Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Hon’ble Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Steel ((1st from left), Shri Jitin Prasada, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Steel and Shri SK Roongta, Chairman SAIL (3rd & 4th from left) handing over a momento to Shri Rahul Gandhi, Hon’ble Member of Parliament & General Secretary, Indian National Congress at the project for rebuilding of steel plant function at Jagdishpur 

Collaborative Efforts to Explore Investment & Trade Opportunities

Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) in its endeavour to attract investment and forge linkages in critical sectors like infrastructure, agro-industries, tourism, commerce & industry in the North Eastern Region held ASEAN-North East India Investment & Trade Opportunities Summit at Ho-Chi-Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam from 12th to 14th February, 2009. It is in the series of such events held earlier – North East Investment Opportunities Week from 1st-4th October, 2007 at Bangkok and North East India Investment Conference on 26th September, 2007 at New York as a part of India@60 event. These events have been conceptualized, guided and decided to be held under the leadership of Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Hon’ble Minister for DoNER and Panchayati Raj, Govt. of India. The present mega-event was an offshoot of 4th North East Business Summit held at Guwahati on 15-16 September, 2008, first time ever organized in the North East which was inaugurated by H.E. Vice President of India and attended by more than 1500 persons including ministers, officers and representatives from the North Eastern states and Central Ministries, business entrepreneurs and more significantly by Heads of Missions and delegations from 13 countries. Thereafter, a number of delegations from Nordic countries, some of the Latin American & Caribbean countries, Czech Republic, Thailand, both at Minister and officer level, visited several states of the North Eastern Region. 

The HCMC Summit which was organized by M/o DoNER partnering with Indian Chambers of Commerce (ICC), Kolkata, was attended by 140 participants from India and nearly 200 participants from Vietnam and neighbouring ASEAN countries. The Govt. of India delegation was led by Shri Jarnail Singh, Secretary, M/o DoNER and attended by Ministers from Sikkim, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Ministers from Cambodia and Vietnam also participated along with their officials. Representatives of state governments, Central organizations, PSUs, entrepreneurs from India and Vietnam and business chambers – Vietnam Chambers of Commerce & Industries (VCCI), Eurocham, Incham, Auscham, Singapore Business Group, Canadian Chambers of Commerce, Malaysian Chambers of Commerce, Korean Chambers of Commerce, Taiwan Chambers of Commerce in Vietnam, Ambassador of India and Indian Consul General in Vietnam, Asian Development Bank (ADB), North Eastern Council (NEC) and Cane & Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) also participated in the Summit. 

The major areas discussed, both in group sessions and one-to-one meetings, include infrastructure, horticulture & agro-food industries, tourism, service sector and cooperation in handloom & handicraft sector. The Vietnam & ASEAN countries have expressed keen interest in taking the process forward by way of exchange programmes in these sectors. In addition, the event highlighted the promotion of investment and trade opportunities of the North-Eastern states with ASEAN countries, especially Vietnam which are geographically and culturally so similar. Mr. Le Doung, Vice Minister of Industries & Trade, Vietnam, who was Guest of Honour in the Inaugural Session, mentioned that Vietnam and India have had very good relationship for a long time. He mentioned that last year, bilateral trade between the two nations reached US$ 2.5 billion. He expressed hope that Indian North Eastern states have huge potential and Vietnam enterprises would be pouring investment into the Region which will help foster the relationship. The issue of regional integration was highlighted by him. There was tremendous coverage in Vietnamese newspapers, namely Viet Nam News and Saigon Times with several positive features of this first ever initiative of its kind. Both Indian Embassy and VCCI as well as representatives of expatriate chambers mentioned that Summit was unprecedented from the point of focused attention, level of participation and the issues discussed. 

On the sidelines of the Summit, there was a meeting on Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle (CLV-DT) in the afternoon of 14th February, 2009 which was the second day of the Summit. It was chaired by Shri Jarnail Singh, Secretary, DoNER and attended by Ministers from Sikkim, Mizoram, Meghalaya and officials from state governments. Cambodia was represented by Mr. Sok Sopheak, Director General of International Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of Cambodia and Vietnam was represented by Mr. Tran Quan Huy, Deputy Director General, South-West Asia & Africa Deptt., Ministry of Industry & Trade, Govt. of Vietnam. The Joint Statement which was signed on 21st January, 2009 between H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister of Commerce, Cambodia and Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Hon’ble Minister for DoNER, Panchayati Raj & Chairman, NEC, was discussed. 

There was a broad agreement in CLV countries to associate experts to revise and update the Master Plan for CLV-DT. Dr. Govind Rao, Director, National Institute of Public Finance & Policy (NIPFP), New Delhi, gave a presentation on the process of finalization and objective of NER Vision 2020. While Vietnam will coordinate with Laos who were not present, Cambodia will organize to take the process further. As regards Human Resource Development, specific requests would be indicated by the CLV countries so as to interact with line ministries/institutes in India which may be taken care of under ITEC Programme of MEA. 

Regarding trade linkages, it was clarified by the Cambodian side in CLV-DT meeting that the outcome of signing of FTA would be known shortly and on that issue, they are constantly in touch with Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India. In the field of tourism and culture, it was mentioned that 2 million tourists visit Cambodia every year which includes a sizeable part of Indians. Vietnam, however, receives hardly about 12,000 visitors form India. Therefore, there should be a broad-based CLV-NE India tourist linkages by way of developing infrastructure, road and rail connectivity, direct flights to HCMC and relaxation of visa regime including the state-specific restrictions as presently in vogue in the NE states. 

The ASEAN-North East India Investment & Trade Opportunities Summit ended with high note of optimism wherein 10 MOUs were signed and 60 positive Expression of Interests (EOIs) were received by ICC, Kolkata. The major areas included construction, tourism, agro-products, handloom & handicrafts sector, power generation, packaging, IT & IT-Enabled Services, health services and consultancy firms. Mr. Sok Sopheak, Director General of International Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of Cambodia, mentioned that India is 7th largest trading partner of ASEAN and trade volume during 2007 was to the tune of US$ 640 billions. He suggested that simplification of procedures for trade, tourism, aviation and visa should be considered to upscale the gains of this Summit.

Service Sector in India - Operational Characteristics of Enterprises, 2006 -07

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) has released Report No. 528 giving operational characteristics of service sector enterprises (excluding trade) in India, 2006-07 based on data of NSS 63rd round. The fieldwork of the survey was carried out during July 2006-June 2007. The survey covered the whole of the Indian Union except (i) Leh (Ladakh), Kargil, Punch and Rajauri districts of Jammu & Kashmir, (ii) interior villages of Nagaland situated beyond five kilometres of bus route and (iii) villages of Andaman and Nicobar Islands which remain inaccessible throughout the year.

The term ‘service sector enterprises’ under the coverage of 63rd round basically referred to all service sector enterprises, other than government and public sector undertakings and those covered under Annual Survey of Industries(ASI). The enterprises engaged in trading activities are also out of the coverage of the survey. The services covered in the survey comprise of hotels and restaurants, storage and warehousing, transport and communication, financial intermediation, real estate, renting and other business activities, education, health and social work and other community, social and personal services, etc. A dual frame approach was followed in the survey with a view to improving the reliability of the overall estimates by separating out apparently large units into one frame (list frame) and covering the remaining units within the coverage through the area frame. While a list of financial sector enterprises and a list of other service sector enterprises comprising relatively large units constituted the list frame, other enterprises (other than list frame enterprises) located in all the villages and urban blocks within the geographical coverage constituted the area frame. From the area frame 13,271 sample villages/urban blocks were surveyed. In all 1,90,282 sample enterprises were actually surveyed out of which 438 enterprises belonged to list frame and 189844 belonged to sample villages/urban blocks of area frame.

The survey coverage and results thereof in this report are presented in respect of two broad categories of enterprises viz. the enterprises, which are run without any hired worker on a fairly regular basis, termed as “Own Account Enterprises (OAEs)” and those run with at least one hired worker on a fairly regular basis, termed as “Establishments (Estt.)”.  

The present report is the first one in a series of two reports planned to be brought out based on the survey. Apart from information on estimated number of enterprises and number of workers, the report discusses the operational characteristics of the enterprises like location of enterprise, maintenance of accounts, number of working hours, nature of operation, status of registration etc. at all India level for different activity categories and at the level of States / UTs for all the activity categories taken together.


Major findings of the survey from the present NSS Report No. 528 are noted below:
An estimated 1.65 crore (1 crore = 107) service sector enterprises were in operation in India during 2006-07. Of these enterprises, 60% (0.99 crore) were in rural India and 40% (0.66 crore) in urban India. The OAEs constituted 85% of all enterprises and the remaining 15% were Establishments. 
Uttar Pradesh had the highest share (14%) in total number of enterprises followed by West Bengal (13%), Andhra Pradesh (10%), Maharashtra (9%) and Tamil Nadu (7%). These five states accounted for 53% of enterprises at all-India level.  

Service Sector is one of the prime engagers of workforce in the economy. According to the survey results, about 3.35 crore persons were estimated to be working in service sector enterprises during 2006-07. Nearly 54% of these persons belonged to rural sector.
Uttar Pradesh had the highest share (12%) of workers in service sector enterprises of the country closely followed by Andhra Pradesh (11%), Maharashtra (10%), West Bengal (10%) and Tamil Nadu (9%). About 52% of all workers were concentrated in these five States. 


Top segments of the service sector in terms of workers were ‘transport, storage and communication’ (25%), ‘financial intermediation’ (17%) and ‘hotels and restaurants’ (15%) followed by ‘other community, social and personal services activities’ (15%) and ‘education’ ( 12%). Except for ‘transport, storage and communication, rural–urban differential with respect to number of workers was significant in respect of all other broad activities.  

