ITC & EIH to combine hotel biz, become largest hospitality chain

Source: Financial Express, Sept 29, 2010

New Delhi: Diversified conglomerate ITC Group and hospitality major EIH have drawn up a blueprint to combine and emerge as the country’s largest hotel chain by revenues. Once the plan fructifies, it would see a three-way venture between the two groups and Reliance Industries (RIL) which recently picked up 14.8% stake in EIH. Currently, the Oberois hold 32% stake in EIH, while ITC holds 14.98%.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

India voted 7th best holiday destination

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 8, 2010

CHENNAI/BANGALORE: While preparations for the Commonwealth Games is causing severe embarrassment to the country, Brand India as a tourist destination is scaling new heights.

Read the rest of this entry »

Directive on PSU listing opens disinvestment tap

New Delhi: Giving its disinvestment programme a big push, the Centre has asked all listed, profitable central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) to meet the mandatory listing norm of at least 10 per cent public ownership.

It has also asked all unlisted CPSEs with positive networth, no accumulated losses and a net profit track record in the three preceding consecutive years to get listed.

Both these decisions are likely to lead to a slew of equity offerings including follow-on public offerings (FPOs). The eligible candidates include behemoths such as NMDC, MMTC, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, National Fertilizers, Coal India, BSNL and Engineers India.

Timing decision

No time-frame has been specified for the CPSEs to comply with the decisions, but the timing decisions are likely to be governed by market conditions.

The Government has also decided to change the rule on use of disinvestment proceeds by altering the basic scheme underlying the National Investment Fund (NIF) that was launched in 2005. While the disinvestment proceeds would continue to be channelled into the NIF, for the 2009-12 the mop-up would be used as capital expenditure in social sector schemes determined by the Planning Commission and the Department of Expenditure.

Special dispensation

“In view of the tight fiscal situation and the need to fund social sector programmes, a special dispensation is being made for the three-year period 2009-12,” Mr P. Chidambaram, Union Home Minister, told reporters after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting here.

He clarified that the money garnered so far this fiscal from the stake sale in NHPC and OIL India would not be governed by the new rule. An official statement said that the corpus comprising deposits from April 2009 till March 2012 would be available in full for investment as capital expenditure in specific social sector schemes.

Hitherto, disinvestment proceeds were channelled into NIF and the corpus handed over to fund managers. Only the returns from the corpus were used for social sector spending.

The earlier position will be restored from April 2012.

Source : The Hindu Business Line.  09/11/09

Lab to enterprise solutions

CHENNAI: The Union Department of Science and Technology (DST) has embarked on several projects that are meant to go beyond social relevance.

These innovative projects relate to water, bio-medical devices, homeland security and solar energy but the focus is on having enterprising solutions so that the discovery and utility quadrants are used gainfully, according to DST secretary T Ramasami.

As per the Supreme Court directive, the department has started working on tackling the water problem. To apply the principles beyond science, 26 different types of water challenges including contamination, flurosis, excessive use of water in agriculture or industry, across the country have been mapped.

Twenty river basins have been looked at and 61 sites have been recognised. A spot study on the economic viability was done. The number would be reduced to 40 and global solution providers would be invited to actually implement and serve a community size of 10,000 people, he told reporters after launching ‘Diastep,’ a footwear designed by Central Leather Research Institute, MV Hospital for Diabetes and Diabetes Research Centre (DRC) and Novo Nordisk Education Foundation here on Monday.

The ongoing study would be scaled up to cover a population of one lakh. The initial focus would be on enterprise solution, Mr Ramasami said, adding an assessment of policy interface would be done for a macro-level implementation. Eight ministries, including water resources, agriculture, industry, urban development, environment and earth science have been linked in this exercise.

In two years, the research solution would be piloted. Post-site allocation and mapping, the second report was submitted on October 20. By August

2011, a solution to the water challenge would be available, he said. Dwelling on solar energy, he said a pan-IIT group had been formed to kick-start research initiative in this area. The project report to use solar energy on a global platform is expected to be ready by December 31. As many as 37 scientists drawn from six IITs are involved in this project, which includes setting up a 1 MW power system.

On homeland security, the emphasis would be to reduce front-end terror devices and integrate embedded systems. IISc of Bangalore is the co-ordinating agency for this project. Launching Diastep, Mr Ramasami said “very few global products of this nature exist in the marketplace. A product to prevent a consequence which is not light” is the culmination of intensive research.

The specially-designed footwear is the outcome of two-year collaborative research. Priced at Rs 1,350 the unisex black-colour footwear has features like adjustable velcro fasteners, specially-designed upper with leather lining for comfort and rigid counter to ensure limited joint mobility.

Highlighting the need for such a product, M V Hospital for Diabetes and DRC MD Dr Vijay Viswanathan said 20% of diabetics underwent some form of amputation. This has socio-economic ramifications and given the WHO estimates, at least 100 million people are at risk of being amputated.

World-wide, over 200 million people have diabetes and most don’t get the care they need, he added.

Source : Economic   Times.  04/11/09

es_breda_lab_overview

‘Cell phone waste, the next big threat to environment’

NEW DELHI: Sporting a new mobile phone may be fashionable in these well-connected times, but the discarded old handsets could poison the evironment, as a whopping 8,000 tonne of cell phone waste is estimated to burden the earth by 2012. As per a whitepaper by global consultancy Deloitte, there is a growing need to better manage the rising cell phone waste, as it is posing a threat to the environment.

Replacement sales predict that more cell phones would be retired every year with rapid changes in technology and product designs discouraging mobile repairs and increasing demand for new mobiles and disposal of old ones. “With the absence of a proper recycle and reuse programme, about 8,000 tonne of toxic cell phone components are estimated to be dumped in landfills by 2012. The resulting contamination will have far reaching consequences for the environment and all living beings,” Deloitte Consulting India regional managing director Parag Saigaonkar said.

The problem begins when retired handsets end up in landfill sites or if they are dumped illegally, leading to toxic substances seeping into the groundwater, making disposal of old cells a problem for the world, the report revealed. “As India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world in terms of mobile phone subscribers, we need to be more aware of the threat and strict government guidelines should be created to deal with it,” Mr Saigaonkar added.

Source : Economic   Times.  02/11/09

regenersis-phone-pile

America has its roots in India of Mahatma Gandhi: Obama

WASHINGTON: As the world celebrates International Day of non-violence, US President Barack Obama today said America has its “roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi.”

“His teachings and ideals, shared with Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1959 pilgrimage to India, transformed American society through our civil rights movement,” Obama said on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Americans owe enormous gratitude to Gandhi, he said.

“The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent social action movement for Indian independence which he led,” Obama said in a statement.

On behalf of the American people, Obama said he wants to express appreciation for the life and lessons of Mahatma Gandhi on the anniversary of his birth. “This is an important moment to reflect on his message of non-violence, which continues to inspire people and political movements across the globe,” he said.

“We join the people of India in celebrating this great soul who lived a life dedicated to the cause of advancing justice, showing tolerance to all, and creating change through non-violent resistance,” Obama said.

As the world remembers the Mahatma on his birthday, Obama said: “We must renew our commitment to live his ideals and to celebrate the dignity of all human beings.

Source : Economic  Times   02/010/09

images

China slams ADB over India funding

BEIJING: China angrily denounced on Thursday the approval by the Asian Development Bank of a 2.9-billion-dollar funding plan for India, saying the scheme encroached on a territorial dispute between the Asian giants.

“The Asian Development Bank, regardless of the major concerns of China, approved the India Country Partnership strategy which involves the territorial dispute between China and India,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, referring to a largely uninhabitable Himalayan region.

“China expresses its strong dissatisfaction over this… The bank’s move not only seriously tarnishes its own name, but also undermines the interests of its members.”

A bank spokeswoman confirmed that the plan had won “broad support” from the board of directors during a Monday meeting, but insisted it was not taking sides in the territorial dispute, only seeking to push forward its poverty alleviation efforts.

“ADB takes no position on territorial disputes between its members,” ADB spokeswoman Ann Quon told AFP in an email.

“ADB will issue suitable guidelines for its staff on dealing with proposed activities in disputed areas… Individual projects and programmes will require separate approval by the board of directors.”

According to India’s Economic Times, the 2.9-billion-dollar package for India covers the whole country for the period from 2009 to 2012.

However, it says, China is particularly concerned about a 60-million-dollar watershed protection project in the Arunachal Pradesh region, where much of China and India’s territorial dispute is centred.

India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres (14,700 square miles) of its Himalayan territory, while Beijing claims the whole of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is 90,000 square kilometres.

The two countries fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962, and are yet to resolve the border dispute.

“The Asian Development Bank as a regional development institution should not interfere in the political affairs of the members,” China’s spokesman Qin said.

“The Chinese government strongly urges the Asian Development Bank to take effective measures to eliminate the negative impact of this move.”

The ADB’s Quon said: “ADB’s charter mandates that ADB shall not interfere in the political affairs of any member and that only economic considerations shall be relevant to its decision.”

Source : Economic   Times   19/06/09

ADB for web