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October 31, 1998

No changes in bank rate, CRR, repo;
RBI recommends banking reforms

The Reserve Bank of India made several far-reaching recommendations on banking reforms in line with the suggestions of the second Narasimham Committee, and refrained from the usual changes in the mid-term credit policy review.

I've given sufficient time to banks to shape up'
'We have taken a three- to four-year perspective to implement the Narasimham Committee recommendations in terms of greater capital adequacy in order to strengthen the balance sheets of banks. These measures will only have a positive impact, and sufficient time is there for banks to plan and take measures in line with the committee recommendations and international standards,' says Dr Bimal Jalan.

Hike in capital adequacy ratio will help
cut NPAs in the long-term

Leading bankers feel the RBI has done well to recognise that the credit offtake has started showing an encouraging trend that should not be disturbed.

Working group set up to simplify export finance
The objective is to make available export credit on line, including foreign currency loans, on the basis of performance, with minimum paperwork, and to provide related services efficiently.

NBFC registrations to be done by yearend
Of about 9,000 applications from non-banking finance companies found eligible for registration on the basis of a minimum net owned fund of Rs 2.5 million, the RBI has already decided on 7,300.

RBI lifts minimum period curbs
on ready-forward deals

The decision has been taken in the backdrop of the inter-bank liabilities having been exempted from the maintenance of cash reserve ratio and to enable banks and other participants in the repo market to adjust their liquidity in a more flexible manner.

Capital to risk assets ratio hiked to 9 per cent
On the real effective exchange rate of the rupee, the RBI governor said, "We will ensure that lumpy and uneven demand, particularly for oil imports and debt-servicing obligations of the government, does not cause any disturbance in the orderly functioning of the foreign exchange market."


'Three pc agricultural growth rate?
RBI is overoptimistic'

There has been a tremendous loss of paddy and other crops all over the country because of unseasonal rains. Agricultural growth rate will be not more than 2.5 per cent. Industrial output will grow by not more than 5.5 per cent, though the RBI expects it to grow by 6 per cent, says economist Jiban K Mukhopadhyay.

RBI is not in a hurry to ease repo rate
The central bank's decision -- a bolt from the blue, as it were -- to create an environment for introducing interest swaps will help call-money market players, both direct lenders and borrowers, says financial analyst C Girish.

Technocratic credit policy from India's
Greenspan, say industry bodies

The decision to establish a V-SAT network, the repo network and regulation of money market players is a swell one, the Indian Merchants' Chamber said.


Strong financial, private sector must for
full convertibility, says IMF paper

Dr Fleming Larsen, deputy director of the IMF research department, said capital convertibility was the right objective for India in the long run, but certain essential conditions had to be in place.

Get credit-rated or face attachment:
HC warns 592 agro-forestry firms

The companies have allegedly cheated investors of millions of rupees. The court has given them three weeks to get their credit rated by SEBI-approved agencies, or else...

RBI exposes misleading ads
The central bank revealed that the realisable value of the assets of Kuber Mutual Benefits exceeds its total outside liabilities by Rs 9.1 million and the company is deemed solvent.


BSE: 2812.49; BSE discounts credit policy, Sensex down 32 points

October 30, 1998

'Taking a dogmatic anti-western view is dangerous'
'I think we cannot achieve high growth rates (like China's) without having a much more participatory democracy.' An exclusive interview with Economics Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen.


'The credit policy can have impact if it allows the banks to shape their own lending operations'
'It is not that the banks do not want to lend but the returns on primary lending are very low. So one major improvement that can be made is reduction of the statutory liquidty ratio,' argues economist Prof Raghbendra Jha.


'We must develop a positive attitude toward wealth and creativity, and use the patents to our advantage'
'There are three benefits that a person who has a new product gains from India's two agreements on patents: one, he can determine if there is a market for his product in the market; two, he can find an international sponsor; and, three, since the product is available and becomes known, he will find out if the same is known elsewhere and thereby save him the trouble of patenting the product,' says patent law expert Praveen Anand.


