Representatives of the Association of Buying Agencies (ABA) have urged Shri Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, that buying agents, who are playing a very important role in furthering exports of the country, should be given the status of exporters. In a meeting with the Minister here on Friday evening, Ms. Rohini Suri, President, ABA, apprised him of the various constraints that the buying agents were operating under and sought his assistance in fulfilling their 3-point agenda which was submitted to Shri Abdullah. The agenda includes exempting income of buying agents from income tax so that they can spare resources for product development and marketing; making available to buying agents grant for travel under the Market Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme; and recognising the buying agents as service exporters in the next Exim Policy. Acknowledging that the buying agents were playing an invaluable role in boosting the country's exports, Shri Abdullah was fully appreciative of their demands and assured the delegation that his Ministry would take up each of the issues. The Minister, however, asked the Association to build up their visibility so as to spread greater awareness about the substantive contribution they were making to the country's export basket.

    Stating that the export growth had been quite good in the current fiscal, Shri Abdullah said that the Ministry was looking forward to a sustainable growth in the coming years and in that context, the role of the buying agents would be crucial. The Ministry on its part, he said, had taken a number of measures to step up exports from the country such as, reducing transaction costs by way of increased computerisation of DGFT offices/customs, giving a boost to e-commerce activities and exploring possibilities of signing free trade agreements with the countries which would be beneficial to India.





    The Department of Company Affairs (DCA) has ordered prosecutions of M/s. SOL Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Hyderabad and its Chairman and Managing Director Shri C. Chandrasekra Reddy for violation of the provisions of Section 205 A (5) of the Companies Act, 1956 read with Rule 4 (I) of the Companies Unpaid Dividend (Transfer to General Account of the Central Government) Rules, 1978 for not transferring unpaid dividend to the General Revenue Account of the Central Government for the years 1993-94 and 1994-95.

    Prosecution has also been launched under Section 383 A of the Companies Act for not appointing whole time qualified Company Secretary even though the Company’s paid up capital is more than Rs. 50 lakh. Under the Companies Act, appointment of Company Secretary is mandatory in a company whose paid up capital is minimum Rs. 50 lakh.

    The prosecutions have been ordered on the basis of inspection of books of account and other records of the company carried out by the officials of the DCA under Section 209 A of the Companies Act, 1956.





    Special arrangements were made by the Postal Circles all over the country on Sunday for counter operations including transmission and delivery of mail. The Head Post offices in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were kept open on Sunday to deliver mail, particularly Speed Post Articles. In Delhi 98 bags relating to International Speed Post, taken over from air couriers were processed and delivered. 157 speed post forward bags were handed over to Indian Airlines for various destinations.

    All the Head Post Offices in Punjab and Haryana sold stamps and stationery, booked and delivered Registered and Speed Post articles. In Gujarat, a total of 1123 letterboxes were cleared in major urban centres and 1,24,697 postal articles processed on Sunday. In Karnataka, Bangalore GPO remained open on Sunday and many other post offices in the state continued to offer full range of postal services. In Madhya Pradesh, a large number of post offices were working normally. In Tamil Nadu, a special effort was made to disburse old age pensions in Chennai in coordination with the State.

    The Postal Unions, namely the National Federation of Postal Employees(NFPE), Federation of National Postal Organisations(FNPO) and Bharatiya Postal Employees Federation(BPEF) are on indefinite strike since 5th December, 2000 demanding among other things implementation of the positive recommendations of the Talwar Committee and issues relating to service matters of the different Departmental cadres.

    Some of the unions are not participating in the indefinite strike called by the Postal Federations. These include All India Postal and RMS Accountants Association, Bhartiya RMS and MMS Employees Union, West Bengal Circle, All India Association of IPOs and ASPOs, Tamil Nadu Branch, All India Postal Gr.D. Employees Unions, Tamil Nadu Branch, All India Postal Stenographers Association and All India P&T SC/ST Welfare Association. None of the associations or unions of the Savings Bank Control Organisation has served any strike notice on the Government.





    Most of the important sectors are doing well in exports during the current year, according to the data on export performance of major commodities during April-September 2000-2001 available from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics (DGCI&S). Exports of ores & minerals have recorded an increase of 49.6% in dollar terms; engineering goods 30%; electronic goods 27.3%; leather & leather manufactures 25.4%; chemicals & related products 21.4%; textiles 19.5%; marine products 16.8%; gems & jewellery 8.3%; and carpets a growth of 2.9% during April to September, 2000-2001 over the corresponding period of last year.