About 90 % of enterprises were proprietary enterprises and 7% were cooperative societies and self help groups. About 59 % of enterprises were not registered with any agency. The propensity of non-registration of enterprises was 63% each in case of rural enterprises as well as OAEs. About 74 % of enterprises had fixed premises of operation. Of these, about 32% were located within household premises. Nearly 99 % of enterprises were perennial enterprises.
About 86 % of all enterprises did not receive any assistance from any government or non-government agencies. Out of the 14% enterprises receiving such assistance loan was the most dominant type of assistance (12%). About 43% of all enterprises reported not having faced any specific problem in their day-to-day operations. However, among the remaining enterprises, “Competition from larger units” and “shortage of capital” were the two main problems faced by the enterprises. 
About 2 % of enterprises had undertaken at least some work on contract basis and also nearly 32 % of enterprises had undertaken some other economic activity. About 5% of enterprises were pursuing mixed activity i.e. the multiple activities from the same enterprise without accounts being separable.
About 81% of working owners or managing partners of proprietary and partnership enterprises were literate with some formal education. Even in rural areas, literacy with some formal education was as high as 77%. However, only about 10% of enterprises were maintaining accounts.

Steel Minister launches rebuilding of Malvika Steel after SAIL take over

Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Steel launched the project for rebuilding of steel plant (erstwhile Malvika Steel) at Jagdishpur Industrial Area, Uttar Pradesh this evening in the presence of Chief Guest Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Parliament & General Secretary, Indian National Congress. Also present on the occasion were Shri Jitin Prasada, Union Minister of State for Steel, Shri PK Rastogi, Secretary (Steel) and Shri SK Roongta, Chairman SAIL. 

Erstwhile Malvika Steel (MS) promoted by Usha Group in 1995-96 produced pig iron for about 2 years. The plant was shut down in early 1998. The promoters had envisaged the construction of a Steel Melting Shop, caster, oxygen plant, sinter plant and rolling mill. However the main facilities in operation at the time of closure included 2 x 350 cubic metres blast furnaces, 2 x 1200 tonnes per day pig casting machines and a 7.8 Mega watt captive power plant. 

The assets of Malvika Steel have been taken over by SAIL at an auction held under the aegis of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court for Rs 209 crores. As per the initial estimates an investment of about 300 crore would be needed. Detailed studies will be carried out to work out the product mix, etc. The plant’s proximity to vast consuming centres in UP and strategic location would be advantageous for SAIL. 

The Steel Minister said for last few years the Steel Ministry had been working on various modalities for reviving erstwhile Malvika Steel. Shri Paswan said construction will be started soon and plant is expected to start operation on 26th January 2011. Sharing his vision of reviving sick units, he said SAIL being the largest steel producer in the country has always played a vital role in nurturing several sick units like Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISL), Karnataka, Indian Iron & Steel Company (IISCO), West Bengal and Maharashtra Elektrosmelt Ltd (MEL), Maharashtra. Today these are making significant contributions. Talking about the steel scenario, Shri Paswan said high demand of steel in domestic sectors like infrastructure, automobiles and real estate have given a boost to steel industry in the country, and today India is the world's fifth largest producer of steel producing about 55 Million Tonnes of crude steel. He also informed the gathering about the various CSR activities of the Steel Ministry. 

Shri Rahul Gandhi said for last five years he had been concerned about the revival of Malvika Steel and today his dream has come true. He thanked the Steel Minister and SAIL for taking the initiative to revive the unit and said it will usher in a new era of progress and prosperity in the region and state as a whole. 

Lauding the Steel Minister, Shri Jitin Prasada, in his address said it was a historic day and a milestone for the state as the unit which had been closed will be restarted. He said there was a shortage of private sector investment in the state and this would be the largest investment by the Central govt. in UP. He thanked the Steel Ministry and SAIL for the initiative to set up the Lakhimpur Steel Processing Unit in UP and said such initiatives will boost all round development across all economic sections. 

Shri P.K. Rastogi said he was happy that the plant which had been closed for last ten years is going to be revived. He lauded the Steel Minister for spearheading CSR initiatives and setting up Steel Processing Units in the country. 

Shri SK Roongta said today is a historic day for SAIL as it has been provided an opportunity to rebuild erstwhile Malvika Steel which has been closed for 10 years. On the occasion Chairman SAIL talked about the crucial role of Chiria Mines as additional iron ore would be needed for the success of the company’s expansion plan. He also requested the State govt’s intervention for the projects’ requirement of electricity, water, etc. Shri Roongta assured that SAIL would not only reconstruct the plant but also play the role of a model corporate citizen. 

Earlier during the day Shri Paswan inaugurated SAIL’s first Steel Processing Unit at Betiah, Bihar. The SPU will start initially with commissioning of Corrugation facility producing corrugated sheets.

Lockheed Martin Delivers Third C-5M Super Galaxy to United States Air Force

MARIETTA, Ga., February 27, 2009 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] today delivered the third fully modernized C-5M Super Galaxy to the U.S. Air Force. Following a small send-off at the company’s Marietta facility, the C-5M flew to Dover AFB, Del. 

“This delivery is yet another success in the C-5 modernization program,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin C-5 program vice president. “I’m confident the Air Force will be as impressed with the improved performance, reliability and capability of the Super Galaxy as we were during flight test.” 

This was the second C-5M to be delivered to Dover this month, and was the third and final aircraft delivered during the System Design and Development phase of the program. The C-5M program will enter production this summer. Induction of the first aircraft is planned for August. 

The C-5M Super Galaxy climbs higher and faster than its legacy counterparts while carrying more cargo over longer distances. It also requires less tanker support and is projected to have a much higher mission availability rate due to increased reliability. Current Air Force plans call for Lockheed Martin to deliver 52 fully modernized C-5Ms by 2016.

The C-5M is the product of a two-phase modernization effort. The first, the ongoing Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), provides a state-of-the-art glass cockpit with modern avionics and flight instruments that meet future Communication, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management requirements. AMP kit installations have now been completed on more than 40 C-5Bs. Lockheed Martin is under contract to perform AMP modifications on 111 C-5 aircraft.

The Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program (RERP) is the second phase of the C-5 modernization effort. It includes 70 enhancements or replacements of major components and subsystems, including the installation of GE CF6-80C2 commercial engines. Modernization of the C-5 pays for itself through savings in operation and sustainment costs. 

The C-5 has been the backbone of strategic airlift in every engagement since it entered service. It is the only aircraft capable of carrying 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo, with a dedicated passenger compartment enabling commanders to have troops and their equipment arrive in an area of operation simultaneously. The C-5 can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems. With more than 70 percent of its structural service life remaining, the C-5M Super Galaxy will be a force multiplier through 2040.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

Friday, February 27, 2009

“ASEAN and World Food Security”: A Video Launched in Conjunction with the 14th ASEAN Summit

Cha-am, Thailand, 27 February 2009

A video on “ASEAN and World Food Security” was launched today during the 14th ASEAN Summit in Cha-am, Thailand, to raise the importance of food security in the ASEAN region and at the global level, as well as to call for greater cooperation and support to address food security issues. 

“ASEAN and World Food Security” provides an array of perspectives and the way forward in addressing the issue of food security globally. This video also discusses food security in the ASEAN context and how ASEAN will respond to short- and long-term challenges posed by food security. To ensure long-term food security and to improve the livelihoods of farmers in the ASEAN region, ASEAN Leaders at the 14th ASEAN Summit are expected to embrace food security as a matter of permanent and high priority policy, and review ASEAN’s commitment to achieving the objectives of the World Food Security and the Millennium Development Goals. 

“Food security for ASEAN and the world in the midst of the global financial crisis and the impact of climate change cannot be over-emphasised. The launch of the video today is timely to enhance ASEAN’s ongoing efforts to address food security in the wake of these challenges,” Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, said.

At this Summit, the ASEAN Leaders will consider the adoption of the ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on ASEAN Food Security in order to pursue this important endeavour.

Dr Surin launched the video with Mr Yoshio Yamane, Advisor of ITOCHU Corporation, a Japanese-based food supply chain. The launch was witnessed by Thailand’s Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr Teera Wongsamut. The video was produced by the ASEAN Secretariat in collaboration with ITOCHU Corporation.

“Collaboration and partnership between the public and private sectors is considered important in tackling food crisis. The private sector can contribute in a number of ways including development of agricultural productivity, improvement of food supply chain system as well as technology for food production at times of emergency needs,” added Mr Yoshio Yamane, the co-producing partner of this video production. 


27 February 2009, Cha-am, Thailand
1. The Inaugural Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council was held on 27 February 2009 in Hua Hin, Thailand. H.E. Korbsak Sabhavasu, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Economic Affairs of Thailand, chaired the Meeting.  
ASEAN Charter
2. The Council discussed the status of implementation of the ASEAN Charter and institutional structure of AEC. The Council deliberated on its role and functions, which include identifying cross cutting issues that require collective consideration to deliver AEC priorities; and ensuring the effective implementation of and compliance with the relevant decisions of the ASEAN Summit. The Council also welcomed developments in the ASEAN Political Security Community Council, the ASEAN Social Cultural Community Council and the ASEAN Coordinating Council.  
ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard 
3. The Council underscored the significance of the AEC Scorecard as a monitoring tool which would enable ASEAN to capture information and produce an assessment of the current situation of AEC implementation towards meeting AEC goals. The Council discussed and agreed to submit the first AEC Scorecard and its Executive Summary to ASEAN Leaders at the 14th ASEAN Summit and looked forward to subsequent enhancements to the AEC Scorecard. In this regard, the Council called on all sectoral bodies under the AEC to work together in ensuring the compliance to the commitments under the AEC Blueprint and other relevant ASEAN economic agreements through the continuous improvement of the AEC Scorecard. The Council also requested all sectoral bodies to develop their respective detailed sectoral work plan towards achieving the goals of AEC by 2015.  