Goa's plan to sell excess power to private sector may fall through
The tourist state plans to invite bids from the private sector so that it can sell unharnessed 50 mw from the western grid. The plan is to sell the excess power for one year. But it does not have the infrastructure to draw its full quota of power. And setting up facilities will itself take one year.

Morgan Stanley moves India to the top slot in emerging markets index
Barring the UTI episode and huge fiscal deficit, the fundamentals in India are under control, within reasonable limits as compared to other markets like Taiwan and Korea, Morgan Stanley managing director and global emerging markets strategist Robert Pelosky said.


Tisco's H1 net dips to Rs 963.2m
The economic slowdown has impacted the half yearly results. While volumes of production and sales during the first six months of 1998-99 increased marginally, net realisations were lower, and income from operations came down by 6.60 per cent.

IDBI's H1 net up 2.3 pc to Rs 7.05 billion; power sector is top beneficiary
Industry-wise, the share of electricity generation in overall assistance sanctioned (32.7 per cent) was the highest, followed by chemicals and chemical products (13.8 per cent), textile (6.7 per cent), iron and steel (6.2 per cent) and telecommunication services (four per cent).

MTNL posts Rs 6.75 billion net profit in H1
The company has shown a remarkable growth during this period by earning a revenue of Rs 26.04 billion.


UTI raises sale and repurchase price of US-64
In November, the US-64 units will be sold at Rs 14.70 and repurchased at Rs 14.40. In December, the prices will be Rs 14.80 and Rs 14.50 respectively.

Government waves green signal to municipal bonds
Municipal corporations and municipalities will issue tax free bonds upto an amount of Rs 2 billion during 1998-99.


BSE: 2845.16; Sensex recovers 12 points

NSE: 832.25; Nifty down two points

Forex: Rs 42.33/34 vs US dollar
               Rs 70.87 vs pound sterling
               Rs 25.68 vs deutsche mark
               Rs 36.27 vs Japanese yen (100)

October 29, 1998


Bankers expect credit policy to be a cool 'review'
SBI chairman Verma feels there won't be any changes in the interest rate structure in the forthcoming credit policy since the bank credit offtake from the corporate sector has just started picking up from the current month, as compared to negative growth rate in the previous months.

Jalan says things are OK, credit policy must be a non-event; foresees 'genuine revival' in a few months
''As already mentioned in April, the October review should be an occasion to reflect on the current monetary situation rather than to bring about changes in the monetary policy measures. The changes should occur as and when required and not on any specific date,'' Bimal Jalan said.


'For the first time, the credit policy will be different'
'The credit policy is likely to focus more on macro economic review rather than specific measures or steps. Bimal Jalan may not reduce the CRR but may cut the repo rate,' says banking analyst A V Rajwade.


Cabinet panel okays Cochin Refineries tie-up plan for power project
The Cabinet Committe on Economic Affairs meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, also stressed speedy and timely flow of credit to small scale industrial sector.

NBFC task force moots RBI control, rejects deposit insurance plan
The state governments should expeditiously consider enacting legislation on the lines of the legislation by Tamil Nadu on unincorporated financial intermediaries, the panel said.

Volte face in Goa over power privatisation
Private power generation would be now permitted only by competitive bidding and after signing the power purchase agreement to sell it to the government.

Implement buyback fast, new FICCI chief tells government
Sudhir Jalan said the scheme of lending against securities should be made more effective by removing impediments on individuals to borrow against shares and debentures.

Moves afoot to raise tax free bonds for annual housing projects
The banking sector may be asked to allocate more funds for housing, both by expanding the percentage of incremental deposits as well as by earmarking dedicated funds under the priority sector for housing for economically weaker sections and low income groups.

Money Bill: IMC submits views to parliamentary panel
The Indian Merchants' Chamber has recommended changes in the proposed bill to prevent money laundering.


