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October 30-31, 1999

Policy With Potentially Profound Implications
"The RBI is responsive and ready to aid the incipient revival of industrial growth; it is taking financial market reforms steadily further. But the RBI is a bit short in planning and spelling out a medium term strategy," says Raghbendra Jha.

Banks may yet be able to operate an MMMF without starting an AMC
"Despite the improved economic and political situation, the RBI has continued to adopt a cautious stance in case of the monetary policy," says Ashish Parthasarthy.

The RBI Monetary and Credit Policy 1999-2000: Second half
Full coverage: news reports, review, analysis, highlights, reactions, columns, links to related Websites.

Stock markets: Spectre of Dark Diwali persists
The BSE Sensex has lost 360 points in the last four trading sessions as FIIs went on a selling spree while bulls closed long positions.

Anti-bill insurance employees go on a country-wide strike
LIC and GIC have over 200,000 employees who oppose end of the state monopoly in the insurance sector.

Money Laundering Bill tabled, FEMA Bill deferred
The bill seeks introduction of steps to deal with wealth acquired through narcotics trafficking and other heinous crimes.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 150 points to 4444, Nifty down 40 points to 1325, rupee steady at Rs 43.38 to US $

October 29, 1999

Dark Diwali?
Stock markets get year-end shivers.

Clinton lifts sanctions, India welcomes move
However, all but two sanctions against Pakistan remain.

Sinha tables insurance, derivatives, securities tribunal bills in Lok Sabha
The introduction of the controversial IRDA bill was marked by procedural wrangles that lasted for over an hour.

Ranbaxy to focus on US, China for global market-share
It will introduce value-added products in the US markets, enter into over-the-counter segment in China, come out with new brand marketing in the UK by year 2000, and shift its focus on to Brazil, West Europe, Russia in the coming year.

SEBI suspends 3 more brokers in case that caused payment crisis
SEBI's investigations have found BSE member Satyanarayan Nangalia and NSE members Valfin Financial Services and Asian Securities and Stock Limited guilty in the BPL-Videocon- Sterlite share price manipulation case of June '98.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 161 points to 4594, Nifty down 45 points to 1365, rupee steady at Rs 43.38 to US $

October 28, 1999

Transport strike called off
The government assured the All-India Motor Transport Congress that it would consider declaring the sector an industry. It also agreed to withdraw the notification increasing licence and other fees. But it refused to roll back the diesel price increase.

Credit Policy: Assocham seeks review of cross subsidisation for priority sector
Non-performing assets of banks are over eight per cent and add to the spread between the cost of funds and the lending rates, the chamber told the RBI.

'Industry has no choice but to accept techniques like logistics'
"Unless companies supply products on time, unless they get things done on time, India's competitiveness is going to get eroded,'' says
L Ganesh, chairman, CII southern region which is organising Logistics 99 in Madras.

President's address has enough hints for Bimal Jalan
If the RBI Governor feels assured of action on the fiscal side, there is a clear case for a two percentage point cut in bank rate. Only a fairly large cut will have the desired psychological impact on the economy," says R C Murthy.

HLL's net profit in 1999 up 23 pc at Rs 7.24 billion
Turnover during the third quarter rose by 7 per cent to Rs 24.51 billion. The domestic home and personal care business and the food categories recorded significant volume growth with the exception of tea and ice-cream business.

IDBI Q2 net profit down 40 per cent at Rs 2.05 billion
Income from operations stood higher by Rs 1.12 billion at Rs 19.24 billion during the quarter ended September 30.

ACC Q2 net profit down 86 per cent at Rs 16.7 million
Despite over 11 per cent growth in sales volume to Rs 13.28 billion from Rs 11.91 billion during April-September, cement price realisation declined by nearly four per cent, company sources said.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 57 points to 4755, Nifty down four points to 1410, rupee up a tad at Rs 43.38 to US $

October 27, 1999

Future through Bull's Eyes
Pritish Nandy interviews capital market genius Harshad Mehta who takes stock of India Inc.

Experts call for CRR cut, growth-oriented, demand-generative credit policy
The RBI should bring down the lending rates by at least two per cent in view of prevailing low inflation rate. India's PLR should be comparable with Asian countries, industry leaders said.

Transporters' strike continues in some parts, govt firm on diesel price hike
Supply of essentials is being maintained. The railways have made special arrangements, commercial and government vehicles are being used to keep the situation under control, the government said.

Transporters deny rift, continue strike
Meanwhile, taxis in Bombay also went off the roads in protest against a crackdown by the Maharashtra transport commissioner against polluting vehicles.

The Other Side of the Demat System
Dematerialisation of shares was considered the panacea for all stock market operational problems. But it is an expensive alternative and could be risky, says Devangshu Datta.

Citibank exec to manage Pakistan's finances
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, 49, is viewed by his peers as a brilliant banker and by successive governments as a touchstone of the new thinking needed to turn around an economy dragging a millstone of debt.

Adhere to CTBT, Richardson tells India
'I ask, here and now, that India end production of fissile material and join us in urging immediate negotiations for a global Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, strengthen its export controls, and restrain its missile programme,' the US energy secretary said.

Clinton authorised to waive sanctions
The US president signed the $268 billion defence-spending bill, which also gives him the authority to waive sanctions against India and Pakistan.

US links co-operation to nuke issues
'The progress in non-proliferation issues will definitely lead to Indo-US collaboration in many vital sectors,' said Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who arrived in New Delhi last night.

Kashmir apples rot on the roads as diesel-unhappy truckers strike work
This year's severe drought has already caused a great loss to J&K's fruit-growers. The strike is a setback for the fruit industry.

Japan to set up town in Goa for MNCs' benefit
By developing infrastructure of highest quality, the Industrial Model Town intends to bring in investment in hi-tech and sophisticated technology as well as export oriented units.

Telco back in the black, Q2 net profit at Rs 339.5 million
Profit for H1 of 1999-2000 stands at Rs 4.2 million, as against a loss of Rs 544.7 million in H1 of 1998-1999.

AP police may tie up with CBI, Interpol to trace 'vanishing company' promoter
Septuagenarian Roopchand Pardesi's business group allegedly raised Rs 2.5 billion in deposits from small investors before disappearing from Hyderabad.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 3 points to 4812, Nifty up 1 point to 1414, rupee down one paisa to Rs 43.39 to US $

October 26, 1999

Keeping Promises
Economists dissect the new government's 100 Days Mantra.

Top priority to economy: Narayanan
Economic reforms in financial and infrastructure sectors will make the Indian economy more sound and vibrant, the President told Parliament.

Talks only if govt negotiates diesel hike, says Transport Congress
The diesel hike could be withdrawn by bringing down the sales tax to a uniform four per cent across the country, the All India Motor Transport Congress said.

India against talks on non-trade issues at WTO's Seattle round
"It must be ensured that the WTO system subserves development and does not subvert it," Industry and Commerce Minister Murasoli Maran told ministers from 25 leading trade powers in Switzerland.

Apex Court asks govt to explain progress on TRIPS stance
The government had cited WTO obligations as reason for amending the Patents Act to grant exclusive marketing rights to MNCs. However, the TRIPS pact itself is coming up for review. But India has not taken any step so far to ensure that TRIPS is amended to suit its interests, a petition said.

Rs 400 bn projects to tackle peak power shortage in India
The terms and conditions for private sector participation in electricity transmission systems will be announced soon.

Sun Pharma to set up Rs 400 million research centre in Madras
The world class centre will have 150 scientists. They would focus on three therapy areas and expect to develop research leads for therapeutic alternatives.

FDI in 1999 may touch $ 3.5 billion, says industry secretary
India needs at least $ 10 bn of FDI if it wants to witness a 7 per cent GDP growth. To achieve 10 per cent growth of GDP, it requires $ 25 bn to 30 bn.

Duff and Phelps study sets out agenda for NDA govt
The new government has come to power at a time of cyclical recovery in the Indian economy. However, greater restructuring is required if the recovery is to be sustained, the economic update noted.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 32 points to 4815, Nifty down 20 points to 1413, rupee up two paise to Rs 43.38 to US $

October 24-25, 1999

Govt, transporters harden stand
The government said the transporters did not turn up for a fresh round of talks with transport ministry officials on Sunday. The transporters retorted that they were never invited.

