Plan panel distances from poverty line definition

"The affidavit before the court is a factual affidavit in answer to questions asked by the court. Our legal representative will be there in the court (to explain our position), we will abide by what ever the court order," Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said

New Delhi: Under attack over the Rs32 per capita per day cut off for poverty line, the Planning Commission on Monday distanced itself from the controversial definition presented to the Supreme Court saying it did not represent its views, reports PTI.

Addressing the media, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia also said that these figures were not used for extending benefits to the deprived sections of the population.

"People allege that the Planning Commission is trying to understate poverty which is simply not true...," he said while addressing a joint press conference with rural development minister Jairam Ramesh.

The Planning Commission has come under flak following the affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court, which said that persons consuming items worth more than Rs32 per day in urban areas (Rs26 in rural areas) are not poor.

As per the affidavit, a family of five spending less than Rs4,824 (at June 2011 prices) in urban areas will fall in the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category. The expenditure limit for a family in rural areas has been fixed at Rs3,905.

Mr Ahluwalia had met prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday to clarify Planning Commission's view on the controversy.

"The affidavit before the court is a factual affidavit in answer to questions asked by the court. Our legal representative will be there in the court (to explain our position), we will abide by what ever the court order," he said.

By focusing on the daily figures of (Rs32 and Rs26) there was an attempt to embarrass the Planning Commission, he said adding that this was not the criteria for giving benefits.

The Planning Commission and ministry for rural development will form an expert committee which will look into the findings of socio-economic and caste census, which is currently on and is expected to be completed by January 2012, Mr Ramesh said.

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GAIL keen to buy ADB stake in Petronet LNG for about Rs614 crore

GAIL, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum hold a 12.5% stake each, to restrict the public sector holding in the company at 50%. Gaz de France (GdF) holds 10%. Under the Share Holders' Agreement (SHA), the five have the first right of refusal over ADB stake

New Delhi: The Asian Development Bank plans to sell its 5.2% stake in Petronet LNG, which the state-owned gas utility GAIL India is keen to acquire and may have to pay over Rs600 crore for it, reports PTI.

ADB has offered to sell its 39 million shares or 5.2% stake in Petronet, which is valued at over Rs614 crore at today's trading price of Rs157.85 per share on the BSE, sources privy to the development said.

GAIL, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum hold a 12.5% stake each, to restrict the public sector holding in the company at 50%. Gaz de France (GdF) holds 10%. Under the Share Holders' Agreement (SHA), the five have the first right of refusal over ADB stake.

GAIL has proposed to the oil secretary GC Chaturvedi, who is the chairman of Petronet, that it can buy the entire 5.2% stake of ADB. In case other companies are also interested, ADB stake can be split equally among GAIL, IOC, ONGC and BPCL with each buying 1.3% stake.

ADB stake being bought by state firms would turn Petronet into a public sector company with shareholding of state firms rising above current 50%, sources said, adding that GAIL is agreeable to this as it will bring more accountability in running of Petronet.

When contacted, an ADB spokesperson from Manila said: "ADB has held a 5.2% stake in Petronet LNG since 2004.

ADB always looks to exit its equity investments once it believes that the development mission has been accomplished."

ADB had in fact first proposed to exit Petronet in 2008 but the then company CEO Prosad Dasgupta was in favour of a third party like Chevron or the steel baron Lakshmi Mittal's group buying the stake instead of the four promoters.

Sources said Mr Dasgupta had on 29th February in that year written to the then GAIL chairman UD Choubey to say that sale of "even one share" held by ADB to the four promoters or GdF would trigger the takeover code, turn the joint venture into a state-run firm and may result in delisting from the bourses.

ADB and German Development Bank KfW had in 2008 approved a loan of $169 million to Petronet for its expansion projects at Dahej and new terminal at Kochi, but the multilateral lending agency's internal norms prohibit it from having both debt and equity exposure in a company.

"In 2004, ADB had sanctioned $75 million loan to Petronet. But once it took 5.2% stake for less than $8 million, ADB could not disburse the balance due to its internal regulations," a source said.

ADB norms also stipulate it to divest its equity holding in a company three years from the date of the company going public. Petronet's IPO came in 2004 and ADB was supposed to exit Petronet in 2007, but was persuaded to stay on.

Last year, ADB had for the second time offered to quit Petronet and the current move is its third attempt, sources said.

"Since the four promoters and GdF could be seen as entities acting in concert by virtue of the SHA, the purchase of ADB's 5.2% by any one of them will immediately trigger the takeover code-meaning collectively an open offer has to be made for at least 20% shares held by the public," Mr Dasgupta had written in February 2008.

"This would result in the collective holding of the promoters and GdF increasing to 85%. Since a company cannot remain listed if the public holding goes below 25 per cent, the takeover code would require the promoters and GdF to again collectively make an offer for the remaining 15%, leading to delisting of the company," he wrote.

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Toyota Kirloskar Motor registers 105% growth in sales

Toyota Kirloskar Motor registered sales of 12, 807 units in September 2011 compared to 6,235 units in September 2010

Toyota Kirloskar Motor's sales grew by 105% when compared to the corresponding period last year. The company registered sales of 12,807 units in September 2011 as compared to 6,235 units in September 2010.

Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director, marketing, TKM said, "We have registered a growth of 105% in September sales. This growth can be attributed to the sales of Etios and Etios Liva clocking a total of 5926 units. The flagship brand Innova, along with Fortuner and Corolla, has also contributed to this growth. This is a positive sign for us at the onset of the festive season."   

The Etios and Etios Liva recorded a sale of 2,951 and 2,975 respectively along with the Innova clocking 4,765 units. The Corolla Altis and Fortuner also recorded a sale of 994 units and 1,078 units respectively.

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