Showing posts from February, 2013


Second honeymoon on Mars! A married couple is being sought to represent humanity on the first manned mission to Mars to be launched in 2018. US millionaire tycoon Dennis Tito, who in 2001 became the first space tourist, has launched an ambitious project to send two civilians on a historic 501 days return journey to the Red Planet in January 2018. Tito has unveiled the plan to launch the first manned mission to Mars in 2018, a voyage that could include an adventurous married crew, '' reported. Tito announced the private Mars voyage plan here yesterday. The project aims not to land people on the surface of the Red Planet, but to take advantage of a rare planetary alignment that would allow a relatively easy, quick flyby around the Mars. Tito hopes to choose a space capsule and rocket from among those already on the market, and modify them to carry two people to Mars and back in 501 days. And to combat the loneliness and isolation that would doubtless set in during such …

Super rich tax,other proposals to swell exchequer by Rs 18K cr

New tax proposals including 10 per cent surcharge on super rich and higher duties on mobiles, cigarettes and SUVs will help government garner Rs 18,000 crore in 2013-14. Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his budget speech today said, "My tax proposals on the direct taxes side are estimated to yield Rs 13,300 crore and on the indirect taxes side Rs 4,700 crore." As part of budget proposals for direct taxes, the Finance Minister imposed a surcharge of 10 per cent on persons (other than companies) whose taxable income exceeds Rs 1crore. Besides, surcharge has been doubled to 10 per cent on domestic companies whose taxable income exceeds Rs 10 crore. For foreign companies, surcharge has been raised from 2 per cent to 5 per cent, if the taxable income exceeds Rs 10 crore. These additional surcharges would be in force for only one year. However, education cess would continue at 3 per cent. At the same time, the Finance Minister has provided tax relief of Rs 2,000 for the Tax Payer…



The next big smartphone accessory: your car

Automobile giants at the world's biggest mobile fair are showing off a new technology that turns a car into a smartphone accessory, allowing a driver to use cutting-edge apps without veering off the road. Called MirrorLink, and adopted by 85 big manufacturers from Ford to General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, VW, Fiat or Renault, it connects a smartphone and car entertainment system with a two-way audio, video and data link. "People are using their smartphone applications and services 80 per cent of the time. The other 20 per cent when they are not using them is when they are in the car," said Jorg Brakensiek, technical coordinator for the Car Connectivity Forum. "For the driver there is no really safe mechanism for the driver to do that," he told AFP at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. MirrorLink requires a compliant car entertainment system and a smartphone with the software, which can be downloaded. Drivers then can access thei…


Chidambaram is greeted by his grand daughter Aditi Nalini Finance Minister P Chidambaram's low-key budget presentation won applause from members as he seasoned it with a fair sprinkling of quotations from poets and scholars, and highlighted sensitive issues that struck a chord with even those seated on the opposition benches. True to his style, the veteran Finance Minister stayed focussed on his schemes and tax proposals during his 95-minute presentation , which he began with the promise of keeping it "simple, straight forward and reasonably short". Unlike the Rail Budget two days ago, Chidambaram's speech in the Lok Sabha was heard with rapt attention and there were only a couple of minor disruptions. The 67-year-old Harvard-educated Finance Minister invoked noted Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, Saint Thiruvalluvar and Swami Vivekanand to impress his audience. Quoting Stiglitz, he said, "There is a compelling moral case for equity; but it is a…


Seeking to end ambiguity, the government today proposed to follow the international practice with regard to defining foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign institutional investors (FII). "In order to remove the ambiguity that prevails on what is FDI and what is FII, I propose to follow the international practice and lay down a broad principle," Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said in his Budgetary proposals. He said that "where an investor has a stake of 10 per cent or less in a company, it will be treated as FII and, where an investor has a stake of more than 10 per cent, it will be treated as FDI".


