Archive | February, 2014

Family comes first for Richa

Posted on 27 February 2014 by admin

Actor Richa Chadda who has had a good 2013 with films like Fukrey and Ram Leela is looking forward to a New Year break.

She tells CS, `The past couple of years have been very hectic andrewarding as well. I will be celebrating New Year’s with my family in Delhi. All my brothers and cousins are getting together, so we will have a blast.

My New Year resolution is to bring some improvement in myself with every passing day. I like the idea of keeping resolutions at the start of the year. It’s like a motivation to get better. Spending time with my family is all that I can think of now. The next few days are dedicated to them.

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Frustration has no space in Kang’s life

Posted on 27 February 2014 by admin

Actress Kangana Ranaut has said that two of her films ‘Ungli’ and ‘I Love NY’ have been canned but she is not disappointed about it.

‘I Love New Year’, a romantic-comedy directed by Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru, stars Sunny Deol and Kangana. The film was initially to be released in February last year, then it got pushed to April, to September and later December the same year, but did not hit the screens.

The exact reason for the delay was not known, but it was reportedly shelved due to the poor response to its trailer and not so good outcome of Sunny’s last few films at the box office.

Her another project, Karan Johar’s home production ‘Ungli’, starring Emraan Hashmi, Sanjay Dutt, Neha Dhupia, Randeep Hooda and others and directed by Rensil D’Silva, was earlier expected to release in 2013.

Though earlier Karan Johar had tweeted that ‘Ungli’ will release on May 23 this year, Kangana says the film has been canned. When asked about both her impending films, Kangana says, “It is canned right?

I think it’s (the films) canned.” When asked if she feels disappointed, she said, “Why would I be frustrated, I have got my pay cheque. I am safe and hence there is no reason for to be disappointed.”

Her other forthcoming projects are ‘Queen’, which will release on March 7, and Tigmanshu Dhulia’s film ‘Revolver Rani’, scheduled to release this year.

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When Ameesha had teary eyes?

Posted on 27 February 2014 by admin

Actress Ameesha Patel says she always gets tears in her eyes when she listens to songs by late ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh.

“I always end up in tears aftr listening to Jagjitji as I miss him too much… Hope this Saturday doesn’t become one of those teary nights… What a diamond,” Ameesha posted on Twitter Saturday.

The “Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai” star is venturing into production with “Desi Magic”, which will feature her in a double role. Directed by Mehul Atha, it also features Zayed Khan and Lilette Dubey.

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Baquie Ghazi : Politicking to challenge and change

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

Samuel Getachew

Toronto

Baquie Ghazi has had a storied long Canadian journey since arriving in Canada. The Bengali native came to Canada just a year after Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms became a reality in 1983. Since then – he has been involved in human rights and electoral reform issues. The one time mayoral candidate who came 7th in 2010 among a long list of 40 candidates – is more determined than ever to make his mark in his adopted country.

Tell me about yourself including your immigration to Canada?

Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed by Generation Next. I am a Bangladeshi Canadian with a B.Sc. Hons & Master of Science. Professionally, I am a Geologist and I am also an activist on social justice issues. I am also a father of a son and a proud husband – a role I love. I immigrated to Canada in 1983 – first in Montreal and throughout the years, lived in several cities across Canada.

Tell me about your involvement with immigrant groups in securing immigration status of several thousands of refugees three decades ago?

During the early 1980’s, Canada’s refugee applicant’s number became too long. As a refugee advocate – I was involved in making sure that our refugee population was served accordingly as I believe in a generous Canada.

New immigrant groups of different nationalities were trying getting Quebec Selection Certificate (for Federal Immigration) and I worked with many Bangladesh community leaders to advocate for the ever increasing Bangladeshi Community of Quebec in securing their place in their adopted country. At the beginning, although Quebec Immigration promised to accept all Bangladeshis living in Quebec but that commitment was later ignored. We advocated that promise and commitment for it to become a reality.

Finally, a time came when I and a Chilean- Canadian pastor named Juan Iturriaga of La Maison de l’amitié organized a rally and petition drive and took our case to federal politicians. Then – the Honorable Flora McDonald was the Immigration Minister and Brian Mulroney the Prime Minister. We teamed with the House of Friendship Centre (Maison de l’amitié) and took initiatives to eventually accept destitute refugees that easily surpassed 21,000. We lobbied and worked hard until the government listened and acted upon our demand. In time – most were granted permanent residency and most are now proud Canadians.

