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Govt Suspends FDI Decision By Aarti Dhar & Gargi Parsai (Hindu) Under intense pressure from some of its own allies and the entire Opposition, the government on Wednesday announced suspension of its decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment in retail. Parliament was back to work after nine days soon after the government made its decision on suspension clear at an all party meeting this morning. Normal functioning of Parliament had been stalled ever since the Union Cabinet allowed 51 per cent FDI in multi brand retail with some allies, primarily the Trinamool Congress, and DMK and the entire Opposition demanding a complete roll-back. The impasse finally ended at an allparty meeting this morning where the government announced its intention to put the Cabinet decision on hold till all stakeholders were consulted. Soon after, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee made an announcement in the Lok Sabha that the government has decided to put on hold the deci-

sion on FDI till all stakeholders were consulted. A similar statement was made in the Rajya Sabha by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma. “The decision to permit 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail is suspended till a consensus is developed among various stakeholders,” Mukherjee said in the Lok Sabha. He went on to explain that the stakeholders were political parties and State Chief Ministers without whose involvement this decision “cannot be implemented”. “It can never be implemented without involving the States and decision would be taken only after Chief Ministers are taken into confidence,” he said. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj welcomed the announcement to put on hold the decision. “Government has bowed to the wishes of the people. To bow before the will of the people is not defeat. It is strengthening of democracy”, she said. After the statement by the Leader of the House, Speaker Meira Kumar

Activists of National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) during a protest in New Delhi against the government’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail. File photo

disallowed the adjournment motions moved by several opposition parties, including the BJP, the Left and BSP. BSP members were dissatisfied and staged a walkout. The House then took up the Question Hour for the first time since the Winter session began on November 22. As soon as a similar statement was made in the Rajya Sabha by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Leader of OppositionArun Jeitley wanted clarification on who the ``stakeholders’’would be. Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) saidSstate governments and political parties should be included in the consultation process. Sharma’s response was that stakeholders will include state governments and ``it does not exclude but includes political parties’’. A Bahujan Samaj Party

member, however, expressed his opposition to the decision and saying his party wanted a complete roll-back of the policy, staged a walk-out along with all his party members. When some other members attempted to raise some points, Chairman Hamid Ansari said he will not allow a discussion on the subject. Earlier, at the all party meeting convened by Mukherjee – just before Parliament assembled -- the Opposition agreed to the government proposal of suspending the FDI in retail decision till a “consensus” emerged after consultations with different stakeholders. All the parties, including UPA allies TMC and DMK, which were opposed to the decision, agreed to support the resolution and allow the House to function. The BJP and the Left were demanding a complete rollback but agreed to the government proposal contending that trying to build a “consensus” virtually meant that the FDI decision has been put on the backburner indefinitely.

Nokia India is Betting on Youth By Shanti Kannan RAJASTHAN (The Hindu): Nokia, the Finnish company, has been an undisputed leader in the mobile phone market till the arrival of smart phones. Nokia established itself as a leader when European GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology clearly over took American CMDA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology across the globe. With the advent of smart phones, the dynamics of the market has also changed. The market has been witnessing a constant change. The key now is in identifying the next trend ahead of market. India is the world’s largest youth market ahead of China. The smart phones and other applications (apps) associated with them are catching like wild fire among youth. Nokia wants to focus its energies on the youth in the

coming years. Smart and touch type phones are growing by 46 per cent. The number of apps in the mobile business is also growing and every day new apps are generated. Nokia wants to capitalise on this segment, says D. Shivakumar, Managing Director, Nokia India. At the company’s annual strategic meeting held at Udaipur, Mr. Shivakumar said that Nokia India would have local content in global context in the apps segment. “The apps market is also moving in that direction. Nokia will grow its market share through innovation and new business model,” he added. The mobile apps market was dominated by games and music. Nokia would deeply penetrate into utility apps market such as healthcare, agriculture, education and banking, he added. This could be possible only if the mobile market moved from penetration economy to

D Shivakumar, Managing Director, Nokia

consumption economy. The aspiration level of the people should also increase. It is estimated that India would account for 13.4 per cent of the global handset market by 2013. Today, the

total India market is 1.4 billion. Though the company is strategically located at the top in the mobile market along with its competitors such as Samsung and Apple, it had been facing the heat from the entry and high-end phone segment over the last one-and-half years. Now, it has decided to fight back in the domestic market by bringing in dual SIM (subscriber identification module) models by launching the Asha 200 (Rs.4,759) and X2-02 (Rs.4,165). “Our mistake was that we did not

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have dual SIM models at the right time. It was a failing on my and the organisation part. Over the next years, we will have representation in the entire range,” he said. In the duel SIM segment, Nokia has now six models. It has also come out with other innovations such as touch-n-type range and the dual swap function on phones, which permitted easy switching up to five SIM cards. In the high-end smart phone segment, where it competes with large players such as Apple iPhone and the Google’s Android-based devices, it is launching the Lumia range of mobiles in mid-December. These products will play an important role along side its existing Symbian Operating System (OS)-based smart phone.


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December 09, 2011

Moving from side of plate to the centre of plate isn’t a simple exercise. It is quite a task. As it transits from being a pure biscuit maker to a foods company, Britannia Industries sees opportunities aplenty. Managing Director Vinita Bali discusses the road ahead and challenges in the way with K. T. Jagannathan. How are you managing the high commodity cost? We import refined palm oil. Prices of milk and milk products have gone up by more than 26-27 per cent. Price of cashew nuts has gone up. Fuel prices have also gone up. In Tamil Nadu, the VAT (value added tax) rate has gone up. When fuel goes up, it impacts transportation, distribution and everything. So, we are talking about a basket of food inflation still being 12-13 per cent. The next few months are going to be uncertain. We are focusing on three things - how we manage our revenue, the quality of revenue; launching or innovating; and creating differentiated products. These give us an advantage. We launched Vita Marie and then fortified it. We then extended it to Marie with oats and honey. Each time we do that, we are going up the value chain. What do you mean by quality of revenue? We are dealing with margin pressure in three ways — improving quality of revenues, managing costs and innovating to add higher

A Light Bite for Mobile Indians

value. In terms of the mix of products and mix of geographies, we make differential margins on different brands. If I sell more of one brand, I improve margins and the quality of revenue improves. If you are a newcomer to the market, you have to think which

Many have less time today. People are crunched for time and looking for smart solutions from a time and convenience perspective. The fact that more people are working today has created opportunities for companies like ours. You look at BPO (business process

Britannia Industries Managing Director, Vinita Bali discusses the company’s vision for the years ahead how it plans to become a food company

geographies you need to operate. We are present everywhere. In the last two quarters, profits are good but margins are under pressure. Our measures will enable us to deal with margins. How has the consumption behaviour been changing? There have been many changes which have been influencing consumption behaviour. You have more women working. More people are travelling today than earlier.

outsourcing) companies. More people are working through the night there, munching something. BPOs are a great opportunity for us. As we are selling a light bite, it’s a 24/7 consumption opportunity for us. As we are going to have more airports, there will be more shops there. That’s also an opportunity for us. As India becomes mobile and as more start working, that creates more opportunities for consumption.

As you enter new categories, you are opening yourself to more competition. How do you intend to deal with it? Talking about competition in India is quite irrelevant because the market is at a very nascent stage. Packaged food comprises only nine per cent of the total food consumed in India. So, many more competitors can enter the market. There is enough room for everyone to grow. Let us take the per capita consumption of packaged foods. Take the middle-income class. If you look at them on a base of 500 million, we are still much lower than other developing countries in our region such as Sri Lanka, Vietnam and others. While the India growth story is shaky now, it is there to stay. If you look at a market where GDP growth is going to be 5-7 per cent, you are looking at a 14-15 per cent growth for the indu stry. There is higher disposable income. At relatively little economic growth, a large part of your income goes into consumption. If you were to get more money, it is unlikely that you will spend it on food. It is more likely that you spend it on gadgets etc. But if I were a daily wage worker or factory worker and if I got more money, I would go and spend it on consumption / food. India is just beginning to grow. What are the key challenges in the coming years? One challenge really is driving profitable growth. Driving growth

