New Delhi: The week began with the Election Commission setting the schedule for the world’s largest and perhaps the most complex electoral exercise.
A little over a month from now, India will start voting in over five phases to elect the 15th Lok Sabha. More than 700 million Indians are eligible to vote in the election. The elections are held in the backdrop of falling economic growth, fiscal indiscipline and increasing terror threat. But none of these issues have become the dominant national issue catching the imagination of the electorate. What is however clear is that there would be another coalition government at the Centre with no single party in sight of an absolute majority.
Inflation for the week ended 21 February hit a near seven-year low at 3.03% compared to 3.36% for the previous week. It is expected to fall faster over the next two weeks because of base effect.
However, the rupee depreciated with the FIIs selling heavily in Indian markets and a high demand for the dollar. The rupee crossed the 52 to a dollar mark for the first time to dip to an all-time intra-day low of Rs52.20 on Tuesday.
In the stock markets high volatility and bearish sentiment was the hallmark of trade this week. Both the Sensex and the Nifty closed the week down at 6.5% and 5.2% respectively.
And finally, Home Minister P. Chidambaram has put to rest apprehensions that the Twenty20 tournament could be canceled. He said cricket is completely safe in India and the IPL matches will proceed with some changes in the schedule. The second edition of the tournament looked uncertain in the wake of the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.
Chidambaram had said it coincided with the general elections and providing simultaneous security for both would be tough. Eager to avoid a postponement, IPL organizers offered to schedule the matches away from the polling dates.