Need to Know | Toyota halves monthly Altis output to 1,000

Need to Know | Toyota halves monthly Altis output to 1,000

Pune: The India subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp., Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd, has halved monthly production at its newly launched Corolla Altis sedan, said two vendors familiar with the situation.

The firm is making 1,000 units of the sedan at its Bidadi factory in Karnataka from 2,000 earlier, they said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak with the media.

“Certainly there is a production cut for the Altis, but I am not sure what the figure is just now," said deputy managing director Sandeep Singh.

Altis was launched in September and sold at least 2,000 units in the first month, but dealers in at least two markets said demand has fallen after that.

—Sudha Menon


Ministry asks for 10% duty on steel imports

New Delhi: The steel minister is seeking a 10% import tax on steel products and expects the finance ministry to take a decision within a week.

Steel imports are currently not taxed.

“The government will soon take steps on imposing import tax. I have written to the finance ministry and the finance ministry may take a decision within a week. I have asked for 10% import duty," Union steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters on Friday.

The minister said he was not aware of any plans by steel firms to cut production because of falling demand.

The minister also said State-run Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) will proceed with its expansion as planned, denying a report India’s second largest steel maker may defer plans on weakening demand.

—Reuters & Bloomberg


Second oil discovery for ONGC Videsh off Egypt

Mumbai: The overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), ONGC Videsh Ltd, and IPR Energy Red Sea Inc. said they have made a second oil discovery in the Gulf of Suez off Egypt.

The North Ramadan-2 reservoir produced 800 barrels of oil a day during tests, New Delhi-based ONGC said in a statement on Thursday.

The first find, NR1, had produced 3,000 barrels a day during tests, the company said. The companies plan to begin drilling at North Ramadan-3 in the first fortnight of this month. ONGC Videsh owns a 70% stake in the area and IPR owns the remaining.



Oil may boil once world economy revives: IEA

Tokyo: Oil prices could soar dramatically after the world economy picks up due to delays in energy investment during the credit crisis, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Friday.

But it also warned that the price could jump to more than $200 a barrel by 2030 as demand soars in China, India and other emerging economies.

“What we are worried about is that oil development is being delayed," IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka told a news conference in Tokyo.

IEA warned that slower investment in new oil projects by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) member countries may cause an energy-supply crunch in the next two decades.

—AFP & Bloomberg


Tibetan exiles to go ahead with India meet

New Delhi: A day after China asked the Indian government to block a conclave of Tibetan exiles, a delegate to the meeting next week said he expects it to proceed as planned in the absence of any public reaction from India.

“I guess we expected this (China’s stance), although we didn’t give it much thought. But it isn’t surprising," says Youdon Aukatsang, a member of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile. “But I don’t think the Indian government will buckle under this."

The Ministry of External Affairs could not respond with a comment by the time this story went to press.

“The Chinese government is solemnly against any international activities aimed at splitting China," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday. “The Indian government has made solemn commitment about not allowing any anti-China activities on its soil. We hope that the commitment will be implemented."

The special meeting, which begins on 17 November in Dharamshala, has been summoned by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. Some 500 chosen Tibetans will attend the meeting.

The agenda, Aukatsang says, is open-ended, featuring mainly discussion and debate about the future strategy to promote the Tibetan cause.

—Samanth Subramanian


Bhuyan’s death: hospital sacks 2 for surgery error

New Delhi: Max Healthcare division of Max India Ltd has fired two people responsible for an “error" during a surgery on Jayant Bhuyan, the deputy director general of industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) who died early October at a company-run hospital.

Pervez Ahmed, executive medical director of Max Healthcare, declined to say whether they were doctors.

Also Read High-profile hospital death raises questions

Ahmed made these comments to Mint on Friday, a day after a meeting between Ramola Bhuyan, the wife of the CII senior official, and a Max India team led by Analjit Singh, its chairman. “The information on the investigation or root cause analysis of the problem was shared with her. All that information was given in an open and frank way," Ahmed said. He said a written report wasn’t given to Bhuyan.

“We are trying to make sure such an incident does not happen again," the Max Healthcare director said. “We have taken action against some personnel and instituted some processes."

According to Ahmed, the hospital has also re-trained its operating room staff at various levels and resimulated surgical protocols. “We are also trying to get the processes validated by external agencies from abroad."

Bhuyan said she was told a written report was pending “some loose ends" being tied up. They, however, explained to me in detail the cause of his death."

Jayant Bhuyan was declared dead on 6 October that saw an oxygen-supplying tube being wrongly inserted into his heart leading to an oversupply of oxygen to his brain. The incident occurred at Max Devki Devi Heart and Vascular Institute and was reported by Mint on 12 November. Ahmed wouldn’t elaborate on the specific error which led to Bhuyan’s death but clarified that the error did not have anything to do with the heart and lung machine.

“I have been told that some action has been taken...and they also told me that further action will be taken," said Bhuyan. “I want to give the hospital more time to come out with the report and punish the guilty doctors."

—Shabana Hussain


Millennium Campaign seeks $300 bn extra aid

New Delhi: The UN Millennium Campaign called on the G20 summit to assign $300 billion in extra aid and debt relief to poor countries, to make up for gross domestic product it said they would lose because of the crisis over the next two years.

The campaign was set up by Ban’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, in 2002 to press for governments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals—a set of UN targets for slashing poverty, hunger and disease by 2015.

“Independent forecasts that the global financial meltdown will cost developing countries $300 billion in GDP over the next two years do not adequately take into account the effects of shrinking exports and remittances, the global credit squeeze, and rising unemployment and poverty ," Salil Shetty, director of the campaign, said in a statement. “The trillions of dollars found overnight to bail out Western bankers have shown us that the real issue we face in addressing this global crisis is not the availability of money, but of political will. World leaders must craft a similar ‘bailout’ package for the world’s poor nations, who are bearing the brunt of a crisis they had no role in creating."

“For the world’s 1.4 billion people living on less than $1.25 per day, having less purchasing power is literally a question of survival—the difference between whether their children get a meal each day or not," Shetty said.

Separately, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon appealed to leaders meeting at a financial summit in Washington this weekend not to let the global crisis become a “human tragedy" for people in poor countries.

In a letter to leaders of the G20—the Group of Seven top industrial democracies and other key economies—Ban warned that throwing hundreds of millions of people out of work could have major political and security implications.

“The poorest and most vulnerable everywhere, but particularly in the developing countries, will be the most affected" by the world growth slowdown now being predicted, he said in the letter released by the United Nations on Thursday.

—Staff Writer and Reuters


Ipca Labs announces foray into Ayurvedic remedies

Mumbai: Drug maker Ipca Laboratories Ltd on 14 November announed its formal entry into traditional ayurveda by launching Ipca Tradtional Remedies Pvt Ltd.

The Mumbai-based allopathic drugmaker, which floated the new venture in partnership with leading ayurveda scientist Vaidya Balendu Prakash, has developed an Ayurvedic treatment protocol for treating migraine, and with comprising diet, lifestyle and herbo-mineral formulations.

Ipca managing director Premchand Godha said under the new venture “efforts are also being made with leading institutes to develop the innovation for mass uses following WHO guidelines under industry and institutional partnerships in league with department of Science and Technology, Government of India."

—C. H. Unnikrishnan