The Mint report for 31 August 2009

The Mint report for 31 August 2009

New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has declared assembly elections in three Congress-ruled states. Maharashtra, Haryana, and Arunachal Pradesh are now set to go to polls on 13 October, while counting will take place on 22 October. Maharashtra has 288 constituencies, Haryana has 90, and Arunachal Pradesh has 60.

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The Election Commission is tightening the screws on election expenses. It’s launching a new division that will monitor the accounts of expenditure of political parties and of candidates standing for elections. Currently, the commission does not have the resources to follow up on the accounts that candidates file. The EC places an expenditure limit of Rs25 lakh for each Lok Sabha candidate and Rs10 lakh for state assembly candidate. Regulations also require the candidates to submit their expense reports to the EC thrice during the campaign period.

India’s economic growth is accelerating. Government figures show India’s economy grew by 6.1% in the quarter ending in June… Growth was just 5.8% in the previous two quarters. Stimulus packages and cheap loans have helped drive the growth in sectors other than agriculture. During the quarter, the industrial sector has grown 4.5%, while services have grown and 7.8%. But the farm sector grew just 2.4%.

Infrastructure firm Maytas Infra has a new promoter. The Company Law Board has ruled that Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services or IL and FS will now have a 37.1% of the company’s shares after some other shareholders pledge their shares with it. Maytas was founded by the Raju family that set up Satyam Computers. But when Satyam became involved in an accounting scam, the government appointed new directors to the company board. The latest changes at Maytas have been prompted by the company’s losses of over Rs490 crore in the previous year.

Tata Motors reported a consolidated net loss of Rs328 crore for the quarter ending June. This is a massive fall from last year, when it made a net profit of Rs719 crore in the same period. But Tata Motors officials said that the numbers were not comparable because the company had acquired Jaguar and Land Rover last year.

Australia’s deputy prime minister has started her India visit with reassuring words. Speaking at a press conference in Delhi she said that her country was committed to ensuring the safety of international students and other visitors in her country.

Gillard’s visit has been prompted by a series of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and other Australian cities.

Markets lost ground on Monday. The Sensex fell by 256 points ending trade at 15,667, and the Nifty was down 70 points, closing at 4,662.