- Ratan Tata bids Farewell to all Shareholders
- India introduces strict Mobile Radiation Rules
- Advance Pricing Agreement Norms gets into effect Thursday
- Once in a Blue Moon Phrase gets enlivened in the Sky
- Ratan Tata hopeful of a Tata Motors facility in Singur
- Potatoes of Nalanda to be exported to Russia
- Jharkhand presents Rs 411 Crore Supplementary Budget
- How Garden City is slowly becoming Garbage City ?
- Admiral Devendra Joshi appointed as Indian Navy Chief of Staff
- Indian Economic Growth gets down by 3 percent
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 01:43 PM PDT
A shareholder garlanded him, some offered him send-off gifts and yet others urged him to put his signature on the annual report.
Ratan Tata, who chaired his last major Tata Group company annual general meeting at Kolkata on Friday, obliged all of them.
Tata, head of the $83.3 billion salt-to-software conglomerate of more than 100 operating companies, will retire in December when he turns 75.
It was an emotional moment for Tata and the shareholders at the Tata Global Beverages Ltd (TGBL) AGM here. “This is the last time I stand before you, so let me stand,” said Tata, turning down calls to do otherwise.
When a shareholder said, “Aap ko Bharat Ratna Milna Chahiye” (You should get Bharat Ratna), Tata, a Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awardee, remained silent.
Tata then thanked the shareholders for their sentiments and warmth. “This has been an equally emotional meeting for me. I think the warmth, the sincerity and the affection that has been displayed is something I will carry back with me through the remaining life of me.
“I am an emotional person. And I will not forget what you have meant to me in the years that I have needed you.”
Most shareholders, however, raised concerns over the Singur fiasco and sought to know the groups’ future plans for West Bengal.
The Tata boss noted that the Singur issue did not bring any sense of anger to him, just a sense of sadness that he couldn’t do “something” there. “May be one day you will have a Tata Motors factory somewhere in Bengal and hopefully be welcomed.”
“I have enjoyed and in fact had a sense of great satisfaction in all the interactions I have had with you, with the people of West Bengal. I often considered them to be very warm and friendly people.
“I lived six years in Jamshedpur, at that time I used to be in Calcutta off and on. I have an affinity to this part of the country which is why we tried to bring a car manufacturing facility here.”
As the AGM got over, there was a mad rush among the shareholders to shake hands with Tata and he obliged merrily.
There was only fleeting moment he was bareft any expression when journalists asked him whether he had any message for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 12:36 PM PDT
Stringent new radiation norms for mobile phone towers and mobile handsets will come into effect Sep 1 across the country, the government announced Friday, keeping in view their possible adverse impact on human health.
“We have to be careful as a nation. Technology must be embraced but ultimately public health should not be compromised,” Communications Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here, unveiling the norms.
Under the electromagnetic frequency(EMF) radiation standards, all handsets will have to display their exposure limit on the handset like IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number display.
A penalty of Rs.5 lakh will be liable to be levied per tower per service provider for non-compliance of EMF standards.
The new EMF limit will be one tenth the existing exposure limit for all mobile phone towers across the country.
“Indian standards would now be 10 times more stringent than more than 90 percent countries in the world,” the communications ministry said in a statement.
The norms also say that mobile handsets shall comply with the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values of 1.6 W/kg averaged over 1 gram of human tissue. Earlier it was 2W/kg over 10 gram of human tissue.
All cellphone handsets sold in the market in India shall be available in hands-free mode. Existing handsets which do not comply with these norms will co-exist only up to Aug 31, 2013.
From Sep 1, 2012 only the mobile handsets with revised SAR value would be permitted to be manufactured or imported in India.
The ministry issued guidelines for mobile handset owners. It says customers shoul follow basic health rules such as holding the cell phone away from body to the extent possible and using a headset to keep the handset away from your head.
The government said it will set up a test laboratory in the telecom engineering centre (TEC) by this year-end for testing of SAR value of mobile handsets.
The Comptroller and Auditor General in a report tabled in parliament Thursday had slammed the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for delay in finalising safety standards for cell phones.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 10:30 AM PDT
Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) norms, introduced in this year’s Budget, have come into effect from Aug 30, 2012, an official release said Friday.