Sinha offers a preview of second generation reforms
The government will abolish the approval route for foreign direct investment, launch aggressive tax reforms, cut fiscal deficit, said the finance minister.

India ready for WTO compromise
India may agree with the US and EU over the agenda for a new round of WTO talks, but is against increasing the group's focus on labour and environment.

Karnataka to go ahead with four pending power projects
The decision was taken to overcome the acute power supply shortage. The projects would add 1,000 mega-watts to the state power grid.

Hyundai exceeds production target for 1999
The Korean auto major's Indian subsidiary will have produced 55,000 cars by 1999-end, as against the target of 50,000 vehicles.

October 23, 1999

Asia's Best
Kerala govt launches a global scale campaign to turn the state into an eco-tourism destination.

Transporters' strike: Govt talks tough, not to roll back diesel price hike
Saying the government is not responsive to their demands, truck associations declared that the strike will continue. Prices of essentials shot up at some places due to panic-buying.

Coming up next for Cabinet nod: Companies Bill
Failure to report default in re-payment to small depositors to the Company Law Board within 60 days is proposed to be made a criminal offence, said Company Affairs Minister Ram Jethmalani.

World Bank's IFC keeps insurance foray plan alive
''We are ready to help in any way if there is any role for us in the insurance business,'' said Usha Rao Monari, the IFC's regional manager, new investments.

Railways to increase private sector role in new projects
Mamata Banerjee will interact with chambers of commerce and individual corporate entities to explore possibilities of tie-ups for projects.

Indian exec's arrest in France betrays racial arrogance, says IMC
In the context of the Peugeot tail lamp patent case, the IMC said it is not unusual for MNCs to file false complaints against smaller companies of the Third World to scare them away from the lucrative European and US markets.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 54 points to 4783, Nifty down 20 points to 1433, rupee up two paise to 43.40 to US $

October 22, 1999

Cabinet nods to money laundering, forex management, derivative trading bills, telecom package
The National Telecom Policy 1999 allows operators in cellular services in each service area the option of either accepting a package to bring in multipoly or remaining under the old regime based on licence fee.

Foreign investors still reluctant to come to India, says US envoy
The economy has an underlying capacity to grow and the Gross Domestic Product could exceed eight to nine per cent in coming years, said Richard Celeste.

RBI issues guidelines for risk management in commercial banks
The RBI said management of credit risk should receive prime attention of the board of directors.

Essar offers note-holders alternative options
The options included extending the maturity of the loan by 12 years on par with secured creditors of the company, extending maturity of the loan by five years and continuing as unsecured creditors or exit on a basis to be negotiated.

Maruti to launch super luxury car Baleno in mid-Nov
The price would be announced at the time of launch.

Tourism officials go on joyrides abroad, but tourist inflow remains same
"You cannot promote tourism by undertaking luxury cruises," a source told

Unions, Left decry Cabinet nod to insurance bill, industry hails it
"The current services from our public sector insurance houses are good. There is no need for any privatisation," said CPM leader Harkishen Singh Surjit.

OTCEI takes position for leap into New Millennium
New plans would ensure that the Over The Counter Exchange of India will emerge as the stock market of choice for knowledge-driven sectors of the economy, said chairman P S Subramanyam.

Tisco's H1 net profit dips 6.5 pc to Rs 654 million
Net sales during the second quarter ended September 30 rose by 16.56 per cent to Rs 17.07 billion from Rs 14.64 billion in the same quarter previous fiscal.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex crashes 106 points to 4837; Nifty down 24 points to 1453; rupee down three paise to 43.42 to US $

October 21, 1999

In Defence of Civil Society
M B Athreya on the need for harmony among the State, business and society.

Cabinet nods to insurance bill, tabling likely in winter session
In the 90-minute meeting, the Cabinet also discussed the transporters' strike over the diesel price hike.

