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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pranab Mukherjee keen to lift economy

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday promised every effort to lift the Indian economy out of the current slowdown and said the regular budget will be presented in due course.

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Indian Stock Markets News & Updates
"The Indian economy remains resilient," the veteran Congress leader told reporters at his residence, soon after a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique named him finance minister.

"All economic issues will be addressed. My priority is to put the economy back on track. Various efforts will be made to insulate the Indian economy from the adverse impact of the financial meltdown," he said.

Mukherjee, however, declined comment on whether he intended to present a vote-on-account first. "I hope to present the budget in due course."

The industry chambers were happy with Mukherjee being given the finance portfolio. He held additional charge of the ministry since January as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to undergo a heart surgery.

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"Pranab Mukherjee as finance minister will do full justice to his job and come up to the expectations of the people of India and its industry," said the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said the Congress leader combines a rare sense of economic and political judgement that would stand the test of time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rs 10,000-cr package for shipping industry likely

The Centre is considering a Rs 10,000-crore package for the shipping industry to help it tide over the global economic crisis, a senior government official said.

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"We know that the shipping industry in the country is facing difficulties. We are actively considering a package of Rs 10,000-crore to help the industry," Shipping Joint Director-General C B S Venkataramana told reporters here.

He was speaking at a seminar on logistics park organised by industry body CII here on Friday.

India's forex reserves down by $1.734 billion

India's foreign exchange reserves declined by $1.734 billion to $254.207 billion for the week ended May 15 from $255.941 billion in the previous week.
Indian Stock Markets News & Updates
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In the week under review, foreign currency assets fell by $1.747 billion to $243.754 billion as against $245.501 billion in the previous week, RBI said in its weekly report.

FCAs, expressed in US dollar terms, include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies (such as Euro, Sterling, Yen) held in reserves, RBI said.

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The gold and Special Drawing Rights remained unchanged at $9.231 billion and $1 million for the week, the central bank said.
Indian Stock Markets News & Updates
India's reserve position in International Monetary Fund increased by $13 million to $1.221 billion in the week compared to $1.208-billion in the previous week.


Economists up their economy forecast to 7 percent

Upbeat at formation of new UPA government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, economists on Friday said that continuity in policies would push economic growth to over seven per cent in the current fiscal.

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"A very good government.it will provide support to growth. My projection for GDP growth rate is around 7 per cent and this government can realise it," said noted economist Saumitra Chaudhuri, who till recently was a member of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council.

The new government, however, will have to address issues in infrastructure and education sectors, he added.

"I see a lot of continuity and stability as these Cabinet ministers have already worked for five years," said Nitin Desai, former Chief Economic Adviser.

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"The growth is already on the path of recovery. The new cabinet should help in continuation of economic reforms", he said, adding the main challenge before the government would be to provide good governance.

Manmohan Singh was today sworn-in as Prime Minister for a second consecutive term at the head of a 20-member team in the first installment of government formation truncated by the deadlock over portfolios for DMK members.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Annual Inflation at 0.61 percent

India's wholesale price index rose 0.61 percent in the 12 months to May 9, above the previous week's annual rise of 0.48 percent, government data showed on Thursday.

It matched a median forecast of 0.61 percent in a Reuters poll of analysts. The annual inflation rate was 8.57 percent during the corresponding week of the previous year.

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The wholesale price index is more closely watched than the consumer price index, which is published monthly, because it covers a higher number of products and is released weekly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Indian Inc wants Montek S Ahluwalia as Finance Minister

(17/5/09 Indian Inc) - Montek Singh Ahluwalia is the favourite of Indian industry to become finance minister and it wished for P Chidambaram to stay as home minister, while seeking a Cabinet berth for Rahul Gandhi.

Industry captains were, however, not clear what role Rahul should play in the next Cabinet.

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Capital market expert Prithvi Haldea said the finance ministry should go to Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chidambaram should continue as home minister. Real estate leader DLF clearly favoured Montek to move to North Block on Raisina Hill that houses the finance ministry.

However, the views are split when it came to sectoral representatives with most of the players giving their wishlist without wanting to be named.

A large corporate house wanted Murli Deora to be back as the petroleum minister, or to be replaced by his son Milind. Kamal Nath also found favour for a second term as the commerce and industry minister, although a section felt that Jairam Ramesh could be given the charge.

For telecom ministry, CDMA operators favoured DMK leader A Raja to continue, while GSM lobby wanted the Congress to keep this portfolio with itself, so that it can go ahead with reform process without any hindrances.

UN official-turned-politician Shashi Tharoor, who is making debut in the Lok Sabha shortly after losing the race for the UN Secretary Generalship, also figured in the wish- list of industrialists for a place in the Union Cabinet.

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"We hope to see Rahul Gandhi in the Cabinet," Ispat Industries' vice-chairman and managing director Vinod Mittal said, adding that age was not a criteria to be a dynamic leader and minister.

A cross section of investors, industrialists and analysts also felt that younger politicians, including Jitin Prasad, Sachin Pilot, Naveen Jindal and Jyotiraditya Scindia, should be given ministerial responsibilities.

Many of them felt that P Chidambaram should be given the responsibility of the home ministry, but few rooted for him to get back to the finance minsitry.

Brokerage firm SMC Capital's Equity Head Jaganaddham Thunuguntla said: "It will be good to have him (Rahul) in the Cabinet to give him exposure."

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Essar Steel Business Group CEO J Mehra said, "Congress has many dynamic options and Montek Singh Ahluwalia is one of them (for the finance ministry)." He, however, quickly added that it would not be wise at this point of time to name possible ministers without knowing who all are in the fray.

Taurus Mutual Fund's managing director R K Gupta said the UPA has much better scope for change this time as now it would not have to seek help from the Left parties for forming the government.

source economictimes