New Delhi

The Man of the Moment: Manmohan



July 23 – Seventeen years after Manmohan Singh "libralized" India's economy leading the nation to attain Asian superpower status, he's once again proven that as a visionary he knows whats needed for India's development and that he's got the nation's support.

After two gruelling days in Parliment house, where leaders of the ruling coalition UPA party fought tooth and nail with their opposition, Manmohan Singh's UPA party won the trust vote by 19 votes. The ruling coalition secured 275 votes as against 256 by the Opposition. As many as 10 members were absent or abstained from voting. The emergency need for a trust vote was called for when the left parties, a large minority in the ruling coalition decided to withdraw from the government as Manmohan Singh agreed to sigh the nuclear deal with America.

Fuel Prices Attack Hospitality Industry Too



July 18 – Hotel room rates in New Delhi have dropped almost 50 percent the lowest in two years on the back of rising aviation fuel fees and an economic slowdown, the Times of India reported

"Corporates have cut travel of their executives which has affected our occupancy. Although the tariff is in the range of Rs 5,000-Rs 8,000 (US$117-187) in five-stars, they are still pretty affordable. But with airfares being where they are, personal leisure travel is becoming out of reach of the middle class," said an leading hotelier.

India Has Big Plans for Northeast Roads



July 3 – Trying to buffer India's borders with infrastructure, the national government on Wednesday issued a statement that the country would invest US$7.2 billion to build transport infrastructure in India's northeast by 2012.

A Bloomberg report stated that India plans to invest about 310 billion rupees (US$7.2 billion) by 2012 to build roads in the nation's northeast, improving connectivity with the states bordering China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

The government will also build airports and railway links to all state capitals of the region, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, inviting private investment in the region.

Union Cabinet Approves Women’s Reservation Bill


May 6 – Late last evening, India's Union Cabinet cleared the contentious Women’s Reservation Bill in its original form for introduction in the Rajya Sabha (council for states). The women’s bill seeks to reserve one third seats for women in the Lok Sabha (people's council) and the state assemblies and is one of the last major commitments of the Congress-led UPA’s common minimum program, reported the Hindustan Times. Once introduced, the constitutional amendment bill would be routed to the standing committee to help hammer out a consensus on it.

Terrorism to Tourism


April. 9 – Kashmir once called Paradise on Earth, is back to promoting itself as a tourist destination after a 20 year hiatus, when tourists flocked to it for its intricately latticed houseboats, lofty Himalayan mountains, green pastures, and fresh clean air.

The Northern Indian state is trying to attract wealthy tourists to play golf in its rolling hills in a bid to earn some revenue and change its image as a terrorist hideout. Certainly, the price is right — just US$20 for a round on the 18-hole course, US$10 for a golf cart rental and US$3 for a caddy

Excerpts from The New York Times say that the state is spending US$6.2 million to build a golf course in the winter capital, Jammu, to be completed later in the year, the fifth course in the region, and an international airport is scheduled to open in the summer.

Battling the global downturn


Mar. 26 – After all we live in a flat world; and the U.S. sub-prime crisis, the plunging dollar, rising oil prices, bankrupt global financial institutions and inflation will take their toll on India too. India’s preparedness at such a time of crisis will impact the extent to which its India shining image gets tarnished.

In a freewheeling interview Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Senior Partner, Dezan Shira & Associates talks to India’s Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram. The cool, confident captain who led India to 9 percent growth explains mechanisms the India government has adopted to safeguard itself against such global downturns. The finance minister also tackles issues of India’s falling textile trade, foreign investment in energy and corruption. In separate conversations, Chris Devonshire-Ellis also talks to India’s State Secretary for Civil Aviation and Shri M Ramachandran, State secretary, Ministry of Urban Development.

Ministerial meetings with Indian government


China – India investment questions and comparisons to be raised

Mar. 20 – The Senior Partner of Dezan Shira & Associates, Chris Devonshire-Ellis, who publishes China Briefing, India Briefing and the emerging Asia website, will meet next week with Kamal Nath, the Indian Minister of Commerce, and Mr. P. Chidambaram, the Minister of Finance, in New Delhi.

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