Need to Know | ‘14 Indian banks have exposure to Lehman’

Need to Know | ‘14 Indian banks have exposure to Lehman’

Mumbai: As many as 14 Indian banks have reported exposure to Lehman Brothers holdings Inc., deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India Rakesh Mohan told a International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington DC on 9 October.

A majority of these exposures relate to Lehman subsidiaries not covered by its bankruptcy proceedings, although the amounts are not significant, he said in his speech, put up on the central bank’s website on Friday.

Mohan, however, admitted that the current risk aversion in the global financial markets to emerging economies could impact the ability of Indian companies to raise funds overseas and impede investment growth.

— Anita Bhoir

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Tata Power denies talk of PT Bumi stake buy

Mumbai: The country’s biggest electricity generator outside state control, Tata Power Co. Ltd, said it isn’t in talks to buy a stake in PT Bumi Resources Tbk, Indonesia’s biggest coal producer, held by PT Bakrie and Brothers. “This is to clarify that we are neither holding any talks nor signed any agreement on the issue," Mumbai-based Tata Power said in an emailed statement on Friday.

The company denied a report in ‘The Economic Times’ that it plans to raise its stake in Bumi.

— Bloomberg

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Fortis Health Staff shuts shop, lays off employees

Mumbai: The Fortis group, led by promoters of India’s biggest drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, has ended operations of its health care hiring and training firm Fortis Health Staff Ltd and laid off most employees, said a person familiar with the development.

Launched in 2006, Fortis Health Staff recruited and trained nurses mainly for the US, the UK and West Asia, besides its group company Fortis Healthcare Ltd. The Fortis group is led by Shivinder Mohan Singh, a promoter of Ranbaxy.

Most of the staff at Fortis Health Staff have been asked to leave, while a few senior employees, including chief executive officer Sumanjit Chaudhry, have been shifted, the person familiar with the decision said on condition of anonymity. Chaudhry is now sales director at Fortis Healthcare, which currently operates 17 hospitals across the country. A Fortis group spokesperson confirmed the layoffs, saying, “We have significantly downsized the nursing recruitment company."

— C.H. Unnikrishnan

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Metro gets permission to trade vegetables

New Delhi: The West Bengal government on Friday issued a licence for Metro Cash and Carry India Pvt. Ltd— a subsidiary of German wholesaler Metro AG—to start trading in fresh fruits and vegetables in the state without imposing the restrictive conditions that it had earlier proposed.

Metro, however, agreed to one condition—that it would sell farm products only to people who have licence from the state’s agricultural marketing board to re-sell them. Metro said on Friday it would launch its 100,000 sq. ft outlet in Kolkata, on which it claims to have spent Rs140 crore, in six to eight weeks.

— Staff Writer

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Writers condemn communal violence

New Delhi: A group of writers came together on Friday to condemn the continuing instances of violence against Christian communities and places of worship across the country, particularly in Orissa and Karnataka. Twelve writers, including Girish Karnad, Amitav Ghosh, Ramachandra Guha, Kiran Nagarkar and Suketu Mehta, under the aegis of The PEN All-India Centre, issued a statement condemning the violence and “the pusillanimous attitude of our political leaders towards the perpetrators of these atrocities".

“The worst contributors to this scenario are politicians who dream of electoral victory at the cost of social catastrophe," the statement said, adding that the violence is a failure of India’s political institutions and civil society.

“More and more of us must come out and say clearly that we do not share the dreams of these cynical opportunists. Their India is not the India we dream of. The India we dream of is a just society, not an aggressive power," the writers said in the statement.

Violence broke out in Orissa in August after a Hindu spiritual leader was murdered. Since then, violence against Christian establishments of worship has spread to Karnataka and sporadic instances have been reported from other states, including Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The writers called upon the government to take action against the perpetrators of the violence. “We call upon the Indian government to ensure that hate speech is outlawed from the domain of public discourse. We also call upon the Indian government to outlaw those political parties which, directly or through their cohorts, promote communal discord and encourage violence," the writers said in the statement.

— Staff Writer

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Indo-China trade at $37.8 bn in 2007-08

New Delhi: Bilateral trade between India and China rose 47% in 2007-08 to $37.8 billion, or Rs1.8 trillion, a statement quoting Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said on Friday.

Nath said there were enormous opportunities for the two neighbours to expand trade in services particularly in construction, engineering, education, entertainment, financial services, IT and IT-enabled services, transport, tourism and health.

— Staff Writer

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