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February 28, 1999


Sinha attempts major direct, indirect tax reforms
Presenting the Union Budget for 1999-2000 in the Lok Sabha, the finance minister said his aim is to lower costs and prices and to stimulate productivity, growth and employment.

Budget evokes positive response at BSE, frenzied buying by FIIs sees Sensex shoot up by 165 points
Encouraged by the sops to mutual funds and concessions to various sectors of industry in the Union Budget, foreign and domestic institutional investors as well as market players made heavy purchases in info-tech, white goods, MNC and pharmaceutical shares.

PM says Budget will reduce rich-poor disparity
"We have been able to pull the Indian economy out of the global recession and I am confident that India will become one of the strongest economies in future," he said.


How every rupee is earned... and spent

More Budget stories


'I do not find anything in the Budget to enthuse the investor, Indian or foreign'
"The worst cases are the increase in customs duties, the increase in excise on capital goods, the across-the-board surcharge on customs duties and the across-the-board surcharge on income tax and corporate tax," says former finance minister P Chidambaram.

'I find this a very positive Budget'
"The Budget, especially for direct and indirect taxes, is planned very well, and I am personally very satisfied," says Rahul Bajaj, chairman, Bajaj Auto.

'This is a pregnant Budget. When it will deliver and what kind of species it will deliver we can't decide right now'
"I think we are seeing a very subtle redefinition of the word swadeshi. Swadeshi today is not protection. It's making India ready for the twenty-first century. Swadeshi means being proactive, being aggressive," says Anand Mahindra.

More Budget chats


Government to launch gold deposit scheme
The finance minister wants to try and mobilise the idle gold from households and various charitable and religious institutions in the country.

UTI's US-64 scheme to be restructured
Finance Minister Sinha also announced a series of measures to boost the capital market, including the abolition of stamp duty on the transfer of debt instruments in the depository mode.

Faster clearance for FDI proposals
The facility of automatic approval for investment up to cent per cent by NRIs or overseas corporate bodies will be extended to almost all items.

Rs100 billion to be raised through PSU divestment
The amount will be used to fund the requirements of the social and infrastructure sectors.

Sinha for fast-paced strategic disinvestment
Whatever the degree of disinvestment in a particular PSU, the management will be handed over to the investing private-sector firm so that it is run better and profitably.

Defence outlay rises by 11 per cent
But the share of defence in the government's total expenditure has fallen from 15.40 to 14 per cent.

Just Rs1 billion for police modernisation
To check the inflow of arms and ammunition from Pakistan, Rs603.5 million will be made available for works on the border.

Innovators' foundation to 'unleash creative potential'
The finance minister proposes to build a national register of innovations, mobilise intellectual property protection, and convert innovations into business opportunities.

'Annapurna' to bail out hapless senior citizens
The scheme aims at providing food security for elderly people who have no income of their own and no one to take care of them in their village.

Nodal scheme to boost rural industrialisation
A National Programme for Rural Industrialisation will be started to set up 100 rural industrial clusters every year to reduce rural-urban disparities in the long run.

Funds for Sethusamudram feasibility project
The canal project promises to provide a shorter sea route between India's eastern and western ports.

Plan assistance for states raised by about 10%
The central plan assistance to the states and Union territories has been placed at Rs330 billion as against Rs301.08 billion in 1998-99.

Outlay on sports raised by 12%
The revised plan outlay on sports in 1998-1999 stood at Rs929.3 million. The present Budget pegs it at Rs1.07 billion.

Rs586.9 million for ministers' salary, travel, offices
Of this, Rs 390 million have been allotted to meet the cost incurred on the ministers' travel. Rs91.1 million are intended for expenses incurred by the prime minister's office.

Forex reserves dip to US$30.64 billion
The country's foreign currency assets also decreased by US$1 billion to $27.66 billion.

Chidambaram irritated at being named during presentation
Sinha had referred to his predecessor while talking about the fiscal deficit and foreign exchange reserves.

Markets, industry welcome Budget
The only sore point was the re-introduction of a surcharge on income and corporate tax.

