New Delhi: In an election year the UPA government has gone ahead and relaxed FDI ceilings for sensitive sectors like telecom, media, aviation, banking, defence and insurance, but in a round about way. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs adopted new guidelines on Wednesday.
The Rail Budget on Friday was a bit of a damper with Laloo Prasad Yadav making only a token populist gesture. He announced a nominal 2% fare cut across the board, but kept freight rates unchanged.
43 new passenger trains have been introduced, 14 existing
Freight earnings rose by 19% and passenger earnings by 14%.
Railway expects its overall earnings to rise by 13% next year to Rs93,159 crore.
And airlines do a u-turn and increase airfares by Rs1,000 to Rs2,000 per ticket, just a month after most of them slashed fares and came out with cheap tickets starting at one rupee. Kingfisher Airlines, Air India and budget airlines like SpiceJet and IndiGo have all increased fares, prompting the anti-monopoly watchdog MRTPC to order an inquiry into the coordinated hike.
On Thursday, Pakistani government admitted that Mumbai terror attacks were launched and partly planned from Pakistan. Interior minister Rehman Malik in a press conference said Pakistan was holding in custody a ringleader and five other suspects.
Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said it was a positive step but Pakistan needs to dismantle the terrorist training camps on its soil.
The Islamabad’s reaction is seen as a reaction to President Barack Obama’s policy of tying aid with progress on battling militants.
For Indians, it is seen as a major diplomatic win.