Policy for special manufacturing zones likely this year: DIPP

New Delhi: The Centre is likely to announce the policy for units in the proposed special investment zones by end of this year, a move that is aimed at increasing the share of manufacturing in the overall economic growth, reports PTI.

The government expects these special areas-National Manufacturing and Investment Zones (NMIZs)-will help in increasing the share of manufacturing from 15% of the gross domestic product (GDP) at present to 25% by 2022.

"We are seriously considering putting this (NMIZ) policy for public consumption by the end of this year (2010)," director in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Rajat Kumar said today at the sidelines of PHDCCI meet.

The DIPP, part of the industry ministry, has received large number of suggestions on its concept paper for setting up NMIZs, which are being planned as mega industrial zones and subsume SEZs, industrial parks and warehousing units.

Mr Kumar said an inter-ministerial discussion on the issue is likely in October or November.

The paper had suggested radical steps including freedom to downsize workforce and curtailing workers' right to join unions.

It also says that state governments should acquire land for the NMIZs, which could be promoted mainly by the private sector.

Besides, it has recommended low-interest loans for units opting for clean technology or products in the NMIZs.

Although the policy is still awaited, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma recently announced that the first NMIZ would come up in Rajasthan.


RBI asks banks to restructure aviation sector loans

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to work out a special concessional package for the crisis-ridden aviation sector, in response to which the lenders said they will look into the problems on a case-to-case basis, reports PTI.

"The RBI has allowed in the case of aviation sector a special concession. Banking industry could on a case-by-case basis, subject to the guidelines and parameters given by RBI, look to see how this industry could be helped by a rescheduling, restructuring...," State Bank of India (SBI) chairman O P Bhatt told reporters on the sidelines of a banking conference here.

The RBI had sent a communication to the banks with regard to debt restructuring for airlines in the last week of August.

"We are sensitive to the requirement of the aviation sector and have communicated the same to the banks," RBI deputy governor Usha Thorat said.

The Indian airline industry is facing mounting debts due to an economic downturn and resultant excess capacity, which still exists. However, the industry of late has been showing signs of recovery, which could gather pace if banks restructure their loans.

According to an estimate, the cumulative debt of the airline industry stands at about Rs60,000 crore. As of March, 2010, Air India had about Rs40,000 crore debt, while Kingfisher had a debt of about Rs6,000 crore.

While SBI's aggregate exposure to the aviation sector is about Rs3,000 crore, Bank of India's exposure is Rs4,000 crore.

"Now the discussion is going on amongst the banks consortium (how to go about on the recast)," Mr Bhatt said.

Bank of India executive director M Narendra said, "RBI has given out some guidelines and we are currently studying and discussing those guidelines within the consortium."

Major carriers like Air India and Jet Airways have plans to restructure their debt and have been in talks with banks to get soft loans instead of high-interest ones.

Last month, civil aviation minister Praful Patel had said, "The RBI has to come up with guidelines for the restructuring of debt of the aviation sector... In the case of Air India, it (debt restructuring) is very much active on the government's agenda."

The aviation sector is a major infrastructure sector and should be treated that way, he had said.


Wednesday Closing Report: Time for consolidation

The market opened on a subdued note this morning on weak global cues but buying in select stocks in the morning and noon session saw the benchmarks moving above the neutral line. However, the negative of the influential European markets took the domestic market in the red once again. While the market was in a consolidation mood today, it ended in the green for three days in a row.

The Sensex closed at 18,666, up 21.65 points (0.12%), still above the crucial 18,650 levels. The index touched a high of 18,721 and a low of 18,540 today. The Nifty ended 3.85 points up (0.07%) at 5,608. The benchmark scaled an intraday high of 5,625 and a low of 5,567 during the session.

The market breadth was positive. Of the 30 stocks traded on the Sensex, 18 ended in the green while 12 settled lower. The Nifty had 29 advancing stocks against 20 declining stocks while one stock returned unchanged. The broader indices outperformed the key benchmarks today. The BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.34% and the BSE Small-cap index advanced 0.59%.