INDIA is not an issue. Driving it profitably is, however, a challenge, taking into account higher input costs, competition and everything else. The second challenge is relevant innovation. We can create all kinds of products, but they have to be relevant. The third lies in our ability to go to market in metros, non-metros, semi urban clusters and rural. The entire go-to-market strategy has become very complex. Earlier it was very simple — you had a few products, a few SKUs, a few kiranas. Guys just went in and sold. Now, we have organised retail. The local retailers have upgraded. We have now maha- and minimetros. How do you service these markets? How do you segment those channels? How do you do it in a manner where cost to serve does not increase disproportionately especially since the expectations of the retail is also changing. How do you go to market in an intelligent way? That’s the whole challenge. What about brand loyalty? Loyalty today is not to a brand but to a range of brands. In any case, consumers are not buying one brand. It is not a medicine that they can not change it. People want variety. The fact that more people are working today has created opportunities for companies like ours. You look at BPO companies. More people are working through the night there, munching something. BPOs are a great opportunity.

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India Inches Closer to Crisis as Rupee Retreats MUMBAI (ZBiz): India may face its worst financial crisis in decades if it fails to stem a slide in the rupee, leaving the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with a difficult choice over how to make best use of its limited reserves to maintain the confidence of foreign investors. If the RBI is too timid, it risks adding fuel to the ire of portfolio investors, which India relies on heavily to cover its imports tab. Aggressive intervention would leave the central bank open to criticism that it is wasting precious money on problems that are beyond India’s control anyhow, noteably Europe’s debt crisis. Unlike most of its Asian peers, India has recently been running large current account and fiscal deficits. That means it must attract sufficient foreign money -- namely US dollars -- to close the gap, and a weaker home currency makes that costlier. This is a perennial problem for India. The current situation is so worrisome because India is grappling with big internal and external economic threats simultaneously. Growth is slowing. Inflation remains high. Political paralysis has stymied domestic reforms. The RBI, the last line of defence against a currency meltdown, has cautiously begun to support the rupee, but its firepower may be more limited than its USD 300 billion in reserves would suggest. Beyond India’s borders, Europe is the biggest worry. As its banks deleverage, investment money has flooded out of India’s markets. If Europe’s debt troubles deteriorate, India could be hit with a balance of payments crisis as severe as the one that forced a sharp devaluation in 1991.

The rupee, which has dropped 16 percent in the past four months, got a reprieve last week after the world’s big six central banks banded together to try to ease dollar

tandem with concern over Europe. UBS hosted a client conference call about India on November 29, which it announced with an email headlined “India explodes.”

Rupa Rege Nisture, Chief Economist at Bank of Baroda, Mumbai says the Indian rupee will be the first casualty, the result of the deterioration of the Euro crisis

funding strains, helping it to snap a four-week losing trend. But analysts widely expect the rupee, trading on Monday at 51.26 per dollar, to resume its slide. “The Indian currency will be the first casualty of a deterioration in the euro zone crisis,” said Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist at Bank of Baroda in Mumbai. If Europe’s crisis deepens, India’s trade deficit would widen even more rapidly, and it would have even more trouble attracting foreign capital. “Risk appetite will obviously collapse and gradually the currency crisis is likely to take the shape of a balance of payments crisis,” Nitsure said. Worries about India have spiked in

Deutsche Bank sent out a report on November 24 entitled, “India’s time of reckoning.” “Suddenly everything seems to be coming to a head in India,” UBS wrote. “Growth is disappearing, the rupee is in disarray, and inflation is stuck at near-record levels. Investor sentiment has gone from cautious to outright scared.” India’s current account deficit swelled to USD 14.1 billion in its fiscal first quarter, nearly triple the previous quarter’s tally. The fullyear gap is expected to be around USD 54 billion. Its fiscal deficit hit $58.7 billion in the April-to-October period. The government in February projected a deficit equal to 4.6 percent of gross domestic product for the fiscal year

