Sponsored by
Place your ad banner here.

Printer Friendly Version

Newsletter. Issue 2009-24. November 21, 2009

Newsline Canada
Convention News
News Clips From India
News Clips From Goa
Goan Voice UK
People Places and Things
Health & Wellness
Classified Adverts
Subscribe to Goan Voice
Contact Us
Links & Reference Section
Newsletter Archives

India News Clips

India Poised to Emerge Strong from the Global Crisis with GDP Growth of 7.5%

Visit by Canadian Prime Minister is an important milestone in India-Canada relations

MUMBAI, India and TORONTO, Nov. 15 /CNW/ - India's economy is well positioned for post-recession growth and stands to rank amongst the best in the world, with a GDP forecast of 7.5% next year, according to a new report by BMO Capital Markets, the investment and corporate banking arm of BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO).

Citing the report, Michael Rayfield, Vice Chair, BMO Capital Markets, said, "Positive signs that the Indian economy is turning a corner continue to emerge, most notably including a surge in industrial production growth."

"BMO is committed to India and we recognize this country as an area of emerging global growth. We'll continue to build on our strong relationships here," said Mr. Rayfield who is participating in an Investment Roundtable with the Canadian Prime Minister in Mumbai tomorrow. "BMO expanded into India one year ago at the height of the economic crisis and today, we look back knowing our timing couldn't have been better as we continue to focus on serving Indian clients over the long-term," added Mr. Rayfield.

Mr. Rayfield's trip to Mumbai follows a visit made earlier this month by Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group, to mark the anniversary of BMO's entry into India.

BMO Capital Markets, through its Indian subsidiary, opened its corporate and transaction advisory services office in Mumbai last fall. The move was to assist Indian companies interested in growing their presence - mainly in North America and Europe - in sectors that include global mining and metals, oil and gas, information technology services, education, auto and industrials, healthcare and food and agri-businesses.

"Our mission is to help Indian companies successfully execute M&A cross-border opportunities primarily between India and North America," said Ashutosh Sharma, Managing Director of BMO Capital Markets' Indian subsidiary. "Indian companies, as part of their global strategy, should capitalize on the attractive valuations that currently exist in the North American market," said Mr. Sharma

"We also continue to explore with our North American client base on opportunities for investment into India," added Mr. Sharma, who works with a BMO team of more than 250 leading professionals that can advise North American companies looking to expand into India across a range of sectors.

BMO's economic report indicates India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth stands to rank amongst the best in the world, with a GDP forecast of 7.5% for fiscal 2010/11, largely backed by fiscal and monetary stimulus and an improving external environment. This compares favourably to India's pre-recession performance when it was considered one of the world's high-flyers with average growth of almost 9% in fiscal 2007/08.

"While global growth is slowly strengthening, India is ideally positioned to take advantage of its strong credit rating to pursue international opportunities," said Mr. Rayfield. "We believe the central government is poised to take bold measures in infrastructure development, one of the driving factors to future economic growth," he added.

The report notes growth this year could still be impeded by weak monsoons and rising inflation. Fiscal challenges also continue to mount and, even with a strengthened government in place, political resolve will be critical to meet budget deficit targets, said the report.


Investigations in India Point to New Government Focus on Corruption
October 30, 2009 | By HEATHER TIMMONS and VIKAS BAJAJ

NEW DELHI - Less than a year after India was rocked by a large fraud at one of its biggest technology companies, Indian authorities are starting a raft of high-profile corporate investigations.

On Thursday, Sesa Goa, the country’s biggest exporter of iron ore, confirmed that the Serious Fraud Investigation Office had begun an inquiry into “mismanagement, malpractices, financial and other irregularities” at the company. Regulators have sought documents dating to 2001. Other government agencies are investigating the finances of India’s second-largest mobile phone company, allegations of favoritism against an energy regulator and irregularities in how the Telecommunications Ministry handed out cellular licenses nearly two years ago.

