IFFCO in tie up with Brazilian firm
NEW DELHI, May 11: Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative (IFFCO), on Saturday, said it had inked a long-term agreement with Brazilian mining company Vale SA for supply of rock phosphate, used in manufacturing phosphatic soil nutrients.
“This is a step towards backward integration strategy of IFFCO in order to strengthen its phosphate sourcing for manufacturing of phosphatic fertilisers in India,” IFFCO Managing Director U. S. Awasthi said in a statement.
However, theterms of quantity of supplies would be further discussed, he said.
Increasing link between smuggling counterfeiting and crime
CHANDIGARH, May 23: With the agenda to spread large scale consumer awareness against the menace of smuggling and counterfeit products, FICCI-CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) organized a seminar in Chandigarh on ‘Curbing Counterfeiting and Smuggling—An Imperative for Indian Economy’. The seminar discussed the role of media in increasing awareness on the subject. Besides focusing on the losses to the government and industry, the seminar also highlighted growing link between smuggling and counterfeit activities and organized crime.
The seminar was inaugurated by Mr Shivraj Patil, Punjab Governor and Administrator U.T, Chandigarh. Mr. Rajinder Gupta, Chairman FICCI Advisory Council (Northern States & Chairman Trident Group) welcomed the delegates.
The seminar brought out the fact that Tobacco sector continues to account for the highest revenue to tax percentage loss to the government at over 60% and Punjab is no exception. The state of Punjab is one of the fastest growing markets for illegal / tax-evaded cigarettes in the country. These locally manufactured tax-evaded cigarettes have over 15% share of the total cigarette market and are continuously growing in the state of Punjab.
These cigarettes are particularly popular amongst youth as they are available at a significantly lower price than the legal cigarettes. It is an alarmingly large and well-organized business: with some of India’s largest manufacturers of illegal cigarettes (based inside and outside the State), supply over 20 million illegal / tax-evaded cigarettes in the state every month. Consequently, the government suffers revenue loss of over Rs. 75 crore annually.
Illegal cigarettes are sold in the market at one fifth the price of legal product.
The loss of revenue to the Government because of the illegal cigarettes trade is staggering, but, the cost to the health of smokers of illegal cigarettes is incalculable.
Illegal cigarettes pose major health hazards to smokers because of the inferior manufacturing processes and the low quality of tobacco with high levels of tar & nicotine used for such products. One can well imagine quality of such illegal products which are sold at such low rates.
High taxation on cigarettes in India is the key reason for the large and growing market of illegal / tax-evaded cigarettes. Despite accounting for only 15% share of total tobacco consumption, cigarettes generate over 75% of the tax revenue from tobacco.
According to the Euromonitor report on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, India is the fastest growing and is already world’s fifth largest market for illicit cigarettes. As per Euromonitor, Illicit cigarettes accounts for 18% of Industry volume in India & it has grown by 2 billion sticks in just 1 years (2011 - 2012).
With special focus on Chandigarh the seminar highlighted the problems faced by the state due to the Grey / Illicit market, causing huge losses to the state ex-chequer. The seminar highlighted problems faced by local traders due to counterfeiting.
According to the FICCI study on “Socio-economic Impact of Counterfeiting, Smuggling and Tax evasion in seven key Industry Sectors” the estimated annual Tax loss to government in the year 2012 is estimated at Rs. 26,190 crores. The study further estimates an annual sales loss to industry at a whopping Rs. 1,00,000 crores.
The key sectors which were included in the study were Auto Components, Alcohol, Computer Hardware, FMCG (Personal Goods), FMCG (Packaged Goods), Mobile Phones and Tobacco.
The highest loss to industry in terms of revenue is from FMCG (Packaged Goods) at Rs. 20,378 crores (23.4%), FMCG (Personal Goods) at Rs. 15,035 crores (25.9%), Auto Components at Rs. 9,198 crores (29.6%), Mobile Phones at Rs, 9,042 crores (20.8%) and Tobacco at Rs. 8,965 crores (15.7%). The maximum tax loss on account of smuggled and counterfeit products to the government is from the Tobacco Sector at Rs. 6, 240 crores followed by FMCG (Packaged food) at Rs. 5,660 crores and FMCG (Personal Goods) at Rs. 4,646 crores. The study also reconfirms government estimates of 5% of medicines in the market being fake that have a direct impact on the health and safety of consumers.
Mr P.C.Jha, Adviser FICCI CASCADE stated that in India, 20% of road accidents result from the use of counterfeited auto parts, and more than 25,000 deaths in road accidents every year are caused because of such fake and substandard auto parts.
Counterfeiting in items like medicines, baby food products, eatables, auto-parts, cell phone handsets, etc., pose grave health hazards and also serious risk to life. 2.5 million legitimate jobs are lost globally due to fake products each year.
Mr. Jha also stated that, “The taxation policy of the government also needs to be examined properly so that there is a right balance between the revenue need of the government and the effect of taxes on the prices of the goods. It is necessary that the government takes into account the effect of taxation on the prices of the goods, and also the capacity of the citizens to pay taxes. If there is an imbalance in the policy decision, and the tax rates are unreasonably high; then this results in increased availability of counterfeited and substandard goods in the market, since the high rates of taxes also increases profit margin on tax-evaded goods.
Consequently, the government does not get the revenue it has planned for, the consumers get more of substandard and harmful goods, and those indulging in illegal activities make big money without much difficulty. There is an urgent need to check this situation.
Several steps are being taken by FICCI CASCADE and the government to create large-scale awareness among the most impacted segment of this menace: the consumer.
The seminar on ‘Curbing Counterfeiting and Smuggling—An Imperative for Indian Economy’ has been organised in a series of such events to be organised across the country as part of a nation-wide awareness campaign to highlight the issue and focus on the growing menace of Counterfeit and Smuggling.
The participants in this seminar included Ms Kalpana Reddy (First Secretary for Intellectual Property US Patent & Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Commerce) who spoke about International Practices to curb Counterfeiting and Smuggling particularly in United States; Mr. Ramesh Vinayak (Resident Editor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh) -Role of Media in Spreading Consumer Education and Awareness in Curbing Counterfeiting and Smuggling. Ms. Jyoti Vij (Deputy Secretary General, FICCI ) proposed a vote of thanks.
In the second session issues relating to Intellectual Property Enforcement Issues against Smuggling and Counterfeiting. Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor FICCI CASCADE, Mr P. S. Pruthi, Chief Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise, Mr. Alok Kumar, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh, Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, Advocate General, Punjab.
Toyota mulls launching more small cars, compact SUVs in India
May 23: Global car giant ToyotaMotor Corporation will consider launching more small cars and entering fast growing segments like compact SUVs in order to achieve market leadership in India.
The company, however, said in the absence of a clear cut Indian government policy relating the auto industry such as fuel policy and import tariff, it is adopting a wait and watch strategy before deciding on setting up of a new diesel engine plant in the country or launching more hybrid cars.
"If you look at our portfolio in India, we have just one small car, Liva. We need more if we have to have big volumes in a fast growing market like India," said Toyota Motor Corporation Managing Officer Satoshi Ohiso.
While he did not share details of the company's future product launches, Ogiso said another prime focus of the company is the fast growing compact SUV segment.
"Globally, the compact SUV segment is getting more popular and in India it is also the same. We will definitely have our presence there," he said, without elaborating details.
Ogiso also said the company will try to bring more contemporary global products keeping in mind how the Indian customer have evolved.
"We launched the Etios which was developed keeping the Indian market in mind. Today, the Indian customer is more aware of the international trends, they are discerning and our endeavor will be to satisfy them," he added.
Sharing the the company's long term ambition in India, Toyota Motor Asia Executive Vice President Bernie O'Connor said the idea was to replicate the global leadership position in the country.
"Globally we are leaders, if you look in other Asian countries like Indonesia, the Philippines as well, we are leaders. Definitely, we have an ambition to be the number one in India as well in the long term," O'Connor said.
While he did not share a timeline for realising such ambition, O'Connor said Toyota is watching out for a clear cut government policy before it decides on key decision like investing on a diesel engine manufacturing plant.
"In the long term, we need to have a diesel engine manufacturing plant in India but the lack of clear cut direction in auto fuel policy is something we need to watch out for. We need to see which way India is going," he said.
Similarly, there is a need to understand how import tariffs are going to be like, if the India-EU FTA materialises as is being reported.
"We would have to see how things are (import tariff) before we decide to launch more hybrid vehicles. At the moment it is a very costly proposition to sell our hybrids in India," O'Connor said.
The Prius is the only hybrid model that was launched in India by Toyota.
IFFCO posts highest-ever profit before tax of Rs 1,107 Cr
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, May 5: The man with the Midas touch Dr U S Awasthi has once again proved the adage that work speaks for itself when IFFCO posted its highest ever profit before tax at Rs1,107 crores with the lowest ever specific energy consumption of 5.764 Gcal/MT of urea during the financial year 2012-13. In the record breaking 12th consecutive year, IFFCO will be also paying dividend to its member cooperatives at the rate of 20 per cent on share capital.
“Our work speaks of its own. This has once again been proved this year based on our annual financial results,” said Dr Awasthi, Managing Director of IFFCO, soon after the financial results were released.
At IFFCO, he said “our focus is always the growth and development of our farmers and cooperators with in turn growth of IFFCO itself. Our hard-work and sincere efforts fetch good returns to us, every time, year after year.”
Record breaking and robust overall performance of the world’s largest processed fertilizer cooperative, IFFCO, has given advantage to cooperatives.
With this remarkable performance, IFFCO has led the way in the fertiliser sector to stretch itself to provide price advantage to the farmers in the form of reduction in its retail prices.
IFFCO has also been the leader in providing various services in the rural areas for the benefit of farmers and cooperatives to improve their farm practices, productivity, farm incomes and other schemes for the social benefits. IFFCO spent about Rs.160 Crore during the last four years for achieving these objectives.
During 2012-13, IFFCO recorded fertilizer sales of 100 Lakh MT with turnover of Rs. 21,673 crore with its own domestic fertilizer production at 79 Lakh MT. In the record breaking 12th consecutive year, IFFCO will be paying dividend to its member cooperatives at the rate of 20 per cent on share capital.
