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Govt reduces borrowing target by Rs10,000 crore in 2010-11

New Delhi: The government will borrow Rs4.47 lakh crore — Rs10,000 crore less than it had planned — this fiscal, given its comfortable fund position thanks to windfall revenue from auction of third generation (3G) telecom licences, reports PTI.

"We are required to as per the programme given earlier to raise Rs1.73 lakh crore (in the second half of FY'11).

Looking at the projected cash flows and current requirement, we think it is not required to raise the whole amount. The amount reduced is at present by Rs10,000 crore to Rs1.63 lakh crore," finance secretary Ashok Chawla told reporters here.

The government had pegged its total market borrowings for this fiscal at Rs4.57 lakh crore, out of which Rs2.84 lakh crore was raised in the first half, ending 30th September.

In the second half, the government was to borrow Rs1.73 lakh crore to meet the target. But now this stands reduced by Rs10,000 crore.

The reduced borrowing could be mainly due to over Rs 1 lakh crore of revenue the government mopped up from sale of 3G telecom and broadband licences.

Commenting on the government's borrowing programme, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath said, "Borrowing would be over by the first week of February and it won't be front loaded. Weekly borrowing would be between Rs10,000 crore and Rs11,000 crore on an average."

Last fiscal, the government had borrowed Rs4,50,000 crore.


Inflation to fall to 5.5% by March 2011: Rangarajan

Chennai: Overall inflation is expected to fall to 6.5% by end of this year, and 5.5% by March, Prime Minister's economic panel said today, even as food inflation for the week ended 11th September soared to 15.46% on supply disruptions on account of rains and floods, reports PTI.

Week on week, food inflation climbed 0.36 percentage points from 15.10% on 4th September.

However, on overall price rise, Economic Advisory Council chairman C Rangarajan said, "As per the new series for August (2010), the wholesale price index (WPI) showed an inflation of 8.5%. This is 1% less than the old series."

He said the difference arose because of changes in the weights attached to different commodities. Certain commodities which witnessed sharper increase in recent period have also registered a lower weight in the newer series and "...that's why we have a lower inflation", he added.

Mr Rangarajan said, "Our own estimation is, according to the new series, the inflation will fall to 6.5% by end of December and 5.5% by March (2011)."

The new inflation series with 2004-05 as the base year has 241 more items than the old series with 1993-94 as the base year, which reflected the price rise in 435 articles.

Edibles and non-edible items widely used by the middle class, like ice-cream, mineral water, microwave ovens, washing machines, gold and silver are reflected in the new WPI series.

On whether the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would further raise its lending (repo) and borrowing (reserve repo) rates to curb consumer spending and tame inflation, Mr Rangarajan said it would depend on the behaviour of inflation in the next 6-8 months.

Last week, RBI increased short term lending rate by 0.25 percentage points to 6%, and borrowing rate by 0.50 percentage points to 5%.

"RBI steps are in the right direction. Inflation is no longer confined to food items, it has become more generalised.

Manufacturing sector has also shown inflation a little below 5% ", Mr Rangarajan said.

On the impact of floods in the north on food production, he said there might be a temporary shortage. "There may be some increase in price locally. But the impact on grain production is not likely to be adverse."

On government borrowings, Rangarajan expressed hope that it would be maintained within the overall limit. "The overall fiscal deficit will be maintained at budgetary limit."

On the stock market Sensex crossing the 20,000 mark, he said the performance of the country's economy was much better than that of many other nations. "It is a reflection of the fundamentals and also a reflection of inflow of funds through FIIs (foreign institutional investors)".


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