It is what might be dubbed “super Thursday” in India, the biggest voting day in the country’s month-long election. 121 constituencies are up for grabs in a dozen states, including Uttar Pradesh, the largest electoral battleground.

But strategists for the ruling Congress party, facing an ignominious defeat, will be paying just as much attention to voters turning out today in Maharashtra — a stronghold the party hopes may just save it from a polling washout. Continue reading »

The World Bank’s move doubling to $2bn its offshore-rupee bond programme today marks a significant moment in the international development of India’s currency. But it leaves one big question unanswered: what should these new Indian instruments be called?

Offshore debt naming is not difficult: just pick a food or animal commonly linked to the country in question, and add extra points for alliteration. Continue reading »

This election could see the end of many seemingly permanent fixtures of Indian political life, not least the Congress party’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has ruled the country for most of its independent existence. But might the poll also see the death of a less celebrated political artefact: the traditional Indian campaign poster? Continue reading »

Indian finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram had harsh words for election rival Narendra Modi yesterday, accusing him of backing crony capitalism. If the intention was to earn coverage, it worked: Chidambaram’s jibe ran on the front pages of most of India’s business newspapers this morning. But is the accusation fair? Continue reading »

India ElectionsLet us again assume, for the sake of argument, that Narendra Modi will become India’s prime minister shortly after May 16. Who, then, is most likely to succeed Palaniappan Chidambaram as finance minister? Here are five of the most likely candidates. Continue reading »

The insurgent Aam Aadmi, or Common Man, party continues to make headlines in India’s election, as it noisily attempts the transition from protest group to national political player. But which of the two mainstream parties — the Congress, or the BJP — is most likely to be hurt by their rise? Continue reading »

India ElectionsSome 3.6m internet users got an unexpected surprise to mark the Indian festival of Holi yesterday: a personalised Twitter message from aspirant Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The move was a neat gimmick, and part of a wider pattern in which Modi’s opposition BJP, in particular, have been making innovative use of social media as India’s poll battle plays out. Continue reading »

India ElectionsIndia’s anti-corruption Aam Aadmi party made its big breakthrough in New Delhi this year. But where else might it prosper outside the capital in the country’s forthcoming national poll? India’s IT capital of Bangalore ought to be one natural hunting ground, but the early signs aren’t promising. Continue reading »

Indian markets have been on a tear over the last week, on investor hopes that opposition leader Narendra Modi will soon sweep to power. Even so, billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises has done astoundingly well. And it isn’t hard to surmise why.

Source: Thomson Reuters

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India’s forthcoming election is often described as a festival of democracy, a reflection of the country’s passion for noisy, rambunctious electioneering. But the contest is less good news for India’s other great love: cricket.

The lucrative but controversial Indian Premier League tournament takes place between April and May each year — slap bang in the middle of the forthcoming polling, which is due to kick off in early April and run for just over a month.

In theory, both events could happily coincide: even the maddest of cricket fans ought to be able to cogitate on their democratic choices during the daytime, before heading out to enjoy the match at night. Continue reading »

Energy-hungry importers across Asia complain about an “Asian premium” in gas prices. India and Japan are even mulling clubbing together to cut costs.

But could such moves stymie major investment plans to move new gas supplies from west to east? Canada worries that they just might. Continue reading »

What keeps foreign banks in India up at night? Regulatory nightmares, at least according to a new survey out on Wednesday from consultants PwC. And while recently-appointed RBI governor Raghuram Rajan is trying to calm their nerves, there are big concerns lurking about the impact of India’s forthcoming elections too. Continue reading »

It is rare that a new face at India’s lumbering state-backed banks causes much in the way of boardroom ripples. Yet the appointment of Arundhati Bhattacharya at State Bank of India, the biggest bank of all, might be doing just that, judging by her remarks in the FT this morning — and in particular given warnings that she plans to get tough with the nation’s debt-strapped conglomerates.

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Francisco D'Souza, Cognizant CEO

Francisco D'Souza, Cognizant CEO

Having overtaken Infosys to become India’s second ranked IT outsourcer by revenue, where next for Cognizant? The company produced strong results on Tuesday, buoyed by robust demand in the US, but chief executive Francisco D’Souza says the company is now setting its sights further afield — with plans for acquisitions in Asia.

Tuesday’s third quarter figures saw Cognizant increase revenues 22 per cent year-on-year and reveal higher full-year guidance — earning a 3 per cent market bump for the company, which is headquartered in New Jersey but employs almost all of its workers in India. Most of that increase will come from clients in the US, where Cognizant makes nearly 80 per cent of its sales, but Mr D’Souza says his group is also planning to increase its investment in less familiar markets.

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Cabraal: optimist

Sri Lanka watched nervously as India’s rupee plunged, not least because it too suffers from the high current account and fiscal deficit mixture that turned investors sour on its larger neighbour.

Now India’s currency is recovering, and Sri Lanka seems emboldened too, as its central bank today shunned IMF advice and surprised forecasters by cutting rates by half a percentage point. But is it a cut too far? Continue reading »