The nature and scope of these investigations may signal that the government, which was recently re-elected with a bigger mandate, may finally be getting more serious about fighting fraud and corruption. Investors both here and abroad have long complained that India’s lackadaisical attitude toward law enforcement has hobbled its economic and social development.

“It is a positive sign that there is an attempt to right wrongdoings wherever they exist,” said Anjan Deb Ghosh, a general manager in Mumbai at ICRA, a unit of Moody’s Investors Service. He said he could not remember when authorities here had taken on so many high-level investigations at the same time. Sesa Goa, the iron ore exporter that is 51 percent owned by the London mining and metals company Vedanta Resources, said it was cooperating with the investigation. A spokesman for Vedanta said the activities in question occurred before its 2007 acquisition of Sesa Goa.

Earlier this week, V. K. Sibal, who regulates India’s oil and gas exploration businesses, asked to retire early after he became the subject of an investigation by the Central Bureau of Intelligence, India’s equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The bureau is looking into accusations that Mr. Sibal took favors from companies that were later awarded government contracts. Last week, the bureau announced a wide-ranging inquiry into the Telecommunications Ministry, examining whether officials there improperly priced and awarded licenses to favored companies. The bureau has raided more than a dozen private and government offices.

In a separate matter, India’s top accounting body said this month that it was investigating claims that Reliance Communications had underreported revenue to a regulator that collects fees based on that figure. Reliance, one of the largest wireless companies in India, has denied the allegations. The Institute of Chartered Accountants is expected to examine reported revenue at all of India’s big mobile companies. Earlier this year, Indian authorities moved swiftly to contain the fallout from a big accounting fraud at Satyam Computer Services, a big player in India’s prized outsourcing industry.

Many Indian companies are tightly controlled by family founders or small groups of insiders, known here as promoters. These corporate leaders often have close relations with government officials. On average, individual and institutional investors own just 15 percent of the shares of India’s publicly traded companies. The rest are controlled by promoters. In July, the finance minister proposed that companies should list at least 25 percent of their shares on exchanges. The hope is that such a requirement would make it more difficult to manipulate share prices and would empower minority investors.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has also suggested that the number of seats on different company boards that one person can hold should be lowered from 15 to ensure that directors were not spreading themselves too thin. But it is unclear if or when these changes will be adopted, or how effective they will be. Some economists and analysts say that as India’s economy grows and its companies become bigger, they have become more powerful and have greater say in government policies.

Prithvi Haldea, who operates a service to track corporate fraud cases, said the recent investigations appeared to have come about because they had become “too uncomfortable for the government to ignore” or because some companies were conspiring to create trouble for rivals. “The government has never shown any proactiveness vis-à-vis corporate fraud,” he said. “It would be hard to detect one minor or major case where the government smelled something and ordered an investigation or looked at data and ordered an investigation.”

But a spokesman for the bureau of investigations, Harsh Bhal, said Thursday that the agency was focusing on “systemic and sector-wise corruption” rather than specific individuals. Its focus on coal, education, oil and telecommunications has “paid rich dividends,” he said.

Some investigations appear to focus on why only some corporations have repeatedly won major government licenses, leases and concessions, and whether politicians are directly involved in activities they regulate. For instance, in the telecommunications matter, the bureau said it was investigating a possible criminal conspiracy between government officials and private individuals. The number of applicants for lucrative cellular licenses may have been artificially limited, and some licenses may have been awarded without bidding, the bureau said.

The telecommunications minister, A. Raja, said that the ministry followed all government procedures and that the licenses were awarded after a review by the prime minister.

Heather Timmons reported from New Delhi and Vikas Bajaj from Mumbai.


India Informs Miner Sesa Goa of Investigation

NEW DELHI - Sesa Goa Ltd. said Thursday that India's fraud-investigation agency has notified the iron-ore miner about an investigation into its finances and management. The Press Trust of India news agency reported Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid as saying Wednesday that any action, if warranted, would be taken against the company only after detailed examination of the financial accounts.

