New Delhi: The Congress party, which heads the ruling coalition at the Centre, won the most seats in Meghalaya and failed to wrest control of Tripura after counting of votes on Friday in elections to the two north-eastern states.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), retained control of Tripura for the fourth consecutive term by winning 46 seats in the 60-member state assembly, according to the Election Commission, the independent agency that conducts polls in India.
Anticipating resistance: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Congress party, defeated in five state elections last year, got 25 seats out of 60 in Meghalaya. The Nationalist Congress Party, a member of the ruling coalition and part of the opposition in Meghalaya, got 14 seats, the commission said on its website. Meghalaya currently has a Congress-led government.
While the states have two seats each in India’s 545-member lower house of Parliament, a victory in Tripura would have strengthened Congress influence over its Communist allies, who have been stalling on programmes from the sell-off of state companies to a nuclear agreement with the US.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may face more resistance to economic-change policies from the Left. The government depends on support from the communist parties for its parliamentary majority.
The counting of votes in another north-eastern state, Nagaland, which went to the polls on 5 March, will take place on Saturday.
-Bibhudatta Pradhan/ Bloomberg
Textile park scheme to continue in 11th Plan
New Delhi: The Centre on Friday decided to continue the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) during the 11th Plan period and set up 10 such new parks at an expenditure of Rs15,258 crore. In a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) it was decided to continue the existing norms for release of government support to the scheme, as per an official release. “Development of additional textiles parks will facilitate additional investment, employment generation and increase in textile production,” it said. Estimated employment generation would be more than 545,000, it said.
CCEA also approved an outlay of Rs301.34 crore for conducting the 18th Livestock Census, which would help in formulation of plans for animal husbandry, poultry and fisheries sectors.
The entire funding would be done by the Centre, it added. The approval would help in collecting detailed data on livestock, poultry, agricultural implements and machinery, and fishery statistics and infrastructure related to these sectors and their computerization and report publication.
Firms asked to disclose wheat purchases
Mumbai: India, the world’s second biggest wheat producer, asked individuals and companies to notify the government of any purchases of the grain exceeding 10,000 tonnes to control price increases.
Wheat buyers will need to submit details to state governments of purchases they make starting 1 April, based on where most of the grain is bought, the food ministry said in a statement on the government website.
Tight disclosure norms may help India prevent hoarding of wheat and track prices at a time when the nation’s inflation hovers around a nine-month high.
Wheat prices have more than doubled in the past year after a drought hurt crops in Canada and Australia. The freeze in April, followed by excessive rainfall, curbed yields in the US, fuelling speculation farmers won’t produce enough to meet demand.
Indian companies and individuals will also need to furnish a monthly consolidated report to the federal food ministry if purchases exceed 25,000 tonnes, it said.
ICICI repurchases bonds worth $50 million
Mumbai: India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank on Friday said it has repurchased 6.625% bonds worth $50 million (Rs202.50 crore) and subsequently extinguished them.
These were a part of the bonds worth $2 billion issued on 3 October from the Bahrain branch of the bank due on 2012, the bank said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Indiabulls gets nod to raise Rs4,000 crore
Mumbai: Domestic brokerage firm Indiabulls Financial on Friday said it has received shareholders’ approval for raising funds to the tune of Rs4,000 crore from domestic as well as international markets.
Shareholders have authorized the company to raise Rs4,000 crore in one or more tranches through the issue of foreign currency convertible bonds, global depository receipts, equity shares, debentures or any other securities other than warrants to qualified institutional buyers or other investors, the firm said.
DA up by 6% for government staff
New Delhi: The government on Friday approved a 6% hike in dearness allowance (DA) to Central government employees and an identical rate of dearness relief to pensioners.
“The Union cabinet gave its approval to the release of additional instalment of dearness allowance to Central government employees and dearness relief to pensioners,” information and broadcasting minister P.R. Dasmunsi told reporters after the cabinet meeting. The rate of DA, with retrospective effect from 1 January, would be 47%, he said.
The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both DA and dearness relief would be Rs3,297.12 crore in a full year and Rs3,846.66 crore for the 14-month period from January 2008-February 2009, he said.
The government also decided to release Rs2,615 crore to state-owned banks and other financial entities to ensure that farmers get short-term crop loans at subsidized rate of 7% during 2007-08.
English proficiency for aircraft personnel
New Delhi: In a bid to standardize English proficiency for all functions relating to flying over Indian airspace, the government has laid down the minimum standards for proficiency skills of personnel, including pilots and air traffic controllers, and made it effective from this week.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has brought out a circular, which says that English proficiency for all aircraft personnel will be evaluated to the International Civil Aviation Organization language proficiency standards within a period of three years. All applicants for these jobs would have to fulfil this requirement.
Sidbi to launch new equity schemes soon
New Delhi:Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) will soon roll out new equity schemes for small and medium enterprises through a Rs 2,000 crore risk capital fund announced in the Budget.
Sidbi will seek participation of private equity players and venture capitalists for injecting risk-bearing equity capital into small and medium enterprises, the bank’s deputy managing director Rakesh Rewari said.