    A number of policy measures were taken during the year to boost exports including sector-specific measures. Among the important steps taken to enhance export growth this year were electronic filing and online processing of applications for licence; grant of EPCG (Export Promotion Capital Goods) and advance licences on self-declaration basis; better neutralisation of indirect taxes on imports through easy to operate schemes like DEPB (Duty Entitlement Pass Book), DFRC (Duty-free Replenishment Certificate) etc. and reduction in transaction cost through decentralisation, simplification of procedures and various other measures which were enumerated in the Export & Import (Exim) Policy announced by Shri Murasoli Maran, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry on 31 March, 2000. Steps have also been taken to promote India's exports through multilateral and bilateral initiatives, identification of thrust sectors and focus regions. "Focus: LAC" campaign is a prime example of a focussed, region-specific approach which has led to an increase in India's exports to Latin America by over 40% during the current year. Downward trend in exports of some items such as plantations, agri and allied products, project goods and sports goods have been due to international factors, uneven supply of exportable surplus of items like agriculture and allied products and infrastructural constraints.





    The third thematic meeting of the Programme Coordination Board of UNAIDS is beginning from December 14,2000. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. C.P.Thakur, will represent India at this meeting to be held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    During the meeting, the world leaders will review the functioning of UNAIDS during the last five years. Apart from this the meeting will take up the issues such as budget of UNAIDS, access to vaccines and drugs meant for treatment of HIV/AIDS. . India may press for geographical representation to developing countries in the group of experts, to be constituted.

    India is currently the co-chairman of the Programme Coordination Board which is the highest policy making body of UNAIDS. It is likely to assume the responsibility of Chairman from May next year. The Project Director of NACO, Shri Prasada Rao is accompanying Dr. C.P.Thakur during the visit.





    The following is the text of Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s speech, at the Silver Jubilee function of Central Electricity Authority here today:

    "It gives me great pleasure to join you today for the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Central Electricity Authority.

    At the time of Independence, our country had a power generation capacity of a mere 1,300 MW. Today our installed power general capacity is one lakh MW. The Central Electricity Authority has played a significant role in bringing about this nearly eighty-fold increase in India’s power general capacity.

    It is to the CEA’s credit that we now have a nation-wide high transmission network. This, in turn, has made power easily accessible. Eighteen States have achieved more than ninety per cent rural electrification.

    It is also to the credit of CEA engineers that we have huge hydropower projects ranging from Bhakra, Chambal and Hirakud to Nathpa Jhakri, Sardar Sarovar and Koyna. Some of these projects have fuelled India’s development in the past; the recent ones will fuel India’s development in the Twenty-first century.


    The rapid growth of power generation in the past few decades, impressive though it is, has not been able to keep pace with the rising demand for power in a country on the move. In an increasingly technology-driven world and a rapidly globalising economy, electricity has emerged a key determinant for success.

    It is not industry alone where we need power to produce goods; we need it for nearly every sphere of our daily lives. Indeed, availability of electricity for both industrial and domestic consumption is one of the factors that determine a nation’s level of development.

    Today’s India, with its overwhelming population of young people impatient with slothful progress, aspires for rapid economic growth and social development. It will be possible to realise this aspiration to a large extent if we are able to successfully tackle shortages of power and energy supply.

    Let me share some statistical details with you that provide a true picture of the situation that prevails today.

    Our per capita consumption of electricity is among the lowest in the world. Nearly 80000 villages do not have access to power. The number of households that have electricity is below 50per cent.

    Each of these details has to be tackled in a determined manner so that today’s reality can be reversed tomorrow. For that, we need to take bold initiatives and conquer new horizons of success. This is an endeavour in which CEA has a significant role to play in the coming days.

    Government has taken a number of initiatives to combat the present power shortage. For, ensuring adequate, reliable, affordable and clean electricity supply lies at the core of creating an infrastructure that can deliver high growth rate and faster social development.

    In a developing country of India’s size, the demand on resources is naturally high, leaving precious little for investment in physical infrastructure. The power sector is highly capital intensive and Government alone cannot meet its demand for funds.

    In order to generate resources for the development of the power sector, Electricity Acts have been amended to pave the way for the entry of private investors and formation of independent regulatory bodies at the Centre and in the State. A new Electricity Bill is on the anvil in this regard.

    Simultaneously, efforts are on to restructure the existing public sector power establishment by unbundling generation, transmission and distribution to minimise losses and provide reliable, affordable power to consumers.

    Some States have already moved in this direction. Others are being encouraged to undertake power sector reforms so that production and supply become commercial enterprises that are self-sustaining even while power to consumers.

