Need to know | PC Chakraborty named IPAB technical member

Need to know | PC Chakraborty named IPAB technical member

Mumbai: The department of industrial policy and promotions has appointed P.C. Chakraborty, currently deputy controller at the Kolkata patent office, as technical member in the panel hearing an appeal by Swiss drug maker Novartis AG challenging the Chennai patent office’s decision to reject its patent application for cancer drug Glivec.

The department comes under the ministry of commerce and industry, which oversees the administration of intellectual property rights and related affairs.

Chakraborty will be a member in the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, or IPAB, panel.

Mint had reported on 29 September that the Supreme Court had directed the government to appoint an external expert if it found it difficult to post one from the department.

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition by cancer specialty company Natco Pharma Ltd challenging an earlier ruling of the Madras high court allowing the IPAB to hear Novartis’ appeal without a technical member on the judiciary panel.

—Staff Writer


Inflation data to be released on 3 October

New Delhi: The government will release weekly inflation data this week at 6 pm on 3 October, instead of Thursday, commerce ministry spokesman Rajeev Jain said.

The commerce ministry changed the release date for the key measure as 2 October is a national holiday, Jain said.

The country’s wholesale inflation rate in the week ended 20 September is likely to rise to 12.12%, according to a ‘Bloomberg’ survey of 18 economists. Inflation rose 12.14% in the previous week, the ministry said on 25 September.



$500 mn European order for Moser Baer

New Delhi: Compact Disc manufacturer Moser Baer India Ltd announced that it has entered into definitive agreements to supply solar modules to major European solar system integrators.

The agreements, involving supply of thin film solar panels by Moser Baer’s photovoltaic subsidiary, have a cumulative value of more than $500 million (Rs2,350 crore) till 2012.

The customers include Ralos Vertriebs GmbH, a photovoltaic systems integration firm, and Colexon Energy AG, which plans and builds commercial photovoltaic plants.

Both are based in Germany, which currently accounts for nearly 80% of all solar PV installations in the European Union.

“This is a significant step forward in developing long term strategic relationships with top tier players in the sector, as well as securing revenues and cash flows for the business." group chief financial officer of Moser Baer, Yogesh Mathur, said.

Moser Baer had recently announced raising of more than Rs415 crore through a consortium of private equity investors, and, in all, the wholly owned photovoltaic subsidiary has raised more than Rs800 crore of private equity funding.

—Staff Writer


Videocon makes petro discovery in Brazil

Mumbai: Oil explorer Videocon Industries Ltd, which has stakes in Australian, Omani and Indonesian fields, on Wednesday said its unit has made a so-called pre-salt hydrocarbon discovery in a field in Brazil’s Campos Basin.

The explorer will confirm the size of the find in three months after “all studies" are done, chairman Venugopal Dhoot said in a phone interview from Mumbai. VB Brazil Petroleo Ltd, a Videocon’s joint venture with Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, country’s second biggest refiner, owns 25% of the field.

Videocon, which also makes consumer electronics, plans to expand its petroleum exploration business to take advantage of high oil prices, Dhoot said in August.

The company bought a 10% stake in an exploration area in Mozambique that month and is planning to invest in fields in Qatar and Kuwait.



NDTV will demerge into two companies

New Delhi: Broadcaster NDTV Ltd said its board has approved the proposal to demerge the news and entertainment businesses of the firm. In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Wednesday, the firm said NDTV will be split into two companies. While one will carry out “news and other businesses", the other will be into “entertainment and specific allied businesses". Both companies will be listed on BSE and the National Stock Exchange.

Shareholders will get one share in both the new companies for every one share held currently in NDTV. The demerger would be completed by 1 April 2009.

—Staff Writer


Panel meets to take stock of market

Mumbai: The high level coordination committee on financial markets, or HLCCFM, met in Mumbai on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, to take stock of the Indian financial sector. RBI governor D. Subbarao, Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman C. B. Bhave, finance secretary Arun Ramanathan, secretary, economic affairs, Ashok Chawla, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority member C. R. Muralidharan and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority chairman D. Swarup attended the meeting.