The minister didn't say what specific possible financial or management irregularity the government is investigating at the unit of Vedanta Resources PLC. Sesa Goa said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange that the investigation "includes looking into the state of affairs of the company...in respect of mismanagement, malpractice, financial and other irregularities" between 2001 and 2009.

The statement, issued by C.D. Chitnis, Sesa Goa's general manager for legal affairs, said the federal government may be investigating an investor complaint filed six years ago.

Vedanta acquired the company in April 2007.

The investigation is likely to be concluded in six months, Sesa Goa said, though it didn't say whether the probe has begun. The company added that it will cooperate with authorities in the probe. Sesa Goa, which exports most of its production, acquired rival V.S. Dempo's mining assets in June for 17.5 billion rupees ($371 million). It is seeking opportunities to buy more mines in India and abroad.

Write to Prasenjit Bhattacharya at


In road accident deaths, India tops southeast Asia
(Source: IANS)  | Published: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 at 17:16 IST

New Delhi: Road accidents kill 33 people every hour in southeast Asia-and the highest number of these deaths are reported in India, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report has said.

The WHO report released Friday on the eve of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (Nov 14) said that the number of road traffic injuries also has been rising rapidly in the region. The survey was based on figures provided by 11 Southeast Asian countries.

"As many as 288,768 people were killed on the roads in the region and almost 73 percent of this burden belongs to India," said Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia.

The study also found that of the total number of road accident deaths, almost two-third were motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists. Emphasising the need for taking safety measures for two- and three-wheeler drivers, the study said that progress has been made towards protecting people in cars, the safety needs of motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable groups are not being met in the region.

The highest mortality rate per 100,000 population was observed in Thailand followed by Myanmar and Maldives. Raising serious questions over implementation of road safety laws in the region, the study said: "Only three countries in the region have drink-driving laws. Helmet laws exist in more than 90 percent of the countries but only 60 percent stipulate that helmets need to meet a specific safety standard."

"Only 30 percent have laws that require all car occupants to wear seat belts, while most do not have any law requiring the use of child restraints (child seats and booster seats). Where laws on these risk factors are in place, they are often inadequately enforced," it said. The report stated that the road accidents put a huge economic burden on the countries as most of the people killed on the roads are young and aged between 15 and 44 years, which corresponds to the economically most productive segment of the population.

The estimated annual cost of road accidents and injuries on India is Rs.550 billion.

Plianbangchang said appropriate land use planning and other measures could save hundreds of thousands of lives. "Such measures include sidewalks, raised crossings and separate lanes for two-wheelers, investment in public transport, reducing drink-driving and speeding, increasing the use of helmets, including by women and children, use of seat belts and child restraints in cars, improving trauma care and safe behaviour for pedestrians," he added.


Renault to challenge Tata's Nano
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/default.stm

French carmaker Renault, with its partner Nissan, has said that its planned cheap car for India will cost less to produce than Tata's Nano. The firm would not confirm the price, but says it will be for the entry level market and "priced competitively".

The design and manufacture will be done by the Indian firm Bajaj, while Renault and Nissan look after the marketing. The Nano is currently the world's cheapest car, with the most basic model selling for about $2,000.

Competing for India

Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn said "the cost of this car would be lower than any car made in India today", but added there would be a difference between cost and price. The car, which is due to be launched in 2012, will be aimed mainly at the Indian market, but exports are a possibility. Renault also says it will be very fuel-efficient. India is one of the biggest growth markets for the car industry. Mr Ghosn predicts that the market there could triple to six million vehicles in 10 years. General Motors, Toyota and Ford are all designing cheap models for India - although Ford has said it will not compete directly with the Nano.

Renault already has a joint venture with India's Mahindra and Mahindra to make the Logan Sedan. Its partner Nissan works with Ashok Leyland to make light trucks.

Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/8352991.stm

Goan Voice designed and compiled by Demerg Systems India,
ALFRAN PLAZA, "C" Block, 2nd Floor, S-43/44,
(Near Don Bosco School), Panjim, Goa-403001
Tel: +91 0832 2420797 Email: