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India Infoline Weekly Newsletter - March 28, 2013

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai |

After last week’s DMK drama, the Samajwadi Party (SP) came in the limelight this week after the SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav was seen very keen on his goal of making it bigger in the next elections. The SP leader signalled at pulling the plug soon on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government according to reports.

Top Stories


BRICS Summit: PM reiterates resolve to assist Africa

Following is the text of the Prime Minister's statement at the BRICS Leaders - Africa Dialogue Forum in Durban on March 27, 2013:

"I am pleased to have this opportunity for a dialogue on how BRICS, and in particular India, could contribute to and benefit from the tremendous transformation that has made Africa the continent of hope today. India’s relations with Africa are rooted in the history of our solidarity against colonialism and apartheid. Mahatma Gandhi developed the tools of peaceful resistance on this very soil. Our engagement with Africa has come a long way since then and today we have built a new template for partnership in the form of the India-Africa Forum Summit. This partnership is guided by the vision and priorities of our African partners. India will assist Africa in charting its own course through institution-building, infrastructure development and technical and vocational skill development. The pan-Africa e-Network for tele-medicine and tele-education, which is functional in 47 countries in Africa, is a major success story of our institution-building partnership with Africa. We are ready to work with our African partners on e-governance to help bridge the digital divide in Africa. India is also happy to share its experiences of participative political institutions, local governance, media and civil society with Africa.

Human resource development and capacity-building assistance are at the core of India’s cooperation with Africa, because they enable and empower people to take charge of their own future. Over 15,000 African students are studying in India. Agricultural and scientific fellowships specially designed for African scholars are highly popular. Our assistance with vocational and entrepreneurial skill development, with particular emphasis on small and medium enterprises, is helping promote employability and job creation in Africa. Our concessional assistance is directed towards development of agriculture, infrastructure and industry. We are reviewing the terms and conditions of our lines of credit so that they meet the budgetary requirements of our partners, are in line with their own development priorities, utilize local resources and skills, and create sustainable revenue-generating assets. On the trade front, our non-reciprocal Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme Scheme for LDCs has significantly enhanced the access of African LDCs to the growing Indian market...Read More

Our roadmap for the future should focus on consolidating: PM

India to be 3rd largest aviation market by 2020: Ajit Singh

Speaking at a function in the capital on the occasion of Aviation Day, the Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh said that, India would be the third largest aviation market by 2020. Addressing senior representatives of the aviation industry, Ajit Singh informed that studies suggest, the countries airports would be handling 336 million domestic and 85 million international passengers with projected investment to the tune of US$120bn by 2020. The Minister reminded the gathering that recently he took a decision to liberalize the process for airlines to aquire aircrafts by doing away with the Aircraft Acquisition Committee. He added that the Government has also taken steps to liberalize and grant traffic rights to Indian carriers to fly to new destinations around the globe.

Following is the entire text of the Minister’s speech:

"Sheila Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi, Tony Tyler, DG of International Air Transport Association (IATA), S. Bomiddala, Chairman of GMR Airports, Hari Bhartia, former President CII, Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII, representatives of industry, members of media, friends, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to be here amongst this august gathering, the confluence of best minds in aviation industry from across India and abroad and welcome you all on the occasion of ‘Aviation Day’. It is really heartening to see that the first-off "Aviation Day" in India is being organized with the focus on economic benefits that aviation brings to the Indian economy. I am told that the most important branches of the Aviation value chain which are critically linked and interdependent including the airline industry, the airports and manufacturing, engineering and service industry through the CII are jointly organizing today’s session. I hope this realization of interdependencies among airlines, airport and the industry will also reflect in a growing shared agenda among the three; and reflect the growing areas of synergies between key players from the industry, to work towards the development of the aviation sector in India. To quote Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." I congratulate the organizers for bringing you all together on the "Aviation Day", a new beginning which I am sure will progress into success...Read More

Govt prepares white paper on New Civil Aviation Policy

Rate cut on small savings will not hit collections: C Rangarajan

The Finance Ministry move to cut interest rates by 0.1% on certain small savings schemes such as NSC will not hit collections in such schemes, C. Rangarajan, Chairman to the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) said on Monday. Mr Rangarajan told reporters on the sidelines of the 31st Skoch Summit in New Delhi.  According to Rangarajan, there is also scope for further repo rate (rate at which RBI lends to banks) cut by the Reserve Bank of India if core inflation were to remain below 4%. The country’s core inflation declined 3.8% in February 2013 from 4.1% in January 2013. Banks will be considering at an appropriate opportunity to act on their lending rates… as Government expenditure picks up in March, the liquidity position of banks may also improve, Mr Rangarajan added. Speaking about the current account deficit, Mr Rangarajan said CAD as a percentage of GDP is expected to be higher in FY12-13 at about 5%. At the same time, he mentioned that the capital flows will be adequate to cover CAD for the current fiscal. For FY13-14, Mr Rangarajan expects CAD to be lower than FY12-13 and capital flows covering that will not be a problem. He expects the Indian economy to grow at 6.5% for FY13-14.

India is not my top priority for investment: Lakshmi Mittal

Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, has reportedly said that India was not his top priority for investment. On the sidelines of a convocation of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Mittal said: "I do not want to give you any timeline about my Indian projects...experienced so much of delay."

ArcelorMittal had inked an MoU with Orissa government in December 2006 to set up a 12 mtpa steel plant in Keonjhar district at an investment of Rs. 400bn, but it has been facing delay.

UPA unmoved as Mulayam talks Third Front again

The United Progressive Alliance, which is just about coming to terms with withdrawal of support from the DMK received another jolt. This time it was Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav who on Sunday said the future belongs to coalition governments and asked all like-minded parties to come together. "Coalition government is the need of the country as no single party can come to power at Centre on its own strength. It is high time that parties, having the common goal to achieve social change, come together as in Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh," Yadav said. He was speaking at a function to commemorate the first death anniversary of veteran freedom fighter and pioneer of the Maharashtra co-operative movement, Nagnath Anna Naikwadi, at Valva village in Sangli. Dismissing Yadva's view on coalition politics, Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh said he has not said anything new and that the party is not 'bothered'. "We work according to the situation. Whatever he has said is not something new." The Samajwadi Party has 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha and is currently providing outside support to the government. With the 18 MPs of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK -- the second largest ally in the ruling coalition -- withdrawing support last week on human right violations of Tamilians in Sri Lankan, the UPA is left with no choice but to depend on the outside support of 59 MPs.  Of these 59 MPs, if the 22 Samajwadi Party were to withdraw support, the Congress and other allies would find it difficult to reach the halfway mark of 271 MPs required to form the government. On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Mulayam's son Akhilesh Yadav said his party is prepared to withdraw support to the UPA government. Speaking to Aaj Tak, Yadav hinted that the party may withdraw support during the current Budget session.

Cyprus govt may impose money controls ahead of bk reopen

There seems to be no respite to Cyprus' woes. Fears of a bank run have prompted the government to impose tough controls which include limiting the number of withdrawals and banning cheques. This even as banks in the tiny island nation reopen for the first time in nearly two weeks. Capital controls as imposed by the Central Bank of Cyprus will include a 300-euro daily limit on withdrawals. There will also be restrictions on transfers to accounts outside the country. A Finance Ministry statement said the controls will be in force for seven days. Banks in Cyprus have been shut since March 16 after the European Union presented a plan forcing losses on all depositors in exchange for a bailout. The plan sparked off protest and led to its Parliament rejecting the same. The country then approached Russia in hopes of a bailout but met with rejection. With time running out, Cyprus had no option but to agree to the terms of the bailout. According to the deal reached early this week between President Nicos Anastasiades and the trioka of EU, ECB and IMF, Cyprus would shrink its banking system. It would also force large losses on depositors at the country’s two largest lenders Bank of Cyprus and Laiki.

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