Transporters' strike against diesel hike: States to invoke Essentials Act
Transporters do not want to accept anything but a decision by the government to revert the diesel prices to the October 5 level.

Unions to protest move to introduce insurance bill in Parliament
A nationwide strike would begin the day after the Insurance Regulatory Authority Bill is introduced in Parliament. The bill allows private and foreign companies in the sector, said insurance employees' associations.

Hudco to execute dwelling units project, says Jatia
The government would also lay stress on private sector participation in housing, said the new minister for urban employment and poverty alleviation.

Privatisation of power sector will be enhanced, says 'Ranga'
The power ministry had already worked out a 100-day agenda to carry out the proposed reforms, Kumaramangalam told the 1999 East Asia Economic Summit organised by the World Economic Forum in Singapore.

'Doctor' rules out artificial respiration for sick PSUs
The government would consider the option of infusion of fresh funds, domestic and foreign, into viable ailing PSUs, said Dr Vallabhai Kathuriya, minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises.

Reliance Q2 net up to Rs 6.12 billion
The net profit in Q2 of last fiscal was Rs 4.8 billion. The results have exceeded industry expectations. Analysts have attributed the impressive results to higher margins triggered by petroleum product price rises and rise in volumes.

Bajaj Auto H1 net up to Rs 2.48 billion
During the first half, total sales and other income was Rs 18.85 billion as against Rs 18.20 billion. BAL produced 665,647 vehicles and sold 631,329.

EC top brass gropes for India's WTO stance in run-up to Seattle
European Commission officials are keen on organising a meeting between Murasoli Maran and the EC Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 12 points to 4943; Nifty up 34 points to 1478; rupee up one paisa to 43.39 to US $

October 19-20, 1999

How to attract foreign investment
Selective liberalisation won't work, says Dilip Thakore.

Govt framing transparent guidelines for
FDI, says Sinha

"The government has already identified power, telecom, roads and ports as priority areas for foreign investment. There will also be a clear negative list where FDI will not be permitted,'' the finance minister said.

Manohar Joshi to focus on divestment, autonomy for profitable PSUs
The future of the Divestment Commission is under discussion and the matter will be taken up by the Union Cabinet. The government will also lay thrust on foreign investment in heavy industries.

Nitish Kumar links highway maintenance to economic development
The central assistance, allocated to the states for maintenance of highways, is being misused or not utilised properly, the surface transport minister lamented.

France nabs Indian businessman on Peugeot's complaint
Jaipur-based Autolite India has put up for sale lamps for the Peugeot 205 car at an exposition in Paris. Peugeot has claimed that the design of the lamp is a copy of its own design, thus violating the copyright.

ASCON survey hints at economic revival
Forty-four industry sectors have recorded improved production growth during the first six months of the current financial year.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 47 points to 4931; Nifty down six points to 1444; rupee up two paise to 43.40 to US $

October 16-18, 1999

Term-III, Reform-II
The new government tries to reconcile globalisation with aspirations of local industry.

Inching Toward A Debt Trap
Yashwant Sinha lifts the veil over the Indian economy, finds it hurtling toward a disaster.

Maran to focus on India's WTO stance, recast of export strategy, competitive domestic industry
The next century should put India on top of electronic exports world. ''I shall concentrate on computerisation and electronic data interchange progress,'' the commerce and industry minister said.

'Ranga' scripts powerful plan for first 100 days
Central public sector companies owe Rs 290 billion to state electricity boards. The government plans to securitise Rs 120 billion of the outstanding dues into seven-year bonds.

Jethmalani assures protective legislation for the small investor
The government would take steps to strengthen corporate democracy, said the law, justice and company affairs minister.

US mulls fresh sanctions; financial experts want Pak's 'CEO' to act quickly
"Gen Musharraf had described the economy as near collapse. He can take tough decisions only when he becomes politically strong. But he does not have a dedicated and able team of economic managers," said Mansoor Ali, chief analyst of a leading brokerage house in Karachi.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex plunges 190 points to 4884; Nifty dives 55 points to 1450; rupee steady at 43.42 to US $

October 1-15, 1999

September 1999