In addition to the dividend, IFFCO will also be paying a special rebate to its members to be quantified at the rate of Rs10 per ton of IFFCO fertilizer sold during the financial year 2012-13. This effort will further strengthen the cooperatives in the country. IFFCO had 39,368 member cooperative societies as its shareholders as on March 31, 2013.
Dr Awasthi said “the challenges in the industry during the year 2012-13 kept us on tenterhooks. However, we successfully addressed these challenges and performed well in various spheres of production, sales, profitability, transportation and energy consumption.”
Talking about the challenges, Dr. Awasthi said that “We mitigated our risks from quagmire of big challenges like erratic monsoons, limitations in sourcing of raw materials; highly volatile forex markets with wide ranging USD- INR parity, losses on Fertiliser Bonds and inordinate delays in payment of subsidy, but still kept ourselves afloat, consistency and continuously performing well in the industry.”
He also added that “the efficient and prudent financial management of IFFCO helped the Society to achieve its financial excellence in spite of adverse economic scenario worldwide.”
IFFCO made its mark in various company rankings across the globe this year. Awards and recognition for its IT, Human Resource, Technical areas sum up IFFCO’s success.
All plants of IFFCO bagged five top awards from FAI during the year 2012-13 besides other prizes in the category of industrial safety, environment protection etc. IFFCO is surpassing its own preceding records to become global leader in the production and marketing of processed fertilisers in the country.
IFFCO’s agricultural services for farmers and cooperatives cater to the problems related to issues of soil health, better water management and best fertilizer use efficiency through balanced and integrated use of various nutrients available. This has indeed led to overall agricultural development in various villages and the areas spread around them.
R K Dubey inaugurates new Canara Bank branches in Delhi
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, May 5: Canara Bank Chairman & Managing Director, Mr R.K.Dubey, on Sunday inaugurated the new premises of the South Extension Branch of the Bank in Delhi. The new branch provides good ambience to customers will help in attracting more
The Executive Director, Mr V.S. Krishna Kumar and Mr T. Sreekanthan, General Manager Delhi circle, also graced the occasion. A large number of valued customers of the Bank and public attended the event.
As a part of CSR activity, Mr R.K.Dubey presented a computer to Nirmal Seva Samiti for educational use of poor illiterate girls.
Mr.Dubey also handed over keys of two cars financed by the branch and sanction letters for loans under SME/Micro Finance.
Chairman and Managing Director R K Dubey also inaugurated the renovated premises in Delhi at Munirka and shifting of Yamuna Vihar Branch to new premises.
The bank proposes to shift many more branches in Delhi for customer convenience, besides renovating branches for better ambience, opening of more e-Lounges and Tech Parks in the city.
Singapore emerging as favourite destination for Indian entrepreneurs, companies & students
NEW DELHI: Ash Singh was born in Canada and educated in Hong Kong. But ever since his first start-up — when still in university — was acquired by a Singapore-based company in 2004, Singh has lived in Singapore. He was 22 then. A serial entrepreneur, Singh has invested in six digital media companies and is CEO of Interactive SG, a business accelerator in Singapore.
"I prefer Singapore over other countries for my entrepreneurial journey because it is, for me, the most pro-business country." And, he stresses, it's not just the low tax rate that's the attraction. "The government here offers various schemes and resources at every level of business to give you the best chance to succeed," adds Singh.
Diversity and multiculturalism are among the top reasons for him to have decided in favour of Singapore as his work and home base. An avid basketball fan, he is a shareholder in Singapore Slingers professional basketball team. And in his free time he's busy with his favourite hobby: promoting turbans through The Turbanizer, a mobile app that he has developed.
It's not just entrepreneurs who are rooting for Singapore over other destinations, including popular ones in the West. Gunit Chadha, co-chief executive officer Asia Pacific and member of the group executive committee of Deutsche Bank says: "For Indian entrepreneurs, Indian companies and Indian students, Singapore is fast emerging as an important destination in a growing look east mindset." In his Asia Pacific role, he is keen to connect Indian entrepreneurs to their counterparts in Thailand, Indonesia or the Philippines; or have Indian public sector companies share experiences with government-linked companies in Singapore.
For Indian companies, Singapore provides an ideal location for regional or even global headquarters, he feels. "For the financial services sector across investment banking, hedge funds, wealth and asset management, Singapore has a great talent pool with many professionals coming from India," adds Chadha. To be sure, Singapore has even become an attractive destination for Indian finance professionals from the UK and the US who want to move because of a tight job market there and Singapore having emerged as one of the key banking hubs in the world.
With a low average individual taxation rate, which is further lowered for those who make significant investments, the island nation is indeed an ideal choice. Besides, for Indians, the country is hospitable and unlike Dubai — another attractive location for Indians — provides an easier path to permanent residence and later citizenship for those eligible. Tax Cushion For All "Most taxes such as wealth tax, gift tax and capital gains tax are not there and there's no global income-tax for tax residents of Singapore.
It's a territorial tax system and hence you are taxed only on what you earn here. There are no restrictions on overseas investment. It's a great location for high net worth individuals (HNIs) from India," says R Narayanamohan, chairman of Singapore India Chamber of Commerce. Narayanamohan has lived in Singapore for over three decades and runs his own accounting firm.
Singapore's attractive tax regime includes a top personal tax rate of 20% which kicks in only on income exceeding S$320,000 (around Rs 1.4 crore). Up to S$320,000 there are gradual tax rates starting at zero for the first $20,000. Further, there are no estate duty or inheritance taxes and the corporate tax rate of 17% can be concessional in some cases and go down to 5-10%.
"Singapore offers multiple incentives for entrepreneurs, including the global trader incentive programme; and an R&D incentive which includes a cashback scheme by the government," says Sonu Iyer, tax partner and national leader, human capital services at Ernst & Young. Those setting up regional headquarters there are also eligible for sops, she points out. She, however, adds a word of caution about the stricter rules put in place by the Singapore government recently in granting employment passes and permanent resident status.
A report by Boston Consulting Group released last year put the number of millionaire households in the island nation at 188,000 or around 17% of its resident households. This means Singapore, which has a population of 5.31 million, has the largest percentage of millionaires in the world. Singapore's uber-rich population has grown, with 10 in every 100,000 households now classified as ultra-high-net-worth or those with more than $100 million in private financial wealth.
R K Dubey opens 2 SME Canara Bank branches in Delhi
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, May 4: Canara Banak Chairman & Managing Director, Mr R.K.Dubey, inaugurated two SME Sulabh Branches at Naraina Vihar and Mangolpuri here on Saturday to cater to the needs of Micro, Small and Medium Industries.
By the click of a button and through video conferencing from the Naraina Vihar Branch, Chairman Dubey also inaugurated one more branch in Delhi at Jaitpur and upgraded three extension counters at IIT, ICMR and Vivekananda Mahila College into full-fledged branches taking the total number of branches in Delhi to 136.
Mr Dubey said the bank proposes to open two more SME Sulabhs and 24 general banking branches in Delhi.
He said the Bank also proposes to increase the lending to SME from Rs 3,617 crore as on March 2013 to Rs 4,500 crore during the current financial year. The Bank has an exposure of Rs 37,016 crore in MSME sector as on March, 2013.
Several senior officials from the bank including Executive Director V.S. Krishna Kumar and Mr T Sreekanthan, General Manager, Delhi Circle were present on the occasion.
Several eminent persons and valued customers of the Bank attended the event.
IFFCO slashes fertilizer prices; Gives boost for Kharif Season
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, May 2: To provide relief to the farmers and give a boost to the Kharif crop, world’s largest producer and marketer of processed fertiliser, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), has reduced the maximum retail price (MRP) of non-urea fertilisers by up to Rs 75 per bag (of 50kg).
The MRP of 22 grades of phosphatic, potassic and complex fertilisers have been slashed after the approval of fixation of new NBS rates for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers for the year 2013-14 by the Union Cabinet.
IFFCO will also provide the price protection to farmers for the old material which is already in the stocks as the new rates are applicable from April 1.
IFFCO will be reducing Rs. 1500 per ton in DAP which will make a reduction of price to farmer by Rs. 75 per bag of 50 Kg, Rs 1300 per tonne reduction in NPK which means Rs 65 per bag of NPK –I & NPK-II will be reduced and Rs 1000 per tonne in NP which means Rs. 50 per bag of NP.
On this very important announcement, the IFFCO Managing Director, Dr. U S Awasthi, said “We at IFFCO care for the our farmers and take every step for their benefit. I am very happy to announce the new reduced rates by IFFCO.”
He further added that this announcement is very timely and encouraging and would certainly help bringing much needed succor to farmers of the country. He also said that this move will certainly help in rejuvenating the soils of the country thereby increasing farm productivity on sustainable basis so as to ensure food security of country.
It is very important to note that, this is the time for sowing of many crops like cane, mentha crops. Preparation of kharif crops (paddy) has been started in few regions of the country. The reduction in rate is very timely because at present farmers have not purchased fertilizer for kharif crops. Availability of fertilizers must be done in one month advance than the actual use by farmers than only it can reach to the consuming points / retail outlet as transportation of the fertilizer is an issue which take at least a month.
IFFCO being the farmers’ own cooperative Society, has been trying to draw attention of all concerned to the rising subsidy amount, depleting soil health and need to restore the soil fertility through balance application of nutrients.
Dr Awasthi was of the firm opinion that to maintain soil health for sustainable agriculture where fertiliser manufacturers should come forward and shoulder responsibility to educate farmers as well as sales point personnel on efficient and judicious use of nutrients.
Canara Bank Q4 net profit jumps to Rs 725 crore
BANGALORE, May 2 : Canara Bank's net profit has jumped to Rs 725 crore for the last quarter of 2012-13 fiscal as compared to Rs 711 crore for Quarter 3. Its operating profit at Rs 1698 crore was higher by 12 per cent over Q3 FY 13 (1516 crore) and 13.9 per cent over the corresponding period Q4 FY12 (1491 crore).
Total provision made for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, was at Rs 972 crore compared to Rs 662 crore in the year-ago period, its Chairman and Managing Director R K Dubey told reporters here.
