Monday, February 16, 2009

Interim Budget 2009-10: Pranab plays by the book, no poll sops

External Affairs Minisiter Pranab Mukherjee, who currently also holds charge of the Finance Ministry presented the interim Budget for 2009-10 in Lok Sabha today (February 16) claiming that every effort has been made to fulfil promises made.

Refraining from tinkering with tax and duty rates in the interim Budget, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today (February 16) made a huge allocation of Rs 30,100 crore to Government's flagship rural employment programme and many other schemes in a bid to counter the economic recession.

Presentating the budget, Mukherjee said there was a need for acclerating pace of policy reforms, particularly in the financial sector.

"In these difficult times, when most economies are struggling to stay afloat, a healthy 7.1 percent rate of GDP growth still makes India the second fastest growing economy in the world," Mukherjee said.

Stocks extended losses to more than 3 percent on Monday after the interim budget failed to live up to investor expectations.

Despite the fact that revised estimates for tax collections during 2008-09 is projected at Rs 627,949 crore as against the budget estimate of Rs 687,715 crore, the Minister resisted the temptation of giving sops since it is an interim budget with General Elections just a few months away.

Highlights of the Budget

In view of the fact that security environment has deteriorated considerably with the Mumbai terror attacks giving an entirely new dimension to cross-border terrorism, the Budget increased the allocation for defence to Rs 141,703 crore including Rs 54,824 crore capital expenditure.

Aiming at enhancing expenditure on schemes to provide employment and lift the economy, the interim Budget for 2009-10 has planned a total expenditure of Rs 953,231 crore comprising Rs 285,149 crore in plan and Rs 668,082 crore in non-plan spending.

To counter the negative impact on exports due to the global economic crisis, the interest subvention of two per cent on pre and post shipment for certain employment sectors is proposed to be extended. Like the NREGS, the Bharat Nirman scheme gets a massive injection of Rs 40,900 crore in the coming year.

"In the current environment, there is a clear need for contra-cyclical policy and it calls for a substantial increase in expenditure in infrastructure development where we have a large gap and in rural development where the programmes such as Bharat Nirman and NREGS are playing a vital social role," Mukherjee said.

He said since the scope for revenue mobalisation is bound to be limited in a period of economic slowdown, any increase in plan expenditure will increase the fiscal deficit.

"Indeed, we may have to consider, the additional plan expenditure from 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent of GDP and gear up our systems accordingly," Mukherjee, who holds the additional charge of Finance, said in his 90-minute speech.

In the Budget estimates for 2009-10, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan has been given Rs 13,100 crore more while the Mid-day Meal Scheme will get Rs 8,000 crore, the Integrated Child Development Scheme Rs 6,705 crore and the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission will get an additional Rs 11,842 crore.

Among other schemes that got increased allocation are Rajiv Gandhi Rural Drinking Water Mission (Rs 7,400 crore), Total Rural Sanitation Programme (Rs 1,200 crore) and National Rural Health Mission (Rs 12,070 crore). To ensure continuity in financing of rural infrastructure projects, the Minister proposed RIDF-15 with a corpus of Rs 14,000 crore and continuation of the window for rural roads with a corpus of Rs 4,000 crore.

Mukherjee said the proposed provisions are appropriate for a vote-on-account but he pointed out that planned expenditure for 2009-10 will have to be increased substantially at the time the presentation of the regular Budget, if the economy has to be given a stimulus it needs to cope with the global recession that is likely to continue through the year.

The Budget makes a provision of Rs 95,579 crore for major subsidies including food, fertiliser and petroleum. For the coming year, gross tax revenue receipts at the existing rates of taxation are estimated at Rs 671,293 crore, of which the Centre's net receipts have been projected at Rs 500,096 crore.

With revenue expenditure estimated at Rs 848,085 crore, the revenue deficit amounts to 4 per cent of the GDP. Fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 332,835 crore which is 5.5 per cent of the GDP. This would be lower than in 2008-09 but higher than would be appropriate under normal circumstances, he said.

"However, conditions in the year ahead are not likely to be normal and therefore the high fiscal deficit is inevitable. We will return to FRBM targets once the economy is restored to the recent trend growth path," he said.

