Pension savings rate hiked

NEW DELHI: India’s ruling Congress-led coalition government raised the benchmark savings rate on workers’ retirement funds by a percentage point to 9.5 per cent. The communist allies of the government had demanded a rate hike to benefit workers. The government will have to provide an additional eight billion rupees ($186 million) annually to workers as a result of the hike. — AFP

Shell posts record profit:

LONDON: Energy giant Royal Dutch/Shell, hit by crisis last year because it had overstated proved energy reserves, posted on Thursday a record net profit for 2004 and said it would pay out $10 billion in dividends. The company said that net profit had risen 48 per cent last year to $18.536 billion from the equivalent figure in 2003. — AFP