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Business & Economy

Manipur's Annual Plan fixed at Rs 2600 crore

The Annual Plan for Manipur for 2010-11 was agreed at Rs 2600 crore at a meeting here today between Planning Commission Deputy Cbairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and State Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.


During the discussions, Mr Ahluwalia praised the State Government for accelerating the pace of development and assured it that fund constraints would not be allowed to hamper progress in development.


He said the Commission would ensure that there was no delay in the release of funds to the State.


The State was asked to improve its performance in power sector reforms and execution of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.


Mr Ahluwalia pointed out that, in recognition of the need for infrastructure development, the Planning Commission had agreed to give focused attention to road, power, education and health services. Funds have also been provided to improve employment opportunities. Attention was drawn to the fall in allocation to social services and high incidence of HIV cases.

The Chief Minister in his remarks said that efforts were on to increase foodgrain production to reduce the foodgrain deficit, expand horticulture area and improve processing facilities, increase per capita income to all India level and electrification of all villages by 2012.


He said the Government intended to construct buildings for all schools during this year and also work towards electrification of all villages and self-sufficiency in food by 2012.


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L&T wins Rs 1013 crore order from ONGC


Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had won a Rs 1013 crore order from the public sector Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) for four well platforms for Phase II of the Mumbai High North (MHN) Re-development Project.


A press release from the $ 8.5 billion L&T said the Mumbai High field is in production since 1974 and ONGC is in the process of augmenting production through latest hydrocarbon lift techniques and improved reservoir recovery.


Each of these platforms will have 12 slots with remote well testing and monitoring facilities from NQ/MHN process complex, it said.


According to the release, L&T will have single point responsibility for the complete engineering, procurement, fabrication and installation of these platforms with total in-house capabilities.


This will involve 23,000 tonnes of jackets and topsides equipped with wind turbine system and hybrid power system in addition to many state- of-the-art facilities.


The release said L&T bagged the prestigious order through an International Competitive Bidding Process.


L&T will carry out engineering at their wholly-owned subsidiary L&T Valdel at Bangalore, Chennai and Faridabad and fabrication will be carried out at L&T’s world class fabrication facilities at Hazira near Surat and at Sohar in Oman.


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Habitations with 2000+ people to get banking facilities by 2012

The Government is planning to provide appropriate banking facilities to all habitations in the country which have a population in excess of 2000 by March, 2012.


These services will be provided by banks using the Business Correspondent model and other models with appropriate technology back-up to cover around 60,000 habitations, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question.


Mr Meena said that, in July 2009, a total of 129 unbanked blocks were identified in the country. As a result of the concerned efforts by the Government, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the banks to provide banking facilities in these areas, the number of such blocks had come down to 93 in February 2010, he said.


He said factors such as low population density, inhospitable terrain, law and order problems and non-availability of basic infrastructure were cited as the main impediments in providing banking facilities in these areas. The Government is monitoring the progress made in this regard on an ongoing basis, he said.


Mr Meena said that, to extend the reach of banking to rural areas having a low penetration of bank branches, the RBI has liberalized the policy of branch licensing and permitted domestic scheduled commercial banks (other than Regional Rural Banks) to open branches in Tier 3 to Tier 6 centres (with population upto 49,999 as per Census 2001) without having the need to take permission from RBI in each case.


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Bill to amend Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines Act introduced in LS

Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Murli Deora introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha today to amend Section 15 and 16 of the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962.


The amendments are aimed at strengthening the enforcement mechanism and penal provisions for making punishments more stringent for pilfeage of petroleum crude and products, with the onus on the accused to prove that the pilfered product does not belong to him.


Petroleum crude oil and products are hazardous materials. Besides, crude oil and petroleum products are very costly items and any spillage causes financial losses to the company and disruption in supplies as well as loss of life and property in case of a fire or any such incident.


Despite regular patrolling and inspection of the pipelines, incidents of pilferage and sabotage by anti-social elements have been taking place frequently in various pipelines. The amendments are aimed at addressing this problem.


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India data centre services market to touch Rs 10,000 cr. by 2011: report


The India data centre services market will touch nearly Rs 10,000 crore by the end of 2011, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.7 per cent over the 2009-11 period, IT intelligence firm IDC India said today.


The overall India data centre services market was estimated at Rs 6,300 crore in 2009.


In its report, "Assessment of Business Opportunities in the India Data Centre Services Market", IDC said the fast-evolving eco-systm, comprising high speed Internet bandwidth service providers, data centre hosting players, power and cooling solution providers, hardware vendors and system integrators would spur this growth over the next two years.


The key verticals, that contributed nearly 80 per cent of third party data centre services revenue in 2009 were manufacturing and IT/ITeS, with the third party data centres constituting about 18 per cent of the total revenues. IDC expected this to go up to 22 per cent by 2011, the report said.


Captive data centres will grow at a CAGR of 19.9 per cent during 2009-11, with manufacturing and banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) showing high deployment. Demand from the Government sector is expected to pick up in 2010 and beyond.


"Third party data centre services are gaining traction with enterprise customers due to the lack of in-house skills, high investments and long gestation period that a data centre calls for," Mr Ravikant Sharma, Senior Analyst, User Research, IDC India, said.


"As the economy further strengthens in 2011 and IT adoption in SMBs increases further to achieve business growth objectives, this segment is expected to become the next growth driver for third party data centre services," he added.


However, the customers will increasingly look for better technical skills and want to close the gap between commitment and delivery. Captives are being favoured in sectors involving high degree of security, internal controls and tighter management, the report said.


"Shrinking budgets, rising energy costs, increased preference for outsourcing and adoption of blade servers in data centres have led to new engagement and management models -- ranging from co-location services to pay-per-use platforms," Mr Arpan Gupta, Senior Analyst, Industry Verticals and Government Research Practice, IDC India, said.


"The India data centre services market is witnessing new trends in bandwidth pricing, power and cooling solutions. With increased focus on adoption of 'Green IT' enterprises and service providers are both looking to build energy efficient data centres through right sizing, improved system architecture and better design," he said.


With bandwidth costs having come down significantly, data centre hosting in India is set to become cheaper. And with heightened interest in implementation of technologies like cloud computing and grid computing in data centres, the India market is expected to be a long-term growth opportunity.


