TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ THURSDAY, MAY 04, 2006 02:26:01 AM]HYDERABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is looking at doubling its lending to India from $1.3bn in ’06 to over $2.5bn in ’08 in the areas of water, transport, energy and urban infrastructure.
The bank is also planning to finalise a new medium-term strategy, after its annual meeting, to step up focus on regional integration.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda said, “India still needs investments in infrastructure particularly in education. ADB does not provide concessional resources to India. We are looking at doubling our lending to India in the coming years.” Mr Kuroda said, the challenges facing Asia include threat to private investment on account of regulatory framework, policy uncertainty and market distortions. “This is a crucial moment for Asia.
How we respond to these challenges will shape the region’s future,” he added. The bank is also high on a growth agenda that is inclusive of environment concerns. It is pursuing a $1-bn energy efficiency initiative that is looking at promoting clean energy development projects.
“We must ensure that growth does not come at the expense of environment,” he said. Commenting on regional integration among diverse and trouble-torn countries, Mr Kuroda said, ADB was all for economic co-operation in the region and would assist in areas like infrastructure, assessment of economies and also facilitating policy dialogue between member countries.
He added that the internal and external conflict in the region had not come in the way of a dialogue between finance ministers to intensify economic cooperation. Mr Kuroda cited bridging the rich-poor gap as the biggest challenge facing the Asian lending bank. “The number of people in absolute poverty is rapidly declining. But I have seen how many others still live in the shadow of persistent poverty.”
India Inc has no choice but to pay its staff better: Study
Press Trust of India, New Delhi, May 4, 2006
Employers in India have no choice but to pay high salaries to their staff, with industrial growth demanding more manpower, which in turn, comes at sky-hit prices.
India Inc was forced to increase salaries by as much as 31 per cent in the quarter ended March 31 and by almost 17 per cent in 2005-06, a study conducted by industry body Assocham said.
Led by financial services, which increased its wage bill by 212 per cent, IT and banks also hiked the salaries in the quarter.
IT increased its personnel expense by 52.6 per cent while banks increased the expense by 26 per cent, the study said.
"The cost of hiring and retaining the staff in the last quarter was significantly higher than the whole of 2005-06," the study said.
The personnel expense for financial services were up 136 per cent in last fiscal, for IT firms the increase was 42 per cent and for banks the cost on this count went up by 16 per cent.
"Thanks to buoyancy in the industrial growth and services, the companies are hiring aggressively and the human resource is asking for better price," said Assocham President Anil K Agarwal said.
There is an increased demand for manpower in the expanding retail business. The staff cost in this sector has shown a tremendous increase.
"The magnitude of increase in staff cost could be judged by the figures of Indiabulls Financial Services and India Infoline Ltd, which exhibited 398.91 per cent and 364.35 per cent, increase in their staff cost respectively," the study asserted.
IT, being one of the largest employment hubs, saw a considerable expansion in its employee base last year. The industry is also providing high compensation packages to its employees.
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd Registered a striking staff cost growth of 153.93 per cent, among the sample of IT companies analysed in the study, chamber said.
Amongst banks, ICICI incurred an increase of 64.10 per cent in the salaries followed by Union Bank of India by 51.51 per cent and Corporation Bank by 48.98 per cent in the last quarter of 2005-06.
On the annualised basis, Yes Bank topped the chart with a growth rate of over 137 per cent in the staff cost followed by ICICI Bank with 46.76 per cent.
"PSUs were the exception in the pack, recording an alarming decline rate of 18.57 per cent. The similar trend was noticed in the staff cost calculated on the yearly basis, there was a decline of over two per cent," the study said.