Opposition flays Budget; BJP, allies laud it
Former finance ministers Manmohan Singh and Pranab Mukherjee said it fails to improve business and consumer confidence. There is nothing in the Budget to take the country back to a 7% GDP growth rate, they said.


This Budget is probably the least inflationary over the past decade
'The government did not want to take chances of slapping new indirect imposts on the recession-hit industry, worsen its plight and trigger a wave of price increases to the detriment of the economy.' R C Murthy assesses the Budget.


The emphasis is on fiscal prudence'
"The high level of debt is in my view the biggest challenge facing this government," says P N Vijay, member of the BJP economic cell.

'A fine balancing act, but not very optimistic for the economy or the markets'
"I would be happy if FIIs do not withdraw money from India in 1999-2000, given the economic and political situation, and the unwillingness to carry through the difficult part of the reform process," says Jardine Fleming India CIO U R Bhat.

'The strong protectionist stand will restrict demand and lead to inefficiency'
"The Budget is long on long-term initiatives and short on short-term measures to boost the economy," feels Pradip Shah, chairman, IndAsia Fund Advisers.

'NRIs are positively welcome -- that seems to be the message'
"I am inclined to give the FM 7 to 7.5 points on a scale of 1 to 10 for his effort," says G P Goenka, chairman, Duncans Ltd.

'The FM could have pushed through many more reforms'
Venture capitalist Alok Vajpeyi is not too happy.

'The Budget has attempted tax reforms which are quite positive'
Says Dr Amit Mitra, secretary-general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

'I have serious worries about debt servicing'
Says Prithviraj Chavan, a senior Congress member of the Lok Sabha.

'It has addressed all the right issues'
Rajesh Shah, managing director, Mukand Iron and Steel, and president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, on the Budget.

'I feel this is a mixed Budget'
Says Rita Singh, managing director, Mideast India.

'Not much has been done for the infrastructure sector'
Onkar Kanwar, chairman and managing director, Apollo Tyres, on the Budget.

'Not enough breaks have been given by way of duties or taxes'
Amit Sharma, co-chairman, FICCI telecom panel, explains why he is not too happy.

'I expect market sentiment to improve on a sustained basis, barring political uncertainty'
R Ravimohan, managing director, CRISIL, is optimistic about the impact of the Budget.

'I don't think the Budget does enough for growth'
Says Ajay Srinivasan, managing director, Prudential-ICICI Asset Fund.

'It is a good Budget, and should stimulate the economy'
Dr Kirit Parikh, vice-chancellor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Bombay, is reasonably pleased with Sinha's effort.

'A surprisingly good Budget'
Says businessman Arun Bharat Ram.

'The Budget is not all that imaginative'
Says Sushil Ansal, chairman, Ansal Properties and Industries Ltd.

'Simplification of procedures and rationalisation -- that is the biggest feature'
Sunil Mittal, chairman, Bharti Telecom, on the Budget.

'Last year's thrust is in reverse gear this year'
Vikram Thapar, managing director, JCT, on why he is not too happy.

'This Budget attempts to put the brakes on the slide'
Says Vijay Crishna, managing director, Godrej-GE Appliances.

'Giving full weightage to the IT sector will help bring the brains back to India'
A S Kasliwal, chairman, S Kumar Enterprises Ltd, is optimistic.

'The textile industry is greatly disappointed by the Budget'
Says Dr Rajaram Jaipuria, vice-chairman, Indian Cotton Mills Federation and FICCI committee member.

'It is a status quo simplification Budget'
Says R V Kanoria, chairman, Foreign Trade Committee, FICCI, and managing director of Kanoria Chemicals.

'Too many commissions, asking the RBI ministries for follow up'
Subodh Bhargava, group chairman, Eicher Ltd, on the Budget.

'The surcharge on direct taxes is the most disappointing feature'
Sudhir Jalan, FICCI president, on the Union Budget.

'I don't think the Budget will give an impetus to agriculture'
Says Dr A C Muthiah, chairman, Southern Petrochemicals Industries Corporation.

'The Budget is common man-friendly. There won't be any price rise'
K N Memani, chairman, Ernst & Young, on the Budget's positive features.

'There is nothing to stimulate industrial demand or the capital markets'
Says Vijai Kapur, managing director, Usha India Ltd, Telecom and Steel.

'The Budget gives optimistic signals'
Says Vinay Rai, chairman, Information Technology Committee, FICCI, and chairman and managing director, Usha India Ltd

'The Budget should have given tea producers the freedom to export'
Says Piyush O Desai, chairman, Federation of All-India Tea Traders' Association.

'The projected fiscal deficit is a major risk factor'
Dhruv M Sawhney, ex-president of the CII, on the Budget's worrying factor.

'Nothing spectacular can happen in the short term'
Says Devesh Kumar, head of research at ABN Amro.

NSE: Nifty 981.10, up 39.90 points

February 27, 1999

Budget unlikely to be harsh
The thrust of the Budget is likely to be generation of employment and there is widespread speculation that this will be done through massive investment in housing and construction activity.

Hard day ahead for Sinha
"Tax revenues are in real, real trouble this year. The target was 20 per cent and the shortfall is already Rs100 billion or more. This has thrown the entire book out of balance," says one economist.


'Focus will be on infrastructure, exports, capital markets and NPAs'
"Budget will surely try to stimulate the capital market. We may see the re-introduction of the section 88C wherein 50 per cent of the money put into the new issues was exempt from a person's income," says CMD of Punjab & Sind Bank, S S Kohli.


Small is Beautiful
'If George Soros, an avowed speculator on a global scale, has "recanted" to a great extent, it is surely time that all countries took a hard look at the runaway growth of liberalisation and reimposed the social security nets that only the State can foster,' says Darryl D'Monte.

BSE: Sensex 3281.29; down six points
NSE: Nifty 954.30, down 3.35 points
February 26, 1999

Steep fare, freight hike to net Rs 9 billion for railways
The plan outlay for 1999-2000 is Rs 97 billion, up by Rs 9.45 billion over the revised estimates of last year, thanks to increase in budgetary allocation to the level of Rs 25.40 billion, up from Rs 22 billion the previous year.

Bank strike affects forex market; leaders urge Sinha to broker deal
Trade unions have warned the government of an indefinite strike from March 17 onwards, if the demands for wage revision are not accepted.


'Yashwant Sinha is on a tough batting wicket'
'Economic Survey has made a beginning toward a cut in government spending and borrowing. The Budget may be a new one in terms of giving direction to all the Budgets to follow,' says CII director-general Tarun Das.


Import ban raises fresh hopes in Kerala rubber growers
The per-kg price marginally increased from Rs 26.75 on Monday to Rs 28 on Tuesday to almost reach the international price level. The price had touched a seven-year-low of Rs 24 last week.

PM hints at policy review to boost private investment in infrastructure
The PM told the Rajya Sabha that the private sector is being encouraged to set up cargo handling facilities at ports, and construct bypasses, bridges and heavy traffic roads.

Glaxo posts fine results for 1998; net up 20 pc to Rs 671 million
Total pharmaceutical sales (including the incremental Biddle Sawyer sales) enabled the company to exceed the market rate of growth and retain its number one rank in the domestic pharmaceutical market.


Govt plans 14 new trains
The frequency of four express trains would be increased.

'Freight hike will lead to inflation'; Paswan finds 450mt target unrealistic
The outlay for Bombay suburban section has been increased from Rs 2.67 billion to Rs 3.04 billion and full share capital of Rs 125 million for the Bombay Rail Vikas Corporation, which was cleared by the Cabinet, has been provided for.

Highlights of Railway Budget
New trains. New routes. New fares. New projects. Increased allocation from the general exchequer. A dream on wheels? A ready-reckoner.

BSE: Sensex 3281.29; down six points
NSE: Nifty 954.30, down 3.35 points
Forex: Market open, no transactions due to bank strike
Rs 42.56/57 vs $
Rs 46.78 vs euro
Rs 68.42 vs pound
Rs 35.08 vs yen (100)

February 25, 1999

Economic survey calls for ceiling on deficit
The Economic Survey 1998-99 says with only a year left before the start of the 21st century, it is the appropriate time to start preparing for the second generation of economic reforms.


