Companies & Sectors
SAIL-led consortium to invest $75 million on Afghan mines

The consortium had won the mining rights for three iron ore mines in the war-ravaged country in November last year through an international bidding. The three blocks are said to contain 1.28 billion tonnes of rich reserves

 
New Delhi A SAIL-led consortium of leading Indian steel and mining companies plan to invest $75 million in first phase for the development of Hajigak iron ore mines in Afghanistan, reports PTI.
 
The consortium had won the mining rights for three iron ore mines in the war-ravaged country in November last year through an international bidding. The three blocks are said to contain 1.28 billion tonnes of rich reserves.
 
"In first phase, it will be $75 million and will be met by consortium members. The first phase will be prospecting of the iron ore mines and would take about two and half years time (to complete)," SAIL Chairman CS Verma said, while announcing company's first quarter results.
 
Besides SAIL, other members of the consortium include state-owned NMDC and RINL and private sector steel players -- JSW, JSW Ispat, Jindal Steel and Power, and Monnet Ispat and Energy.
 
SAIL has the maximum 20% stake in the venture, while NMDC and RINL hold 18% each. Private players JSW Steel and JSPL hold 16% each, while JSW Ispat and Monnet have 8% and 4% stakes respectively.
 
The Indian consortium is now looking to sign the final agreements to move ahead with the project development in the war-raved country, Verma said, adding the consortium had a final round of discussions recently with the Afghan government and all issues have been sorted out.
 
Besides developing iron ore mines, the project development plan includes setting up of a 6 million tonnes per annum steel plant, an 800 MW power plant and building necessary infrastructure at a total cost of $10.8 billion.
 
However, construction of steel plant is subject to Afghan government making available linkages for coking coal and limestone.
 
"No, there is no coal block. We have demanded for coal blocks allocation. It is necessary to set up the steel plant," Verma said.
 
After winning the bid in November last year, the consortium had sought Indian government's help in funding the huge total project cost (at $10.8 billion). This is still with the government for approval.
 

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Prasar Bharati exploring legal options against TAM

According to Prasar Bharti, the TAM data completely under-represents terrestrial and rural reach of Doordarshan where the major strength of the public broadcaster lies

 
New Delhi: The Prasar Bharati Board has given its nod in principle to exploring legal options against rating agency Television Audience Measurement (TAM) for allegedly under-representing Doordarshan's viewership, reports PTI.
 
"The Prasar Bharati Board has given in-principle approval to collate facts, seek legal opinion and hold consultations with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the issue of misrepresentation and under-reporting of data for Doordarshan by TAM," a Prasar Bharati statement said.
 
India's largest public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament and comprises Doordarshan television network and All India Radio which were earlier media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Official sources said the matter concerning TAM ratings was discussed in detail at the Prasar Bharati Board meeting held late in the evening.
 
"The TAM data completely under-represents terrestrial and rural reach of Doordarshan where the major strength of the public broadcaster lies," said Jawhar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharati.
 
Official sources told PTI that the Board felt the matter was quite serious in nature and if after further examinations it was felt that defects in the rating system had led to damages, steps should be taken to recover them.
 
The Board's approval comes shortly after New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) sued TAM, a joint venture between Nielsen and Kantar Media Research, over its rating methods in a New York court.
 
In its Board meeting, Prasar Bharati also decided to grant phased approval to commissioned programmes for the DD Urdu channel.
 
Officials said the decision to approve programmes for the Urdu channel was taken at a meeting of the Board chaired by Mrinal Pande.
 
"In the first phase, 100-150 top end applicants covering all the six genres would be granted approval with each being allotted 13 episodes," a statement released here said.
 
"It was a long and complex matter. Besides budget considerations too had to be balanced," said Pande. The list of the approved applicants in the first phase would be posted on Prasar Bharati website next week.
 
Out of a total of 1,046 proposals received for commissioning of Urdu programmes, a total of 579 proposals were shortlisted by the three Committees under the chairmanships of MK Kaw, Shahid Mehndi and Shiv Sharma.
 
"The Board felt that approvals in respect of all these 579 proposals was not feasible, because of the huge expenditure involved but also because of issues relating to quality control, limitations on slotting and maintaining a balance between various categories and genres," a Prasar Bharati statement said.
 
The proposals were shortlisted on minimum benchmark basis, final selection for the first phase of commissioning was on the basis of fund availability and requirements in various genres, as per the fixed point chart during the current financial year, the statement added.
 
The Prasar Bharati Board also gave in principle approval to the long-awaited fee-structure in 26 different categories of non-permanent staff.
 
A monthly financial assistance of Rs10,000 has been approved to CE De Mello, wife of Late Melville De Mello. The lady is about 93 years old and is in an indigent condition, Prasar Bharati said.
 
Melville De Mello had joined AIR in April, 1950 and worked till April, 1971 when he superannuated. Thereafter, he was retained in AIR as producer (Emeritus) for a period of 5 years.
 
He belonged to 'staff artists' category. In 1991, the Ministry of I&B declared artists/staff artists as deemed Government servants with effect from 6 March 1982. As Late De Mello had retired in 1971, he was not covered under these orders, Prasar Bharati said.
 
The Board also approved constitution of a committee headed by Member (Personnel) and comprising as members DG, AIR, DG, Doordarshan, Muzzafar Ali and Prema Cariappa.
 
The committee will work out a fresh scheme of financial assistance to distinguished artists of AIR and Doordarshan who are in indigent condition and are not getting any pension or financial assistance from the Government.
 

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SBI cuts interest rates on NRE/NRO deposits

SBI revised its interest rates on NRE/NRO deposits for tenors of 5 years and above to 8.50% per annum from 7th August 

 
Mumbai: State Bank of India said it has reduced interest rates in non-resident-external (NRE) and non-resident ordinary (NRO) deposits of five years and more maturity, to 8.50%, reports PTI.
 
"The bank has decided to revise downwards the interest rates on NRE/NRO deposits for tenors of 5 years and above to 8.50% per annum with effect from 7th August 2012," it said in a BSE filing.
 

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