New CKD norms to hurt launch of new high-end products: SIAM

As per the Budget proposals, CKD units would mean that companies would have to assemble engines, transmission and gear boxes locally, which would increase the cost for high-end products and make it difficult for them to launch new products

New Delhi: The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today said the new definition for completely knocked down (CKD) units of vehicles introduced in the Budget for 2011-12 will significantly increase the cost for high-end players and also hamper the introduction of new products, reports PTI.

Stating that there is a lack of clarity on the issue, SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur said the industry body has met finance ministry officials to resolve the issue.

"The way we read the English language, (as per the new CKD definition) we have to assemble engines, transmission and gear boxes locally. This is commercially unviable for very low volume products," Mr Mathur said.

For the high-end segment, this will not only "significantly increase the cost", but it will also become "difficult for them to introduce new products", he added.

In the Budget for 2011-12, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had redefined the meaning of CKD units, ostensibly to encourage local production of automobiles, which may alter the rate of customs duty on different imported parts.

"A definition for 'CKD unit' of a vehicle, including two-wheelers, eligible for concessional import duty is being inserted to exclude from its purview such units containing a pre-assembled engine or gearbox or transmission mechanism or chassis where any of such parts or sub-assemblies is installed," the Budget document read.

Currently, luxury segment players including BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi rely heavily on the imported CKD route to sell their products in India.

CKD units attract a basic customs duty of 10%, over and above other levies of about 30%, which takes the total duty to about 40%.

Mr Mathur said SIAM is hopeful that the government will take a positive note of the industry's representation to the government.

On Tuesday, German luxury car-maker Audi had said that if the new CKD norms were to be applied, it may have to alter its business strategy in India, including lying low in the Indian market.


Moneylife Foundation felicitates Preeti Telang, Chandita Mukherjee, Nikita Ketkar

On International Women’s Day, the three women were applauded for their special efforts towards uplifting women financially, building alternate media for education and fostering night schools for working students

On the occasion of International Women's Day on Tuesday, Moneylife Foundation felicitated three women achievers for their special contribution in separate fields: Ms Preeti Telang, general manager of Swadhaar FinAccess, Ms Chandita Mukherjee, founder of Comet Media, and Ms Nikita Ketkar, founder of Masoom.

Ms Deena Mehta, director of the Bombay Stock Exchange, presented a memento to each of the women and appreciated their special efforts. "We do not realise, but it is the NGOs which make the country liveable. We all know the kind of gaps that exist in public administration. We should thank civil society organisations that take up the responsibility to help people and better our lives."

Deena Mehta felicitates Preeti Telang, general manager of Swadhaar FinAccess, which works with urban poor women

Accepting the acknowledgement by Moneylife Foundation of her work, Ms Telang explained the mission of Swadhaar FinAccess, saying, "There are many schemes for women in rural India, but very few for slum dwellers in urban areas. It takes a lot of persuasion to get the government and banks to start zero-balance savings accounts and issue ATM cards for them. Together, we have tried to teach these women about banking, so that they can deposit their small day-to-day savings easily."

Swadhaar FinAccess is a non-banking finance company that provides micro-finance. Its activities are focused on financial literacy, savings and livelihood development programmes. Ms Telang said the NGO currently reaches out to 8,000 women, and it aims to cover 30,000 slum dwellers by 2012. Swadhaar partners with Citibank, which has provided zero-balance accounts for urban poor women. Swadhaar has also worked with ICICI Bank, to facilitate banking in areas where Citibank cannot reach. (Read her story here:Udhaar se Swadhaar tak )

Chandita Mukherjee, award-winning short documentary film maker and founder of Comet Media, accepts a memento from Deena Mehta. Comet aims to develop alternate media for education and inculcating a scientific spirit

Chandita Mukherjee spoke about the need to foster alternate media for education and innovate learning processes. She said, "There is a need to make learning enjoyable and move beyond rote learning, as well as reach out to those who don't have access to education. It is important to incorporate new, modern teaching techniques, and we are working for that."

Ms Mukherjee is an award-winning independent filmmaker, and is one of the best short documentary makers in the country. She has been part of various film committees, and her interest lies in promoting a scientific outlook and learning about India's technological heritage. Comet Media, which she set up, makes communication materials in a range of media, conducts workshops for teachers and students, and is exploring the area of community radio which is still very new in India. (Read her story here:A Different Toy Story)

Deena Mehta congratulates Nikita Ketkar, founder of Masoom, for her efforts to set up night schools for working students

Nikita Ketkar underlined the need to foster night schools, which are the only means of learning for most impoverished students, who are busy working during the day. Ms Ketkar's organisation, Masoom, does exactly this. "We have 600 students currently, and plan to spread out to the whole of Maharashtra. We are asking the government to open night schools in other states also, because there are many youngsters who have to work during the day to support themselves."