    Keeping pace with our initiatives to reform the power sector, the CEA has carved a niche for itself by carrying out financial and technical evaluation of the schemes submitted by private producers.

    By carrying out these appraisals with high professional integrity, never losing sight of national interests in terms of optimum utilisation of resources, cost economy, efficiency and reliable technology, the CEA has established a transparent procedure.


    The Silver Jubilee of the CEA coincides with the new century. But, and more significantly so, it coincides with the transition of the power sector from the previous era of vertically integrated State Electricity Boards to a new era of separate generation, transmission and distribution utilities, independent regulatory bodies and entry of private players.

    In the new scenario, the power sector will have multiple players with divergent interest. In such a situation role of non-partisan bodies like CEA becomes crucial.

    Power sector reforms have now entered the stage of consolidation and I am confident that the CEA will rise to meet the new challenges and adapt itself to performing new tasks in the emerging scenario.

    With these words, I inaugurate this Silver Jubilee function."





    The Ministry of Civil Aviation has permitted all airlines operating scheduled flights to India to start, if necessary, extra section of flights or upgradation of aircraft in order to avoid the off-loading of passengers during the peak period of winter season. If the booking profile with the airlines tends to overflow the capacity available, they may make a request to DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) for operation of extra-section flights or upgradation of their equipment. The decision emerged after the meeting held by DGCA with the leading international carriers to discuss the issue of off-loading of passengers during the peak period and to find ways and means to avoid such a situation.

    The situation will again be reviewed in January 2001 and if need be the facility of operating additional flights or upgradation of equipment can be extended. The Airlines may apply to the DGCA office for the operation of extra section flights or the upgradation of aircraft which will be cleared within two days time. The airlines are also required to submit to the DGCA the data regarding extra section flights actually operated by them after obtaining the permission from the DGCA office. The meeting was attended by 51 representatives of 39 airlines including Air India and Indian Airlines which took stock of the airlines booking profiles and assessments in this regard for the winter season.

    It may be recalled that large scale off-loading of passengers by international airline took place last year giving an indication to the Government that air seat capacity available from India has falling short of the market demand. As a result of this, the Government reviewed the bilateral arrangements with various countries which has resulted in an additional capacity to the tune of around 17,000 seats per week during the current year.





    The Railways will run 1244 special trains on 33 routes during the coming winter holidays. This is almost double than last year when the Railways had run 646 special trains on 17 routes to clear the winter rush.

    These include fourteen special trains between Nizamuddin and Madgaon to cater to the tourist traffic to Goa. Of these eight will run with Rajdhani type coaches while the remaining six will comprise of normal stock. For the first time, eight special trains are being planned between Nizamuddin and Trivandrum . Two special trains on this route are being planned with Rajdhani type of stock.

    Air Conditioned Express trains with Rajdhani type of stock are also being planned between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. In addition, from Mumbai, a tri-weekly to Ajmer, a bi-weekly to Jaipur and a weekly train to Porbandar is also being provided to cater to the holiday rush. In the Saurashtra region, daily special Metre Gauge trains are planned between Bhavnagar and Gandhidham, Bhavnagar and Veraval and Surendranagar and Botad.

    To cater to the pilgrim traffic to Sabarimala, in Kerala , a daily train from Chennai, a train every alternate days from Bangalore, a weekly train from Hyderabad and a biweekly train from Kakinada to Cochin/Kottayam area have also been planned.

    A weekly train from Tiruchirapalli to Ahmedabad, from Bangalore to Nizammuddin, Madras Egmore to Jodhpur and a bi-weekly between Vasco and Chennai have also been planned to cater to the holiday traffic. Within Southern region, special trains have been planned between Trivandrum and Mangalore, Mysore and Hasan, Rameshvaram and Madurai, Coimbatore and Tirupati and Chennai and Tirunelveli.

    A bi-weekly from Howrah to Mumbai and Chennai has also been planned to cater to the tourist traffic on the East coast. Holiday specials will also run on alternate days between Howrah and Puri during Christmas vacations.

    A tri-weekly from Delhi to Allahabad and Lucknow and a biweekly between Delhi and Barauni are also being planned to cater to the pilgrim/tourist traffic in North India. A bi-weekly special between Howrah and New Delhi is also on the cards.

    Beside the above trains, the Zonal Railways have also been advised to keep a close watch on the wait list of various trains and augment the capacities as and when necessary to clear traffic especially in Trivandrum and Bangalore Rajdhani and other South bound trains.





