The week in review for 13 November 2009

The week in review for 13 November 2009

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid out an agenda for financial sector reform on Sunday. Speaking at the India Economic Summit, he said the country needed to strengthen its market for corporate bonds and its market for long-term debt. He also stressed on the need to develop India’s futures market and to reform its insurance sector.

Later, the Prime Minister also indicated that while India’s economic growth had been impressive, the government would have to begin withdrawing its economic stimulus packages in the coming months.

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Singh also said high quality infrastructure was essential for India’s growth and called for greater spending in education and health.

The next day finance minister Pranab Mukherjee also stressed that winding down stimulus packages was necessary. Mukherjee then reiterated India’s stance on climate talks, asserting that the United Nations was the proper forum for climate negotiations, and that rich countries would have to take responsibility for their historical role in climate change.

Sebi has issued a show-cause notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) claiming the it has violated regulations connected to market making. The notice claims the BSE artificially created volumes in the derivatives segment. According to Sebi, the BSE created the volumes through market makers without getting Sebi approval for the move. Market making is used to infuse liquidity by allowing a market maker to quote both a “buy" and “sell" price in a financial instrument.

India’s 3G and BWA auctions could see further delays. The defence ministry has written to the department of telecommunications, pointing out major discrepancies in a document it released last month. The defence ministry letter says the DoT has included spectrum that had not been agreed upon in the auction and does not include spectrum that the military has already vacated.

After weeks of hard negotiations, India’s state governments finally laid out an architecture for the proposed goods and services tax or GST on Tuesday. But the draft remains silent on many issues. It says nothing about the actual tax rates, or whether they will meet the original April deadline. There’s also nothing on how sectors, like real estate and electricity, will be treated. But state finance ministers are saying the draft is a way to go forward, rather than a solution to the disagreements over GST. GST is an attempt to replace several different indirect taxes at the local, state and national levels, with a uniform tax structure.

RIL may have a record of hunting for oil and gas, but the company has now begun the search for another precious mineral. It has launched a survey across some 1,800 square kilometres of land in Madhya Pradesh, to look for diamonds. A significant discovery could bring changes to India’s diamond cutting and polishing industry, which currently imports most of its diamonds.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, or NPCIL, may award GE an order, to build a nuclear power park in either Gujarat or Andhra Pradesh. GE says the park will have six reactors with a total capacity of 10,000MW.

The government is concerned about a Chinese plan to divert water that goes into the Brahmaputra river. India’s power ministry is worried the diversion will affect hydroelectric projects downstream in Arunachal Pradesh. According to government estimates, Arunachal Pradesh has the potential to generate more than 50,000MW of hydropower.