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Jaswant offers a glimmer of hope on rollback
While there was no firm indication that the Government would give in to the mounting pressure from its allies and the Opposition to roll back the recent price hikes, the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh, did raise hopes today when he promised in the Rajya Sabha to communicate the members' sentiments to the Union Cabinet.

BJP MPs expect a gesture
There was no indication from the Government of a rollback in prices but there were hints that some small gesture could be made before the Finance Bill is put to vote in the Lok Sabha on May 4.

 Flexibility for banks in RBI credit policy
In a move to strengthen the financial sector in the country, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today announced measures to provide operational flexibility to banks and institutions in interest rate policy, improving prudential standards and credit delivery mechanisms, which will result in improving liquidity and reducing costs. The central bank also issued guidelines for entry of banks into insurance sector.

Gehlot makes common cause with A.P., Gujarat
The Rajasthan Chief Minister, Mr. Ashok Gehlot, has asked the Union Government to treat the allocation of foodgrains under the food- for-work programme to drought-affected areas as a grant. Mr. Gehlot has also solicited the support of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, and the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, to pursue the matter with the Centre and go for a ``joint action'', if need be.

China thanks India
China has thanked India for its support in defeating an American- sponsored resolution criticising the Chinese record on human rights in Geneva recently.

Will PMK part ways with DMK?
The founder-president of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), Dr. S. Ramadoss, today did not rule out the possibility of parting ways with the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu. However, he made it clear that his party would continue to be part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre.

Jaswant stands in for Vajpayee
For the second day today the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, was unable to attend Parliament, as he was nursing an infected throat. The Prime Minister was scheduled to reply to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on the motion of thanks to the President, but ``a recurring throat infection'' prevented him from attending to this conventional duty; instead, the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh, did the honours.

 India, Russia to chalk up plan to bust terrorism
India and Russia are getting ready to formalise interaction between their national security establishments to counter international terrorism spreading across the strategic arc extending from Afghanistan to Chechnya.

Minister quits
The Uttar Pradesh PWD Minister, Mr. Kalraj Mishra, today resigned from the State Cabinet in the wake of corruption charges levelled against him in the Assembly.

Pak. sees no change in India's stance
Pakistan today said the statement of the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh, about the possibility of ``talks about talks'' did not ``appear to reflect any change in India's position prescribing conditions for dialogue''.

Chandrika holds security review
The Sri Lankan President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, today held an overall review of the security situation in the immediate aftermath of the Elephant Pass military reversal.


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