SNAPSHOT-Indian policy highlights on Monday, Aug 23

Aug 23 (BestGrowthStock) – Following are statements from Indian
policymakers as well as the latest news and scheduled events.

* Denotes new entry.

* India is not planning to lift a ban on exports of wheat
and non-basmati rice, Trade Minister Anand Sharma said on
Monday.

* The chief minister of an Indian state trying of help
South Korea’s POSCO (005490.KS: ) build a $12-billion steel mill
has pushed the project with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh and said a decision on the project was expected soon.

“The prime minister said he will see that this matter is
taken up and see that it (is) expedited,” Orissa chief minister
Naveen Patnaik said on Monday.

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s main opposition
party, has renewed objections against a bill to open up the
country’s $150-billion nuclear power market.

“They have inserted ‘intent’. That is the problem,” S.S.
Ahluwalia, the BJP’s deputy leader in the upper house of
parliament, told Reuters.

“It is difficult to establish ‘wilful’, for compensation
cases. This (provision) is not adequate,” he said, referring to
the liability for suppliers in case of an accident.

Indian financial regulators will take a common stand on the
issue of parking excess funds with the government, according to
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) chairman
J. Hari Narayan.

“Talks have been going on for a long time. We raise enough
funds to meet our expenditure and there is some surplus. All
the regulators will take a common stand on the issue,” The
Economic Times quoted him saying on Monday.

CONTEXT NEWS:

* India has a huge wheat surplus after banning exports two
years ago. However, the ruling Congress party has faced strong
criticism in recent months from opposition parties due to high
food prices, and policy makers are reluctant to disturb
domestic prices.

The government estimated in mid-July India’s wheat harvest
at a record 80.71 million tonnes. [ID:nSGE66I0F6]

Last month, India allowed the export of 300,000 tonnes of
non-basmati rice and 200,000 tonnes of wheat to Bangladesh.
[ID:nSGE6750JG]

* The project planned by the world’s third-largest
steelmaker has been mired in controversy for more than three
years over protests by local residents who stand to be affected
by it, concerns over environmental impact and legal issues over
land acquisition and a mining concession.

India’s environment ministry this month ordered a halt to
all work on the project, including land acquisition, while a
4-member panel probed if the forest rights act that seeks to
protect forest land and settlers had been violated.
[ID:nSGE67600L]

In recent days, government officials and POSCO itself have
sounded optimistic about the project although a court case over
the mining concession is still pending.

Last week, the BJP had agreed to support the nuclear
liability bill, crucial for the entry of companies like
U.S.-based General Electric (GE.N: ) and Westinghouse Electric
into India, after the Congress party-led coalition government
agreed to hike compensation caps and extend liability to
suppliers. [ID:nSGE67J07L].

However, now, the BJP has raised objections to a clause in
the bill which makes supplier’s liability contingent on proving
‘wilful intent’.

The ruling coalition needs the support of the BJP, which
has the powers to stall the bill through the upper house of
parliament.

India’s finance ministry recently urged regulators to
deposit their estimated surplus funds of 18 billion rupees
($386 million) with the government, following a recommendation
from the country’s Comptroller and Auditor General.

SCHEDULED EVENTS THIS WEEK

FRIDAY, August 27

Data: Forex reserves, M3 money supply, bank credit at 5
p.m. (1130 GMT).

($1=46.6 rupees)

(Compiled by Henry Foy; editing by Sugita Katyal)

SNAPSHOT-Indian policy highlights on Monday, Aug 23