Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar says food prices will start coming down within the next ten days. He says the government will release between 2-3 million tonnes of wheat over the next few months to help bring down food inflation. Pawar is also calling on state governments to use grain allocated over and above the public distribution scheme, to help the poor. Also on Wednesday, Pawar announced Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would discuss food prices in meeting with state chief ministers on 27 January.
2009 may have been a turbulent year for Indian aviation, but the country’s domestic airline passenger expanded during that period. New figures from airline regulator DGCA show 43.84 million passengers flew in 2009 compared to 40.77 million in 2008, an increase of 7.5%. Airlines were helped by the economic recovery in 2009 and moderate oil prices.
India’s refining companies are pressing the government to allow them to launch new, cleaner fuels in different stages rather than at one go. Refiners have been scrambling to meet a 1 April deadline for producing fuels that comply with Euro-III standards. If they don’t meet the deadline, refiners could be forced to import large quantities of clean fuels. Earlier this week, the petroleum ministry said that while refiners could launch Euro III-compliant fuels on time in big cities, the process would take longer in the rest of the country.
Maruti Suzuki is considering raising the prices of its vehicles in about two weeks. The company says rising prices of commodities like steel and copper are putting pressure on its margins.
India may live in a rough neighbourhood, but its armed forces may not be equipped to deal with the threats of today. A new report from consulting firm KPMG and the Confederation of Indian Industry says at least half the country’s defence equipment is obsolete and needs to be upgraded. The report also says India’s government will have to support local firms making products for the armed forces.