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ending in March 2012, although the finance minister said on Friday that it would be difficult to hit that target. India relies heavily on portfolio inflows -- foreign purchases of shares and bonds -- as a means of covering its current account gap. Those flows are fickle. Foreign portfolio investors have sold a net USD 50 million worth of equities so far in 2011 , in sharp contrast to the USD 29 billion they invested in 2010, data from the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s website showed. In November alone, foreign funds pulled USD 661 million out of Indian stocks. “The Indian economy is one of the most vulnerable to liquidity shocks in the region, not helped the least by deficits in its key balances,” said Radhika Rao, an economist with Forecast PTE in Singapore. The drop in portfolio inflows and the hefty current account and fiscal deficits have been a key factor behind the rupee’s decline. The RBI appears to have intervened in mid-November to try to slow the decline. Between October 28 and November 25, reserves dropped by USD 16 billion to USD 304 billion, yet the currency still fell by 7 percent over that period. Trading in rupee offshore forward contracts show traders are betting on the rupee declining a further 1.7 percent over the next three months, and 4.5 percent in a year. Many economists blame the RBI’s inaction for the rupee’s weakness. A deputy governor said on Saturday that the central bank would use “all available instruments” to stem a downward spiral. Other officials have insisted the RBI should avoid “undue” intervention, especially when the currency depreciation is caused by external forces, a message economist Rajeev Malik says could backfire.

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“The biggest mistake RBI has made is that it has almost given an open invitation to speculators to short the rupee,” said Malik, who is with CLSA in Singapore. “It is really bizarre for any central bank to openly keep on saying that it will not intervene when there is already pressure on the currency to weaken and globally things are so uncertain.” Contrast that with Indonesia, which burned through 8 percent of its foreign exchange reserves in a single month in September to defend the rupiah from a global bout of market volatility. After covering the current account deficit, short-term debt and foreign investment flows, there would be less than USD 20 billion left over. J. Moses Harding, head of market and economic research at Indusind Bank in Mumbai, said the RBI’s immediate concern would be arresting the spread of currency woes into the money market. India’s banking system already borrows more than USD 19 billion from the central bank to meet reserve requirements, so if the RBI moved to prop up the rupee, it would drain more liquidity out of an already tight market. Companies make quarterly advance tax payments around midDecember, which puts an added strain on liquidity. In addition, a glut of foreign currency convertible bonds, issued when the rupee was much higher, falls due in the first quarter. They Continued on page 30

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SOUTH ASIA

December 09, 2011

Zardari’s Hospitalisation Triggers Coup Rumours

Babulbhai

By Anita Joshua ISLAMABAD (Hindu): Beleaguered Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s hospitalisation in Dubai on Tuesday evening fuelled rumours about a coup or a possible resignation in light of the recent strain in civilmilitary relations over the ‘memogate’ controversy. A statement put out by the Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday afternoon somewhat put a stop to the rumours as it clearly said that he would return to resume his normal functions as advised by the doctors. Also, reports from Dubai suggested that he was meeting members of the United Arab Emirates government including the Prime Minister and Pakistan People’s Party supporters in the hospital. Through the previous night and all morning, rumours thickened as they spread though the President’s office had announced his departure for Dubai for routine medical examination on Tuesday afternoon. What particularly added fuel to the speculation was a report in the Foreign Policy magazine titled: ‘President Zardari suddenly leaves Pakistan – is he on the way out?’ The report quoted an unnamed former U.S. government official as stating that Mr. Zardari had sounded incoherent when President Barack Obama spoke to him on Sunday night. The magazine also claimed that

all was in order. Had there been even a hint of coup, the general reasoning was that he would not be in the country. According to the Prime Minister’s office, the President had gone to Dubai following symptoms related to his pre-existing heart condition. “After the initial Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari listens travelled medical tests in to Dubai for medical tests on his heart after falling Dubai, doctors ill, officials and associates said on Wednesday, describing his condition as not life-threatening. found him to be in stable condiFile photo tion. The PresiZardari had suffered a minor heart at- dent went to Dubai at the insistence of tack on Monday night and was taken his children. The doctors have yet to determine whether [the] President’s to Dubai in an air ambulance. The speculations ranged from the condition was due to adverse reacomnipresent military coup to the tion to the medication he was taking President being eased out and the hos- or a development related to his prepitalisation being used as a means to existing cardiac condition.” This is not the first time that Zardari leave the country with the presidential immunity he enjoys. The rumour has gone overseas for medical treatmongering began to ease only after ment but coming as it does in the wake the President’s son and PPP chair- of growing tensions between the civil man, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, met and military leadership of the country Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza and talk of a possible change of guard, his departure at this juncture was grist Gilani. Bhutto-Zardari’s presence in the to the rumour mill in a nation prone to Capital was seen as a statement that conspiracy theories.

