The Mint Report for 18 November

The Mint Report for 18 November

New Delhi: Air India may be struggling with its massive debt and losses, but at least 140 people have applied to become the airline’s chief operating officer. Mint has learned that the applicants include several non-resident Indians as well as senior managers from airlines around the world. Air India had published advertisements for a COO who would turn around the troubled airline over a three-year term.

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Ratan Tata, the chairman of the Tata group, has indicated his successor might not be an Indian. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal Tata said that while it would be easier of his successor was an Indian, he was looking for a replacement all over the world. Ratan Tata’s tenure will end in 2012. The Tata group currently makes 65% of its revenues from outside India.

The government has revamped its norms for air quality. For the first time, India will have uniform air pollution limits for both industrial and residential areas. Speaking to the media in Delhi, the minister of state for environment said the new standards were long overdue.

Two major telecom companies are under government scrutiny over Cenvat credit. The Uttar Pradesh government has commissioned professional auditors to look into the books of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar Digilink. Auditors will look into whether the two companies wrongly claimed Cenvat credit for some operations in the state. Service providers in India are allowed to claim Cenvat credit for capital goods they buy to provide their services.

BHEL says it has signed a joint venture to build a 1,600MW thermal power plant in Madhya Pradesh. BHEL and its joint venture partner Madhya Pradesh Power Generation Corporation will initially have equal stakes in the power project but will cut them down to 26% each. BHEL has already entered similar joint ventures in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.