INDUSTRIAL SCENE  
 
 
 
Economic census reveals lower growth of enterprises   

The total number enterprises grew by 2.23 per cent during 1990-98, as against the 2.64 in 1980-90, according to the provisional results of the fourth Economic Census (EC) 1998 which was released in New Delhi on June 2.   

The census was conducted by the Central Statistical Organisation and the Directorates of Economics & Statistics in states and union territories (UTs). EC 1998 was conducted with a view to enumerating all entrepreneurial activities in the urban and rural areas of the country.   

An enterprise has been defined as a unit involved in the production or distribution of any goods or services not solely for its own consumption. The EC covered both agricultural (excluding crop production and plantation) and non-agricultural activities.   

The total number of enterprises in 30 states and UTs is 237.82 lakh, says the census.   

The objective was to gather basic information on the number and distribution of enterprises and employment along with their distribution by location, type of activity, nature of operation and to provide a sampling frame for detailed follow-up surveys covering the sub sectors of unorganised activities. Another objective was to assess the impact of liberalisation.   

Performance of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) during 1997-98   

Investment in CPSEs increased by Rs. 12255 crore (6.39 percent) to Rs.20054 crore in 1997-98 from Rs. 191799  crore in 1996-97.   

Gross Sales rose by Rs. 30341 crore (11.9 percent) from Rs. 254910 crore in 1996-97 to Rs. 285251 crore in 1997-98  

Net profit increased by Rs. 3733 crore (37.36 percent) from Rs. 9992 crore in 1996-97 to Rs. 13725 crore in 1997-98  

Number of profit earning CPSEs increased to 134 in 1997-98 from 130 in 1996-97 while the number of loss making  decreased to 100  from 104  

Contribution to exchequer (corporate tax, excise duty, customs and other duties, dividend etc.) increased by Rs. .  3211 crore (9.05 per cent) to Rs. 38665 crore in 1997-98 from Rs. 35454 crore in 1996-97  

Gross Internal Resources generated by CPSEs in 1997-98 amounting to Rs. 31432 crore are 22.8 p.c. higher,  compared to Rs. 25585 crore in 1996-97.   

Export earnings marginally improved over the period to Rs. 18147 crore from Rs. 16359 crore.   

97 enterprises declared dividends in 1997-98 amounting to Rs. 4050.68 crores (including tax on dividends ) as  against Rs. 3083.76 crore by 81 enterprises in the preceding year. The number of workers employed by 240 CPSEs decreased from 19.78 lakhs to 19.65 lakhs over the period, partly due to Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) introduced in 1998.  

Industrial growth slides to 3.8% in 1998-99   

According to the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for 1998-99 (with base 1993-94) released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) in New Delhi on May II, the index was up by a meagre 2.5 per cent during March as against 4 per cent in the corresponding month of the last year. The industrial growth rate for the fiscal 1998-99 decelerated to 3.8 per cent from 6,6 per cent last year (vide table below) :-   

The growth in manufacturing sector, it will be observed decelerated to 4.1 per cent during 1998-99 from 8.8 per cent in the last fiscal while in mining it .turned negative.   

Index of Industrial Production (Growth rate in per cent)   
  
Year  Mining Manufacturing  Electricity General  
1994-95  7.8   8.5  8.5  8.4  
1995-96  8.8 13.8  8.1  12.8  
 1996-97  -2.0  8.7   4.0  5.8 
1997-98  5.8    8.8    8.8   6.6 
1998-99  -1.7   4.l   8.5   3.8  
  
First major petrochem project in North U.P.   

Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee inaugurated Gas Authority of India Limited GAIL's petrochemicals complex in Pata (UP) on June 10 and said that it was an important step in the direction of balanced regional development.   

The Rs. 2,500 crore petrochemical complex was commissioned in March 1999 and is the first such complex in the entire Northern India. The plant which is based on natural gas as feed stock is expected to yield a turnover of Rs. 1,000 crore at full capacity.   

Though the current cracker capacity of the plant is 3 lakh tonne of ethylene per annum, Gail is planning to upscale the cracker capacity to 5 lakh tone to exploit economies of scale.   

IA allowed to tap capital market   

As a first step towards privatisation of Indian Airlines, the government has cleared an equity injection of Rs. 325 crore and permitted the domestic carrier to mobilise funds from the capital market through initial public offering (IPO) or any other modality available for restructuring.   

Guidelines pertaining to approval of foreign/technical collaborations under the automatic route with previous ventures/ tie-up in India (SIA statistics)   

1. The Government have reviewed the present Guidelines relating to approval of foreign/ technical collaborations under the automatic route and after careful consideration it has been decided that foreign financial collaborators with previous ventures/tie-up in India would be subjected to the following guidelines.   

(I) Automatic route for FDI and / or technology collaboration would not be available to those who have or had any previous joint venture or technology transfer/trade-mark agreement in the same or allied field in India. RBI, therefore, have to stipulate necessary declaration before applications for the automatic route are taken on record.   

(II) Investors of Technology to the suppliers of the above category therefore will have to necessarily seek the FIPB/PAB approval route for joint ventures or the technology transfer agreements (including trademark) giving detailed circumstances in which they find it necessary to set-up a new joint venture/enter into new technology transfer (including trade-mark)   

(III)  The onus is clearly on such investors/technology suppliers to provide the requisite justification as also proof to the satisfaction of FIPB/PAB that the new proposal would not in any way jeopardize the interests of the existing joint venture or technology/ trade-mark partners or other stakeholders. It will be at the sole discretion of FIPB/PBA to either approve the application with or without conditions or reject into duly recording the reasons for doing so.   

Bangladesh invites Indian investment   

Minister of Commerce and Industries of Bangladesh Mr. Tofail Ahrned on May 20 invited Indian investment in Bangladesh.   

Addressing a meeting under the patronage of the Confederation of Indian Industry (Cll), Mr. Ahmed said Bangladesh is an economy with great growth prospects and offered an extremely attractive package for investment. There were great opportunities for investment, both foreign and domestic, he added.   

Outlining the incentives package, Mr. Ahmed said that 100 percent foreign equity was allowed in several situations: there was no customs duty levied on imports of capital goods, foreign investors were by and large exempted from VAT and investments were protected by an Act of Parliament.   

Mr. Ahmed pointed out that Bangladesh was rapidly integrating itself with the global economy and was endowed with abundant natural resources, especially natural gas, stable polity and an easy to employ workforce.