New Delhi: The Union ministry of labour and employment has decided to include the hotel industry under the Factories Act, making it mandatory for hotels to fix proper shifts and pay overtime to its employees if they work for more than eight hours a day. “Hotel industry will have to work in a disciplined way with the inclusion of the industry under the Factories Act,” said a high-level official in the labour ministry. “It is not only the time frame or shifts, but the industry will also probably have to look at issues relating to health, safety, welfare facilities, employment of young persons and annual leave with wages, which is all a part of the Factories Act,” an official said. The Factories Act is a social legislation, enacted for occupational safety, health and welfare of workers. It is enforced by technical officers and inspectors of factories who work under the control of the chief inspector of factories and overall control of the labour commissioner.
Nuke deal: govt not to proceed if Left pulls rug
New Delhi: The government said it would not “like to” proceed with the India-US nuclear deal if the Left withdraws support, but noted that pulling out of the agreement would have “some adverse impact” on India’s standing in the world. “We would not like to proceed with the deal if the Left parties withdraw support from the government,” external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee told Karan Thapar’s India Tonight programme on CNBC.
But Mukherjee rejected suggestions that the government’s capacity to operationalize the deal has weakened after the Congress party’s debacle in Gujarat and Himachal assembly elections. Mukherjee dubbed as “absolutely hypothetical” when asked what the government would do if a satisfactory bargain was achieved at the talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency but the Left still maintained its opposition.
Price hike for petrol, diesel looks imminent
New Delhi: A hike in petrol and diesel prices and possibly also liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) looks certain, with the Left leaders agreeing to a marginal increase in prices along with duty cuts to rein in $100 (Rs3,930) a barrel crude oil price. The toss is between a Rs4 a litre hike in petrol and Rs2 per litre increase in diesel prices, and Rs2 a litre rise in petrol and Re1 per litre hike in diesel prices, sources said.
They said petroleum minister Murli Deora has discussed the issue with key Left leaders including Sitaram Yechury and Gurudas Dasgupta , who have agreed to a marginal increase in prices. A group of ministers would meet on 17 January to discuss the options.
UK may allow British patients to fly to India
London: Britain may soon permit patients at its state-funded National Health Service (NHS) facilities to travel to India for speedy and cheaper medical treatment. The issue was discussed between Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss and the British authorities and the “response” was positive.
“We had discussions about how to use the Indian medical facilities by the NHS,” Ramadoss said on Saturday.
“At present, NHS patients can have treatment at places within three hours flying and we have requested that the flying limit may be lifted. In the present day globalized world there is not much of a difference between three hours and seven-and-a-half hours flying.”
“The response was positive and in the next few months, NHS may open out,” the minister added.
ICICI Bank may cut home loan rates in Q1
New Delhi: Home loan consumers in India may get some good news in the months to come with the country’s biggest private lender ICICI Bank Ltd saying it could cut interest rates in the first quarter of next fiscal.
Lower rates would not be only for new customers, but existing floating-rate clients also, ICICI Bank’s managing director and CEO K.V. Kamath said.
“We expect the (interest) rates to drop in the first quarter. After that we will see if we can write down the rates (for our customers),” Kamath said.
The bank is also looking to start risk-based pricing, under which it would start offering lower rates to consumers with better creditworthiness, in about two years, he said.
Army called in to battle wholesale market inferno
Razed by fire: A charred shop at Kolkata’s Burra Bazaar.
Kolkata:The authorities in Kolkata on Sunday called in the army to control an inferno raging in the country’s largest wholesale market, officials said. Some 4,000 shops have been gutted since the fire erupted early on Saturday in Kolkata’s Burra Bazaar, which draws retailers from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. City police chief Gautam Chakraborty said soldiers with specialized gear entered a 12-storeyed complex in the sprawling market after the burning building tilted due to tremendous heat. More than a dozen firemen have been injured and the fire has destroyed property worth Rs200 crore in the 18th-century market, according to some estimates.
Govt considering 8% levy on spectrum
New Delhi: The government is mulling levying a fee of 8% of annual gross revenue (AGR) on telecom service providers for up to 5MHz of spectrum, as recommended by a committee on spectrum valuation and pricing. “The spectrum charges may be levied on licensees under UASL (Unified Access Services Licence) regime at a flat rate of 8% of AGR for up to 5MHz of subscriber access spectrum, irrespective of the type of technology deployed and the quantum of spectrum held,” the committee said in its report. The Telecom Commission is meeting here on 15 January to consider the report.
Bajaj brothers to resume battle at CLB
New Delhi:The Company Law Board (CLB) is due to resume hearing on Monday on the four-year-old dispute over division of the Bajaj empire between brothers Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Auto Ltd, and Shishir Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd. Lawyers for the two sides are expected to inform the board about the outcome of their efforts for an out-of-court settlement. In October last year, CLB had directed the two sides to submit the contentious issues that have stopped them from reaching an agreement. But on 26 November, the two factions said the negotiations were still in progress.