You were a candidate for mayor of Toronto in 2010 and had many thoughtful ideas on the table. One was electoral reform. Please explain.

I ran for Mayor of Toronto in 2010 and while I did not win – I had a respectful showing coming in seventh. I had several positions that I took of which the main one being making our local election fully transparent and participatory. I wanted the way we conduct our local elections to be the same as the other levels of governments and the way they conduct theirs. I proposed to bring back the previous “Paper ballot & Hand counting’ system”.

Presently, Canadian federal & provincial elections are conducted by hands – where people directly cast their votes by paper ballot in front of observers. Machines do not detect the shortcomings of the system where political interference and influence can be at play. Part of the lack of participation of Torontonians can partly be blamed for the shortcomings of our electoral system.

In the same election, you said you would want to diversify the Toronto film making industry especially making Toronto a second Bollywood. Please tell me more.

As I mentioned then – Toronto is such a progressive and diverse city with thousands of South Asians making it their residence including talented local actors and producers. Why not take advantage of that privilege and help the Bollywood industry see our city as an option to make movies here. I proposed to give attractive tax breaks and the use of local technology to showcase the best of Toronto. As I said – “it is time to give Bollywood a chance.” Toronto can indeed be the second Mumbai.

Tell me about your advocacy with ACORN?

I was involved with ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) between 2007 – 2010. ACORN is “Canada’s organic organizing process allows community based chapters to identify local concerns and run campaigns on neighbourhood issues”. I participated in rallies and gave public speeches in forums in Toronto mostly on housing rights issues.

 How about your role with the NO MMP (mixed member proportional representation) group in 2007?

An Ontario electoral reform referendum was held on October 10, 2007 in an attempt to establish a mixed member proportional representation (MMP) system in the selection of our Ontario Members of Parliaments (MMP). I opposed it as I felt the reform was not much of a reform but an outlet to secure an elitist way of electing political representatives. It put much confidence of political parties and their executives to elect nominated candidates without regards to local democracy. I found this system totally hijacking from people’s control to the hand of few politician and lobbyists.

I campaigned against it across immigrant communities in Toronto area especially via public debates. Ultimately, it was defeated by Ontarians in the 2007 provincial election.

Why politics is still a great way to advocate for important issues?

Politics is very important to put forward ongoing diverse social issues that matters to us. To bring change and to advocate for important social issues, there is no alternate than participating massively in Politics. As both a candidate and an observer – I have found politics a great vehicle to challenge and change conventional wisdom.

During the 2010 mayoral election for instance, I advocated a reasonable reduction of fares of TTC Metro Passes believing that lower fares would not deter everyone from travelling throughout the city in search of opportunities. Public transportation should be a right not a privilege especially for lower income families who depend of it and cannot afford such a hefty price. Not to mention its environmental benefits in terms of the reduction of the usage of cars.

Where do you want to be in the next decade?

In the next decade, I see myself accomplishing much. I want to continue to advocate for electoral reform and for term limits in municipal politics. I would also like to write a book on my own experience as an activist. I live by the words – Whether we believe in God or not – We all can be believers of Social Justice, Fair Judgment and True Accountability of our actions.

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Justin Trudeau is a Walking, Talking Attack Ad Against Himself

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

Justin Trudeau began his speech at Concordia University on Feb. 6 decrying “the tremendous source of cynicism” that is present in politics these days, “…the frustration, the division, the anger…”

Perhaps Mr. Trudeau should listen to his own speech and learn from his own words.

On Jan. 29, the Liberal leader decided to dismiss his entire Liberal Senate Caucus, in a move Liberals everywhere labeled “bold”, and “pro-active, practical and smart leadership that gives results”, also tweeting: “We saw more leadership on #SenateReform from @JustinTrudeau today than from Harper in 8 yrs!”. Liberals patted themselves on the back and received a small bump in the polls. And yet, he was practising the same form of cynical politics he would condemn only a week later in his speeches at McGill, UdeM and Concordia.

Case in point: now that the former Liberal Senate Caucus is no longer representing the Liberal Party in the Senate, the party no longer needs to post the Senators’ travel expenses on their website. In a way, this is an attempt at washing their hands clean of any sort of future negative press or scandal over senate travel expenses. Even well-known Liberal Party partisan and former Chrétien staffer, Warren Kinsella, wrote an article about how Trudeau’s move “is the stupidest thing, ever” in which the first line of the article is “It won’t really fool anyone.”