An APA is an agreement between the income tax department and any person, which determines, in advance, the arm’s length price in relation to an international transaction
Once APA has been entered into for an international transaction, the arm’s length price for the period specified in the APA will be determined only in accordance with the APA.
The APA scheme is a finance ministry measure for bring in greater clarity in transfer pricing norms. The ministry had earlier this month notified that where the variation between the arm’s length price determined under Income Tax Act provisions and the price at which an international transaction had been undertaken did not exceed five percent of the latter, the price at which the transaction took place would be taken as the arm’s length price.
The arm’s length price is critical for companies with international operations and subsidiaries trading with each other. There is often an incentive to reduce the overall tax burden by manipulation of inter-company prices.
The APA regime had to begin from July 1 but its notification had been delayed.
India is generally regarded as among the more difficult transfer pricing destinations, with more than half the transfer pricing audits facing adjustments resulting in an additional tax demand and litigation.
The continuation of the five percent tolerance range and the APA mechanism are expected to bring in certainty and transparency to the transfer pricing process.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 09:30 AM PDT
Thousands of people today cherished watching the “blue moon”, a phenomenon when a full moon appears twice in a month.
“It is a normal full moon, except for the fact that it occurs twice in a month,” says C.B. Devgan of the Science Popularisation Association Communicators and Educators (SPACE).
“The special thing about it is that it’s once in two or two-and-a-half years that a full moon appears twice in a month,” he says.
“It is exciting, though the moon looks the same. The fact that this is the blue moon makes it special,” says Devika, a student.
However, the blue moon is not blue in colour, unless there is volcanic ash in the atmosphere.
“In 1946, a writer for “Sky and Telescope” magazine declared a blue moon to be the second full moon in a month with two of them,” explains Devgan.
Some years even boast of two blue moons. This last happened in 1999, and it will occur again in 2018.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 09:09 AM PDT
Showing no bitterness over what happened in Singur, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata Friday said some day Tata Motors will have a plant somewhere in the state.
“Several persons have asked about Singur. I think it doesn’t bring any sense of anger to me, just a sense of sadness that we couldn’t do something here,” Tata told shareholders at the annual general meeting of Tata Global Beverages here.
“It (Singur case) is sub-judice today and whatever the outcome is, I think we will respect the law and wishes of the Bengal government,” he said.
Tata, who chaired the AGM for the last time as he will retire in December when he turns 75, said: “May be one day you will have a Tata Motors factory somewhere in Bengal and hopefully be welcomed.”
The automobile giant had plans to roll out the the small car Nano from Singur in Hooghly district, but had to shift to Sanand in Gujarat following an intense political protest spearheaded by the then main opposition Trinamool Congress who demanded return of 400 acres of land allegedly taken forcibly from farmers by the then Left Front government.
Tata turned very emotional when he was replying to the shareholders and thanked them for their sentiments and warmth.
“I am an emotional person and will not forget this occasion,” he said.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 06:30 AM PDT
Farmers in Bihar’s Nalanda district are happy that potatoes grown by them through organic farming will be exported to Russia.
R.K. Sohane, director, Bihar agriculture management and extension training institute (Bameti), said a Delhi-based export firm, Indian Potato Ltd, is keen to purchase one lakh tonnes potatoes from the Nalanda farmers for export to Russia.
“It is a big development for the hundreds of farmers growing patato and will encourage farmers engaged in growing other crops and boost the state’s agriculture,” Sohane told IANS here.
Bihar is the third-largest potato producing state after Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Nalanda, the home district of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is the leading potato producing district in Bihar with farmers growing the crop over more than 27,000 hectares.
Early this year, a young farmer of Darveshpura village in Nalanda set a world record, harvesting 72.9 tonnes of the tuber per hectare through organic farming.
Sohane and M.L. Choudhary, vice chancellor of Bihar Agriculture University in Bhagalpur, along with the officials of the firm held talks with farmers during their visit to Nalanda early this week to buy potatoes from them.
“The export firm is keen to purchase potato grown through organic and non-organic methods from farmers in Nalanda,” Choudhary said.
