act of 1979.

Wilde dream: distilling 400 years of East India Company for 200-page fun
British national Antony Wilde wants to resurrect the Raj company in its 400th anniversary, exploit its brand-equity, tie up with partners in India, Sri Lanka, Russia and export anything from Indian ale, Pashmina shawls to telecom technology. Wilde will be in India in October to work on his book, a first step towards his goal.

PM promises major initiative to spread green revolution
The prime minister said the achievements in the agricultural front during the five decades of Independence were very modest when measured against the needs of India and the inherent potential of Indian agriculture. Yields per hectare of major crops in India are considerably lower than those in other countries with comparable climatic conditions.

Tatas did not pull out of Bangalore international airport: Patel
The Karnataka chief minister said, "As far as I know, they are still pursuing the project. However, they are fed up over the treatment meted out to them by various ministries at the Centre."

BIPA expected to boost German investments in India
As foreign secretary K Raghunath sewed up the bilateral agreement in Bonn, an external affairs ministry spokesman said it would strengthen economic co-operation between the two countries.


How Group of 77 got booted out of Corporate India's hall of fame or demystifying the MNC bogey
Most Indian business promoters, especially the traditional family-run business bigwigs, are blind as bat. They don't know where they are headed. They don't have a clue of what to do, says Mahesh Nair.


Forex: 42.55/56 ; rupee gains 4 paise

BSE: 3,488.77; Sensex surges 123.05 points

NSE: 1004.05 ; Nifty gobbles up 33 points

July 16

Sinha fast forwards India's entry into global tariff structure by two years
The Finance Minister said his decision relating to the global tariff structure would accelerate the process of globalisation of the Indian economy. Observers said the move may be in response to the negative reaction of the international community to the nuclear tests in May and the Bharatiya Janata Party government's pro-domestic industry policy.

'Not having an erection need not be the best way to control population'
Madras-based Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals has got permission to make and export Sildenafil Citrate, the anti-impotency drug, touted as India's answer to Pfizer's Viagra. In a juicy interview with Shobha Warrier, Orchid's Managing Director Raghavendra Rao says the drug, in spite of its side effects, enjoys explosive demand, and will make more homes than break them.

Montek-led panel absolves HLL of insider trading
'An order of prosecution should be based on conclusive determination of all aspects of insider trading and on specific justification in terms of the gravity of the offence for these reasons. We hold that Sebi was not justified in ordering prosecution of the appellants,' the finance ministry remarked in its ruling on the case involving HLL, BBLIL, UTI and Sebi.

IMC urges postal staff, government to kiss and make up
The IMC has pointed out that the ongoing, six-day-old postal strike has delayed clearance of intercity cheques, drafts, share certificates, pensions and other documents amounting to billions of rupees, causing untold hardship to people at large.


Forex: 42.59/60; rupee strengthens by 3 paise

BSE: 3365.72; Sensex drifts marginally lower

NSE: 971.40; pivotals go on a roller-coaster ride