When it comes to usage of words in the budget speech, terms like women, youth and investors grew in count from the last year levels, when Finance Minister P Chidambaram presented the annual accounts of the country's economic health today. Words like inflation, deficit, investment, jobs and poor also found larger number of mentions in this year's budget speech, while words like crisis, slowdown, problems, uncertainties, and surprisingly growth, declined in the count. Presenting the Union Budget for 2013-14, Chidambaram mentioned the word 'women' as many as 24 times -- most of which were during his proposal for setting up a 'Women's Bank'. The Finance Minister said that many banks had women as their heads, but no bank exclusively served women. He proposed a public sector bank that would lend mostly to women and women-run businesses, employ predominantly women and work for gender-specific empowerment and financial inclusion. The word 'women' had found…


Following is the table of the impact of changes in income tax provisions proposed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Budget for 2013-14. These include a tax relief of Rs 2,000 on income between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, and 10 per cent surcharge on income above Rs 1 crore. INCOME TAX RATE IMPACT (Individual Tax Payers) 1. Up to Rs 2,00,000 NIL NIL Rs 2,00,001 to Rs 5,00,000 10 per cent Rs 2,000 (Savings) Rs 5,00,001 to Rs 10,00,000 20 per cent NIL Rs 10,00,001 to Rs 1 crore 30 per cent NIL Above Rs 1 crore 30+10% surcharge 3% burden 2. (For Senior Citizens of 60 years but less than 80 years) Up to Rs 2,50,000 NIL NIL Rs 2,50,001 to Rs 5,00,000 10 per cent Rs 2,000 (Savings) Rs 5,00,001 to Rs 10,00,000 20 per cent NIL Rs 10,00,001 to Rs 1 crore 30 per cent NIL Above Rs 1 crore 30+10% Surcharge 3% burden 3 (Very Senior Citizens of 80 years and above) Up to Rs 5,00,000 NIL Rs 2,000 (Savings) Rs 5,00,001 to Rs 10,00,000 20 per cent NIL Rs 10,00,001 to Rs 1 crore 30 per cent NIL Abo…


Continuing efforts to clean up Railway finances, the Budget for 2013-14 today effected an across-the-board 5.8 per cent hike in freight charges to net in Rs 4,200 crore a year while raising passenger reservation and related charges to rake in an additional Rs 483 crore. Railway Minister P K Bansal, the first Congress Minister to present Railway Budget in 17 years, however, did not touch the basic passenger fares which he had hiked across-the-board only last month to raise Rs 6,600 crore. Adopting the dynamic fuel adjustment component (FAC)- linked revision in tariffs, proposed by his Trinamool predecessor Dinesh Trivedi last year, the Minister slapped an average 5.8 per cent increase on goods. This will cover among other things foodgrains and pulses, coal, iron and steel, urea, iron ore, diesel, kerosene and LPG, which the industry and political parties feared could lead to further inflation spiral. Beginning April 1, the FAC will be adjusted in freight rates twice a year in line wi…


Country's business climate has improved in February on account of robust production and government's reform initiatives, and the economy should return to a strong growth path by end of 2013-14 if current trend persists for a few more months, a new report says. The BluFin Business Cycle Indicator (BCI), that reflects various macroeconomic trends on a monthly basis, stood at 170.4 points in February, 4.2 per cent higher compared to the same month last year. The improvement suggests that the economy is growing at a faster rate than the previous year. Historically, the BCI has grown by an average of seven per cent year-on-year, financial information provider BluFin said today. Moreover, BCI has been indicating a reversal in the economic slowdown since July 2012 and expects that economic growth in India to gather momentum by the second quarter of 2013-14 financial year. "The key factors leading to the strong improvement (in February) were increasing foreign trade, rising produ…


Housing prices have increased in 18 major cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, by up to 9.6 per cent during October-December 2012 over the previous quarter due to rise in input cost and limited fresh supply, National Housing Bank said today. Mumbai and Delhi witnessed the maximum increase in housing price at 9.6 per cent each. Out of 20 cities tracked by NHB 'RESIDEX', prices have dropped in only two cities -- Faridabad and Indore. "In majority of the cities prices are witnessing upward trend," NHB said in a statement. "The movement in prices of residential properties has shown increasing trend in 18 cities ranging from 0.6 per cent in Chennai to 9.6 per cent in Delhi & Mumbai, and fall in only two cities namely Indore (-1.0 per cent) and Faridabad (-5.1 per cent) in the quarter October-December 2012 in comparison to the previous quarter July-September 2012," it added. Prices have shot up by 9.4 per cent each in Kolkata and Patna, followed by Kochi (8…


