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India expects steady growth despite IMF gloom

India's finance minister said Thursday he expected the economy to post steady growth and for foreign retailers to invest within months, dismissing a gloomy prediction by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF's latest World Economic Outlook on Tuesday reduced its forecast for India from 5.6 to 3.8 percent this year, in ominous news for the Congress Party-led government, which must call elections by the end of May. But Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, visiting Washington for annual IMF-World Bank meetings, insisted India was seeing "early indications of recovery."

Exclusive: India to stick with austerity despite looming election

By John Chalmers and Manoj Kumar NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Indian government will have to rein in spending and cut subsidies to meet its fiscal deficit target, the country's finance minister said on Monday, underlining that an austerity drive will not be blown off course by an election due next year.

India's market regulator approves simpler foreign investment rules

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's market regulator has approved new rules aimed at streamlining the registration process for foreign investors, aiming to attract vital inflows needed to narrow a record high current account deficit. The regulations, first announced at a June board meeting of the Securities and Board Exchange of India (SEBI), are intended to simplify paperwork and remove some of the restrictions that had made buying domestic assets onerous.

Up to 70 feared trapped in Mumbai building collapse

A five-storey residential building collapsed in Mumbai at daybreak on Friday in the latest accident in India's financial capital, with up to 70 feared trapped inside. Crowds formed around the rubble of the completely flattened block, owned by the city's civic administrative body the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, in the east of the city. "My son is inside. I'm waiting for them to get him out," distraught 62-year-old retiree Mithi Solakani told AFP as rescue workers scrambled over tonnes of debris.

Analysis : Fed delivers reprieve for India, risks sowing complacency

By Tony Munroe MUMBAI (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to press ahead with its asset-buying gives India's battered rupee a reprieve and creates space at a policy review on Friday for its central bank to scale back some of the measures put in place to support the currency.

India test-fires long-range missile

India on Sunday successfully test-fired for a second time a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, marking another advance in its military capabilities. The Agni V blasted off at 8:50 am (0320 GMT) from a concrete launchpad on an island off the eastern state of Orissa. "The missile met all the mission objectives with absolute accuracy," M.V.K.V. Prasad, director of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, told AFP. Analysts say Agni V has the range to strike any target on the Chinese mainland, including military installations in the far northeast.

Top India economic advisor cuts growth forecast to 5.3%

India's top economic advisor cut Friday his growth forecast for this year to 5.3 percent, just above last year's decade-low expansion, but insisted global ratings agencies had no reason to downgrade the country. The new forecast, while down from a previous 6.4 percent projection, is broadly in line with central bank expectations but still higher than some private economists who say growth could be as low as 3.7 percent.

India PM advisory panel sharply lowers GDP estimate for 2013/14

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's economy is expected to grow at 5.3 percent in the current fiscal year, the prime minister's economic advisory panel said on Friday, sharply lower than an estimate of 6.4 percent it made earlier this year. The Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council also said containing the fiscal deficit within the budgeted target of 4.8 percent of GDP could be a challenge.

Insight: India's crisis within a crisis; finance minister fights on two fronts

By Sanjeev Miglani NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Late last month, with their doors shut to the mounting market panic outside as investors fled the country, India's cabinet ministers gathered to give final approval to a cheap food scheme for the poor. It was hardly a difficult decision for a government that needs to shore up its sagging popularity before elections due by next May. But officials familiar with the discussion say there was one dissenting voice over what is now destined to become one of the world's largest welfare programs.

Indian PM says rupee slide worrying but part of needed adjustment

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The rupee's tumble is a "matter of concern", but is part of a needed adjustment due to India's large current account deficit and will have a positive impact on export competitiveness in coming months, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday. Singh told parliament that the current account deficit was "unsustainably large" and to remedy this there needed to be a reduction in demand for gold and oil imports.
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