New Delhi: Chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswamy on Friday said the revised electoral list—after the delimitation exercise—will be ready by 31 August.
Addressing a press meet along with the CEC, chairman of the Delimitation Commission justice Kuldip Singh said the commission would be wound up on 31 May, two months ahead of the expiry of its term on 31 July. “Our work has been completed and also accepted by the government. Instead of asking for an extension, we are asking for a curtailment of our term,” he said.
The commission has also made three recommendations to the government, which include carrying out delimitation after every census (10 years), providing for rotation in the reservation of scheduled caste constituencies and conducting the next general census in 2011 panchayat-wise, instead of the current village-wise method.
3G guidelines next month, Raja says
New Delhi: The government on Friday said guidelines for 3G services will be issued next month and foreign players will be allowed to offer this service in the country whether they come through open auction route or via the existing law, which allows 74% foreign equity in telecom companies.
“If there is common auction or open auction, there will be no bar. There is up to 74% FDI allowed in Indian telecom firm, and these partnerships can also start 3G service. Either way foreign players will be allowed,” telecom minister Andimuthu Raja said on the sidelines of an industry event.
Raja, who will discuss the issue of foreign players entry in the 3G services with prime minister Manmohan Singh soon, said the modalities of working out the spectrum auction for 3G services has been referred to the law ministry. He also said operators could roll out services by January 2009 or end of this year.
Spice Comm plans to invest up to $300m
New Delhi:Spice Communications Ltd, in which Telekom Malaysia holds a 49% stake, will invest up to $300 million in its existing circles in Punjab and Karnataka, a senior official of the company said. “We have to augment capacity of our existing operations. In Punjab and Karnataka, we will invest $200-300 million,” Dilip Modi, group president for global operations, said. “As we get spectrum for the four circles we have licence for, we will invest more, but that also will depend on the active infrastructure sharing we will be having,” he said. Spice has earlier applied for all India Unified Access License, but Department of Telecom (DoT) granted it only four circles—Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Maharashtra —rejecting its plea for 16 other circles GSM license on the basis of low net worth. Later, Spice challenged the decision in TDSAT.
India focus: British i-bank buys London co
London: Keen to tap into India’s growing economy, British investment bank Noble Group Ltd has acquired London-based research firm Clear Capital Ltd, which is soon to launch an Indian business focused on mid-cap companies.
Noble said there is an unmet demand for high-quality research on mid-market companies listed on Indian stock markets, where current available research is “very poor”. Research coverage of Indian mid-cap stocks will start around the fourth quarter of this year, the company said.
Dalmia Cement March quarter net rises 13%
New Delhi:Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd posted a 13% rise in quarterly profits helped by better price realizations from cement and higher sugar sales, but said rising coal and freight costs would squeeze margins.
Net profit for the January-March quarter rose to Rs70 crore from Rs61.8 crore in the year-ago period. Net sales rose 39% to Rs415 crore from Rs298 crore in the year-ago period, the firm said in a statement issued on Thursday.
In its cement business, core earnings, which exclude interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, rose 22% to Rs1,344 per tonne. Cement sales for the quarter were marginally up by 1.3% to 8.34 lakh tonnes.
Sugar sales rose 81% to 39,592 tonnes but realizations shrunk by 2.2% to Rs14,072 a tonne. Sugar production is likely to be affected in the current fiscal year due to the delayed start of the crushing season, Dalmia said.
Rediff’s fourth quarter net profit falls
New Delhi: Internet portal Rediff.com, which provides email and online search services, said its net profit fell by half in the fourth quarter that ended on 31 March 2008, as costs of running internet operations went up.
The NASDAQ-listed firm said it net income declined to $1.02 million in the three months ended March 2008, compared with $2 million in same quarter last year. However, total revenues went up 7% to $9.06 million, helped by 14% growth from online services offered in India.
Rediff.com, the first Indian company to be listed in NASDAQ in 2000, reports its total revenues in two categories—India online services that include email and online search for India-based users, and US publishing, where it brings out weekly community papers such as India Abroad in the US.
For the full year ended 31 March 2008, its profit fell by 28% to $5.03 million, while total revenues went up by 13% to $13%.
John Samuel Raja D.
Nepal says it’s heading for a fuel crisis
Kathmandu: Nepal’s state-run fuel monopoly warned on Thursday the impoverished country could be running on empty within a week unless a supply problem with India is urgently sorted out. The Nepal Oil Corp. has been selling fuel at a loss for years, incurring huge debts from their sole supplier, the Indian Oil Corp.
The NOC said that the only solution was a painful hike in pump prices or seek more cash. “We have fuel stock for just six days. The government must urgently act as the situation is getting worse and worse,” Mukunda Prasad Dhungel, deputy general manager of NOC, said.“The price of petrol has hit $134 per barrel in the international market but even on Friday we are selling petrol at a price when per barrel rate was $83,” the official said.
SAIL seeks buyers for iron ore fines
Mumbai: Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), the nation’s second-biggest producer, is seeking buyers for 150,000 tonnes of iron ore fines, to gain from the rise in prices. The steel maker will sell fines from mines in Jharkhand, an eastern state, according to an advertisement published in the ‘Economic Times’. Bidders have until 6 June to submit offers.