Mukherjee said extraordinary economic circumstances merit extraordinary measures. "Now is the time for such measures. Our government decided to relax the FRBM targets, in order to provide much needed demand boost to counter the situation created by global financial meltdown.

"Indeed, depending on the response of the domestic economy and the revival of the global economy, there may be a need to consider additional fiscal measures when the regular budget is presented by the new government after the elections. However, the medium term objective should be to revert to the path of fiscal consolidation at the earliest," he said.

Touching on the revised estimates for 2008-09, he said the total expenditure has been revised to Rs 900,953 crore against Rs 750,884 crore, an increase of Rs 150,069 crore. The plan expenditure for 2008-09 was placed at Rs 243,386 crore in the Budget estimate which has now gone up to Rs 282,957 crore in the revised estimates. The additional plan spending of Rs 39,571 crore is on account of increase in the central plan by Rs 24,174 crore and an increase of Rs 15,397 crore in central assistance to state and UT plans.

On the non-plan side, the additional Rs 110,498 crore in the revised estimate is accounted for by an increase in expenditure of Rs 48,863 crore on fertiliser subsidy, Rs 10,960 crore on food subsidy, Rs 15,000 crore on agriculture debt waiver, Rs 7,605 crore on pensions and Rs 5,149 crore on police. An additional amount of Rs 9,000 crore has also been provided for in defence expenditure.

In keeping with the recent trend, the actual tax collections during 2007-08 exceeded the revised estimate for the year both for direct and indirect taxes. However, for 2008-09, the revised estimate for tax collection is projected at Rs 627,949 crore as against Budget estimate of Rs 687,715 crore.

This shortfall is primarily on account of government's proactive fiscal measures to counter the impact of global economic slowdown on the Indian economy, Mukherjee said. A substantial relief of about Rs 40,000 crore has been extended through tax cuts, including a fairly steep across-the-board reduction in central excise rates in December last. Despite this, it is expected that the tax collections will exceed last year's collection.

Taking into account the variations in receipts and expenditure, the current year expected to end with a revenue deficit of Rs 241,273 crore as against Budgeted figure of Rs 55,184 crore.

Accordingly, the revised revenue deficit stands at 4.4 per cent of GDP instead of 1 per cent in the Budget estimates. Similarly, the fiscal deficit of 2008-09 has gone up from Rs 133,287 crore in the Budget estimate to Rs 326,515 crore in the revised estimates. The revised fiscal deficit is estimated at 6 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as against the budgeted figure of 2.5 per cent.

Rs 10 crore allocated for NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), set up in the wake of audacious strikes in Mumbai, has
been allocated Rs 10 crore for 2009-10.

The NIA, which is under the administrative control of Home Ministry, was set up by an Act of Parliament in December 2008 soon after the November 26 terror strikes in which more than 180 people were killed.

The agency has concurrent jurisdiction which empowers the Centre to probe terror attacks in any part of the country, covering offences, including challenge to the country's sovereignty and integrity, bomb blasts, hijacking of aircraft and ships, and attacks on nuclear installations.

Last month, senior IPS officer Radha Vinod Raju was appointed as Director General of the NIA.

Highlights of Interim General Budget 2009-10

* Growth forecast at 7.1 per cent for 2008-09

* Total expenditure for FY'10 seen at Rs 9,53,231 crore

* Plan expenditure estimated at Rs 2,85,149 crore.

* Non-Plan expenditure pegged at Rs 6,68,082 crore.

* Revenue expenditure at Rs 8,48,085 crore.

* Centre's net tax revenue pegged at Rs 5,00,096 crore.

* Revenue deficit 4 per cent of GDP.

* Fiscal deficit at 5.5 per cent of GDP.

* Major subsidies estimated at Rs 95,579 crore.

* Two per cent interest subsidy for exports extended till Sept for employment oriented sector.

* Defence allocation at Rs 1,41,703 crore.

* Rs 30,100 crore allocated for rural employment scheme.

* Bharat Nirman allocated Rs 40,900 crore.

* Rs 12,070 crore for National Rural Health Mission.

* Rural drinking programme allocated Rs 7,400 crore.

* Rural sanitation programme gets Rs 1,200 crore.

* Rs 14,000 crore for rural infrastructure development.

* Mid-day Meal scheme allocated Rs 8,000 crore.