In a post-budget interview with CPAC this past week that exposed his amateurism, Trudeau said “the commitment needs to be a commitment to grow the economy and the budget will balance itself”. If only it was that easy. Perhaps Mr. Trudeau should consult with Paul Martin to find out how budgets don’t just magically balance themselves.

It is also little wonder why Ralph Goodale is the one who now does most of the talking in Question Period, while Trudeau is off somewhere else, continuing to worsen his attendance record in the House. The Liberal Party should remember the words of Jack Layton during the 2011 election debates, where he pointed out how Michael Ignatieff missed 70 per cent of the votes, and that those “who don’t show up for work, don’t get a promotion.”

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Larger discussion on skills gap needed: Jason Kenney

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

The fight between Ottawa and the provinces over the Canada Job Grant program may just be the opening salvo in a much larger battle.

 The fight between Ottawa and the provinces over the Canada Job Grant program may just be the opening salvo in a much larger battle.

Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney said the Conservatives want to have an “informed national dialogue” around skills development — including provincial decisions on post-secondary education funding.

“We recognize that education is an exclusive area of provincial jurisdiction, but I think as a major funder of post-secondary education we can certainly ask questions about how those investments are being made and how well linked they are to the labour market,” Kenney told the Star in an interview Thursday.

Kenney noted the federal government has agreed to raise the Canada Social Transfer, a major source of funding for Canada’s post-secondary institutions, by three per cent a year.

Meanwhile, Kenney said a number of institutions are telling him they find their provincial funding frozen or cut.

“So when a provincial labour market minister approaches me about the problem of skills shortages, I think it’s entirely reasonable for me to ask why are (increases in) CST transfers not being seen by the polytechnic institutes,” Kenney said.

While the minister did not suggest attaching strings to federal-provincial transfers, even hinting toward intervention in provincial decisions around post-secondary funding is a marked departure from the Conservatives’ approach to relations with the provinces and territories.

In 2011, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented the provinces with a new deal for the other major federal-provincial transfer, the Canada Health Transfer, with no strings attached. The transfer would continue to grow, albeit at a lower rate, with individual provinces responsible for their own decisions on how to tackle health.

But Kenney said he’s frustrated that the negotiations on the Canada Job Grant, which provinces have largely opposed, have “sucked the oxygen” out of the larger conversation of how to tackle the perceived skills gap in the country.

“My primary focus is on the broader skills agenda, which is bigger than the Job Grant,” Kenney said.

“(This is) one of the most important future economic issues. And yet there has been very little collaboration on a wide spectrum of issues.”

Kenney said there’s more work to be done on a variety of issues: increasing labour mobility, knocking down credential recognition barriers among Canadian jurisdictions, accelerating credential recognition for immigrants, harmonizing apprenticeship systems between provinces, and addressing the larger education system.

But as that work proceeds, the deadline for an agreement on the Job Grant looms large. Provinces have complained that the proposed Job Grant system — which would split training funding three ways between Ottawa, provinces and employers — claws back millions from their coffers. They’ve given Kenney a counter-offer and asked for more time, but the 2014 federal budget tabled this week indicated Ottawa will go it alone should no agreement be in place on April 1.

Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters Wednesday she’s hopes the two sides can come to an agreement by that date.

“It’s a very important program and I hope that we’re going to be able to have a situation where the federal government understands the kind of flexibility that the provinces need,” Wynne said. “If not, then that’s go to be, again, another problem where we are going to have to decide whether we step into a gap that has been left by the federal government.”

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Andrea Horwath plays down chance of spring vote

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who holds the balance of power in Ontario’s minority legislature, is playing down the chance of spring election.

 In the wake of a narrow NDP by election victory in Niagara Falls on Thursday and a Progressive Conservative win in Thornhill, a subdued Horwath hedged on whether her party would continue to prop up Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals.

“The other two leaders might talk about elections all the time and whether or not they want an election or they don’t. What I’m going to talk about is the priorities of Ontarians,” she told reporters at Queen’s Park on Friday.

“We’re going to be focused not on election fever like the other two . . . may be. That’s the message from last night.”