India Inches Closer to Crisis as Rupee Retreats

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include a USD 1 billion Reliance Communications bond. The bonds are too expensive at current levels to be converted into stock and the sharp depreciation of the rupee will leave issuers with a heavy redemption bill. The central bank could boost liquidity by cutting the cash reserve ratio, the proportion of deposits banks must set aside with the central bank as cash. Talk of a cut has circulated in Indian markets

in recent days, although some economists argue that such a move could stoke already hot inflation. “It would be extremely difficult for RBI and the government to arrest simultaneous downward pressures from equity, currency and money markets while struggling to address low growth and high inflation issues,” Harding said. That argues in favor of RBI keeping its ammunition dry in case conditions worsen. If India is indeed heading for a 1991-style

balance of payments crisis, those reserves would be vital. Back then, India rapidly depleted its reserves, forcing a currency devaluation. But the risk is that RBI will wait too long to act. “While it is important for RBI to not shed its FX reserves unnecessarily, the approach of allowing such a massive pace of slide in the rupee could backfire,” CLSA’s Malik said.

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ENTERTAINMENT

December 09, 2011

31

Veena Malik Sues FHM over Morphed Pic

NEW DELHI (HT): Pakistani actor Veena Malik has filed a defamation suit against an Indian magazine for a “morphed” cover photo of her posing nude with the initials of Pakistan’s intelligence agency on her arm. Malik’s spokesman, Sohail Rasheed, said on Monday that the actor was seeking 100 million rupees ($2 million) in damages from FHM India, whose editor insists the cover shoot was genuine and consensual. “The picture has been morphed,” Rasheed said in Islamabad, adding that the magazine had targeted Malik’s “credibility and character.” The magazine’s December issue has yet to hit news stands. But a preview of the cover on its website triggered a media frenzy. FHM India editor Kabeer Sharma told AFP at the weekend that he was mystified by Malik’s allegations. “Maybe she is facing some kind of backlash, so maybe that’s why she is denying it. We have not photoshopped or faked the cover. This is what she looks like, she has an amazing body,” Sharma said.

In his Twitter feed on Monday, Sharma said he would release a series of photos from the shoot proving his version

of the story. While Malik’s pose on the cover preserves a scant degree of modesty, any nudity is still very much frowned upon in conservative India -- and indeed in Muslimmajority Pakistan. What has raised more eyebrows was her arm sporting the initials

ISI -- the acronym for InterServices Intelligence, Pakistan’s spy agency. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have gone to war three times and the ISI has been routinely accused by New Delhi of masterminding militant attacks on Indian soil. Sharma said the idea had been to take an ironic swipe at India’s obsession with the ISI. A tag line on the cover that points to the initials, reads: “Hand in the end of the world too?” “People, especially young people in both countries, want to move past this kind of thinking,” the editor said. “It’s a very powerful picture -- it took a lot of guts for her to do that. It shows a powerful, sexy woman not afraid to speak her mind.” Malik is already well known in India for appearing on Bigg Boss, the country’s version of the television reality show Big Brother. She incurred the wrath of hardline Islamic clerics in Pakistan for her performance on the show, during which she indulged in several intimate scenes with Indian actor Ashmit Patel that included massaging his head and neck.

