UPA

Insurance Bill Delayed by Finance Minister

Insurance Bill Delayed by Finance MinisterFinance Ministed Pranab Mukherjee delayed the Insurance Bill as there was no use of passing the bill with already existing 26% FDI limit in insurance sector.

During the cabinet discussions, the finance minister felt that more consultation was required. The finance minister wants to increase the limit from current 26% level.

UPA government wanted to increase the FDI investment limit to 49%. Government owned general insurance companies can also raise funds from market.

Expensive food items increase the inflation rates

Inflation according to the wholesale price index (WPI) has increased to 8.43% last month as against 7.48% of November due to a sudden spurt in the costs of fruits, vegetables and spices.

The resumed rise in headline inflation made the economists foretell that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will increase its interest rates by around 50 basis points at the time it shows its quarterly monetary policy review on 25th January.

According to the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, restraining inflation is a tough thing to do and the RBI must take proper action according to the requirement and when it is needed.

CPWD stadium construction cost jumped by Rs 1,110 crore

The CWG scam in the first half of the year 2010, caused a lot of hatred in the country and especially among sports fans, for government officials, however, the successful organization of the games somewhat diluted the effect.

The probe in the scam for people alleged of corruption charges are still going on, as latest report on the scam suggests that Central Public Works Department (CPWD) jumped over the cost of constructing five Commonwealth Games venues by over Rs 1,110 crore than the original allowed amount.

Phone Tapping Sparks Argument in Indian Parliament

Phone Tapping Sparks Argument in Indian ParliamentControversy over allegations that Government agencies furtively tapped telephone conversations of senior politicians is liable to immobilize India's Parliament on Monday, probably implying postponement for the budget and other important bills.

The pressure arrives just as the Government is looking to secure its allies' support for a likely vote in Parliament over high food prices. The Government would collapse if it doesn’t win the vote.

Mired in IPL row, Tharoor steps down

Manmohan Singh Shashi TharoorEmbattled Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor Sunday night stepped down, the Prime Minister's Office said, ending a weeklong political drama surrounding a controversial IPL financial deal involving his Dubai-based friend Sunanda Pushkar.

"Shashi Tharoor... has submitted his resignation to the prime minister, stepping down from the union council of ministers. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has forwarded the resignation to President Pratibha Patil with the recommendation that it may be accepted," a statement from the PMO said.

Patil also accepted the resignation.

PM for smooth passage of women’s quota bill

PM for smooth passage of women’s quota billPrime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is hopeful for the government to arrange two-third majority in the parliament to pass the much-awaited Women's Reservation Bill.

The bill has been gathering dust in files since it was firstly introduced in the Parliament in 1996 during the tenure of PM H. D. Devgoda.

The bill, aimed to provide one-third reservation to woman in Lok Sabha and State Legislatures, would be presented in the upper house on Monday.

‘The common man is suffering under UPA rule’

BJP-UPALess than a year since it got a drubbing in the general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have got an issue to go back to the electorate.

Protesting against the recent hike in the price of petrol and diesel, BJP workers also staged a demonstration and courted arrest on Tuesday.

Carrying anti-government placards, the agitating BJP workers, led by senior party leader V. K. Malhotra and Delhi BJP president O. P. Kohli, marched towards Parliament and demanded immediate roll back of the hike in duty on petrol and diesel.

Police had to use water cannons to disperse demonstrators who tried to scale the police barriers.

Will talk to allies on fuel hike: Pranab

Will talk to allies on fuel hike: PranabMukherjee is open to discussing the fuel price hike with UPA allies — Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and M. Karunanidhi’s DMK — who have appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for its reversal.

“These (objections to the fuel price hike) are not individual views,” he told HT in an interview on Sunday. “There is some divergence of opinion among some of our coalition partners. We will talk and then see.”

Budget 2010: The Long and Short of It

Budget 2010: The Long and Short of ItOn Friday, 26 February, 2010, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented the budget for India for the upcoming financial year, and while there was a lot of optimism in his tone as far as the country's growth went, people were more interested to know if there have been any steps taken to curb the rapidly rising prices and if there are any chances that the budget deficit would be pulled down.

Centre wants petroleum and alcohol included in GST

Goods-and-Services-TaxThe Centre on Monday indicated that it wants the inclusion of petroleum products and alcohol in the proposed goods and services tax regime (GST). The states have however expressed concerns over its implementation.

The centre also wants to include purchase tax, electricity duty and other local taxes in the GST regime and has set up a target turnover of Rs 10 lakh.

The decision paper was released by the Empowered Committee (EC) of state finance ministers on GST and the centre responded by saying that it wants uniform rates of taxes both at centre and the state levels.