BSE: 2833.04; Sensex crashes 63 points

NSE: 833.85; Nifty loses over seven points

Forex: Rs 42.24/25 vs dollar
               Rs 70.71/74 vs pound sterling
               Rs 25.64 vs DM
               Rs 36.00 vs yen

October 28, 1998

Nafed to airlift 2250t onions from West Asia; imported bulbs 'not good', says Maharashtra CM; Delhi steps up subsidised supply
The vegetable price rise in India has acquired the touch of an international issue. Union government officials said onions seemed to have assumed political overtones. ''We fail to understand why it happens so on the election eve.'' They suspect onion traders of having formed a cartel to resort to hoarding.

Basu blasts PM's plan: 'It's a panic-ridden package, won't solve any problems'
Once again, Vajpayee has exposed the self-contradictory character of the swadeshi stance usually taken by the BJP by allowing in the 'revival package' the intrusion of foreign investment in the national insurance sector, the West Bengal chief minister and Marxist said.

FM assures 'transparent' inter-corporate investments, protection for NBFC-hit small investors
Yashwant Sinha rejected as ill-informed the Congress criticism of the government's decision to allow corporates to buyback their shares. "The Congress should go home and do its homework," he said, adding that the demand for buyback of shares was a long-pending one ignored by the Congress when it was in power.

HLL gross turnover upto Sep up 23 pc to Rs 76 billion
'We have continued our focus on volume growth and market development through consumer-relevent innovations. As a result, market shares increased in all key categories. The company has also initiated several steps to control costs and improve efficiencies,' HLL chairman K B Dadiseth said.

Telco incurs Rs 188.4 million net loss in Q2
The company's overall sales volume for the first half fell to 53,224 vehicles from 83,363 vehicles in the corresponding period of 1997-98, a drop of 36 per cent. The company's total income for the first half at Rs 27.46 billion was 29 per cent lower than the Rs 38.81 billion recorded in the previous year.

Former Indian Bank CMD, eight officials chargesheeted
According to the chargesheet, Gopalakrishnan and the officials entered into a criminal conspiracy during 1994-95 with another accused, M Vardharajalu, chairman of the MVR group of companies, to cheat Indian Bank in sanctioning secured overdraft of Rs 300 million by submitting false documents as security in the name of various companies.


BSE: 2895.84; Sensex crawls up six points

NSE: 841.60; Nifty loses over three points

Forex: Rs 42.25/26 vs dollar
               Rs 70.35/47 vs pound sterling
               Rs 25.45 vs DM
               Rs 35.35 vs yen

October 27, 1998

Moves afoot to clinch power deal with Pakistan
"If the strategic power purchase deal succeeds, it would be the first major triumph of Vajpayee's diplomatic offensive through the commercial route," a Power Ministry official told Rediff On The Net.

Mixed reactions greet Cabinet nod to buyback proposal
Modalities for giving effect to the Cabinet decision are being worked out. The amended laws relating to buying back of shares would be effective from the day of notification by the Department of Company Affairs.

SBI net up 21 pc to Rs 8.57b; NPAs up to 6.10 pc; 'Tough times ahead for banks, we'll be pro-active,' says Verma
Chairman Verma said SBI deploys about 20 per cent of its total credit portfolios in infrastructure sector as terms loans. Its investment in secondary stock market was in the region of Rs 10 billion while in the Unit Trust of India's US-64 scheme it was about Rs 1 billion. This portfolio may vary at any point of time depending on yields, he said.


Emerging government-industry partnership is a good omen for economy
The economic liberalisation and deregulation initiative of 1991 signalled a break with India's socialist anti-business past. The formal creation of the Economic Advisory Council is a further step towards jettisoning India's socialist legacy, writes Dilip Thakore.


As Iran tightens exports, Dubai traders mull re-export of onions from Egypt, Turkey to India
Market sources said the increase in demand for Iran's onions both for local consumption in Dubai and for re-export to India has led Iran to fix the export price at $ 350 per tonne, in a bid to counter cheap, illegal exports. This has sparked a 100 per cent rise in wholesale price of onions in Dubai.