Wynne, whose party suffered losses in both contests, also sounded as if she were not especially keen to face voters soon.

“I know there will be a general election . . . I don’t know when there will be a general election,” she said on a campaign-style swing through Cambridge.

“We are in a minority parliament. Many, many people in the media and beyond didn’t think I was going to be standing today a year later. We’ll see. We are going to develop a budget. In the meantime, folks, I am going to continue to do my job.”

Her comments run counter the private bravado of some Liberals that the government could engineer its own defeat after Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s spring budget to control the timing of an election.

Many Grits are fed up being beholden to the NDP, which has propped them up for the past two years in exchange for budget concessions.

The demeanour of both Wynne and Horwath contrasted with that of a feisty Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, who stepped up his anti-union attacks after losing Niagara Falls to a labour-backed New Democrat.

While Hudak was relieved his party held Thornhill on Thursday, the loss in Niagara Falls, which includes his hometown of Fort Erie, was personally wounding.

“This is all about the union elite who are running the show. Give me a level playing field in Niagara Falls and we win that seat,” he complained Friday.

“It’s a PC seat. But when you give that oversized influence to ‘big labour,’ they buy influence with members.”

Hudak is eager to hit the hustings and wants a provincial election this spring, but he needs Horwath’s backing to topple Wynne.

In Niagara Falls, the NDP’s Wayne Gates, a city councillor and president of Unifor Local 199, won a seat held for a decade by Liberal Kim Craitor.

Gates beat former two-term Conservative MPP Bart Maves, a regional councillor and Hudak friend, by 962 votes. The New Democrat had 39.4 per cent to 36.8 per cent for Maves.

Despite Wynne making more than $100 million of campaign promises, including money for a new hospital and a five-year wine industry strategy, Liberal city councillor Joyce Morocco finished a distant third with 19.4 per cent of the vote. The Greens’ Clarke Bitter was fourth with 2.7 per cent.

The NDP was helped by Hudak’s controversial “right-to-work” proposal, which would eliminate the Rand Formula requiring those in unionized workplaces to pay dues regardless of whether they join.

Despite that, Hudak launched a website critical of Working Families, a coalition of anti-Tory unions that spent $2.1 million to defeat him in the 2011 election.

The new site, workingfamiliesexposed.ca, is an indication he plans on running against what he derides as “union elites” in the next election.

In Thornhill, which had been held by Conservative Peter Shurman, Tory Gila Martow, an optometrist, defeated Liberal councillor Sandra Yeung Racco, wife of former Grit MPP Mario Racco. The NDP’s Cindy Hackelberg was third followed by the Green Party’s Teresa Pun.

Martow garnered 48 per cent of the vote to 41.5 per cent for Yeung Racco, 6.8 per cent for Hackelberg, and 1.4 per cent for Pun.

After the byelections, the 107-member legislature will have 49 Liberals, including Speaker Dave Levac, 37 Tories, and 21 New Democrats.

The house resumes Tuesday for the first time since Dec. 12.

Wynne, who succeeded Dalton McGuinty a year ago last Tuesday, has lost five of the last seven byelections, four in previously Liberal ridings.

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iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 release date, specs, and rumors: iPhone display scratch-resistant and S5 waterproof?

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

There are the dedicated iPhone followers who will never compromise no matter what the price. And then there are the practical people who want the substance and the style but would just rather spend their money on other things.

For those in the first category, they probably won’t be put off by the fact that the rumored sapphire crystal display on the iPhone 6 may push the price up.

The plus is that the displays will be scratch-resistant, being second in toughness only to the diamond. In other words they are virtually unbreakable and much more durable, and should allow the iPhone to keep its polished, stylish look for longer.

That will be great for consumers who see the iPhone as an investment purchase to last them a few seasons, as opposed to regular upgraders.

Being much tougher than the current Gorilla Glass, it is highly likely that the cost of the superior display will be borne out in the product’s final price tag – the iPhone 5S retailed at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.

Rumors started surfacing recently that Apple has started production on 100 to 200 million units of the display.

Other rumors point to two new models in the pipeline, both featuring larger displays, to make the iPhone more competitive against rival Samsung, which has held considerable market share with its Samsung Galaxy Note models.

One is rumored to come with a display around 4.7 or 4.8 inch 1920×1080 pixel resolution display, and the other with a 5.5 inch display with a pixel resolution of 2272×1280.