'It's up to the financial institutions to ensure they fund only viable projects'
'The economy is sliding down. The GDP growth is down, industrial growth is down. Unless we take some harsh decisions, we will go nowhere. I'm sure the finance minister will address the harsh issues in the Budget,' says former IDBI chairman S H Khan.


Marketmen look forward to a not-so-tough Budget
There was no control on government's expenditure. Its market borrowings soared from 9.2 per cent of GDP in 1997-98 to almost 54 per cent in the current year. This will exert an upward pressure on interest rates in the short run, say analysts.


Talks fails over salary hike, bank employees to strike work for two days
The United Forum of Bank Unions wants an 18 per cent hike in salaries of employees. The managements are willing to increase wages by only ten per cent. A three-day weekend holiday for banks results.


Hints of capital market revival abound
The noteworthy feature of the current year was mobilisation of resources through private placement by infrastructure projects, specially in the power sector.

'A foodgrain saved is a foodgrain produced'
The survey estimates foodgrain production in the current year around 195.2 million tonnes, higher than the previous year level of 192.4 million tonnes.

Rupee value seen as key to price-competitive exports
The Indian rupee depreciated by around 7.1 per cent from the March 1998 level till January 31, 1999. However, the RBI foreign currency assets rose from $ 26 billion to $ 27.4 billion.

BSE: Sensex 3287.53; up 3.5 points
NSE: Nifty 957.65, up eight points
Rs 42.56/57 vs $
Rs 46.78 vs euro
Rs 68.42 vs pound
Rs 35.08 vs yen (100)

February 24, 1999


'My position on the BAT takeover of ITC did me in'
'Till January 23, Yashwant Sinha trusted my judgement. On January 24, something happened. I think the finance minister should also speak out on what happened.' An exclusive interview with Mohan Guruswamy.


'Slowdown, nuclear tests handicapped Indian economy'
'The image of non-performance, the projection that I'm a bull in a China shop, that I don't know much about economic matters... ultimately some friends do reveal their dearest desire: that I should not be finance minister,' says Yashwant Sinha.


Don't expect Sinha to come up with a path-breaking Budget
'The finance minister has to effect bold and unheard-of economies in expenditure and tap unheard-of sources in raising revenue. Putting the enlarged kitty to gainful use is only the second part of the exercise,' says Arvind Lavakare.


Crash a feature of Budget-time stock indices
Sectors like information technology, cigarettes, food processing, computer hardware and solvent extraction emerged as prominent gainers in the last five years.

Demat drama: Depository companies declare tariff war
Central Depository Services Limited will not levy custody charge on its depository participants and charge no fees for dematerialising or rematerialising shares. NSDL will lower custody fees from 0.02 per cent of the transaction value to 0.01 per cent.

Madras HC allows Sterlite to continue Tuticorin operations; green case hearing on April 28
A verification team of the NEERI which visited Sterlite Industries at January-end found that the company had complied with most of its recommendations for safe environment.

IRA seeks to inject professionalism into insurance sector
Insurance Regulatory Authority chairman N Rangachary said those who are not professionally qualified will not be allowed to peddle insurance policies.


Bengal introduces attendance registers to improve image, lure investors
Absenteeism and dithering will be things of the past, and project proposals of NRIs and foreign investors will get prompt attention at the Secretariat in Calcutta, if Jyoti Basu has his way.

BSE: Sensex 3283.97; down 20 points
NSE: Nifty 949.65, down 4 points
Rs 42.44/45 vs $
Rs 46.50 vs euro
Rs 68.70 vs pound
Rs 35.00 vs yen (100)

February 23, 1999

Insurance bill will benefit India, says President
K R Narayanan asked Parliament to exercise tight control over 'wasteful and low priority expenditure' and suggested reduction in fiscal and revenue deficit to restore the health of the economy.


