Food bill crushes rupee


New Delhi/Mumbai: The rupee hit an all-time low, plunging to 66.24 to the dollar, and the BSE Sensex slumped 590 points on worries about the impact of the Rs 1.35-trillion food security bill that the Lok Sabha passed on Monday, renewing doubts over the government's resolve to control spending ahead of elections next year, and as global sentiment weakened further amid fears of western military action against Syria.
The alarm over the fiscal deficit drowned out Fina­nce Minister P. Chid­a­m­ba­ram’s announcement in Lok Sabha, where the Opposition pilloried the government for its “reckless” economic policies, that the government had approved infrastructure projects worth Rs 1.83 trillion over the last six months and that just on Monday, it had approved 18 more projects worth `83,000 crore to revive the economy and shore up investor confidence.
Chidambaram blamed the economic woes on President Pranab Mukher­jee’s stimulus measures of 2008 – saying, “Fiscal deficit limits had been breached.
The CAD had swelled…” – and said the situation had improved after he took over, but had worsened again since May 22 this year when the US announced tapering of the stimulus in that country. 
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the government had lost control over the economy but was blaming the US, instead. “The market is disturbed. The PM and FM are well aware what the consequences of their policies will be. Yet, they are continuing with them,” Sinha said.  
"A non-performing government has generated a dangerous crisis, an economic disaster,” Dasgupta said, holding up the Food Security law itself as the government’s admission of its failure.

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