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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.


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