Companies & Sectors
Karnataka may be permitted to auction 'C' category iron ore mines soon

It is not clear, at the moment, if the e-auction procedure will be adopted and whether priority will be given to actual steel producers


The Central Empowered Committee (CEC), set up by the Supreme Court had conducted a survey of the mining areas in Karnataka and has given various suggestions to the government. The CEC, in its report to the Supreme Court had identified 51 mines with maximum illegalities in three districts of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumakuru.


In the first Cabinet meeting of the Congress government, headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, at Kalaburagi, on Friday, decided to submit a proposal to the Supreme Court, through the CEC, to auction 15 "C" category mines in the above districts.


The state government may be able to auction six mines between December 2014 and January 2015, subject to the approval of the apex court. The remaining nine mines would be taken up for auction during April-May 2015.


It is not clear at the moment whether the e-auction procedure will be adopted in this case and whether priority will be given to actual steel producers.


At the same time, the Cabinet also approved Rs2,000 crore to take up restoration of ecology and environment in the three districts mentioned before, as these were affected by the illegal mining activities. Here again, the proposal would be submitted to the Supreme Court for approval before implementation. It is hoped that the apex court will also give suitable direction in this regard.


It is reported that the responsibility for carrying out the implementation programme is likely to be entrusted to Karnataka Mining Restoration Corporation. The proposal is to strengthen the infrastructure such as transport, communication network, environment and forests, drinking water system, education, skill training and agricultural related activities. In doing so, priority will be given to Scheduled Castes and Tribes communities.


It is hoped that the related clearance formalities, land lease etc., issuance of permits for carrying out the mining operations etc. will be handled by all concerned expeditiously.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council.

His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)


RBI keeps repo, CRR unchanged in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy

While keeping key rates unchanged, the RBI Governor has said if current inflation momentum and changes in inflationary expectations continue, and fiscal developments are encouraging, a change in the monetary policy stance is likely early next year


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its fifth bi-monthly credit policy review on Tuesday has kept repo, reverse repo, cash reserve ratio (CRR) and bank rate unchanged.


With no change in key policy rates, the repo rate (the rate at which the RBI lends money to banks) remains at 8%. Similarly reverse repo rate (the rate at which the RBI borrows from banks), CRR, and bank rate remains at 7%, 4.00% and 9%, respectively.


In a statement, RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan said, “There is still some uncertainty about the evolution of base effects in inflation, the strength of the on-going disinflationary impulses, the pace of change of the public’s inflationary expectations, as well as the success of the government’s efforts to hit deficit targets. A change in the monetary policy stance at the current juncture is premature. However, if the current inflation momentum and changes in inflationary expectations continue, and fiscal developments are encouraging, a change in the monetary policy stance is likely early next year, including outside the policy review cycle.”


Commenting on the policy, Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairperson of State bank of India, said, “The RBI assertion of a possible change in monetary policy stance next year is a clear vindication and acknowledgement of a benign inflation regime. In fact, by advancing the inflation target of 6% to March 2015, RBI has now set out a clear message of the reversal of the rate cycle, sooner than later. With oil prices at historic lows, a stable exchange rate and strong capital inflows, the feel good factor is here to stay.”


According to the central bank, while activity appears to have lost some momentum in Q2, probably extending into Q3, conditions congenial for a turnaround – the softening of inflation; easing of commodity prices and input costs; comfortable liquidity conditions; and rising business confidence as well as purchasing activity – are gathering. "These conditions could enable a pick-up in Q4 if coordinated policy efforts fructify in dispelling the drag on the economy emanating from structural constraints. A durable revival of investment demand continues to be held back by infrastructural constraints and lack of assured supply of key inputs, in particular coal, power, land and minerals. The success of ongoing government actions in these areas will be key to reviving growth and offsetting downside risks emanating from agriculture – in view of weaker-than-expected rabi sowing – and exports – given the sluggishness in external demand. Anticipating such success, the central estimate of projected growth for 2014-15 has been retained at 5.5 per cent, with a gradual pick-up in momentum through 2015-16 on the assumption of a normal monsoon and no adverse supply/financial shocks,” the RBI governor added.