Google is the most trusted online brand in the country, with Facebook coming in at number two, says a study by Brand Trust Advisory. Yahoo has emerged as the second-most trusted search engine after Google, says the report. The survey was conducted in 16 cities, taking into consideration 19,000 unique brands across 211 categories, Trust Research Advisory chief executive N Chandramouli said. Social networking sites are gaining popularity, with Orkut and Twitter ranking fourth and sixth respectively overall. "Google's Orkut, steadied at fourth rank despite a significant fall in daily visitors from here. Facebook has ranked first in the sub-category of social networking," he said. The fifth slot has gone to shopping portal eBay, which tops in the list of e-commerce brands followed by AOL, Amazon, Ibibo and YouTube, which ranks ninth, leads the sub-category of online sharing portals, while Naukri managee the 24th position overall.


Spelling more trouble for beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines, Government today announced withdrawal of all domestic and international flying slots of the grounded carrier with immediate effect and decided to allot them to other Indian airlines. "These traffic rights have been withdrawn from Kingfisher Airlines on account of non-utilisation by the airline. It used to have as many as 126 flying slots for international flights to eight countries which have now been withdrawn," a Civil Aviation Ministry official said. Flying or airport slots are rights allocated to a scheduled airline by an airport operator or government agency, granting the slot owner the right to schedule a landing or departure during a specific time period. The withdrawal of these slots would make available approximately 25,000 seats per week for use by other Indian carriers to these eight countries, some of which are much in demand by Kingfisher's Indian competitors, the official said. Keeping this in min…


The mobile industry will invest USD 1.1 trillion by 2017 and the ecosystem around it is expected to employ 10 million people globally, said a report released by global industry body GSM Association said. "For the period through 2017, the mobile industry will invest USD 1.1 trillion in capital expenditure and will contribute USD 2.6 trillion to public funding. Importantly, in 2017, companies across the ecosystem will employ nearly 10 million people globally," 'The Mobile Economy 2013' report prepared Developed by GSMA and consulting major A.T. Kearney said. The report said revenue from total mobile ecosystem revenues reached USD 1.6 trillion -- around 2.2 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). "To fully realise this future and to enable the mobile industry to maximise its investments, it is essential that we establish a light-touch regulatory environment, based predominantly on competition, and develop new business models that will allow all ecosyst…


Facebook builds 'cold storage' archive for old photos Los Angeles, Feb 25 (PTI) Facebook is building a vast new "cold storage" facility in the US to archive all the messages, photos and other postings that its over billion users do not need every day but want to retain for future reference. A 16,000-square-foot data centre under construction in Prineville, Oregon, is designed to provide a more efficient home for older and less popular material. The new cold storage facility will join two existing data centres in Prineville, The Oregonian reported. Facebook knows you might want to see your old photos again someday. Or scroll back through your Timeline to revisit your posts as an online diary. But storing all those pictures and keeping them immediately available takes a lot of space. Not in the physical sense, but in the virtual. That means lots of hard drives, lots of storage and lots of energy. So Facebook is preparing to try out a more efficient storage system at it…

BLACKBERRY Z10 @ Rs.43,490

BlackBerry today launched its much-awaited smartphone Z10, powered by its latest operating system 'BlackBerry 10', in India at a price of Rs 43,490, taking rivals Apple and Samsung head on in the world's second largest telecom market. The Canadian smartphone maker has launched its latest model in India nearly a month after the global launch of new operating system 'BlackBerry 10' and two devices Z10 and Q10 on this platform on January 30. The new device is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and has 2GB RAM. It comes with 16GB onboard memory, which can be expanded up to 64GB using a microSD card. It has 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, a 2MP HD camera in front and its connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and NFC. The device supports content in eight Indian languages – Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Devanagiri (Hindi), Gurmukhi (Punjabi), Gujarati, and Bengali – as well as support for third-party solutions for…


