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June 30

'PSU divestment is degenerating into a fund-raising exercise'
G V Ramakrishna and P N Vijay debate the government's policy, or rather the lack of it, on the divestment of public sector unit shares. The transcript of the Crossfire programme.

Ninth 5-Year Plan revised draft by August, says Ram Naik
The revised draft of ninth Five Year Plan for 1997-2002 would be finalised by the month of August, providing additional allocation for infrastructure, agriculture, rural development and irrigation, informed Ram Naik, minister of state for planning, programme implementation, parliamentary affairs and railways.

Sumati, mother of Indian shipping, dies at 91
The first woman of Indian shipping, freedom fighter and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Sumati Morarjee, died in Bombay on Sunday following a cardiac arrest.

Rain rain go away, we want vegetables cheap, moan Bombay-ites
Rains may have brought glad tidings, but they have also made vegetables exorbitant in Bombay. Onions, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, French beans, cauliflower, lady-finger, green chillies and coriander leaves... you name it, they are all up there, at unreachable heights, so to say.


Forex: Rs 42.65-64; Rupee gains by another 10 paise

BSE: 3289.56; Sensex zooms up 120.74 points

NSE: 949.10; Nifty gains 24.75 points

June 28

BJP will kneel before World Bank, and tout it as swadeshi
'It should not cause any surprise if the BJP-led government will totally capitulate to the G-8 nations and the World Bank-IMF combine,' argues Ashok Mitra. 'The videshis will take charge of the economy lock, stock and barrel; with no sign of discomfort, our government will call that a great swadeshi conquest. At that juncture, the rupee will perhaps settle at 75:1, or, if you prefer round figures, 100:1.'

As farmers struggle, US Congress moots move to ease sanctions against India
The sanctions appear to have adversely affected American economic interests, setting off a powerful move in congress to ease the mandatory curbs.

June 27

US clears $ 543.2 m World Bank aid to AP
The Andhra Pradesh project contains measures intended to benefit the poorer section of society, which the US says it does not want to penalise.

India expects more WB loans
The finance ministry indicated that it had reasons to expect a liberalised interpretation of restrictions on loans consequent to India's nuclear tests.

Bonfires of tobacco threaten Naidu
If crop failure played havoc with the lives of the cotton growers, the season of surplus has plunged the tobacco farmers in dire straits. With tobacco production reaching a record level of 175 million kg, including a 40 million kg unauthorised output, this year, the prices of flea-cured virginia came tumbling down from Rs 85 to Rs 45 per kg.

BJP makes no impact on economy
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, which completes 100 days, has succeeded in arriving at a settlement on the Suzuki-Maruti dispute, sending the right signals to investors in Japan.

Montek hints at buyback, market-friendly moves
The finance secretary has said these may come even before the Companies Bill, incorporating amendments to the Act, is passed by Parliament.

Rangarajan demands new policy on infrastructure projects
The former RBI governor also predicted a six per cent growth in the economy during 1998-99.

11th finance commission cleared
But panel will also be expected to keep in mind funding for panchayats and municipalities.


Reliance floats buyback scheme, eyes NYSE listing
Divestment panel chief flays Centre for indifference
US power major's Indian projects unaffected by sanctions
Naidu assures to make AP power-sufficient during Ninth Plan


Forex: Rs 42.62-64; Rupee gains by about 10 paise

BSE: 3168.62; Sensex drops 39.72 points

NSE: 924.35; Nifty dips by 7.80 points

June 26

'The loss of technology and foreign flows to us will be minimal'
'From now on we will not participate in any trade with any country that has a nuclear arsenal and does not have a clear timetable in place to dismantle their nuclear arms... Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan have no nuclear weapons and are home to companies with some of the best technologies and products. We will strengthen our economic trade with them,' Ajit Dayal masquerades as Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to write a letter to world leaders, regretting the nuclear tests.

PM asks Sinha to arrest slide
Expressing concern over the falling stock and rupee markets, the prime minister has reportedly called for urgent corrective measures to boost investor confidence.

US private banks may be banned from lending to Indian and Pakistani governments
However, US banks have urged the White House against sweeping sanctions as state-owned agencies, enterprises and banks abound in the subcontinent.

Rs 17 billion fled country after BJP took over: Congress
Contending that the plumetting of the rupee against the dollar was more due to the political chaos in the country rather than economic parameters, Congress joint secretary Jairam Ramesh said the flip-flop indulged in by the Union ministers has created total confusion, adding to the volatility of the rupee.

Govt allows private television channels to uplink from India
The move will help Indian channels with foreign equity of not more than 20 per cent. The applications would be vetted for security clearance by the home ministry.

