The Mint report for 16 December 2009

The Mint report for 16 December 2009

New Delhi: All of India’s state governments excepting two have refused to sign on to the government’s plan for rolling out the goods and services tax or GST in April. Instead, the states are proposing GST be rolled out in 2011. Only Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir have agreed to the current plan. State governments have also expressed their reservations about having a uniform rate of GST and are pushing for a dual rate structure. The empowered committee of state finance ministers discussing these issues now wants to hold a fresh meeting in the first week of January to finalise rates for the tax.

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The opposition turned up the heat on the on UPA government. The issue was rising food prices. BJP MPs walked out of Parliament protesting food inflation and calling for the government to be changed. The house was then adjourned for the day. India’s food inflation shot up to nearly 17% in November, while wholesale price-based inflation has reached 4.78%.

Standard Chartered has raised its inflation forecast to 8.5% for the end of March 2010. Its earlier forecast was 7%. Now the bank expects India’s wholesale price index to reach 7% by the 29 January when the RBI reviews its rates.

The world’s cheapest car, Tata’s Nano, may be manufactured in Egypt. The Egyptian government says it has asked Tata Motors to set up a factory to make left-hand drive Nanos in its country. Tata Motors already has a presence in Egypt, where it distributes trucks and buses.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has won a ruling at a US appeals court that upholds its right to sell a generic drug. The drug in question is a generic copy of AstraZeneca’s drug Prilosec, which is used to treat heartburn.

Bharti Airtel is considering buying Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom. Already, the Dhabi Group, which controls Warid Telecom, has sought approval for the sale from Bangladeshi regulators. One report from Bangladesh says the deal could be worth $900 million.