* Rs 6,705 crore for Integrated Child Development Scheme.

* Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan allocated Rs 13,100 crore.

* Urban renewal mission gets Rs 11,842 crore.

* Government to recapitalise public sector banks.

Budget Trivia

* This is the UPAs 6th Budget

* Pranab's first Budget Speech in the UPA govt

* Earlier five Budgets were presented by P Chidambaram

* Mukherjee was Finance Minister between 1982 to 1984

* During this period Dr Manmohan Singh was RBI Governor

What is an interim budget?

1. 'Interim Budget' is described as a Vote-on-Account in Article 116 of the Constitution.

2. Vote-on-Account is presented when government has no time to present full Budget or elections
are around the corner.

3. In such cases, propriety demands new government have lee-way to present a policy and
financial outlook as per their priorities.

4. Vote-on-account primarily takes Parliament sanction for spending to be incurred in the first few
months of a new financial year till new government takes over.

5. Nothing prevents the government from making new announcements or tax changes, but
conventionally this has not been done.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Interim Budget---a tamasha

This is not just that old 'guns vs. butter' argument, but a call of more of the latter and in a strictly literal sense, about roti, kapda and makaan. And if there is an argument here, it is about what kind of butter to buy.

In a few days, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, standing in for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will present the interim budget. Before he firms up the budget proposals, Mukherjee will have to asses the requests by the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, for additional sums for development work.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ahluwalia has asked for an additional Rs 55,000 crore for social welfare programmes, over and above what the finance ministry (now under Mukherjee) has earmarked for this year’s budget. As Ahluwalia says, the finance ministry has said Rs 285,149 crore is available for 2009-10. That, he flatly says, is not enough. And this is why:

* this is an increase of only 4 per cent in nominal terms over the gross budgetary support of
2008-09. In real terms, this is a reduction.

* As a result, it will not be possible for the government to provide any form of fiscal stimulus to
ward off the possibility of doom and gloom. While Ahluwalia doesn’t say that in so many words,
by referring to ‘stimulus,’ he has the global economic crisis in mind.

In an election year, when every possible sop has to reach the voter (he must at least know more are coming), this will not do. So, Ahluwalia is looking for growth, particularly as the wolf of depression is at the door. He wants:

* The fiscal deficit that is being kept at 5 per cent be increased. If the fiscal deficit is increased by
1 per cent, another Rs 55,000 crore would be available and that would swell the gross budgetary
support to Rs 340,000 crore.

* This, he says would be a substantial increase, as it would be a 24 per cent increase over the
Revised Estimates of the previous year’s budget.

The alternative to having this stimulus is pretty grim. The Rs 285,149 crore GBS would be only an increase of Rs 11,000 and very little can be done for the big schemes that the UPA government led by Dr Manmohan Singh is pinning its faith on. Also, there will be little for the new programmes like the National Knowledge Network, the construction of roads in Naxal-affected areas and such like. If you go with such a small increase in these economically difficult times, there is no stimulus and we are at the mercy of the wolves of the Great Depression of this century.

Yes, the additional Rs 55,000 crore will raise the overall deficit to about 9.5 percent but even that is tolerable compared with this year’s deficit of 11.3 per cent. If the increase remains at Rs 11,000 crore, some of it (about Rs 1,958 crore) crore will go as additional central assistance to the states.

* Rs 300 crore goes for the Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme
* Rs 600 crore goes for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games
* An additional Rs 910 crores will additional buses and other facilities under the Jawaharlal Nehru
Urban Renewal Mission

Central sector schemes will also benefit:

* About Rs 1800 crore will go for Railway overbridges
* Rs 2000 crore will go for highways in the Naxalite-affected areas
* About Rs 300 crore for the already lavishly funded Rural Employment Guarantee Fund

The Dr Manmohan Singh government has invested in a number of major projects. There is a belief that the success or failure of these projects will play a part in the elections three months away. And these projects are about big numbers.

* The National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme: Rs 30,300 crore
* The National Rural Health Mission: Rs 12,050 crore
* The Midday Meal Scheme: Rs 8,000 crore
* The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan: Rs 12,050 crore
* The Indira Awas Yojana’s: Rs 8,800 crore
* The Integrated Child Development Programme: Rs 6,300 crore

The significant feature of these numbers is not how big they are: together these six programmes alone add up to 75 per cent of India’s entire defence budget. The important point is that the numbers are no different from this year’s revised estimates. This means that the government of India has no additional funds to bolster the six flagship programmes of the government, on which it has bet its life on.

