Four new-age stocks join sensex
Jalan holds rate cut cards close to his chest
Coal India readies plan to cut jobs

Mumbai, March 11 
The 30-share sensitive index of the Bombay stock exchange � the main barometer of the mood on the country�s premier bourse � was revamped today to reflect the market�s growing enchantment with new economy stocks.

Out went Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), Indian Hotels, Tata Chemicals and Tata Power; they were replaced by Dr Reddy�s Laboratories, Reliance Petroleum, Satyam Computer Services and Zee Telefilms.The changes in the sensex will be effective from April 10, according to a BSE statement.

With the revamp, the sensex becomes more representative of the market. The four scrips that were discarded had a market capitalisation of Rs 6785.01 crore. The new scrips which will replace them are currently valued at Rs 1,07,929.43 crore.

Thus, the sensex which had a value of Rs 2,96,063.79 crore yesterday, will add value by almost Rs 1,00,000 crore at Rs 3,97,7028.21 crore.

Significantly, three of the four companies whose stocks are being dumped by the BSE�s index committee belong to the Tata group. IDBI, which showed some resurgence in the marketplace was discarded while ICICI � its aggressive rival � still finds a place in the sensex.

To maintain a balance between the old and the new economy stocks, the committee has included oil refinery major Reliance Petroleum which recently commissioned its 27 million tonne capacity refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat.

BSE officials attributed the sensex revamp to the high liquidity coupled, huge trading volumes and wide investor base in the four new scrips. �This has prompted the committee to include the four scrips in the bell-wether index,� they said.

The index was last recast in early 1999 when Infosys Technologies was inducted into the charmed group.

Reliance Petroleum, Satyam Computers and Dr Reddy�s already find a place in the 50-share CNX Nifty, the main barometer for the National Stock Exchange. This is the first time that a popular index has included Zee Telefilms, the media powerhouse.    

New Delhi, March 11 
Keeping the suspense thick on interest rate cut, Reserve Bank of India governor Bimal Jalan today said the central bank is keeping a close watch on the bank rate �and whatever needs to be done will be done at the appropriate time.�

Bank rate is the benchmark that helps banks and financial institutions to fix their lending and deposit rates.

In his first post-budget interaction with finance minister Yashwant Sinha, the RBI governor is believed to have briefed him about the extent of a possible interest rate cut in the present economic scenario.

However, when asked by reporters, Jalan refused to comment on the timing and quantum of bank rate cut.

Emerging from the meeting with Sinha, the RBI governor said, �There was no discussion on interest rates. We only discussed the macro-economic scenario and how the economy was likely to perform.�

Asked whether he felt that the situation was ripe for undertaking a rate cut, Jalan said he would not like to say anything on it.

The rate cut issue has become somewhat controversial with minister of state for finance Dhananjay Kumar stating on two separate occasions that a bank rate cut is imminent while the RBI has been trying to assert its independence be refusing to walk the talk�at least not yet.

Expectations on the possible lowering of the bank rate were building up ever since the finance minister dropped a hint in his budget speech and in his post-budget interactions with different industry forums.

�The government has done its part and it is now up to the central bank to take the final decision,� was the finance minister�s usual refrain in the recent past.

In January this year, the government had cut the interest rate on general provident fund by one percentage point to 11 per cent and also lowered interest rates on various small saving instruments.

Speaking at the RBI�s central board meeting, Sinha said the government would give more teeth to the central bank by strengthening its autonomy.

�The government�s policy is to strengthen the autonomous status of the Reserve Bank,� he said.

In his remarks, Jalan said the abolition of tax on interest rates should provide the necessary environment for keeping the overall liquidity situation comfortable and the cost of the credit reasonable.    

Calcutta, March 11 
Coal India Ltd (CIL) is working on a plan to substantially reduce manpower and install modern equipment at project sites to increase profitability.

The company is also planning to collaborate with private entrepreneurs in some projects on revenue-sharing basis.

While confirming the move, CIL director (technical) N.K. Sharma, said the private investors were being invited to participate in some projects in which they would have to bring in the equipment and technology.

Addressing a seminar on �coal for power sector in the new millennium�, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Sharma said 60 per cent of coal reserve in India were inferior quality.    


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