Regulations
Finance ministry must be in the know of gold transactions, says CIC

Hearing an RTI appeal, chief information commission orders ministry to be the nodal body; Reserve Bank of India and finance ministry to submit affidavits in case of denial of any deals in the yellow metal

At a time when popular and judicial pressure is building up on the government regarding investigation of scams and financial accountability, the babus have mastered the art of passing the buck and being elusive. The ministry of finance too, has been acting slippery in furnishing information to the public. However, RTI (Right to Information) activists have found a way to make the financial authorities accountable.

While hearing an appeal by an RTI activist, the chief information commission (CIC) has ruled that the finance ministry must be the nodal body knowing the details of gold trade in India, and has asked the ministry and the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) to submit affidavits in case they deny the same.

"Commission holds that it is the Ministry of Finance who would be the nodal ministry in respect of the subject matter. Therefore, the ministry of finance, through its secretary is directed to submit (an) affidavit signed by an officer not lower in rank of deputy secretary to give (an) affidavit that information is not held by the ministry or any of its entities. Similarly CPIO, Reserve Bank of India is directed to give a similar affidavit to the commission", the commission ruled on 14th July. The affidavits have to be filed within two weeks of receipt of the judgement.

RTI applicant, Subhash Chandra Agrawal said, "I received the judgement yesterday, and I think it is the same with the ministry. I am expecting the information or the affidavits after fourteen days."

Mr Agrawal had filed an RTI (Right to Information) application in May 2010 with the department of revenue, asking for details of gold sales and consumption happening in India, and estimates for unaccounted transactions. However, the CPIO of the department replied that such information is not held by them, following which Mr Agrawal filed the first appeal in September. Dissatisfied once again, Mr Agrawal went for a second appeal before the commission.

"The RTI petition filed at the Department of Economic Affairs kept shunting between various public authorities including the RBI, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Department of Revenue and Directorate of Enforcement with everybody transferring the petition to each other under Section 6(3) of the RTI Act", said Mr Agrawal.

He said, "India being the largest purchaser of gold, sets the global trend. Unaccounted money is being largely invested in gold and silver. There is every possibility that money deposited in foreign banks now being transferred is responsible for sudden rise in prices of gold and silver."

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Mahindra & Mahindra Q1 net profit rises 8% on robust sales

Commenting on the results, the company said: "The growth in the profit despite the relentless increase in material costs is due to good volume performance by both vehicles and tractors and tight control on expenses"

New Delhi: Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) today reported a 7.56% jump in standalone net profit for the quarter ended 30th June to Rs604.88 crore compared to Rs 562.39 crore for the corresponding period last year, reports PTI

The performance was attributed to good sales and cost-control initiatives.

The company's standalone total income also increased by 30.49% during the first quarter of the fiscal to Rs6,733.54 crore from Rs5,160.10 crore in the year-ago period, it added.

Commenting on the results, the company said: "The growth in the profit despite the relentless increase in material costs is due to good volume performance by both vehicles and tractors and tight control on expenses."

During the quarter, M&M's total sales went up by 24.25% to 1,01,997 units from 82,093 units in the same period of 2010.

In the domestic market, sales stood at 96,280 units, up 22.93% from 78,318 units in the year-ago period. Exports grew by 82.94% to 5,717 units during the review period from 3,125 units in Q1 last fiscal.

Sales of passenger vehicles jumped 20% to 48,214 units in April-June 2011 from 40,178 units in Q1, 2010.

The company's tractor sales also went up by 20% in Q1 this fiscal to 57,500 units from 47,916 units in the April-June quarter last year, the statement said.

Commenting on the outlook, M&M said: "With headline inflation ranging above 9% for much of the past year, the RBI has tightened its policy stance aggressively in recent months, leading to a sharp rise in loan rates, with inevitable adverse impacts on domestic demand and industrial growth."

However, as the prospects for agricultural and services sector growth remain reasonably robust, the company's business outlook for the year remains positive, but watchful, it added.

Reacting to the numbers, shares of the company closed 1.68% per cent higher at Rs666 apiece on the BSE.

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L&T Q1 net up 12% at Rs746 crore

As of end-June, the order book of the company stood at Rs1,361,72 crore, which included fresh orders worth Rs16,190 crore received in the first quarter

New Delhi: Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today reported a 12% rise in first quarter net profit to Rs746.15 crore, up from Rs666.17 crore for the same quarter of the last fiscal, the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Net sales of the company rose to Rs9,482.61 crore during the period under review, a growth of 21% over Rs7,831.19 crore in the April-June quarter of the last fiscal.

Segment-wise, the engineering & construction (E&C) business achieved gross revenue of Rs8018 crore for the quarter ended 30 June 2011, registering a y-o-y growth of 23%. Gross revenue from the electrical & electronics segment was Rs695 crore. The machinery & industrial products division reported a revenue growth of 25% at Rs666 crore.

As of end-June, the order book of the company stood at Rs1,361,72 crore, which included fresh orders worth Rs16,190 crore received in the first quarter.

"The major orders during the quarter came from buildings and factories, infrastructure, power generation, transmission and distribution, minerals and metals and hydrocarbon sectors," it said.

Despite positive results, the company's stock declined 0.62% at Rs1,629.85 on the BSE due to the market decline.

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