Maruti likely to restart SX4, A-Star output; unrest continues

“After exceeding the normal production levels for Swift model on Tuesday, the company is planning to start production of SX4 and A-star models at Manesar plant. The production of these models is likely to start in a week’s time,” MSI said in a statement

New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Wednesday said it may restart manufacturing its sedan SX4 and compact car A-Star within a week at the Manesar unit, where the impasse between the management and workers is continuing, reports PTI.

“After exceeding the normal production levels for Swift model on Tuesday, the company is planning to start production of SX4 and A-star models at Manesar plant. The production of these models is likely to start in a week’s time,” MSI said in a statement.

The company today rolled out 625 units of its hatchback Swift from Manesar and Gurgaon plants, it added.

On an average, the firm produces about 1,200 units of Swift, A-Star and SX4 every day from the Manesar facility. The plant has a total of about 2,500 workers, of which 950 are regular employees.

At present, about 1,100 people are working inside the two Manesar plants.

“The company will continue to increase manpower in the Manesar plants,” the statement said.

However, to end the unrest, no fresh talks were held by the company management with the agitating workers yesterday.

The company had earlier this week asked 350 trainees to resume duties within the next three days after talks brokered by the Haryana government to end the stand-off had failed.

The MSI management and workers have been locked in a stand-off since 29th August, when the management prevented workers from entering the factory premises unless they signed a ‘good conduct’ bond. The management had alleged sabotage and deliberate compromise on the quality of cars being produced.

Workers at the plant, however, said the management took these steps in ‘revenge’ for their 13-day strike in June demanding the recognition of a new union—the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union—at the unit.

On Tuesday, the three worker leaders, who were arrested on Sunday, were released on bail.

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Top corporates like Bharti, Suzuki, SAIL pay lower advance tax

However, on account of increased advance tax payment by certain companies like ONGC, Reliance Industries and Tata Steel, the overall collection from top 100 corporates during the July-September quarter was up by 9.86% as compared to corresponding period last fiscal

New Delhi: Top corporates and banks, including Bharti Airtel, Maruti Suzuki, SAIL and SBI, have paid lower advance taxes during the July-September quarter reflecting the impact of slowdown, reports PTI.

The other large companies which have paid lower taxes during the second quarter include Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, National Aluminium, Hyundai Motors, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam and Bosch. ICICI Bank paid the same amount as last year.

However, on account of increased advance tax payment by certain companies like ONGC, Reliance Industries and Tata Steel, the overall collection from top 100 corporates during the July-September quarter was up by 9.86% as compared to corresponding period last fiscal.

The increase in advance tax realisation during April-September works out to be 12.02%, according to the data on top 100 companies tabulated by the income tax (I-T) Department.

The data reveals a sharp decline in payment of advance taxes by state-owned petroleum companies which are hit by rising prices of crude in the international market.

While Indian Oil paid no advance tax during the quarter as against Rs351 crore during the corresponding period last fiscal, payment by Bharat Petroleum declined by 83% to Rs35 crore during the period.

The slowdown was also witnessed in the auto sector, with Maruti Suzuki paying Rs120 crore during the second quarter, down 55.88% over last year. Similarly, advance tax payment by Hyundai declined by 13.52% to Rs81 crore.

Tata Motors showed no increase in payment of advance tax during the second quarter.

As per the CBDT data, the net advance tax collection in the first six months of the fiscal stood at Rs1.8 lakh crore, up 6.6% year-on-year.

In the banking sector, SBI and Oriental Bank of Commerce paid lesser tax in the second quarter of the fiscal over July-September 2010.

On the other hand, tax contribution by Punjab National Bank, HDFC Bank and Canara Bank showed an increase. Advance tax payment by India’s largest private lender ICICI Bank, however, remained flat at Rs650 crore.

In the power sector, NTPC’s payment increased of 42.49% at Rs721 crore in the period under review, while that of Neyveli Lignite Corporation was down 50.19%.

Media house Bennett Coleman & Co paid Rs80 crore towards advance tax in the second quarter. It had paid Rs130 crore in the same quarter last year.

The reduction in payment of advance tax by corporates comes at a time when the industrial growth fell to meagre 3.3% in July amidst high interest rates. Factory output measured on Index of Industrial Production (IIP) 9.9% in July last year.

Besides, there is also slowdown in GDP growth. The economy grew by 7.7% in the April-June period, the slowest in six quarters.

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New SEZ draft to relook at land ceiling norms: Govt

With land acquisition becoming an emotive issue for farmers and increasing litigations against such moves, SEZ developers are finding it difficult to acquire even 5,000 hectares

Kolkata: The commerce ministry on Wednesday said there is a need for a relook at the land ceiling rules for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in view of protests against land acquisitions and it will shortly come out with a draft to bring changes in the SEZ Act of 2005, reports PTI.

“There is a need (for a relook at) the SEZ rules and policies.... the minimum land requirement will also be relooked at, as land is a major issue in many states,” said commerce secretary Rahul Khullar.

A group of ministers had earlier lowered the land ceiling for SEZs from 10,000 hectares to 5,000 hectares in the face of protests, including against Nandigram.

With land acquisition becoming an emotive issue for farmers and increasing litigations against such moves, SEZ developers are finding it difficult to acquire even 5,000 hectares.

A number of developers, including that of Mukesh Ambani-promoted Navi Mumbai SEZ Pvt Ltd, are grappling with the problems of land acquisition. Several of them have also dropped their projects because of such problems.

Criticising various state governments for not going the SEZ route for attracting investments, Mr Khullar said, “Those states that are not keen on setting up SEZs are going to lose out in the long run. Look at states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala and the kind of development happened there due to SEZs.”

On India’s exports forecast in the wake of uncertain economic conditions in the West, he said the government had urged the exporters to diversify into other markets.

“The world does not stop with the United States and Europe...Keep diversifying and look for new markets...go to Columbia and similar countries,” Mr Khullar said.

He said that in the next three to six months, there would a fair amount of exchange-rate volatility.

“Exporters should not get greedy or scared due to volatility in exchange rates. Last time, many exporters who took risks during the crisis got clobbered. So, be cautious,” he warned.

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