Overseas investors have poured in more than USD 4 billion into Indian equities in February, taking the investment tally to USD 8.4 billion for calendar year 2013 so far. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) infused a net amount of USD 4.31 billion (about Rs 23,035 crore) in Indian equities in February so far, taking the total for the year to USD 8.4 billion (Rs 45,094 crore). Market analysts attributed strong FII inflows to signs of RBI easing interest rates and the subsequent impact of improved liquidity position. Additionally, a slew of measures taken by the government, including the postponement of GAAR (General Anti Avoidance Rules) implementation by two years to April 1, 2016 and partial decontrol in diesel prices, have also attracted foreign investors. During February 1-22, FIIs were gross buyers of shares worth Rs 65,941 crore, while they sold equities amounting to Rs 42,906 crore, translating into a net investment of Rs 23,035 crore (USD 4.31 billion), as per Sebi data. Fore…


Share of Rs 500 denomination bank notes has gained significance and accounted for 47 per cent of the total currency in circulation in 2010-11, a study by the Reserve Bank shows. "Rs 500 denomination notes quickly emerged as the second most important denomination since 1998-99 and replaced Rs 100 denomination as the most important denomination in 2003-04. Its share in value among all denominations peaked at 47 per cent in 2010-11," the study said. It said during 1990s, there was a significant migration from the smaller denominations (Rs 50 and below) to Rs 100 and from Rs 100 to Rs 500, resulting in a significant increase in the share of Rs 500 denomination note, followed by other denominations. However, the share of 100 rupee denomination currency notes has declined substantially over the years with emergence of 500 and 1,000 rupee denominations as substitutes. "...Rs 100 accounted for close to 50 per cent of the value of the total currency in circulation throughout th…


Close on the heels of ordering attachment of bank accounts, investments and all other assets of two Sahara group firms and their promoters, including group chief Subrata Roy, market watchdog Sebi today cautioned the investors and general public against transacting with these companies and persons. "Anyone transacting with them (Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd, Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd and their three promoters and directors) would be doing so at their own peril," the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said. The regulator said that in furtherance to a Supreme Court order directing refund of investors' money collected by these Sahara firms, it has ordered "attachment of all moveable and immoveable properties, bank accounts and demat accounts of these two companies and that of its promoters and directors namely Subrata Roy Sahara, Vandana Bhargava, Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey". "Investors and general public are advised to…


The world's two leading internet giants have set aside their rivalries and joined forces to set up the most lucrative science prize in history which is more than double the value of the Nobel Prize. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are working alongside Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki to create the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences worth USD 3 million. The project's aim is to reward research aimed at extending human life. The annual science prizes over the past year are worth USD 3 million apiece. That is more than twice the cash that accompanies a Nobel prize, the awards with which they are inevitably compared. In the first round of awards 11 scientists were awarded a total of USD 33 million but going forward an annual amount of USD 15 million will be set aside for five prize winners, The Independent reported. "Priscilla and I are honoured to be part of this. We believe the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences has …


Fitch today assigned investment grade rating, with negative outlook, to Bharti Airtel's proposed billion-dollar bond sale that is in line with the company's long term rating.The negative outlook has been assigned on account of ongoing regulatory uncertainty in its Indian operations, the global credit ratings firm said. "Fitch Ratings has assigned Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV's proposed foreign-currency senior unsecured notes an expected 'BBB-(EXP)' rating," the agency said."The notes will be unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by India's Bharti Airtel Ltd (Bharti, BBB-/ Negative) and are therefore rated at the same level as Bharti's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating of 'BBB-'," it added.Sources said Bharti Airtel is likely to meet global investors early next week for a benchmark bond sale that is expected to raise USD 1 billion. They said the company's plan to raise USD 1 billion was already shared by B…


FEBRUARY 26 Sensex tanks 317 pts to 3-mth low on global woes, freight hike The BSE benchmark index Sensex today widened early losses to end 316.55 points down at 3-month low of 19,015.14, wiping out over Rs 1 lakh crore wealth as Rail Budget failed to inspire investors, already rattled by fears of worsening EU debt crisis following poll stalemate in Italy. The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share S&P BSE Sensex resumed lower on the back of weak Asian cues following steep 216-point fall on Wall Street yesterday on concerns over Italian elections and looming spending cuts in the US. Sensex continued to reel under selling pressure breaching the 19K level to a low of 18,976.94 before settling at 19,015.14 -- a loss of 316.55 points or 1.64 per cent. This was its lowest close since 18,842.08 on November 27, 2012. Similarly, the 50-issue CNX Nifty of the NSE also plunged by 93.40 points or 1.60 per cent to end below 5,800-mark at a three-month low of 5,761.35. Presenting the Railway Budget …


Insurance regulator Irda today released new mortality table for life insurance companies for fixing premium, which may lower payments towards new policies. The table called Indian Assured Lives Mortality (2006-08) will be effective from April 1, Irda said in a circular. The mortality table indicates the rate of deaths occurring in a defined population during a selected time interval, or survival from birth to any given age. According to sources, Irda's new table will lead to reduction in life insurance premium. The new table is an improvement over the existing table as it is based on the latest mortality and claim experience of different life insurance companies. The variation in mortality across regions and gender is incorporated in the latest table. The existing table is based on LIC's data alone for the period 1994-96. There has been significant improvement in mortality rates across all ages, particularly in the young age, since 1996 and the new table will be useful for…


Gold prices today fell below the Rs 30,000-level for the first time in seven months here due to hectic selling by stockists triggered by a global meltdown. The precious metal tumbled by Rs 480 to Rs 29,720 per 10 grams, a level last seen on July 21, 2012. Gold had lost Rs 215 in last two days. Silver followed suit and dropped by Rs 1,250 to Rs 54,550 per kg, in continuation to a loss of Rs 1,050 in last two sessions, on poor offtake by industrial units and coin makers. Bullion merchants said selling pressure gathered momentum as gold slumping to the lowest level since July in overseas markets, after minutes from a Federal Reserve meeting showed a debate over the risks and benefits of more stimulus. In Singapore, gold fell by 0.6 per cent to USD 1,555.55 an ounce, the lowest since July 12 and silver by 0.3 per cent to USD 28.47 an ounce in Singapore. In addition, sluggish domestic demand on ending of marriage season and investors selling to pay losses in equity markets, further damp…


In the first announcement since the FDI policy for aviation was liberalised, Malaysian carrier AirAsia today said it has sought government's nod to launch a new Indian airline and has set up a joint venture with Tata Group, as well as an investment firm for the purpose. The budget carrier Air Asia Berhad said its investment arm AirAsia Investment (AAIL) "has submitted an application to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to seek approval for AAIL to invest 49 per cent in a proposed joint venture with Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace". The news comes two months after Air Asia denied it was bidding for a stake in no-frills carrier SpiceJet. "Subject to FIPB approval, the proposed joint venture company will make an application to Indian aviation regulators for the Air Operators Permit," the Malaysian carrier said in a statement from its headquarters in Sepang. The joint venture plans to operate from Chennai and will focus on providing dom…




Noted auto designer Dilip Chhabria's state of the-art bus with luxurious reclining seats for nine people, facilities like on-board spa with trained therapists, galley to serve hot and cold food and beverages, wi-fi enabled entertainment sysytem and a washroom, will flag off from New Delhi in two weeks. Popular Indian CV maker Ashok Leyland Ltd and Toofles Foundation launched the new Ashok Leyland Luxura Magical India Bus, which is said to be a unique concept being introduced for the first time in the country. Chhabria whose company had created the first prototype for the Aston Martin Vanquish that appeared in the James Bond movie 'Die Another Day' has also designed vanity vans for Bollywood stars such as Sanjay Dutt, Shah Rukh Khan. "The amazing luxury bus has been modelled on the lines of a private jet. It is proven beyond doubt, if you are able to offer luxury, entertainment much cheaper than a private jet, I'm sure it will multiply as people would come to know,…


