Tokyo: Japan, the world’s third largest aviation market, and India agreed to double the number of flight slots between the two countries to 42 a week as Tokyo’s Narita airport adds capacity in 2010. India will be able to increase Narita flights to 14 a week from the current four, Japan’s ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism said Thursday on its website.
Shyam Srinivasan?is new Stanchart country head
Mumbai: Standard Chartered Bank on Thursday announced the appointment of Shyam Srinivasan as country head, consumer banking.
Srinivasan assumes this responsibility after heading the bank’s consumer banking business in Malaysia.
He takes over from Murali M. Natrajan, who moves to Singapore as global value stream head, SME, a press release issued here stated.
Srinivasan will oversee strategy, development and management of the bank’s consumer banking business, which spreads across a network of 90 branches across 33 cities in the country.
Rains delay sowing of kharif pulses
Mumbai: Sowing operations of kharif, or summer sown, pulses have fallen behind schedule due to deficient rainfall in the main growing regions, pushing up prices by more than 9% in the last 10 days, traders and analysts said.
Pulses are mainly rain-fed crops and sowing operations usually start after the first monsoon showers. In the kharif season, Indian farmers sow pigeon peas, or tur, black gram, or urad, and green gram, or moong.
“Farmers are desperately waiting for rains. The central Maharashtra region hardly received rains in the last few days,” said Nitin Kalantri, a trader based in Latur, Maharashtra.
The June-September monsoon covered main producing states— Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh—a few days ahead of the normal date, but pulses growing areas have not received enough rains needed for sowing.
“Usually farmers in Karnataka region start sowing in second week of June. But this year sowing hasn’t started yet,” said Damodhar Gilda, a trader based in Gulbarga, Karnataka.
“The initial reports are indicating crop diversion. Farmers are cultivating more cotton and oilseeds, especially soya bean,” said Chowda Reddy, an analyst with Karvy Comtrade Ltd.
Govt to meet rice procurement target
New Delhi: The government on Thursday expressed confidence that it would procure enough rice for supply under the public distribution system.
“We will achieve the target of 27.5 million tonnes (mt) by 30 September. We are very confident about it,” Food Corporation of India chairman and managing director Alok Sinha said.
Rice procurement in the country has reached nearly 26mt so far this season, but is still short of the target by 1.5mt. The total purchases by the government last year was 25.10 mt.
Unlike the wheat procurement that is for three months—April to June—FCI’s rice purchases spread over the entire year from October to September. Kharif crop starts arriving at mandis from October and rabi rice comes after March. Government estimates pegged rice production at a record 95.68mt in 2007-08 against 93.35mt in 2006-07.
Wheat production touches 78mt
New Delhi: Wheat production of the country has touched 78 million tonnes (mt) in 2007-08 season, higher than what the government projected in its third advance estimate. “Wheat production has touched 78mt this year,” Food Corporation of India (FCI) chairman and managing director Alok Sinha said.
As per the government’s third advance estimate, wheat production is projected at a record 76.78mt in 2007-08 season, compared with 75.81mt the previous year.
FCI—the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains under the public distribution system—and other state agencies have so far procured 22.14mt of wheat against the targeted 15mt. The government has fixed the minimum support price for wheat at Rs1,000 per quintal (100kg) to boost procurement in the current marketing season.
S Kumars to invest $500 mn in Netherlands
Mumbai: Apparel firm S Kumars Nationwide Ltd said on Thursday it has sought shareholder approval to invest up to $500 million in its Netherlands unit, SKNL International Ltd.
The company is setting up the unit as a holding and acquisition vehicle as it eyes potential buys in Europe and North America.
Competition panel chief Vinod Dhall quits
New Delhi: Vinod Dhall resigned as acting chairman, Competition Commission of India, or CCI, on Thursday. Dhall joined CCI in 2003.
“My term was anyway getting over in October and this resignation is more of an early exit. I will be coming to office for another few weeks so that the departure process is smooth,” said Dhall.
He said there was nothing dramatic in his decision to leave.
“The process of setting up of CCI is more or less complete and my leaving will not damage work,” said Dhall.
The ministry of corporate affairs, or MCA, of which CCI is a part, recently advertised for the position of chairman and five other members in CCI. “The ministry has received Dhall’s resignation and the process is on,” an MCA official said.
Inflation to soften by year-end: ministry
Mumbai: The outlook for inflation in India is uncertain in the June and September quarters, but there should be a clear downtrend in the December quarter, the chief economic adviser of the finance ministry said on Thursday.
“There is a lot of uncertainty over the inflation rate in India over the next few months,” Arvind Virmani said in a speech on the economic outlook in Mumbai.
Data on Friday is expected to show annual inflation jumped to 13-year high of 9.82% in early June, spurred by a rise in state-set fuel prices, a ‘Reuters’ poll found, with some economists expecting a rate above 10%.
India raised pump prices of petrol and diesel by about 10% earlier this month, joining other Asian countries no longer able to afford big subsidies in the face of soaring world oil prices.
High global food prices have also added to the inflation problem.
“All commodities besides oil by and large peaked some months ago. Hopefully, in the next quarter it will get clearer,” Virmani said, adding there were signs of a downtrend in food prices.
The central bank raised its key lending rate by 25 basis points to 8% last week, the first rate rise in more than a year, to contain inflation expectations.
That and expectations of further tightening has raised concerns growth may slow significantly, after the economy expanded at 9% or more in the past three fiscal years. But Virmani said growth was likely to average 9% in the 11th Plan, which covers 2007 to 2012.
Amendment to regulate courier sector soon
New Delhi: The government will soon amend the Indian Postal Act to bring courier companies under the ambit of this Act, a move that may hit private players hard but could prove to be a shot in the arm for the Indian postal department.
According to sources, communication and IT minister A. Raja has given a go-ahead to the department to place the amendment before the Cabinet soon and the amended Act will be introduced in Parliament in the next monsoon session.
If approved, this would bar private courier service providers from carrying packets weighing below 500gm.
The India Post Office (Amendment) Bill is being given final touches and may be introduced in the monsoon session. The government is also planning to bring in a regulator called the Mail Regulatory and Development Authority to monitor the sector better.
India chair set up at China’s Shenzen varsity
Beijing: An India chair has been set up in the humanities and social sciences at Shenzen University in China’s Guangdong province.
According to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the university and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Shenzen University would host an Indian professor in the capacity of a chair for a 14-week semester every academic year, beginning autumn 2008, over the next four years. ICCR would implement the MoU on the Indian side and be responsible for selecting the professor, a statement from the Indian consulate in Guangdong said. PTI
Iraq may give no-bid deals to four oil firms
New York: Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization when Saddam Hussain rose to power, ‘The New York Times’ reported on Thursday.
Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Total SA and BP Plc., the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Co., along with Chevron Corp., and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s oil ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, the report said, quoting an American diplomat and officials from the ministry and oil company.
The deals, expected to be announced on 30 June, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations, the report said.