Chinese steel makers can take full advantage of the zero duties on pellet exports from India besides the drastic reduction in customs duty on imports of pellatisation machinery into the country
Beijing: India has invited China, the biggest importer of its iron ore, to set up pellet plants in the country, reports PTI.
The Chinese steel makers have been asked to take full advantage of the zero duties on pellet exports from India besides the drastic reduction in customs duty on imports of pellatisation machinery into the country. Pellets are made by moulding ore powder into desired configurations, with some value addition.
It is a win win deal for Chinese steel industry to set up pelletisation plants in India as it would make up for the extra expenditure being incurred by them in view of 30% duty on iron ore exports from India, CS Verma, Chairman of Steel Authority of India (SAIL), said.
Mr Verma, who signed an MOU with the Chinese Iron and Steel Association (CISA) to step up interaction between the two major producers and consumers of steel, invited them to set up their plants in India.
He said they could take full advantage of the new duty structure in India to encourage setting up of pelletisation plants.
Indian iron ore which has traditionally been the top item of exports to China has dropped by 14%t to $9.6 billion in value terms during 2011, compared to the $11.2 billion in 2010.
It was expected to come down further due to increase in export duty from 20% to 30% early this year.
Mr Verma said, India, which has about 25 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves will continue to export it but at the same it would be advantageous to get value addition from the raw material.
"Since buying ore will be costlier, companies who need it have to nuetralise it. "This is why we should export it in the value added form not in the mineral form," Mr Verma who wound up his four day visit here told PTI.
"It will create employment and investment opportunities for India to have the value addition," he said.
China has been importing 75 to 80 MT every year. In the recent the Indian government has also reduced customs duty on the import of pellatisation plants from 7.5% to 2.5%.
"That means there is lot of incentives for setting up pellatisation plants in India," he said.
There is no export duty from India on pellets. He said the Chinese companies have shown keen interest in the proposal.
Is New India Assurance sitting on crores of extra premium collected due to a software glitch? It does not even know how many policyholders paid excess premium and is stonewalling all questions
Is New India Assurance trying every trick in the book to avoid returning crores worth of premium collected in a period of nine months due to a software glitch?
It all started with policyholder Anant Meghji Nandu giving a blank cheque to his New India Assurance agent in 2008 for his father's Mediclaim policy. The practice of giving a blank cheque to agent is widespread because there is usually a minor difference between the final premium amount and the quoted amount. In this case, there was additional Rs1,688 added to the cheque by the agent. Mr Nandu wrote to New India Assurance for an explanation in the huge variance between final premium and quoted premium, but they kept a stony silence. He filed an RTI query. He got a reply about a software glitch leading to overcharge and got a refund of the excess premium. He filed another RTI query to find out since when the overcharging was happening. The answer was 16 August 2007. The cat was out of the bag.
Mr Nandu quickly realized that there could be lakhs of policyholders who would be eligible for a refund which can run into crores of rupees. For the larger good, Mr Nandu wanted to ensure that all those who were overcharged also got a refund. He then tried to find about the refund data, but was met with stiff resistance from New India Assurance's Central Public Information Officer (CPIO). To downplay the issue, the company changed its stance. It now claimed that overcharging started only in 29 May 2008, which will mean fewer customers will be affected. But, will the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) accept this contention from the insurer?
The question is how will policyholders know that they were charged approximately Rs1,000-Rs1,500 extra premium in 2007-08? They won't, unless they are really astute in mediclaim premium calculation or happened to stumble across the discrepancy. In the age of technology, how difficult is it for the insurer to find out the policies they collected excess premium? Not difficult, unless they want to feign ignorance or software malfunction is a norm which precludes them from getting the data of policyholders' who paid excess premium.
This is case of heads I win, tails you lose. If by mistake a company charges a lower premium, it will soon detect it and come after you. But if the company overcharges, then they don't know how much extra premium was received. If you ask for refund you will get it; if you don't then you loss seems to be the New India's strategy. Is it fair?