'I opposed the crony capitalism, that was sought to be passed off by the PMO as liberalisation'
'Yashwant Sinha was upset. He discussed resignation with me... I was requested by the PM's Man Friday to expedite for Ispat what the PMO apparently disapproved for Essar!...' Mohan Guruswamy's first person revelations why he was sacked as the finance minister's adviser.


'Foreign investors' perception of India is extremely important'
'Economic crises of the Brazil kind are occurring not because the fundamentals of an economy have weakened, but because of sheer sentiment. Today, with one punch on a key, people are transferring billions of dollars from one market to another. And nobody gives a damn about what happens to the economy of the country,' says Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha in a tell-all interview.

Time for tough measures to tackle fiscal travails
An administration that is squabbling over small issues like fertiliser subsidy cannot muster courage to tackle tougher issues like rupee devaluation. Tighter policies will have to be in place to keep domestic prices on the leash, writes R C Murthy.


Telco to float new arm for construction equipment business
Telco is in talks with three foreign majors including Hitachi to offer a minority stake in the business.

Hudco okays Rs 8.6 billion loans for Maharashtra
New railroads and sea bridge for the heavily congested Bombay have been earmarked for funding.

BSE: Sensex 3303.89; down 51 points
NSE: Nifty 953.85, down 22 points
Rs 42.41/42 vs $
Rs 46.57 vs euro
Rs 68.69 vs pound
Rs 34.71 vs yen (100)

February 21-22, 1999

States seek cut in administered prices of essentials
The National Development Council approved the Ninth Plan draft and hiked the ceilings on ways and means advances of the cash strapped states, as a short-term bail-out measure to deal with the fiscal crisis faced by them.


'Special concessions are not necessary to lure foreign investors'
'If five years down the line, people want more economic growth, more employment, lower inflation, then today one must be willing to pay a price. The government needs to be applauded for cutting down on subsidies,' says economist Dr Isher Ahluwalia in an exclusive pre-Budget interview.


Government does not a give a damn for India's best brains
'The dangerous shenanigans of constantly agitating government-employed air traffic controllers are being tacitly encouraged by the aviation ministry's failure to train defence and paramilitary personnel to handle air traffic when ATCs are on strike/go-slows,' says Dilip Thakore.


Foreign investment panel clears 35 proposals worth Rs 8-bn
Shell India and McDonald's will expand their Indian operations. Osram and Elf will convert their Indian joint ventures into fully owned subsidiaries. Daewoo will test market clocks and stereos for its cars in India.

UTI chief says mature financial markets necessary to keep pace with world
A good telecom infrastructure and regulatory support, and a well developed foreign exchange market, can help Bombay to emerge as a financial hub to rival Singapore and Hongkong, P S Subramanyam said.

GDR Weekly Review: Skindia GDR index up 2.29 points to 603.56
BSE and NSE Weekly Review: Budget-cautious operators keep market steady; Sensex up 17 points, Nifty up six points

February 20, 1999

PM hints at cut in subsidies
Vajpayee said there is a need to address the problem of implicit subsidies. For instance, those on higher education. "Is it not paradoxical that even rich students pay college fees that, in some states, are less than what they spend on cold drinks?" he said.


'Where we want investment we've hurdles; where we don't, we've high profitability'
'To control the fiscal deficit, the government borrows massively from the banks. In turn, banks hike the interest rates. Indian industry borrowing at such high rates becomes uncompetitive and thus exports suffer.' An exclusive interview with economist Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia.

Apparel exporters seek duty-free import of machinery to join the global markets
Increasing competitiveness and the advent of the WTO business regime would require complete modernisation of the garment industry, exporters said in a note to the finance minister.


WB loan, tax-free, low-deficit Budget perk up Andhra Pradesh
With economic sanctions in the background, the $ 210 million World Bank loan for power sector reforms is significant. The state Budget has programmed an expenditure of Rs.191.89 billion under non-plan and Rs 50.32 billion under the state plan, resulting in a revenue deficit of Rs 15.63 billion.

Uttar Pradesh deficit stands at Rs16.42 billion
Chief Minister Kalyan Singh said the deficit would be met by controlling non-productive expenditure, checking tax-evasion and realising the revenue and tax arrears.