"India is all set to emerge as an important data centre hub of the world," the report said.


With the Government encouraging companies and service providers to use alternative energy sources such solar, wind and water, the rate of this change would grow, it added.


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Religare hires asset management team in Japan


Financial services group Religare Enterprises Limited toay said it had hired a team from KBC Financial Products, Japan, to set-up a dedicated asset management, sales and distribution platform in Japan.


The move comes close on the heels of the announcement by the company last month that it had earmarked around $ 1 billion for strategic investments in diversified asset management businesses globally and set up a global asset management platform.


The first in a series of initiatives planned was the strategic investment into Northgate Capital, a leading global private equity and venture capital firm with principal offices in the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States and London, United Kingdom.


Religare currently manages assets of more than $ 6 billion, inclusive of the Indian asset management business, a press release issued by the company said.


According to the release, the management team in Japan comprises Koichi Kane (Chairman and Board Member), Takuya Koyama (CEO and Board Member), Mitsuhiro Morita (Head of Sales), Yuichi Sakuma (Head of Compliance) and Masako Oyama (Head of Client Service) as the initial team to kick off its operations.


Mr Koyama has more than 30 years of experience in the global financial services industry with players like Nomura Securities, Merrill Lynch and KBC, the release said.


It said Religare had also applied for Investment Advisory and Agency Business Licenses with Japanese financial regulators and would follow it up over a period of time by applying for a Discretionary Investment Management License. The existing team, too, would be ramped up soon and focus on sales and distribution of all asset management products from Religare’s stable globally.


"The hiring of the team is in tune with our plans to establish a multi-boutique investment management business globally. We are delighted to announce the hiring of such experienced professionals and look forward to working with them. It will go down well with our long-term business plan to set-up a full fledged local Japanese operation with local products and track record," Mr Sunil Godhwani, CEO & MD, Religare Enterprises Ltd., said.


Mr. Takuya Koyama, CEO and Board Member, for the Japanese asset management company, said, "We are very excited about being part of the set-up team for Religare’s Japanese AMC. Our endeavour will be to establish a strong and credible franchise with Japanese Investors."


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HCC to acquire controlling interst in Karl Steiner AG

Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company Ltd (HCC) today said it had agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Karl Steiner AG (KSAG), the second largest total services contractor in the Swiss real estate market.


KSAG, a 95-year-old business, specialises in turnkey development of new buildings and refurbishments, and offers services in all facets of real estate construction, a press release from HCC said.


According to the release, HCC will acquire a 66 per cent stake via the issuance of new shares in consideration for a CHF 35 million cash investment in KSAG.


KSAG will use the funds raised by the capital increase for its Swiss operations, and the growth of the company’s core business in India’s growing residential and commercial construction market.


In accordance with the envisaged succession process, KSAG’s sole owner Peter Steiner will sell his remaining shares to HCC in 2014. Until that time, he will remain a minority shareholder and fully support HCC’s management of KSAG as Vice-Chairman, the release said.


The transaction is subject to approval of relevant authorities in Switzerland and India, and is scheduled to close in the second quarter of 2010.


The release said the acquisition would provide HCC entry into the lucrative integrated building construction market in India, which is estimated at Rs.65,000 to Rs.75,000 crores annually.


It will also gain access to many world class, cutting edge European technologies that will augment EPC offerings in India and other markets, the release said.


"This acquisition has been carried out on grounds of strategic fit both to capture local market opportunity and to provide us with a presence for European expansion," Mr Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director of HCC, said.


"KSAG’s rich history and expertise in Total Services Contracting will allow HCC to undertake the development and construction of world class residential and commercial spaces on a turnkey basis in India. This is one of the fastest growing segments in India, and we look forward to addressing the Indian customer’s needs for top class, green and well integrated spaces for living, work and leisure," he said.


Mr Gulabchand said the strategic fit would also open the Swiss and European market to HCC’s E&C business and help procure greater access to technology and EPC capability.


Mr Steiner said the deal would allow KSAG to continue its activities and projects and was in the best interests of its clients, employees and business partners.


"HCC is an impressive, very well-managed company that has secured a leading market position in booming India," he added.


Upon closing of the transaction, Mr K G Tendulkar, who has been Chief Operating Officer for HCC’s group of companies and associated with HCC for 30 years, will lead KSAG and join the company’s Board. Together with Henri Muhr, CEO of KSAG, he will assure the integration to mutual benefit of both companies, the release added.


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Infosys denies report about tax evasion in Chandigarh SEZ

IT services provider Infosys Technologies Limited today stated that it had never in the past intended to evade taxes and never in the future would intend to evade taxes and duties.


The assertion came in a statement by Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan after a front-page report in yesterday's Financial Express (FE) said that the company could "potentially face a tax liability of Rs 100 crore for alleged violations of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) rules at its Chandigarh SEZ."


Among other things, the FE said the Revenue Department in the Finance Ministry had observed that the company had converted an existing IT campus, which had "economic and commercial activity going on" even before the SEZ status was accorded in June 2006 to illegally avail of tax and duty benefits provided under the SEZ Act to promote exports by passing off existing infrastructure as new.


The report said the Bangalore-headquartered IT firm also carried out a series of complex land buying and lease deals with the Chandigarh Administration in order to buttress its legality of the SEZ status.


Mr Gopalakrishnan pointed out that Infosys Chairman N R Narayana Murthy had been the only business leader who had argued publicly for abolition of all tax exemptions to software and business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.


Giving details as far as the Chandigarh SEZ is concerned, he said Infosys was the first software company to be invited by the Chandigarh Administration to start a development centre at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), which was being created as an SEZ, for creation of employment for the young men and women of Chandigarh.


Mr Gopalakrishnan said Infosys had accepted the offer and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Chandigarh Administration on November 15, 2002.


As per this MOU, Infosys was allotted 20 acres of land on June 11, 2004. The remaining 10 acres were allotted on November 10, 2005. No sale deed was signed for both the allotments, he said.


He said that, as a company focused on speed, Infosys submitted the development centre building plans and documents for sanction with the Chandigarh Administration on July 7 and on July 19, 2004. Land excavation permission was given on July 20, 2004.


