The Congress has announced its president Sonia Gandhi is in the United States for a surgery that’s slated to take place in the next few days. Spkesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said she’s undergoing treatment there for an undisclosed condition and is expected to return to India in two to three weeks.
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi has set up a panel of leaders to head the Congress in her absence. Her son Rahul Gandhi will take over as working president. He’ll be joined by A.K. Anthony, who’s the defence minister, Ahmed Patel, the political secretary, and party veteran Janardhan Dwivedi.
On the economy, India’s food inflation is on the rise again. New figures show the food price index has risen to its highest in three weeks. The index stood at 8.04% in the period to 23 July. The previous week it was at just 7.33%.
Food prices are considered one of the big drivers of wholesale inflation in India. But the Reserve Bank’s 11 rate hikes since March of last year still haven’t brought it down to the target level of 5%. Meanwhile, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said current levels of food inflation were unacceptable. But he added that his government’s policies have helped bring it down from double-digit levels.
And finally, Indian markets fell for a third straight day, with continuing worries about global economic conditions. The Sensex lost 247 points to 17,693. And the Nifty lost 73 to 5,332.