Goa cracks the whip on mining houses for not registering 'machinery-vehicles'
The transport department teams found 64 non-registered vehicles in late night raids. The mining houses now under scrutiny are Chowgule, Dempo, Salgaocar, Timblo and Sesa Goa. It is alleged the total evasion will run into millions.

Kelkar's visit prods UTI to moot several measures to shape up
It is believed that the domestic FIs will soon emulate the UTI which has been on a selective shopping spree in the stock market.

Air-India meets working capital needs without borrowings in H1
Measures like vigorous marketing strategy, efficient fleet management and cost-cutting measures are said to have improved the airline finances.


BSE: 2889.71; Sensex spurts 105 points

NSE: 845.25; Nifty up over 27 points

Forex: Rs 42.25/26 vs dollar
               Rs 71.02 vs pound sterling
               Rs 25.58 vs DM
               Rs 35.50 vs yen

October 25-26, 1998

Vajpayee unveils multi-point agenda for boosting economy
The government has announced full support to the Unit Trust of India in honouring its obligations irrespective of the developments relating to the institution's US-64 scheme, setting up a transparent disinvestment mechanism within the next 30 days and undertaking structural improvements in demat trading and settlements.

Five pc additional acquisition requires open offer, rules SEBI
The SEBI-constituted Bhagwati Committee examined issues of substantial acquisitions of shares and takeovers. It suggested that upon acquiring two per cent of shares, persons holding 15 per cent to 75 per cent of shares should disclose details to the stock exchanges and any acquisitions beyond the five per cent limit shall mandate an open offer in terms of the regulations.


Idlis, dosas, pizzas, Madras is full of pizazz!
Bored housewives prefer to bite a small-size pizza before the afternoon siesta. Young Archie-admirers live out their fantasies calling up home delivery services when parents are out. Business executives take their friends and clients out to pizza joints for high lunch. Grandads, dads and kids team up to celebrate the Italian delicacy in the land of sambar and pongal.


At the receiving end
Dazzled by globalisation, state ministries are as blind to the dangers of unchecked access to foreign aid as New Delhi is, writes Ashok Mitra.


Attach Murdoch's properties in India, orders Delhi CMM in obscenity case against STAR
The external affairs ministry had expressed its inability to execute the orders of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Prem Kumar to arrest and produce the Los Angeles-based media baron to face the obscenity charges in India, on the ground that such offences are not covered under the extradition treaty.

Pune-Bombay expressway project work on in full swing
The travel time between Pune and Bombay will be reduced to a mere two hours. The expressway would be thrown open to vehicular traffic by December 1999, Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi said.

Karnataka ryots body demands ban on Monsanto's patented food
The Karnataka rajya Ryota Sangha would first 'educate' the state and Central governments on the dangers of genetically altered and patented food. If that failed, it would resort to 'direct democratic action' . In the past, the Sangha ransacked outlets of multinational companies like Cargill Seeds and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Bangalore.

Tatas to invest Rs 30 billion in auto component ventures by 2005
Tata Toyo Radiators in Pune, a joint venture of Tata Auto Components, Toyo and Mitsubishi, will make components for the small cars of various companies, including Telco. The new company will educate the manufacturers and later the end-users on the 'fit-and-forget' radiators that do not require to be filled with water.

ONGC plans to develop Russia's oil fields; new policy to open up exploration
US oil majors Mobil and Caltex, companies from Russia, former Soviet states, Iran and Iraq are keen on oil exploration projects in India.

Waiver nod to Clinton first of many measures for lifting economic sanctions, says FM
Sinha has described as a ''positive step'' the Congress decision to give US President Bill Clinton waiver authority to lift sanctions imposed on India.

High-level panel to be formed to develop tourism as export industry
The government has also decided to observe Visit India Year from April 1,1999 to March 31, 2000. Foreigners and non-resident Indians who visit the country during this period will get special concessions in railway and airline fares and in hotels.