The bank's total income reached Rs 9,472 crore, a 4.8 per cent growth (Rs 9,037 crore). Net interest income improved by 2.5 per cent from Rs 2,040 crore to Rs 2,091 crore.
The bank's gross NPA ratio has come down to 2.57 per cent compared to December 2012 position of 2.77 per cent, and net NPA ratio to 2.18 per cent from 2.35 per cent, Dubey said.
Global deposits of the bank stood at Rs 3,55,856 crore compared to Rs 3,23,963 crore as on December 2012, a growth of 9.8 per cent. Global advances (net) reached a level of Rs 2,42,177 crore compared to Rs 2,18,242 crore, up 11 per cent.
The bank aims to reach an aggregate business figure of more than Rs seven lakh crore, with approximate deposit growth of 15 per cent and advances growth of 24 per cent.
"We plan to take the number of branches from 3,728 to 5,000 and number of ATMs from 3,526 to 10,000 by March 2015," said Mr Dubey.
The bank also has plans to open branches at nine overseas centres - Johannesburg (South Africa), where it has already got the license, Sao Paulo (Brazil), Dar-es-Salaam ( Tanzania), Tokyo (Japan), Abuja (Nigeria), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Qatar Financial Centre (Qatar), Frankfurt (Germany) and New York (the USA) by March next year.
The Board of Directors of Canara Bank at its meeting held on May 2 have recommended a Dividend @ 130% / Rs. 13 per equity share of the face value of Rs. 10 for the year ended March 31, 2013.
Canara Chairman & MD R K Dubey inaugurates 2 E-Lounges in Delhi
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, April 29: Canara Bank Chairman and Managing Director, Mr R K Dubey inaugurated E-Lounge facilities for Pitampura and Maharani Bagh branches here at a simple function held at the Pitampura branch.
With these, the total number of E-Lounges in the Capital city of Delhi has increased to three.
Mr Dubey had opened Canara Bank’s first E-Lounge in the country at Bangalore on the Republic Day.
Two days later, Executive Director Ashok Kumar Gupta had inaugurated Delhi’s first E-Lounge at a function at Parliament Street branch of the Bank.
E-Lounge is Canara Bank’s latest technology initiative to its customers and the first such delivery point which will provide customers facility to update their account, withdraw and deposit cash, deposit cheques, passbook printing etc without any manual intervention even beyond the banking hours.
Customers can also use the Internet facility to do banking operations and stock trading, including video conference facility for interaction with the bank officials.
These E-Lounges cater to the needs of customers round-the-clock and all seven days of the week.
CMD Dubey distributes 15 tricycles
As a part of its CSR activities, Mr R.K.Dubey also distributed 15 tricycles to physically disabled.
Several senior officials of the bank, including the Executive Director, Mr V S Krishna Kumar, Bank Directors P V Maiya and Mr G V Manimaran and General Manager Delhi Circle Mr T Sreekanthan were present on the occasion.
Canara CMD Dubey inaugurates 14 ATMs in Delhi
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, April 28: Canara Bank Chairman and Managing Director Mr R K Dubey on Sunday inaugurated 14 ATMs in Delhi at a simple function at the Kamla Nagar branch. With these ATMs, the total number of ATMs in Delhi city is 255 and of the bank it increased to 3,544.
The new ATMs have been opened at Khajuri Khas, Sivram, Sultanpuri, Budh Vihar, Okhla Main, Ashok Nagar, Pandav Nagar, Mangal Bazaar at Lakshmi Nagar, Maujpur, Sangam Vihar, Moti Nagar, Trilok Puri, Ranikheda and Kamla Nagar.
Present at the function were senior officers of the bank including General Manager Mr Sreekanthan, DGMs Mr Ashok Aggarwal, Mr Radhakrishnan and Mr Suresh Kumar.
Mr Dubey also visited another branch in Kamla Nagar where a cancer detection camp has been orgranised in association with Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre, New Delhi.
This programme has been organized under the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
China has big stake in India’s growing market, may not harm it: ASSOCHAM
NEW DELHI, April 28: Chinese stake in the growing Indian market is increasing massively and the current annual trade surplus of over USD 40 billion (about Rs 2,22,000 crore) may touch USD 44 billion by at the end of the current year, an ASSOCHAM analysis of the bilateral trade has shown.
Without suggesting for a moment that India should strain its ties with China, ASSOCHAM said, “it is in the best interest of the two neighbourly countries that their relations improve and are cemented through expanding commercial engagement”.
It said, ASSOCHAM is looking forward to the visit of Chinese Premier next month and is confident that the two countries would be able to resolve their strategic differences, including that of the border.
The chamber said, against its mammoth imports of USD 50 billion from China alone, India’s exports of merchandise goods were far short at USD 12.41 billion during April-February, 2012-13 (the latest disaggregated data) to that country. For the fiscal 2012-13 as a whole while imports from China may well exceed USD 57 billion while India’s exports to that country may not exceed USD 14 billion.
The trend in the financial year of 2012-13 has more or less followed that of the previous fiscal when China ran a trade surplus of USD 40 billion despite repeated concerns raised by the Indians at the highest level.
“At a time when Chinese economy, like most other economies of the world, is slowing, its exports to India would be of vital interest to the Chinese dispensation. In a way, the economic engagement is the best way to bridge all other differences. China alone accounts for over 11 per cent of India’s total imports making it a high stake commercial interest for the neighbouring country,” ASSOCHAM commented.
Electronics, machinery, precious pearls and other commodities are the principal items of import from China. In the last fiscal (11 months for which disaggregated data is available), of the total imports of USD 141 billion of five top items of imports , China alone accounted for USD 22.80 billion.
When it comes to exports, main items which are shipped to China are petroleum products, transport equipment, machinery and drugs and pharmaceuticals.
In the fiscal 2012-13, the exports to China are estimated to have been lower than that in the previous fiscal.
A large trade imbalance has been a matter of concern and should again be raised at the highest level with the Chinese leadership. The Indian exports of several items, especially drugs and pharmaceuticals face trade barriers in China.
A large-scale dumping of Chinese goods has hurt interest of the Indian businessmen and manufacturers in their own markets. Most of the damage has been done to the small and medium enterprises which find it difficult to compete with the economies of scale from aggressive exporters. Be it toys, worship idols, lightings, tubes, the Chinese goods are all there.
In the recent past, the Chinese commercial aggression has not limited itself to small and medium scale items, but to heavy engineering. The home-grown PSU and private firms such as BHEL and L and T have suffered a lot at the hands of Chinese power equipment manufacturers. The story is somewhat similar in the telecom gear.
“Net-net, it is more in the interest of the Chinese to stay commercially engaged maintaining the best of strategic and political relations as well, “ASSOCHAM said.
India, on the other hand, always respects its ties with the neighbouring countries, it added.
IFFCO Places Fertiliser Plants On High Alert: Dr U S Awasthi
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, April 18: Following the blast at a US plant, IFFCO has placed all its fertilizer production units on high alert and informed the local police authorities.
Speaking to this correspondent soon after the blast at the US plant, IFFCO Managing Director, Dr U S Awasthi, said “we are still not aware of the reasons behind the blast at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas in the USA. However, we have placed all our fertilizer units on high alert and informed the local police authorities.”
Dr Awasthi said “we are still not aware whether it was a safety or security issue behind the US blast. If it’s a safety issue then all our plants have been kept in safe condition.”
However, he said, if it’s a security issue than it becomes a matter of higher level of the government. “But we have a private security too that looks after security issue of the fertilizer units. And we also make sure that there is no unauthorized entry in the plant premises.”
He also added that the Government needs to be little pro-active as far as the security issue irrespective of the ownership of the plants.
IFFCO is world’s largest cooperative and is owned by the farmers.
IFFCO has plants in Kalol, Kandla, Phulpur, Aonla and Paradeep.
Americas Petrogas makes new Vaca Muerta shale exploration discovery - gas and liquids
CALGARY (Alberta), April 7: Americas Petrogas has announced the discovery of gas and natural gas liquids on its Aguada Los Loros well, ALL.x-1, a vertical well that was drilled on the Los Toldos I block (98,300 gross acres or 398 square kilometers or 154 sections) in central Argentina.
The ALL.x-1, which completed drilling in 2012, intersected the Vaca Muerta formation (thickness 562 metres or 1844 feet) along with other secondary targets. The well was hydraulically stimulated with four stages in the Vaca Muerta shale formation in early 2013. The initial production of the Vaca Muerta shale formation, after the clean-up flow back, at depths between 2570 to 2929 metres (8432 to 9609 feet), increased from 1.3 million cubic feet (36,738 cubic meters) per day to 3.2 million cubic feet (90,418 cubic meters) per day of natural gas with 9 to 18 barrels of oil per day condensate (54-58 degree API) on managed choke sizes (4-6mm).
The well-head pressure declined normally during flow testing. This, in addition to core and other studies, will help the broad evaluation of the future productivity and the potential of the well and the reservoir. Currently the well is shut-in for a Pressure Build-up test.
Mr. Barclay Hambrook, President and CEO of Americas Petrogas said, “We are very excited with the results of this test showing strong sweet gas rates and increasing rates of high quality condensate in a very large block. We continue to de-risk our shale blocks, potentially adding reserves, and we are encouraged with the potential of our Los Toldos blocks.”
Mr. Güimar Vaca Coca, Managing Director of the Company’s Argentina operation, said “Located approximately one kilometer from a major gas pipeline, this project may be very valuable to help restore Argentina’s gas self-sufficiency.”
Americas Petrogas is the Operator of the Los Toldos blocks and holds a 45% Work Interest. ExxonMobil also owns a 45% Work Interest with the remainder held by Gas y Petroleo del Neuquen.
Respond to the Aspirations of Billion People: Rahul Tells Industry
NEW DELHI, April 4: Mr Rahul Gandhi, Vice President, Indian National Congress (INC), called upon the business community to go for “smart interventions” in societal development to bring about qualitative changes in the lifestyles of common man and to propel ideations that can spur inclusive growth.
Addressing the India Inc. at the CII’s Annual General Meeting and National Conference 2013, today in New Delhi, Mr Gandhi said that “India has an unstoppable tide of human aspirations”. Riding on the tide needs a boat and it is a joint endeavor of the government, business and civil society to create structures that address the aspirational paradigms of the common man”. This is the first time since taking over as the Vice-President of INC, he is addressing a business congregation.
