Sensex Jumps Past 5,000

Updated: Nov 9 2003, 05:30am hrs
Bolstered by unabated foreign fund inflows, the bellwether 30-share BSE Sensex breached the psychological and crucial level of 5,000 points on Monday to hit a new 43-month high. The 5,000 level was last breached on April 13, 2000. Cushioned by heavy-weights, the Sensex closed at 5,063.03 points, up 156.16 points or 3.18 per cent, shrugging off the central banks move to leave the bank rate, repo rate and cash reserve ratio (CRR) unchanged on Monday.

After opening at 4,946.93, an intra-day lowest, the days high for the Sensex was 5,068.66 points. On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the 50-share Nifty finished at 1,601.65 points, gaining 45.75 points or 2.94 per cent, while the FE-constituted FEfty closed at 1,777.75 points, adding 38.69 points.

The fund flow from foreign institutional investors (FIIs) in the current calendar year was the highest ever at $4.5 billion, out of which $1.43 billion was seen in October 2003 alone.

TAX
Direct Tax Collection Touches Rs 38,759 Cr

Robust corporate earnings pushed up direct tax collections by 19 per cent to Rs 38,759 crore till October this year compared to Rs 32,674 crore during April-October 2003.

Corporate tax surged by over 34 per cent to Rs 20,909 crore till October 2003 from Rs 15,561 crore in the same period last fiscal, reports said on Thursday. In October alone, the corporate tax mop up was about Rs 3,374 crore.

Income tax collections inched up by 5.4 per cent to Rs 17,816 crore till October 2003 from Rs 16,902 crore in the same period last year, they said. Income tax collection in October was at Rs 1,905 crore.

Direct tax collection in October was Rs 5,319 crore this year as against Rs 2,917 crore last year. The direct tax collections till October works out to be 40 per cent of the Rs 95,714 crore estimated in the budget for the entire fiscal year.

The gross collections were higher by 23 per cent to Rs 57,391 crore till October this year compared to Rs 46,652 crore in the same period last year, reports said quoting official sources. Tax refunds amounted to Rs 18,633 crore in the first seven months of 2003-04 compared to Rs 13,978 crore in the year ago period.

CREDIT POLICY
RBI Leaves Bank Rate Unchanged

The Reserve Bank of India has left bank rate and repo rate unchanged at 6 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively. Announcing the mid-term monetary and credit policy on Monday, the RBI governor, Y V Reddy, revised the GDP growth from 6 per cent to 6.5-7.0 per cent for 2003-04. Stating that inflation outlook remains benign, the RBI has projected an inflation rate of 4-4.5 per cent with a possible downward bias as compared to the earlier projection of 5-5.5 per cent. Mr Reddy, who announced his maiden policy, said the apex bank will continue with the present stance of preference for a soft and flexible interest environment.

On the borrowing programme, the RBI said, The persistence of large aggregate borrowings of the central and state governments continues to be a matter of concern. It is essential to pursue, promptly and with resolve, fiscal consolidation from a medium term perspective, Mr Reddy said.

There is a need for efforts in the direction of widening the revenue base, rationalisation of expenditure and enhancing productivity of public investment already made or to be made in both commercial and social sectors, the apex bank said. Referring to the foreign exchange market, the RBI said all foreign currency loans above $10 million by banks can be extended only on the basis of a well-laid policy of the bank boards on hedging, except in some cases.

ROYAL VISIT
Indian Business Should Take Up Social Causes: Prince Charles

Indian business community should take up issues of social responsibility along with enterprise development for youth, Prince Charles said on Tuesday in Mumbai on the last leg of his nine-day visit to India. The monarch-in-waiting had also earlier visited Delhi and Rajasthan.

It is important for business groups to take up social responsibilities such as education and providing clean water. Enabling sustainable livelihood for everybody is one of the pressing challenges before the country, he said at a business reception. The contribution from corporates should be positive, he said, adding, there is a long tradition of business houses engaged in philanthropy in India.

The heir to the British throne also cautioned the corporates that mutual trust and respect should not be taken for granted. The development of rural parts would also lessen the burden on urban areas, he said. Referring to Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), Prince Charles said this was an important partnership with its British counterpart and a good example of corporate citizenship. Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Auto, who is also associated with the BYST, said the trust was set up for development of underprivileged youth.

SRI LANKA
President Lifts Emergency

President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Friday lifted the state of emergency she announced two days earlier but was preparing a new measure to boost the authority of the armed forces to respond to threats, a government official said. The official, who is in charge of printing government decrees, said Ms Kumaratunga had canceled the emergency, which officials on Thursday had said would last for 10 days.

Nevielle Nanayakkara said the Presidents office has sent new executive orders to expand the powers of the armed forces to respond to threats to the countrys law and order, but not to the extent allowed for in a state of emergency.

The emergency would have given broad power to the militarywhich Ms Kumaratunga controlsto make arrests, interrogate suspects and search houses at will. It also would have banned public gatherings, given the president lawmaking powers and allowed media censorship.

It was not immediately clear why Ms Kumaratunga lifted the emergency, but it coincided with the return of her rival, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, to Colombo from a trip to the US on Friday.

Ms Kumaratunga, who has broad constitutional powers, fired three of Mr Wickremesinghes cabinet colleagues and suspended Parliament on Tuesday and stationed additional armed military men around the capital. She announced on Wednesday that she was imposing emergency rule.