Eight-point strategy for 8% growth
Business as usual for CSE defaulter

 
 
EIGHT-POINT STRATEGY FOR 8% GROWTH 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, July 13: 
Vowing to push the faltering GDP growth rate to 8 per cent, Prime Minster Atal Bihari Vajpayee today unveiled an eight-point agenda which includes a new found emphasis on finding fresh jobs for the growing ranks of unemployed, targeting higher savings and investments and creation of a partial safety net for the poor by bringing them within a savings linked insurance and credit net.

The Prime Minister outlined his fresh economic agenda at a meeting of his economic advisory council which met here after a gap of more than 10 months and on the heels of another similar highly publicised ornamental council meet—meeting of the PM’s council on trade and industry.

Today’s meet was to discuss the electricity and petroleum regulatory Bills, now the property of Parliament, but was really used by the PM to soft-sell yet another version of his earlier pronounced economic agenda.

Besides the obvious populist measures announced today, probably with an eye on the forthcoming round of state elections, Vajpayee also underlined the usual reform agenda of need to re-engineer regulatory setups in both the central and state governments, getting the government out of production in all except specified strategic sectors and re-targeting and reduction in subsidies.

“Barring those who deserve subsidy, we should develop a culture of making all others pay for what they use ... So that the essential consumption of the poor, including social services, is protected, but the overall fiscal deficit is reduced,” Vajpayee told his counsellors who included the likes of economist Ashok Lahiri, tipped to be a front runner in the race to the BJP government’s Chief Economic Advisor, power sector economist Kirit Parekh, public finance expert Amaresh Bagchi and BJP idealogue Jagdish Shettigar.

However, the exercise in “retargeting and reduction of subsidies” will not extend to scrapping of the minimum support price for wheat and paddy, finance minister Jaswant Singh later clarified at a press conference.

“MSP will not go. It will not end,” Singh said, despite economists pointing out that the system had outlived its utility and high support prices were adding to the already unmanageable food mountain of million tonnes that the Indian government is saddled with.

   

 
 
BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR CSE DEFAULTER 
 
 
BY ANIEK PAUL
 
Calcutta, July 13: 
The Calcutta Stock Exchange (CSE) today said it had unearthed evidence that Dinesh Kumar Singhania—one of the key defaulters in the Rs 107 crore payment crisis that erupted in March last year—is still operating on the stock markets.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has barred Singhania and associate firms—Doe Jones Investments, Arihant Exim Scrip and Tripoli Consultancy—from trading in shares till they cleared their Rs 37 crore dues with CSE.

The exchange obtained a court order on July 10 from the Bankshal Court to attach the property of Doe Jones for the recovery of its dues. The police, along with officials of the exchange, today raided the registered office of Doe Jones and Arihant Exim at 36, Strand Road.

“When we visited the office, we found an active terminal of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and documents revealing that trades had been executed from it. The terminal was certainly obtained illegally without informing NSE,” CSE officials alleged.

Once a stockbroker has been declared a defaulter on one exchange, he is immediately barred from trading on all 23 exchanges in the country. But there have been several brokers, notably scam-tainted Harshad Mehta, who were accused of operating on the stock markets through various fronts even after being officially barred from trading. In fact, Mehta was accused of ramping up BPL and Videocon shares three years ago through his network of people.

CSE’s attempt to recover assets from the office of Doe Jones proved futile. “All that could be recovered were some documents, which includes an audited balance sheet of Doe Jones,” a CSE official said.

The exchange says it will move the court on Monday seeking remand of Singhania and his associates.

An audited balance sheet of Doe Jones from 2000-01 was recovered. It says the firm had posted a loss of Rs 17.22 crore during the year and had Rs 26.19 crore receivable from debtors. The debtors, however, were not named in the balance sheet.

None of the directors of the companies were present at the time of the raid. Sandip Jain, one of the shareholders of Doe Jones, was present and questioned by the police. He told the police that he had sold off his shares in the company.

In March 2001, Singhania and his three firms defaulted on payments to CSE. Doe Jones and Arihant Exim were the worst defaulters—their combined dues to the exchange being close to Rs 30 crore.

   
 

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