Daewoo won't strip Matiz
But will value-pack and add features to it. There won' t be variants. India will be made the production and export base for Matiz the world-over.

Sony India sees 98-99 sales at Rs 5 b, to launch digital outlets and new products in 25 areas
The company's diverse strategy is to effect convergence of audio-visual media with information technology. This will give consumers an opportunity in choosing the technologies which will interface with consumer durables.

BSE: Sensex 3354.92; up four points
NSE: Nifty 976.30, up three points
Rs 42.42/43 vs $
Rs 47.42 vs euro
Rs 69.27 vs pound
Rs 35.41 vs yen (100)

February 19, 1999

Major role seen for private sector in strengthening of defence
The post-Pokhran sanctions have underscored that overdependence on import of defence equipment could prove risky. For self-sufficiency of armed forces, greater role needs to be offered to the private sector, experts said.


The sacking of Guruswamy -- III
Yashwant Sinha, 'the most decent of all politicians', is reluctant to talk about the Mohan Guruswamy episode because it is tantamount to admitting that he was wrong in his judgment of the man.

UNION BUDGET 1999-2000

Bakht says harsh Budget not ruled out, despite Chautala
The industry minister said the Budget is being prepared with an open mind as the government has to perform according to the demands of the economy under any circumstances.


Indian, MIT prof in duel over patent for fresh air device
Sandeep Jaitka said his Rudraksh can create smells and aromas for creating virtual reality in kitchens, a/c cars and TV rooms, and has filed for a patent in India. Prof Robert Langer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also claimed that he has perfected a chip that can do similar functions.

President's rule intensifies Goa's power problems, industrial activity hampered
Goa expects lifting of the ban on new power connections, imposed by the high court for nearly ten months now, once the state's first mini private power project is commissioned by the month-end.

Politics infects import-hit silk business in Karnataka
Import of raw silk has sparked protests in Karnataka. The Chinese silk smuggled through Bangladesh has been found defective, and is likely to destabilise the lives of farmers. Deve Gowda has espoused their cause, apparently in a bid to score points over Ramakrishna Hegde.

BSE: Sensex 3351.05; up 15 points
NSE: Nifty 973.45, up four points
Rs 42.43/44 vs $
Rs 47.74 vs euro
Rs 69.40 vs pound
Rs 35.47 vs yen (100)

February 18, 1999


'The legacy I'd like to leave behind is of an institution where shareholder value will be enhanced consistently'
'Tata companies which become global players will be drawn from industries where India is best placed. The Tata group will be poised to take full advantage of global economic trends regarding the relative importance of manufacturing and services in an economy.' An exclusive interview with Tata Chairman Ratan Tata.


The sacking of Guruswamy -- II
As media reports about the government's purported policies took the finance minister and the finance secretary by surprise, the needle of suspicion turned to the other centre of power in the ministry of finance. A look at the goings-on that led to the exit of Mohan Guruswamy.

UNION BUDGET 1999-2000

Pre-Budget poll: Analysts see fiscal deficit of 7 pc of GDP
The most disturbing trend, experts said, is the extent of the deficit being funded out of market borrowings which increased from 49 per cent in 1997-98 to 57 per cent in 1998-99 and expected to hit 60 per cent in 1999-2000.

No plan to tax farm income in Budget, clarifies BJP
The party is of the view that agricultural production is dependent on vagaries of nature and hence there is no reason why the practice to exempt farm income from taxes should be discontinued.

Increased budgetary allocation for Railways unlikely
Freight movement and revenues are on the decline. Dependence on market borrowing and the private sector for funds is not the best solution. Nitish Kumar may be forced to hike passenger fares and freight tariff at a time when elections loom over ten states.


Kerala opposes Centre's items list for free trade with Lanka
Duty-free import of cash crops, spices, tea, coffee, rubber and cardamon will affect the farmers and the state's economy, argue the political parties.

