APMCs, SAMBs to get income tax exemption under DTC Bill

Shimla: Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and State Agricultural Marketing Boards (SAMBs) have been included in the list of institutions eligible for income tax exemption (I-T) under the proposed Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill, reports PTI quoting an official spokesman of the state government.

Inclusion of APMCs and SAMBs in the list of institutions exempted from income tax will safeguard the interests of the farming community, he said.

Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal played a vital role in taking up the issue with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, he added.

The spokesman said the HP State Agricultural Marketing Board/Committees were not carrying out any profit-making, trading, merchandising, processing, buying or selling activities and were local bodies managed by democratically elected local authorities.

These boards generated income by collecting a market fee at the rate of 1% on the sale or purchase price of the produce and the same was utilised for development of marketing infrastructure.

He said the market committee or boards incurred expenditure on construction of auction platforms, cover sheds, internal roads in market yards, drainage, drinking water, electricity supply and ensuring cleanliness and hygienic conditions in the market yards, farmers' rest houses and godowns, besides marketing infrastructure.


Gujarat to set up 12 new industrial hubs

Ahmedabad: Gujarat, the state which pioneered the concept of the Special Investment Region (SIR), will establish 12 new industrial hubs in the next 5-6 years and expects the private sector to play a leading role in facilitating the process, reports PTI.

"We have 12 more such projects in the pipeline, including four which have already been notified by the government. They will all be operational by 2015-16," a senior official of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) said here.

Gujarat passed an act for SIRs and set up the first such hub — Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) spread across 4.53 lakh square hectare — in Bharuch last year.

The state government now plans to set up SIRs to act as industrial hubs for various sectors including auto ancillaries, chemicals, healthcare, electronics and so on.

Investment worth over Rs70,000 crore has already gone into PCPIR and the official said similar expenditure is likely to be incurred in other SIRs as well.

ONGC Petro Additions Ltd is the anchor tenant or major investor in the PCPIR and has put in around Rs19,000 crore into the project.

"We are looking at similar participation by the private sector in the upcoming SIRs also," the official said.

Of the new dozen SIRs, 10 would be built by the GDIC, a public sector undertaking (PSU) under the state government, while the rest two are being built by the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) and the Gujarat Maritime Board.

SIRs are special regions spread over a minimum 50,000 hectares where industries can buy land directly from local owners. However, they are not offered concessions like tax benefits as in SEZs.

"However, the main benefit of SIRs is that they provide quality infrastructure and development even before units become operational. In every SIR, 55% area is to be set aside for residential townships and other non-processing units," the official said.

SIRs are regulated by regional development authorities, which plan, regulate and develop the zones.

Santalpur SIR of 1.86 lakh hectares (which will focus on agro industries and solar energy), Halol Savli SIR of 1.22 lakh hectare (auto ancillaries and electronics) and Viramgam-Sanand SIR of 1.38 lakh hectares (auto, engineering and healthcare) are among upcoming SIRs in the state over next 5-6 years.

"Even a small SIR like the one being built by GIDB at Dholera is of 50,000 hectares, much larger than the world's largest SEZ in Shenzhen (China) which is of 32,700 hectares," the official said.


Thursday’s Market Preview: Positive opening on the cards

The Indian market is likely to open on a positive note taking cues from the global arena. Wall Street erased most of the losses accrued on Tuesday supported by good earnings reports and a weak dollar. The Asian pack was trading with modest gains in early trade on optimism in the US markets. The SGX Nifty was up 13 points at 6,028 over its previous close of 6,015.

Volatile trading continued to be the highlight for the third consecutive day on Wednesday. The domestic market picked up momentum after a soft start on the back of tardy global cues. The indices stepped into the green in early trade in the midst of a choppy session. However, ups and downs continued with the market witnessing indecisive trade. The market touched the day's high in the post-noon session but ended off the day's low, in the red for the second straight day.

The Sensex settled 110.98 points (0.56%) lower at 19,872. The Nifty stood at 5,982, 45.20 points (0.75%) at close of trade.

Markets in the US erased most of the losses accrued on Tuesday on good earnings reports and a weak dollar, which increased investors’ appetite for riskier assets like stocks and commodities. Material and energy stocks, which took a beating on Tuesday, were the top performers yesterday. Financial companies reported mixed earnings. While Wells Fargo & Co announced higher earnings but Morgan Stanley came up with a surprise loss.

The Dow advanced 129.35 points (1.18%) to 11,108. The S&P 500 gained 12.27 points (1.05%) to 1,178. The Nasdaq rose 20.44 points (0.84) to 2,457.

Markets in Asia were trading mostly in the green on earnings optimism in the US and a weak dollar. The markets seem to have overcome the surprise rate hike by
China but are cautious ahead of the country’s key economic data, due to be released today.

The Hang Seng was up 0.26%, KLSE Composite was up 0.42%, Nikkei 225 was up 0.20%, Straits Times was up 0.02% and Taiwan Weighted gained 0.20% in early trade. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.74% and Seoul Composite shed 0.14%. The SGX Nifty was up 13 points at 6,028 over its previous close of 6,015.

Economic think-tank the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has hiked its India economic growth projection for the current fiscal to 8.4% from 8.1% t, mainly on account of an anticipated increase in the country's agricultural output.

"The more detailed assessment based on the macro- econometric model provide a slightly higher growth projection of 8.4% for 2010-11. The revised growth estimates are higher than our previous projection of 8.1% presented in July, 2010," the NCAER said in its latest quarterly review of the economy on Wednesday.


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