ASEAN Economic Community Communications Plan
4. In conjunction with the AEC Awareness Year 2008 designated by ASEAN Leaders, the Council welcomed the development of an AEC Communications Plan by ASEAN Economic Ministers to enhance awareness of stakeholders on AEC initiatives, elicit their feedback and garner support from them. The Council also took note of the report of ASEAN Economic Ministers on national and regional communications activities for AEC Awareness Year 2008 which will be submitted to ASEAN Leaders at the 14th ASEAN Summit.  

5. The Council was of the view that communications activities are essential to keep the ASEAN identity, vision and activities visible on a regular basis and emphasised the need to intensify communications activities at the national and regional level beyond the AEC Awareness Year 2008. The Council also underscored the importance of involving various stakeholders in the communications process, namely, the ASEAN sectoral bodies and institutions; the private sector; the national and local authorities in ASEAN Member States; the academia and civil society.  

Global Economic Situation

6. The Council deliberated on the challenges posed by the global economic situation and recognised that slower growth in the world economies could lead to calls for protectionist measures which would only exacerbate the current economic situation. In this regard, the Council noted that despite the crisis, ASEAN remains on track and committed to implementing the AEC Blueprint because free flow of goods, services and investment are key to recovery. Therefore, the Inaugural Meeting of the AEC Council is timely to ensure that ASEAN will maintain the momentum of Community building.  


1. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam (representing H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam

2. H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia

3. H.E. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia 

4. H.E. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR

5. H.E. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia

6. H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar

7. H.E. Peter B. Favila, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines

8. H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore

9. H.E. Korbsak Sabhavasu, Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Economic Affairs, Thailand

10. H.E. Porntiva Nakasai, Minister of Commerce, Thailand;

11. H.E. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam

12. H.E. Sundram Pushpanathan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community (representing H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN)

Economy Shrinks At Fastest Pace In 25 Years

The economy contracted at a staggering 6.2 percent pace at the end of 2008 — the worst showing in a quarter-century — as consumers and businesses ratcheted back spending, plunging the country deeper into recession.

The Commerce Department report released Friday showed the economy sinking much faster than the 3.8 percent annualized drop for the October-December quarter first estimated by the government last month. It also was considerably weaker than the 5.4 percent annualized decline economists expected.

Looking ahead, economists predict consumers and businesses will keep cutting back spending, making the first six months of this year especially rocky.

The new report offered grim proof that the economy's economic tailspin accelerated in the fourth quarter under a slew of negative forces feeding on each other. The economy started off 2008 on feeble footing, picked up a bit of speed in the spring and then contracted at an annualized rate of 0.5 percent in the third quarter.

The faster downhill slide in last year's final quarter came as the financial crisis — the worst since the 1930s — intensified.

Consumers at the end of the year slashed spending by the most in 28 years. They chopped spending on cars, furniture, appliances, clothes and other things. Businesses retrenched sharply, too, dropping the ax on equipment and software, home building and commercial construction.

Before Friday's report was released, many were projecting an annualized drop of 5 percent in the current January-March quarter. Given the dismal state of the jobs market, though, some economists believe an even sharper decline in first-quarter GDP is possible. A smaller decline was expected for the second quarter of this year.

HIV & AIDS Pose Serious Risk to Economic & Social Development in South Asia

NEW DELHI, February 27, 2009 ─ HIV and AIDS can pose a serious economic and social development risk to countries in South Asia, including India, unless prevention programs, targeting vulnerable groups at high risk of infection, are scaled up, says a World Bank report released today.

The report, titled “HIV and AIDS in South Asia: An Economic Development Risk,” argues that, even if the overall prevalence rate is low (up to 0.5 percent), there is high and rising HIV prevalence among vulnerable groups at high risk for HIV infection, including sex workers and their clients, and injecting drug users and their partners. Without increasing prevention interventions among those at highest risk, these concentrated epidemics can further escalate.

The report finds the impacts of HIV and AIDS in South Asia on the aggregate level of economic activity to be small. For India, the effect on GDP (0.16 percent) corresponds to a one-off loss of about 1.5 weeks of GDP growth. However, the direct welfare costs of increased mortality and lower life expectancy are more substantial, accounting for 3 percent to 4 percent of GDP in India and Nepal, respectively.

The economic impact on individual households affected by the disease is substantial, the report says. In a household study on India, 36 percent of people living with HIV and AIDS who were able to retain their employment nevertheless reported an income loss, which averaged about 9 percent. Among those who lost their employment (about 9 percent), the income loss was severe, at about 66 percent.

In addition to shortfalls in income, which in some cases can be very significant, HIV and AIDS is also associated with an increased demand for health services, and increased household expenditures on care and treatment. Medical expenditures in one study account for 11 percent of total expenditure of HIV and AIDS-affected households, as compared with 3 percent for households not affected by HIV and AIDS.

Overall, the number of people living with HIV and AIDS in South Asia is about 2.6 million, of whom the lion’s share is in India. AIDS accounts for 1.5 percent of all deaths in South Asia and about 2 percent of all deaths in India. These numbers of deaths are comparable to the numbers from diabetes, tuberculosis, and measles.

“Even in the low HIV prevalence countries of South Asia, there cannot be any room for complacency,” said Mariam Claeson, World Bank HIV and AIDS Coordinator for South Asia. “While the impact of HIV and AIDS on economic growth is small in South Asia, the welfare cost on households is by no means negligible. HIV and AIDS also have an enormous disproportionate impact on vulnerable and often marginalized people at highest risk of infection, and on poor households with less access to information, preventive services and treatment.”

Many of the adverse development impacts of HIV and AIDS arise from its uneven impact on different population groups. Access to prevention and treatment, for example, is strongly linked to socioeconomic factors such as gender, education, and wealth. And, people’s ability to cope with the financial effects of HIV and AIDS differs strongly. For example, the report finds that HIV and AIDS have a disproportionate economic impact on HIV-positive widows who face the double burden of living with HIV and AIDS and the low socioeconomic status of women.

Access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) is low in South Asian countries, even compared to countries in other regions with much higher infection rates. The report says the fiscal cost of treatment could be very high if South Asian countries fail to contain the epidemic. This underscores the crucial role of effective prevention.

“At a time of global economic crisis, scaling up efforts to prevent new infections and sustaining care and treatment for those already affected and infected becomes even more important,” said Debrework Zewdie, Director, Global AIDS Program, World Bank. “The smallest gap created due to economic crisis and loss of momentum on the response will be more costly.”

Access to effective treatment is vitally important to mitigate the health and economic impacts of HIV and AIDS, the report says. At the same time, the medical costs of treatment can put a substantial proportion of the population living with HIV and AIDS at risk of poverty, especially in a region where most health services are paid for out of pocket.

“This analysis shows that failure to contain the epidemic at low levels may have serious economic consequences,” said Sadiq Ahmed, World Bank Acting Chief Economist, South Asia. 

With the exception of Sri Lanka, three-quarters or more of health expenditures in South Asia are financed privately and little are covered by third-party payers like insurance agencies. With the limited ability of many households to pay catastrophic health expenses associated with HIV and AIDS, and the negative externalities associated with poor adherence, the report argues for a large and critical role for the public sector in the provision of ART.

Gantry cranes for Salzgitter

Major contract to build and supply 

ThyssenKrupp MillServices & Systems GmbH, Oberhausen, has been awarded a contract by Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH to build and supply three gantry cranes to be operated by the water resources management department at the Salzgitter metallurgical mill. The first of the cranes with a capacity of 12.5 tonnes and a reach of 29 meters will be used over the sinter pit, the second with a capacity of 12.5 tonnes and a reach of 33.5 meters over the longitudinal clarifier, and the third with a capacity of 12.5 tonnes and a reach of 49.75 meters over the settling tank.

ThyssenKrupp MillServices & Systems is being contracted to build the crane running gear, the crabs including running components and the electrical systems as well as the entire frames. The first of the cranes will be heavy-hauled to its site of operation broken down into parts and installed at the end of February 2009. Commissioning is scheduled for April 2009. 
Since October 1, 2008, ThyssenKrupp Services AG has been bundling its steel mill-related services under a new company by the name of ThyssenKrupp MillServices & Systems GmbH. ThyssenKrupp MillServices & Systems is a highly capable engineering services provider with remarkable proficiency in the metal-producing and manufacturing industries as well as other sectors with complex production processes. Savor under the entrepreneurial management of ThyssenKrupp a full-service menu of international caliber, from marketing-focused slag management, innovative in-production support, intelligent transport and handling logistics, professional maintenance, safe and secure customized packaging to technology-driven project management. Rapid response and flexible round-the-clock deployment typify the way we work. 

JFE Steel and Rasselstein Reach Technical Cooperation Agreement

JFE Steel Corporation and Rasselstein GmbH in Andernach, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Steel AG and Germany's sole manufacturer of tinplate, have signed a Cooperation Agreement regarding steel used for cans and other packaging.

Alliance partners JFE Steel and Rasselstein will pursue the common goal of favorably positioning steel as a competitive packaging material in the highly diversified global market for applied materials, now and into the future. 

