SNAPSHOT-Indian policy highlights on Wednesday, August 24

by Reuters
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 11:30 GMT

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Following are statements from Indian policymakers as well as the latest news and scheduled events.

* Denotes new entry.

* Indian anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Wednesday ruled out any compromise in his stand-off with the government over graft legislation, vowing to press on with a hunger strike now in its ninth day, even if it costs him his life.

"I've only lost six kilos and a bit of my kidney is affected, but it is nothing to worry about," said the veteran activist, addressing his supporters in the Ramlila field just outside the walled city of old Delhi.

"Until the government agrees to all conditions, I will not back down. Even if I have to die."

* There will be no change in India's market borrowing programme for the current fiscal that ends in March 2012, a senior finance ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday, after a meeting with market participants and central bank officials.

"No, (it) remains the same," said the official when asked if there had been any change in the federal government's borrowing plan for the 2011/12 fiscal year.

CONTEXT NEWS

* In a letter to Hazare, Prime minister Manmohan Singh pleaded with the 74-year-old to at least agree to go on an intravenous drip, which Hazare has so far refused, and he called a meeting of political parties in parliament to find an end to the impasse.

Hazare's demand for a more robust anti-graft laws has tapped into popular fury, particularly among the middle class, over the corruption that dogs Asia's third-largest economy.

With key state elections next year that would pave the way for a 2014 general election, the government must end a crisis that has paralysed policy making and parliament and added to Singh's unpopularity amid high inflation and corruption scams.

* The government has budgeted a gross borrowing target of 4.17 trillion rupees (${esc.dollar}90.6 billion) for the current fiscal year.

However, with the economy showing signs of a slowdown and the current unfavourable market conditions stalling a plan to sell shares in state-run firms, concerns remain about federal finances.

"The finance ministry told us that the fiscal deficit target (for 2011-12) will be met," said one of the market participants who attended the meeting.

The finance ministry and the central bank are scheduled to meet in September to decide on the market borrowing schedule for the second half of the current fiscal year starting October.

SCHEDULED EVENTS THIS WEEK:

THURSDAY, August 25

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Data: Food inflation at around noon (0630 GMT).

FRIDAY, August 26

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

(${esc.dollar}1=46 rupees) (Compiled By Annie Banerji in NEW DELHI; editing by Malini Menon)

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