17 August | The Mint report

17 August | The Mint report

New Delhi: The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a warning for the country on Monday. He told a group of chief ministers there was credible information that terrorists in Pakistan were plotting fresh attacks against India. Singh also asked states to share intelligence with each other to prevent future attacks. Indian chief ministers met on Monday to discuss the internal security situation across the country.

Markets have started the week on a losing streak. Taking a cue from Chinese markets, the Sensex plummeted 627 points on Monday, closing below the 15,000 mark at 14,785. The Nifty also plunged downwards, falling 192 points to close at 4,388.

India’s new draft tax code could impact religious institutions. It’s suggesting removing tax exemptions for donations to religious institutions. But opinion is divided. Some, including the main opposition party the BJP say it will discourage religious institutions doing philanthropic work, while others say people who donate money do so because they want to, and not because they save taxes.

One old institution from the pre-liberalization era is on its way out. The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, or MRTPC, is going to wind up. MRTPC is a part of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and is a semi judicial body that looks out for monopolistic or unfair practices. Another body, the Competition Commission of India will soon take its place.

Reliance Industries Limited or RIL is trying to cut its exposure in overseas oil blocks. It’s planning to sell stake in six hydrocarbon blocks that one of its subsidiaries own. The company says it is part of a move to optimize its portfolio and spread the same budget over a larger number of projects. RIL has interests in 14 oil blocks in other countries.

The government’s trading company MMTC has scrapped the tender for the import of 12.5 million tones of coal, worth about Rs6,000 crore. The coal was meant for power company NTPC, which is also a government-run firm. The move comes after one of the bidders for the coal contract alleged foul play in the way the order was executed.

The bad monsoons mean India will have no choice but to import more sugar for the second consecutive year, but the problems don’t end there. Traders are now starting to price in a third year of imports in 2010-2011 because farmers are not sowing enough cane. And though cane is selling at historically high prices today, farmers are discouraged by the rising prices of other crops, water scarcity and fewer captive buyers.