Giving a clarion call to the Indian Industry to partner with the government in all its developmental activities, Mr. Gandhi wanted them to be intensely involved in infrastructural development, education, and the overall growth process, which is a win-win situation for everybody. “Harmony and development pre-supposes development of all and exclusion of none. Dalits, minorities, deprived people, destitutes and women are all important links in our societal structure and we have to reach out to them with compassion and empathy”, he added.
Taking a dig at the current milieu of political environment, Mr.
Gandhi, said that “presently the governance dependent on a few elected representatives and that too MPs and MLAs. The majority of the peoples’ leaders like pradhans of gram panchayats are denied of any say in the political process that goes into decision making. This is very frustrating”, adding that for a harmonious development, ideations have to move from all directions and the voice of the grass-roots level people has to be heard, recognized and acted upon.
Responding to a question from the floor on how to tackle the complex centre-state relationship, Mr. Gandhi, said that the real issue was not between the centre and state, but between people whose voice are being heard and of those who have been denied of any role in the political process. “ A generational shift has to take place in our complex social and political system to address creatively the grass-roots problem to find solutions to them. If you act on the suggestions of a few, one can go on expecting things to be done, but if you listen to our 1.2 billion people, we can get things done immediately. That is the importance of devolution of power”, he added.
In this regard, he said that perhaps barring a few, most political parties are bereft of connectivity with the masses. “This is what I am trying to change,” he asserted.
Mr. Gandhi’s speech was laced with anecdotes, his personal experiences gathered from interfaces with people and his perceptions as to what should be the future course of development actions for India. He said that the problems that India faces are complex and there were no straight-jacket solutions to that. “It is partly due to our political system which is deep-rooted into democratic ideals and values. Every voice has to be listened and responded to, unlike in countries like China, where sometimes the personal views and perceptions get drowned in the political apparatus. I am getting grooved into that mode gradually,” he added.
Mr. Gandhi said that political life should be a mission and should not be geared for personal gains. “Many people predict the probability of me becoming the Prime-Minister, when will I get married etc. But these are all irrelevant issues and what we should focus is on finding voice for a billion people. We have to channelize our attention to more important issues like corruption, under-development and the inept political structures”, he lamented.
Earlier welcoming Mr Gandhi, Mr Adi Godrej, President, CII, said that the industry was looking forward to have a pro-active policy initiatives from the government in areas like Goods & Services Tax (GST), fast-tracking large infrastructure projects, balanced land acquisition policy etc. Drawing attention of Mr Gandhi to ‘Young Indians’, an initiative of CII to groom up the youth to make them
employable and self-occupied, he pledged the support to the massive
youth awakening programs undertaken at Mr. Gandhi’s guidance.
Gopalakrishnan, President-Designate, CII, in his address said that as a partner in progress, CII would continue to lend support to the nation-building task.
Hooda seeks support for the poor
NEW DELHI, April 4: The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has advocated for safeguarding the interests of farmers, labourers and vulnerable sections of the society, which did not have lobbies to protect their interests.
Mr Hooda was talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of CII National Conference 2013 in New Delhi today, where he spoke on ‘Can Good Economics be Good Politics’. He said that various lobbies watch the interests of their respective segments but farmers, farming labourers and lower strata does not have lobbies of their own and they should get more protection and support.
Mr Hooda said that good economics and good politics put together make good governance and Haryana is one of the shining examples of this. Economics and politics cannot be divorced from real life and they are the two sides of the same coin, he added.
Quoting Kautilaya, Mr Hooda said that good economics is driven by concerns for and welfare of all sections of the society, especially the lowest strata of the society, which certainly leads to good politics. What ultimately matters is whether we succeed in improving the lives of the people for whom we work, he added.
Referring to opinion of some people that political realities have been preventing the implementation of rational economic policies, Mr Hooda called for people friendly approach in economics and added that if a policy is not politically correct, it is difficult to assume its economic sustainability because the so called rational economics does not exist in vacuum. He said that politics generate it’s own economics. It creates its own dynamics of development.
Mr Hooda said that there is no such thing as an absolute good economics nor can there be good politics relevant forever. Both constructs are relative and they change their shades in time and space. What ultimately matters is whether we succeed in improving the lives of the people for whom we work. I leave the issue to your judgment, he added.
Referring to various achievements of Haryana, Mr Hooda said though Haryana is a small state accounting for just 1.3 per cent of the total area of the country. But it contributes nearly 3.4 per cent to the national GDP. With per capita income of about Rs 1.24 lakh in 2012-13, it occupies top position among the major states of the country.
The Chief Minister said, “Haryana has harnessed the progressive thrust of industrialization with its innovative policies and pragmatic strategies. The state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities, industry-friendly policies, responsive administration, peaceful law and order situation and abundant skilled manpower make it a preferred destination for setting up industry and enterprise.”
The economy of Haryana registered an average annual growth rate of 6.4 per cent from 1966-67 to 2004-05. But during the last eight years, the state’s economy grew at an excellent average annual growth rate of 9.3 per cent, much higher than the national economy which grew at 8.4 per cent. Exports from Haryana crossed Rs 55,000 crore in 2011-12.
According to Assocham report of October 2012, 87 per cent of the total investments received in Haryana are from the private sector, which speaks volumes about the vast investment opportunities the state offers. An Assocham Report of 2010 stated that Haryana achieved 81 per cent implementation rate of pledged investments, far ahead of other states.
As per the CMIE report of 2007, Haryana achieved top position in terms of per capita investment. As per INDIA TODAY’s “State of the States study report of 2011”, Haryana is ranked as the top State in most improved big State - Health and Education Sector categories.
Chief Minister said that creation of world-class infrastructure has remained the priority of the Haryana Government. “We are constantly striving to improve connectivity, ensure adequate power supply, water supply and provide effective logistics support to industry. We have already brought the metro to Gurgaon. Work on the metro project for Faridabad is in progress. Foundation of Bahadurgarh link has also been laid. We are proud to implement the first intracity metro in PPP mode, in Gurgaon. Our other initiatives include upgradation of national and state highways, new inter-city connectivities, intra-city transport etc.”, the Chief Minister added.
Agriculture sector too has been a priority area. Haryana is the second largest contributor of foodgrains to the central pool. We are the leader in the export of basmati rice. About 60 per cent of basmati export from India is from Haryana alone. Haryana has been awarded “KRISHI KARMAN AWARD” for two consecutive years 2010-11 and 2011-12 for outstanding performance in wheat production and productivity in the country.
In a reply to a query, Mr Hooda said that Haryana Government has added to the economic value of land by announcing Floor Rate Prices and giving other benefits like annuity to the farmers, which other states have been emulating.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, BJP’s Chief Spokesperson Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, CII Vice President Mr Ajay S. Shriram, Business Standard Editor Mr T.N. Ninan also participated in the panel discussion.
Krishna Kumar is new Executive Director at Canara Bank
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, April 4: Mr V S Krishna Kumar has assumed charge as the Executive Director of Canara Bank, one of the leading public sector banks in India, from Thursday.
Mr Krishna Kumar carries with him vast knowledge and multi-dimensional banking
experience, spanning over three decades. He worked in different branches and diverse departments of Allahabad Bank with distinction. His key areas of expertise include Credit, Inspection, Vigilance and Human Resources Management.
Mr Krishna Kumar has done graduation in law and science. Born on May 1, 1955, Mr Krishna Kumar joined Allahabad Bank in the year 1981 as a Probationary Officer in JMG Scale I and moved up to the ranks of a General Manager in 2009.
Manmohan asks India Inc to be positive; hints at more reforms
NEW DELHI, April 3: While asking India industry leaders to be positive, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signalled a fresh spate of reforms despite an unsettled political environment and asked industrialists to keep faith in him to get the economy going.
Addressing the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Dr Singh said that the Centre would push the envelope on foreign direct investment (FDI), triggering speculation that the UPA would pack in plenty of policy action before general elections slated for next year.
"We are reviewing the FDI policy comprehensively to see what more can be done," said Singh, who presided over the opening up of the economy as finance minister in the 1990s.
The Prime Minister did not specify about changes in the FDI policy that the government was working on, but there were heightened prospects it could likely ease caps on foreign investment in several sectors.
Investors and companies in the pension and insurance sectors, in particular, are keen that a 26% investment cap be lifted.
"We welcome foreign investment, which has a critical role in bringing in modern technology and globalising our economy. Even as our Indian industry steps out to invest abroad, we must welcome foreign investors coming to India," he said.
A raft of fresh policy pronouncements are likely to soothe frayed nerves of investors who fear the government could be more focused on political risk management rather than reversing the slowdown in the economy, which is set to crash to a decade's low growth of 5% in 2012-13.
The UPA is struggling to balance the demands of unpredictable allies, having recently lost the support of one, Tamil Nadu's DMK, which reduced its strength in Lok Sabha to just above the half-way mark.
Significantly, the PM acknowledged that corruption and government red tape were major roadblocks and coalition politics was challenging, but noted that India had achieved robust economic growth in the past despite these concerns.
"There are indeed many deficiencies. Corruption is a problem. Bureaucratic inertia is a problem. Managing coalitions is not easy. But these problems have not arisen suddenly. They were all there even earlier, when the economy was growing at 8%," he said.
"We are seeing temporary downturn, partly due to global factors. We can get back to 8% growth rate," Singh said, adding that his administration was determined to do everything possible to rein in the fiscal deficit, a measure of how much the government borrows to fund its expenses.
Singh said a debt recast package for state power distribution companies should help nurse them back to health, and flagged an imminent solution to the issue of fuel supply to power projects.
"The ministries are working to reach resolution in a time bound matter. I hope we will see results in the next three weeks," he said.
The PM hinted that he was open to implementing the string of recommendations that the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission has made.
The commission has suggested merging the oversight functions of regulators such as Securities Exchange Board of India, Insurance Regulatory Development Authority, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority and Forward Markets Commission into a single agency, while leaving the banking business regulation under the Reserve Bank of India.
