Ajit Pawar re-inducted in Maharashtra cabinet as Deputy Chief Minister

Ever since the white paper gave a virtual clean chit to Ajit Pawar, the chorus for his return had been growing louder and it was only a matter of time before the nephew of NCP chief was brought back as deputy chief minister

Mumbai: A week after a Maharashtra government white paper on irrigation gave Ajit Pawar a clean chit, the senior leader and nephew of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was on Friday sworn-in as Deputy Chief Minister, reports PTI.
Pawar, the nephew of NCP president and Union Minister Sharad Pawar, was sworn in at Raj Bhawan.
Governor K Sankaranarayanan administered oath of office to Pawar in the presence of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Opposition Sena-BJP members, which have denounced the move, kept away from the swearing-in ceremony.
The dramatic announcement of resignation of Pawar on 25th September, in the wake of allegations of corruption in irrigation projects, had plunged the state's Congress-NCP government into a crisis with all other 19 party ministers offering to quit.
Pawar, 53, had resigned after media reports alleged he had arbitrarily awarded irrigation contracts worth over Rs20,000 crore when he was state's irrigation minister during 1999-2009, before he was elevated as deputy chief minister and handled the plum finance and energy portfolios.
The white paper, presented by the irrigation department to the state Cabinet on 29th November, had claimed a 28% increase in irrigation potential in Maharashtra in the last ten years.
It was described as a status paper on irrigation and not an investigation report.
Chavan had announced a white paper on irrigation would be brought after state's economic survey report said the state's irrigation potential had risen only by 0.1% between 2001 and 2010.
All these years the irrigation portfolio was with the NCP.
Ever since the white paper gave a virtual clean chit to Ajit Pawar, the chorus for his return had been growing louder and it was only a matter of time before he was brought back as deputy chief minister.
As the Congress-NCP dispensation appeared on a shaky ground following Ajit Pawar's resignation and Sharad Pawar had to fly into Mumbai to bring things under control, the NCP boss had made it clear that the former Deputy CM would continue to be the leader of its Legislature party.
The NCP boss's right hand man and cabinet colleague Praful Patel had said the deputy chief minister's post will be kept vacant, indicating he would be back once the white paper "cleared" him.
Meanwhile, Opposition BJP and Shiv Sena yesterday reacted sharply to the impending reinduction of Pawar and demanded that he face a probe by a Special Investigation Team.
"If he has guts he should be ready for SIT probe. If he is proved innocent, then he should come back in the cabinet with respect," Khadse had said.
He alleged that the Chief Minister was bringing Pawar back under ally NCP's pressure.
"It is really unfortunate that Chief Minister Chavan who calls himself clean has to re-induct Pawar due to NCP's pressure," Khadse said.
Speaking to reporters after his swearing-in ceremony, Ajit Pawar claimed that he was not indicted in the white paper which was presented by the state government on November 29.
"Nobody asked me to resign from the post of Deputy Chief Minister. I gave the resignation so that people should not think that I was involved in drafting the white paper," Pawar said.
He also claimed that a lot of work has been done on the irrigation front.
Meanwhile, reacting to questions on PILs filed against him in connection with the alleged irrigation scam, he said, "The way in which PILs are filed in the courts, the Prime Minister, chief ministers and other ministers won't be able to work and they will have to remain out of office."


Indian consumer confidence level on the rise: BluFin

During November, BluFin's Consumer Confidence Index grew by 3.4 points from the previous month to 41.6 points, the highest increase since October 2011, despite inflationary concerns

New Delhi: Indian consumers' confidence level rose in November owing to increase in spending due to festive season as well on expectations of improved job security, reports PTI quoting a study by financial services provider BluFin.


The BluFin's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) grew by 3.4 points from the previous month to 41.6 points in November despite inflationary concerns. This was the highest increase since October 2011.


The index is a key 'aggregate' indicator that assesses the pulse of urban Indian consumers with regard to the economy, spending behaviour and employment. The index reflects pessimism at below 50 score and optimism above that.


"... increase in the CCI is noteworthy as it indicates Indian consumers' upbeat response to the ongoing festive season. The rising score since past two months and the slight uptick compared to the previous year could be an early sign of the consumer sector eventually bottoming out and making way for a recovery," BluFin CEO Rashid Bilimoria said.


"However, the current positive trend will be validated provided this upward pattern persists in the coming months.


Moreover, it's important to note that the inflation sentiment index continues to trickle reaching to the lowest level in the last two quarters, hence, slowing the overall progress of the CCI," he added.


A sub index, which rates spending sentiment, improved by by 1.8 points to 26.9 in the month of November. The uptick in the index is primarily due to the festive season that generally encourages consumer spending. Nevertheless, the level still indicates that consumers are quite pessimistic.


Another sub-index, which measures employment sentiments, grew by 1.2 points to 43.4 owing to an improvement in job security outlook and household income. However, the index still suggests pessimism, which can be improved only by new job creation.


The future expectations index was at 38.7 points indicating consumers were still pessimistic about the economy's prospects. However, consumers were more comfortable about their present situation with a score of 48.6 points.


In terms of geography, west and south regions lead the consumer confidence levels with scores of 44.2 points and 35.5 points respectively.


The study was based upon interview of 4,000 urban consumers in 18 Indian cities, including metros and smaller cities.


Care Ratings to set up global unit in pact with four partners

Care Rating's IPO opened on Friday with a price band of Rs700-Rs750 per share

New Delhi: Credit analysis and research firm Care Ratings has said it plans to set up a rating agency in Mauritius and is in process of establishing an international rating unit along with four global partners, reports PTI.


"We are planning to set up a rating agency in Mauritius. We are also in the process of setting up an international rating agency...companies in Brazil, Portugal, Malaysia and South Africa are the partners," Care Ratings Deputy Managing Director Rajesh Mokashi told reporters during its initial public offer (IPO) details.


The rating agency's Rs504-Rs540 crore IPO will open for subscription on 7th December and close on 11th December, he said.


The company has fixed the price band at Rs700-Rs750 per share. The issue will constitute 25.22% of the post- offer paid-up equity share capital of the company.


"The purpose of the IPO is to unlock value...there is no monetary requirement by the company for any expansion," Mokashi said.


The credit analysis company is proposing a public offer of 71.9 lakh shares of Rs10 each through an offer for sale by the selling shareholders.


The bids can be made for a minimum of 20 shares and in multiples of 20 shares thereafter.


Care is promoted by major banks and financial institutions and its three largest shareholders are IDBI Bank with 26%, Canara Bank with 23% and State Bank of India with 9%.


Care Ratings is the second largest rating agency in the country which has seen 40% growth in profits and revenue in the last few years, Mokashi added.


In the IPO, 50% of the offer shall be allocated on a proportionate basis to QIBs (qualified institutional buyers), 15% to non-institutional buyers and 35% to retail individual investors.


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