India’s rubber production rose by 6% to 56,800 tonnes in April compared to 53,500 tonnes...
The state government recently announced the permissible age for liquor consumption as 25 years. But this has been the rule according to the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 for some years now
The Maharashtra government's recent announcement of the permissible age limit for liquor consumption is a classic case of 'old wine in a new bottle'.
According to the so-called 'new policy', the permissible age for liquor consumption is 25 years, while those who have crossed the age of 21 will be allowed to consume beer. Wine has been excluded from the category of liquor. The state cabinet cleared this proposal under the new de-addiction policy.
Since the announcement, the policy is being talked about in the media. Youngsters who have been interviewed about the policy have expressed their displeasure over the age provision. However, they seem to be unaware that the age stipulation (of 25 years) has been in existence for some time now under the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949.
Moneylife reported on 13 May 2010 how, despite the permissible drinking age at 25, bars, pubs and wine shops have notices declaring that alcohol would not be sold to anyone below the age of 21. (Read, "Alcohol laws in Maharashtra could drive you to drink".)
According to the law, in Maharashtra a liquor permit is necessary to purchase, possess, transport, or consume liquor. It says that "any person above the age of 25 years is eligible to obtain the liquor permit for preservation and maintenance of his health. Purchase and drinking without a liquor permit is an offence under the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949."
The question that arises is, why has the government made it mandatory now, when there already exists a law that clearly states the permissible age for consumption of alcohol?
Consumer activists question the viability of this policy, as guzzlers have consistently flouted the law, and this is evident from the number of under-age alcohol drinkers.
An officer of the state excise department, speaking to Moneylife, said that "the permissible age limit has always been there, though there was little awareness about it."
Doubtless, it is a disappointment for many youngsters who have a preference for hard liquors. "First, they increased the prices, and now they have increased the permissible age limit. I enjoy my drinks and am capable of handling myself. Instead, much larger issues should be addressed," said a 23-year-old freelancer.
Moneylife has sent a message to the chief minister of Maharashtra, asking whether the department was aware that there already existed a law on the permissible age for liquor consumption. There was no reply up to the time of filing this report.
Among the 29 major sectors (out of 49 sectors) tracked by Moneylife, lifestyle & leisure, along with auto components and textiles have recorded the highest sales growth over the same quarter in the previous year
With most of the results of the March quarter of a number of companies already in, Moneylife analysed the aggregate performance of 29 major sectors (out of the total of 49) that we track.
Companies in the lifestyle & leisure sector recorded the highest sales growth in March 2011. So far, 1,214 companies out of 1,300 companies in the Moneylife database have declared quarterly results. Revenues of companies that we include in the lifestyle & leisure sector grew by 41% to Rs13,386 crore.
Top companies in this sector include Jubilant FoodWorks-whose quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) sales rose 56% to Rs193.69 crore; Titan Industries also reported a good quarterly performance (36% up) to Rs1,777.94 crore; Thomas Cook's sales for the quarter ended March 2011 rose to Rs65.25 crore (up 30%); United Spirits had sales up by 28% to Rs1,617.19 crore.
This level of higher performance has been possible because of the buoyant demand from the consuming masses in the country.
The second-best sectors were auto components and textiles, both notched up 31% rise in q-o-q sales. Among a few of the good performers in the auto components sector, JBM Auto's sales rose by 73% to Rs114.41 crore; Minda Industries' sales rose by 59% to Rs284.24 crore.
TVS Srichakra's sales rose to Rs309.60 crore (up 53%); Sundaram-Clayton saw sales going up to Rs225.69 crore from Rs149.11 crore (up 51%); Bharat Forge witnessed a 46% rise to Rs 821.62 crore. In the textiles sector, some of the good March 2011 quarter sales performances came from Supreme Tex Mart (sales rose to Rs165.46 crore, up 87%); Jindal Cotex's sales rose to Rs87 crore (up 78%), Suryalakshmi Cotton Mills' sales rose to Rs188.20 crore (up 57%); Alok Industries went up by 50% to Rs2,202.90 crore and Welspun Syntex's sales rose to Rs149.92 crore (up 47%).
Banking sector revenues have gone up by 27% in the March 2011 quarter to Rs1,42,781 crore -an impressive performance from the giant-sized sector. Banks have done well with the mild rise in interest rates till the March quarter, fully reflecting in higher revenues. Yes Bank's revenues rose to Rs1,409.37 crore (up 71%) while Axis Bank's revenues rose to Rs5,817.06 crore (up 48%). Bank of Baroda (March 2011 revenue Rs7,168.65 crore) and Allahabad Bank (Rs3,588.68 crore) both saw revenues rising by 38%. HDFC Bank's revenue rose to Rs6,724.31 crore (up 34%)
Revenues of the chemicals and refineries sectors have gone up by 27 % each. The refineries sector is again a huge sector, which has grown in an impressive manner-a clear beneficiary from rising global oil prices. Out of the 42 companies in the chemicals sector, some of the good performers were Diamines & Chemicals (sales rose by 107% to Rs23.85 crore); Chemplast Sanmar (up 57% to Rs579.77 crore); Gujarat Fluorochemicals (sales zoomed 45% to Rs459.51 crore); Kanoria Chemicals-sales up by 44% to Rs150.56 crore) and Vinati Organics, sales up 44% (to Rs91.62 crore).
In the refineries sector, all the seven companies Moneylife tracks have had a good March 2011 quarter performance. Chennai Petroleum's sales grew by 89% (to Rs10,310.34 crore); MRPL saw sales growth of 43% (to Rs12,414.43 crore); Essar Oil witnessed sales increase of 27% (to Rs13,356 crore); HPCL's sales were up by 26% to Rs39,892.21 crore, RIL also reported 26% growth in sales to Rs 72,674 crore. Indian Oil's sales rose 26% (to Rs98,722.65 crore) and BPCL sales rose by 20% (to Rs45,271.97 crore).
The laggard in sector-wise performance has been shipping-where revenues were down by 8%. Although the shipping sector could not do well on the sales front, there were some companies which projected good growth. These include Chowgule Steamships (sales up by 60%, to Rs9.08 crore; Bharati Shipyard's sales rose by 25% (to Rs441.34 crore) and Pipavav Shipyard's sales rose by 10% (to Rs261.85 crore).
The other poor performer has been real estate, with just 4% growth across 28 companies in the Moneylife sample. However, Kolte-Patil Developers (sales up 331% to Rs77.32 crore), Godrej Properties (sales up 135% to Rs240.66 crore) and IVRCL Assets & Holdings (sales up 117% to Rs258.21crore) were the top three good performers in terms of sales in this sector.