He said that, as the Developer of the SEZ, the Chandigarh Administration made an application on November 30, 2004 to the Ministry of Commerce to notify 111 acres of the RGCTP as SEZ. The Chandigarh Administration disclosed in the application the fact that Infosys was proposing to start the construction of the building on the land applied to be declared as SEZ. The actual construction of Infosys development centre was started on December 27, 2004, he said.


According to him, this was as per the 3.1.1 GUIDELINES OF SEZ – issued by the Ministry of Commerce on January 21, 2002. He said the Government of India gave the formal approval for the RGCTP to operate as an SEZ on June 6, 2005. This approval was under the old SEZ scheme. The new Act and Rules came in to force from February 10, 2006.


Mr Gopalakrishnan said that, as the RGCTP SEZ did not start functioning before the new SEZ Act & Rules came into force on February 10, 2006, the Board of Approval (BOA) of the Government of India, after consideration of all the facts put forward by the Chandigarh Administration, accorded approval to the RGCTP SEZ on May 19, 2006.


"The issue of vacant land at the time of submitting the SEZ application by the Chandigarh Administration was considered by the BOA and the notification was issued only after the site inspection by the Development Commissioner of GOI at Noida," he said.


He said Infosys had submitted an application to the Development Commissioner, Noida on May 24, 2006 for setting up an IT SEZ unit in RGCTP. It received the approval on June 16, 2006.


He said Infosys did not avail any customs, excise duty or tax exemption on the construction activities till it got the Letter of Approval from the Ministry of Commerce on June 16, 2006. He said Infosys started the operation of its development centre at RGCTP from September 4, 2006.


Mr Gopalakrishnan stressed that no land had been sold to Infosys by the Chandigarh Administration on free hold basis. Infosys signed the land lease agreement as per the provisions of SEZ Rules on April 3, 2009.


"The company has not carried out, as alleged by FE, a series of complex buying and lease deals with the Chandigarh Administration in order to buttress the legality of its SEZ status," he said.


He said land was vacant at the time of filing the application by the Chandigarh Administration.


"The subsequent construction activities have been fully disclosed and the government has also confirmed the same in its inspection report and this fact has been considered by the Government before the issuance of the SEZ notification," he said.


The Infosys CEO said his company did not claim any tax or duty benefit till its SEZ Unit got approved by the Ministry of Commerce on June 16, 2006 and signing of the customs bond on July 10, 2006.


"Therefore there is no question of evasion of taxes and duties (direct and indirect) as reported in the press," he said.


Infosys started the operation in the RGCTP only after it obtained the Letter of Approval from the Commerce Ministry, he said.


Mr Gopalakrishnan said Infosys continued to invest in its facility in Chandigarh, with its cumulative investment in it as on December 31, 2009 at Rs 286.85 cror.


"Since the start of operations of our Chandigarh Development Centre on September 4, 2006 till December 31, 2009, we have had exports of over Rs. 750.40 crore. The exports for the last 12 months ending December 31, 2009 were Rs. 374.64 crore. As of December 31, 2009, we had 2,676 employees at our Chandigarh Development Centre. The only activity taken up in this development centre is for export purposes," he said.


"We are among the top tax payers in the software and BPO industry. For fiscal year 2010 our total advance tax payment is Rs. 1,180 crore," he added.


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Ranbaxy reaches settlement of Actos patent litigation

India's largest pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories today said it had reached an agreement with Takeda Pharmaceuticals resolving outstanding patent litigation related to Ranbaxy's generic equivalent of Actos (Pioglitazone Hydrochloride) 15 mg, 30 mg and 45 mg tablets.


A press release issued by the Gurgaon-based company said the agreements also involved its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (RPI) and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America.


Under terms of the agreement, Takeda granted Ranbaxy a non-exclusive royalty free license to its U.S. patents covering Actos. This means Ranbaxy has certainty in the launch of its generic equivalent formulation of Actos on August 17, 2012, or earlier under certain circumstances, the release said.


Actos had approximately $ 3.4 billion in brand sales for the twelve months ending December 31, 2009, according to IMS Health. Actos is a once-daily oral prescription medication that, with diet and exercise, has been shown to be effective for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, the release said.


"This agreement will allow RPI to bring to patients with diabetes a generic alternative in this important therapeutic area," Mr Jim Meehan, Vice President of Sales and Distribution for RPI, said.


Based in Jacksonville, Florida, RPI is engaged in the sale and distribution of generic and branded prescription products in the U.S. healthcare system.


Ranbaxy is a member of the Daiichi Sankyo Group, a leading global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.


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BHEL wins Rs 3348 cr contract for captive power unit

The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had bagged a Rs 3348 crore turnkey contract for setting up a 376 MW captive power plant of the Paradip Refinery Project of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) coming up in Orissa.


The contract for the energy-efficient and environment-friendly unit is the largest-value single order ever secured by BHEL for a captive power plant.


"The customer has opted to source the captive power plant from BHEL in view of its techno-economic superiority - a testimony to the customer’s confidence in BHEL’s capability," a press release from the company said.


The plant will meet the power and process steam requirement of the grassroot refinery and is slated for commissioning by November 2012, it said.


BHEL's scope of work in the project envisages design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of the captive power plant, in addition to associated civil works.


Major equipment to be supplied includes three Frame 9 Gas Turbine Generators, three Heat Recovery Steam Generators of 220 TPH each, two Steam Turbine Generators of 30 MW each, four Utility Boilers of 300 TPH each, Transformers, Gas Insulated Switchgear and associated Balance of Plant.


The equiment for the project will be supplied by BHEL's plants at Hyderabad, Tiruchirapalli, Ranipet, Bhopal, Jhansi and Electronics Division, Bangalore. Civil works and erection and commissioning of the captive power plant will be carried out by the company's Power Sector – Southern Region.


According to the release, BHEL has emerged as the market leader in co-generation and captive power plants, offering units from 10 MW onwards for both steam turbine-based and gas-based combined cycle power projects for total power and process steam requirements of various industries.


So far, the company has supplied and commissioned more than 700 steam turbine and gas turbine-based plants for a host of industries like metal, paper, sugar, cement and process industries like refineries, petrochemicals and fertilisers in India and abroad, the release added.


