Sesa Goa bags Bellary Steel for Rs220 crore

The sell-off process was full of drama and a legal battle was also fought by Sesa Goa against the process adopted by IFCI in December, in which JSW Steel was declared winner for its bid of Rs210 crore for acquiring the asset of BSAL. In the rebidding process, the Goa-based company put a successful bid of Rs220 crore

New Delhi: Vedanta Group firm Sesa Goa today said it has acquired the assets of the upcoming steel plant of Bellary Steel & Alloys (BSAL), put on the block by a consortium of lenders led by IFCI, for Rs220 crore, reports PTI.

"We have been looking at setting up value addition facilities, as desired by the state government (Karnataka) and this acquisition provides us with an excellent opportunity to leapfrog in that direction," Sesa Goa managing director PK Mukherjee said in a statement.

The assets of the acquired company have been transferred on "as is where is" basis to Sesa Goa effective today, the statement said, adding Sesa Goa is conducting a detailed assessment to determine the best way forward for commissioning the steel plant at the earliest.

BSAL, a Karnataka-based company, had embarked on to set up an integrated 0.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity steel plant with provision of taking it to 2 MTPA, at Bellary on 700 acres of freehold land.

However, BSAL could not complete the project and ran into debt, following which the lenders consortium led by IFCI put it on the block for sale.

The sell-off process was full of drama and a legal battle was also fought by Sesa Goa against the process adopted by IFCI in December, in which JSW Steel was declared winner for its bid of Rs210 crore for acquiring the asset of BSAL.

However, Sesa Goa contended, in its plea before the Delhi High Court in January this year, that IFCI initially announced the Vedanta Group firm as only qualified bidder and declared it winner verbally for its bid of Rs206 crore.

Following this, the Delhi High Court allowed the Anil Agarwal-owned mining firm to rebid in an inter se bidding process, where the Goa-based company put a successful bid of Rs220 crore.

Inter se bidding process means the shortlisted companies will have to rebid with their fresh offer.

The acquisition will also pave the way for Sesa Goa to expand its business into the steel sector and would be a strategic fit for the company as the BASL's steel plant is located in the iron ore rich belt of Karnataka.

The Sesa Goa stock was trading at Rs262.30, up 1.31% over its previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange in the late afternoon trade.

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FM withdraws proposal for service tax on healthcare

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today announced withdrawal of the proposed 5% service tax on air-conditioned hospitals with more than 25 beds and on diagnostic services. He also provided some relief to readymade garment manufacturers by raising the abatement available for levy of taxes on retail price of some branded garments

New Delhi: Bowing to demands from all quarters, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today announced withdrawal of the proposed 5% service tax on air-conditioned hospitals with more than 25 beds and on diagnostic services, reports PTI.

He also provided some relief to readymade garment manufacturers by raising the abatement available for levy of taxes on retail price of some branded garments and textile made-ups.

"The purpose of the new levy (healthcare) was not merely to mobilise revenue, but to pave the way for introduction of the GST.

"However, I have decided to exempt the new levy in its entirety both in respect of services provided by hospitals as well as by way of diagnostic tests until GST comes into force," Mr Mukherjee said while moving the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha for consideration and passage.

The announcement was greeted with loud thumping of desks by members as the minister hoped that it will no more be called "misery tax".

Both these proposals, mooted by the minister as part of the Budget for 2011-12 on 28th February, had evoked sharp reaction from the interest groups.

During the general discussion on the Budget last week, almost all political parties wanted the finance minister to withdraw the healthcare service tax proposal, which was dubbed as "misery tax".

Meanwhile, garment traders had criticised the proposed 10% excise duty on readymade garments saying it would hurt the small business.

"To address this concern, I propose to enhance the abatement of 40% to 55% on the retail sale price. With this relief a unit will continue to be eligible for SSI exemption in 2011-12 even if it had a turnover based on retail sale price of Rs8.9 crore in the current year," the minister said.

Under the revised norms, 10% excise would be levied on 45% of the tariff value of retail price on branded readymade garments as against 60% proposed in the original budget proposal.

