HP unveils Industrial Policy   

Himachal Pradesh has notified its new industrial policy, laying down rules for grant of incentives, concessions and facilities admissible to industrial units from April 1.   

The policy classifies the state into two categories - industrially developing areas and industrially backward areas.   

Tribal areas have been treated as tax-free industrial zones. The government has identified priority areas where it would provide special incentives for development. These are units  based  on   agriculture/horticulture produce including hops, food products and mineral water bottling, cold storage units, fruit/ vegetable based wineries, herb based industries and aromatic industries, wool including angora wool based industry, sericulture related industrial activities, electronic units, 100 per cent EOUs and units set up by NRIs.   

The policy states that industrial units  located  in  industrially developing areas and industrially backward areas shall be eligible for incentives and concessions only if they employ at least 65 per cent and 80 per cent from amongst the bonafide Himachalies, respectively.   

As per the new guidelines, village industries  with  fixed capital investment up to Rs. l0 lakh and financed wholly by HPKVIB/KVIC shall be exempted from payment of sales tax for a period of eight years in industrially backward areas and in priority sector; and for a period of five years for units in industrially developing areas.   

In respect of other village industries and tiny units, sales tax shall be leviable at the concessional rate of 25 per cent of the applicable rate on the products of new village industries/tiny units other than produce of breweries/ distilleries, non-fruit/vegetable based wineries and bottling plants both for country liquor and IMFL for a period of eight years in industrially backward areas and in priority sector and for a period of five years for units set up in industrially developing areas.   

WBIDFC raises Rs. 300 cr. by State Government guaranteed bonds   

The West Bengal Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (WBIDFC) has raised nearly 90 per cent of about Rs. 300 crore mobilised by private placement of state government guaranteed 14 per cent bonds according to the chief executive officer of the Corporation, Shri N. K. Maity.   

WBIDFC has so far raised Rs. 254 crore from the previous two issues of bonds. In the ongoing private placement of 14 per cent bonds for Rs. 200 crore, the Corporation hopes to get around Rs. 350 crore by the time the issue closes on June 9, 1999.   

Shri Maity said the Corporation has an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee for repayment of principal on redemption of bonds and payment of interest up to Rs. 500 crore. "We have a disbursement target of Rs. 700 crore in 1999-2000," he added.   

Punjab signs Electronics Corporation MoU with M&M for Rs. 250 cr. IT park    

Mahindra & Mahindra group initialled an MoU with Punjab State Electronics Development and Production Corporation (ECP) in Chandigarh on May 26, 1999 to jointly set up a Software Technology Park (STP) in Mohali over 40 acres of land.   

This project which will have a debt-equity ratio of 2:1 will involve an investment of Rs. 250 crore to be spread over a five year period.   

A new company is proposed to be floated which will undertake the work of developing the Software Technology Park in the assisted sector, it is learnt.   

The STP in Mohali which will form part of the Information Technology Park will primarily house software units and will boast of a smart Hi-Tech complex.   

This complex will have around 6 lakh sq. ft of covered area and will offer state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities like high speed data communication, Internet access, ready to use built up space, centralised computing facilities and clubs and banks.   

Gujarat permits private sector participation in infrastructure   

The Gujarat Government has promulgated the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Ordinance, 1999 for private sector participation in infrastructure. The ordinance has become effective for all projects negotiated after May 1.  It will provide a framework to the private sector in financing, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects in 20 sectors including road, ports, power, education and health.   

Under the new ordinance, a concession period of a maximum of 35 years has been stipulated. Apart form the state government, a state government agency or one designated as such can sign a concession document with a private promoter.   

The ordinance has also restricted equity participation by the state government or its agencies to 49 per cent, forcing the private sector to be the majority shareholder. Subsidy in terms of direct payments made to the sponsor cannot exceed fifteen per cent of the cost of the project.   

TN to add 5,831 mw in ninth plan   

Tamil Nadu government proposes to add 5,831 mw of power to the state grid during the ninth plan, power minister Shri Arcot N. Veerasamy told the state assembly on May 5. He said efforts would be made to add an additional 4,490 mw of power during the Tenth Plan. Since 1996, the state had given sanction to 14 private power stations, to generate 7,586 mw of power, besides permitting 20 short gestation power projects, to generate another 2,795 mw.   

Rs. 15,000 crore World Bank loan for Uttar Pradesh   

The World Bank would provide assistance amounting to Rs. 15,000 crore to Uttar Pradesh for development of energy, education, medical, road and irrigation sectors.   

World Bank country director, Mr. Edwin Lim, who was in Lucknow recently, assured U. P. chief minister, Mr. Kalyan Singh, that the first instalment consisting of Rs. 850 crore under the U.P. Loan Programme Series would be approved by the Bank in December 1999.   

The World  Bank has also assured that the loan to be provided under the UP Loan Programme series could be utilised under any other head as the assistance would be made available to the finance department of the State instead of any particular sector.