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India's inflation rate surges to 9.89 % in February

India's headline annual rate of inflation for February, based on the monthly Wholesale Price Index (WPI), rose to 9.89 per cent, mainly due to the firm prices of food items. 

The rate of inflation was 8.56 per cent in the previous month and 3.50 per cent during the corresponding month of 2009.

The statement said the build-up of inflation in the financial year so far was 9.60 per cent as compared to a build-up of 0.93 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The official WPI for All Commodities (base: 1993-94=100) for February rose by 0.6 per cent to 250.1 from 248.5 for the previous month, it said.

The food inflation rate had declined marginally to 17.81 per cent in the year to February 27 from 17.87 per cent in the previous week, while fuel prices were up 11.38 per cent from a year ago, official data released on March 11 said.

The Government has been under attack from the Opposition for the past few months because of the rising food prices after the worst monsoon in more than three decades last year and floods in some States adversely affected the Kharif crop. While the Government has taken several measures to check the spiralling prices, their impact is still to be fully felt by the common man.

According to the data released on March 11, the prices of pulses were up by 33.58 per cen in the 12 months to February 27, potatoes by 22.46 per cent, milk by 15.31 per cent, cereals by 11.53 per cent, rice by 9.38 per cent, wheat by 14.34 per cent, fruits by 11.77 per cent and onions by 2.98 per cent.

The food inflation rate was 17.79 per cent in February as far as Primary Articles were concerned. Among Manufactured Products, the food inflation rate was 20.43 per cent in the month, the data released today said.

The index for Primary Articles, which have a weight of 22.02 per cent in the WPI, remained unchanged at its previous month’s level of 284.7.

Within this group, the index for Food Articles declined by 0.1 per cent to 286.1 from 286.4 for the previous month due to lower prices of tea (9%), arhar (7%), urad (6%), gram, masur and eggs (4% each), fruits & vegetables (2%) and fish-inland, maize, barley and ragi (1% each).

However, the prices of fish-marine (5%), poultry chicken (4%), coffee (3%), pork and moong (2% each) and wheat, jowar and milk (1% each) moved up.

The index for Non-Food Articles rose by 0.1 per cent to 256.5 from 256.3 for the previous month due to higher prices of coir fibre (41%), gingelly seed (9%), mesta (8%), sunflower and niger seed (4% each), copra, raw jute and fodder (2% each) and groundnut seed (1%). However, the prices of logs & timber (7%), tobacco (4%), skins (raw) (3%), raw cotton and rape & mustard seed (2% each) and linseed and soyabean (1% each) declined.

The index for Minerals rose by 0.8 per cent to 596.3 from 591.6 for the previous month due to higher prices of barytes, iron ore, asbestos and steatite (1% each). However, the prices of magnesite (10%) and felspar (1%) declined.

The index for Fuel, Power, Light & Lubricants, which have a weight of 14.23 per cent, rose by 1.5 per cent to 356.9 from 351.5 for the previous month due to higher prices of non-coking coal (12%), coking coal (9%), high speed diesel oil and petrol (2% each) and light diesel oil, naphtha and furnace oil (1% each). However, the prices of bitumen (3%) and aviation turbine fuel (1%) declined.

In the case of Manufactured Products, the index rose by 1 per cent to 260 from 257.4 for the previous month due to higher prices of khandsari (6%), sugar (5%), bran (all kinds) (2%) and imported edible oil, skimmed milk powder, ghee, gur and salt (1% each). However, the prices of rice bran oil (8%), atta (4 %), oil cakes, cotton seed oil, coconut oil and rape & mustard oil (2% each) declined.

The index for Beverages Tobacco & Tobacco Products rose by 0.4 per cent to 312.3 from 311 for the previous month due to higher prices of soft drinks (all kinds) (3%), potable country liquor (2%) and cigarettes (1%).

The index for Textiles rose by 0.9 per cent to 154.6 from 153.2 for the previous month due to higher prices of cotton yarn-cones (3%) and hessian & sacking bags, polyester staple fibre, nylon filament yarn, cotton yarn-hanks, miscellaneous cotton cloth and synthetic yarn (1% each).

The index for Leather & Leather Products declined by 0.8 per cent to 164.4 from 165.8 for the previous month due to lower prices of footwear western type (1%).

The index for Rubber & Plastic Products by 3.1 per cent to 174.9 from 169.7 for the previous month due to higher prices of plastic items (28%), cycle tubes (9%), cycle tyres (6%), tractor tyres (4%), giant tyres (3%) and pvc fitting & accessories (2%). However, the prices of decorative laminates (1%) declined.

The index for Chemicals & Chemical Products rose by 0.3 per cent to 231.1 from 230.5 for the previous month due to higher prices of acid (all kinds) (17%), liquid oral other than vitamins (8%), epoxy resins and safety matches (7% each), printing ink (6%), titanium dioxide and polystyrene (5% each), synthetic detergent and benzene (3% each), hair oil, varnishes and p.v.c. resins (2% each) and sulphamethoxozole, bopp film and ayurvedic medicine liquids (1% each).

However, the prices of liquid chlorine (17%), soda ash and caustic soda (9% each), methanol (7 %), calcium ammonium nitrate n-content and syrup (6% each), blasting powder (3%) and complex fertilizers-npk content, complex fertilizer n-content, antibiotics, oxygen gas in cylinder and carbon black (1% each) declined.

The index for Non-Metallic Mineral Products rose by 1.4 per cent to 214.9 from 212.0 for the previous month due to higher prices of cement (2%). However, the prices of ceramic tiles (2%) and building bricks (1%) declined.

The index for Basic Metals Alloys & Metal Products rose by 0.8 per cent to 261.7 from 259.7 for the previous month due to higher prices of aluminium extrusion (15%), aluminium ingots (13%), brass sheets & strips and other aluminium material (7% each), foundry pig iron, basic pig iron and aluminium rolled products (6% each). However, the prices of steel ingots (9%), zinc ingots and lead ingots (7% each), other iron steel (5%) and ms bars & rounds and zinc (3% each) declined.