Although the RBI did not move today, Nomura said it believes the rates markets will take the outcome and the clearly dovish guidance positively. "We are more sanguine on the inflation outlook relative to the RBI’s target of 6% by January 2016. Lower rural wages and the lagged impact of a negative output gap should keep CPI inflation around 5.5% in 2015, in our view. Given the RBI’s focus on fiscal developments as an initial condition, it is likely to watch the budget at end-February closely. As such, we expect no change at the next policy meeting either on 3rd February and a possible cut in April compared to our earlier expectation of rate cuts starting in June. All said, we continue to expect a total of 50bp of cuts in 2015, with rates remaining on hold thereafter," it added.

The reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) will remain unchanged at 7%, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the bank rate at 9%.


Repo Rate........................8%


Reverse Repo Rate...........7%




Bank Rate........................9%




The sixth bi-monthly monetary policy statement is scheduled on Tuesday, 3 February 2015.




2 years ago

Given the rate of Indian inflation and the profligacy of the previous ten years, the rate needs to be doubled. So, keeping it constant, I suppose, is a great relief?

MG Warrier

2 years ago

RBI Governor patiently explained in some detail the rationale of the present stance in his on with media immediately after the policy announcement. RBI and other stakeholders, according to him, are interested in cost of credit coming down in the medium and long term. RBI wants to make sure the positive signals continue and are based on reliable data. To a question as to whether RBI had decided in September 2014 itself, not to make any changes in base rates in December 2014, Dr Rajan replied, RBI takes into account the scenario at the time of taking the decision. He did not conceal RBI's expectations from GOI, while saying that his outlook on that was positive.


2 years ago

Inflation in tamilnade is high .recently milk prices raised 35 percent and govt is thinking to raise electricity tariff .Commodities prices are fallen in paper but in retail shops it has raised.Vegetable prices are rising abnormally.How most people said inflation has fallen.House hold inflation in india is more than 10 percent in india.But on paper it is wpi at 1.75 and cpi at 6.Ithink our RBI has done good job. Hats of to RBI GOVERNOR.

Economy & Nation Exclusive
Hindustan Unilever pleads guilty for violating Legal Metrology rules

A Magistrate Court in Latur levied a fine of Rs4,000 after Hindustan Unilever pleaded guilty under the Legal Metrology Act and Rules


Consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has been fined Rs4,000 by a Court in Latur in Maharashtra after the company pleaded guilty of violating norms.


On 25 August 2013, HUL, owned by Anglo-Dutch company, Unilever, published an advertisement mentioning maximum retail price (MRP) of one of its product. However, it failed to declare net quantity of the product in the advertisement. This led to a complaint from BP Dhumal, Inspector of Legal Metrology (Weights & Measures) before the Judicial Magistrate.


In his judgement on 29 September 2014, Judge RA Malakolikar, said, "Accused (HUL) is convicted under section 252 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs4,000 for the offence, in default of payment of fine, he shall to undergo Simple Imprisonment for eight days."


The Court had issued notice to Pradeep Banerjee, Director of HUL. However, Banerjee filed an application for being represented through a power of attorney (PoA) holder stating that since he resides in Mumbai, he could not be present in the Court at Latur. Banerjee's PoA holder Rajeshwari Shukla orally submitted before the Court that it was the first offence of the company and he will not repeat such type of offence hereafter. He also requested the Court to impose minimum fine.


Judge Malakolikar, in his order said, "It cannot be said that due to the offence of accused, there are any bad influence on the society. Hence, it will be just and proper to show leniency in prescribed punishment of payment of fine. This is a fit case to take some lenient view. Hence, fine of Rs4,000 for the offence will meet the end of justice."


What is interesting in this case is, why a company as big as HUL preferred to plead guilty instead of contesting the claims? There may be two reasons. One, the Unilever subsidy earned a net profit of Rs988.16 crore during the September 2014 quarter and a fine of just Rs4,000 is meagre for them. Secondly, instead of contesting the claims and spending more money on litigation with the Legal Metrology Organisation, they may have thought it wise to plead guilty and get away with a minimum fine.