Ms Ketkar held administrative positions in the Defence Research & Development Organisation, Air Headquarters, and the NCC Directorate before setting up Masoom. She moved out of the Indian Civil Service to work with charitable organisations. (Read her story here:Turning night into dawn)

Masoom addresses the infrastructure and quality of education provided in night schools, with the intention to improve the learning environment and prospects of less-privileged students. To involve the students and parents, regular workshops are organised where parents and teachers come together, also narrowing the bridge through such meets.



chandra shekhar

6 years ago

Sh. Shankar Pai, hv underlined d 'male's
beautifully & its not far from reality, infact
i appreciate such artistic mind !

chandra shekhar

shanker pai

6 years ago

what is the message
of m/s
deena mehta
men .
on the int womens year ....
for the male gender in general
for a (1) husband
(2) father
(3) brother
(4) male inlaws
male colleagues in particular .
shanker pai
make-a-will foundation
(28 dec - philanthropy day )

chandra shekhar

6 years ago

2 encourage or appreciate, work done by
anyone in 'public or Nation's interest, such felicitations r necessary !
But, invite people from all walk of life,
having clean image & identity !!
Do not invite 'Politicians', who have no
'character', what kind of culture would
they give birth 2 !!!
chandra shekhar, south delhi, INDIA

Rajaratnam’s trial seen as biggest hedge fund insider trading case

The case is the first of its kind where authorised wiretapping and information was used and the trial is expected to be wrapped up in a couple of months. The central question in the case is whether, founder of Galleon Group of hedge funds, accumulated $45 million using leaked confidential information

The case is the first of its kind where authorised wiretapping and information was used and the trial is expected to be wrapped up in a couple of months. The central question in the case is whether, founder of Galleon Group of hedge funds, accumulated $45 million using leaked confidential information

New York: Sri Lanka-born billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, the main accused in the biggest hedge fund insider trading case in US history, went on trial and he could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted in the case which also involves several Indian-origin suspects, reports PTI.

Indian-American Rajat Gupta, former director of Goldman Sachs, is one of the persons who allegedly tipped 53-year-old Mr Rajaratnam.

Mr Gupta is not an accused in the case but US markets regulator Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Enforcement Division alleged last week that Mr Gupta fed Rajaratnam inside information about earnings at Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble when he was a board member at those companies.

The high profile trial commenced with the jury selection process in a packed district court in Manhattan yesterday with US district judge Richard Holwell coming out with a 15-page questionnaire to determine whether the juror had any prejudices that would prevent the person from taking an impartial view of the facts to be presented in the case.

Judge Holwell introduced Mr Rajaratnam to 100 prospective jurors by calling him "a wealthy individual."

A total of 12 jurors are to be selected along with six alternate jurors. Judge Holwell also asked some people to approach the bench and questioned them privately. Jury selection will be followed by opening statements from both sides.

The case is the first of its kind where authorised wiretapping and information was used and the trial is expected to be wrapped up in a couple of months.

The central question in the case is whether, founder of Galleon Group of hedge funds, accumulated $45 million using leaked confidential information. Unlike many of his co-accused, the business tycoon has not pleaded guilty.

Judge Holwell said the trial would last two months and includes testimony from more than 100 witnesses, which include Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs Group.

The trial was expected to feature dozens of secretly taped conversations between Mr Rajaratnam and partners in the hedge fund industry. The Manhattan resident has remained free on $100 million bail since his arrest despite efforts by the government to have him held without bail before trial.

One of Mr Rajaratnam's lawyers, John Dowd, has said Mr Rajaratnam only acted on information that was already public whenever he instigated trades.

Mr Rajaratnam, who is charged with 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy, could face 20 years in prison if convicted. So far, 19 people have pleaded guilty in the case including Rajiv Goel, former Intel executive, and Anil Kumar, a former director at McKinsey & Co.

Mr Rajaratnam was charged in October 2009 with securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud by prosecutors who said he made more than $50 million illegally by teaming up with others in the industry to glean secrets from employees of public companies.

The case has resulted in more than two dozen arrests and 19 guilty pleas, including many people who are cooperating with the government.

Mr Rajaratnam was represented in court by seven lawyers.


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