Manmohan Singh’s government has been under attack for months now. There’s the string of corruption scandals, soaring food prices, and a reforms agenda that seems to have gone into cold storage. But on Wednesday Singh fought back. In an interaction with TV journalists, he reasserted his authority and dismissed the suggestion that he was a lame duck Prime Minister. Singh told editors his government had not given up on economic reforms. He also reiterated his government’s prediction that wholesale inflation would be no more than 7% by the end of March, and that they would help the poor cope with inflation through social programmes like MGNREGA.
Singh also defended his government against allegations of corruption, but admitted that coalition politics constrained him. On the 2G scandal, he said auctions were not the only way to sell spectrum and that the approach used by the telecom ministry was legitimate. Singh added that the compulsions of a coalition meant he could not insist on keeping A. Raja of the DMK out of the 2009 cabinet.
And not surprisingly, the opposition remained unimpressed by the Prime Minister’s statements. The BJP’s Nitin Gadkari called Singh’s performance “disappointing” and said he appeared to be helpless. And Sitaram Yechury of the CPM said Singh had virtually given up on both corruption and rising prices.
And speaking of price rises, India’s headline inflation eased slightly in January. Data released on Monday showed the wholesale price index increased 8.23% during the month. In December it stood at 8.43%.
It’s back to square one for Devas Multimedia. On Thursday the cabinet committee on security scrapped the thousand crore deal between Devas and Isro’s commercial arm Antrix. The agreement would have allowed Devas to use transponders on two proposed Isro satellites for multimedia services. Law minister Veerappa Moily later said the provisions of the deal allowed for it to be annulled.
And it’s been a good week for Mahindra Satyam. On Monday the once-troubled company reported its third quarter profit had gone up to Rs59 crore compared to just about Rs23 crore in the second quarter. What’s more, the earnings came despite a one-time loss of Rs53 crore. The firm’s revenue, meanwhile, reached Rs1,279 crore, which is a 3% increase on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
Satyam hasn’t reported a quarter break-up of its numbers the last fiscal. Tech Mahindra picked up a 51% stake in it after its founder B. Ramalinga Raju admitted to a massive accounting fraud.
And Satyam may finally be on its way to winding up its troubled legacy. On Thursday it announced it had offered $125 million or about Rs530 crore to settle a lawsuit with foreign investors. The company added that the settlement will prevent further litigation from the same class of investors. Satyam chairman Vineet Nayyar said payment would be made out of Satyam’s existing cash reserves of some Rs2,900 crore.