Regulations
RBI expected to hold rates in Tuesday's policy review
Mumbai : With the RBI's last monetary policy review of this fiscal coming up on Tuesday, analysts expect the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged as inflation trends upwards.
 
"Considering the near-term risks on CPI (consumer price index) inflation and the uncertainties around FY17 Budget, we expect the RBI to leave rates unchanged until the budget on February 29," Citigroup said in a note.
 
It said the Reserve Bank of India was likely go for a post-budget easing of 0.25 percent in March or April 2016.
 
India's CPI, or retail, inflation has been rising. As per data released earlier this month, annual retail inflation moved up further to 5.61 percent in December, from 5.41 percent during the month before.
 
The consumer price index numbers also showed that food inflation rose to 6.4 percent as against 6.07 percent in the month before.
 
In rural and urban areas, the annual inflation rates for food items were 6.41 percent and 6.31 percent respectively.
 
With food items, notably pulses and onions, continuing to remain dear, India's annual wholesale inflation rate moved up for the fourth straight month to minus 0.73 percent for December, against minus 1.99 percent for the month before.
 
"The RBI meets on February 2 and we expect the benchmark rates to be kept on hold," a DBS report said.
 
The bank last cut its short term lending rate in September by 50 basis points to 6.75 percent. In 2015, RBI reduced its repo rate cumulatively by 1.25 percent.
 
"The current instability in markets and insufficient transmission are further reasons why the RBI may not rush to cut the rate on February 2," HSBC said in a report.
 
The RBI review is expected to direct the Indian equity markets in the upcoming week.
 
"The RBI decision should dominate sentiments next week, though the present uptrend may continue a while longer," Anand James, co-head, technical research desk with Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, told IANS.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Wide 'digital divide' between states: Assocham
New Delhi : There exists a stark "digital divide" among states, with Delhi having the highest score of 238 percent while Bihar and Assam lag behind at around 55 percent, business chamber Assocham said on Sunday, on the basis of "tele-density" or telephone connections for every 100 individuals.
 
"India may have achieved a significant success in reaching the number of telephone subscribers to over one billion, but the tele-density data points to a stark 'Digital Divide' with large populations in Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh still being deprived to communicate with the rest of the country," the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) said in a statement here.
 
"The digital divide is clearly visible between different states with some of the eastern states not finding favour with the telecom service providers. The reasons may vary between the lack of infrastructure like power availability to even indifference in terms of business opportunities," it added.
 
Compared to the national tele-density of 81.82 percent, the figure for Bihar is 54.25 percent, Assam 55.76 percent, Madhya Pradesh 62.33 percent and Uttar Pradesh 62.74 percent, the report said.
 
On the other end, while the tele-density in Delhi is over 238 percent, that of Himachal Pradesh is 123.19 percent. Other states figuring higher on the tele-density scale are Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala.
 
Assocham said the central government along with the states should double their efforts to ensure that both state-run BSNL, as well as private telecom service providers, should reach the states with low tele-density, otherwise the digital divide could widen.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Good week for sport, bad news of board officials
The focus is back on sport, coming out of court rooms and board rooms, or so it appeared
 
Good news for Indian sport in the last one week. The men's and women's teams have won the Twenty20 cricket series in Australia even as tennis star Sania Mirza claimed her first women's doubles title at the Australian Open, and Pusarla Venkata Sindu clinched the Malaysian Badminton Masters. A rare coincidence!
 
The focus is back on sport, coming out of court rooms and board rooms, or so it appeared. But the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee recommendations to cleanse Indian cricket and its administration continue to be a subject matter of intense discussion among the state associations and officials, each one trying to read and interpret the fine print to suit his personal interests.
 
Even before the detailed Lodha Committee report is fully studied by state associations, as instructed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the appointment of Justice Ajit Prakash Shah as the board's ombudsman has, as suspected, is getting flooded with complaints, the initial ones on the alleged conflict of interest involving some top guns.
 
Smartly, Justice Shah lobbed the ball back into the court of the complainant, asking for the specific rules under which the allegations can be taken up for examination! 
 
The complaint is against three high-profile administrators, two of these former India cricketers, Sourav Ganguly and Vikram Rathour. The third person dragged into the conflict is board secretary Anurag Thakur. A free-lance journalist from Mumbai found a serious conflict of interest with the functioning of all three.
 
It was pointed out that Ganguly has business contacts with owners of the new franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and Thakur and Rathour are said to be cousins and have business connections. The issue has apparently been raised because Thakur is the board secretary, and during his tenure as one of the principal office-bearers Rathour was appointed as a national selector.
 
Justice Shah has taken up the issue with Ganguly and the board for clarification, and even said he had not heard from Ganguly, though the former India captain insists he has sent in his reply.
 
Thakur was quick to refute the allegations, stating his business relations with Rathour have nothing to do with cricket and that their families have known each other for four decades.
 
For good measure, Thakur points to a sinister motive behind the complaints as he sees names of only a particular section of the board officials are being dragged. He also defended the board's media manager, saying he has no stake in the media company he has been linked to. What Thakur doesn't say is that the media manager was involved with a couple of former Test stars as their agent.
 
Whatever Ganguly and Thakur might say, prima facie they cannot deny their personal relations with the people they are involved with and they have to come clean. The complainant has done extensive research before filing his complaints and it is up to the ombudsman to take the call.
 
Ganguly, who is a member of the IPL Governing Council, is a co-owner of Indian Super League football club Atletico de Kolkata along with well-known businessmen. Nothing wrong with the arrangement till one of the tycoons bought IPL's new Pune-based franchise. It would be interesting to see how Ganguly explains it away logically with legalese thrown in.
 
In Thakur's case it is more personal. He was joint secretary when Rathour was appointed as a national selector and he was secretary when the former India opening batsman got the extension, though Rathour qualifies by virtue of being a former Test player.
 
The crux of the matter is not whether Rathour deserves to be a selector, the complainant brought into focus Rathour citizenship, pointing out that he is a British and carries that country's passport. 
 
In the case of the BCCI's media manager, the allegation is that a family member of his is taking care of his business interests. Here it must be mentioned that he also fits in with the media job as he had worked with electronic media for a few years before getting into event management. His proximity to some top players is all too wellknown. In the past, there were disparaging whispers about a board's media adviser being a columnist.
 
Thakur has also obliquely stated that the appointment of ombudsman has given rise to some people to make false allegations. Eventually, he has to explain his position and it is for the ombudsman to decide whether there is any conflict of interest in Ganguly and Thakur-Rathour business dealings.
 
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), of which Ganguly is president, is the first state unit to officially come out with objections to 10 of the 21 recommendations of the Lodha Committee!
 
Good week for sport, bad news of board officials.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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