The top performers on the Sensex were ACC (up 2.98%), Bharti Airtel (up 2.59%), State Bank of India (SBI) (up 2.07%), Hindustan Unilever (HUL) (up 1.74%) and Sterlite Industries (up 1.61%). The top Sensex losers were Reliance Infrastructure (R-Infra) (down 1.77%), ITC (down 1.21%), ICICI Bank (down 1.04%), HDFC Bank (down 0.68%) and Maruti Suzuki (down 0.67%).

The sectoral gainers were led by BSE TECk (up 0.86%), BSE IT (up 0.57%) and BSE Realty (up 0.46%). The top losers were BSE Capital Goods (CG) (down 0.45%), BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) (down 0.43%) and BSE Power (down 0.27%).

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said deregulation of interest rates on savings accounts is on its radar and it will soon be examining the possibility of implementing the same. However, the central bank has not fixed any time frame for the move.

At 3.5% per annum, interest on savings accounts is the only regulated rate in the banking system presently and a highly contentious one given its impact on the common man.

Markets in Asia were down for the second day in a row as the European crisis deepened once again. The Irish-German 10-year yield spread widened seven basis points to 380 points while the yield gap for Portugal jumped nine basis points to 363 basis points. This apart, National Bank of Greece SA said it plans to raise €2.8 billion ($3.6 billion) of capital and German exports slumped 1.5% in July, the first drop in three months.

The Shanghai Composite was down 0.11%, Hang Seng tanked 1.46%, KLSE Composite gave up 0.01%, Nikkei 225 tumbled 2.18%, Straits Times declined 0.81%, Seoul Composite was down 0.48% and Taiwan Weighted lost 0.42%. On the other hand, Jakarta Composite added 0.43%.

Wall Street settled in the red on Tuesday on worries that the European imbroglio may worsen. European banks slid on concern that stress tests understated potential losses from sovereign debt. This apart, Germany's banking association said the country's 10 biggest banks may need €105 billion in new capital as regulators revamp rules designed to prevent future crises. The Dow fell 107.24 points (1.03%) at 10,340. The S&P 500 Index fell 12.67 points (1.15%) at 1,092. The Nasdaq fell 24.86 points (1.11%) at 2,208.

Petrol and diesel prices in the country will rise marginally from midnight tonight, following the government's decision to raise the commission paid to petrol pump dealers.

The increase in petrol prices across the country is in the range of 11 to 12 paisa per litre, while diesel will be around 9 to 10 paisa per litre more expensive.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs21 crore on Tuesday. Domestic institutional investors were net buyers of equities worth Rs441 crore on the same day.

Indian pharmaceutical company Sun Pharma (up 2.05%), which was fighting a takeover battle with Israeli pharma major Taro, today said that the Supreme Court of Israel has given the ruling in favour of the company.

The Court has unanimously dismissed the appeal of Taro Pharmaceutical Industries and has withdrawn its temporary order that prohibited the closing of the offer before its ruling, the Indian drug maker said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Hindustan Copper (HCL) (down 1.99%) is in talks with Karnataka-based Hutti Gold Mines to form a joint venture for reviving copper mining activities, which were abandoned by the state public sector undertaking (PSU) almost a decade ago.

The HCL proposal for resuming copper mining at Chitradurga reserves of the Hutti Gold Mines in Karnataka, where mining was abandoned in 2001, comes at a time when the state-owned firm is in the process of augmenting production and reviving operations.

Drug maker Suven Life Sciences (up 9.56%) today said Australia and Mexico have granted product patents for its new chemical entity (NCE), used in the treatment of nervous system disorders. The NCE patent includes compounds discovered by Suven that are being developed as therapeutic agents for treatment of disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson’s and schizophrenia.

The company now has eight product patents for NCEs for central nervous system (CNS) therapy in both the countries, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.


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