CII-ORG MARG report: India emerging as major food market
New Delhi: A CII-AC Nielsen ORG-MARG report says changing tastes and lifestyles are leading to increased demand for packaged and branded food in India. Due to this, India is seen emerging as a major world market for retail sales of foods said the report released Sunday.

The report titled, 'Foods and Beverages - Challenges and Opportunities in the Indian Market', says foods sales have contributed a staggering 72 percent to incremental FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) value in 2004 as compared to 2000. Packaged basics like cooking oils, atta, rice and ghee have contributed an incremental value- indicating an overall upswing in the commodity - to branding movement."

The report says that the most significant change in the marketing environment in recent years has been the advent of modern format stores (MFS) which though accounting for only three percent of FMCG sales, have been increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CARG) of 15 percent in the last five years.

The number of traditional retail stores is also growing rapidly, and the trend is likely to continue for the next three years. By 2007, the number of stores is likely to be 7.8 million with bulk of the growth coming from grocers and street corner stores.
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Govt. aims to get Bangalore airport ready by 2010
New Delhi: The Centre is aiming to get the new airport being set up at Devanahalli, near Bangalore, ready by 2010, in view of the more-than-anticipated growth in levels of traffic.

Minister of aviation, Praful Patel, said the volume of traffic projected for 2010 had been achieved this year itself. He said that traffic volume projected for 2015 is likely to be reached by 2008.

The Centre has asked Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), executing the project, to ensure that the new deadline is met. The ministry has also asked for modifications in the proposed airport terminal building to make it more "modern". The new airport was to be built in two phases — 2005 to 2010 and 2010 to 2015.

German multinational Siemens holds 40 per cent stake in BIAL, while Unique Zurich and Larsen & Toubro hold 17 per cent each. The Karnataka government, through Karnataka State Industrial Investment Development Corporation, and Airports Authority of India, together hold the remaining 26 per cent.

Patel said all the consortium partners would share the increase in cost.

Building the airport is estimated to cost Rs1,411 crore. The Karnataka government has provided a soft loan of Rs350 crore to BIAL and a budgetary support of Rs400 crore. The funding also includes a debt component of Rs735 crore.
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Increased edible oil imports adversely impacting farmers
Mumbai: The increase in imports of edible oils is adversely affecting Farmers as they are getting low realisation for their produce. Industry experts say that the condition can worsen if it is not checked.

According to the Soybean Processors Association of India, farmers are getting only Rs1,100 per quintal for their soybean produce. It said strong measures by the government and private bodies are needed for better price realisation to the farmers.

The association says that the government needs to re-negotiate the edible oil import structure for the safeguard of the Indian farmers.
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EPF board of trustees to meet on Monday
New Delhi: The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is meeting here on Monday. The Board is likely to recommend the rate of interest to be paid to EPF subscribers for the current financial year.

The meeting was earlier to be held on November 10, but was postponed in view of state mourning declared following the death of former President K R Narayanan.

The meeting will be chaired by labour and employment minister and CBT chairman K Chandrasekhar Rao, and would consider valuation reports of the Employees' Pension Scheme, officials said. The CBT was also likely to discuss investment patterns of the EPF corpus.
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1.55 lakh candidates appear for CAT
Ahmedabad: About 1,55,000 candidates appeared for the Common Admission Test (CAT) on Sunday for entry into the six Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and 75 other management schools in the country.

The CAT was conducted in 160 centres across 24 cities, and there have been no reports of any kind of problem from any of the centres, IIM Ahmedabad director, Prof Bakul Dholakia, said.

The number of applicants has gone up by 12 per cent this year, and the number of institutes other than IIMs accepting CAT scores has also risen sharply from 54 last year to 75 this year, Prof Dholakia said.

The results of the written test are expected to come in by the second week of January.
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IT returns can be filed from anywhere in the country from next year
New Delhi: Companies and individual salaried taxpayers could be allowed to file IT returns from anywhere in the country from next year. The revenue department has set up an internal committee, headed by member (investigation & computerisation) J G Pendse, to examine the feasibility of the move.

The committee has also been asked to consider if any legislative amendments would be required for the purpose.

Government officials said that with online filing of returns being permitted, jurisdiction is no longer relevant. However, jurisdiction is important in case of paper filing. If the requirement is waived, some circles, like those in Delhi, could find a huge increase in the number of returns while some other circles could find their returns coming down in a big way.

At present, individuals file returns in an area where they are based while companies file it at the place of registration or principle place of business.
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Open Sky policy for VSAT services soon
New Delhi: The government is introducing an "Open Sky" policy for VSAT operators to allow them to directly negotiate and hire satellite bandwidth from foreign and domestic players, including the Indian Space Research Organisation.

The government is also likely to allow VSAT operators in the KA band, and will waive service tax for 10 years for rural connections, said officials of the department of telecommunications.

The changes are likely to be introduced in the new telecom policy expected to be in place by early 2006.

At present, VSAT operators cannot hire transponder space on foreign satellites directly, but must do so via the department of space, which hires transponder space from abroad and sells it to them.

A senior executive with a leading operator said the Open Sky policy will make the service more affordable to the end user as there are about 15 international satellite operators with capacity overlooking India. But this also means that VSAT operators will be subject to security and monitoring restrictions applicable to Internet Service Providers.

At present, most VSAT operations are done on the KU band frequency. Considering that technology is fast moving towards exploiting the KA Band, which would reduce the cost of hardware and services, the new telecom policy is likely to permit the switchover, the sources said.
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domain-B : Indian business : News Review : 21 November 2005 : general