Need to Know | Jet Airways cuts fares, Kingfisher yet to decide

Need to Know | Jet Airways cuts fares, Kingfisher yet to decide

New Delhi: Jet Airways (India) Ltd has reduced fares across the board by Rs400, following national carrier National Aviation Co. of India Ltd-run Air India’s announcement of similar reduction on Monday.

Fuel surcharge will be cut by Rs400 to Rs1,950 for flights covering a distance less than 750 km, while it will be Rs2,700 for that above 750 km.

The Mumbai-based airline firm’s low-fare subsidiary JetLite will also reduce fuel surcharge by Rs250 to Rs300, effective Saturday.

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, which had said last month that it will look at fare reduction after government announces jet fuel as a declared good, said late on Friday it is yet to take a decision on reducing fares. SpiceJet Ltd, too, said it hasn’t taken a call as yet.

—Tarun Shukla


UN, India join hands to help backward districts

New Delhi: The UN and India’s Planning Commission on Friday agreed to work together to help the country’s backward districts achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

“Currently, each district receives approximately $75 million (Rs373 crore) per year from a large number of government schemes. However, the absence of convergence leads to poor utilization and results," said a joint statement issued by the UN and Planning Commission.

“The joint programme on convergence (signed by the two sides) aims to address this lacuna through improved district planning, better budgeting and collaborative implementation where departments do not duplicate efforts," the statement added.

—Staff Writer


AIADMK, CPM tie up for general election

Chennai: The main opposition in Tamil Nadu, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), and the Communist party of India (Marxist) (CPM) have decided to resume their electoral ties after seven years ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

The decision was taken following an hour-long meeting between AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat at the former’s residence here.



ONGC ‘not going’ slow on capital expenditure

Mumbai: Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), India’s largest oil producer, would not go slow on capital expenditure this year, its director of offshore operations said on Friday.

“We are not going slow on capex for the time being," N.K. Mitra said, adding that the state-run firm has lined up capital expenditure of Rs18,000 crore this year.



Colgate declares Rs9 per share interim dividend

New Delhi: Oral care company Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd on Friday announced it would pay an interim dividend of Rs9 per share for the fiscal year 2008-09.

The dividend payout to the shareholders will be Rs122.4 crore and will be paid on or about 30 December.

The company had declared an interim dividend of Rs6 per share and a final dividend of Rs7 per share last fiscal.



HDFC Bank to buy 10% in fourth Indian comex

New Delhi: HDFC Bank Ltd has applied to the Reserve Bank of India to buy a 10% stake in MMTC-Indiabulls promoted commodity exchange, which is expected to be operational by March, a top MMTC official said on Friday.

“HDFC Bank has applied to the RBI for a 10% stake in our exchange," MMTC chairman and managing director Sanjiv Batra told reporters here.

HDFC Bank holds 2% stake in Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX).

The proposed exchange would be set up in Gurgaon, becoming the fourth commodity exchange at national level, after MCX, NCDEX and NMCE.



Suzlon says no rights offer in near term

New Delhi: Indian wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy Ltd has no plans to revive its suspended rights equity issue in the near term and will pay for an additional stake in Germany’s REpower from internal funds and debt, its chairman said on Friday.

“Rights issue was mainly for payment of equity stake. It is not required now. Payments will be from internal accruals and debt," Tulsi Tanti said.

Suzlon had said in October it was suspending an up to Rs1,800 crore rights share issue due to falling markets.



Sebi asks exchanges to update security deposits

Mumbai: Capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has directed stock exchanges to set up a system to monitor bank guarantees given by firms issuing new securities.

In a statement on Friday, Sebi said it has come across several instances where bank guarantees of firms have expired but the exchanges have not taken any initiative to revive them. “The stock exchanges are hereby directed to recoup immediately any shortfall in the deposit that has been caused due to the expiry of such bank guarantees by taking either cash or fresh/re-validated bank guarantees from the concerned issuer companies," the statement said.

Sebi also prohibited stock exchanges from using in any other manner the security deposit given to them by firms wishing to go public. According to listing agreement norms, a firm issuing securities has to deposit 1% of the total amount of securities offered for public subscription with the stock exchanges. This deposit remains with the stock exchange till the firm gets a no objection certificate from the regulator.

—Khushboo Narayan


Glivec patent refusal in line with norms: govt

MUMBAI: The Government of India and the department of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks on Thursday argued that the Chennai patent office’s decision to refuse a patent to Swiss drug maker Novartis AG for its blood cancer drug Glivec was in line with existing patent law.

The government and the controller’s general’s office were defending the patent office’s January 2006 decision before an Intellectual Property Appellate Board hearing in Chennai in an appeal filed by Novartis. The Supreme Court had in early 2007 directed Novartis to take its case to the appellate board.

According to a lawyer present at the hearing, the government said that the department had rejected the patent application because it did not find any novelty in the claims made by Novartis in the application compared to the earlier patents of the company in Switzerland and the US granted in 1993 and 1994 respectively.

Indian patent law doesn’t allow patent exclusivity to a modified form of a previously (before 1995) known drug under Section 3 (d) of the Act, unless the new claim proves to be more efficacious, said R. Ravindram, additional solicitor-general (southern states), in the government’s defense.

Novartis had in 1998 applied for an India patent for the beta-crystalline form of imatinib mesylate, its popular drug compound for treating chronic myelogenous leukemia, a type of blood cancer.

The appellate body resumed hearing the Novartis plea last week after the Union government appointed a special technical member P.C. Chakraborty in the judiciary panel in October. The panel had earlier asked the company to provide documents to support its explanation of efficacy. Novartis will reply later as the hearing has been adjurned to 10 December.

—C. H. Unnikrishnan


’10 Games: MCD to carry out Rs2,500 cr projects

New Delhi: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will carry out development works worth at least Rs2,500 crore before the Commonwealth Games in 2010, said MCD commissioner K.S. Mehra while announcing the corporation’s budget.

Of the Rs2,576 crore for Games’ projects, Rs400 crore will be spent on venues and the remaining Rs2,176 crore will be utilized for development works.

Separately, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed all proceedings pending in the Delhi high court pertaining to the construction of 1,100 flats in the Games village near the Yamuna river bank.

The High Court had on 3 November refused legal sanction for building the flats and appointed a committee to assess the ecological impact of the project.



Essar won’t cut output as demand may increase

Mumbai: Essar Steel Ltd has no plans to cut production as it sees demand for the metal bouncing back, its chief executive said on Friday.

“I think it is coming back," J. Mehra told reporters, referring to demand for steel. “As of now we are almost at (production) target...of 6.3 million tonnes," he added.



April-November direct tax collection rises 22%

New Delhi: India’s direct tax revenue from companies and personal incomes rose 22.2% in the eight months ended 30 November, the finance ministry said on Friday.

Total direct-tax revenue increased to Rs1.77 trillion, the ministry said in a statement in New Delhi.



16 killed, 75 injured in Peshawar blast

Peshawar: A bomb blast in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday killed at least 16 people and wounded 75, according to police and provincial government officials.

The blast occurred near a Shi’ite assembly hall in a congested part of the city. One building had collapsed in flames, while half a dozen others were badly damaged and on fire.

“It was a bomb. The number of casualties is very high. People are still trapped under the rubble," senior police official Kashif Alam said.



Airports, refineries?put under alert after threats

Bangalore/Sydney: The country broadened its security alert from airports to key government buildings and installations such as refineries after intelligence reports that terrorists may strike using a hijacked aircraft.

The increased vigil began after a purported email threat sent by the Deccan Mujahedeen, which had claimed responsibility for last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai.