RBI directive to exporters helps rupee to gain gro
ICAI guidelines to boost corporate transparency
Govt’s e-gift for the common man on I-Day
Succour to state power panel
Videocon in Italian alliance
Foreign Exchange, Bullion, Stock Indices

Mumbai, Aug 14: 
After the rupee touched the 45.93 mark against the dollar today, the Reserve Bank of India intervened with belt-tightening measures to halt further downhill. The RBI measures helped the rupee close at 45.70-72.

It issued directives to exporters to scale down their exchange earners foreign currency (EEFC) account balances as on August 11 by 50 per cent.

IThe central bank has set August 23 as a deadline. The RBI said, “The excess of over 50 per cent should be converted into rupees latest by August 23, 2000 and the authorised dealers should report compliance by the due date.”

IThe central bank officials aver that this move will mop up $ 1 billion. As per the apex bank’s estimates the aggregate balances under the EEFC accounts scheme is around $ 2 billion (over Rs 9,000 crore). “Most of these balances are kept idle in interest bearing accounts,” the RBI said.

IHenceforth, RBI would permit future accretions of only up to 50 per cent of what is currently eligible. Such accretions should be maintained in liquid form as current or savings accounts instead of in term deposits prevalent till now.

IWhile exporters were earlier entitled to maintain between 50-75 per cent of their earnings in dollars in EEFC accounts, as per the new rule, they can maintain only half of the level.

I“Credit facilities currently available against such accounts will be held in abeyance until further notice,” the apex bank added.

IIn a statement issued today, the RBI said that the EEFC was introduced in 1992 which enabled exporters of goods and services to retain a portion of their receipts in foreign exchange with an authorised dealer in India.

I“With the operationalisation of the Fema on June 1 and the rupee becoming fully convertible on the current account, the EEFC scheme is under review,” mentioned the release.

IReacting to the RBI decision, Navratan Samdria, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said that the cut by 50 per cent on EEFC account (maintained by a good number of exporters) will adversely affect their efforts to promote exports.

IFurther, the time limit to bring back export proceeds by August 23 is too short which will again put exporters at a disadvantage.

IEarlier in the day, before the RBI statement, State Bank of India’s dollar buying spree had depreciated the rupee to an intra-day low of Rs 45.93.

IThe Indian currency opened at Rs 45.75-80 and closed at Rs 45.70-72. Forex dealers expect the rupee to trade in the region of Rs 45.60-80 in the coming days.

IThe rupee dipped by a whopping 1.4 per cent against the greenback last week and has lost around 5.5 per cent since January.    

New Delhi, Aug 14: 
Taking the idea of corporate governance and transparency a step further, the Accounting Standards Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) will shortly come up with a set of guidelines making it compulsory for corporates to make related party disclosures.

I“This means that corporates would have to make full disclosures about all transactions related to the company or its directors. The investor would thus know exactly what the company has bought or sold or what it is dealing with,” said sources. The guidelines in this regard are likely to be finalised shortly.

ISo far companies did not have to make full disclosures of all transactions, except major ones. Also, they did not report all transactions concluded by individual directors. “The inclusion of this new norm would help in improving transparency in accounting standards of companies,” sources said.

IThe institute is also about to finalise the guidelines for segment reporting. Companies will have to report separate profit and loss accounts for every division. They will not only be required to give details of various factories but also details of the performance of various products, brands, in fact, “details of every segment of business,” sources added.

IAt present, companies show an overall profit and loss account and do not indicate the performance of each segment. With details of all the other businesses and product lines, shareholders would get a fair picture of the running of the company, ICAI sources said.

IGuidelines for these accounting standards would be put up for comment soon. “Modifications will be made after receiving feedback from various quarters, before the guidelines are adopted,” said sources.

IThe ICAI is optimistic that the new guidelines will be adopted by 2001. The new clauses comprise part of the government’s endeavour to encourage transparency.

IThe government has also decided to make it mandatory for group companies to consolidate their financial statements. This would help reveal various inter-group financial flows and thus bring to light any fraudulent transfers between group companies.

IThe institute is drawing up new accounting standards at the behest of the department of company affairs and has so far issued a few drafts.

ISources said that creating a new accounting standard is a long drawn process and it would be a while before all the issues are finalised and notified.    

New Delhi, Aug 14: 
The information technology ministry has chosen Independence Day to step up its interaction with the common man. Come tomorrow, the ministry will launch an e-office solution to reach out to commoners.

IThe e-solution will provide for online submission of research and development proposals. These proposals can be circulated, examined and fully processed online. Comments from external people will also be obtained online.

IThe administrative nitty gritty, such as calling of meetings, minutes of meetings, generating sanction orders, will be available online.

IThe package will facilitate online interaction with scientific and academic circles on important issues.

IThe move has been initiated to promote procedural simplicity, speed and convenience in direct interaction with the common man.

IThe e-office solution will simplify and specify day-to-day function within the ministries too. It will be possible to electronically obtain approvals for tours, leave, meeting agenda and notifications as well as final minutes of the meeting.

IThe initiation of such a package will substantially reduce paperwork and need for movement of people to search for more information. This will reduce delays, save cost and avoid the need for duplicating data at various points.

IThe implementation of the workflow model in the ministry will provide for smooth flow of information between divisions, finance, administration and the officers.

IMinister for information technology Pramod Mahajan will also inaugurate a centre for e-governance tomorrow. It will showcase several e-governance applications and solutions that have been implemented and offer other services like technical consultation, proof of concept and thematic presentations. C-DAC, CMC, NIC, Microsoft, Oracle and IQ Virtuals are showcasing the applications at the centre.

IThe Centre is likely to use expertise from various leading companies, technical institutions and business partners in India and abroad. It will also try and establish similar links with other institutions.    

Calcutta, Aug 14: 
The West Bengal government has released Rs 41.25 lakh to cover the state electricity commission’s (SERC) expenditure till July.

IWith the funds at its disposal, the SERC is expected to soon take a decision regarding when it will be in a position to accept tariff petitions from power utilities.

IThe SERC, which submitted an annual budget of Rs 1.25 crore to the state government, was virtually non-functional since May owing to a severe cash crunch. In fact, while states like Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are already implementing new tariff structures, the West Bengal SERC has been unable to draft its tariff rationalisation proposals.

IB.P. Gopalika, secretary, West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission said, “On September 4 all the state electricity commissions are meeting to thrash out their problems. The meeting will be presided over by S.L. Rao, chairman, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC). SERCs will also discuss the Electricity Bill 2000. After that meeting we will decide the timeframe for inviting tariff petitions.” The SERC will appoint consultants who will examine the tariff petitions of the utilities and has already spoken to Icra Advisory Services and Crisil Advisory Services in this regard.

I SERC will also discuss the issue with the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI). “A final decision on the consultant will be taken after we speak to ASCI,” said Justice (retd) S.K. Phaujdar, chairperson of WBERC.

IThe SERC, which till date is functioning from a small space in Salt Lake has been allotted a 10,000 square feet area in the Bidhannagar Municipality building.

I However, the commission lacks the funds to set up the necessary infrastructure in the place. “If the government sanctions funds in time then it will not be a problem,” Phaujdar said.

IThe government has also sanctioned five posts for recruiting technical people by the SERC.

ISet up under the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act 1998, the SERC is expected to tackle the sensitive issues of fuel surcharge and tariff hike for the West Bengal State Electricity Board, CESC, DPL and Dishergarh Power.    

Mumbai, Aug 14: 
The Dhoots-owned Videocon group and Neki Compressors of Italy plans to set up a Rs 200-crore compressor manufacturing facility in Bangalore.

IICICI Ltd has given a loan of Rs 150 crore to the venture. The balance is being put in by the partners. In the joint venture company, Aplicom India Ltd, Videocon group holds a 74 per cent equity stake and Neki the remaining 26 per cent. Around 50 per cent of the production will be exported to the European countries and the rest will cater to the domestic market.

ISpeaking to newspersons in Aurangabad at the inauguration of Videocon International Ltd’s fully-integrated colour television plant, chairman V.N. Dhoot said the company is planning to acquire a Russian colour tube and glass manufacturing plant.

IVideocon will also invest Rs 600 crore over the next one year in doubling the colour television and component production capacities.

IThe company, which has set up an automated colour television manufacturing plant in Aurangabad in collaboration with its Japanese partner Toshiba Corporation, has decided not to enter into the proposed joint venture with Chinese company Onwa for CTVs, Dhoot said.

I“We have chalked out major plans for expansion of our Indian operations at Rs 600 crore investment over the next one year, of which Rs 200 crore has been put into the new CTV plant.”

IHe said instead of the earlier proposal of signing a joint venture with Onwa, Videocon has decided to invest in a fully automated plant for televisions to make and sell internet televisions in the domestic market.

I“Toshiba will give us the latest internet TV technology and a separate line will be installed at the new site for producing these sets. We also have a tie-up with TeleCruz of USA for providing the chip needed for these specialised televisions,” Dhoot said.

IHe said the remaining Rs 400 crore investment will be put into doubling the glass shell plant capacity to 6 million units per annum. Videocon will increase the export of semi-knocked down television kits to European, South African and West Asian markets.

IThe plants at Aurangabad have an installed capacity of about 10,000 CTVs per day.

IThis is expected to go up to around 20,000 CTVs per day at a later stage. The company is said to have around 19 per cent market share in the colour television segment.

ISumitada Hatakeyama, vice-president for Toshiba said his company is planning to increase Indian presence.

I“We realise that we are not doing well in India at present. This enhanced collaboration with Videocon will increase our exposure,” Hatakeyama said.    


Foreign Exchange

US $1	Rs. 45.74	HK $1	Rs. 5.80*
UK £1	Rs. 68.80	SW Fr 1	Rs. 26.25*
Euro	Rs. 41.33	Sing $1	Rs. 26.40*
Yen 100	Rs. 41.90	Aus $1	Rs. 26.40*
*SBI TC buying rates; others are forex market closing rates


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