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December 09, 2011

PAKISTAN OPINION Shamsi Base not Crucial for US Drone Raids WASHINGTON: US drone raids targeting militants in Pakistan will not be jeopardised if Islamabad does indeed expel Americans from Shamsi, a key air base, officials said. Angered over a Nato air attack on Saturday that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead, Islamabad has shut off supply routes to US-led forces in Afghanistan and ordered Americans out of the Shamsi air base used by the CIA’s fleet of unmanned aircraft. Even if the Pakistanis make good on their threat over Shamsi, US officials say Washington could fly Predator and Reaper drones out of air fields in neighboring Afghanistan. “Shamsi is a nice thing to have, but it’s not critical to drone operations. They can be carried out from bases in Afghanistan,” said Bruce Reidel, a former CIA officer. A senior US official said the facility was not a make-or-break link for the robotic planes that have proved an effective weapon against al Qaeda and Taliban extremists. The Shamsi base reflects the contradictions in the uneasy partnership between the two countries, with Islamabad reluctant to publicly acknowledge its tacit cooperation with US counter-terror efforts, which many Pakistanis see

as a violation of their country’s sovereignty. “The Pakistani public has the impression of a base that operates extraterritorially but in reality it operates because the Pakistani army helps it to operate.” Shortly after Saturday’s air attack on the border by Nato forces, Pakistan’s cabinet ministers and military chiefs demanded the United States clear out of the Shamsi air field within 15 days. Although President Barack

Obama’s administration was working on a response to a number of demands from Pakistan, there were no plans to pull back on the drone raids, which has helped weaken the al Qaeda network. “Pakistan remains a critical counter-terrorism partner, ” said another US official. The Pentagon said top government officials and commanders are working with the Pakistanis “on a way ahead” following the air strikes and the White House underscored the importance of the relationship with Islamabad.

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SPORTS

December 09, 2011

Windies Overcome Rohit Sharma to End India’s Streak

By Nitin Sundar It took Darren Sammy and Andre Russell 5.4 overs of mayhem to undo India’s impressive afternoon, and plot their first defeat in 12 home games. They came together after Ravindra Jadeja pulled off an outfield catch for the ages to remove Kieron Pollard, West

Mithun and Umesh Yadav then lashed 28 for the final wicket to keep West Indies on edge, before Rampaul yorked Mithun to close the game. Barring Rohit’s stunner, which puts him firmly in the frame for a Test debut in Australia, almost nothing went India’s way. Yadav

The irrepressible Ravi Rampaul ensured West Indies pulled one back

Indies’ most dangerous batsman on paper. Sammy and Russell proceeded to test that assumption with an unbroken partnership of delightful ferocity that yielded 79, propelling West Indies to 260. The bowlers, led by the irrepressible Ravi Rampaul, then sliced through India’s top order and set up West Indies’ first win on tour. Two things have been constant in this series - Rohit Sharma’s pristine form, and the game-changing capabilities of the last wicket pair. Under lights, West Indies did enough to overcome both and finish on top. Rohit stroked a pleasing 95 as India crumbled around him, but ran himself out in a desperate effort to manipulate the strike to be the ninth man dismissed. Abhimanyu

and Vinay Kumar impressed with the new balls before being pounded at the death. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir bagged first-ball ducks to extend their worrying runs of poor form, with Australia looming. To make matters worse, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina perished to umpiring errors that could have been reversed if the DRS had been in place. It was a stunning turnaround for India, who could scarcely put a foot wrong earlier after winning the toss. Seam and swing weren’t supposed to be part of the agenda on a sweltering afternoon, but Vinay produced away seamers, Yadav pace and swing, and Mithun a raft of indippers. India’s spinners backed them up well

to ensure they kept winning the big moments. The half-centurion Marlon Samuels exited just as he was primed for assault. The man most likely to assist him, Darren Bravo, was forced to retire hurt with a hamstring strain. And then Pollard was caught spectacularly to leave the innings faltering. The Sammy-Russell show was only getting started, though. West Indies’ cause was aided by India’s inexperience, as Yadav and Mithun delivered despicable lengths in the slog. Sammy wound up for the fun by redirecting Vinay for two fours, before Russell carted Yadav for a monster six. Next, Sammy turned his attention towards Mithun, scything a wide ball, and hammering a length delivery for fours. He then unfurled two sixes dripping with typical Caribbean audacity on either side of the wicket - a slash over cover and a merry whiplash over midwicket. Russell then went ballistic in Yadav’s last over, drilling a near yorker down the ground and fore-handing a length ball for fours, before teeing off towards the press box. India seemed hung-over from the onslaught when they began their chase. Sehwag was yet to make a significant score since the World Cup, but still chased a short and wide first delivery from Rampaul without moving his feet. Gambhir followed immediately, shouldering arms after misreading an inswinger that straightened to catch him plumb on the crease. Parthiv Patel and Kohli responded with a slew of boundaries, but West Indies’ spinners, and a couple of umpiring errors were about to derail India. Kohli was struck in front as he looked to work the debutant offspinner Sunil Narine to leg, but the ball was sliding further down the leg side. The umpire Sudhir Asnani was convinced, though, and Kohli left the pitch spewing a litany of invective in his wake. Samuels then slipped a ripping offspinner past Parthiv’s forward prod to disturb his stumps. Suresh Raina exited soon after, when umpire Tony Hill wrongly ruled him caught behind as he hopped across to glance Rampaul. India were tottering at 105 for 6 when Jadeja was run out,