Weekly Review:: Subdued sentiment shows signs of shaping up after Sinha's visit

October 24, 1998

FM makes light of ratings, says economy is picking up
After failing to assess correctly the Asian meltdown, rating agencies are playing it safe. If the finance ministry officials come to Bombay, it does not mean it's about the US-64 scheme. 'Appropriate measures' will be taken to shore up the capital markets. Buyback issue is 'under consideration'. Inflation is high only in prices of edible items, not manufactured goods. Excerpts from Sinhaspeak: The FM's Day Out in Bombay.

Forward into the past!
The Goa bench of the Bombay high court has ruled that the Tata housing project is on forest land. It further ordered stoppage of all development work and restoration of greenery, and quashed all licences obtained so far. The Tatas can move the Supreme Court within six weeks.


Two don't tango: NSE index one step ahead of icon Sensex
The National Stock Exchange seems to offer a contrast to the Bombay Stock Exchange in being in sync with the times.


Sinha favours derivatives, open budget, common market, well-behaved stock markets
The finance minister said that if stock markets do not behave rationally, then it may be necessary to impose checks and controls which may not be desirable. He also deplored the secretive nature of budget-making. 'We tend to live with what we have received and the decision to change and change radically is often completely absent. If we do not summon enough courage to make this radical change, then budgets of the Central and state governments will become meaningless.'

Three sites shortlisted for international airport project in Hyderabad
The Airports Authority of India will finalise the site in December. Private parties will execute the project and are expected to pay royalties to the state government after the airport becomes operational.


BSE: 2784.46; Sensex up 20 points

NSE: 817.35; Nifty up over five points

Forex: Rs 42.28/29 vs dollar
               Rs 71.64 vs pound sterling
               Rs 25.76 vs DM
               Rs 35.67 vs yen

October 23, 1998

SBI pulls out trump card, seeks to take credit for plastic smiles
The credit card business is expected to swell with the largest bank's well-plotted entry. But only just. The public sector culture, it is feared, might end up pushing up NPAs.

The greening of Aravali: EU offers additional grant, extends project
What were once brown, barren hills are now hectares of greenery full of life and wildlife. Satellite images have proved that the Haryana government has pulled off an ecological coup. So much so the European Union and other international donor agencies are willing to offer additional funds for the overall improvement of the Aravali region.


Why car-makers zoom in singing Aapka Bharat Mahaan
It is not as if the Great Indian Middle Class is on a car-shopping spree. Then why are foreign automobile manufacturers driving in where domestic companies fear to race? It's easy to find a market for rejects supported by inferior after-sales service, that's why, argues Veeresh Malik.


Solution to India's poverty 'within reach', avers Amartya Sen
'What is required is the acknowledgement of the seriousness of India's massive poverty rather than getting bogged down in some kind of dogmatic debate about whether you rely 100 per cent on market or reject market mechanism 100 per cent,' Prof Sen told Voice of America.

Sinha, Kelkar head for Bombay, moves afoot to stem the financial rot
The Union government has decided to take stock of the continuing crisis in the Indian stock markets. The finance minister and the finance secretary are seeking to turn around US-64, Unit Trust of India's flagship scheme this is in rough weather.

Maharashtra to leverage agri conference to boost exports
The aim of Agro Advantage Maharashtra beginning November 6 is to bring about a revolutionary change in the agriculture sector, attract foreign investment and moot changes in policies for horticulture and cooperative fields.


NSE: 811.60; Nifty slides three points

October 21-22, 1998

RBI unlikely to buckle as pressure to ease NPA norms mounts
According to an FII estimate, if five per cent of the current outstanding loans were to turn non-performing, the incremental provisioning and loss of interest income can shave-off up to 60 per cent of the projected net profits of the larger banks this fiscal.

Desperately seeking Goa: New taxes may follow booze hike
The implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission's recommendations has hit the tourist state hard. To overcome the resource crunch, it is planning to impose taxes on the service and entertainment sectors, besides seeking Rs 1.5 billion grant from the Centre.