The index for Machinery & Machine Tools declined by 0.6 percent to 172.8 (Provisional) from 173.8 (Provisional) for the previous month due to lower prices of p.v.c. insulated cables (45%), mono block pumps and power capacitors (2% each) and picture tubes (colour) (1%). However, the prices of furnaces (17%), switch gears and boilers - its parts & accessories (13% each), other electrical equipment & systems and powerlooms automatic (5% each), complete tractors and ring spinning & doubling frames (3% each), ceiling fans and enamelled copper wires (2% each) and other pumps (1%) moved up.

The statement said the final WPI for December stood at 248.3 as compared to 246.5 as provisionally reported on January 14. Accordingly, the annual rate of inflation based on the final index stood at 8.10 per cent as compared to 7.31 per cent reported provisionally on that date, it added.

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L&T wins Rs 2035 cr order from OMPL

Engineering and construction giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had secured an order valued at Rs 2035 crore from ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Limited (OMPL) for an aromatics complex to be set up in the Mangalore Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

A press release from the $ 8.5 billion L&T said the complex would produce paraxylene and benzene as well as by-products like hydrogen, heavy aromatics and LPG, using naphtha as raw material.

According to it, the project involves nine process units including Naphtha Hydro-Treating Unit, Continuous Catalytic Regeneration & Platforming Unit, PAREX Unit and ISOMAR Unit.

It said the project would be executed as an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and was expected to be ready for commissioned by December 2012.

The release said that OMPL would utilise the technology of UOP of the United States as a licensor for the project, which is the single largest paraxylene unit being put up in India.

The scope of work includes Residual Basic Design, Detailed engineering, Procurement, Fabrication, Construction, Installation, Pre-commissioning, Testing, Commissioning and performance Test Run. The order has been bagged by L&T's Hydrocarbon Mid & Downstream Business group of Engineering & Construction Division against competition from global EPC companies, the release added.

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LPG scheme for rural households launched

Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas Murli Deora today launched the implementation of a national scheme to provide LPG to rural households.


Called the Rajeev Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitrak Yojna, it was launched at Laxmangarh in Sikar district of Rajasthan.


Mr Deora was joined by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Union Rural Development Minister C P Joshi.


To mark the occasion, six dealers were selected through a transparent process of draw of lots in full public view for rural locations in the district of Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur and Churu of Rajasthan.


Similarly, draw of lots was also held for 44 locations in the states of West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.


Public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) had earlier invited applications for the LPG distributoship at more than 1200 rural locations in eight States, where LPG coverage is lower than the national average.


Mr Deora said the selection process for these locations would be completed by the end of April. He said the Government was committed to provide convenient and hygienic cooking fuel to rural households on a priority. This would greatly improve the cooking conditions in rural areas.


The Minister said more than 800 more locations would soon be advertised by the OMCs in the second phase of the scheme.


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Consumer Protection Act to be amended: Thomas

Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution K V Thomas today said the Government would soon amend the Consumer Protection Act 1986 to expand its coverage and make it more effective.


Speaking at a conference to mark World Consumer Rights Day here, Mr Thomas said the Government was impressing upon the State Governments to support consumer fora with infrastructure so that the backlog of cases in consumer courts.


The conference is being attended by the members of the National Commission, Presidents of State Commissions and Secretaries of Consumer Affairs of all States and Union Territories.


Mr Thomas said that consumer courts, in more than a decade of existence, had disposed of about 30 lakh cases out of 33 lakh cases filed before them. This worked out to a disposal rate of 89 per cent, which is considered very high. However, the pendency of nearly three lakh cases was a matter of great concern, he said.


The Minister said the Government would provide all necessary financial support for improving the infrastructure for consumer fora at the national, state and district levels.


In their addresses, the President of the National Commission, Mr Justice Ashok Bhan, and the Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, appealed to the States to make use of the initiatives taken by the Centre and the funds provided to them so that consumer courts operated more efficiently and pendency was liquidated.


Justice R.V. Ravindran, Supreme Court Judge, emphasised that mediation should be promoted as the first means of consumer dispute redressal. This would lead to very quick and inexpensive redressal of consumer disputes, he said.


The two-day conference will discuss ways to further strengthen the consumer movement in the country. The World Consumer Rights Day is observed on March 15 every year.


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Bharat Forge, NTPC begin construction of JV plant


Manufacturing and metal forming major Bharat Forge Limited and India's largest power generation company NTPC Limited began construction of their joint venture manufacturing plant here today.


Union Minister for Power Sushil Kumar Shinde laid the foundation stone of the project, BF-NTPC Energy Systems Limited (BFNESL) that is aimed at primarily serving the power sector with a technology-intensive product range that will have wider applications across other sectors such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, and steel and mining.


The products include advanced class pumps high pressure piping, castings, forgings and other critical equipment involving high-end engineering and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, a press release from the company said.


According to it, India currently faces considerable supply constraints and has significant dependence on overseas sources for such advanced technology products.


Union Minister of State for Power Bharatsinh Solanki and Power Secretary H S Brahma were amongst those present on the occasion.


Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shinde said the growing demand for power in the country could be only met by ramping up indigenous manufacturing capacities quickly and by infusing superior technology in generation, transmission and distribution.


"It is heartening to see two world-class Indian companies joining hands to address challenges in India’s march towards 'Power for All'," he said.growth plans.


"Through BFNESL, we are committed to address these constraints by manufacturing and supplying state-of-the-art technology-driven products and systems. This will reduce India’s dependence on imports and ensure timely and cost competitive availability of these products indigenously," he said.


"While Bharat Forge’s strengths in metal forming, manufacturing, engineering and marketing shall be extensively utilized, NTPC’s world-class experience in project management and operations shall be made available to the JV to quickly meet market challenges," NTPC Chairman and Managing Director R. S. Sharma said.


Being set up in area of about 100 acres, the new plant will have world-class manufacturing, fabrication, assembly and testing facilities for the product lines and also field services.


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Manufacturing and metal forming major Bharat Forge Limited and India's largest power generation company NTPC Limited began construction of their joint venture manufacturing plant here today.


Union Minister for Power Sushil Kumar Shinde laid the foundation stone of the project, BF-NTPC Energy Systems Limited (BFNESL) that is aimed at primarily serving the power sector with a technology-intensive product range that will have wider applications across other sectors such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, and steel and mining.


The products include advanced class pumps high pressure piping, castings, forgings and other critical equipment involving high-end engineering and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, a press release from the company said.