Mr Nandu is a brave man for valiantly fighting the case for over three years at the cost of own money and time to help fellow Indians to get justice?
In our second part of the story we will report on New India Assurance's tactics to save face.
Aviation minister Ajit Singh says that the aviation industry and Air India are passing through a tough phase due to high price of ATF, high service tax along with airport charges. Why are Indigo, GoAir and SpiceJet less affected?
As the agitation by protesting pilots entered the fourth day on Friday, Air India's 12 international flights were cancelled even while civil aviation minister Ajit Singh hoped that the airline "does not enter into an ICU". Pilots from cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines also started reporting 'sick' due to which about 12 flights of the carrier were cancelled. Kingfisher pilots are 'sick' of the way the management is handling the issue of their salaries since past few months.
The minister also sympathised with the 'ailing' airlines saying that the aviation industry is going through a tough phase due to high price of ATF and high service tax. However, while all airlines are defaulting on payments, Indigo, the only profitable airline in the country, and privately-held GoAir have not defaulted on airport payments.
"All our long-haul flights to US, Europe, Riyadh and Jeddah have been cancelled," an Air India official said. This has been done due to non-availability of pilots who are on mass sick leave since Tuesday, he added.
According to a PTI report, Air India's long overhaul flights to New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, Frankfurt, London and Paris from Delhi and Mumbai were cancelled. The national carrier has stopped taking bookings till 15th May on its flights to US, Europe and Riyadh.
With pilots remaining defiant, the Air India management had yesterday sacked nine more pilots.
Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh expressed hope that pilots will "get well soon as they are sick. Air India is sick and I hope it doesn't reach ICU".
Noting that the aviation industry and Air India are passing through a tough phase due to high price of ATF, high service tax along with airport charges and others, Mr Singh said he will take up the issue with prime minister Manmohan Singh.
On the problems facing Kingfisher, he said, "Kingfisher is a private company and they will have to sort out their problem themselves."
"Kingfisher has been in trouble since some time. They have been facing some financial problems. Air India is even worse but it (Kingfisher) is a private company so they have to mobilise the resources by themselves," Mr Singh said.
"The main problem is how to make Air India stand on its feet, how to make it profitable and in that all the employees and their union will have to co-operate otherwise it will not stay afloat. They (airlines) have to realise that we do not raise fares for our personal interest. Air India will sink and with that all of us will sink," he said.
The civil aviation minister stressed that discipline has to be maintained if Air India has to survive.
"All unions have to.... rise above their personal interests. We are willing to discuss with any union but they should call off the strike, especially when it is vacation time. If Air India does not stay afloat, all their jobs will be at stake," he said.
Just two days ago, Mr Singh has said that all airlines from India, except two, have defaulted on paying airport charges. Indigo, the only profitable airline in the country and privately-held GoAir have not defaulted on airport payments, he said.
The government has initiated legal action against Kingfisher Airlines "towards dishonour of the cheques submitted" by the carrier, while Jet Airways and SpiceJet have been served notices on overdues, Mr Singh said.
According to a PTI report, Kingfisher pilots have been protesting since yesterday against non-payment of their due salary. Sources said a section of Kingfisher pilots have got their due salary, especially co-pilots but the captains have not been paid.
Meanwhile, following a warning from Kingfisher chief Vijay Mally for "acting firmly and decisively", and a meeting with management, a section of pilots from the carrier decided to call off their agitation. The management has once again assured the employees of remitting the January salaries by 15th May, and a part-payment of the February dues would follow soon. Earlier they were assured by the management that their salary for the month of January will be paid by 9th May but it did not happen due to which they started reporting sick.
Kingfisher Airlines has been facing financial troubles for almost a year now. The airline, which never made a profit since its inception in May 2005, reported a net loss of Rs444.26 crore in the December quarter.
Due to paucity of funds, Kingfisher now operates only 110 flights a day with a fleet of 20 aircraft as against 400 flights per day last year with 66 planes.