but Rohit carried on with a sense of remarkable calm. He opened his account with a stunning inside-out lofted drive for six, and his shot-making through the covers and down the ground remained sublime all evening. But his rotation of strike, with an uncertain tail to shepherd, was equally exemplary. R Ashwin bottled up one end, West Indies backed away to allow the singles, and a 91-run stand was raised just like that. Sammy dropped both batsmen to aid India’s progress, and West Indies were sweating by the time the batting Powerplay came on. Rohit plundered boundaries at will, and India were back in the

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chase, but it was time for another twist. Narine, who displayed an icecool temperament for a debutant in front of a raucous crowd, gave Ashwin a taste of his own carrom ball to end the partnership, with India 65 runs away. Rohit stretched his luck decisively in the 44th over after pushing the ball to mid-on, and Sammy blasted the stumps out with a laser-sharp throw. The captain celebrated like a man relieved to finally pull a win back. Mithun slugged a couple of monster sixes to keep West Indies waiting, but they weren’t enough to extend India’s streak.

Belgium Pips India JOHANNESBURG (The Hindu): India squandered a two-goal advantage and conceded a lastminute goal to lose 3-4 to Belgium in the final of the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament here on Sunday. Striker Florent van Aubel caught the Indian defenders off-guard and scored the all-important winner for Belgium at the stroke of the hooter to not only hand Belgium the gold medal but also a maiden place in next year’s Champions Trophy in Australia. India, seeking to repeat its Champions Challenge title win of 2001, led 2-0 and again 3-1 before a late rally by Belgium. India’s goals came through penalty corner strikes from V.R. Raghunath (23rd minute), Sandeep Singh (39th) while Shivendra Singh (53rd minute) scored from a fine field goal. The Belgians came back strongly through Jerome Dekeyser’s two outstanding field goals in 45th and 57th minutes, while Gauthier Boccard penetrated the Indian defence with a fine deflection in the 55th minute. India had several chances of scoring but their strikers were offmark and often got blocked by a number of Belgian defenders. India held sway after Raghunath converted a penalty corner with a low drag-flick in the 23rd minute. Sandeep, adjudged the best player

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • friday, DECEMBER 09 , 2011 • WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM

of the tournament, doubled the lead for India with a fierce drag-flick to the top right of the rival goal in the 39th minute before Dekeyser pulled one back in the 45th minute on a breakaway move. Shivendra then dribbled in from right to flick the ball in behind the goalkeeper in the 53rd minute to score a beautiful field goal and hand India a 3-1 lead. Then came a series of Indian misses and Belgian raids. Boccard pulled Belgium back with an opportunistic strike in the 55th minute and Dekeyser slammed in his second goal two minute later to level the scoreline at 3-3. With scores tied, the match seemed headed for extra time when another breakaway move saw van Aubel seal win for Belgium in the final minute of play. The results: Final: Belgium 4 (Jerome Dekeyser (44th and 57th), Gauthier Boccard (55th), Florent van Aubel (70th) bt India 3 (V.R. Raghunath (23rd), Sandeep Singh (41st), Shivendra Singh (54th) Third place: South Africa 3 (Justin Reid-Ross, Taine Paton, Lloyd Norris-Jones) bt Argentina 1 (Lucas Hernan Cammareri). Five to eight: Malaysia 3 (Tengku Ahmed-2, Faizal Saari) bt Poland 0; Japan 7 (Toshiro Tachibana-2, Genki Mitani-2, Koji Kayukawa, Kenta Taaka, Katsuyoshi Nagasawa) bt Canada 2 (Scott Tupper, Philp Wright).


