Nation
Mayawati defers decision on BSP support to UPA government

Mayawati's putting off a decision is being seen as a pressure tactic on the Centre as it comes a day after the Supreme Court said the CBI was at liberty to probe a disproportionate assets case against the BSP supremo

 
Lucknow: Keeping up the suspense over Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) continuing outside support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, Mayawati on Wednesday deferred a decision on the issue even as she asked party cadres to be ready for snap polls, reports PTI.
 
Mayawati, who had said that a decision on continuing support will be taken today, said the BSP National Executive and the Parliamentary Board have left it to her to take a final call on it.
 
"But there will be no delay. The decision will be taken soon and conveyed to you," she told reporters after the meeting.
 
Mayawati said it was now her "responsibility" to take a decision on the issue keeping in mind the interests of the people as well as her party's ideology.
 
Her putting off a decision is being seen as a pressure tactic on the Centre as it comes a day after the Supreme Court said the CBI was at liberty to probe a disproportionate assets case against her.
 
BSP's continuing its support to the Government may hinge on how the CBI proceeds after the court's nod.
 
UPA, whose numbers have dwindled in the Lok Sabha with the exit of Trinamool Congress, is banking on the support of BSP, which has 21 MPs, and Samajwadi Party that has 22 MPs.
 
"Keeping in mind the state of instability at the Centre, mid-term polls can take place any time. Our party has to prepare on a war-footing. We want to emerge as a balance of power," she said.
 
Reacting cautiously, Congress said she was entitled to take any decision and if there were any differences as far as Government's policies were concerned, efforts would be made to resolve them..
 
"I would only appeal to our supporting parties that if there are any differences as far as policies are concerned, we will try to convince them...and resolve them," Union minister and party leader Rajiv Shukla said.
 
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "it is an internal matter of the BSP. Our government is stable." 
 
The BSP chief said her party has supported the UPA with a view to weaken fundamentalist forces in the country and work for the welfare of all the sections of the society, including Dalits and minorities.
 
"But it is a matter of sorrow that the attitude of the central government has been very disappointing regarding these from the very beginning," she said.
 
Mayawati said that prices have spiralled due to the "wrong policies" of the government.
 
"Besides, a number of anti-people decisions have been taken by the Centre due to which people of the country are very perturbed...corruption is rampant and no effective steps have been taken so far to check it," the former UP Chief Minister said while announcing that a nationwide agitation will be launched against the government.
 

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S&P says one-in-three chance of India's rating downgrade in next two years

According to the ratings agency, the negative outlook signals at least a one-in-three likelihood of a downgrade of the sovereign rating on India to 'junk' from 'negative' within the next 24 months

 
Mumbai: There is a "one in three" chance of a downgrade of India's sovereign rating to junk status in the next two years, reports PTI quoting ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P).
 
"The negative outlook signals at least a one-in-three likelihood of a downgrade of the sovereign rating on India within the next 24 months," S&P analysts Takahira Ogawa and Elena Okorochenko said in a note.
 
On the upside, especially given the slew of reform measures carried out by the government in the past three weeks, the outlook can be revised upwards to stable if the government succeeds in reducing fiscal deficit, improve the investment climate and revives growth, S&P said.
 
Factors forcing a downgrade would be a drop in growth prospects, deterioration on the external front, worsening of the political climate and slow movement on fiscal reforms.
 
In June, the agency revised its outlook on the present BBB- rating to negative, which is one notch above junk grade and the lowest investment rating in among the BRIC economies.
 
It estimates the fiscal deficit to shoot up to 6% from the targeted 5.1% this fiscal, and growth to fall to 5.5% compared to the government's revised projection of 6.5%.
 
"Fiscal measures to lower deficits could include a more efficient use of fuel, fertiliser, and agricultural subsidies, or the implementation of a goods and service tax," it suggested. .
 
S&P has drawn attention to the risks on the political front like Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress quitting the ruling alliance, impending state elections and the general elections in 2014.
 
Considering that the government is in a minority, passage of amendments to allow additional foreign ownership in insurance and pension will be "more challenging", S&P said.
 
S&P had come out with a note asking for action from the political establishment and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June, when "policy paralysis" was a buzzword, to avoid being junked.
 
Last month, it welcomed the slew of reforms like allowing foreign holdings in multi-brand retail, aviation and media, but kept the outlook unchanged.
 
S&P's rivals Moody's and Fitch had also revised their respective outlooks on the sovereign rating to negative following the gloom on the economic front caused by factors both external and domestic.
 
The Finance Ministry had earlier said it would present the country's strengths to the rating agencies to avoid a downgrade.
 

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COMMENTS

M G WARRIER

4 years ago

High time rating agencies, or for that matter whosoever judges the performance of economies changed their parameters to factor in the inherent strengths and weaknesses of nations. Countries like India with huge resources including human resources and much less consumption needs as compared to ‘developed’ countries and nations which are permanently dependent on outside markets for sustenance and perennially building up capacities for unproductive purposes like war and journey to Mars are measured on the same scale. This is unacceptable. To counter this tendency, India should set up a purely research-based rating agency with expertise of international standard. Geographical area, population, resources, potential for development, sovereign debt and all should be factored in while making comparisons.

Maharashtra mulls policy to make slum dwellers pay housing cost

The new policy will be in line with that for mill workers, according to which, housing was provided to them at affordable rates on a no-profit-no-loss basis

 
Mumbai: Concerned over the loss the state exchequer may suffer due to allocating free houses to slum dwellers till 2000, the Maharashtra government is mulling over framing a policy whereby the slum dwellers will have to pay for the cost of housing, reports PTI.
 
"We had taken an unfortunate decision of giving free houses to slum dwellers. It is now difficult to uphold that plan. We are planning to bring some policy that will make these people (slum dwellers) pay for it (the housing)," Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said at an event.
 
The policy will be in line with that for mill workers, according to which, housing was provided to them at affordable rates on a no-profit-no-loss basis.
 
The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) in June allotted low-cost houses to 6,925 mill workers at a subsidised price of Rs4.81 lakh to Rs9.35 lakh.
 
In January, the government had decided to provide free housing to all slum dwellers up to 2000.
 
"There are nearly 14.6 lakh slum dwellers in Mumbai. If we take the case of (slums in) Bandra-Kurla Complex (area), the cost of each slum is around Rs1 crore. It is this kind of value of the area and it is very unfortunate that we took a decision to provide free houses to them," he said.
 

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