Digital data generated by India last year, which if stored in Apple's iPhone 5 with 32 GB space, will equal over 5,100 stacks of the device, as tall as Mount Everest, a study by EMC-IDC said today. "India's digital information in 2012 would equal to more than 5,100 stacks of iPhone 5 devices that are as tall as the sub continent's famed Mt Everest," an EMC-sponsored IDC digital universe study said. The world's tallest peak, Mount Everest stands at 8,848 meters. India's share of digital information is expected to grow 23-fold between 2012-2020, driven by continued growth of Internet usage, social networks, and smart phones among consumers, falling cost of technology, digitisation among others, the study said. "The digital bits captured or created each year in India are expected to grow from 127 EB (exabytes) to 2.9 ZB (zettabyte) between 2012 and 2020," it added. One EB has 18 zeroes after 1 and ZB has 21 zeroes. However, less than half a per …


Premier bourse BSE has roped in S&P Dow Jones Indices to use the S&P brand for Sensex and other indices such as BSE 200 and BSE 100, a week after expiry of the global financial major's pact with rival exchange NSE. BSE benchmark Sensex will now be managed and operated by the new JV to be known as S&P BSE Sensex and effective today, all the BSE indices, including BSE 100 and BSE 200, will be co-branded "S&P". Besides, these indices would join S&P Dow Jones Indices' other iconic financial market indicators such as the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P/TSX 60, and the S&P/ASX 200. "Over the years, BSE was lagging behind making Sensex tradable. We expect our partnership with S&P Dow Jones Indices will help BSE raise the global acceptance of the Sensex and other index benchmarks, and help BSE achieve a leadership position in the index derivatives space," BSE MD and CEO Ashish Chauhan told reporters here t…

Kolkata has maximum borrowers in 35 plus yrs bracket

More than 70 per cent of credit seekers are less than 35 years of age in Bangalore, while Kolkata has the maximum number of borrowers who are above 35 years, according to credit tracking agency CIBIL. CIBIL data showed that auto loans were the most enquired product, contributing 20 per cent of all enquiries, followed by credit cards. According to an analysis by the Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd (CIBIL), all India figures as on November 2012 show that more than 50 per cent of applicants for new credit are less than 35 years of age. "While in a city like Bangalore, more than 70 per cent of credit applicants are less than 35 years of age, Kolkata has the highest percentage of borrowers who are more than 35 years of age - only 49 per cent in Kolkata are less than 35 years of age," CIBIL managing director Arun Thukral told reporters here. Thukral said that lenders now consider CIBIL score as a crucial parameter before extending loans to individuals and data show that t…










State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) today said drilled a well in record water depths using a rig it had hired from Reliance Industries. "ONGC's chartered-hired ultradeep water drillship DDKG1 has set a world record for drilling well in deepest water depth by an offshore drilling rig," the company said in a statement here. The rig DDKG1 has spudded well NA7-1 in exploratory block KG-DWN-2004/1 in east coast India at a water depth of 3165 metres (10,385 feet) on January 23. "Thereafter it successfully lowered and latched subsea (facilities) on February 09 to drill further to target depth 5625 metres," it said. The rig owned by Transocean surpassed Transocean's own prior record of 10,194 feet of water depth, set in 2011 by DDKG2 working for Reliance Industries on the east coast.


The Reserve Bank today said there is a limited scope for easing of monetary policy over the next few months as there is a risk of inflation escalation as well as concerns over fiscal and current account deficits. "There is room for monetary easing over the next few months, but that room is limited because of the outlook for inflation and outlook for growth," RBI Governor D Subbarao told CNBC TV18 here. He is in Russia to attend the meeting of G-20 Finance Ministers and heads of central bank governors. The Governor said the RBI would also take into account the fiscal consolidation measures and deficit projections by the Finance Minister in the upcoming Budget to decide on the monetary policy action. "Important variable for monetary policy calibration is the fiscal adjustment that the government will do. The government will come up with deficit status in the Budget. We will look at the headline fiscal deficit number but also look at the quality of the fiscal adjustmen…


Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily today ruled out a roll back in the Rs 1.50 a litre hike in petrol and 45 paisa per litre increase in diesel rates saying only a small raise has been passed on to consumers. "No, No," was he refrain when asked if the government will consider rolling back last week's increase. "Our country imports 73-75 per cent of oil. We need to pay Rs 7 lakh crore for the imports. Where do we find that kind of money," he said. The first hike in petrol price in over three-and-a-half months and the second rise in diesel rates in one month exclude local sales tax or VAT, making the cost for consumers even higher. Petrol price in Delhi went by Rs 1.80 to Rs 69.06 per litre from February 16. Diesel rates went up by 51 paise to Rs 48.16 a litre. "I think everybody would appreciate that we have not put a lot of burden on consumers. It is only small doses," Moily said. The increase in auto fuel prices, which come on back of a similar small h…