    The Khadi and Village Industries Commission, KVIC, has launched a massive marketing development plan throughout the country to generate interest, awareness and attraction amongst the masses about khadi and village industries products, informed Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Chairman, KVIC.

    Dr. Sharma said that KVIC has approved a number of schemes in order to promote marketing of village industries products, and importantly to offer employment opportunities to the unemployed under Rural Employment Generation Programme. The beneficiaries can get loan from the nationalized banks under the Margin Money Scheme (25 per cent subsidy up to Rs. 10 lakhs for general category and for SC/ST, women and minorities, the subsidy will be 30 per cent), to open village industries sales outlet in commercial, and municipal complex and government shops.

    In order to attract younger generation, the KVIC is holding exhibitions, seminars, lectures, in over 120 universities and college throughout the country. This is to disseminate knowledge of KVI products, said Dr. Sharma. He asserted that, in all these strategies and activities, the underlying theme is Gandhian approach and ideology. The KVIC has sanctioned Rs. 18 lakh to Delhi Khadi Village Industry Board for holding KVI exhibition at Lal Quila, Delhi. Likewise, over 100 state/zonal level exhibitions are running throughout the country, where a range of new products are being sold.

    To face the challenge of Globalization, KVIC has introduced a number of new products range like Khadi denim jeans, Sarvodaya brand of KVI products, Khadi brand for export purpose. The KVIC is also training its sales staff in order to attune them to the new market-context being created by globalization. For ensuring quality for KVI products, the Commission is approaching the Bureau of Indian Standards and Directorate of Marketing and Inspection of Ministry of Agriculture.

    To create a market-niche for eco-friendly, pure and bio-degradable natural products, the KVIC has introduced two new brands "Sarvodaya and Khadi". The KVIC has decided to actively participate in international trade exhibitions being organized by ITPO, with the primary objective of popularizing its products its products in international markets. The KVIC will offer 90 per cent of air fare to participating KVI institutions and financial assistance for printing brochures and catalogs.

    The KVIC has worked out a plan to supply KVI products in a big way to Central and State Government organizations. Dr. Sharma informed that plans are afoot to set up show windows in Indian Missions abroad, as well as, to open Khadigramodyog Bhawans in Australia, Germany, UK, USA, Canada, Dubai and Singapore.






   The Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee has said that the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has an important and significant role to play in the power sector in the coming days. The Prime Minister was speaking while inaugurating the Silver Jubilee Function of the CEA here today. He said bold initiatives need to be taken to conquer new horizons of success. The Prime Minister said India’s per capita consumption of electricity is among the lowest in the world. Nearly 80,000 villages do not have access to power and the number of households that have electricity is below 50 percent, he said.

    Shri Vajpayee observed that in an increasingly technology driven world and a rapidly globalising economy, electricity has emerged a key determinant for success. India today with an over whelming population of young people impatient with slow progress wants rapid economic growth and social development. This will be possible to a large extent if the country is able to successfully tackle the shortage of power and energy supply, the Prime Minister said.

    Shri Vajpayee added that the Government has taken a number of initiatives to combat the present power shortage. Ensuring adequate, reliable, affordable and clean electricity supply is at the core of creating an infrastructure that can deliver a high growth rate and faster social development. In order to generate resources for the development of the sector Electricity Acts have been amended to pave the way for the entry of private investors and formation of independent regulatory bodies.

    The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Shri K.C. Pant, in his Silver Jubilee Lecture said the phenomenal boom in Information Technology (IT) would have to be factored –in by planners in the power sector. Shri Pant also mentioned the imbalance between hydel and thermal power and noted that this imbalance needs to be corrected urgently. Nuclear power has tremendous scope and should be exploited he said. He also said focus should also be placed on Renovation and Modernisation (R & M) of existing plants and for this the government has recently approved the Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP) Shri Pant said.

    The Minister for Power Shri Suresh Prabhu in his speech asked the CEA to focus on Research and Development so that power could be generated at an affordable cost. The Minister emphasised that this was of important as without affordable power rates Indian industry would not be able to compete with foreign products abroad or in the domestic market. Shri Prabhu also pointed out that one of the factors that would play a role in maintaining the current boom in IT exports would be the availability of power.

    The Minister of State for Power, Smt. Jayawanti Mehta in her welcome address said the CEA has played a major role in the reforms and restructuring of the sector as well as in R& M and in Techno Economic Clearances.





    The studies conducted by the government indicate that transgenic crops are safe from environmental and health angle. The Industrial Toxicological Research Centre Lucknow and the Sriram Institute Delhi had carried out the food safety evaluation of transgenic crops, while the environmental impact studies were done among others by the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Punjab Rao Krishi Vidhyapeeth and the Marathwada Agricultural University. Besides this, the monitoring-cum- evaluation committee of the Department of Biotechnology comprising agricultural experts had also made extensive field investigations.

    Hence the work on transgenic plants would continue for improving productivity, nutritional and environmental security with stringent biosafety regulations, the study says. The potential of biotechnology for enhancing crop productivity and quality improvement of crop is recognised the world over, it adds.

    In the meantime as a result of the Integrated Pest Management Programme, there has been a significant reduction in the consumption of pesticides i.e. from over 61,350 metric tonnes to about 46,200 metric tonnes in the last five years.






    The Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri S.S. Dhindsa said that while reviewing the pricing policy of Urea, due care will be taken to meet the objectives of sustainability and growth of the fertilizer industry together with availability of Urea to farmers at affordable prices. The Government has to find a way to harmonize this apparent contradiction between the two objectives, he added. He was inaugurating a Seminar on Global Subsidies-Global Dimensions organised by Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), here today. Shri Dhindsa further said that the interest of the indigenous fertilizer industry and the need to sustain the capacities created within the country will remain uppermost while formulating necessary mechanisms like tariff structure for Urea.

    The industry has to see that the fertiliser market will be highly competitive in times to come and the brand equity of the company and its equation and image especially with the farmers will be important, the Minister said. Further, Shri Dhindsa exhorted the industry to give a thrust to extension activity where total needs of the farmers related to development of farming have to be attended to by the fertilizer industry also. This would supplement the efforts of the government and other agencies that may be working in the field. Development of bio-fertilizers is one of the areas that should supplement the activity of the production of Chemical Fertilizers. The fertilizer industry can give focussed attention to provide all the inputs required by the farmers alongwith supplementing such sales with required extension activity for promoting integrated nutrient management of soil.

    Shri Dhindsa said that while the country is committed to globalization, it will do so at its own pace and in a manner which is in consonance with its sovergnity and national interest. The Government will support the fertilizer industry through various initiatives. Recent market reports and the initiatives in the LNG sector give rise to the hope that LNG in the form of an alternative feedstock will be available soon to the consumers in the country which will naturally and largely mean the fertilizers sector companies. He said that fertilizer industry has to rise and come together to put pressure on the petroleum companies to make them bring down the prices for the feedstock sold to the fertilizer sector companies. The Government is examining the issues of empowerment of the fertilizer producing companies through various measures including changes in the rules and regulations presently governing imports of feedstock material. The government would help empower the companies to target import through crucial feedstock. Even while doing so, issues like capacity created for supply of feedstock by indigenous petroleum companies need to be kept in mind.

    The Indian Government is conscious of the fact that the high feedstock prices especially for naphtha and FO/LSHS based fertilizer companies make Indian industry non-competitive in the international market. This problem needs to be tackled. The process of globalisation, removal of quantitative restrictions of import of urea are issues in mind which are to be taken as a challenge by the Fertilizer industry in India, the Minister said. The industry is required to meet the challenges which come from this process of integration with the World Trade.





    The percentage of attendance in the circles of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab on the seventh day of the strike today was between 15 to 25% with 100% Head Post Offices open in these circles. 80% to 100% Head Post Offices were open in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Gujarat circles. These offices are providing full range of postal services like sale of stamps, booking of Speed Post articles, registered articles, Money Orders and parcels. Similarly, savings bank transactions i.e. deposits and withdrawals were also taking place. Speed Post articles were booked and delivered and at many places delivery of registered and ordinary mail was also being carried out.

    The Postal Unions, namely the National Federation of Postal Employees(NFPE), Federation of National Postal Organisations(FNPO) and Bharatiya Postal Employees Federation(BPEF) are on indefinite strike since 5th December, 2000 demanding among other things implementation of the positive recommendations of the Talwar Committee and issues relating to service matters of the different Departmental cadres.

    Some of the unions are not participating in the indefinite strike called by the Postal Federations. These include All India Postal and RMS Accountants Association, Bhartiya RMS and MMS Employees Union, West Bengal Circle, All India Association of IPOs and ASPOs, Tamil Nadu Branch, All India Postal Gr.D. Employees Unions, Tamil Nadu Branch, All India Postal Stenographers Association and All India P&T SC/ST Welfare Association. None of the associations or unions of the Savings Bank Control Organisation has served any strike notice on the Government.