It’s likely to be powered by an A8 processor and a 1,800mAh battery, with 2GB of RAM, and using iOS 7.2 software rather than the initially anticipated iOS 8.

It’s also predicted for a September 2014 release.

Samsung Galaxy fans needn’t wait that long for the S5, which O2 Germany let slip is heading for sale at the end of February.

An update on O2 Germany’s website teased that shoppers could find out more about the device at the end of this month.
It suggested the UK market would be the first to get its hands on the next Samsung smartphone and that it would follow in the footsteps of the Sony Xperia Z1 in being waterproof.

The device is due to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress on 24 February in Barcelona, so if the assumptions are correct, it would be available to buy just a few days after that.

Similar to the next flagship iPhone, two variants are expected – one with a metal finish and a cheaper variety sticking to the familiar plastic.
The display is predicted to be 5 inches and come with a 2k resolution. On the inside, the more expensive model is expected to feature a quadcore, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, while the budget version will run on the octa-core Exynos 6 chip and have a lower display resolution.

Android 4.4 Kitkat is expected to be the operating system in both versions, and it is possible that they will have a slightly tweaked interface borrowing elements from Apple’s iOS 7.

The battery is predicted to be 2,900mAH and there may be a built-in fingerprint scanner for extra security.

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Talks with the Taliban to what end?

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

Dr Hasan Askari

Lahore

  The resumption of the talks between the committees of the federal government and the Taliban was viewed as a positive development by most observes of internal conflict and violence in Pakistan. However, the two meetings of the committees on February 6 and 14 have not strengthened the hope that the peace would be easily achieved. The two committees still issue positive statements but the facts on ground do not support this. Some members of the government committee and all members of Taliban committee express strong faith in the desire of the Taliban to seek a peaceful resolution of the issues.

  The dialogue process faces several problems. The Taliban sponsored violence has not stopped. Peshawar has again become the major target of violence by different Taliban groups. Some of the attacks in different parts of Pakistan are not owned by the Tehrik-i-Taliban-i-Pakistan. This raises a fundamental question if the Tehrik-i-Taliban cannot control its groups from engaging in violence, what is the guarantee that violence will stop after an agreement between the government and the Tehrik-i-Taliban? Further, the acts of violence by other groups are not condemned by the Tahrik-i-Taliban, implying that they do not want to alienate these groups.

  The suicide attack in Karachi on February 13, killing 13 policemen, was owned by the Tehrik-i-Taliban and they threatened to carry out more such attacks to take the revenge of police action against their loyalists in Karachi. Another suicide attack was launched on the Rangers vehicle in Karachi on February 14.

 The Tehrik-i-Taliban is upset by the security operation in Karachi because Karachi is their major station for generating income through threats of violence and kidnappings. The on-going security operation has made it difficult for the Taliban to continue earning funds from Karachi. Therefore, they cannot stay quiet when the security forces take action against their activists.

 This raises the question about the issue of ceasefire between the Taliban and the government. Both sides want that. However, if the Tehrik-i-Taliban and its affiliates continue to use violence as they wish, any agreement of ceasefire will be useless. The Taliban Tehrik’s main interest is to keep the Pakistan Army away from launching a major security operation against them in the tribal areas, especially in North Waziristan, in the summer of 2014. So the Taliban will continue talking about a ceasefire so that the government forces do not take action against them with no categorical commitment from the Taliban side for not resorting to violence.

 The leader of the Taliban Committee, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq has described the Taliban attacks as defensive in nature. From this perspective, the offence and attack is being done by the state agencies; they are using violence against the Taliban and the Taliban, according to Maulana Samiul-Haq, are using violence as a reaction to government policies and that their efforts are defensive in nature.

 Another member of the Taliban Committee, Maulana Abdul Aziz of Red Mosque, has started a psychological war against the government and in favor of the Taliban. He is asking the government to go for ceasefire because the Taliban have 500 female suicide bombers who would soon be sent out if there is no ceasefire or any action is taken against the Taliban. Other pro-Taliban activists are suggesting that if any military action is taken against the Taliban there will be bloodshed everywhere and the map of Pakistan will be changed.

 The spokesman of the Taliban Tehrik said that they want the Sharia rule in Pakistan and that Mulla Omar (Leader of Afghan Taliban) will be the Amir-ul-Momineen and Mulla Fazlullah (Leader of the Taliban Tehrik) will be the Khalifa.

