The Mint Report for 24 March 2011

The Mint Report for 24 March 2011

Just two days after it introduced the crucial GST and banking bills in Parliament, the government has brought in proposed legislation to reform India’s pension industry. On Thursday finance minister Pranab Mukherjee introduced the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority in Parliament. The bill will allow for a portion of the pension corpus to be invested in stock markets. Significantly, the bill doesn’t mention foreign companies. Its original draft allowed overseas firms to invest up to 26% in pension funds. The PFRDA bill continues to face opposition from parties on the left. But the BJP has indicated it will not oppose it.

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Moving on, private airlines only have a few days left to hire dedicated ground handlers at top destinations. The aviation ministry has told carriers to outsource ground handling at the six biggest airports. They’ll only have until the end of this month to comply. Earlier this month, the Delhi high court affirmed the government’s move on ground handling. Airlines have appealed against the order in the Supreme Court.

Food inflation is on the rise after four weeks. India’s food price index gained 10.05% in the period ending 12 March. The previous week it climbed 9.42%. The speeding up of food inflation was led by fruits and vegetables. Prices of pulses also rose during the period.

Here’s how India markets did on Thursday. The Sensex surged 145 points to 18,351. And the Nifty gained 42 to close trade at 5,522.