Maharashtra at the top with 21.4 per cent of new units
According to a report released by the ministry of company affairs, Delhi stood second with 19.6 per cent of the companies registered. West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat accounted for 9.2, 8.3, 6.9 and 5.5 per cent of the companies registered.


SEBI to lift ban on short sales


Forex: Rs 42.68-73; Rupee dips a bit

BSE: 3208.54; Sensex still bullish, up 64.90 points

NSE: 932.15; Nifty rises 23.65 points

June 25

BJP looks to Europe to overcome sanction effects
The Bharatiya Janata Party government is exploring ways and means to tap the European market in an attempt to boost the foreign investment flows into the country following the economic sanctions in the aftermath of the nuclear tests.

Swadeshi tinge to divestment panel causes worry
Though the decision to constitute the Group of Ministers to oversee the divestment process has been welcomed, the inclusion of Human Resources Development minister Murli Manohar Joshi in the group is seen as a cause for concern.

SEBI to consider expanding demat list
The Securities and Exchange Board of India is convening a meeting in July to discuss the issue of inclusion of more scrips to the list in which institutional trading compulsorily takes place in dematerialised form.

WB extends loan to agri-tech project
Despite the sanctions imposed by the United States, the World Bank has just extended a $196 million (about Rs 8.23 billion) loan to India's massive National Agricultural Technology Project, which is expected to cost about Rs 10 billion and is aimed at revitalising farm research and extension systems.


New bodies in commerce ministry to boost exports


Forex: Rs 42.67-69; Rupee gains 23 paise

BSE: 3143.64; Sensex zooms up 106 points

NSE: 908.50; Nifty jumps 32.90 points

June 24

BSE seeks Centre's help to revive market sentiment
The Bombay Stock Exchange has expressed serious concern over the continuous southward trend in the country's capital market particularly after nuclear tests conducted by India and has sought immediate intervention of the Centre. A director has mooted several measures in a paper to revive the market.

Nadars virtually regain their bank
The Nadars have virtually regained control of the Tamilnadu Mercantile Bank from Shivshankaran of Sterling Computers. They have done so by packing the TMB board with their nominees and without paying a paisa to Shivshankaran.

Foreign investment limit increased to 40 per cent
The relaxation is intended to give a major boost to non-resident Indian investment - the government is banking heavily on them in view of the sanctions.

Maruti plans new models
Declining to disclose the details, Managing Director R S S L N Bhaskarudu said that the new models would offer the customers a wider range in the existing segments.


Sanctions will weaken in course of time: Sinha
Thakre denies statement on WTO

Forex: Rs 42.90-92; Rupee touches 43 level but settles higher

BSE: 3037.34; After losing 123 points, Sensex ends 41.17 points lower

NSE: 875.60; Nifty down by 4.6 points

June 23

Sinha asks RBI, SEBI to arrest slide
The finance minister said action would be contemplated to stop manipulation in stock prices.

'Not at all a swadeshi Budget'
How inflationary is the Budget? How growth-oriented is it? BJP national executive member Jagdish Shettigar and Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Sitaram Yechuri battle it out on the Crossfire debate.

Coke, Pepsi banned in UP assembly
Though the move is intended to be a 'token against the US government's economic sanctions on India', the state ministers continue to patronise the MNC soft drinks.

US banks to continue operating in India
Their government appears unwilling to penalise them for obligatory political considerations, since it would amount to cutting their nose to spite their face.

Naidu in BusinessWeek 's elite list
Besides the Andhra Pradesh chief minister, the list of 50 Asian stars includes Dhirubhai Ambani of Reliance, N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys, Suresh Krishna of Sundaram, B K Syngal of VSNL and Deepak Parekh of HDFC.

Govt to allow 40 per cent foreign equity in airlines
Mangalore airport to receive international status. And Indian Airlines to acquire 22 new 54-seater aircraft to enhance domestic operations, says the civil aviation minister.

Counter-guarantee delay likely to hit Cogentrix
The power project near Mangalore in Karnataka would be further delayed for want of the Union government's counter-guarantee, according to Union Power Minister P R Kumaramangalam.

India must opt out of WTO: Thakre
The BJP president said it was unfortunate that the previous United Front government had signed the WTO agreement without bothering about the negative ramifications on India's sovereignty and various sectors including agriculture, trade, commerce and industry.

Swadeshi Jagran Manch flays Maruti deal
A Manch statement said the deal was unequal and against the interest of the country and the domestic consumers.