Mr Mukherjee, however, retained his proposal to extend 18.5% Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on SEZ developers and units.

With regard to the proposal to reduce basic customs duty on raw silk from 35% to 5%, the minister said it was aimed at augmenting the supply to weavers in both handloom and the powerloom sector.

Pointing out that he had received divergent opinions on the tax initiatives for the sector, he said, "I would like to assure the House... and respond, if required, to mitigate any adverse impact on the domestic sericulture sector."

Referring to the financial sector reforms, he said, the government proposes to pursue three more financial sector legislations-PFRDA Bill, the Bill on Factoring and Assignment and the State Bank of India Subsidiary Bank Law Amendment Bill-in the coming days.

Mr Mukherjee had earlier in the day tabled the Banking Law Amendment Bill 2011 and the Constitutional Amendment Bill for introduction of Goods and Services tax (GST).

On the crisis emanating from political uncertainties in Middle East and Libya, Mr Mukherjee said the country can withstand the impact of such crisis.

"We hope for an early and peaceful resolution of the disturbing developments in the Middle East and in Libya. I am prepared for uncertainties in the globalised world," he added.

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COMMENTS

Shadi Katyal

6 years ago

Is the nation not much taxed yet. we had gift tax when Indians sent money to parents so thay can live. we have tax on speed mail as it is not part of Post Office
Why any sane man will think of tax on hospitals with Ac or not. Does teh Govt not tax enough to Doctors and other technical staff.
I presume we mighyt have tax for getting sick as we do have death tax on the wealth of deceased.
When is the aam admi going to be taxed for sleeping on the footpath or even walking around and thus wearing the roads adn foot paths?
Maybe Govt should charge tax for evening or morning walkers .
Shame Shame on FM for even thinking of such tax but with 64 ministers and thousands of Babus doing nothing, Govt does need money. Could we not have saved Crores on CWG if thee was accountability and not had to ask for this shameless tax

Centre for Social Research: Misplaced humour

The commercial by the Centre for Social Research takes the subject of female infanticide head on. But the issue requires some hard hitters that can produce more than cheap laughs

Okay, so here's another effort to curb gender bias. Given the alarming growth in the rate of female infanticide in this country, the more the merrier. The Centre for Social Research (CSR) has released a commercial that takes on the issue of male child preference head on. And instead of preaching on the subject (which seldom works), they have found an entertaining way to communicate the message. But there's a problem with this route-we'll come to that shortly.



The public service film features eunuchs, in fact, many of them. A scared looking bugger arrives in a eunuchs' colony. Naturally, he gets teased and tormented. But the chap trudges along, clearly looking for someone. He finally spots a group of eunuchs playing a game of ludo. He identifies one of them, and reminds her that she had visited his house many years ago when a girl child was born in the family. The eunuch makes fun of him on hearing this. The man says he had driven her away at the time, but has now arrived, after all these years, to make amends. He flashes a wad of currency notes and hands it over to the eunuch, much to the latter's pleasant surprise. So then why the change of heart? Well, clearly that particular girl child has gone on to become a highly successful individual, thus making the family proud. And the guilt-ridden daddy aims to set things right.

Yes, there's an insight out here. Eunuchs are usually summoned when a male child is born into a conservative Indian family, because they are supposed to bring good luck. And they aren't invited when a girl is born, or are paid a pittance, as the family typically goes into 'mourning'. So far, so good.

The problem is this: While the eunuchs and the way they scare the hell out of the man makes for good, mass entertainment, that's where the commercial stays. In the quest to be humorous on such a serious matter, the real message of the ad, which is to treat both genders equally, gets lost. Sure, there is that emotion of a guilt-ridden dad waking up many years later to atone for his misdeeds, but sadly, it gets diluted by all the eunuch colony shenanigans. I suspect most viewers in the target segment will enjoy the commercial and then continue with female infanticide.

So, yes, kudos for the effort. But the next time around they need to produce some hard hitters. There's no place for cheap laughs on this subject.

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