South AsiaStay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.., 05 Mar 2015 06:19:46 +0000SRA Framework 2.0en-gbBangladesh court upholds arrest warrants against opposition leader A Bangladeshi court on Wednesday upheld arrest warrants against opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia and called her a fugitive after she again failed to appear to face graft charges that have stoked political tensions.

Authorities issued the warrants last week, after almost two months of anti-government protests called by Khaleda's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). She dismisses the corruption allegations.

Her lawyer Khandaker Mahbub argued on Wednesday the warrants should be lifted as the charges were politically motivated and said she would appear as soon she felt sure of her safety. His appeal was dismissed.

More than a hundred people have died in protests that surged on Jan. 5, the first anniversary of contested national elections that the BNP boycotted, denouncing them as rigged.

Khaleda has been caught up in a standoff with Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina, calling for her government to step down for a new vote under a caretaker administration.

Bangladeshi politics has been mired for years in rivalry between Hasina and Khaleda. Both women are related to former national leaders and have alternated as prime minister for most of the past two decades.

Hasina told the parliament on Wednesday that Khaleda's failure to appear was an affront to the court.

"Now law will take it own course and action will be taken according to direction of the court," she added.

Khaleda is accused of embezzling $650,000 during her last term as prime minister from 2001 to 2006, and of instigating violence. She has denied all the charges.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaWed, 04 Mar 2015 21:07:47 +0000
Delhi rapist blames victim for being out at night DELHI: One of the men convicted of the gang-rape and murder of an Indian student that shocked the world has said he blames the victim for "roaming around at night".

The comments are made in a documentary to be screened on International Women's Day.

Mukesh Singh, who was sentenced to death for his crimes, said the victim should not have been out at night, and should not have resisted the attack on a moving bus in 2012.

"You can't clap with one hand -- it takes two hands. A decent girl won't roam around at 9 o'clock at night," he said in an interview for "India's Daughter", a BBC documentary to be broadcast on Sunday.

"A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. About 20 per cent of girls are good."

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died from her injuries 13 days after she was savagely attacked on her way home from the cinema with a male friend on December 16, 2012.

Before her death she was able to speak to police about the crime, which caused outrage across the world and triggered mass protests in India.

The attack highlighted the frightening level of violence against women in the world's second most populous country and led to a major reform of the rape laws, speeding up trials and increasing penalties.

But Singh, 28, said his execution would "make life more dangerous for future rape victims".

"Now when they rape, they won't leave the girl like we did. They will kill her," he told Leslee Udwin, the award-winning British filmmaker behind the documentary.

He also criticised the victim for fighting back against her attackers.

"She should just be silent and allow the rape," he said. "Then they'd have dropped her off after doing her."

"India's Daughter" will be televised in seven countries including India and Britain on Sunday, International Women's Day.

Udwin will speak to media at a screening of her film later Tuesday alongside the victim's parents, who have campaigned vocally for improvements in women's safety since their daughter's death.

She said she was inspired by seeing ordinary Indians take to the streets to protest "in unprecedented numbers" following the attack.

"In my lifetime, I can't recall any other country standing up with such commitment and determination for women's rights," Udwin said.

The case sparked much soul-searching about India's treatment of women, but women's rights campaigners say little has changed in the deeply patriarchal country.

Singh, one of five people convicted over the attack, admitted driving the bus during the incident but denied taking part in the rape.

He is appealing the verdict against him.

One of the alleged attackers died in jail before he could be tried, while another was too young to be tried as an adult and is serving a three-year sentence in a reform facility.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)South AsiaTue, 03 Mar 2015 09:37:49 +0000
India's Modi passes budget test despite lack of reform dazzle DELHI/MUMBAI: India's reform-minded prime minister, Narendra Modi, appears to have passed a major test with a budget that pleased economists and investors with pledges to spend more on modernising India's ageing roads and railways while keeping borrowing in check.

The budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday loosened the reins on public spending to drive growth, but promised lower-than-expected borrowing despite raising the fiscal deficit target.

While it was short on the "big bang" reform measures that free-market champions have been calling for since Modi took office with a strong mandate last year, the budget won plaudits for moves to cut corporate tax and make India more competitive.

That should help temper bond traders' concerns of a glut of government debt and avoid a big sell-off when markets open on Monday.

"Despite the higher fiscal deficit; the market borrowing number is below market expectations," said Arvind Chari, head of fixed income and alternatives at Quantum Advisors in Mumbai.

Stocks, which some investors say are over-valued and risked a 6-8 percent crash if the budget disappointed, ended up nearly 1 percent on the NSE market, which opened in a special session during the budget speech.

"We think the budget is positive for growth and the (Indian rupee)," HSBC Global Research said in a note to investors, who will now be focusing keenly on Modi's ability to deliver on his programme.

The budget had been billed in advance as "make or break" for Modi's efforts to bring new vigour Asia's third largest economy.

India, a major energy importer, is seeking to take advantage of swooning oil prices to mount a dash for growth that would see it eclipse rival China as a motor of the global economy.


Some have questioned Jaitley's arithmetic, warning it could come undone if oil prices rise and that his budget included optimistic targets for revenues from partial privatisations and other non-tax receipts.

