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High fiscal deficit deterrent for investment: PM

NEW DELHI: Holding that “high” fiscal deficit is a deterrent for domestic and foreign investments, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the government will have to overcome constraints to achieve a target of nearly $1 trillion investment in infrastructure sectors. 

Conscious of the fact that the government was working “against the political calendar”, he called for a common understanding to work out mechanisms and remedial measures to tackle these “critical deficiencies on a priority basis”. 

Fuel supply arrangements, security and environmental clearances and financing difficulties were among the “constraints” in achieving a 12th Plan infrastructure investment target, he said. 

The Prime Minister was making his opening remarks at the first meeting of the reconstituted Council of Ministers to share with them “a few thoughts” on the agenda of the government. 

“My own view is that while we need not be unduly gloomy about our prospects, we certainly need to redouble our resolve to meet the challenges before us and rise to the task of governance,” he said. 

He recalled the achievements of UPA government in the last nine years in social and economic policy making, including flagship schemes like MNREGA and Aadhar number, combined with robust economic growth had helped enhanced social sector spending. 

“While we should take justifiable pride in our successes, it is important to recognise that we are now also experiencing the fallout of difficult economic conditions worldwide. 

“As a result, our growth has decelerated, our exports have fallen and our fiscal deficits are expanding. Of particular concern is the fiscal deficit, which is too high and acts as a deterrent for domestic and foreign investment,” he said. — PTI





15 sailors rescued in Chennai, 6 still missing

CHENNAI: Fifteen sailors were on Thursday rescued and a search was on for six other missing crew members who were on board an oil tanker that drifted and ran aground off the Chennai coast in high velocity winds before the landfall of Cyclone Nilam.

“Around 6.30 am, 15 persons who were stranded on board the vessel were safely rescued by the Coast Guard”, Chennai Port Trust officials told PTI.

Search involving the Navy and Coast Guard is on for the missing six persons, the officials said.

The vessel Pratibha Cauvery with 37 crew on board ran aground near Elliott’s Beach in South Chennai, about 200 metres away from the shore.

One crew member drowned after a life boat carrying him and his 21 colleagues capsized in choppy waters while 15 others were rescued with the help of several agencies including Navy and local fishermen on Wednesday. The ship belonged to Mumbai-based Pratibha Shipping Company.

Two persons were killed in Tamil Nadu as Nilam crossed the coast between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh border on Wednesday without causing much damage. — PTI





Non-subsidised LPG price hiked by Rs 26.5 per cylinder

NEW DELHI: The price of non-subsidised cooking gas (LPG), which consumers buy beyond the cheaper quota of six cylinders, was on Thursday hiked by Rs 26.50 to Rs 922 per unit on firming international rates.

The 14.2-kg cooking gas cylinder that consumers buy beyond their entitled six bottles at subsidised rates, will now cost Rs 922, up from Rs 895.50 in Delhi, according to Indian Oil Corp, the nation's largest fuel retailer.

The government had in September restricted the supply of subsidised domestic LPG cylinders to six per household in a year. — PTI





Threat call to IAS officer Ashok Khemka

Chandigarh: Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka's staff have lodged a police complaint after receiving threat calls against him. Khemka had been in the news after he ordered scrutiny of Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra's land records with real estate major DLF. The police have initiated a probe into the threat calls.

Earlier Ashok Khemka's friend had also claimed that he recived death threats. Anupam Gupta said that Khemka had got "serious death threats". Gupta said he had offered Khemka his full personal and legal support in the case.

Khemka had said that his 21 years in service had not been a pleasant experience. "I have completed 21 years of service in the IAS. It's not a very pleasant experience of taking up public issues and living very comfortably with it. It's not this isolated incident only. I only hope that public servants are not victimised for doing their duties. At least the rule book should be obeyed... that a minimum tenure of two years is respected. So that there is some respect, some morale retained in the public servant," he said. Back




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