 Whereas the Taliban Tehrik is taking a tough line, the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is making cautious statements. The official circles have said that violence and peace talks cannot go together. However, the government circles do not want the talks to be broken down. Therefore, they are trying their best to keep the talks going which has been viewed by the Taliban as a sign of weakness. Therefore, they are playing tough while staying in the background and talking with the government of Pakistan indirectly through a committee of their sympathizers.

 The federal government favors some kind of political settlement because of the two major reasons. First, ideologically a good number of activists of the ruling PMLN are close to the Taliban mindset and view them as an angry group rather than challenging the Pakistani state and its Constitution and legal and administrative system. Therefore, they ignore the statements of the Taliban wherein they reject Pakistani constitution and legal system. Second, a good number of the PMLN government people think that if the Army launches a military action against the Tehrik-i-Taliban, the political initiative will shift to the Army and their position will be weakened in the politics.

 The fear of the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif may not be completely wrong. In case of military operation, the army top brass will have full command of what is to be done and the role of the Sharif government will be imited. However, if the talks fail or an agreement is signed but not implemented, the Taliban are expected to escalate violence.

 The civilian government does not have civilian security system to face any major Taliban violence in the cities. This will increase the demand for military action to control the Taliban violence from many political circles and religious groups in the Bralevi and Shia Islamic traditions.

 In such a situation, either the government of Nawaz Sharif will be left with no option other than asking the Army to take action against the Taliban Tehrik. The other possibility is that the Army top command will force the civilian government to endorse their decision to go for military action against the Taliban Tehrik. Nawaz Sharif will have no option but to support the Army. Any other course of action by Nawaz Sharif can endanger the future of his government.

 The options for the Nawaz Sharif government are limited. It desperately needs a peace agreement with the Taliban that is properly implemented within the framework of Pakistan’s Constitution. The chances are minimal for a workable agreement that can ensure peace and the primacy of Pakistani constitution. This means that the difficulties of the civilian federal government will increase by early summer of 2014. 

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India interim budget: Indirect taxes on cars cut

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

India’s Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has cut indirect taxes on cars and mobile phones in an attempt to boost economic growth.

Mr Chidambaram unveiled the move as he presented the interim budget ahead of this year’s general elections.

In his speech he expressed concerns over the health of the manufacturing sector and rising food prices.

However, Mr Chidambaram added that the economy had stabilised and was showing signs of a turnaround.

“Our objectives were fiscal consolidation, reviving growth cycle, and enhancing manufacturing,” he said.

“I can confidently assert that the fiscal deficit is declining, the current account deficit is constrained, inflation is moderated and exchange rate is stable.”

The interim budget comes as the government’s popularity has slumped amid a slowdown in growth and a number of corruption scandals in recent years.

The elections are scheduled to be held by May and the new government will present a full budget for the next financial year after it takes charge.

‘Net positive’ Continue reading the main story

”Since the last one year India was under so much scrutiny because of a probability of a rating downgrade”

Vijai MantriPramerica Asset Managers

India – Asia’s third-largest economy – has been weighed down by various factors such as high inflation, a weak currency and a drop in foreign investment.

A slowdown in the manufacturing sector has also hit the economy. The sector’s growth rate has now been below 5% for four quarters in a row.

At the same time, analysts have cited concerns over India’s fiscal deficit – the difference between the government’s earnings and its expenditure.

Ratings agencies have even threatened to cut the country’s rating if the issue is not tackled.

The finance minister said that the fiscal deficit for the financial year ending 31 March 2014 would be contained at 4.6% of gross domestic product (GDP).

That is below the 4.8% target set by the government, which analysts said was a positive development.

“India was under so much scrutiny because of a probability of a rating downgrade, we have been in an environment where the policy makers have been constantly communicating with the various stakeholders,” said Vijai Mantri, chief executive of Pramerica Asset Managers in Mumbai.

“So I think what came out in the final document was not surprising, which is a net positive from the market’s point of view given that the finance minister has been able to deliver on his promise.”

The finance minister also sought to allay worries over the current account deficit – the difference between the income from exports and the import bill.

The area has been a cause of concern among analysts. The minister said the current account deficit was expected to fall to $45bn in the year to 31 March, down from $88bn a year ago.

He also added that economic growth for the financial year ending in March was expected to be 4.9%.

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