Unilateral sanctions violate international law: experts
Prof V S Mani, specialist in international law, said counter-measures could only be applied by a state which was victim of wrongful conduct of another state. ''India's tests were not directed against the United States, Japan or Germany.''


Forex: Rs 42.72/75; Re tumbles to all-time low, recovers

BSE: 3078.75 points; Sensex tumbles, gains some ground again

NSE: 880.20; Nifty drops 33.05 points

June 21

Moody's decision will increase cost of foreign borrowing
The downgrading of India's foreign currency country ceiling could also affect the government plans to divest four public sector undertakings, said finance ministry officials. "The infrastructure sector will be the worst hit since rupee funds are not always sufficient for such projects," said an analyst with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Mallya buys up American media group
Vijay Mallya will now be chairman and publisher of Marin Scope, Mill Valley Herald, Ross Valley Reporter, San Rafael News Pointer and Twin Cities Times, all community newspapers in some of the richest counties in the United States.

The Budget? Fudge it
Some miracle this, the apparition of swadeshi has all but disappeared from the Budget, and yet the Swadeshi Jagran Manch has lost its voice of protest. Ashok Mitra offers a trenchant critique of the Budget.

Sanctions will not succeed: Hegde
The commerce minister said America wants global markets for its products and India is poised to be the biggest market in the years to come. The purchasing power of Indians is much higher than that of the Chinese, he said.

Infrastructure sector improves in 1997-98
Seven infrastructural and core industries have recorded a growth rate of 5.5 per cent in April-February 1997-98 as compared to 3.1 per cent during April-February 1996-97.


Malaysia offers to help Andhra Pradesh set up a construction board


Stocks Weekly Review: Sensex touches 20-month low

June 20

Govt plans interim budget due to sanctions
Officials said Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has been asked by Prime Minister A B Vajpayee to prepare a contingency plan to minimise the impact of the tough US measures.

'Payment crisis, not sanctions, hit Sensex'
But other factors combined to push the Sensex down by nearly 150 points though the rupee remained nearly unaffected.

Britain not to block investments in India
Sir David Gore-Booth, Britain's high commissioner to India, said his country's trade will continue as usual with India. "Existing investments would also be there. However, new investors would look at India carefully," he said.

'Sanctions will not affect all US trade with India but will still hit the prospects of both countries'
Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade David Aaron said it is doubtful the sanctions 'will cripple' India's economy and economic development. They would nevertheless diminish the ability of US companies to pursue projects in India and block new financing by international financial institutions.

US spells out sanctions on India, Pak
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said the measures were not designed to punish or isolate the two countries, but to send a message to them and any other countries thinking of going nuclear that there are heavy economic costs in such a decision.

Unjustified, counterproductive, says India
Claims measures interfered with the free flow of trade, investment and technology.

Steps taken to protect rupee, PM told
India ready to face the impact of international developments on the economy, says RBI Governor Bimal Jalan.


Forex: Rs 42.18/20; Re steady despite sanctions

BSE: 3143.10 points; Sensex tumbles by 150 points

NSE: 913.25; Nifty slides 31.5 points

June 19

Software scrips shatter gloom
In a market where even heavyweights like ITC, Indian Hotels, TELCO and TISCO need more than a push to move a few points, the software scrips are going through the roof.

BSE confident of resolving payment crisis
The payment crisis erupted when certain brokers who had bought shares could not mop up sufficient funds to take delivery. The Bombay Stock Exchange may now use money from the Trade Guarantee Fund to bail out the defaulters.

Industry showed 17.5 per cent drop in sales
According to a study conducted by Industrial Development Bank of India, net margin of 550 companies declined from 9.1 per cent to 6.6 per cent in 1996-97.

New civil aviation policy imminent, says Ananth Kumar
The civil aviation minister has said the new policy would seek to amend the 50-year-old air traffic rules, besides encouraging privatisation of the industry.

Deve Gowda asks Tatas to clarify
"If Mr Hegde (who alleged that a United Front leader had sought a Rs 500 million bribe to clear the Bangalore international airport project) has got minimum decency, he should name the leader who had approached the Tatas," he added.

Power crisis halts Goa's industrial development
Goa will not be able to exploit the tax holiday - till 2000 -- granted by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition because of its crippling power crisis.


Forex: Rs 42.18/20; rupee fails to sustain initial appreciation

BSE:3292.33 points; Sensex crashes by over 100 points

NSE:956.15 points; Nifty slips 20.35 points

June 18

US to spell out sanctions this week
Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth said, ''These sanctions will hurt'' and ''will remain in place for a very long time unless there are concrete steps taken by both countries.''