Through this agreement, which includes exchange of leading-edge technical information and joint research, development and application of innovative technologies in the field of steel for cans and other packaging, the two companies seek to deepen their existing technical exchange and expand their cooperation in the areas of manufacturing processes and materials development.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prospects dim for China's steel market amid shrinking demand and idle capacity

Wednesday,February 25,2009 Posted: 04:50 BJT(2050 GMT)
  From:Xinhua Article type:Reproduced

BEIJING, Feb. 24-- Recovery for China's steel market was not yet in sight as declining exports and excessive production capacity continued to haunt the industry, said officials from the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA). 

Luo Bingsheng, CISA's executive deputy director, said at a conference on Monday that the rise in steel prices from December to February was not a sign of recovery. The country's steel market would remain subdued this year because of shrinking demand and huge capacity, he added. 

CISA vice secretary general Qi Xiangdong put the rise in prices down to an increase in stockpiling. 

"The financial crisis and the domestic economic slowdown resulted in contraction in both overseas and domestic markets", Luo said, noting China, the world largest producer and consumer, was facing many uncertainties. 

The lingering financial crisis dragged the world economy into recession. 

Many steel-consuming industries were seriously battered, especially construction, automobile and shipbuilding, which caused a steep drop in steel demand and therefore eroded China's steel exports, the Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center said. 

According to the General Administration of Customs, China exported 1.91 million tonnes of rolled steel last month, a decline of 2.22 million tonnes, or 53.8 percent, from the same month of 2008. The steel exports were also 1.26 million tonnes, or 39.7 percent, below the December level. 

Xu Xiangchun, chief analyst with, said orders from importers had decreased sharply since the fourth quarter last year because of the dramatic international market contraction. 

The prospect is not upbeat as the World Steel Association forecasted the global demand for steel would fall more than 10 percent in 2009 year on year. The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the U.S., the main importers of China's steel, would post declines of 9.5 percent and 10 percent in 2009, respectively. Japan's demand for the first quarter would slide 31.6 percent. 

He added the yuan's appreciation also helped weaken the competitiveness of China's steel products. Additionally, there emerged growing concerns over trade protectionism worldwide. 

The global economic turmoil also hurt China's economy, driving it down to a 9 percent growth for the whole year in 2008. 

Luo said the domestic demand started to shrink in the second half of last year and would continue in the first quarter of this year as the financial crisis continued to spread. 

"It is difficult for the steel industry to pick up until the domestic auto, shipbuilding and manufacturing sectors are revived", he added. 

The country hammered out a four-trillion yuan stimulus plan in November to boost the economy. Luo expected the package to take effect on the steel industry in the middle of this year or the second half. 

The excessive production capacity posed another challenge for the domestic steel market. The steel production capacity reached 660 million tonnes by the end of last year. The crude steel output edged up 1.13 percent to 500.5 million tonnes. The growth rate was14.5 percentage points lower than a year ago. 

The figures showed some 160 million tonnes of capacity were left idle. 

Luo said the idle part mainly came from high-energy-consuming and high-polluting small steel mills. 

Xu said the output this year would probably stay the same or even decline. 

The world economic recession, weakening exports and domestic demand pushed down domestic steel prices since the third quarter and eroded profits of steel companies. 

CISA said Monday that the aggregate net profit of 71 medium-sized and large steel producers fell 43 percent to 84.6 billion yuan in 2008 as weak demand drove down prices. And 15 steel producers recorded full-year losses totaling 8.5 billion yuan. 

Luo noted the steel prices ended the upward trend and fell again since Feb. 11 because there was no obvious increase in domestic demand for steel. 

Experts also blamed excessive purchase of iron ore for the losses of steel companies last year. 

China imported 443.7 million tonnes of iron ore last year, an increase of 60.6 million tonnes than a year earlier, which led to huge inventory. 

Luo said China would like to stick to the practice of striking long-term contracts and hope the fiscal year for iron ore contracts could start on Jan. 1. 

In addition, CISA will adopt an agent system for iron ore imports nationwide, which has been implemented by Japan, ROK and Europe. 

Currently, China has 72 steel producers and 40 merchants allowed to import iron ore. Under the system, the 72 mills have to import according to their needs and other small and medium sized steel companies have to import through the 40 agents. 

Luo said the measure would impose strict control over the iron ore imports. Qi noted the step would help stabilize steel prices. 

Qi said the domestic steel companies should control their output and capacity, and reduce their purchase cost to get through the tough period. However, the macro-economic trends and the changing amount of inventory made the situation uncertain.

China's Steel Trade Faces Stiff Challenges

Wednesday,February 25,2009 Posted: 05:39 BJT(2139 GMT)
  From:China Daily Article type:Redistributed

China's steel exports are expected to further decrease this year while the total output may fall marginally, a senior official with the China Iron and Steel Association said Monday. 

Luo Bingsheng, vice-chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association said steel exports from China would decrease as overseas demand is expected to remain weak for most of the year. 

Steel exports fell 5.5 percent year-on-year to 59.23 million tons last year, the General Administration of Customs said earlier this month. 

Luo said the Chinese steel industry's reliance on exports is high. The sector's direct or indirect reliance on exports is about 23 percent, according to the association, underscoring the sector's vulnerability to a global economic downturn. 

Crude steel output is expected to reach 490 million to 500 million tons this year, down slightly from last year, Luo said. 

Steel output stood at 500.48 million tons in 2008, up 1.13 percent from a year earlier. The growth was 14.5 percentage points lower over 2007. 

Due to the global economic crisis, the country's steel manufacturers have been suffering from shrinking demand at home and abroad since the second half of 2008. 

At the same time, China's steel industry is also facing a surplus in production - about 160 million tons in 2008 - as well as the high costs of iron ore. 

The 71 large and medium-scale steel mills monitored by the association made a profit of 101.05 billion yuan in the first-half of last year, up 26.1 percent year-on-year. However, they plunged into the red after incurring losses of 16.4 billion yuan in the second-half. 

Only 30 percent of the Chinese mills managed to avoid losing money as steel prices crashed in October and November. Most of these are the small and private mills that react faster to market conditions. 

Luo said he does not agree with the view that demand is reviving because prices recovered in January. 

"The imbalance in supply and demand will continue to create an unstable situation," he said. 

He said the industry has pinned its hopes for a recovery on whether China's economy can rebound in the second half, as the export markets are likely to remain weak. Only an expansion in domestic demand would help reach a balance between supply and demand. 

The central government mapped out a stimulus package for the steel sector last month pledging to increase domestic demand for steel and adopt a more flexible tax rebate policy. 

It also encouraged big steel makers to merge with rivals in order to create more competitive steel groups and said the industry needs to eliminate outdated technology, and not establish new projects that merely add to steel output. 

Special funds will be allocated from the central budget to promote technological advancement of the sector, readjustment of the products mix and improvement of product quality, according to the plan.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Utilization of Rain Water

Rajya Sabha 

The average annual precipitation is estimated as 4000 billion cubic Meters (BCM) in the country. After accounting for the natural process of evaporation etc., the average annual water availability in the country is assessed as 1869 BCM. It is estimated that owing to topographic, hydrological and other constraints, the utilizable water is 1123 BCM which comprises of 690 BCM of surface water and 433 BCM of replenishable ground water resources. Rest of the water could be considered to be flowing down to sea. 

National Water Policy states that "water resources available to the country should be brought within the category of utilizable resources to the maximum possible extent". Due emphasis has been laid on non-conventional methods for utilization of water such as through inter-basin transfer, artificial recharge to ground water and desalination of brackish or sea water as well as traditional water conservation practices like rainwater harvesting including roof top rainwater harvesting with a view to further increase the utilizable water resources. 

Storage capacity of about 225 BCM has been created so far. As per present assessment, the total estimated storage capacity of various projects under construction is about 64 BCM. Further, the State Governments have identified various other schemes for investigation and planning and the estimated storage for such schemes is about 108 BCM. The reservoir capacity for storing water is generally governed by topographical and hydrological features. Similarly, the potential for artificial recharge to ground water is considerably influenced by the aquifer characteristics. The National Commission for Integrated Water Resources Development in its report has projected the total storage capacity of about 458 BCM by the year 2050. The potential capacity for artificial recharge to ground water has been assessed as about 36 BCM. 

Due emphasis has been laid on rainwater harvesting including rooftop rainwater harvesting, artificial recharge to ground water etc. by the respective State Governments and Government of India. 

This information was given by the Minister of State for Water Resources, Shri Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

BSNL Rural Broadband Kiosk rollout begins

With the inauguration of BSNL’s first Rural Broadband Kiosk at Village Savlaj in Sangli District of Maharashtra recently, the project of setting up broadband kiosks in rural areas under the Scheme titled ‘Wire-Line Broadband Connectivity to Rural & Remote Areas’ has got underway. 

Aimed at making information technology work to the advantage of the villagers, the project envisages setting up of 30,000 such rural broadband kiosks across the country in the next 3 years. The rural Broadband kiosks allow full triple play (voice, video and data) services to the rural customers. 

Apart from internet surfing, the kiosks will offer various value added services to the rural populace in form of, utility bill payments, railway ticketing, mobile handsets content download etc. In addition, services of local interest such as agricultural trading, education on crops, micro finance etc will be unique feature of each kiosk. These kiosks shall be established as entertainment and information dissemination hub for the villagers. BSNL plans to engage franchisees at the local level for this purpose. 

The Scheme envisages a nation wide rollout of rural broadband kiosks from the existing rural exchanges having optical fiber backbone and last mile copper connectivity. This project is expected to help the nation to spread the broadband/internet knowledge at the rural India doorsteps. With saving of money and time for villagers, these kiosks shall help in improving the rural lifestyle and prosperity of rural India. 

The project is being supported by USO fund of Department of Telecommunications in form of subsidy for setting up and operating these kiosks. USO fund shall extend a quarterly subsidy of Rs. 20,000 for a period of 3 years for operating these kiosks. 