Government clears road projects worth Rs 6,152 crore

In a major push to country’s road infrastructure program, the Central Government has given green signal for the up gradation of nearly 561.87 km of highways in five states. The road projects worth Rs 6,151.94 crore have already been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure.

The government aims to expand 439 km existing four-lane section roads of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) scheme in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan in to six lanes for addressing the rising traffic problem. The GQ project, to be executed on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis, would cost around Rs 4,279.94 crore.

Central Govt increases iron ore export duty by 5 percentage points

Central Govt increases iron ore export duty by 5 percentage pointsIn a recent Central government decision to hike the export duty on iron ore lumps and iron ore fines by 5 percentage points - from the present 5 percent to 10 percent; and from nil to 5 percent respectively - evidently spells serious repercussions for the mining sector.

As per official sources, the Finance Ministry has overlooked the Steel Ministry’s proposal of having standardized 15 percent export duty on all iron ores - lumps as well as fines – and has stuck with the five percentage point duty differential between lumps and fines.

Revenue Secretary expects GST to ease the tax burden by 25 to 30%

GstAccording to a senior government official, the goods and services tax (GST) will offer relief to the tax payers by 25-30 percent. The GST is planned to be levied from the next financial year across the country and would be charged between 17 to 18 percent.

The revenue secretary, Mr. P V Bhide has informed that the launch of GST will help in removing inefficiencies and multiplicities in the current tax regime, which in order help in reducing the tax burden to 25 -30 percent.

Shibu Soren open to supporting NDA or UPA for Jharkhand

Shibu Soren open to supporting NDA or UPA for JharkhandRanchi, Dec 22 - A day ahead of the assembly election vote counting, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren Tuesday asserted he was the "key" to formation of the next state government and was open to supporting either the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) or the Congress, if approached.

Government may slash wheat price for flour mills

K.V. ThomasConcerned over rising inflation and on fire from opposition parties over price rise, the Union Government is expected to come up with some relief for common man by reducing wheat price for domestic flour mills.

The Floor Mills are not interested to buy wheat at Rs 1,400-1,450 per quintal from the stocks of the Food Corp of India which embarked 500,000 tonnes of wheat for sale for bulk consumers during the period between October and December. States are also expected to get additional 1 million tonnes of wheat for selling it to retail customers and bakeries etc.

Petroleum ministry seeks oil bonds worth Rs.20,000 crore from finance ministry

The oil ministry has sought special bonds worth Rs 20,871 crore from the finance ministry, in order to make up for the losses suffered by state-run retailers on fuel sales in the three quarters of this fiscal.

It has been reported that the state-run oil marketers have lost about Rs 26,618 crore in revenue on selling petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene at the prices influenced by the government, during the first half of this fiscal year. While Rs 20,000 crore of this loss is on cooking gas and kerosene and the rest is on account of petrol and diesel.

House panel finds flaws in heritage bill

Manmohan Singh to attend ASEAN, East Asia Summits in Thailand from FridayManmohan Singh to attend ASEAN, East Asia Summits in Thailand from FridayDescribing the government’s efforts on the “The National Commission for Heritage Sites Bill, 2009” as “half-hearted”, a Parliamentary committee report has said the government appeared to have put up the legislation only to keep up appearances.

Rural job scheme up for monitoring, panel planned

The government has decided to carry out an independent evaluation of the rural job scheme and has called applications for a 100-member monitoring panel.

Retired judges, former ambassadors bureaucrats and defence officers can monitor the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the UPA’s flagship job scheme.

“Standards vary from place to place and grievances arise from time to time. There are also cases of deviation from the law,” a rural development ministry official, who didn’t wish to be identified, said.

“ Independent evaluation and monitoring of NREGA will seek to resolve the difficulties in its implementation."

UPA committed to Kashmir talks, assert ministers

Bodies exhumed in rape, murder probe in Indian KashmirTwo key players from Jammu and Kashmir — Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, both ministers in the Union Cabinet — said on Tuesday that Kashmiris had a lot of aspirations from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will tour the state for two days starting on Wednesday.

Singh will open a train service between Anantnag and Qazigund, connecting Kashmir to the rest of the country and is expected to make a significant gesture on the dialogue his government has promised to the state.

Government includes Vivek Tankha in its legal team

Ambani Brothers

Government has introduced Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha in its legal team for strongly representing its case before the Supreme Court, taking up the Ambani gas dispute in next few days.

Tankha and ASG Mohan Parasaran will represent government over quantity and price issue in the Ambani brothers gas row.




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