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Tuesday, March 17, 1998

Economy Briefing 

FIEO urges govt to stop levy of sales tax on DEPB: The Federation of Indian Export Organisations has appealed to the Central government to intervene and stop levy by the state governments of sales tax on duty entitlement passbooks (DEPB). In a statement, federation president Ramu S. Deora said the Maharashtra government had started levying sales tax on DEPB at the rate of 13 per cent which would adversely affect the competitiveness of exporters in the global market. In the light of the Supreme Court's judgment treating sale of REP licences/Exim scrips as goods, different states had now started imposing sales tax at varying rates on rep licences and Exim scrips as well as on DEPB, he pointed out.

PHDCCI apprehension on VDIS: The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed apprehension that states may not utilise their share in revenue earned through the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS). However, the chamber lauded the Centre's decision to devolve five per cent of the VDISrevenue to states. PHDCCI president O P Vaish said in a statement that states may opt to utilise the money for reducing their mounting fiscal deficit. The Centre had suggested to states to utilise these funds for creating durable assets such as highways ports, power plants and canals.

Belgium keen to invest in Punjab: Belgium is keen to invest in the infrastructural areas of Punjab and transfer technology in other areas too, Belgium ambassador Guillaume Metten revealed in Chandigarh. Metten called on Governor Lt Gen (retd) B K N Chhibber at Raj Bhavan and discussed various areas where Belgium and the state could share technology. The governor said the state with high agricultural output was trying to diversify into agro-processing industry to reap benefits.

Indigenously-built aircraft carrier: The country's first indigenously built aircraft carrier will be inducted into the Indian Navy during the next few years to boost the country's maritime power, vice-chief of the naval staff,Vice-Admiral Sushil Kumar said in Mumbai. Speaking to newsmen after the commissioning of Sucheta Kripalani, the third FPV class vessel for the Indian coast guard at a function, Vice-Admiral Kumar said while the entire design and other preliminary work for the new aircraft carrier had already been completed, the actual work for the construction of the giant ship, involving an approximate cost of nearly Rs 1,500 crore, awaited green signal from the concerned authorities.

Mineral production up 4%: Mineral production increased by four per cent in the country to Rs. 3,265 crore during January 1998 compared with Rs. 3,145 crore in December 1997. The contribution of coal was the highest at Rs. 1,545 crore or 47 per cent, followed by petroleum (crude) Rs. 909 crore, natural gas (utilised) Rs. 334 crore, iron ore Rs. 150 crore, lignite Rs. 87 crore and limestone Rs. 86 crore.

Land for CRL's project gets approval: The land site, identified by the Cochin Refineries Limited (CRL) for its proposed 522 mwjoint venture power project at Ambalamugal, has been approved by a sub-committee of the environmental panel. The sub-committee headed by Ernakulam district collector V P Joy, constituted to select the land for the Rs. 1650 crore project, visited the site on Sunday. CRL and pollution control board (PCB) officials accompanied the committee members.

CII stress on administrative reforms: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has said that in order to adopt a more support-based and growth-oriented policy for the small industry, issues like finance, marketing, technology and administrative reforms should be given the top priority. The confederation, in its report on availability of credit for the small industry, said sick units especially should be revived with the help of revival packages.

ONGC may drill in Bengal basin again: The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is considering drilling again in the Bengal basin on the recommendations of its US consultant, Kingston. The exploration andproduction company had pulled out of the area after its search for oil had proved futile in the seventies and eighties.

Cheap phone project proves costly: Wrong planning and decisions by the board of the state-owned Maharashtra Electronics Corporation has struck a hole in government's coffers by causing the collapse of a cordless telephone project worth over Rs 44 lakh.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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