With an Rs 11,000 crore increase, only a few major schemes will get some more money. These are:

* The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana: an additional Rs 1,470 crore
* The Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana: an additional Rs 500 crore and
* The Accelerated Power Development Programme: an additional Rs 580 crore

Also, strategic ministries would not get a penny more: atomic energy would stay at Rs 3,550 crore, space at Rs 3,600 crore and science and technology at Rs 1530 crore. Only highways and road transport and information technology would get big hikes of Rs 2,000 crore and Rs 1,500 crore respectively. (NOTE: All numbers mentioned are not projections by some chamber or association, but allocations being firmed up by the government itself. They WILL change if the additional money, or even some part of it comes through)

Severe burden on the exchequer they may be, the social welfare programmes have hopefully done some good. As Ahluwalia himself has said privately, the NREGA has done well in some states and not as well in others. As the government believes, even if they are partly successful (there are enough cases of leaks) some benefits will accrue and that will translate into votes.

So, think of the growth strategies with an additional Rs 55,000 crore. Not to speak of welfare schemes.

Friday, February 13, 2009

All means will be used to end terror coming from Pakistan,' says Pranab

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Thursday said that India would use all means at its disposal to end terror coming from Pakistan.

Welcoming the Pakistan Government''s admission that some part of the Mumbai attack conspiracy had been hatched on Pakistani soil, Mukherjee described the 26/11 incident as one of the "most gruesome" manifestations of terrorism."

"Pakistan's response (on Thursday) is a positive response, and we will share whatever we can with the neighbouring country," Mukherjee said.

"It remains India''s goal to bring the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai to book, and to follow this process through to the end. We would also expect that Pakistan takes credible steps to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan," he told corporate executives in the national capital.

Reiterating India''s determination to end the cross-border scourge, Mukherjee said Mumbai was chosen as the target by Pakistani terrorists as they wanted to hit India''s business and corporate "vistas".

Terrorism, he said, poses multi-dimensional challenges and "the Mumbai attack of 26/11 was only the most recent and the most gruesome example of this scourge of terrorism that needs to be tackled in a resolute manner," he said.

Quoting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said, "We will spare no effort to deal with terrorist and insurgent groups operating from neighbouring countries. We are determined to put an end to terrorism sponsored from across the border with all the means at our command."

"The government is fully aware and seized of the fact that security is not only of paramount importance in the life of the nation, but is also deeply intertwined to the running of business in our country," he said.

He said a large number of measures and significant steps had been taken to strengthen the apparatus for dealing with emerging challenges to national security. Mukherjee''s response came hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani''s Adviser for Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik, confirmed that part of the strategy for the terror attack on Mumbai between November 26 and 29, 2008, may have been hatched on Pakistan soil.

However, Malik also fired 30 questions at the Indian Government such as details of fingerprints of the 10 gunmen, their intercepted phone conversations with their handlers and the DNA of lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab, saying answers to them were needed by Islamabad to complete a credible probe from its end.

Malik urged India to provide more inputs to help Pakistan secure convictions of personnel allegedly involved in the 26/11 strikes.

Pakistan, he said, wanted Kasab''s national identity card, electronic and digital diaries seized and the confessional statement made by him in the Indian court and details of who helped in refuelling of one of the three boats used by the terrorists.

The other questions relates to the probe by Indian investigators on local links in the Mumbai carnage, call details from each of cellphone used by the terrorists since they had Indian SIM cards and DNA details of the nine dead terrorists.

Pakistan also wanted inputs on how Kasab identified Lashkar-e-Taiba Operations Commander and alleged 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that the Government will follow the process of action initiated by Pakistan through to its logical end as it is keen to ensure that perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice.

The statement was issued soon after Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Satyabrata Pal was "informed officially" by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir of Pakistan''s response to the dossier of evidence that India had given to Pakistan on January 5 linking the Mumbai attacks to perpetrators in Pakistan.

It is expected that Mukherjee will give a formal response to Pakistan''s latest disclosure Friday.