"We notice a 400 billion rupees ($6.5 billon) swing in 'other receipts' which is helping fund the extra fiscal deficit. Whether that 'other' materializes is up to question but as for now the lower budgeted borrowing should keep bond markets happy," said Chari.

Other critics say Jaitley should have made a bolder statement to reduce India's expensive food and fertilizer subsidies, a move the government may have felt was more difficult politically after defeat in a state election made Modi look less invincible.

But overall the budget was described as competent, if not exciting.

Jaitley's headline innovation was a roadmap for simpler taxation, with a promise to cut corporate tax to 25 percent from 30 percent over four years, and a commitment within a year launching a national service tax union to make business easier.

The budget also shifted more resources to states in a boost for federalism. It promised to clamp down on India's black economy and warned of tough new penalties including overseas asset seizures and jail time for tax evaders.

All of this was praised in India's leading newspapers and analyst notes, with public opinion also broadly positive. Even a decision to hike a service tax to 14 percent met with acceptance from some middle-class Indians, but with caveats.

"The absence of incentives for us means that we have a chance at getting better infrastructure," said Lahar Bhasin Singh, a New Delhi-based researcher. "If the government fails to deliver, I would be very upset."

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaSun, 01 Mar 2015 20:19:24 +0000
India raises threshold for transfer pricing rules DELHI: India has raised the threshold for the application of transfer pricing rules to 200 million rupees ($3.24 million), from the current 50 million rupee level, according to the budget proposal presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)South AsiaSat, 28 Feb 2015 08:38:12 +0000
India to spend $37bn on major subsidies in 2015/16$37bn-on-major-subsidies-in-201516.html$37bn-on-major-subsidies-in-201516.htmlimageNEW DELHI: India is expected to spend 2.27 trillion rupees ($37 billion) on major subsidies during the fiscal year starting April 1, according to budget proposals presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)South AsiaSat, 28 Feb 2015 08:37:23 +0000
India budget plans to inject $1.3bn into state banks in FY16$13bn-into-state-banks-in-fy16.html$13bn-into-state-banks-in-fy16.htmlimageNEW DELHI: India plans to infuse 79.4 billion rupees ($1.29 billion) of capital into state-owned lenders during the fiscal year to March 2016, the annual budget showed on Saturday.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)South AsiaSat, 28 Feb 2015 08:34:26 +0000
India budget sets net receipts at 200 bln rupees for FY2015/16 The Indian government set aside 200 billion rupees ($3.24 billion) in net receipts under the market stabilisation scheme (MSS) in the fiscal 2015/16 year, according to the budget documents.

Under the MSS, the Reserve Bank of India sells government bonds to absorb excess liquidity from the banking system.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015
]]> (Parvez Jabri)South AsiaSat, 28 Feb 2015 08:28:25 +0000
India's Jaitley goes for growth, slower fiscal deficit cuts DELHI: India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday announced a budget aimed at high growth, saying the pace of cutting the fiscal deficit would slow as he seeks to boost investment and ensure that ordinary people benefit.

Jaitley, delivering his first full-year budget since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landslide election victory last May, said growth would accelerate to between 8 and 8.5 percent in the fiscal year starting in April.

"India is about to take off," Jaitley, 62, said early in his speech to lawmakers. "The world is predicting that this is India's chance to fly."

Jaitley said he would stand by the fiscal deficit target for the 2014/15 fiscal year, which ends March 31, of 4.1 percent of gross domestic product. But he pushed back by a year his medium-term goal of cutting the deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product. In 2015/16 the deficit will be 3.9 percent of GDP, up from the 3.6 percent target inherited from the last government.

Reaping the benefits of low global prices for oil, India's main import, Modi's nationalist government says it is in a sweet spot with spare cash to modernize roads and railways without busting fiscal deficit and inflation targets.

Jaitley said it was time for a "quantum leap" on reforms and that incremental change "is not going to take us anywhere", building on expectations that the 2015/16 budget would deliver big-bang reforms.

The minister said the government would seek to boost the efficiency of a rural job creation scheme that is India's costliest welfare programme. It would also boost direct welfare payments into bank accounts, gradually replacing benefits in kind.

An overhaul of economic data has propelled India to the top of the league of fast-growing major economies, and the current account deficit is projected to fall below 1 percent next year, which would help stabilize the rupee and build up reserves.

But expectations for a further shift in expenditure from subsidies to infrastructure are sky high among investors who made India the best performing stock market in Asia after China last year on hopes Modi's government brings sweeping reforms to labour, tax and land laws.

"The settings are just right for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to shun gradualism and go for broke," the Hindustan Times wrote in an editorial.

The market rally has continued this year on expectations that legislative reform will push ahead stalled private investment and consumer demand, and reverse a decline in corporate earnings to make Asia's third-largest economy a global growth driver.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Nasir Ahmed)South AsiaSat, 28 Feb 2015 07:21:41 +0000
India finmin announces plan for 'ultra mega' power projects DELHI: India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed building five "ultra mega" power projects of 4,000 megawatts each, when presenting the government's full-year budget on Saturday.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Nasir Ahmed)South AsiaSat, 28 Feb 2015 07:13:41 +0000
India to develop a sovereign gold bond DELHI: India plans to develop a sovereign gold bond, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday, when presenting the government's full-year budget.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Nasir Ahmed)South AsiaSat, 28 Feb 2015 07:12:18 +0000