When four corporates enliven the four-wheeler circus
As the race for the small car market gathers speed, some players are finding the track too bumpy. A close look at the 'Grand Indian Prix' amuses Veeresh Malik no end.


Experts want credit policy to bring FIs under RBI purview
Policy expectations are that a hike in prime lending rate and bank rate are forthcoming. But the cash reserve ratio may be left unchanged.

Essel Packaging to set up Rs 425 million joint venture in Germany
The laminated tubes venture with German firm Argenta International is strategically located close to Poland and other East European countries and will have direct access to Russia.

Minister moots Highways Authority, foreign investment in expressway projects
The Centre has identified 11,500 kilometres of existing roads for express highway projects. The port development authorities and the automobile sector would be asked to invest; in return they would be allowed to levy special taxes on the land situated near the expressways.


BSE: 2764.16; Sensex nosedives by 89 points

NSE: 808.70; Nifty slides 22 points

Forex: Rs 42.28/29 vs dollar
               Rs 72.10 vs pound sterling
               Rs 25.86 vs DM
               Rs 36.07 vs yen

October 18-20, 1998

Countdown begins for launch of world-class B-school in Hyderabad
The governing board has decided that the school will offer two programmes: a one-year post-graduate diploma equivalent to an MBA for students with two to five years of work experience and specially designed short-term programmes. Doctoral and faculty research programmes are likely to be introduced later.

Economics is not a kind of business, it's not the job of economists to eliminate business cycles, says Amartya Sen
'I think it would be nice to eliminate them and, indeed, it is possible certainly to reduce them. But the fact that sometimes these things would happen does not indicate that these times are worth nothing,'' the Nobel laureate said.


Something is rotten in India's financial system
The growing number of institutional loans and advances morphing into NPAs are vetoing or skyrising the cost of credit for capable and competent entrepreneurs and corporates, writes Dilip Thakore.

Lies, damned lies, and economics
In sum, China is 'really a puny power with vast problems', and 'the analogy with Russia includes the failure to collect taxes, regional power-brokers thumbing their noses at the Central authorities, and most disturbingly, growing capital flight'. India's Marxists, forever genuflecting towards China, kindly take note -- your gods have feet of clay, points out Rajeev Srinivasan.


Centre for Development of Entrepreneurship to be operational by year end
The centre plans to undertake surveys of sick industrial units for the purpose of developing case studies. It would conduct research to identify problems being faced by the entrepreneurs and help them in finding alternatives for them. Besides, surveys to identify the areas requiring youth entrepreneurial skill and scope of relevant industry will be taken up.

Congress terms PM's economic talk as wishful thinking, suspects higher fiscal deficit
There is no sign of either industrial revival or substantial exports growth for the current year. Assuming agriculture at its higher level of growth, it is extremely difficult to make up the deficiencies caused by slow industrial and export growth, the party said.

Moorat trading on October 19
The BSE and the NSE will reopen on Monday for the special session amid speculation that the new trading year may see a moderate recovery.


Weekly Review:: Samvat ends, hopes begin as BSE revamps sluggish Sensex

October 17, 1998

Fall year that was: Sensex lost 25 per cent as shares touched record lows
Recalling the olden days, a senior BSE broker said Samvat has lost its importance because the exchange and the brokers' offices have given up the old accounting systems, thanks to computerisation. After Laxmi Pooja on Diwali day, the moorat trading used to be performed. Things have changed, but we continue the moorat to keep alive a tradition, he said.

Flow of NRI deposits to Kerala turns to a trickle, rattles banks
The NRI deposits grew by only Rs 5.12 billion during the first three months of the current financial year compared to a growth of Rs 200.07 billion during the previous three months ending March 1998. Exasperated banks are groping for causes.

