A T E S T N E W S
stages dharna outside Parliament
Mamata Banerjee is forcing the Prime Minister to drop Dinesh Trivedi,
who is from her own party, as the Railways Minister. The PM has
reportedly accepted her demand. But according to the Press Trust of
India, Mr Trivedi has said that so far, neither Ms Banerjee nor the PM
have instructed him to resign. Mr Trivedi made it clear to NDTV
yesterday that if Ms Banerjee asks him to quit, he will not object. Mr
Trivedi is facing the wrath of his party chief for hiking passenger
fares in the Railways Budget he presented yesterday in Parliament.
Last night, Ms Banerjee wrote to the PM asking that Mr Trivedi be
dismissed and replaced with her close confidante and current Minister
of State for Shipping, Mukul Roy.
The Congress has reportedly agreed to this and to her demand that the
increased fares be rolled back, at least for the cheaper tickets that
the aam admi or common man buys. However, Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee has urged Ms Banerjee to wait for these changes till
after the union budget is presented tomorrow. But Ms Banerjee is
not known for compromises. So her party members have begun a
protest at Parliament, demanding that the hike in passenger fares be
reversed. They also want a financial package from the Centre for
West Bengal, which is seeped in debt. Among the Trinamool
Congress leaders on "strike" at Parliament is the man tipped
to be the next Railways Minister, Mr Roy.
Yadav to take oath today
Party leader Akhilesh Yadav is set to take oath as Chief Minister of
Uttar Pradesh on Thursday for the first time, after his party gained
absolute majority by winning 224 seats in the 403-member Assembly.
A host of top VVIPs
including LK Advani, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandra Babu
Naidu and Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav, industrialist Anil
Ambani, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and others will also
witness history as it is made when Akhilesh will become the youngest
ever CM of Uttar Pradesh.
Though invitations were also sent to Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalita,
both of them have are unlikely to turn up. The 38-year-old Akhilesh
will be the state's youngest chief minister and his Cabinet is likely
to be a mix of youth and experience.
After having already cut CRR by 0.75 percentage points last week,
Reserve Bank of India kept its policy rates unchanged on Thursday.
Repo or the short term lending rate of the RBI now stands at 8.5
percent. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain
unchanged at 7.5 percent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF)
rate and the Bank Rate at 9.5 percent.
The RBI has also
decided to keep the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks
unchanged at 4.75 percent.
Monetary Policy Review Recent growth-inflation dynamics have prompted
the Central Bank to indicate that no further tightening is required
and that future actions will be towards lowering the rates. However,
notwithstanding the deceleration in growth, inflation risks remain,
which will influence both the timing and magnitude of future rate
actions, RBI said.
Last week, RBI
slashed CRR (cash reserve ratio), the percentage of deposits that
banks have to keep with the RBI, from 5.5 percent to 4.75 percent.
With this, the central bank had infused Rs 48,000 crore into the