Anand Sharma pitches for Higher FDI cap for Defense Sector
NEW DELHI, April 3: Mr Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Textiles, said that the Commerce Ministry would push for higher foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in the defense sector, beyond the current 26%.
He was addressing the session on ‘Future of India’s Industrialization’ at Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Annual General Meeting and National Conference 2013, held in New Delhi today. This, he stressed would help India to become one of the major defence producers of the world.
Mr Sharma said that the Government was committed to address the issues constraining the industrial performance by putting in place an institutionalized arrangement for fast tracking infrastructural projects. All pending projects would get speedy approvals from the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) in the coming months.
The Minister said that several steps were taken in the recent past by the Government to improve the investment climate and investor confidence in the country. The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor is the most innovative project that could spur growth. The Central Government, in partnership with the State Government, has been fast-tracking the setting of integrated townships along the corridor, which would provide a fillip to industrial growth in the years to come, he added. The investors in this project would not need to acquire land as the land will be provided by the State Governments as their equity in this project, he mentioned. The impact of these measures would help India improve its ranking in the ‘Doing Business’ survey of the World Bank.
Mr. Sharma said that the domestic industrial performance has suffered considerably due to the difficult and challenging global macro-economic scenario, which lasted over almost five years. Despite the coordinated effort by the governments world-wide, the recovery has been slow. In order to guard against the ill-effects of the global slow-down, Mr. Sharma, suggested the India Inc. to stay optimistic and not let any negative sentiments to hamper the recovery process. India is a rule-based and rule-governed country. Hence, it’s pertinent to keep the growth engine ticking by not letting the shaky investment environment bog down the growth prospects, he stressed.
Elaborating on the importance of improving the availability of infrastructure for industrial use, Mr. Sharma, emphasized making land available at an affordable cost. The National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) has taken some noteworthy steps to address this problem, he added. “For sustenance of a large population, it’s pertinent to increase the share of manufacturing in the GDP”, the Minister elaborated and added that “for us, achieving high manufacturing growth is not a luxury, but a necessity and it must be a national imperative to achieve the same. India has to prepare itself for becoming a part of the world’s assembly line and in order to achieve this feat, we need to take steps to enhance technology, innovation and the skill levels of our labour-force,” he outlined.
While welcoming, Mr Sharma, Mr Adi Godrej, President, CII, stressed the need for taking urgent redressal steps for bolstering the industrial growth. Amongst these measures, are the need for nation-wide monitoring of projects, over-hauling of complex regulations including labor laws, focus on provision of infrastructure and boosting the production levels of SMEs. Mr S Gopalakrishnan, President Designate, CII, concurred with the views of Mr Sharma in the importance of lifting India’s ranking in the ‘Doing Business’ survey.
Ambassador Gurjit asks Indonesians to invest in India
By Deepak Arora
JAKARTA, March 22: Indian Ambassador Gurjit Singh has exhorted the Indonesian companies to invest in India, adding that Indian economic partnership including investment in Indonesia has the potential to grow from the present US$20 billion to US$ 100 billion.
Addressing the India-Indonesia Investment Roundtable, organized jointly with KADIN Indonesia and INVEST INDIA, he said that there are abundant opportunities for Indonesian companies to invest in India. He further said that Indonesian companies especially in the food processing and construction sector have strength and capability to invest in India.
Ambassador Gurjit Singh called upon increasing B2B engagement for enhancing bilateral business and investment cooperation which would lead to transfer of technology. He said that while there is need for more manufacturing units for inclusive development and creation of employment opportunities, this would require human resource and capacity development. Citing success stories of Indian joint ventures in Indonesia, he said that they have followed a model which generates employment and contributes to exports.
Promising to work together with Indonesia, he said several initiatives are needed by Indonesia for enhanced bilateral economic engagement, the most important being the initiation of CECA consultations. Other priorities should include more B2B engagement, highlight success stories, create level playing field, create dispute settlement mechanism and look for investment opportunities in India. He also hoped for an early realization of direct flight between the two countries which will go a long way in increased private sector interaction.
Mr. Suryo Sulisto, KADIN Chairman, while mentioning about excellent relations between the two countries, said that Indonesia can learn from strong industrial sector in India and welcomed engagement with companies and universities that might facilitate technological cooperation, scientific research and production of sophisticated equipment and technologies. He added that the focus sector of the Roundtable i.e. infrastructure, food processing and automotive components, are all key sectors in Indonesia and encouraged strong B2B partnerships.
The Investment Roundtable was also attended by Dr. Prasetijono Widjojo, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs in the State Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS). He shared the medium term development plan for 2010-2014 which has 14 national development priorities, including improvement of investment and business climate. He said that as Indonesia is very much concerned with increasing investment to sustain economic growth and increasing distribution of investment across regions to reduce inequality.
The Investment Roundtable showcased immense potential for investment in India and sought more investments from Indonesia. The Indian Business Delegation presented opportunities for investment and collaboration for Indonesian companies in the food processing sector, especially in the food parks and in the auto components space. The Roundtable also discussed opportunities for collaboration in the infrastructure sector.
The Investment Roundtable elaborated investor-friendly policies of the Government of India and provided a platform for mutually beneficial interactive session with Indonesian business community.
An 11-member Business Delegation led by INVEST INDIA is in Indonesia and took part in the Investment Roundtable which was attended by more than 100 businessmen from Indonesia. Major Indian business groups like IL&FS and GMR are part of the delegation along with Automotive Components Manufacturers Association and Karnataka State.
During their visit to Jakarta, the Indian Business Delegation also interacted with senior officials of the Indonesian Ministry of Trade and with researchers in ERIA. The delegation also made a field trip to the Indofood factory.
Rahul Gandhi to address CII meet
NEW DELHI, March 30: The Congress Vice President, Mr Rahul Gandhi, will address the two-day Annual General Meeting and National Conference of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with focus on imperatives of growth, security and governance for India.
The two-day event would have a galaxy of speakers deliberating on a range of issues that are of importance to India and Indian Industry at the present moment. Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, will inaugurate the National Conference which will bring together Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers, key policy makers, Government functionaries, strategic thinkers, industry leaders and media.
Announcing this, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII revealed that the theme for this year’s Conference is ‘India of Tomorrow: Imperatives of Growth, Security and Governance’. “The theme has been designed keeping in mind the great need for focusing on issues where industry can play a greater role in nation building and creating an enabling business environment,” Mr Banerjee said.
The CII Release highlighted that Day 1 of the high-profile National Conference will feature discussion on key issues including future of industrialization, overcoming the challenges of governance, enforcement and implementation; and Indian economic reforms vis-à-vis the world. With the highpoint of the day being the inauguration and address by the Prime Minister, the Conference is slated to witness a packed house, with a galaxy of erudite speakers to follow.
Mr Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Textiles will share his perspective on industrialization while Mr Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications & Information Technology will deliberate on the challenges of governance, said the CII release. Professor K V Thomas, Minister of State (I/C) for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution would lead the discussions on India’s food security.
The States and the impact of economic reforms would also be under discussion with Dr Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and noted economists like Dr Surjit Bhalla and Dr Janmejaya Sinha. Key economic Secretaries to the Government of India, led by Mr Ajit Seth, Cabinet Secretary would present their perspective on the issue of implementation, which is often considered to be an area of challenge for India.
A special plenary session will kick-off the deliberations on Day 2 with Indian National Congress Vice President, Mr Rahul Gandhi. This will be followed by discussion on topics like role of the public sector with Mr Praful Patel, Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and possible alignment of economics and politics by luminaries like Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana and Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, Deputy Leader of BJP Parliamentary Party in Rajya Sabha and Chief Spokesperson, BJP.
The power-packed deliberations will befittingly be concluded with a dialogue with Mr Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Member of Parliament, Bharatiya Janata Party, who would be delivering the valedictory address.
The CII release said that while stalwarts like Dr Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Innovation Council; Mr Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission; Mr Harish Salve, Senior Supreme Court Counse would address the Conference, the audience will also have an opportunity to understand the viewpoints of young MPs like Mr Manickam Tagore, Mr Tarun Vijay, Mr B J Panda and debutantes like Mr Kavin Bharti Mittal, Head of Strategy/New Product Development, Bharti Softbank Holdings Pte. Ltd. Key policy makers, thought leaders, corporate and media leaders would participate in the delberations, said the CII release.
The Annual Session being a much awaited flagship event of CII, over 1500 participants from the industry across the country are expected to attend the Conference.
R K Dubey inaugurates 19 branches of South Malabar Gramin Bank
By Deepak Arora
MALAPPURAM, March 27: Mr R K Dubey, Chairman and Managing Director, Canara Bank, inaugurated 19 branches and 10 ATMs of South Malabar Gramin Bank by way of soft launch here on Wednesday at Malappuram. Mr Dubey also presided over the Customers’ Meet organized by South Malabar Gramin Bank.
On this occasion, he launched the following schemes of SMGB:
In-built OD facility in Basic Savings Bank A/cs; Micro insurance scheme for SHG members; Financial Literacy Centres in three blocks; and Tie-up arrangements for vehicle loans with M/s Maruthi Suzuki India ltd.
In this Mega event, the Chairman handed over sanction letters to 200 Self Help Groups.
Also present on the occasion were Mr K S Prabhakara Rao, General Manager, Head Office, Bangalore, Mr K R Balachandran, Deputy General Manager, Circle office, Calicut and Mr K V Shaji, Managing Director of South Malabar Gramin Bank.
South Malabar Gramin Bank is active partner in Economic development of the operational area by providing credit support to agriculture, SME, Education, Housing loans etc. Bank is already extending Tech products like RTGS/NEFT, SMS alerts to the customers. Bank has earned a household name in the area and requested the people to support the Bank.
During his interaction with the customers, Mr Dubey assured the customers that the bank will be offering new products for all the customers, ATM cards, RuPay Kisan Credit Cards, more thrust on Educational and Retail loans and shall consider the rephasement of the loans in genuine cases. Bank has been extending educational loans liberally to the needy students. However due to increase in the delinquency rate in the recent days, he appealed to the customers to repay the loans promptly.
Canara CMD Dubey discusses bank's expansion with Maharashtra Chief Minister Chavan
MUMBAI, March 25:
Canara Bank's Chairman & Managing Director R.K.Dubey called on the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan here on Friday.