India Inc expects biz sentiment to improve in coming months Expecting pro-growth announcements in the upcoming Union Budget, Indian corporates are optimistic on improvement in business conditions in the coming months, two independent surveys have said. Majority of Indian corporates, surveyed by Ficci and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, separately, said that the mood among corporates is optimistic and they expect better business conditions, which would lead to more sales and higher profit margins in the next six months to three years. Ficci, in its Business Confidence Survey, said majority of respondents are positive about the next two quarters (January-June 2013) as they expect pro-growth announcements in the upcoming Union Budget. The respondents also said they are hopeful that green shoots would soon appear as the government continues to move ahead on the reform agenda, it said. "Though the economic situation continues to be difficult and business sentiment remains we…


Tata Motors plans to introduce a refreshed model of the Nano car in the first half of this year and a CNG option 'very soon'. The company, however, said it has not yet frozen a timeline for the launch of the diesel option of the Nano although it is ready with the vehicle. The new Nano will have a lot more additional features, which would enhance the positioning of the car as an aspirational vehicle Tata Motors Managing Director Karl Slym told. About the diesel variant Slym said: "In future, we will definitely introduce that but we have not fixed a date as yet. The vehicle is there though." Former chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, who was the driving force behind the Nano, had admitted that the small car had missed initial opportunities. "We were not prepared to market the car as we should have. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that momentum got lost," he told PTI in an interview last year. Tata had also listed out the reasons due to which …

Demand for Gold Dental fillings dips

Preference for gold in dental fillings appears to be on the wane as demand for the precious metal for dentistry use hit the lowest level in 2012 in at least five years. Global gold demand for dentistry was 39.9 tonnes in 2012, the lowest level in past five years, according to World Gold Council data. The demand was 43.4 tonnes in 2011, 49.8 tonnes in 2010, 52.7 tonnes in 2009 and 55.7 tonnes in 2008, the data showed. "The dental filling used is made of an alloy of gold. The use of gold in dental fillings has become very rare nowadays. Substitute materials have gained popularity. An average gold dental filling still doesn't cost more than Rs 500," said Tarun Rajput, a dental practitioner. Gold filling has advantages of durability and strength but a major disadvantage is perception of poor aesthetics. "Substitution to base metals most notably cobalt:chrome and to a lesser extent, ceramic led to an 8 per cent decline to 39.9 tonnes. On a value basis, demand for gold …


Hollande bestows France's highest honour on Amartya Sen New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) Calling Amartya Sen the "greatest humanist" and a "great thinker", French President Francois Hollande today bestowed his country's highest decoration on the Nobel Prize-winning celebrated economist for his contributions to economics and philosophy. Conferring 'Commandeur de la Legion d'Honneur' (Legion of Honour) after delivering the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture here, Hollande lavished praise on Sen and quoted extensively from his works that speak about problems faced by the poorest sections of the society. "I am extremely honoured as I have great admiration for French culture and civilisation. The President's connection with socialism is a chilling part of receiving this honour from him," the 79-year-old Nobel Laureate told the audience that gave a standing ovation to him twice during the ceremony. The French President said he considered it a &q…


India will have to pursue domestic policy initiatives to help achieve any near-term improvement in its current account deficit as global growth may only be slightly better in 2013 and commodity prices are unlikely to ease sharply, Moody's Investor Service said. While recent government moves to cut subsidies and woo foreign investment would help narrow the external deficit, these policies need to be persisted for any significant success, it said in a note dated February 14, issued just two weeks before India's annual budget on February 28. India posted its second highest ever monthly trade deficit of $20 billion in January as imports surged to record highs, piling pressure on a widening current account deficit and limiting scope for the central bank to cut interest rates for an economy expanding at its slowest pace in a decade. The current account deficit hit an all-time high of 5.4 percent of gross domestic product in July-September due to slowing exports and heavy oil and …