This is the company’s second tender in a fortnight. SAIL called bids to sell 300,000 tonnes on 14 May.
Steel firms demand scrapping of tax
Mumbai: Steel Authority of India Ltd. and the country’s other steel makers have asked the government to scrap taxes on overseas sales of the alloy. The government is yet to take a decision on the levies, steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in New Delhi on Friday. The government notified the taxes on May 10 on shipments of products including hot-rolled coils to bolster domestic supplies and help cool the fastest inflation in more than three years.
The levies were first announced by finance minister P. Chidambaram on 29 April.
BNP Paribas to buy 35% stake in Geojit unit
Kochi: Broking firm Geojit Financial Services Ltd said it has agreed to a Rs60 crore offer from French bank BNP Paribas SA for 35% stake in its subsidiary Geojit Technologies Ltd. The firm has also agreed to a Rs40 crore payment from BNP for surrendering memberships in various commodity exchanges. “This is to enable BNP Paribas to get approval from the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) for the open offer subsequent to their acquisition of 27.18% stake in (Geojit) in March 2007,” Geojit said in a statement.
PFC invites bids to raise Rs200 cr with bond sale
Mumbai: State-run lender to power companies Power Finance Corp.has invited bids to raise Rs200 crore through sale of bonds next week, a senior company official said. The firm is selling three-year bonds with a coupon of 215 basis points above a floating rate benchmark. The issue will open on Monday and close at 5 p.m. on the same day, the official said.
Sidbi Venture Capital plans third fund
Mumbai: Sidbi Venture Capital, or SVCL, the venture capital arm of Small Industries Development Bank of India, is planning its third fund this year, which will focus on early and growth stage companies across various verticals, a top official said.
“We will come up with more funds in the current fiscal year. The focus is set equally across different segments that have growth potential,” SVCL’s chief executive officer, Ajay Kumar Kapur, said. However, he declined to divulge further details about the fund. SVCL on Friday announced a Rs30 crore investment in Mumbai-based Centuar group, which was made out of its SME Growth fund.
Sebi simplifies MF offer documents
Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, has simplified the format of offer documents for mutual fund schemes to enhance transparency. According to a notification, the offer document of any mutual fund scheme should be in two parts, one containing all information on the mutual fund and and another on the scheme, in a simplified format.
The new application forms, which have to be issued from 1 June, will come with a separate document on key information of the mutual fund, printed in larger size for easy readability. Sebi has made it mandatory for asset management companies to submit a copy of the information with the regulator while filing an offer document. The same will be available on Sebi’s website in for public viewing.
For the full text of the circular, log on to: http://www.sebi.gov.in/Index.jsp?contentDisp=WhatsNewScroll&FilePath=/circulars/2008/mfdcir0508.html
BSE urges caution on penny stocks
Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd, or BSE, warned traders on Friday evening about the abnormal price rise in some small, so-called Z category stocks. Its warning comes in the wake of the stratospheric price rise in two penny stocks—KGN Industries Ltd and Sylph Technologies Ltd— during trading Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Both these stocks had relisted after an earlier suspension from trade.
The bourse also clarified in a note that though there are no circuit filters for a stock on the day it relists after an earlier suspension to enable price discovery, not all companies may have made fundamental and financial improvement in their business to support significant price rise.
BSE is investigating these cases of abnormal price rises in penny stocks. It will take appropriate action including suspension of trading in the stocks, if any company is found to be involved or acting in collusion with any person to defraud investors, its note said.
Karnataka HC says old airport must close
Bangalore: A vacation bench of the Karnataka high court ruled on Friday that the existing airport here should be closed once the new airport on the city outskirts opens Saturday. The bench, hearing a public interest litigation on keeping the older Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd-owned airport open, said there was no “prima facie” case to grant stay on the 16 May notification of India’s civil aviation ministry that ordered closure of the older airport once the new international airport of Bangalore International Airport Ltd, or Bial, opens.
The court ordered that an assessment of passenger traffic for the next 12 weeks should be made in the new airport. Bial chief executive officer Albert Brunner declined comment on the verdict.
MAHE to help set up PIO university in Bangalore
New Delhi: The much-awaited NRI/PIO university would soon be set up at Bangalore by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) under the supervision of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs.
The government had invited bids from educational institutes, and MAHE has been selected to set up the university to provide affordable and quality education to children of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), Vayalar Ravi, minister of overseas Indian affairs, told reporters here. The university will be functional from 2009, and 50% of the seats in the university will be reserved for PIOs, he said, adding that Indian students will be eligible to seek admission for the remaining seats.
Gujjar protests: 5 die in violence, police firing
Jodhpur: Five people, including a policeman, were killed on Friday in violent protests by Gujjars demanding special government treatment for their caste, a state minister said.
The violence took place in Bharatpur district of western Rajasthan state, where 28 people died in similar protests last year. “They (protesters) pelted police (with stones), killing one policeman. Then police opened fire and four people were killed,” Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said.
The Gujjar community wants the government to classify them “scheduled tribes” entitled to government jobs and education benefits. The Gujjars called off massive protests last year after the government promised to form a panel to study their case. The panel rejected their demand to be included in the category but recommended the formation of another board to provide them special assistance. Thousands of police have been deployed in the region to prevent further clashes.