Exim policy on April 1; Hedge scales down '98-99 export growth rate from 20 pc to 5 pc
The commerce minister said Indian manufacturers should establish brand names as a means to attract the world market. For Indian products are poor in quality, in spite of sufficient technology and scope for expansion of trade and exports.

BSE: Sensex 3336.42; down eight points
NSE: Nifty 969.05, up ten points
Rs 42.45/46 vs $
Rs 47.72 vs euro
Rs 69.39 vs pound
Rs 35.77 vs yen (100)

February 17, 1999

Economists see through the politics and the business of Budget
'A deficit by itself is not bad. The deficit in India is caused by wasteful expenditure like higher salaries that has no returns. All the political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, supported the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations. And today, we have to pay the price for this lack of political courage.' A debate on Budget.

Tisco EGM nods to Lafarge deal and financial recast; new funds to shore up Jamshedpur plant
Chairman Ratan Tata said Tisco "would hold on to subsidiaries that give value addition and make profits while other divisions would have to be restructured".


The sacking of Guruswamy
A blow-by-blow account of the goings-on in the ministry of finance that led to the exit of Mohan Guruswamy as Yashwant Sinha's advisor.

World Bank puts off recast of watchdog panel as Narmada body, others protest
The board, which was scheduled to decide on the inspection panel on February 9, will now meet, tentatively, on March 16. The inspection panel considers complaints from citizen groups on harm caused by projects financed by the World Bank.


The year of living dangerously
'The state of the economy is as crucial to the BJP's future as it is to the nation's, and the seriousness which it accords its own political future will be gauged from how much import it attaches to the nation's on February 27, the Budget-day,' says Saisuresh Sivaswamy.


'Don't hike i-tax slab rates': Jaya lists dos and don'ts for Budget
Farmers are doing a national service by giving us self-sufficiency in food. So, they should be rewarded and not penalised, the AIADMK supremo said while speaking against proposals to tax farm income.

AP high court stays Hyderabad business school land transfer
The AP Dalit Mahasabha petition stated that the Manikonda site is an agricultural land cultivated by poor farmers. 'The latter will be dispossessed if the Indian School of Business is set up there.'

BSE: Sensex 3344.68; up 29 points
NSE: Nifty 958.90, up four points
Rs 42.49/49.5 vs $
Rs 47.55 vs euro
Rs 69.39 vs pound
Rs 36.16 vs yen (100)

February 16, 1999

HLL's Q4 net up 54 pc to Rs 2.29 billion; no bonus shares; future forays into branded fruits, vegetable products
Although statistics suggest that 1999 would be better, HLL chairman K B Dadiseth said it would be difficult because the lag effects of the rural decline and adverse trading conditions were still affecting offtake.


INDIA 2011
India will not be a land of great wealth. But 1.25 billion consumers, many of whom are rural and poor, will have real choices, and they will use choose with earthy common-sense, and spend money in ways that will attract many from all over the world, says
R Gopalakrishnan.


Kerala opposes Centre's move to ban fortune industry
Kerala nets Rs 1 billion upwards in annual revenues from state-run lotteries. Instead of banning the system that offers livelihood to thousands, the government should take action against only those who violate the rules, the state argues.


Amartya flays theory linking non-democratic systems and growth
The Nobel laureate said high economic growth of Singapore or China cannot be taken as a 'definitive proof' that authoritarianism does better in promoting economic growth. He said a democratic country like Botswana has the best growth rate in Africa.

Gas pipeline burst affects Vijjeswaram power unit in AP
The underground pipeline burst with a deafening sound and damaged prawn cultivation ponds, coconut palms and thatched huts nearby. Power generation is down to 50 per cent.

Liquor trade workers attack prohibitionists, scribes in Kerala
Demand outstrips supply, and revival of 24 blending and bottling units would create jobs for the jobless -- that's the government line being resisted by prohibitionists who in turn are incurring the wrath of workers.

BSE: Sensex 3315.08; down 22 points
NSE: Nifty 954.55, down 15 points
Rs 42.44/45 vs $
Rs 47.80 vs euro
Rs 69.19 vs pound
Rs 37.05 vs yen (100)

February 1-15, 1999