The Broadband kiosks will be linked using ADSL2+ technology at speeds as high as 2 Mbps, which has been covered under the BSNL’s rural DSL Broadband project across the country, supported by USOF.

Trai regulations effective from 1st April

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has today issued the Standards of Quality of Service (Broadcasting and Cable Services) (Cable Television – Non-CAS Areas) Regulations, 2009. These regulations will empower the consumers for receiving quality service from the cable TV service providers in non-CAS areas. These regulations will take effect from April 1st, 2009, which will give sometime to the service providers to take necessary steps to comply with these regulations. 

There are more than 80 million consumers receiving cable TV services in non-CAS areas, being served by about 60,000 cable operators. No formal regulations for quality of service (QoS) were issued so far in view of the highly fragmented nature of cable TV sector and because of implementational difficulties at ground level. Subsequently, TRAI has issued Quality of Service Regulations for cable services for CAS notified Areas in 2006. The DTH subscribers are also benefited by the Quality of Service Regulations for DTH Services issued by TRAI in 2007. 

As a result of the lessons learnt after issuing QoS Regulations for cable TV services in CAS notified areas and for DTH service, the Authority felt it appropriate to commence the consultation process on the subject, and accordingly, TRAI has discussed the issues of Quality of Service for cable TV services in non-CAS areas in a consultation paper released on December 01, 2008. The comments of the stakeholders on the subject were invited by January 10, 2009. Responses received from 27 stakeholders/representatives were posted on TRAI's website on January 19, 2009. An open house discussion was then held on February 06, 2009 in Kolkata with representatives of stakeholders to further deliberate on various issues raised in the paper. 

Based on the analysis of inputs received during consultation process, the Authority has decided in favour of issuing QoS regulations for highly fragmented non-CAS cable TV networks across the country. The Authority, while framing these regulations, appreciated the voluntary digitalization and adoption of addressability by some of the service providers in non-CAS areas, and accordingly provisions have been made for seamless migration on QoS front whenever CAS is extended by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in their areas of operation in future. 

The main features of the Regulations are as follows-

i. Procedure for connection, disconnection and reconnection of cable services within seven days, 

ii. Making it compulsory for cable operators to issue bills and receipts to cable TV subscribers, 

iii. Complaint handling and its redressal, including maintaining helpdesk from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm everyday, 

iv. Standards for provisioning of Digital Decoders and Set Top Boxes for voluntary CAS, 

v. Compulsory technical standards to be observed by the cable operators, including a good quality, measurable signal strength at subscriber's end, maintaining six-hour power backup etc., 

vi. Monitoring of Quality of Service standards. 

The Authority is aware of the fact that effective enforcement and implementation of any regulation is essential to extend benefits to the consumers. Therefore, the Authority has already written to the State Governments for involving the district administration for enforcement of QoS Regulations at the grass root level. Twelve State Governments have so far extended their consent for such proposal. Some of the remaining states are examining it, and responses from others are awaited. Keeping in view the effective implementation of these regulations, the Authority is simultaneously considering the process of delegating powers to the officials of the State Governments as per their consent. In addition, the consumers can approach District Consumer Forum if the QoS standards are not met by the cable operators. The regulations have largely to be seen as a tool for self regulation by the service providers, residents associations etc. and a high degree of sensitivity and responsiveness towards the subscribers is expected from the service providers. 

The full text of the Regulations is available on TRAI's website: The Authority believes that these QoS Regulations would go a long way in protecting the interests of the cable TV consumers at large.

Industrial Parks


As per the Industrial Park Scheme, 2002, the Government of India has granted approvals to one hundred seventy three Industrial Parks for claiming tax exemptions under Section 80 IA of Income Tax Act, 1962 during the period from 1-04-2005 to date. 

The Industrial Parks have been able to achieve their objectives. 232 live approvals for Industrial Parks have been granted (from 1-04-1999 up to date) involving 17,200 industrial units with an investment of Rs.16,924 crore. 198 industrial parks have since commenced their operation. 

The Government of India (Department of Revenue) has introduced the revised Industrial Park Scheme, 2008 in January, 2008 to facilitate and incentivize setting up of Industrial Parks. 

The Government of India does not set up Industrial Parks on its own, rather it provides a ten year tax holiday to entrepreneurs who set up Industrial Parks under clause (iii) of sub-section (4) of section 80 IA of the Income-Tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961). Some Industrial Parks have also been set up by State Government Undertakings. 

This information was given by Shri Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Industry, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

Extracts of FM’s reply on the Interim Budget




Following are the extracts from the reply of Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukhejee on Interim Budget 2009-10, in Lok Sabha, here today: 

“My friends from the other side have raised a number of issues. They have blamed the UPA Government for failure on the economic front, on the performance of the public sector, on employment generation, inflation, on fiscal deficit, plight of farmers, FDI and inadequacies of our regulatory framework. They have also pointed towards the “lost opportunities” in my Interim Budget speech. 

Let me turn to some figures that tell their own story. A look at the comparative annual average figures between the two periods shows: 

The GDP growth rate which was 5.8 per cent during 1999-2004 rose to 8.6 per cent during the 2004-2009. 

The fiscal deficit and revenue deficit that stood at 5.5 per cent and 4.0 per cent respectively during 1999-2004 declined to 4.1 per cent and 2.5 per cent during 2004-09. 

The Tax to GDP ratio went up from 8.8 per cent during 1999-2004 to 11.1 per cent during 2004-09, while the Savings to GDP ratio which was 25.6 per cent in 1999-2004 shot up to 34.8 per cent during 2004-08. 

Similarly, Investment to GDP ratio at 25.2 per cent during 1999-2004 went upto 35.9 per cent during 2004-08. 

The Government’s policy on disinvestment does not envisage any outright or strategic sale of a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE). The focus of the policy is to enable unlisted and profitable CPSEs to raise capital through Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) with the Government offering a minority shareholding for divestiture. The intent is to ensure that Government equity remains above 51% and Government retains management control. However, because of the adverse market conditions during the year 2008-09, there has not been a single IPO and nor has there been any disinvestment. 

The UPA Government is making all possible efforts to turnaround the loss making Central PSE’s like Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) through the infusion of funds and superior techno-managerial practices. 

It is important to recognize that the Union Budget statement is just one of the instruments for addressing economic policy concerns. Indeed, right from the day when the financial crisis erupted in the middle of September 2008, the Government has been alert and responsive to the fast changing developments. Government has undertaken the required administrative and fiscal measures in tandem with the monetary policy initiatives of the RBI by announcing two stimulus packages on December 7, 2008 and January 2, 2009. 

A number of Tax and other fiscal measures have been undertaken. These include: 

• An across the board cut in CENVAT by 4 percentage points benefitting all sectors; 

• Reduction of the rate of duty on cotton textiles and textile articles from 4% to Nil. 

• Provision of additional funds of Rs.1100 crore to ensure full refund of Terminal Excise duty/CST. 

• Specific measures on customs duties on sectors such as steel and cement through restoration of the levels of protection; 

• Service tax concessions and enhancement of drawback rates for exports. 

• Interest subvention on pre and post shipment credit for labour intensive exports like textiles, leather, gem and jewellery, carpets and handicrafts; and 

• Extension of a Line of Credit (LoC) by Rs.5000 crore to EXIM Bank from RBI to provide pre-shipment and post-shipment credit, in rupees or dollars, to Indian exporters at competitive rates. 

• Refinance facilities respectively of Rs.4000 crore for the National Housing Bank for housing sector. 

• Announcement of a package by Public sector banks for borrowers of home loans of up to 20 lakhs. This sector will be kept under a close watch and additional measures would be taken as necessary to promote an accelerated growth trajectory. 

• Provision of additional allocation of Rs.1400 crore to clear the entire backlog in Technology Upgration Fund (TUF) Scheme in the textile sector. 

• Inclusion of all items of handicrafts under 'Vishesh Krishi & Gram Udyog Yojana'. 

• To facilitate the flow of credit to Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs), RBI has announced a refinance facility of Rs.7000 crore for SIDBI which will be available to support incremental lending, either directly to MSMEs or indirectly via banks, NBFCs and SFCs. In addition, the following steps are being taken. 

(a) To boost collateral free lending, the current guarantee cover under Credit Guarantee Scheme for Micro and Small enterprises on loans will be extended from Rs.50 lakh to Rs.1 crore with guarantee cover of 50 percent. 

(b) The lock in period for loans covered under the existing credit guarantee scheme will be reduced from 24 to 18 months, to encourage banks to cover more loans under the guarantee scheme. 

(c) Public Sector Banks have announced a reduction of interest rates on existing as well as new loans to MSME sectors. 

(d) Special monthly meetings of State Level Bankers’ Committees would be held to oversee the resolution of credit issues of micro, small and medium enterprises by banks. Department of MSME and Department of Financial Services will jointly set up a Cell to monitor progress on this front. Matters of MSMEs remaining unresolved with the Banks- SME Helpline for more than a fortnight may be brought to the notice of this Cell. 

To provide a measure of security to unorganized workers, we have enacted the Unorganized Worker Sector Social Security Bill, 2008. The National Commission of Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) has been asked to work out the detailed schemes in this regard. 

The recommendations of the Committee of Governors for speedy socio economic development and empowerment of Women is under the active consideration of the Government. Meanwhile, the UPA Government has decided: 

(i) to set up a High Power Committee of eminent persons and experts to study the Status of Women of India to enable the Government to take expeditious action. 

(ii) to set up a ‘National Mission for Empowerment of Women’ for implementation of women-centric programmes in a Mission mode to achieve better coordination and synergy amongst the participating stakeholders. 

(iii) to restructure and revitalize the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) to scale up their activities including that of backward and forward linkages to function as a single window facilitator and service provider for women Self-Help Groups (SHGs). The authorized and paid-up capital of RMK will be enhanced in a phased manner. 

Monetary Policy Measures 

RBI took a number of liquidity enhancing measures to deal with the global crisis. These include: 

• Reduction of the repo rate from 9 per cent in August 2008 to 5.50 per cent in January 2009. 

• Reduction of the reverse repo rate which remained at 6 per cent from mid 2006 in December 2008 and January 2009 respectively by 1 per cent each to bring it to a level of 4 per cent. 

• Reduction of the Cash Reserve Ratio from 9 per cent as on August 30, 2008 to 5 per cent with effect from January 17, 2009. 

It is important to recognize that there is always some time lag between the announcement of a measure, be it fiscal or monetary, its implementation and its intended impact on the economy and financial parameters of the economy. 

Latest figures confirm that our two fiscal packages are steps in the right direction. The data available for the month of December 2008 shows that some of the key sectors of manufacture are exhibiting early signs of recovery compared to November 2008. Cement production has gone up by 8 per cent in December- January and Steel has recorded a production of 22.8 million Metric Tons which is equivalent to the production in May 2008. For the quarter ending December 2008, FMCG registered a growth of more than 25 per cent and Food and Beverages 28 per cent. Railway freight which had declined to 2.2 per cent in October-November 2008 has recovered to a growth of 7 per cent in December, 2008. These are encouraging signs considering that all forecasts point towards a much bleaker 2009 as far as international economy is concerned. 

New Concessions 

Within the constitutional constraints, I have some flexibility which I want to use to provide further stimulus to the economy. 

Even though the signals are encouraging, the full impact of the recession in other parts of the world specially Europe and Asia is yet to unfold. Due to the strong export linkages with these economies, it is likely that the Indian economy may feel further impact in coming months. To counter any such effects, the UPA Government has taken the following decisions: 

Central Excise 

• General reduction in Excise Duty rates by 4 per cent points was made with effect from 7.12.2008. It is now being extended beyond 31 March, 2009. In addition, it has now been decided to: 

• reduce the general rate of Central Excise duty from 10 per cent to 8 per cent. 

• retain the rate of central excise duty on goods currently attracting ad valorem rates of 8 per cent and 4 per cent respectively; 

• reduce the rate of central excise duty on bulk cement from 10 per cent or Rs. 290 PMT, whichever is higher to 8 per cent or Rs.230 PMT, whichever is higher. 

Service Tax 

The Government is keen that the business confidence in the Services sector is restored. It is also our objective that the dispersal between CENVAT rate and the Service Tax rate is reduced with a view to move towards the stated goal of a Uniform Goods and Service Tax. In line with this objective, it has been decided to reduce the rate of service tax on taxable services from 12 percent to 10 per cent. 

To provide relief to the power sector, Naptha imported for generation of electric energy has been fully exempted from basic Customs Duty. This exemption which was available upto 31 March 2009, is now being extended beyond that date. 

Section 10 AA of the Income Tax provides for exemption in respect of export profits of a unit located in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The export profits are required to be computed with reference to the total turn over of the assessee. This has resulted in discriminatory treatment of assessees having units located both in SEZ and the Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) vis-à-vis assessees having units located only within the SEZs. It has now been decided to remove this anomaly through necessary changes in the Act. 

Hon’ble Members may recall that in my Budget Speech, I had indicated that we may have to review the ceiling of fiscal deficit that the States can incur in 2009-10 in terms of the debt consolidation and relief facility. As a part of the first stimulus package, it was increased by 0.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for 2008-09. To spur the development of infrastructure and employment generation, this arrangement is being extended to 2009-10 with the possibility of further review, if required, in the coming months. 

Our priorities are clear. Rapid development of infrastructure, both in rural and urban areas, and agriculture growth leading to employment generation and distributive justice tops the list. For us economic growth is an instrument for development and not an end in itself. Economic growth has to be both inclusive and equitable. It must provide social justice and lead to the empowerment of Aam Aadmi. In the last five years, the UPA Government has moved steadfastly in that direction. But a social revolution which must flow from these measures is a long process and has to be worked out carefully and systematically, not only through economic growth and mobilization of resources, but also through institutional changes and mobilization of the masses. It is my earnest hope that we will all walk together in the journey ahead to achieve this shared vision.”

MIT'S Technology Review Names 10 Emerging Technologies Poised To Reshape Our World

NEW DELHI / CAMBRIDGE, MA, February 24, 2009 – The editors of Technology Review, MIT's magazine of innovation, have announced their annual list of 10 emerging technologies with the potential to shape the way we live and do business. These revolutionary innovations—each represented by a researcher whose vision and work leads the field—promise fundamental shifts in areas from energy to health care, computing to communications. 

Technology Review's editor in chief and publisher, Jason Pontin, will present the TR10 in India at the inaugural EmTech India conference, being hosted in conjunction with CyberMedia on March 2–3, 2009, in New Delhi.

The 2009 TR10 includes some technologies that should reach the market within a year, such as paper-based medical tests and virtual personal-assistant software. Others, like biological machines and traveling-wave reactors, could take a few years longer. The list includes technologies miniature and massive—from fast, cheap, capacious computer memory to batteries that can store enough energy to power a city.

Liquid battery. Donald Sadoway, a materials chemistry professor at MIT, has developed a liquid battery that could store enough electricity to allow cities to run on solar power at night.

Traveling-wave reactor. John Gilleland, manager of nuclear programs at Intellectual Ventures, is leading the development of a reactor that would run on depleted uranium, making nuclear power safer and less expensive.

Paper diagnostic test. George Whitesides, a professor at Harvard University, is using paper to create easy-to-use medical tests that could make it possible to quickly and cheaply diagnose a range of diseases in the developing world.

Biological machines. Michel Maharbiz, an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed a wirelessly controlled beetle that could one day be used for surveillance or search-and-rescue missions.

$100 genome. Han Cao, founder of BioNanomatrix, has designed a nanofluidic chip that could dramatically lower the cost of genome analysis. Combined with the right sequencing technology, Cao's chip could allow doctors to tailor medical treatment to a patient's unique genetic profile, map new genes linked to specific diseases, and quickly identify new viruses and outbreaks.

Racetrack memory. IBM fellow Stuart Parkin has created an entirely new type of data storage using magnetic nanowires. This "racetrack memory" could eventually replace all other forms of computer memory and lead to tiny, rugged, and inexpensive portable devices.

HashCache. Vivek Pai, a computer scientist at Princeton University, has created a new method for storing Web content that could make Internet access speedier and more affordable around the world.

Intelligent software assistant. Adam Cheyer, cofounder of the Silicon Valley startup Siri, is leading the design of powerful new software that acts as a personal aide. This virtual personal-assistant software helps users interact more effectively with Web services to complete tasks such as booking travel or finding entertainment.

Software-defined networking. Stanford computer scientist Nick McKeown developed a standard called OpenFlow that allows researchers to tap into Internet switches and routers to easily test new networking technologies with the click of a mouse—all without interrupting normal service.

Nanopiezotronics. Zhong Lin Wang, a materials scientist at Georgia Tech, is pioneering the field of nanopiezotronics. Wang is creating piezoelectric nanowires that generate electricity using tiny environmental vibrations; he believes they could power implantable medical devices and serve as tiny sensors.

UTV World Movies to release titles on home video through Shemaroo World Cinema

The tie-up marks the channel’s foray in the Home Entertainment Segment and adds to the Shemaroo World Cinema catalogue

Mumbai, January 24th, 2009: India’s first and highest rated world cinema channel, UTV World Movies has signed up with Shemaroo World Cinema, for releasing its world acclaimed library titles in the Indian home video market. Through this strategic partnership, UTV World Movies takes another step towards making contemporary, award winning World Cinema available across several platforms. 

 UTV World Movies has an enviable library of over 600 critically acclaimed, award winning and contemporary blockbuster titles from more than 40 countries spread across languages and genres comprising Oscar winning and nominated titles such as ‘The Lives of Others’, ‘Divided We Fall’, & ‘The Counterfeiters’; Oscar nominated and other award winning films like ‘Waltz With Bashir’, ‘Machuca’, ‘Your Name Is Justine’ and ‘The House of Flying Daggers’. 

 Shemaroo World Cinema has a collection of award winning titles of several renowned film makers like Jean-Luc GODARD, Akira Kurosawa, Pedro Almodóvar, Roman Polanski, and Claude Chabrol among many others. Shemaroo aims to bring World Cinema at the consumer’s doorstep and that too at affordable prices. 

 Through its association with Shemaroo World Cinema, UTV World Movies would release Oscar winning titles like ‘The Mission’ and ‘A Room With A View’ in addition to other award winning & nominated films like ‘A Tale Of Two Sisters’ and ‘The Phantom Lover’ among many more. The collection is slated to hit the Indian market by April 2009.

 Shantonu Aditya, Executive Director, UTV Global Broadcasting Ltd says “After successfully launching India’s first world cinema channel across cable and DTH platforms in the country, we are very pleased to expand our content delivery model to include home video and are confident of the combined strength of our content along with Shemaroo’s acumen in the home video segment.”  

Hiren Gada, Director, Shemaroo Entertainment, added ‘After receiving a good response for our Shemaroo World Cinema initiative recently, we are delighted to enhance our catalogue, with that of UTV World Movies. With UTV World Movies appealing collections, and our strong distribution network and wide product presence across the home video platform, we are certain that we will be able to optimize and create a product presence. The common objective of our collaboration is to grow the World Cinema market and create mature audiences.’ 