Sensex fall is a short-term phenomenon: Templeton chief
Franklin Templeton Funds Chairman Charles Johnson and Templeton India CEO Vijay Advani said that the long-term prospects auger well for the economy.

SEBI bans short sales to arrest Sensex fall
Considering that the regulatory authority is resorting to the measure after nearly six years - the last occasion was at the height of the securities scam of 1992 - shows the gravity of the situation.

'There are easily a thousand Dhirubhais'
'I firmly, and sincerely believe in this,' argues Dhirubhai H Ambani. 'They are raring to join the race. Compete with the world. And make India an economic superpower.'


'Infectious impatience is Papa's hallmark. We all want to inculcate it.'
'He wants to grow the Reliance family bigger. Why 5 million (shareholders)? Why not 500 million? I think that is why he is taking so much serious interest in agriculture. That is where he thinks India's future lies,' Mukesh Ambani talks about his daddy's plans, his past and his spirit of adventure, in an interview.


Rs 6.15 billion FII outflow

CSO study shows higher industrial production growth


Forex: Rs 42.14/17; Rupee gains as dollar weakens against world currencies

BSE:3400.95; Sensex skyrockets by 239.87 points due to SEBI ban, FI support

NSE:976.50 points; Nifty shoots up by 66.40 points

June 17

JUNE 1998 Dhirubhai Ambani becomes first Indian to get Wharton School Dean's Medal
In his acceptance speech, the Reliance Industries Limited chairman urged greater speed in making India an economic superpower in the next 25 years. "Our dreams have to be bigger, ambitions higher, commitment deeper and efforts greater. This is my dream for Reliance. It is my dream for India," he said.

When politicians caught up with each other
Piramal Group Chairman Ayay Piramal agreed that it was strange that more captains of industry did not turn up at the Wharton function. What could be the reason? "Who really knows," he said, "maybe they aren't happy with Ambani's great success!"

Only Dhirubhai!
'Men like Dhirubhai held their own against the world. It was their spirit of enterprise, their fierce ambition, their defiance against the old order that has brought modern India where it is today. Right in the centre of the new world of emerging markets,' says Pritish Nandy.

Japan refuses to lift sanctions because of Maruti deal
Japanese Ambassador to New Delhi Hiroshi Hirabayashi said, ''The Maruti problem, having been solved, is an enouraging element for bilateral investment and trade between the two countries. However, this is one thing and nuclear tesing and how to discuss its aftermath is completely different.''

US keen on imposing sanctions
White House spokesman Mike McCurry said,''Well, I think the Asian financial situation could conceivably have a broad impact in the United States and throughout the industrialised nations, but it has much more to do with the overall status of the economies in the (South Asian) region and not specifically the sanctions policy with respect to India and Pakistan.''

UF leader demanded Rs 500 million bribe to clear Bangalore international airport: Hegde
The Union commerce minister, however, declined to disclose the name of the leader.


Sanctions may not lead to substantial outflow of dollars
The economists were of the opinion that a five per cent growth can be achieved in the current year. This rate of growth has become a ''habit'' with the economy even though it is low for the current year.


Forex: Rs 42.41/42; Rupee slide continues

BSE:3,161.08; Sensex touches 20-month low, but recovers

NSE:910.10; Nifty drops further

June 16

Sensex crashes to 52-week low amidst rumours
At the end of the day, the BSE Sensex lost 194.45 points against the previous week's close of 3347.41.

Big Bull adds to Sensex woes
Harshad Mehta once again rampaged through the Bombay Stock Exchange, creating a panic in the market.

Sanctions, fear of losing legal battle sparked Maruti 'sellout'
A report from the attorney general said the government was on a weak wicket in the case against Suzuki in the International Court of Arbitration. The fear of the legal loss coupled with the government's keenness to send a conciliatory signal to the Japanese government forced the Centre to patch up with Suzuki.

RBI simplifies transactions among FIIs
The Reserve Bank of India has announced that transactions among foreign institutional investors will no longer require its post-facto confirmation.

CBI pulled up in securities scam
Coming down heavily on the investigating agency for non-compliance of the special court order, Justice S N Varaiva asked it to complete its fresh investigations by September 15.


'Urban Land Ceiling Act repeal will lower property prices'
'Everybody is clamouring that you need roads, power, and bridges. But nobody is talking about good quality office space or decent housing that are essential for corporations to move into this country,' says Akshaya Kumar, chief executive officer of Colliers Jardine, the international real estate firm, in an exclusive interview.


ICSE to introduce forward trades, derivatives

Excise duty cripples tile industry