Seeking to unfreeze idle gold, the RBI on 14th February...made the Gold Deposit Schemes of banks more attractive by lowering the investment time period and allowing mutual funds to participate in the scheme. "It had now been decided to change the maturity period, of gold deposit schemes, ranging from six months to seven years," the RBI said in a circular. Earlier the maturity period for the said scheme was between three to seven years. As per the estimates of an RBI committee, about 20,000 tonnes of idle gold is lying with the people. The central bank wants to channelise the idle gold for productive purposes and also check the demand for imports. Further, Sebi registered mutual funds and exchange traded funds may deposit under the scheme, RBI said. It further said the banks would not be required to obtain prior approval of RBI for introducing the scheme. However, they would be required to inform the details of the scheme, including name of branches operating the scheme…


Inflation plummeted to a three year low of 6.62 per cent in January, but gave no respite to common man as prices of essential kitchen items like onion and potato continued to rule high. The inflation rate, measured by movement in wholesale prices, moderated for the fourth consecutive month in January mainly on account of lower price rise of manufactured goods. The WPI inflation was 7.18 per cent in December and 7.24 per cent in November. It was 7.23 per cent in January, 2012. Food and primary articles have shown higher annual price rise, led by onion (111.52 per cent) and potato (79.07 per cent). Besides wheat, vegetables, rice and cereals too became dearer. Commenting on the inflation numbers, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C Rangarajan said it would further decline to 6.5 per cent by March end, but asked the government to release more food stock to ease price situation. "Retail inflation is still high. WPI inflation in primary and food articl…


Indicating persistent sluggishness in the economy, industrial output contracted to 0.6 per cent in December due to poor performance of manufacturing and mining sectors and decline in production of capital as well as consumer goods. The industrial output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown by 2.7 per cent in December, 2011. Industrial production growth stood at 0.7 per cent during April-December period of this fiscal, down from 3.7 per cent in the same period of 2011-12, according to official data released here today. Meanwhile the decline in industrial output for November 2012 has been revised downwards to 0.84 per cent from a contraction of 0.1 per cent in the month as per the provisional estimates released last month. The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75 per cent of the index, registered a contraction of 0.7 per cent in December in 2012, as against a growth of 2.8 per cent in 2011. The growth in the output of the key sector remained l…


With the workforce moving from the traditional construction and real estate sectors to service industry like banking, telecom, IT and ITeS, the shortage of labour is expected to go up by 65 per cent in the next 10 years, says a survey. According to a report titled 'Indian Construction Sector – The Great Leap Forward' by Synergy Property Development Services, this shortage in the construction sector will drive the industry to adopt mechanisation and also project management. "Labour shortage is pegged to go up by 65 per cent by the next decade with more workforce moving from traditional brick and mortar industry like the construction and real estate sectors to services industry. "The acute labour shortage in the construction sector is going to drive the industry to go in for large-scale mechanisation and also project management," Synergy Chairman and Managing Director Sankey Prasad said in a statement here today. With the cost of material expected to double in the…


"The RBI has been criticised for hurting growth and we are sensitive to that. But one should understand that the person blaming for growth is very articulate and has got proper platforms for speaking up." "However, the person pinched by inflation does not have a platform and I think both the RBI and the government should take care of that part of the population." Subbarao

Making samosa, chappati manufacturing activity

Preparing food items like paratha, samosa, dhokla and chappati for sale is a 'manufacturing activity' and entitled to tax exemptions, ruled an income tax tribunal. "...manufacturing of chappati, paratha, samosa, dhokla constitutes manufacturing activity," said Ahmedabad bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). Giving its ruling in favour of Deepkiran Foods Pvt Ltd, the tribunal said various raw materials like flour, ghee, oil etc., which are used in the manufacturing of food items, lose their individual and independent identity and result in a different and new product. The produced goods, it said, "was not sold to the customer as floor, ghee, etc., but with the change in the form and it attained a different identity and was recognised as a new and distinct article and was sold as a different and distinct commodity." The ITAT further said that Deepkiran Foods, which is a 100 per cent export-oriented unit (EOU) engaged in production of frozen foo…