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)

Global Landmark paves way for continued growth and expansion in 2009
  ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), world leader in the development and deployment of
TETRA communication solutions, today announced the shipment of its one
millionth TETRA terminal. The customer receiving this milestone terminal is
the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF).

  Motorola will supply TETRA portable devices, including MTH800 terminals,
MTM800 Enhanced mobiles and CM5000 TETRA Gateway repeaters for use on JAF's
TETRA network, providing increased security across Jordan. The contract was
awarded to Motorola following an evaluation process that included
comprehensive interoperability testing of the terminals on the customer's
network. As a symbol of the significance of this major milestone, Motorola
will be presenting a gratitude award to his Royal Highness Prince Faisal Bin
Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during an award ceremony taking
place on the 2nd day of IDEX 2009.

  "We are very pleased to be working with Jordan Armed Forces and providing
our robust and reliable TETRA radios. It is great to have reached such an
important milestone which has been achieved through our championing and
development of TETRA technology worldwide. Our focus remains on developing and
designing intuitive products that match the demands and needs of all different
types of users across all continents. The market is continuing to grow and
diversify and we are well placed to push the technology even further," said
Manuel Torres, vice president and general manager, Motorola Government &
Public Safety, EMEA.
  The shipment is the latest TETRA success for Motorola in the Middle East
and North Africa region, which is currently experiencing rapid growth. In
recent months Motorola has been awarded a number of contracts across this
region and others for the provision of TETRA networks and terminals. In Asia
Pacific, Motorola's TETRA solutions continue their stronghold in the public
safety sector while gaining fast traction in transportation such as metros and
airports. As an indicator, over 60,000 Motorola TETRA radios were in use by
various agencies in China to support the 2008 Olympics Games while recently,
the company announced TETRA wins for three airports in India alone. Motorola
is poised to capitalize on the growth and expansion in 2009 and beyond. The
number of TETRA users is expected to continue to grow with Motorola already
deploying new TETRA solutions for customers around the world such as Austria,
Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Hong Kong.
  "Design for use is our philosophy, which stands for our commitment and
support to designing and deploying devices that address the unique
requirements of high risk situations. It enables users to focus on the
mission, not the technology," said Jens Kristiansen, vice president, Motorola
Government & Public Safety, Global Tetra Products. "We would not be able to
meet the one million milestone with our TETRA products if we did not include
real-life scenarios as part of the development process including the needs,
for example, of firefighters in situations such as burning buildings. We
ensure that communication is always ultra reliable and that the devices are
designed specifically to support emotional and physical states of the users."
  Motorola´s complete portfolio of TETRA solutions involves infrastructure,
terminals, applications and services that are now in use in over 85 countries
worldwide. Motorola has a long history of innovation in the two-way radio
industry that stretches back to 1938 with the introduction of the Police
Cruiser Radio Receiver and has helped maintain its position at the forefront
of TETRA. Recent innovations include:
  -- The TCR1000 TETRA Radio - the smallest, full-function body worn TETRA
  radio available for covert operations
  -- The MTP850Ex TETRA portable terminal - a class leading ATEX device
  allowing use when in environments containing potentially explosive gas
  and dust

  After shipping its first TETRA terminal in the late 1990s, Motorola
presented Surrey Police with a trophy to mark the delivery of the 200,000th
terminal in November 2003. The delivery of the 1 millionth terminal reflects
the rapid increase in the TETRA market in recent years and continued market
recognition of Motorola's pioneering position in the development of innovative
  About Motorola
  Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications and is
focused on advancing the way the world connects. From broadband communications
infrastructure, enterprise mobility and public safety solutions to
high-definition video and mobile devices, Motorola is leading the next wave of
innovations that enable people, enterprises and governments to be more
connected and more mobile. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) had sales of US $30.1 billion
in 2008. 

China invites bid for biggest solar PV power plant

From:Xinhua Article type:Reproduced

BEIJING, Feb. 23 -- A total of 50 power enterprises placed bids for a 10 megawatt solar photovoltaic generation project in northwest China's Gansu Province, the biggest in the country, the Shanghai Securities News said Monday. 

Chinese bidders include China Power Investment Corporation, China Huaneng Group, China Guodian Corporation, China Datang Corporation, China Huadian Corporation and Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP.NYSE), Shi Lishan, an official with the National Energy Bureau was quoted as saying. 

"Overseas power enterprises that have joined the bidding include a company from Denmark and one from Germany," said Shi. 

Covering one million square meters, the solar PV power plant in Dunhuang city involves a total investment of 500 million yuan (73 million U.S. dollars). It will generate on average 16.37 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. 

The bid winners are obligated to complete the construction of the solar PV power plant within 18 months and are franchised to operate the project for 25 years, according to the bureau. 
(Source: English Site of Department of Information Technology)

Major Chinese steel makers' net profits down 43% in 2008

From:Xinhua Article type:Reproduced

BEIJING, Feb. 23-- The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said Monday that the aggregate net profit of 71 medium-sized and large steel producers fell 43 percent in 2008 as weak demand drove down prices. 

Net profit was 84.6 billion yuan (12.4 billion U.S. dollars), CISA said, while sales climbed 24.7 percent year-on-year to 2.57 trillion yuan. 

The 71 producers earned 101 billion yuan in net profit in the first half of 2008, but they lost 16.4 billion yuan in the second half as costs rose while selling prices declined. 

CISA also said 15 steel producers recorded full-year losses totaling 8.5 billion yuan.

Honeywell Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System Meets FAA Guidance

ANAHEIM, Calif., February 22, 2009 – Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that its latest helicopter Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems (EGPWS), which are Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS), are fully compliant with the performance requirements of the FAA’s recently released Technical Standard Order TSO-C194. The TSO-C194 sets minimum HTAWS standards.

“Honeywell’s Mark XXI and Mark XX II systems – our helicopter Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems – are specifically tailored for the dynamics of rotary-wing performance and the flight characteristics of helicopters and help prevent collisions with ground, water and obstacles,” said TK Kallenbach, Honeywell Vice President, Marketing and Product Management. “The systems provide superior and potentially life-saving information for flight crews, even when flying in changing weather with poor visibility, in rough terrain, or at low altitudes.”

Honeywell plans to obtain formal HTAWS TSO approval for its helicopter EGPWS systems this year.

“The Mark XXI and XXII EGPWS ensure that all helicopter operators, including Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) operators, have the right equipment on board to help avoid terrain and obstacles, such as towers,” Kallenbach said. “Ensuring the safety of flight crews, medical personnel, patients, and passengers is a number one concern.”

Honeywell’s safety systems for helicopters address the challenges of traffic, terrain and weather, helping to ensure safe flight and guard against Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT), weather related hazards, and collisions with obstacles and other aircraft. The systems are designed specifically for unique requirements of helicopter operations.

Honeywell, which produced the first terrain avoidance system for commercial aircraft, produces a full range of aircraft equipment, from engines, auxiliary power units and other mechanical systems to Health Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) and avionics. Additionally, Honeywell produces the Integrated Primary Flight Display synthetic vision system.

More information about Honeywell helicopter systems is at

Honeywell International is a $37 billion diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For additional information, please visit

Based in Phoenix, Honeywell’s $12 billion aerospace business is a leading global provider of integrated avionics, engines, systems and service solutions for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, business and general aviation, military, space and airport operations.

This release contains forward-looking statements as defined in Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including statements about future business operations, financial performance and market conditions. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties inherent in business forecasts as further described in our filings under the Securities Exchange Act.


Murchison Metals Limited advises that Stuart Hall, Chief Executive Officer of Crosslands Resources Limited (“Crosslands”), today delivered the attached presentation on the Jack Hills Iron Ore project at the Mining the Mid-West Conference in Perth.
The Jack Hills project is operated by Crosslands, owned 50% by Murchison and 50% by Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd (“Mitsubishi”), a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan.
As announced on 4 February 2009, the total Mineral Resources at the Jack Hills project now exceed 1 billion tonnes, comprising Direct Ship Ore resources totaling 96Mt @ 58.7% Fe and Beneficiation Feed Ore resources totaling 991Mt @ 34.1% Fe. Crosslands anticipates further resource increases as results from an extensive drilling programme are received.
This significant upgrade of the Jack Hills Mineral Resource has confirmed the world-class status of the project, where plans are well advanced for a Stage 2 mine expansion that will make it the premier largescale, long-life iron ore producer in the mid-west region of Western Australia.
Murchison also anticipates Oakajee Port+Rail (OPR) executing a Development Agreement for the Oakajee port and infrastructure project with the WA Government during the current quarter. Murchison and Mitsubishi each hold a 50% interest in OPR, which was selected by the WA Government as its sole preferred proponent for the Oakajee port development in July 2008.
Execution of the Development Agreement is a key milestone that provides regulatory certainty for the development of the Oakajee infrastructure project, and the Jack Hills Stage 2 expansion.
Murchison is also evaluating the potential for a second iron ore production base at its wholly-owned Rocklea iron ore project in the Pilbara, for which the Company announced a maiden JORC resource of 100Mt grading 59% CaFe (calcined iron) in February 2009, just 10 months after acquiring the tenements. Murchison is extremely pleased with ongoing progress at its core iron ore and infrastructure assets in Western Australia, which provide the Company with a world-class platform on which to build shareholder wealth.
Murchison is in an excellent financial position to pursue quality growth opportunities created by the current market conditions, with no debt and cash reserves of approximately $154.9 million.