According to it, India currently faces considerable supply constraints and has significant dependence on overseas sources for such advanced technology products.


Union Minister of State for Power Bharatsinh Solanki and Power Secretary H S Brahma were amongst those present on the occasion.


Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shinde said the growing demand for power in the country could be only met by ramping up indigenous manufacturing capacities quickly and by infusing superior technology in generation, transmission and distribution.


"It is heartening to see two world-class Indian companies joining hands to address challenges in India’s march towards 'Power for All'," he said.growth plans.


"Through BFNESL, we are committed to address these constraints by manufacturing and supplying state-of-the-art technology-driven products and systems. This will reduce India’s dependence on imports and ensure timely and cost competitive availability of these products indigenously," he said.


"While Bharat Forge’s strengths in metal forming, manufacturing, engineering and marketing shall be extensively utilized, NTPC’s world-class experience in project management and operations shall be made available to the JV to quickly meet market challenges," NTPC Chairman and Managing Director R. S. Sharma said.


Being set up in area of about 100 acres, the new plant will have world-class manufacturing, fabrication, assembly and testing facilities for the product lines and also field services.


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Furniture & Accessories Show opens in Jodhpur

Foreign buyers at Indian Furniture & Accessories Show in Jodhpur on March 13, 2010.
Foreign buyers at Indian Furniture & Accessories Show in Jodhpur on March 13, 2010.

More than 250 companies from across the country are participating in the first-of-its-kind Indian Furniture & Accessories Show (IFAS) which opened here today.

The three-day event was inaugurated by Ms Chandresh Kumari, Member of Parliament.

Mr Thomas Matussek, Ambassador of Germany, and Mr Humaid al Manni, Ambassador of Oman, released the directory of the fair on the occasion.

More than 300 foreign buyers from all over the world are attending the exhibition, which has been organised by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) and the Jodhpur Handicrafts Exporters Association (JHEA) to promote hand-crafted products from India.

EPCH Chairman Raj Kumar Malhotra and Executive Director Rakesh Kumar and JHEA President Nirmal Bhandari and Secretary Bharat Dinesh were amongst those present on the occasion.

Jodhpur alone provides employment to more than 300,000 craftpersons and the total volume of exports from this region is estimated to be around $ 150 million per annum.

The EPCH has conceptualised the fair to provide an impetus to the growth of the furniture and accessories segment and had decided to organise a Reverse Buyer Seller Meet (RBSM) in Jodhpur specially focusing on the woodcraft of the country.

The show is expected to provide an opportunity to exhibitors to display their products and also give them a chance to take buyers directly to their showrooms and workplaces.

The overseas buyers at the event have been drawn from countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, Panama, New Zealand, South Africa, Ecuador, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Uruguay, Botswana, Australia, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Hong Kong, France, Ukraine, Canada, Argentina, Netherlands, Norway, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovenia, Mexico, Bolivia, Greece, Japan, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Turkey, Malaysia, Lebanon and Taiwan are attending the show to source their requirements.

A wide range of furniture made of wood, recycled wood, iron and wrought iron as well as a range of other houseware items are on display at the show as more than 300 units are producing furniture and accessories and other hand-crafted products in the Jodhpur region.

The event is also aimed at promoting Jodhpur amongst the oveseas buying community and create an image for the region on the lines of the "High Point" show in the US. For buyers, the B2B show provides an opportunity to visit manufacturing sites and see the systems, methods and techniques employed in making the products.

According to provisional data available for the period April-February 2009-10, exports of handicrafts from India increased to Rs 6335.84 crore from Rs 6106.83 crore in the same period of the previous financial year. In dollar terms, exports registered a decline of $ 26.51 million (1.96 per cent) in the same period.

EPCH, with a membership of over 7000 exporters from all over the country, is the apex body that coordinates and promotes handicrafts exports from India. Sponsored by the Ministry of Textiles, the Council also organizes trade-shows, buyer-seller meets, conferences and study tours to keep Indian exporters abreast of the latest trends in the markets worldwide.

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India signs $ 59 million loan agreement with ADB

India signed a $ 59.1 million agreement with the Asian Development Bank for the second tranche of the Himachal Pradesh Clean Energy Development Investment Programme here today.


The agreement was signed by Dr Anup K Pujari, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Government of India and by Mr Kun Kim, Country Director, India, on behalf of the ADB.


Mr Tarun Kapoor, Managing Director, Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd signed the agreement on behalf of the Corporation as well as the Power and Finance department of the Himachal Pradesh government.


An official press release said the second tranche would cover civil works for construction of a diversion barrage, power intake, de-sanding arrangements and gates and hoisting for the Sawra Kuddu hydroelectric project, located in the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh.

The programme, approved in 2008, is for a total amount of $ 800 million. It covers the Sawra Kuddu, the Keshang I, II and III stages, the Sainj, and the Shontong - Karcham projects.

The first tranche of the project was signed on November 10, 2008. It was for an amount of $ 150 million, the release added.


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SPMCIL signs MoU with Govt. for 10% business growth

The public sector Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Finance Ministry setting for itself a target of 10 per cent growth in business in 2010-11.


According to the MoU, the company has agreed to achieve business worth Rs 2750 crore in the next financial year, which is 10 per cent more than the targets set for the current fiscal.


The MoU was signed between Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla and SPMCIL Chairman & Managing Director M S Rana.


An official press release said the MoU was based on the premise of a growth charter in a globally competitive environment and forward looking approach of SPMCIL.


It incorporates new parameters for evaluation of performance with focus on profitability, new schemes, market and product diversification as well as optimization of its various resources.

Apart from meeting the national requirement of currency and coinage, SPMCIL has started looking for export business in this crucial segment.


In 2009-10, the company bagged export orders for printing Nepalese Bank Notes of Rs.100/- and Rs.10/- denominations. SPMCIL is also pre-qualified, along with eight international security printing and minting companies for minting and supply of Nepalese circulation coins.


India Security Press (ISP), Nashik, a unit of the company, has signed an MoU with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for printing and supply of security features-based admission tickets for its various monuments throughout the country.

India Government Mint (IGM), Kolkata, another unit of the company, has received an order for making more than four lakh silver medals for Coal India Limited. India Government Mint (IGM), Mumbai, a unit of the company, has received an order for manufacturing medallions for the Akshardham Temple, the release added.


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India's industrial production up 16.7 % in January

Continuing the upswing, industrial producton in India grew by 16.7 per cent in January, 2010 as compared to the level in the same month of 2009.

Industrial production in the country had grown by 16.8 per cent in December, 2009.

The Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP), with base 1993-94, for January released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation here today, said the General Index stood at 332.3.

An official statement, quoting the data, said the cumulative growth for the period April-January 2009-10 stood at 9.6 per cent over the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

The statement said the Indices of Industrial Production for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for January stood at 215.6, 359.5, and 240.6 respectively, with the corresponding growth rates of 14.6%, 17.9% and 5.6% as compared to January 2009.

The cumulative growth during April-January, 2009-10 over the corresponding period of 2008-09 in the three sectors have been 9.3%, 9.9% and 5.7% respectively, which moved the overall growth in the General Index to 9.6%, the statement said.

According to the statement, in terms of industries, as many as 14 out of the 17 industry groups have shown positive growth during January as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

The industry group Transport Equipment and Parts showed the highest growth of 57.6%, followed by 45.9% in Machinery and Equipment other than Transport Equipment and 38.6% in Metal Products and Parts, except Machinery and Equipment.

On the other hand, Jute and Other Vegetable Fibre Textiles (except cotton) showed a negative growth of 91.0% followed by 4.0% in Food Products and 2.2% in Leather and Leather & Fur Products, it said.

The statement said the sectoral growth rates in January 2010 over January 2009 are 10.7% in Basic goods, 56.2% in Capital goods and 21.3% in Intermediate goods. The Consumer durables and Consumer non-durables have recorded growth of 31.6% and (-)3.1% respectively, with the overall growth in Consumer goods being 4.2%.

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OMCs to introduce translucent LPG gas cylinders

Petroluem and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora today said that the Government had given "in principle" approval to the public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) to introduce composite cylinders for marketing domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).


Mr Deora informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply to a question that the approval for the composite (transclucent fiber glass) cylinders was subject to there being no subsidy element in the LPG so marketed.


He said that, initially, the cylinders were planned to be launched as a pilot project in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune. If successful, the translucent cylinders would be launched throughout the country, he said.


Mr Deora said the transclucent cylinders would show the level of LPG present in the cylinder. They would also be easier to handle as they are lighter in weight than the present steel cylinders.


He said the OMCs had invited global tenders for the cylinders, which are under evaluation at present. He said the cost of the cylinders would be known only after the finalisation of the tender and placement of the purchase order.


The cylinders would be introduced as a separate package and not as replacement for existing cylinders.


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India's food inflation rate declines marginally to 17.81 %

India's food inflation rate declined marginally to 17.81 per cent in the year to February 27 from 17.87 per cent in the previous week, while fuel prices were up 11.38 per cent from a year ago, an official statement said here today, quoting provisional data.

The Government has been under attack from the Opposition for the past few months because of the rising food prices after the worst monsoon in more than three decades last year and floods in some States adversely affected the Kharif crop.

While the Government has taken several measures to check the spiralling prices, their impact is still to be fully felt by the common man.

According to the data released today, the prices of pulses were up by 33.58 per cen in the 12 months to February 27, potatoes by 22.46 per cent, milk by 15.31 per cent, cereals by 11.53 per cent, rice by 9.38 per cent, wheat by 14.34 per cent, fruits by 11.77 per cent and onions by 2.98 per cent.

Overall, the annual rate of inflation for Primary Articles stood at 15.08 per cent for the week ended February 27 as compared to 15 per cent for the previous week and 5.55 per cent during the corresponding week, ended February 28, 2009, of the previous year.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for Primary Articles, which have a weight of 22.02 per cent in the WPI for All Commodities, rose by 0.4 per cent to 284.7 in the week ended February 27 from 283.7 for the previous week.

Within this group, the index for Food Articles rose by 0.2 per cent to 285.7 from 285.0 for the previous week due to higher prices of poultry chicken (7%) and barley, milk and fruits & vegetables (1% each). However, the prices of tea (3%), gram and urad (2% each) and arhar, condiments & spices, maize, fish-inland, fish-marine, masur, eggs and moong (1% each) declined.

The index for Non-Food Articles rose by 0.1 per cent to 256.5  from 256.2 for the previous week due to higher prices of raw rubber (2%) and raw cotton and fodder (1% each). However, the prices of gingelly seed and groundnut seed (1% each) declined.

The index for Minerals rose by 3.2 per cent to 610.4 from 591.6 for the previous week due to higher prices of barytes (5 %), iron ore, asbestos and steatite (4% each). However, the prices of magnesite (38%) and felspar (4%) declined.

In the case of Fuel, Power, Light & Lubricants, which have a weight of 14.23 per cent in the WPI, the index rose by 1.6 per cent to 361.2 from 355.4 for the previous week due to higher prices of high speed diesel oil (8%), petrol (6%). However, the prices of furnace oil, bitumen, light
diesel oil and naphtha (1% each) declined.

The annual rate of inflation stood at 11.38 per cent for the week ended February 27 as compared to 9.59 per cent for the previous week and (-) 4.90 per cent during the corresponding week of the previous year.

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Wasnik urges corporates to address employment needs of PwDs

Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Mukul Wasnik today urged the corporate sector to join hands with the Government to meet the employment needs of people with disabilities (PwDs).


Inaugurating "Enable India 2010", an international conference and exhibition here, Mr Wasnik said the employment needs of PwDs were a major social and economic challenge.


He said concerted efforts were needed to change the mid-set of the people and removing the negative attitude that people had towards PwDs.


The theme of the conference is "Challenges of Inclusive Growth - Empowering Persons with Disabilities".


The Minister said it was unfortunate that the employment rate of PwDs had come down from 42.7 per cent in the early 1990s to 37.6 per cent in the early 2000s.


He said that, as per rough estimates, less than one per cent of the posts in the public sector were filled by people with disabilities.


"This conference is thus important as several senior executives from large corporates are participating in the conference to try and make a difference" he said.


Mr Wasnik said efforts were needed to integrate workers with disabilities into the workplace and help them overcome barriers.