Mr Dubey discussed with the Chief Minister, Mr Chavan, issues regarding expansion of Canara Bank Branches in Maharashtra.
Accompanying him were K. Balachandra Rao, General Manager of Canara Bank, Mumbai Circle Office.
A K Gupta inaugurates Canara Bank branch in Amritsar
AMRITSAR, March 25:
Mr A K Gupta, Executive Director of Canara Bank, inaugurated the Verka branch of the bank at Amritsar on Monday.
The present on the occasion were Mr.R. Madhusudhan, General Manager of the Chandigarh Circle.
This is the 3702nd Branch of Canra Bank.
Education a tool for inclusive growth in a Knowledge economy: Hooda
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, March 25: The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Hooda, has said that the share that the lowest strata of the society gets from growth and development in a state, indicates the level of governance.
Addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Northern Region's Conference on ‘Driving Growth of the North: Good Governance, Sustainability & Social Inclusivity’ alongside its Annual Regional Meeting here on Monday, Mr Hooda said good Governance emerged as a vital link for economic growth, sustainability and social inclusivity.
The Chief Minister added that Haryana has done exceedingly well on the four key development indicators ie Per Capita Investment, Per Capita Income, Per Capita expenditures and resource mobilization.
Elaborating on the importance of education in the knowledge economy of today, Mr Hooda said that education can be an important tool for empowerment and inclusive growth.
He further elaborated on his plans of making Haryana a global education hub. He also released ‘Endeavour’, a compendium of CII’s Affirmative Action initiatives in Northern Region.
Lack of trust in the institutions of the country is making the process of economic reforms more cumbersome, said Mr Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India. The focus should be on reforming the institutions, as else it could impact the India growth story. This in turn could lead to social unrest in the long run. Citizens should be part of the governance reform process, he added.
Focus on capacity building of leadership and strengthening the institutions is critical to improving the governance levels, said Mr Jayant Chaudhary, Member of Parliament – Lok Sabha. The need of the hour is to build consensus among the political parties of the country and reforming the delivery institutions, he added.
Mr R Sri Kumar, Vigilance Commissioner, Government of India said that in the democracy, public interest is supreme and participation of the concerned stakeholders is critical. He called for proactive, predictive and participative vigilance in place of preventive vigilance. Citizen empowerment programme like VIGEYE may help in checking the corruption level, he added.
Emphasizing on the importance of good governance, Mr Ajay S Shriram, Vice President, CII & Chairman & Senior Managing Director, DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd said that simplification of procedures, speedy and timely decision making process, capacity building in executing, better coordination amongst the political parties and centre – state coordination are key to reforming our governance structure.
Addressing the session, Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Corporate Service Ltd, said that with one million people entering the workforce every month, it is important to provide gainful employment and also appropriate education, skills and training to the youth.
Appreciating the Government’s National Manufacturing policy, Mr Munjal said that going forward the onus of providing additional employment and livelihood opportunities will lie on the manufacturing sector, and hence the policy should be implemented in a mission mode.
Dwelling on environmental sustainability Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman, Nanhi Chhaan Foundation said that often products and services are priced at less than the ecological cost, and the poor often end up paying for this gap. Therefore the accounting for sustainability needs to be explored. Highlighting the issues of gender imbalance, Mr Singh said that the sex ratio which has declined from 980 at independence to 914 is a great cause of concern. India cannot achieve its development goals without leveraging the potential of half of its human capital – its women.
Mr Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Express emphasized that sustainability and social inclusivity need to go hand in hand. Addressing the issue of whether there was a tradeoff between enhancing efficiency and generating employment, he summed up that efficiency leads to growth which leads to prosperity, which in turn leads to further employment creation.
India has made its mark in the information technology sector, and IT should be increasingly leveraged to make our governance process transparent and accountable said Mr Malvinder Mohan Singh, Chairman, CII Northern Region & Executive Chairman, Fortis Healthcare Ltd while addressing the delegates at the Annual Conference.
He emphasized on good governance as a necessary condition for economic growth and sustainable development and a catalyst for achieving social inclusivity.
Mr Jayant Davar, Deputy Chairman, CII Northern Region and Co-Chairman & Managing Director, Sandhar Technologies Ltd pointed out that economic growth which does not suitably address ecological issues is no longer a sustainable growth model. He pointed out that studies have shown that a 4% increase in global temperature could negatively impact the GDP by 1.5-5%, it could even be as high as 10% in some of the developing economies. He emphasized on the need for focusing on renewable energy, low carbon economy and water conservation.
The deliberations brought out the specific road map of key drivers to achieve growth and development in northern region. These include focus on good governance, gender equality, environment, green and clean growth, civil society & education.
Jayant Davar is New Chief of CII Northern Region; Zubin Irani takes over as Deputy Chairman
NEW DELHI, March 25: Mr Jayant Davar has been elected as the new Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Northern Region for the year 2013-14, while Mr Zubin Irani has been elected as the Deputy Chairman.
Mr Davar is the founder and currently the Co-Chairman & Managing Director of Sandhar Technologies Ltd and Mr Irani is the Senior Managing Director-Commercial Companies of United Technologies India Private Limited.
“CII NR’s theme for the year would be ‘Reviving Growth in North - Present & Future’. CII’s endeavours would primarily focus on accelerating economic growth by attracting investments, building Brand North, state level policy reforms, leveraging sectoral competencies and strong societal connect in the region”, shared Mr Davar.
“NR needs a holistic approach to achieve long term sustainability by special focus on Innovation, Transformation, Inclusion and positive governance”, Mr Davar further highlighted.
Mr Davar is a Mechanical Engineer and alumnus of Harvard Business School. Presently Mr Davar is associated with many distinguished organizations. He is a Governing Council Member – National Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP), Govt. of India; Governing Council Member of Innovation Council, Government of Haryana; Founding Member of Automotive Skills Development Council, Government of India; Advisory Committee of Fraunhofer, Germany; Member - CII National Council and Member of CII National Committees for Public Policy, Affirmative Action & Trade Fairs; and Chief Mentor – YBLF Committee, ACMA.
He has also served as Chairman of Regional Committee on Manufacturing Competitiveness, CII NR; Chairman, CII Haryana State Council; President, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association, ACMA and Chairman – Globalization & Trade Fairs Committee, ACMA.
Mr Davar’s company Sandhar Technologies Ltd manufactures a range of auto components and operates out of 3 countries and 27 plant locations. Since its inception in 1985, Sandhar has grown to be a medium sized auto component supplier to most of the Automotive OEM’s and Tier 1 suppliers. The company employs about 6,000 people with the gross sales revenue of US $ 300 million in 2012-13.
Mr Zubin Irani, the newly elected Deputy Chairman of CII NR is the Senior Managing Director-Commercial Companies, United Technologies India Private Limited, which owns Carrier India as part of UTC Climate Controls and Security and Otis Elevators. UTC was ranked 37th on the 2010 Fortune 1000 List of America's Largest Corporations.
Mr Irani is responsible for developing and leading strategies to accelerate growth of UTC’s businesses in India. Earlier Mr Irani had joined Carrier Corporations’ Asia Pacific Office, Singapore in 2005 as Director-Marketing, Product Management and Strategy. He moved to Carrier India as Managing Director in March 2006 where he was responsible for Carrier’s heating, cooling and refrigeration business segments in India. During his 4 year tenure, with Carrier, Mr Irani delivered exceptional growth making Carrier the leader in the commercial HVAC segment.
Prior to joining Carrier, Mr Irani had worked for 6 years with McKinsey and Co, a leading global consulting firm, in the US, Europe and India as an Associate Principal managing growth strategies and transformation programs for many large global Fortune 500 companies. He is an alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur.
Mr Irani has been actively involved with CII and has served on the National and NR Councils of CII. He has led the CII Delhi State Council, Power & Water Committee & Manufacturing Committee of CII NR. He is also the current chair for the Energy, Co-operation Program (ECP) which has been jointly set up by the US and Indian governments to promote knowledge building and sponsor projects in the areas of renewable energy, smart grids and energy efficiency. He also serves on the boards/ executive committees of UTC India, American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) India and India Green Building Council (IGBC).
FICCI, TAITRA sign Carnet Protocol
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, March 20: Mr Sheu, Yu-Jer, Deputy Minister of Finance, Government of Taiwan, has said that trade between India and Taiwan is expected to grow rapidly in the years to come.
He was speaking at a function held here on Wednesday to sign the FICCI – TAITRA Carnet Protocol to facilitate temporary duty free admission of goods and exhibits between India and Taiwan. The agreement was signed between FICCI and Taiwan External Trade Development Council.
Earlier, Mr Sidharth Birla, Senior Vice President, FICCI, in his welcome address said that trade between India and Taiwan has increased rapidly. In 2011-2012 it stood at U.S $ 8.54 Billion.
With the signing of the agreement the growth is expected to receive a further boost.
It includes Indian exports to Taiwan at US$ 3.35 billion dollars and imports from Taiwan at US$ 5.12 billion dollars.
In a bid to facilitate duty free temporary admission of goods and exhibits between India and Taiwan, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) signed a FICCI-TAITRA Carnet Protocol similar to the ATA Carnet backed by an agreement between India-Taipei Association (ITA), Taipei and Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC), India.
The FICCI-TAITRA Carnet Protocol was signed on behalf of FICCI by Mr Sidharth Birla, Senior Vice President, FICCI, and on behalf of TAITRA by Mr Chao, Yuen-Chuan, President & CEO, TAITRA.
In terms of the FICCI-TAITRA Carnet Protocol, FICCI in India and TAITRA in Taiwan will facilitate the grant of ATA Carnet like document to Indian and Taiwanese businessmen for temporary movement of goods/exhibits for exhibitions/fairs in India and Taiwan.
ATA Carnet is an international uniform Customs document issued in 72 countries including India, which are parties to the Customs Convention on ATA Carnet. The ATA Carnet permits duty free temporary admission of goods into a member country without the need to raise customs bond, payment of duty and fulfillment of other customs formalities in one or a number of foreign countries.
