Steel ministry for expeditious clearance to Posco project

New Delhi: Concerned over delays in environment clearance to South Korean major Posco's Rs54,000 crore steel project in India, steel minister Virbhadra Singh today said that all “hurdles” should be removed from its way “expeditiously,” reports PTI.

He said the demand for speeding up the proposal is not because of prime minister Manmohan Singh's scheduled visit to South Korea next month, but is in view of new technology the project promises to bring into the country for steel making.

"... Our demand is that hurdles (in environment clearances to Posco) should be removed expeditiously. Whether or not PM goes to South Korea next month, the demand is not dependent on that. We want the technology to come in India as soon as possible," Mr Singh said on the sidelines of a Steel Summit here.

"PM is aware of the matter. The Posco project is pending with the environment ministry for long," he added.

The South Korean steel major had signed a pact with the Orissa government in 2005 for setting up a 12 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) steel plant at Jagatsinghpur in Orissa.

However, the project has failed to take off due to various regulatory hurdles.

The project promises to introduce a new technology for making steel — Finex, through which low grade iron ore and coking coal can be used for steelmaking at much lower cost.

The 72-million-tonne domestic steel industry mainly consumes lumps at present, as it lacks the expensive Finex technology required to refine the fines. About 50% of the iron ore produced in the country is exported and fines constitute 85% of exports.

India produced 230 million tonne of iron ore last fiscal, out of which 106 million tonne were shipped out.

Earlier this week, Mr Singh was peeved by the appointment of “activists” in the forest panel for clearing the project had advised environment minister Jairam Ramesh to be "pragmatic".

The approach has to be pragmatic and not dogmatic; he had said lamenting that known activists were being appointed in such committees.

He was referring to the four member panel comprising three activists — Uma Pingle, Devendra Pandey and V Suresh who have opposed Korean steel giant's project, billed as the largest FDI in India.

Mr Singh had stressed that the prime minister too was keen that the project takes off.

The prime minister is likely to reassure South Korean President Lee Myung-bak that India will address all issues related to Posco project.

Mr Lee is likely to take up Posco’s case with the prime minister during the East Asian Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.


Finance ministry hopeful of getting DTC bill passed next fiscal

New Delhi: The finance ministry today said it is hopeful of getting the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) bill approved by Parliament in the next fiscal to enable its implementation from 1 April 2012, reports PTI.

"The draft DTC is with the Parliamentary Standing Committee. It is likely that by February-March, we should receive their comment and by the middle of next year in the monsoon session, it should be voted and made law," revenue secretary Sunil Mitra told reporters on the sidelines of a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) conference here.

In August, the government decided to delay the implementation of DTC by a year to 1 April 2012.

The DTC, which seeks to replace the Income Tax Act 1961 and simplify direct tax laws, was originally proposed to be implemented from 1 April 2011.

"In the event of the Standing Committee giving its report, our effort will be to do it (get the bill passed) at the earliest. Until it is passed, we cannot bring the subordinate legislation," Mr Mitra said.

"Sooner it (the bill is passed) happens, the more time we will have for the sub-ordinate legislation...," he added.

After criticism by various quarters, the government had dropped its earlier proposals on taxing long-term savings like provident funds and imposing minimum alternate tax (MAT) on gross assets of companies.

The government would lose about Rs53,000 crore in tax revenue on account of the increase in exemption limits and tweaking of slabs in the Direct Taxes Code bill.

The delayed implementation of the DTC, which is a replacement of Income Tax Act 1961, would give corporates and individuals enough time to get ready for the switchover.

As per the bill, income of Rs 2-Rs5 lakh would be taxed at 10%; Rs 5-Rs10 lakh at 20% and above Rs 10 lakh at 30%.


Zen Mobile: Another Big B dud

Here’s yet another brand that tries to bank on Bachchan, makes an attempt to come up with a unique product promise, and then swiftly goes on to dilute it with more promises

Amitabh Bachchan is such a big misfit in ads these days (seen his embarrassing act in the Binani Cements commercial?), that there needs to be a blanket ban on all commercials starring the Big B. All that these ads do is further erode the man's hard-earned charisma, and dilute his appeal in the films too. Also, to be fair to the superstar, it's really not his fault. He WILL try to maximise his profits while the going is good… he's seen bad financial days in the past.

The problem lies with the creative directors. They just can't seem to find
a way to cast the man correctly. They get him on a platter, and then go do rubbish storyboards.

Well, makers of Zen Mobile phones, the new mobile kid on the block, have decided to join the Big B bandwagon. These phones are targeted at the smaller towns and villages. And the promise they offer is actually pretty unique: a longer lasting battery life. Yup, that's a new story in the cluttered mobile market, so one must appreciate their strategy. But after that, all goes downhill. The TV commercial features Bachchan as a film exhibitor. The sort playing movies in village squares using mobile vans. As a crowd of villagers wait for the cinema to get going, his projector conks out. The folks aren't amused and demand their money back. Big B then uses his Zen Mobile handset to play the same film. And the poor villagers fall for the trick and crowd around the phone. As some forced humour, Bachchan is shown flirting with some maidens too (ewwwwww!).

And he also finds time to explain things about the phone including multiple films storage and a long battery life.

What to say? Yet another brand that makes an attempt to come up with a unique product promise, and then swiftly goes on to dilute it with more promises. And then uses Bachchan to get some brand recall and bail it out of the mess. But then, as always, they miscast him so badly, one is left sniggering rather than recalling the brand and its features. Bachchan as a rural film projectionist isn't credible, isn't funny, and he isn't even watchable. Looks like a lot of money down the drain.

Maybe the brand manager should do a course in Zen & the Art of Meditation. Relax a bit. And begin the ad creative process all over again.




7 years ago

This article is nothing but cashing on "Celebrity Torment" like many articles we see now a days

jay sagar

7 years ago

dude -

Get a life!! If the ad makers are messing up then why highlight the BigB...why dont u put the ad maker's pic? Nah...u won't do that cos BigB sells. You pull him down and yet you highlight him in your article to make it readable. You are such a frikin hypocrite!! Have some ethics.

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