Monday, February 9, 2009

India have failed complete a series whitewash against the Lankans as the visitors have lost the fifth and final One-dayer by 68 runs. Team India drop to third spot in the ODI rankings.

India’s record breaking sequence of nine consecutive ODI triumphs was brought to an end on Sunday (February by Sri Lanka who salvaged some pride with a consolation 68-run win in the fifth and final One-day cricket match of the series which has already been clinched by the visitors.

The defeat means that India could not make a clean sweep of the series and had to be content with a 4-1 victory margin.

Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan missed a ton by just three runs and Kumar Sangakkara’s hit 84 while spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan regained form just in time to avoid the series whitewash.

Half centuries by Yuvraj Singh (73), debutant Ravindra Jadeja (60 not out) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (53) could not be enough as Indian top order failed to click and the visitors were rolled over with seven balls to spare in chase of Sri Lanka’s challenging 320 for eight on a batting track.

The Indians went into the final match without key players like Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and spinner Pragyan Ojha with the team management deciding to try out bench strength.

Yuvraj gave some stability to the run chase after his side was reduced to 85 for four inside the 15th over. India, however, struggled again after some time as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals on a day when nothing went right for them.

A cautious Dhoni and Jadeja only tried to delay the inevitable by putting on 55 runs off 66 balls for the seventh wicket.

Dhoni’s effort included two massive sixes and a hit to the fence. He reached his 50 with a towering six. Jadeja’s 77-ball knock was aided by four fours.

India round off the tour with a one-off Twenty20 international on February 10 before returning home next day.

The visitors got off to a shaky start with opener Virender Sehwag dismissed cheaply for six by Thilan Thushara on a poor shot after hitting the bowler for a four on the previous ball in the second over.

He was immediately followed by Suresh Raina, who was done in by an impeccable field placing by Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene in the third over and at that stage India were tottering at nine for two wickets in chase of a mammoth target.

The other opener Gautam Gambhir, who made 150 in the previous day-night affair, also buckled under pressure and was out for 13 off Nuwan Kulasekara, who got him caught by wicketkeeper Sangakkara in the ninth over. Rohit Sharma (15) then returned to pavilion in the 15th over.

India’s hopes suffered a further jolt when Muralitharan removed an in-form Yuvraj Singh. The offie caught the Punjab batsman, who adorned his 73-run knock with 11 boundaries and a six, off his own delivery.

Dhoni took charge of the proceedings for almost next 10 overs before he was sent packing by Sanath Jayasuriya.

For Sri Lanka, Dilshan (97) missed his century as Indian bowlers charged up only in the 42nd over to struck gold in the form of three crucial wickets. A blazing Sangakkara’s stint was also cut short on 84.

Sri Lanka were appearing to be doing everything right in their bid to salvage some pride as Jayawardene called the coin correctly and then veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya (37 off 35 balls) gave a superb start to his team.

It was great going for the hosts on a batting track till the 42nd over as they were 255 for two wickets with Dilshan and Sangakkara sharing the honours by stitching together a 143-run partnership for the second wicket.

But then Indian bowlers dismissed four Sri Lankan batsmen in the space of just two runs with Ishant triggering the collapse by bowling Thilina Kandamby (26) out on the second ball of the 42nd over.

Depleted bowling did India in: Dhoni

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed lack of bowling resources for their defeat to Sri Lanka in the fifth and final cricket One-dayer, which halted their stupendous nine-match winning run.

India had rested its key players such as pacer Zaheer Khan, spinner Pragyan Ojha and batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar but Dhoni said it was crucial to try out youngsters with the series already in their pocket.

“Our bowling was not strong. But it was good to have a go at the guys who had not played. Ravindra Jadeja got a chance see what international cricket is all about and how tough it can be sometimes,” Dhoni said after 68-run loss which prevented them from making a clean-sweep of the series.

“Overall it was good, though we lost (today), we won the series,” he added.

The Indian captain dedicated the series win to his teammates, who, he says back each other and enjoy each others success.

“The overall team morale is good. It’s important to have good dressing room atmosphere and guys back each other and enjoy each other’s success.

“Whenever I needed them they were there, whether I needed a batsman or a bowler (to perform). So I dedicate this win to my teammates. Hopefully, we will continue to win more tournaments,” Dhoni said.