Sohane said officials of the export firm were impressed by the varieties of potatoes shown to them by registered farmers growing potato in Nalanda. “The firm is likely to finalise the deal with farmers soon,” he said.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:30 AM PDT
Jharkhand government presented a Rs.411 crore first supplementary budget in the state assembly on Friday.
Deputy Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who is also in charge of the finance ministry, tabled the supplementary budget.
The monsoon session of the Jharkhand assembly began Friday.
A large chunk of the supplementary budget has been allocated to higher education and rural development, with these sectors getting Rs.40 crore and Rs.36 crore, respectively.
The opposition parties have criticised the state government for presenting the supplementary budget.
“There are many departments where the state government’s expenditure is zero. What is the use of presenting a supplementary budget when the government is unable to spend money,” asked Pradeep Yadav, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) legislator.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 04:30 AM PDT
As the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first chief minister in Karnataka B.S. Yeddyurappa and scores of legislators battle cases against them related to what has come to be known as land-grabbing, the state government is struggling now to find land to dump the thousands of tonnes of garbage that ‘garden city’ Bangalore dishes out every day.
This is one problem the land-scam- and corruption-marred BJP government did not expect in the last year of its maiden rule in Karnataka.
Bangalore is fast turning into a ‘garbage city’ with mounds of garbage visible at almost every street corner, driving people to desperation as heavy rains have compounded the problem.
The mounting garbage across the state capital has drawn the ire of not only the common people but also Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and the high court.
Bhardwaj has twice this week expressed displeasure at the failure of the BJP-ruled Bangalore civic body to keep the city clean. Hoping to shake it up, he said he was ready to clear the garbage if 20 workers were given to him.
Hearing a public interest petition filed by a Bangalore advocate, G.R. Mohan, on the garbage problem, Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna told BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) Monday that it was offering “lame excuses”.
Justice Sen said the court may have to order suspension or even dismissal of officials responsible for the problem.
Those who have to walk past the stinking mounds, particularly in market areas, covering their noses have taken to deriding the garden city as garbage city.
The problem got acute as heavy rains lashed many parts of the city almost daily since Sunday flooding the roads with garbage and adding to the stink.
The around eight million population of the city daily generates 5,000 tonnes of garbage, which was being dumped in three landfills on the outskirts of the city in spite of increasing protests from the people living around those areas.
Even then the city was not clean as heaps of garbage were to be found in many places.
The problem took a turn for the worse following a July 11 directive by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to stop dumping the garbage at Mavallipura, the biggest of the three landfills.
The board ordered the stoppage on the ground that a private firm, Ramky Enviro Engineering Ltd., which had got the contract to process the garbage dumped in Mavallipura had failed to do so, leading to accumulation of over two million tonnes of waste.
The board directed that garbage be dumped in the two other landfills, of which one is located at Mandur and the other managed by Terra Firma.
All the three landfills are in the Doddaballapur revenue sub-division (taluk), about 45 km north of the city.
BBMP mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy has been having meetings with people around these three landfills to persuade them to agree to the dumping. He has been assuring them that the garbage would not be left to rot creating health hazard but would be scientifically disposed of.
However, the residents are not buying the promise.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who is the third BJP leader to lead the state in four years, is also having a series of meetings with BBMP officials to find a way out of the increasingly unbearable stink and is hopeful of finding an early solution.
The immediate fallout of the high court’s stern warning to BBMP was that the government shunted out the BBMP commissioner M.K. Shankaralinge Gowda and appointed in his place another senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Rajneesh Goel.
Goel has his work cut out and says he is ready for it.
Soon after taking over office, he told reporters that Surat faced a similar situation several years ago but is now one of the best cities. He also referred to how the problem is handled in Chandigarh, the city he hails from.
His mantra is micro-management.
The BJP, which is ruling the state and BBMP for the first time and has already earned a damning image as the most corrupt regime Karnataka has seen, can only hope that this approach will avoid more muck sticking to it.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 03:31 AM PDT
Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi, an anti-submarine warfare specialist, Friday took over as the new Indian Navy chief.
He succeeds Admiral Nirmal Verma, who retired from service after 43 years of service.
Admiral Joshi, who was till Thursday the Mumbai-based Western Naval Commander, is the 21st navy chief of Independent India and the 19th Indian to take command of the world’s sixth largest naval force.
