The outlook for the country’s economy is good, according to Union Finance Minister R Venkataraman. He based this optimistic assessment on projections of 10 per cent increase in food and power production next year, coal production of 110 -112 million tonnes and the fact that rising prices have played themselves out. The monthly rate of increase in prices have stabilised to around one per cent and this is no small achievement in an international inflationary situation, he added. The finance minister was replying to a six-hour discussion on rising prices in the Lok Sabha. He used the occasion to offer a mid-term appraisal of the state of the country’s economy.
The Lok Sabha Speaker has called for a report from the government on the alleged blinding of criminals in Bihar by the state’s police. Police atrocities were the topic of adjournment and call-in-attention motion by Opposition members, especially those from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Janata Party. Several members also referred to the attacks on journalists in Rajasthan and Orissa.
The three-day strike against the recent rise in bus fares in Punjab continues with the Opposition refusing to end the protests. Leaders of the Akali Dal (Longowal), CPM and CPI said that they were ready to hold talks with the government but there should not be any preconditions. The strike by students, however, seems to be petering out.
Brits And Kiwis
Newsmen covering Prince Charles’ visit to the Nehru Memorial Museum were rudely ejected by the assistant press secretary to the Queen, Brian Hutchings, who told them no “press was allowed near the Prince here”. When asked if the British did not want the visit of the prince reported, Hutchings replied, “I am not British”. It was later found out that he is a New Zealander.
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