The ATA Carnet System is administered by ICC-WCF World ATA Carnet Council (WATAC), Paris in cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO). FICCI has been appointed as the National Issuing and Guaranteeing Association for the operation of ATA Carnet System in India.
The goods being imported from Taiwan are not presently covered under the ATA Carnet System as Taiwan is not a signatory to the Convention. However, Taiwan has signed similar carnet protocol with more than 35 countries including United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, the EU, etc. These protocols grant duty free admissions for exhibition goods which are brought for exhibition purposes on a temporary basis.
The FICCI-TAITRA Carnet Protocol will pave the way to enhance the bilateral trade co-operation between India and Taiwan through the use of Carnets.
Chidambaram opens new Canara bank branch in Tamil Nadu
SIVAGANGAI, March 16: The Union Finance Minister, Mr P Chidambaram, declared open a new Canara Bank Branch at Siravayal in Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu here on Saturday in the presence of Mr R.K.Dubey, Chairman and Managing Director of the Bank, Mr A. K. Gupta, Executive Director, and Mr G. V. Manimaran, Officer Director. This is the 146th branch in Madurai Circle and 3697th branch of the Bank.
After inaugurating the branch, Mr Chidambaram addressed a large public gathering of more than 750 people. He appreciated the efforts of Canara Bank, especially in the area of rural upliftment and Financial inclusion.
On the occasion, the Union Finance Minister handed over loan sanction letters to Kisans, Artisans, Women Self Help Groups, Students, Physically challenged persons and DRI loans.
Totally, the branch disbursed loans worth Rs 129 lakh numbering around 100 beneficiaries.
During the meeting, Mr Chidambaram emphasized the need for all Women Bank. He explained the steps initiated for setting up the Women Bank and informed that initially a few Women Bank branches will be opened and expanded later on.
He also informed that a capital of Rs 1,000 crores has been set aside for the purpose by the Government of India.
Canara CMD Dubey opens 23 new branches in Bellary
BELLARY, March 13: Canara Bank Chairman & Managing Director R K Dubey inaugurated here a mega financial inclusion event involving opening of 23 new branches, 30 ATMs, 7 Financial Literacy Centres and the Bank’s partnership with NGOs-SKDRDP & SAMUHA for extending credit linkage to Women SHGs.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dubey said “Rural people are equally entitled to get all technology products and services from the banking system as any urban customer is receiving.”
The event was organized by Pragathi Gramin Bank, a RRB sponsored by Canara Bank.
Complimenting the bank, Mr Dubey said that Pragathi Gramin bank is no less than
commercial bank and should have ATMs in all its branches especially in rural areas.
He called upon banks operating in rural areas especially RRBs to partner with the
technology providers to achieve this.
Mr R K Dubey declared open 23 new branches, 30 ATMs and 7 Financial Literacy
Centres of Pragathi Gramin Bank. 20 ATMs out of 30 are in villages.
Earlier in the day, Mr Dubey planted a sapling at Pragathi Gramin Bank Head Office premises and inaugurated an ATM at Gandhinagar, Bellary. He called upon the bank and M/s Integra Service provider to work together to take the bank to every village in the area of operation of the bank.
Bank also extended association with SKDRDP in promotion and credit linkage of SHGs to 2 new districts namely Shimoga and Bellary. Talur village in Bellary district was declared as Total Solar Village by granting 151 Loans.
Mr M G Bhat, Chairman of Pragathi Gramin Bank welcomed the guests. M K S
Prabhakara Rao, General Manager of Canara Bank, Mr. Puneet Bhirani, Executive,
M/s Mphasis ATM Service provider, Mr Jayashankar Sharma, Director SKDRDP, Mr
V Narayanaswamy, Director SAMUHA, Shri Manjunath, Country Head, SKDRDP
lauded the efforts of the RRB. Mr M Nagaraja, General Manager proposed vote of thanks.
Canara Bank announces women friendly schemes on International Women's Day
By Deepak Arora
BANGALORE, March 8: Canara Bank celebrated the international women’s day here on Friday by awarding successful eminent women personalities, women entrepreneurs and
women employees. The bank also initiated a series of financial and non financial
packages for women entrepreneurs and for rural women.
Presiding over the function organized at its Head Quarters, the Canara Chairman and Managing Director, Mr R K Dubey, announced several initiatives taken by the Bank such as:
• Waiver of Promoters Contribution and providing 100 % finance for Micro and
Small projects upto Rs 1 lakh.
• Waiver of processing charges and upfront fee upto a loan of Rs 5 lakh under
Micro and Small projects for women entrepreneurs.
• Reducing interest on loans to women on Micro and Small Enterprises upto Rs 5
lakh to base rate of interest i.e. 10.25% at present.
• Waiver of processing charges for house and vehicle loans for women for the period
from March 1, 2013 to May 31, 2015.
• In order to encourage entrepreneurship and reward successful women entrepreneurs, the CMD launched an annual award Scheme for successful women entrepreneurs financed by the Bank with three cash awards of Rs 25,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs1,00,000.
• To give focused attention to the needs of women clientele, bank is dedicating 10 all women employee branches.
• As a CSR initiative, Bank would also take up a project for construction of toilets in 130 girl schools, 5 each in all its 26 lead district with a financial outlay of Rs. 1 crore.
The chairman also recalled the contributions made by Mrs Indira Gandhi and
the other popular women political leaders, Mothers and Sisters in the family.
Women employees will be provided the best support to advance in their careers
and contribute for the women’s empowerment, he said during the occasion.
Earlier, the bank honoured women achievers who excelled in their respective
fields. Mrs Shalini Rajaneesh, IAS and Secretary, DPAR, Govt. of Karnataka,
Dr. Vanaja Ramaprasad, Found Trustee of Green Foundation and organic farming
expert, Mrs B Kamala, the elderly citizen and first women General Manager of the
Thanking the bank for the honour, Mrs Shalini Rajaneesh stressed on extending time bound service to the citizens and called upon the Bankers to take a lead in empowering women as financial security is critical. She highlighted that the
repayment from the women category is one of the highest and banks should not be
reluctant to consider their proposals.
Dr. Vanaja Ramaprasad expressed concern over deteriorating quality of seeds which have now become totally dependent on externally induced chemicals. She appealed to the farming community, financiers and policy makers to encourage organic farming for sustaining the skill of agriculture and food security. She highlighted the role played by women in the farm sector which is to the extent of 60 to 70%.
Mrs B Kamala, retired GM of the bank narrated her experience of implementing social banking concepts in the bank and expressed happiness in seeing so many women occupying the top positions in the bank.
Mr A K Gupta, Executive Director of the Bank, highlighted the role played by
Bank in empowering women through self employment training, promoting formal
education, assistance to SHGs and financial inclusion. He cited the role played by
late Dr. Verghese Kurien who empowered women in the 15 Districts of Gujarat
and building a international brand “Amul”.
Mrs Lalitha Lakshmanan, CGM welcomed the gathering and Mrs Mythily
Krishnamurthy, CGM of the bank proposed the vote of thanks.
The programme was attended by over 500 people from Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural District, of which more than 400 were women. Top Executives, employees and
invitees were also present on the occasion.
Chidambaram to meet heads of PSU banks on March 18
NEW DELHI, March 10: Amid moderation in economic growth, finance minister P Chidambaram is likely to prod banks to step up lending at a meeting with heads of public sector banks on March 18. The broad agenda of the meeting include direct benefit transfer, deteriorating asset quality and credit growth.
Non-performing assets of the banks have been on the rise for past several months due to slowdown in the economy. The gross NPAs of some public sector banks, including State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Central Bank of India, have crossed four per cent of the total assets at the end of December, 2012.
Gross NPAs of PSU banks jumped to Rs 1,84,193 crore in December 2012 compared to Rs 1,37,102 crore in March 2012.
The gross NPAs in corporate lending rose to Rs 98,884 crore in December 2012 as against Rs 68,221 crore in March 2012, while in case of farm loan, the gross NPAs rose at Rs 30,800 crore in December 2012 as against Rs 24,827 crore in March, 2012.
Hit by poor performance of farm, mining and manufacturing sector, economic growth in the October-December period of the current financial year slipped to 4.5 per cent -- decade's lowest quarterly growth.
Chidambaram is likely to ask banks to increase lending at the meeting on March 18, official sources said.
The meeting will also dwell upon steps to increase credit flow to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), farm sector, infrastructure and housing sector, sources added.
The high-profile meeting will be held a day before mid-quarter review of monetary policy by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It is widely expected that RBI may reduce the interest rate to prop up growth.
In its third quarter policy review on January 29, RBI had lowered key short-term lending rate by 0.25 per cent and also injected Rs 18,000 crore liquidity through similar reduction of Cash Reserve Ratio.
The repo rate, at which RBI lends to banks, was eased after a gap of nine months as the central bank fought the stubbornly high inflation through tight money policy, leading to high interest rate regime.
Following the monetary action by RBI, many banks including State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) reduced their lending rate.
Canara CMD Dubey calls on Karnataka CM
BANGALORE, March 9: Canara Bank Chairman and Managing Director, MR R K Dubey, called on Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr Jagadish Shettar, and discussed with him various developmental issues connected to the State and assured him fullest cooperation from Canara Bank.
The Chief Minister congratulated Mr Dubey on his taking the charge of Canara Bank as Chairman and Managing Director and assured him all support from the Government of Karnataka.
Canara CMD Dubey inaugurates Kamla Nehru Hospital Cancer ward
By Deepak Arora
ALLAHABAD, March 6: Canara Bank Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Kishore Dubey on Wednesday inaugurated Cancer Ward of Kamla Nehru Memorial Hospital here on Wednesday.
The CMD also handed over a cheque for Rs 6.15 lacs to the hospital for purchase of 20 beds for Cancer ward.
On his maiden visit to Uttar Pradesh after assuming charge, Mr Dubey also inaugurated the renovated premises of Kalyani Devi branch of Canara Bank.
He also addressed the customers of Allahabad, Varnanasi and Mirzapur branches in the evening.
He also visited Lucknow and interacted with the customers.
He addressed the staff members and motivated them with his inspirational speech.
Mr S K Chaudhry, DGM was also present on the occasion.