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December 09, 2011

By Raj Kanwar The political divide following the decision of the Central government to allow 51% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi brand retail sector seemed to have further widened during the week ending December 3. The Congress led UPA-II is facing strong dissent from its major allies notably Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Tamil Nadu’s DMK. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has personally taken a call in trying to persuade his unwilling coalition partners to close their ranks in the general national interest and support the government policy on FDI. Mamata Banerjee is believed to have expressed her unwillingness to support the policy on FDI for reasons of her own. It is nevertheless learned that Ms Banerjee would not allow the government to fall on this issue. However, there are indications that the Tamil Nadu’s DMK may eventually fall in line. BJP’s stridency in going all out in its opposition to the FDI decision has not surprised political analysts. Sensing that the people by the large are disappointed with the Central Government on issue of corruption, inflation and pervasive inefficiency, it has become somewhat gluttonous in picking up virtually every tempting dish from the buffet spread. The latest is the FDI. The irony, however, is that FDI is a double-edged sword. A fairly

FDI Further Widens Political Divide

large segment of the population, primarily consumers and farmers, is in its favor since the experience with Indian owned big stores so far has been favorable. Small traders and vendors are BJP’s principal supporters and its captive vote bank. Though no reliable figures are available as to the number of these retail traders, a rough estimate being flaunted about is 50 million. There is a general feeling that much of the blame for high prices in food grains, grocery items, vegetables and fruits should rest with these retail traders who add substantial margin to their eventual selling price. The tragedy thus is that both the producer i.e. the farmer and the consumer are short-changed in the bargain; the farmer getting a much lower price while the consumer paying much higher a price. SS Joshi, a former vice chancellor of the Punjabi University, Patiala has in an article wrote, “the retail market, dominated by small shops and vendors, is the major culprit in giving vent to escalating inflation in the country and it needs to be disciplined through the creation of effective competitive alternatives. Corporate food stores and multibrand stores for other products can be the only alternative in a free economy”. The main demand of the BJP is for an adjournment motion to be followed by voting. If such a

motion is admitted and allowed to be discussed, it could cause the fall of the government if the majority supports the adjournment motion. BJP is hoping that various other opposition parties like the Communists would too support

Mamata Banerjee is unwilling to support the Foreign Direct Investment proposal in the multi brand retail sector for her own reasons

the motion thereby bringing the downfall of the government. Yet, the irony is that none of the major or even regional political parties are willing to have a mid-term election at this point of time. The opposition by the Left parties is purely dogmatic; they always oppose, what appears to be prowestern policy. Since almost the

COLUMN

entire foreign direct investment will come from western sources, the opposition by the Communist parties is therefore natural. What is amusing however is that these very Communist forget that their own torch-bearers such as Peoples Republic of China and Russia have allowed most of the large American stores to flourish in their countries? Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee strongly feels that

at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Friday, Mukherjee said that, “Parliament logjam over the FDI issue was “very much worrying”, as it had blocked reforms in critical areas, such as the pension and banking sectors”. An adverse side effect of this strident opposition to FDI is that the ongoing winter session of the Parliament has not functioned even for a single day since its commencement nine days ago. More nauseating is the fact that the opposition parties blame the government for the non-functioning of the Parliament. They claim that it was the responsibility of the government of the day to ensure that the Parliament functioned, forgetting their own obstructionist attitude. Raj Kanwar is a Dehra Dun based freelance journalist and write columns on current affairs for local and national newspapers.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee feels that the opposition by DMK and Mamta Banerjee is unprincipled and is actually blocking reform in critical areas stopping India’s development connecting with the outside world

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the unprincipled opposition to the decision on FDI would cost much in case this policy was derailed. In a major policy speech

INDO AMERICAN NEWS • Friday, DECEMBER 09 , 2011• WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


December 9, 2011

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Indo American News • Friday, DEceMBER 9, 2011 • Online Edition: www.indoamerican-news.com


Dec 9 Pages 27-36