Maruti fires fresh salvo, dealers to have individual promo campaigns
The vehicles would be picked up for service and delivered back at the customers' doorstep. Effort are on to increase productivity levels at the workshops and to improve the front office operations at workshops, MUL managing director R S S L N Bhaskaruddu said.


'India cannot be considered as one market'
'India is a complex market. There are so many states; and the demand varies across the states. We have to make profits by this year-end. If not, we will be not here.' As Daewoo Electronics moves up from TVs and refrigerators to audio systems, air-conditioners, computer monitors and video recorders, president and CEO Joo-Bum Chun delineates the company's philosophy.


Sen's Nobel Prize evokes mixed response from US media
'Throughout his long career and voluminous writings, Amartya Sen has done little but give voice to the muddleheaded views of the Establishment leftists who dominate his world of academics and non-governmental organisations,' Robert Pollock wrote in The Wall Street Journal..

Tatas open to refeasibility study for Bangalore airport project, says aviation minister
The Centre has also earmarked Rs 17.5 million for the construction of a 9,500 feet new runway for Boeing flights at the Bajpe Airport. But the Karnataka government needs to hand over 730 acres for the project to take off, Ananth Kumar said.


BSE: 2848.11; Sensex sheds nine points

NSE: 839.50; Nifty up over three points

Forex: Rs 42.31/32 vs dollar
               Rs 72.03 vs pound sterling
               Rs 26.27 vs DM
               Rs 37.07 vs yen

October 16, 1998

Sen pleased at recognition to welfare

Though Sen downplayed his Nobel achievement, saying there were many others who deserved the prize and he wished he could share it with them, those who know him well said it couldn't have happened to a nicer person.


'It is very difficult to be absolutely certain what the economic policy at the moment is'
'There is much to learn from East Asia -- I know that these days people are sceptical because of their financial crisis, but it would be a great mistake to underestimate what East Asia did achieve. The transformation of economies, beginning with Japan, then South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, then China, then Thailand, have been major achievements that we mustn't belittle because of their present-day financial crisis.' Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen talks on the issues close to his heart.


Big wars imminent for small car market
Several new models are to be launched in India. But the market is woefully short on any sort of research and development activity. The automobile revolution in India seems to have bypassed the public transport segment. The fuel quality is not improving. Cars are over-priced, writes Veeresh Malik.


PM, economic council mull slowdown, agree on making financial sector resilient
Vajpayee suggested a number of measures including reduction in government expenditure, a sensible expenditure management policy, improvement in the tax-GDP ratio, widening the net for direct taxes and eliminating exemptions.

US rises against WTO ruling in India's favour
United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky has challenged the World Trade Organisation ruling that America discriminated against India and three other countries while implementing its sea turtle law.

Sanctions have not hit business relations, says Celeste
Speaking at a function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries, western region in Bhopal on Wednesday, the US ambassador to India said the relationship between US business houses, scientists and technocrats and their Indian counterparts was not affected by the sanctions.

Top booze brands become dearer in cash-starved Goa
The government has hiked excise duty on top brands of liquor and beer imported from other states. The Bharatiya Janata Party has termed it a scandalous act. ''The chief minster is protecting the local liquor lobby in a manipulative manner.''

UTI will meet its obligations, reassures Sinha
The finance minister said the government will fully back the Unit Trust of India. He said the UTI has adequate liquidity to meet its commitments to investors.

HLL-Pond's merger okayed with retrospective effect
The merger of Pond's (India) Limited with Hindustan Lever Limited was accomplished today, with retrospective effect from January 1, 1998, which is the appointed date for the merger under the scheme of amalgamation.

MDI to hold three management events in four weeks
The Management Development Institute is gearing up for OPSCON '98, an international conference on supply chain management, a 'Retreat' on 'Developing Organisations for the 21st Century' and a conclave on 'corporate leadership, performance ethics and governance'. Corporate czars and policy-makers will converge to rewrite the agenda for India Inc.


BSE: 2857.27; Sensex declines 33 points

NSE: 835.65; Nifty down over 7points

October 1-15
September 16-30