In the morning, Admiral Joshi paid tribute to the country’s martyrs by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in India Gate and inspected an impressive Guard of Honour at the lawns of South Block, the seat of the naval headquarters on Raisina Hill.
Later, in the office of the navy chief, Admiral Verma ceremonially handed over the chief’s telescope to Admiral Joshi to mark the handing over of office from the incumbent to the successor.
In his maiden message to the navy, Admiral Joshi indicated his priorities as the new chief.
“For the navy to fulfil its mandate as a maritime power for national prosperity, 24×7 attention would need to be paid at all levels to ensure that there are no gaps in our security preparedness,” Joshi said.
He emphasised: “To achieve security related objectives, the man-machine interface is crucial and the navy would need to professionally re-audit, train and consolidate its preparedness to optimise the existing capabilities as well as harness the full potential of the transformational new capabilities being inducted.”
In his 38-year service till now, Admiral Joshi has commanded guided missile corvette INS Kuthar, guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir and India’s lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
He has also been awarded the Nausena Medal, Vishist Seva Medal and Yudh Seva Medal, respectively, while commanding these warships.
Subsequently, he commanded the Eastern Fleet, when Ati Vishist Seva Medal was awarded to him.
Admiral Joshi has also commanded the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-service integrated formation of the country and was awarded the Param Vishist Seva Medal during this time.
Later, he served as the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC).
Admiral Joshi is a graduate of the US Naval War College, an alumnus of the Mumbai-based College of Naval Warfare and the capital-based National Defence College.
He was also the defence advisor in the Indian high commission in Singapore from 1996 to 1999.
He is married to Chitra Joshi and the couple have two daughters.
Posted: 31 Aug 2012 03:30 AM PDT
The Indian economy grew at a sluggish 5.5 percent in the first quarter of this fiscal in comparison to 8 percent in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year owing to poor performance of manufacturing, mining and agriculture sector, official data showed Friday.
The April-June quarter data is slightly better than the 5.3 percent growth registered in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) during the quarter ended March 31, 2012.
The figure is better than analysts’ expectations of 5.2 percent.
The sluggish growth in the first quarter was mainly on account of a mere 0.2 percent growth in the manufacturing sector, against 7.3 percent in the corresponding quarter of previous fiscal, even as farm sector growth dropped from 3.7 percent to 2.9 percent, according to data released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).
Construction and services sector, which includes insurance, finance and realty, grew at 10.9 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively, during the quarter under review. These two groups had expanded by 3.5 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of 2011-12.
Seeing the data, top economic policymakers said the growth numbers were consistent with the government’s estimates.
“These numbers are consistent with the overall economic growth of 6.7 percent projected by us,” said C. Rangarajan, chairman of the prime minister’s Economic Advisory Council.
Rangarajan said the economic growth is likely to remain sluggish even in the second quarter of the current financial year.
“You will see pick-up in the second half of the year. In the third and fourth quarter, one should expect the rebound,” he said.
The Indian economy has been under stress in the recent quarters largely due to poor performance of the industrial and farm sector. The country’s GDP growth slumped to 6.5 percent in 2011-12, which is even lower than the 6.7 percent level achieved during the global financial crisis of 2008-09. The economy had expanded by 8.4 percent in 2010-11.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia also expressed a similar hope saying the growth would pick up in the second half of the fiscal.
“By the end of the second quarter and especially in the third quarter, we will have a rebound,” Ahluwalia said.
He, however, said the revival in the economy would depend on investments, both from public as well as private sectors.
India’s GDP at factor cost at constant (2004-2005) prices is estimated at Rs.13,06,276 crore in the first quarter of 2012-13 as compared to Rs.12,38,738 crore during the corresponding period of last year, showing a growth rate of 5.5 percent, the CSO data showed.
“GDP for the first quarter has marginally improved to 5.5 percent. While the slight improvement over fourth quarter of 2012 is comforting, the individual components of GDP are of concern,” said Anis Chakravarty, senior director, Deloitte in India.
“Service sector growth, which had earlier held at over 8 percent, has steeply declined to 6.9 percent — driven partly by low transport sector output. Further, industrial activity has not picked up — high capital goods variance with low mining and manufacturing output remains a cause of concern,” Chakravarty said.
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