INDUSTRIAL SCENE
 
Industrial growth rate vaults 7.2% in May  

The growth rate of industrial production nearly doubled to 7.2 per cent in May compared with 3.7 per cent in the same last year.  

The sharp increase has been mainly brought about by strong performance of the manufacturing sector, accounting for around 80  
per cent of the index of index of industrial production(IIP).The sector recorded a growth of 8.4 per cent in May from 3.4 per cent recorded in the same month last year.  

In the mining sector, which recorded a negative growth of 1.7 per cent last year and 0.3 per cent in May, 1998, the trend has reversed with zero growth this May.  

Electricity, which had grown at 10.4 per cent in April-May last year, showed an increase of only 4.1 per cent for the first two month of this fiscal.  

The overall index for the first two months of this fiscal has grown at a rate of 6.3 per cent compared with 4.2 per cent for the same period last year.  

Latest trends in industrial growth  
   
Buoyancy in the manufacturing sector has pushed up the index of industrial production (IIP) to 7.2 per cent in May (as compared to 3.7 per cent in the corresponding month  last year). While the manufacturing sector has recorded a growth rate of 8.4 per cen t, the electricity generation decelerated to 3.3 per cent (from 9.9 per cent). The mining sector, has registered zero growth rate (-0.3 per cent last year).  

The capital goods industry has registered an impressive growth rate of 19.5 per cent followed by intermediate goods (10.5 per cent and consumer goods (6.9 per cent).  

Lack of innovation root cause of PSU sickness  
   
Industry minister Shri Sikander Bakht has expressed concern over the lack of innovation and competitiveness among various public sector undertakings (PSUs) and termed it as one of the root cause of some of them becoming sick. Addressing the 10th annual convention of the Institute of  Directors, Shri Bakht said that if only these PSUs yield at least 10 per cent returns on the cumulative investments, India's economic development would have been on a much sounder footing.  

`Despite an investment of Rs. 2,50,000 crore by various PSUS, they have failed to give the desired results which in turn have led to majority of the companies turning sick.," he said.   

Shri Bakht called upon professionals to adapt to quick innovation and creativity in their respective companies to make them globally competitive.  

FDIs soar  
   
Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in January-March, 1999, amounted to $2.38 billion compared to $3.3 billion for the whole of 1998.  

According to Cll, India continues to be an attractive destination for FDI notwithstanding the prevailing political instability and the Kargil conflict.  

India is the sixth most preferred destination for FDI, according to a survey. However, only 29 per cent of total FDI approved between  January, 1991 to January, 1999, have actually materialised.  

Outlook for mutuals  
   
The current scenario offers a very sound base for the Indian mutual industry to build on according to Finance Secretary Shri Piyush Mankad Both the industry and investors are going through a learning cycle which is in a well advanced state, he added, while inaugurating the national seminar on mutual funds organised by FICCI and UTI Institute of Capital Markets in Mumbai on July 27. Shri Mankad stressed on genuine innovation by the Indian mutual funds to cater to their investors. "The funds should aim to meet the requirements, unique to our markets and industry. Funds need to adapt and be genuninely innovative in order to bring small investors to their fold."  

Sugar production 152 lakh tonnes  
   
The country's sugar production has registered an increase of 20.13 per cent at 152.11 lakh tonnes during the first eight months of 1998-99 sugar season (November 1998-October 1999) over 126.11 tonnes produced during the same period last year.  

Total off-take of sugar till June 1999 stood at 112.14 lakh tonnes (including seven lakh tonnes of imported sugar) for domestic consumption and 10,000 tonnes for exports, as against 111.02 lakh tonnes till June last year.  

Cement output up 23% Cement production in the first -quarter of the fiscal has gone up by 22.6 per cent to 24.44 million tonnes from 19.93 million tonnes in the same quarter last year.  

In April-June 1999, despatches have gone up by 22.1 per cent to 24.33 million tonnes from 19.92 million tonnes a year ago.  

Sharp spurt in cement production and despatches is attributed to a boom in housing construction as well as a pick up in the rural economy. There has also been an improvement in government off take, according to the Cement Manufactures Association.  

Revised application fees under Companies Act from August 10, 1999  
   
The rates of Application Fees payable by companies and individuals to the Central Government for various applications made by them for approvals under the Companies Act, 1956 have been revised by notifying the Companies (Fees on Applications) Rules, 1999 on July 6, 1999 vide Notification No. 501 (E).  

The revision would be effective from August 10,1999.  

Registration of Partnership firm as a Company  
   
The Registrars of Companies will continue to register partnership firms under Part-IX of the Companies Act as joint stock companies provided they fulfil the conditions prescribed under the Companies Act, 1956.  

This clears doubts whether a partnership firm can be registered as a joint stock company under Part-IX of the Companies Act, 1956.