However, they may be wrong. Inspector General Sanjay Pandey, who is Controller of Legal Metrology (Weights & Measures), while speaking at a Moneylife Foundation seminar, said, his department is raising the issue before the Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, and other Ministries. “What we are doing is that we are writing to ROC, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministries that deal with them, saying that ‘look, this company is convicted so for future government deals you better beware," he added.


Essentially, this means that although the sum paid by HUL is trivial, it will have to mention the conviction in all its statutory and regulatory filings. In addition, since the company has pleaded guilty, there is not scope for it to file an appeal and have the conviction overturned.


Our mail sent to HUL remained unanswered till writing the story. We will incorporate their reply as and when we receive it.




2 years ago

My observations regarding violations of Metrology rules do occur in semi literate areas in Mumbai. There you will find that sweet shop owners weigh sweets and other eatables along with the boxes and nobody objects. In this way they are selling the boxes at the exhorbitant rate of sweets. Other products like milk, water bottles, cold drinks etc. are sold above MRP as 'refrigeration charges'. And, road side hawkers do use stones as a substitute for weights. After lodging complaints to the authorities one hears an excuse of staff shortage to carry out raids. God knows when this will end.

Rajesh Kothari

2 years ago

There is hardly any point in their wasting time filing such frivolous suits and becoming happy that they have managed to fine HUL for Rs.4,000/-.

Instead, someone should file case against Department of Legal Metrology asking that they should standardize packing sizes for all consumer items and should make price and mfg should print weight and price details in big & legible fonts - so that even old people with poor eye sight can read it easily.


2 years ago

Sorry, in my opinion in this case, The Controller of legal Metrology ,first should have seized all the stocks of such goods which do not bear the quantity on the pack under the Packaged Commodities Act as they are empowered under the act to do so. The question of prosecution, conviction and punishment follows thereafter.

jaideep shirali

2 years ago

We also need to puncture the 'fairness cream' market, I'm sure Unilever would not be able to sell such creams in most markets outside India. Proving this fairness without "test conditions" would be a challenge. Another MNC once admitted in Delhi courts that its 'antiseptic' soap is just a cosmetic soap, but is merrily making the same old claims. Lifebuoy soap supposedly is the panacea to all ills, "under test conditions" all in asterisks which I challenge any Unilever executive to read in TV ads, one more Unilever product. We need to teach law breakers a lesson, irrespective of their size or power.



In Reply to jaideep shirali 2 years ago

Obviously whiteness creams do NOT work. Otherwise we would be surrounded by fair folk! Moreover whiteness creams make the skin very delicate, it tans easily and ultimately looks darker. I saw my poor servant trying it and explained to him to never waste his money again on such silly, harmful products.


2 years ago

Sanjay Pandey deserves credit for all his initiatives including this one.

It may be noted that all the FMCG companies ( not only MNCs) are guilty of changing the weights with absolute disregard for the consumers. Soaps, biscuits, tooth pastes , shaving creams you name it. I have, in particular, experienced this while buying bathing soaps made by Godrej. They keep changing the number of bars in a pack, moreover, very often a pack contains bars of different weights.This makes it extremely difficult to know the exact cost per gram.

There needs to be standardization of weights in all packed products so that it is easy for the consumers to compare the price while taking a decision to buy. Moreover the font mentioning weight/quantity,the price and expiry date should be such that the consumers can read without a magnifying glass.



In Reply to VIVEK SHAH 2 years ago

Agreed. Dabur has advertisements allover its Chyavan prash but the actual ingredients are written in tiny, illegible letters.

ALL products, whether they are packed as 57 grams! or 570grams! must declare the cost per kilo or 100 or 10 grams as relevant and useful. Supermarkets should write this on shelves to help consumers choose value.

If only they spent less on advtg, models and film stars and more on actual quality ! If I see a product with white folks, I assume it is not for me and will not buy it.

I also want to 'animal free' cosmetics, soaps, etc.

R Balakrishnan

2 years ago

This Co changes the weights in things like Surf and all so frequently that we cannot make a comparison. And non standard weights that too. Wish the fine was replaced by imprisonment of some jokers out there.



In Reply to R Balakrishnan 2 years ago

Stop buying Surf. The internet is full of good recipes for making detergent at a fraction of the cost for clothes, dishes, windows, etc. Plus no added perfume or plastic bits to add to weight.

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