INDIA INTELLIGENCE REPORT

 

Business & Economy

Aviation minister wants no
hand in aircraft purchase

What is India News Service, Monday, 20 December 2004, 2000 hrs IST


For the first time, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, have distanced themselves from the purchase of aircraft for the national carriers \97 Indian Airlines and Air-India.

Now a committee headed by Mr C.G. Somaya, a former Comptroller & Auditor-General and former CVC, and comprising the present Secretary, Expenditure, and Secretary, Civil Aviation, will take all decisions regarding the imminent fleet augmentation worth around Rs 10,000 crore for Indian Airlines. An \93immediate\94 notification to this effect was issued by the Prime Minister\92s Office on December 14.

Speaking to The Tribune, Mr Patel was candid about the motivation behind the move. \93Ill-informed gossip, including details of pay-offs, have been floating around. In this country, everybody speaks with authority on corruption. When I took over, I had decided I would have to bite the bullet of aircraft purchase since the last planes were brought when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister. If we don\92t buy aircraft we might as well shut down the airlines.\94

Mr Patel then went and shared his feelings with the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, offering to let them take all the decisions. Then the three jointly took the decision to distance themselves from the process.

Asked if he was relinquishing the most coveted power of the Aviation Minister, Mr Patel, who still drives his private car and does not draw a salary, had a simple answer: \93I was fed up of all the baseless allegations of corruption. Every time aircraft have been bought, a CBI inquiry has followed as night follows day. I thought this would be a pragmatic way to do the job and avoid the muck.\94

1.2 mn BPO jobs coming to India: BPO jobs will grow by nearly 40 per cent in 2005 as revenues are expected to hit $5.1bn.

India pitches for trade with Malaysia:  With the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh\92s announcement to attract up to $ 150 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) in the infrastructure sector, the Indian government is pitching for increase in Malaysian investment in the infrastructure sector, especially in roads, shipping and ports. 

Investors\92 interests will be protected, says Anil: Reliance Industries Vice-Chairman Anil Ambani, embroiled in a tussle with his elder brother Mukesh over the control of Reliance empire, today assured investors that their interest will be protected and \93whatever\94 happens in future will be \93good\92.


S&N to make open offer for 20 pc more in UB: Leading European brewer Scottish and Newcastle (S&N) is to become the strategic partner of United Breweries Ltd with an equity stake equal to that of promoter Mr Vijay Mallya and his group, under a deal signed here on Sunday. 

Unlocking oil PSUs' cross-holdings may get Cabinet approval soon: `All involved in the current exercise are in favour of unlocking the cross-holdings. However, there is still some room for determining the modalities to be adopted for the proposed unlocking of values.

No more China, invest in India: Harvard professor Tarun Khanna has said that Indian FDI rules are more favourable compared to China.

I-T Act change to enable 'public interest' bank mergers: The amendment to section 72A of the Income-tax Act proposed to be brought in the Budget session will remedy the present situation whereby it accords tax relief against losses to voluntary bank mergers under section 44 of the Banking Regulation Act, but not to those effected "in public interest". 

IOC unveils retail branding exercise:  Indian Oil unveiled its "Xtracare'' retail outlet template in over 1,000 outlets across the country. Launching its unique retail branding exercise here, Indian Oil General Manager (Tamil Nadu and Pondicheri) C Ramachandran said, "this launch is a culmination of a series of planning in retail design, product and service upgradation, capability training, automation, loyalty programme, retail site management techniques, all benchmarked to global standards."

Lexia luxury bus rolls out: Jalandhar-based Lexia Motors Ltd is planning to sell its recently launched luxury tourist buses in the Saarc and Asean countries. \93We have plans to sell our luxury tourist buses in the Saarc and Asean nations after increasing the sales volume in the domestic market.

Throttle continues to be in FIIs' hands: What a year it was! For Dalal Street, it has been a year of records. Not only the key indices scaled new heights, but the foreign fund inflow has been unprecedented. 


Fortis to invest Rs 850 crore in Gurgaon: Fortis healthcare Ltd, a Ranbaxy-promoted group company, will pump in Rs 850 crore over the next ten years to set up a state-of-the-art Fortis International Institute of Medical and Biosciences (FIIMBs) with super-specialty hospitals, a research centre and medical colleges here. 

Jindal Stainless raises $ 50 mn for Orissa project: Jindal stainless announced that it has raised $50 million through foreign currency convertible bonds to fund the capital expenditure in its upcoming integrated ferro alloy and stainless steel facility in Duburi in Orissa.



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