NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia last year has rattled travellers from the subcontinent, with up to 30 percent fewer tourists opting to take the trip Down Under.
Indian tour operators say there has been a sharp drop in tourist traffic to Australia’s holiday and business sectors in the last seven months.
It’s a laudable effort that often gets more brickbats than bouquets. This year, when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presents the Union budget in parliament on February 26, he will walking a tightrope between managing ballooning fiscal deficit and supporting economic recovery in Asia’s third-biggest economy.
Expectations from the finance minister, as always, are high — people and corporates want more in their pockets. There has been no let-up in the rise of food prices and most middle-class families still have to wait for annual sales to get branded products home.
India’s Silicon Valley is saying goodbye to Nandan Nilekani, the engineer-entrepreneur who co-founded Infosys Technologies and helped put India on the global IT map.A statement from the country’s No. 2 software exporter on Thursday said Nilekani has been invited by the prime minister to head the government agency Unique Identification Authority of India in the rank of a cabinet minister.Nilekani’s exit throws up several questions — what prompted this co-chairman with a spotless past to take up a government responsibility? In a nation of billion-plus people where corruption is seen putting the brakes on most government initiatives, can Nilekani replay a corporate story of success? Can he bring the same professionalism in the corridors of power at Raisina Hill?Holding posts of CEO and later MD, he helped propel Infosys, which he co-founded with mentor Narayana Murthy, from scratch to a world-class company “despite the system”.Reports say the UPA government is keen on using Nilekani’s professionalism to get its Unique Identity Card project off the ground.Infosys and its employees may have delivered on many large-scale projects for Fortune 500 companies, but can the success be replicated in a purely government initiative? And does Nilekani’s move augur well for Infosys and the government?
The task before the finance minister is tricky as the Congress-led government gears up to present the annual budget for 2009-10 on July 6.Reuters India asks its readers to don the FM’s cap and tell us what shape they would give to the budget to keep a country of over 1 billion people happy.