New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Friday set up an empowered committee of secretaries to review the report of the Sixth Pay Commission.
The decision follows serious reservations expressed by a cross-section of Central government employees over the recommendations, which were submitted on 24 March and proposed an average increase of 40% for government employees.
Relook: Minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal. (Photo: Harikrishna Katragadda/ Mint)
“The empowered committee, to be headed by the cabinet secretary, will function as a screening committee and will evaluate the recommendations of the commission, before forwarding their conclusion to the cabinet,” Union minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal said. The cabinet, however, did not set a time frame for discussing the panel’s report, or for approving the Pay Commission’s recommendations, Sibal added.
The cabinet also gave its nod for an agreement with Bangladesh to run passenger trains between the two countries. The service is expected to be launched on 14 April.
Among other decisions, the cabinet on Friday agreed to seek an “out-of-court settlement” to resolve a six-decade-old dispute with Pakistan and the heirs of the Nizam of Hyderabad over the Nizam’s funds lying locked in London’s National Westminster Bank.
Axis Bank restrained from enforcing contract
Mumbai: The Madras high court on Thursday issued a temporary injunction order restraining Axis Bank Ltd from enforcing the contentious foreign exchange derivatives contract sold to the Coimbatore-based Rajshree Sugars and Chemicals Ltd.
“The court has modified the status quo issued earlier to an injunction order, which restraints the bank from enforcing the contract till the case comes up for hearing,” a person close to the development said. The case is due to come up for hearing in two weeks.
Rajshree Sugars had sued Axis Bank alleging that the bank “lured” it into entering into an exotic foreign exchange contract “with misrepresentations and false promises”.
The firm had also alleged that one of the contracts sold to it was “totally unconnected with the business and entered into by the CFO (chief financial officer) without any authority.”
JK Tyre buys Mexican firm for Rs270 crore
New Delhi:JK Tyre and Industries Ltd said it had acquired a Mexican tyre company Tornel for Rs270 crore, a move that will help the New Delhi based tyre manufacturer to expand capacity by nearly 50% and gain free trade access to North and South American markets.
Tornel, which has three manufacturing plants with an annual capacity of 6.6 million tyres, clocked a turnover of $202 million (Rs808 crore) last calendar year. JK Tyre, which had a turnover of $800 million for fiscal ended September 2007, would see its turnover crossing the $1 billion mark.
The profit level of Tornel is not known except that its operating profit margins are below that of JK Tyre, said Arun K Bajoria, president of JK Tyre and Industries. JK had an operating profit margin of 7% for the fiscal ended September 2007. The acquisition will be funded by a mix of internal accruals and debt. But, details of cost of debt were not given.
-John Samuel Raja D
Shopper’s Stop plans to raise $350 million
New Delhi:Shopper’s Stop Ltd, which runs a chain of department stores in India, will raise $350 million (Rs1,400 crore) in debt and by selling shares to existing stockholders in the next three months to set up more stores.
The retailer plans to raise as much as $125 million in a rights offer and an equal amount by selling debt, B.S. Nagesh, managing director of Mumbai-based Shopper’s Stop, said in an interview on Thursday.
Shopper’s Stop, which sells clothing and home decor, and other retailers are opening outlets in the nation of 1.1 billion people to take market share from independently owned stores by offering cheaper prices. Sales through chain stores may rise eight-fold to $97 billion by 2012, consultant Technopak Advisors Pvt. has forecast. The company plans to add 4.4 million sq. ft of retail space in the next three years for a total of 6 million sq. ft in the South Asian nation, Nagesh said.
Provogue India to raise Rs477 cr for expansion
Mumbai: Fashion garments maker Provogue India Ltd on Friday said it will raise about Rs477 crore through issue of shares and convertible warrants for its future activities. The firm would be raising these funds for expansion in its retail infrastructure subsidiary, expansion of current retail network, setting up of new retail formats, and for bringing international brands into India.
IIMs have to set aside 27% seats: HRD adviser
New Delhi: Even as confusion continues over whether other backward classes, or OBC, graduates are eligible for reservation in the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), an adviser to the human resource development (HRD) ministry said on Friday that IIMs would have to set aside 27% seats for OBCs. “There is absolutely no room for doubt,” said P.S. Krishnan. “Some people are creating a needless misunderstanding”. While allowing the government to extend reservations to OBC candidates in Central educational institutions, the Supreme Court had on Thursday held that a student is no longer educationally backward after graduation.
The faculty at the premier government funded institutes, such as IIMs and IITs, is still in the dark about the implications of the Supreme Court ruling. These institutes are awaiting further directives from the ministry of human resource development before they announce any changes in the admissions.
“In the event that the judgement is to be implemented in the coming academic session, we will definitely see a change in the composition of the student body,” said Saji K. B. Nair, chairman (admissions) at IIM Lucknow. “But we are still awaiting details about the cut-offs for students from the OBC category so we cannot provide further details on the impact on admissions.”
(Jeetha D’Silva in Mumbai and K . Raghu in Bangalore contributed to this story.)