The meeting gains importance in light of the financial crisis faced by the US and European financial sectors, and its impact on Indian financial markets and banks. “The committee in its meeting undertook a review of developments in the domestic financial markets in the wake of the global financial turmoil. It also reviewed the soundness of the systemic framework and the preparedness of all regulators to act in a coordinated and timely manner to deal with the emerging market situation in order to ensure continued smooth functioning of the markets," RBI said in a statement.

Though HLCCFM meets occasionally, other technical committees meet regularly to discuss and sort out issues relating to capital market exposure of regulated entities as well as developments in the financial markets. Actions taken by these committees are reported to the HLCCFM for further deliberations.

—Anita Bhoir


Punjab CM criticizes minister for remarks

Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister (CM) Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday criticized state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who is also his nephew, for suggesting that subsidies such as free power and water to farmers be scrapped. The CM denied any move to remove subsidies. He said in a statement that such “irresponsible statements by ministers" on the issue of subsidies contradict the government’s line and, therefore, “create confusion".

“I strongly disapprove of the politics of saying one thing to the people during the election campaign and doing exactly the opposite once in government," the CM added. Subsidies in the state have touched Rs4,000 crore annually, with free power for the farm sector alone costing Rs2,900 crore.

Manpreet Singh Badal, opposing the continuation of subsidies, had said on Tuesday: “Sooner or later, other ministerial and party colleagues would see logic in my assertion."

The CM, in his statement, justified giving free power to farmers saying “thanks to free power to the farmers, the state registered a record 30% increase in agricultural production last year".

—Bajinder Pal Singh


L&T gets Rs552 cr contract from PBEL

Hyderabad: Engineering and construction conglomerate Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) has been awarded a construction contract worth Rs552 crore by Hyderabad-based property developer PBEL Property Development (India) Pvt. Ltd, which is developing a township on the city’s outskirts.

The township called PBEL City, consisting of 13 residential and two commercial towers of 19 storeys each with a total of 4.7 million sq. ft, will be built over the next four-five years in phases with a project value of around Rs1,100 crore, said PBEL executive director, Anand Reddy.

PBEL, the joint venture of Israeli firms Property and Building Corp., Electra Real Estate and Indian developer INCOR Infrastructure, currently has a total land bank of 110 acres spread over three south Indian cities of Hyderabad, Chennai and Mysore, said its director Surya Pulagam.

—Staff Writer


New luxury train for promoting tourism

New Delhi: The ministry of tourism has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Railways and the Punjab government to launch and promote a luxury tourist train in Punjab that is expected to be ready for operation within two years.

The ministry has given a grant of Rs7.25 crore for the development of the train that will cover destinations such as Amritsar, Dharamshala, Anandpur Sahib, Patiala, Kurukshetra, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi spanning an itinerary of seven days, a government release said.

Minister for tourism Ambika Soni, who signed the MoU in Punjab, had said last year that the estimated number of domestic travellers in India was around 450 million. “The process of establishing world-class stations, opening of new routes, provision of additional trains to popular destinations and the creation of budget accommodations at railway stations are steps in the right direction, which will promote tourism."

A management committee comprising members from the ministry of tourism, railways and the state government will be set up to oversee the implementation of the project.

—Regina Anthony


Near-normal monsoon boosts crop prospects

New Delhi: India received near-normal monsoon rains this season, improving prospects for record harvests of crops, including rice, cotton and soya bean.

Rains in the June-September season were 98% of the long-period average, Ajit Tyagi, director general at the India Meteorological Department, said on Wednesday.

India may harvest a record 83.25 million tonnes (mt) of monsoon-grown crop after normal rains spurred plantings, Union farm secretary T. Nanda Kumar had said on 25 September. That’s 0.5mt more than a year ago.



IMD overestimated rainfall in July

New Delhi: Though the India Meteorological Department (IMD) correctly predicted that the summer monsoon rainfall would be 98% of its long-period average (LPA, a 50-year rainfall average), it overestimated the July rainfall and the rainfall over northwest India. In a press conference here on Wednesday, IMD director general Ajit Tyagi said the rainfall in July was 83% of the July average as opposed to the 98% predicted by IMD and that over northwest India it was 94% of its LPA—several notches below the predicted 101% LPA.

Though regional forecasts over other regions—south, North-East, and central India weren’t spot on, they remained within IMD’s anticipated margin of error, he added.

—Jacob P Koshy