Chidambaram should initiate tax reforms in Union Budget to herald India’s growth story
By Rakesh Nangia
NEW DELHI, Feb 21: The Indian economy had witnessed a lot of challenges in the past year and the Government had taken various steps to push the economic reforms in the country. Every year, the Union Budget comes with lot of anticipations, anxiety and hopes for the countrymen. Not only does it interest the masses, it also interest investors across the globe who have made investment or plan to invest in the growing Indian market. This year also, the Union Budget is no different and is awaited with lot of interest by everyone, especially the common man, who has been the victim of soaring inflation in the country.
With the parliamentary elections coming next year, the budget 2013-14 is expected to strike a balance between regaining the fiscal discipline and making the tax regime people friendly.
The Finance Minister, Mr P Chidambaram, will have a tough task in his hand to meet the expectations of the common man and also address the economic and industry issues, at the time when the Indian fiscal regime is yet to settle the changes proposed in the last union budget, which inter-alia included the provisions on the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (‘GAAR’) and retrospective amendment in capital gains taxation on indirect transfer of Indian assets.
Some of the challenges that the Indian economy is presently facing and for which the
Government needs to take corrective measures are enumerated below:
• Boost to the infrastructure space and other key sectors of the economy
• Incentivize foreign investment in India and encourage investor’s confidence in the
• Improve industrial growth rate
• Reducing the fiscal deficit - give momentum to export growth and monitoring imports
• Tax friendly regime and reduce ambiguities – fast resolution to tax litigations
• Removing the regulatory bottlenecks
We, through this article, highlight some areas where we expect the changes in the direct tax arena and some direct tax propositions which can be considered by the Parliament in the upcoming budget session:
@ Increase in the basic exemption limit for individual tax payers to bring parity with the high inflation in the country
@ Enhance the housing loan interest deduction to promote housing finance and address the cash-crunch problem for the real-estate developers
@ Increase in the tax incentive/ deductions, specially the limit of exemption under section 80C of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (‘Act’), which has been stagnant for several years. This would also boost the savings in the economy, which can be channelized to promote key industry sectors in the country
@ Restore the tax-incentive on infrastructure bonds to fund the infrastructure space
@ Raise the existing nominal transport allowance exemption limit for salaried employees
@ Increase the tax deduction limit on payment towards health care or medical insurance of self and relatives
@ Bring the National Pension Scheme (‘NPS’) under the exempt-exempt-exempt (‘EEE’) regime to encourage private Indian corporate houses avail the scheme and provide benefits to the salaried employees
@ Extend the presumptive taxation scheme for small service providers (which at present is available only to persons carrying on any business)
@ Reintroduction of inheritance / super-rich tax – Bringing back the erstwhile estate duty regime in the country is aimed to address concerns like wealth - accumulation in a few hands and fiscal inequality. While this may result in achieving the stated issues and also a possible increase in contribution to the national exchequer, in our view, this may not be the right time to reintroduce the inheritance tax/ superrich tax because this would require lot of legislative changes and may create issues relating to valuation, point of taxation and increased litigation. Instead, our country needs series of reforms to boost the economic growth which benefits all classes of society.
@ Convergence of tax rules with IFRS based accounting
@ Rationalize the provisions of GAAR and codify the recommendations of the Shome Panel on GAAR in the Act
@ Exemption on applicability of Minimum Alternative Tax (‘MAT’) provisions on foreign companies specially in sectors where there is a need to promote foreign investment/ technology
@ Imposition of MAT on Special Economic Zone (‘SEZ’) units be withdrawn
@ Reintroduction of 10(23G) to provide MAT exemption for infrastructure companies to
incentivize investment in infrastructure space
@ Extension of tax incentive under section 80-IA of the Act by postponing the sunset clauses. Extend tax holiday under section 80IA of the Act for some key sectors like real estate projects, SEZ, integrated townships, cement industry etc.
@ Introduce tax provision for allowing the carry forward of foreign tax credit which remains unutilized in the previous year in which the foreign income is accrued or taxed in India and set-off the same against the tax liability in succeeding years
@ Deduction of non-compete fees - While the taxability of receipt of non-compete fees is clearly provided for under the Act, the deductibility of the same as revenue expenditure or depreciation on capital expenditure is still unclear. The provisions to bring clarity on the same may be introduced
@ Provide for specific deductibility of expenses incurred on increasing share capital
@ Roll back the provisions of taxing the consideration in excess of the fair market valued received by a closely held company on issue of shares as per section 56(2)(viib) of the
Act. This has resulted in lot of commercial issues in case the existing promoter is able to raise funds at a higher valuation
@ Provide specific capital gains tax exemption under the Act on conversion of sole proprietorship or a partnership firm into a Limited liability Partnership (‘LLP’)
@ The turnover threshold of INR 6 million for a tax-neutral conversion of a private company or an unlisted public company into an LLP may be done away with or increased
to promote formation of LLP in the country
@ Provide for a specific clause on tax depreciation on goodwill in case of a slump sale transaction to avoid any unnecessary litigation
@ Provide specific exemption of capital gains tax on conversion of one class of shares into another - to promote foreign investment in Indian companies through convertible instrument
@ Applicability of Tax deduction at Source (TDS) to be determined ‘net of service tax’ since the same represents tax and not any income
@ Remove applicability of TDS on pure reimbursement of expenses since there is no element of income involved
@ Applicability of Advance Pricing Agreements should be extended to domestic transfer pricing provisions for reduced litigation
Mergers and Acquisition
@ Define clearly the term ‘substantial’ used in Explanation 5 to Section 9(1)(i) of the
Act relating to indirect transfer of Indian assets and provide for a clear methodology to compute capital gains tax in India on such deemed transfer [as provided under explanation 5 to Section 9(1)(i)]. Further, it is suggested to adopt/ codify the other recommendations of the draft report of Shome Panel on retrospective amendments relating to indirect transfer of assets in India
@ Allow carry- forward of losses under section 72A in cases of amalgamation for all sectors against the present case where the benefit is available only to certain industrial undertaking
@ Specific clause may be introduced under the Act to allow carry forward of MAT credit of the amalgamating company to the amalgamated company
@ Specific clause may be introduced under the Act to allow deductibility of certain expenses (provided under section 43B of the Act) of the amalgamating company or
demerged company or transferor company to the amalgamated company or resulting company or transferee company on payment basis
@ Introduce a new clause for capital gains tax exemption upon receipt of shares by an
Indian tax resident in case of amalgamation / demerger in respect of two foreign companies
@ Section 79 of the Act provides that a change of more than 49% voting rights of a closely held Indian company would result in denial of carry forward and set-off of business losses. However, in case when change in the shareholding of the Indian company occurs on amalgamation / demerger in respect of foreign holding company, the provision of Section 79 may not trigger. Such a relaxation from provision of Section 79 of the Act is not there for amalgamation/ demerger of Indian holding companies. This exception should also be inserted for change in shareholding pursuant to merger / demerger of Indian companies.
In light of the present global scenario and economic environment in the country, it would be interesting to see how and to what extent these recommendations are adopted and how the Indian Government is able to restore the global investor’s confidence in the Indian markets and push the tax reforms in the country which had been initiated in the recent past specially through Goods and Service tax and the Direct Tax Code. One can only hope that that the tax reforms are enacted soon to create a significant positive impact on the nation’s overall growth story and benefit everyone.
The views of the writer are personal..!!
Sharp launches air purifiers for India market
NEW DELHI, Feb 27: Sharp, the leading consumer Japanese brand with over 100 years of lineage in white good industry, with various patent technologies on their name is proud to announce the success of its Plasmacluster segment. Sharp launched Plasmacluster ion Technology equipped products Air Purifiers for India Market a little over six months earlier. This range of Air Purifiers has been a quiet achiever for the brand with its patent technology. Sharp also announced it’s achievement of 4 Crore satisfied users till June 2012 for Plasmacluster Ion Technology, the highest in the world for Air Purification.
With recent, Global Burden of Disease (GBD) count, a global initiative involving the WHO has ranked outdoor air pollution as the sixth-most dangerous killer. It is now three places behind indoor air pollution, which is the second-highest killer in Asia.
As Sharp Business Systems India Limited’s Product Head, Shuvendu Mazumdar sees it, Purifiers are the need of the day, as we buy Mineral Water, RO or even better water filters. For what? To save us from some petty disease like upset stomach etc. But what about airborne diseases? H1N1, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Tuberculosis, and so many others are killing millions in India every year. We are blissfully ignoring this, while taking 20,000 odd Breaths every day! Just consider, 1.34 million premature deaths occurred in 2008 as per WHO from respiratory diseases!
SHARP enjoys a competitive edge when it comes to Air purifiers in India. Same conclusion is derived by Tech Sci Research who predicts the Air purifier Market to reach Rs 560 Crores by the year 2016.
Plasmacluster Technology can best be described as the next generation of Air Purifiers. They work by using an electrical discharge to create both Positive and Negative ions, which are then surrounded in water and then released into the air. Sharp says this process can clean the air and surface from irritants including dust, fungi, viruses, pollen and mould etc.
According to Shuvendu Mazumdar, National Manager, Sharp Business Systems India Limited, “Sharp has undertaken a number of live product demonstration sites during the festive season at major Retail Outlets. This activity allows Sharp staff to interact directly with consumers and get feedback as to the consumers needs — the overwhelming reaction has been very positive. Generating awareness and providing solutions is the need of the time”.
Sharp will partner with a retailer when carrying out these activities: the most recent ones are Vijay Sales, Reliance Autozone & Other Regional retails in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata & Bangalore which achieved over 400 unit sales in just over three weeks. The effective demonstration program strongly communicates to customers, while the Retailers are happy with the solid margin they get in this product category.
“Clearly there is a consumer need that is not currently being met by most Retailers. We will use the knowledge gained from consumers to further advance the penetration into this thinly tapped market” he added.
The Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifiers is an example of Sharp’s efforts to keep supplying retailers with high value products, with unique and one of kind features and benefits.
Regarding the profits that retailers can avail with Sharp’s range of products, Mazumdar said, “At a time of eroding profitability and declining demand in mainstream consumer electronic products, the Sharp Plasmacluster Air Purifier range can bring retailers new sales opportunities. Retailers should talk to one of the Sharp sales team about range, training and display.”