He said the Government was committed to provide equal opportunity to all in securing access to credit and to employment opportunities. He said the Government was mandated to provide reservation in employment to persons with disabilities.


He told the gathering that a special recruitment drive was launched on November 27, 2009 to clear the backlog of vacancies in posts reserved for PwDs by July 15 this year.


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Maran inaugurates Jute Festival at Dilli Haat

Union Textiles Ministry Dayanidhi Maran today inaugurated a four-day Jute Festival at Delhi's famous "Dilli Haat" in which 20 jute units from across the country are exhibiting their products.


The event has been organised by the Jute Manufactures Development Council (JMDC) with the aim of increasing awareness about jute products among consumers. Minister of State for Textiles Panabaaka Lakshmi and Textiles Secretary Rita Menon were amongst those present.


As part of the efforts of improving the public perception about jute and change its branding among customers, "Earth Couture", a fashion show of jute apparel and accessories was organised. Renowned vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan also performed "Songs of the Earth".


According to an official press release, the Ministry of Textiles has launched a new initiative to revive the jute industry.


It said the Jute Technology Mission was addressing issues of agricultural improvements, research & development of new products, modernisation of mills, introduction of new technology and skill upgradation.


At the same time, the Ministry has empowered the JMDC to promote diversified jute products that reduce the industry’s dependence on sacking and hessian. This initiative includes not only promotion of new technical applications such as jute geo-textiles and composites but also aggressive marketing of jute lifestyle products both within the country and in international markets.


The release said that value-added jute diversified products (JDP) account for nearly 30% of India’s jute exports (total about Rs. 1100 crore) even though they form less than 8% of jute goods production in India. In the domestic market, the banning of non-biodegradable packaging in many areas has driven the demand for eco-friendly jute.


India's judge industry is today facing competition from alternative materials, by the recession in the international marekts and by the low awareness among consumers about the versatile, eco-friendly nature of the fabric itself.


The industry provides a livelihood to more than 25,0,000 mill workers and more than 4 million farmers, the release added.


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Annual Plan for Puducherry fixed at Rs 2500 crore

Chief Minister of Puducherry V. Vaithilingam meeting the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia to finalize Annual Plan 2010-11 of the State, in New Delhi on March 10, 2010.
Chief Minister of Puducherry V. Vaithilingam meeting the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia to finalize Annual Plan 2010-11 of the State, in New Delhi on March 10, 2010.

The Annual Plan for the Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry for 2010-11 was fixed at Rs 2500 crore at a meeting here today between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister V Vaithilingam.

An official press release said the amount included Central assistance of Rs 50 crore for UT-specific projects.

During the discussions, Mr Ahluwalia appreciated the development efforts made by the UT government and said the steps taken to improve social and physical infrastructure were commendable.

He said the UT should work towards early completion of ongoing infrastructure projects. He said the private sector should be encouraged for more pro-active participation in the development of infrastructure related to tourism and water sports.

Union Minister of State for Planning V Narayanasamy said the UT government should take pro-active measures for the development of the service sector as it had enormous potential for economic growth and employment opportunities.

He said the government should encourage a shift to horticulture, floriculture, inland fisheries and cottage industries.

According to an official press release, the poverty level of Puducherry is lower than the national average, both in urban and rural areas. The rural poverty is estimated at 22.9 per cent, urban poverty at 22.2 per cent and total poverty is at 22.4 per cent. Mr. Narayansamy said that units in the unorganized sector have grown remarkably and the State was following a lean and efficient policy for both organized and unorganized sector.

The Chief Minister said that, despite limited resources, every effort had been made to make the UT a well-developed territory providing all basic amenities for the people. He said new avenues of revenue generation were being explored to make the pace of development more sustainable.

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Electronics hardware production up 12.1 % in 2008-09

Electronics hardware production in India registered a growth of 12.1 per cent in 2008-09 while Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITeS) exports grew by 16.6 per cent during the year despite the global economic downturn.


Union Minister of Communications & IT A Raja told the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry here yesterday evening that, however, both segments had slowed down from the levels of 27.8 per cent and 29.4 per cent growth, respectively, achieved in 2007-08.


He said production of electronics hardware had gone up 43 per cent from Rs. 66,000 crore in 2006-07, Rs. 94,690 crore in 2008-09. IT and ITeS exports had grown by about 50 per cent from $ 31.3 billion to $ 47.1 billion in the same period.


Mr Raja informed the members of Parliament that a Task Force was set up by the Department of IT to suggest measures and strategies to augment the growth of IT and ITeS and the electronics hardware manufacturing industry in the context of global developments.


The Task Force, in its report, had recommended, among other things, fiscal/financial incentives; establishment of a "National Electronics Mission", promotion of human resource and talent development; promotion of existing clusters and creation of new ones; creation of R&D and manufacturing value addition fund and fostering of a sustainable ecosystem for innovation and R&D; demand consolidation; building of world class business and social infrastructure; and creation of a favourable business policy and regulatory environment


The report projected that the electronics hardware production in the country would grow from $ 20 billion in 2009, including exports of $ 4 billion, to $ 80 billion by 2020.


The IT/ ITeS sector is expected to grow from $ 59.9 billion 2009 to $ 225 billion by 2020 with exports growing from $ 47.1 billion to $ 175 billion by 2020.

In the IT/ITeS sector, the employment generation (direct and indirect) is projected to grow from 10.2 million in 2009 to 30 million by 2020 and in electronics hardware sector it is projected to grow from 4.4 million in 2009 to 27.8 million by 2020.


The contribution of IT/ITeS industry to the GDP can reach almost 10 per cent from existing level of 5 per cent by 2020 and the electronics hardware sector has the potential to contribute about 20 per cent to the GDP by 2020, it said.


Responding to the suggstions of the members, Union Minister of State for Communications & IT Sachin Pilot said the Ministry had taken steps to facilitate the growth of teh IT sector in semi-urban and rural areas. He said the State Governments were bieng persuaded to take pro-active measures in this direction so that the benefits of the IT revolution accrude evenly to all parts of the country.


Mr Raja also said that the States which had adopted pro-active policies had witnessed significant growth in the IT sector. The other States needed to adopt similar strategies, he added.


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