Riversdale Mining Limited

Financial result for the half year
Net profit after tax of $80,000 (2007: $83.3 million including one-off sale of investment)
Cash from operations of $18.4 million (2007: $3.3 million)
Cash on hand of $326.1 million (Jun08: $347.8 million)
Riversdale Mining Limited (ASX: RIV) reported a net profit after tax and minority interest for the half year to 31 December 2008 amounting to $80,000 (2007: $83.3 million). In the previous half year consideration for the disposal of 35% of the entities holding key exploration tenements resulted in a net gain on sale of investment of $83.3 million.
The Company recorded a strong operating cash flow of $18.4 million. (2007: $3.3 million) from its principal producing assets in South Africa, the Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC). ZAC operating profit before interest, income tax and minority interests in the current half year increased to $10.6 million, compared with $4.1 million in 2007. However, net profit was affected by increased share option costs of $8.3 million and a higher tax charge.
At ZAC mining for the half year was conducted in the Kwa-Sheleza, Outcrop and Deep E Blocks using conventional and continuous mining methods. The Run of Mine (ROM) increased 16,406 to 432,528 tonnes and saleable production was consistent with the last half year.
The Company is in a sound cash position, with cash on hand of $326.1 million at the end of December 2008, compared to $347.8 million at 30 June 2008. Funds are placed on deposit in accordance with the Board-approved policy with AA-rated Australian and international banks.
Overall sales increased by 14,836 to 318,083 tonnes compared to the previous half year. As elsewhere in the coal sector in South Africa, domestic customers for anthracite deferred receipt of some shipments during the December quarter and overall exports were affected by poor rail performance. The domestic coal market in South Africa is expected to be soft for most of 2009. The ZAC operation is monitoring closely the market demand for product and developing opportunities for supply into export markets.
Significant progress was recorded at the Company’s project in Mozambique, and Riversdale Mining expects to update shareholders during the current quarter on key developments as it moves towards production targets for 2010.

VISTO to Acquire Good Technology From Motorola

Acquisition will extend VISTO's mobility offerings and expand its base of customers to include many of the Fortune 500

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. and SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- VISTO(R), a leading mobile push and synchronization platform for service providers, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Good Technology from Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT). This acquisition immediately positions VISTO as a global leader in the delivery of a full range of secure, mobile messaging solutions for enterprises through mobile operators and OEM handset manufacturers. 

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The parties intend to close the transaction by the end of February. 

"This transaction marks another important milestone in VISTO's emergence as a worldwide leader for mobile access to applications and content, especially messaging and collaboration data. Good's robust enterprise and government solution will complement VISTO's strong operator presence in business and consumer markets," said Brian A. Bogosian, CEO of VISTO. "As a result of this transaction, VISTO will now provide customers in over 100 countries an open, robust and secure mobile experience for enterprise customers, on over 400 different mobile devices." 

Good Technology specializes in offering wireless messaging, mobile VPN data access, device management and handheld security for enterprise customers worldwide. The addition of Good's extensive service offerings in the U.S. Europe and Asia will enable VISTO to provide its government and enterprise customers with the benefits of a broader range of solutions and best-in-class secure mobile offerings. 

VISTO has extensive relationships with mobile operators throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. Good, through its relationships with U.S. Mobile Carriers, has implementations with thousands of enterprises, including many of the Fortune 500 with a high concentration of the Fortune 50. 

"We believe that this transaction is in the best interest of our customers, employees and shareholders," said Gene Delaney, president, Enterprise Mobility Solutions, Motorola, Inc. "VISTO's acquisition of Good will allow Motorola to continue to concentrate on providing best-in-class business-critical applications, secure management platforms and mobility services that empower the individual with the right information at the right time to streamline business processes and improve results." 

About VISTO 

VISTO a leading provider of mobile push synchronization platform and service provider, enables mobile operators to provide easy-to-use communications services from email to social networking to photo sharing across the broadest set of devices. The Company's patented VISTO Mobile(TM) platform with ConstantSync(TM) technology works in real time with popular email and social networking services for personal and business use, providing maximum control and flexibility for the operator and choice for the customer. VISTO's customized, brandable solutions are available through mobile operators worldwide including AT&T, Elisa, Rogers Wireless, Qtel, SmarTone, SFR, Softbank Mobile, Sprint, TELUS, T-Mobile, Turkcell and the Vodafone Group. 

Established in 1996 and headquartered in Redwood Shores, California, VISTO has offices in Seattle, Toronto, London, Milan, Paris, Madrid, Dusseldorf, and Tianjin, China. The Company is backed by Oak Investment Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Altitude Capital Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, DFJ ePlanet Ventures, DFJ Growth Fund, Rustic Canyon Ventures, GKM Newport, Stanford Accelerator and Blueprint Ventures. For more information, visit or email 

About Motorola 

Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications and is focused on advancing the way the world connects. From broadband communications infrastructure, enterprise mobility and public safety solutions to high- definition video and mobile devices, Motorola is leading the next wave of innovations that enable people, enterprises and governments to be more connected and more mobile. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) had sales of US $30.1 billion in 2008. For more information, please visit 

Stirling partners with India’s Iron Ore Producer NMDC

West Australian resources developer, Stirling Resources Limited (ASX : SRE), announced today it has forged a working partnership with major Indian resources enterprise NMDC Limited to jointly develop mineral opportunities in Australia and New Zealand.

The move is another step forward for Stirling as part of its strategy to develop a diversified resources organisation. It follows Stirling’s announcements this week that it had acquired high grade zircon assets in northern Australia, and issued a $2.2 million share placement to global commodity marketing group DCM DECOmetal. 

The partnership between NMDC and Stirling Resources has been formed to identify, acquire and develop coking coal and iron ore investments in Australia and New Zealand. 

NMDC is a Government of India enterprise and India’s largest iron ore producer (approximately 30mtpa), with interests in the exploration, production, processing and marketing of a wide range of minerals.

Under the agreement, Stirling and NMDC will jointly evaluate and pursue resource development opportunities, with NMDC also having rights for off-take arrangements for potential projects.

Stirling Resources Managing Director, Michael Kiernan, said the two organisations were natural partners.

“For Stirling and our shareholders, this is natural fit in our strategy to grow as a diversified resource developer focussing on copper, zircon, coking coal, gold and iron ore prospects. It also formalises a relationship with a major resources enterprise based in one of the world largest economies, and a key growth market for Australian commodities,” Mr Kiernan said.

“For NMDC, the partnership opens the door to Australia’s well-known resource potential, and taps into the project experience within Stirling,” Mr Kiernan said. 

Captain S.P. Singh, CEO of Indian Minerals Pty Ltd a subsidiary of Stirling, said NMDC was interested in iron ore, coking coal and potentially other mineral projects in Australia, and they were pleased to reach an agreement with Stirling to advance this initiative.

“NMDC believes there are significant and long term investment opportunities in Australia, and that Stirling has the resources and expertise through which NMDC can identify, and if agreed, jointly advance these for the benefit of both organisations,” he said. 

Mr Kiernan said India and Australia had a strong resources trading relationship, particularly with commodities such as gold, coal and copper. He said long term consumer trends in both China and India would continue to support demand for these products, as well as zircon and iron ore.

Cessna Names Authorized Citation Service Facilities

WICHITA, Kan., Feb. 23, 2008 – Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has appointed FLYINGGROUP in Belgium, TAIKO Jet SDN BHD in Malaysia and JetAlliance Technical Services GmbH in Austria as new Citation authorized service facilities. 

FLYINGGROUP, part of FLYING HOLDING N.V., based at Antwerp International Airport (EBAW) in Antwerp, Belgium is a Citation Authorized Service Center for all Citation models, except the Citation X. FLYINGROUP is EASA part 145 approved. Belgium currently has 28 Citations registered in country.

TAIKO Jet SDN BHD, based at Subang Airport (WMSA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is Cessna's newest Service Station in the Far East for Citation models 550 & 680 Sovereign. There are currently 21 Citations operating in the Kula Lumpur region.

JetAlliance Technical Services GmbH (JA-TEC), a subsidiary of the JetAlliance group, is based at the Vienna International Airport (LOWW) in Vienna, Austria. JA-TEC is a Citation Authorized Service Center for Citation models 525, 680 and 750. JA-TEC is an approved EASA Part 145 organization, and provides line and base maintenance services. There are currently 92 Citations operating in Austria.

"Cessna is committed to adding Citation service facilities to our network so that service is convenient and more easily accessible for our global customer base," said Mark Paolucci, Cessna's senior vice president, Customer Service.

"Within the last six months, Cessna has approved seven new international Citation Authorized Service Facilities for a total of 36 independently owned service providers worldwide in addition to the 10 Cessna-operated Citation Service Centers," he said.


Based on unit sales, Cessna Aircraft Company is the world's largest manufacturer of general aviation airplanes. In 2008, Cessna delivered 1,301 aircraft, including 467 Citation business jets, and reported revenues of about $5.662 billion. Cessna has a backlog of $14.5 billion as of December 31, 2008. Since the company was originally established in 1927, some 192,000 Cessna airplanes have been delivered around the world, including more than 5,700 Citations, making it the largest fleet of business jets in the world. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at

Textron Inc. is a $14.2 billion multi-industry company operating in 28 countries with approximately 42,000 employees. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, defense and intelligence, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Textron Systems and Textron Financial Corporation. More information is available at

Forward-looking Information: Certain statements in this release are forward-looking statements and speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the statements, including but not limited to the following: changes in worldwide economic and political conditions that impact demand for our products, interest rates and foreign exchange rates; the interruption of production at our facilities or at our suppliers' facilities; the timing of new product launches and certifications of new aircraft products; the occurrence of slowdowns or downturns in customer markets in which our products are sold or supplied; changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellation of orders; the launching of significant new products or programs which could result in unanticipated expenses; changes in national or international government policies on the export and import of commercial products; and bankruptcy or other financial problems at major suppliers that could cause disruptions in our supply chain.