The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Loan waiver for Burn Standard

New Delhi, Jan. 3: The Union Cabinet today approved the waiver of Rs 295.71 crore of outstanding government loans and interest of the Calcutta-based Burn Standard Company Limited as on September 30, 2002.

After the Cabinet meeting, information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj said the company’s net worth would now turn positive by about Rs 2.44 crore as on September 30, 2002. The resultant net worth is being considered an attractive proposition for a joint-venture partnership. The interests of the employees would be protected, Swaraj emphasised.

Burn Standard is a public sector company under the administrative control of the ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises.

The company was referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) in November 1994. The revival package that was worked out involved financial restructuring worth Rs 465.36 crore.

In February 2001, the board reviewed the implementation of the revival package. It observed that the company’s performance had fallen short of projections for various reasons.

So the disinvestment ministry formed an inter-ministerial group last January for disinvestment of Burn Standard. The likelihood of success with a joint-venture exercise prompted the Centre to make the company’s net worth positive. As on March 2002, the net worth stood at Rs 293.27 crore.

On the privatisation of airports in the four metros, Swaraj said the Cabinet had not taken any decision yet. The issue did come up for discussion, she said.

The Cabinet today also decided to revive the ailing radio-paging industry. The Centre has approved a total waiver of Rs 450 crore in outstanding licence fee. The industry would be guided to a revenue-sharing regime at 5 per cent from a licence regime.

The fixed licence-fee regime for existing city connections may be given up from the commencement of the third payment year.

The Cabinet also approved a new industrial package for Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh, that includes 100 per cent excise-duty exemption for 10 years and 100 per cent income-tax exemption for five years.

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