India 3rd at ranking

The loss in the final ODI has hurt India in the ICC rankings while South Africa maintain their lead at the top of the ODI rankings. It is Australia who have regained the second spot thanks to their win against the Kiwis in the 3rd ODI today.

But even though India lost the 5th ODI. It was a good day for Saurashtra all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja who made his debut for India. The stylish left-hander slammed his maiden ODI fifty on debut and held his own against the top class Lankan bowlers. The 20-year-old scored his runs almost at a good scoring rate without taking too many risks. Jadeja who also bowled 6 wicketless overs earlier smashed 5 boundaries in his innings and looks set for a longer stint with the national team.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ponting reveals long-term plan behind current decline

The Australian cricket team's current decline is an unavoidable
fallout of a long-term plan to win the 2011 World Cup, insists
embattled skipper Ricky Ponting.

"One-day games and series come and go pretty quickly and while our
current results have been disappointing everybody has to understand
there is a long-term plan in place and things can change quickly,"
Ponting wrote in his column for 'The Australian'.

"Even now we are working toward the 2011 World Cup, blooding
players, testing tactics and finding out who performs under pressure,"
he explained.

Recalling the 0-3 whitewash at the hands of New Zealand ahead of the
2007 World Cup in West Indies, Ponting said his team was lambasted
after that defeat but went on to win the World Cup without losing a

"Australia has not lost a game at the past two World Cups and that
didn't happen by accident, but I wonder if anybody remembers the 2007
one-day series against New Zealand over there," he said.

"I didn't go because my back was playing up. Adam Gilchrist had a
rest, which attracted a bit of comment at the time and Michael Hussey
was handed the captaincy," he recalled.

"It was a time when people like Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Shaun Tait
and Mitchell Johnson were given a chance to show what they had.

results weren't flash. We lost 3-0 and it was right on the eve of the
World Cup. I remember the criticism of the team and the speculation
about whether Gilly and I should have been rested, but it was part of a
plan to ensure our better players, or more experienced players, were
ready for the big tournament," Ponting said.

Ponting said the team is in a similar situation right now.

"We're a bit further out from the World Cup right at the moment, but
it's a similar situation. There's been criticism about me not playing
the next few games and I was probably the person who was most reluctant
about it, but it's all about the bigger picture. A lot of planning has
gone into this decision, just as there was before we decided to rest
Mitchell Johnson for the start of the one-day series," he said.

"People have to be a little patient with some of the younger
players. They are long-term investments. Shaun Marsh and David Warner
are learning on the job. Everybody can see what enormous talent they
have, but in this game there are going to be steps forward and steps
backward," he added.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Spain heralds 'legendary' Nadal

The Spanish press heralded Rafael Nadal's Australian Open victory only minutes after the top-ranked player became the first Spaniard to win the season-opening Grand Slam.Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 at the Rod Laver Arena to win his sixth major trophy and third straight Grand Slam final over Federer, who was denied a chance to tie Pete Sampras' record 14 major titles on Sunday."Nadal reaffirms his legend in Australia," the Diario de Mallorca wrote on the front page of its Web site. El Mundo's Web site called the victory "Undeniably Nadal," and AS labeled the 22-year-old from Mallorca the "King of Australia."Nadal has won three of the last four majors after taking a fourth straight French Open and first Wimbledon title in 2008. Nadal replaced Federer at No 1 after a record 237 weeks in August and then won the Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games."He's a great champion, and a great example to all of the young people through the world," said Emilio Sanchez Vicario, Spain's former Davis Cup captain.Nadal has won five of the seven Grand Slam finals he's played against Federer and is 13-6 overall against the Swiss star.Three Spanish players had reached the Australian Open final before Nadal, with Carlos Moya being the last when he lost to Sampras in 1997.
click &read <>& answer<>

Seesmic Updates

(Loading ...)
Add to Mixx!

Stumble Upon Toolbar I'm on pownce
    follow me on Twitter
    Locations of visitors to this page
    eXTReMe Tracker

    Find the best blogs at

    Visit to discover Indian blogs BlogFlux Tools Blog directory Progressive Bloggers Blog Search blog directory
    My LIVE Mobile Update(when powered by Matrix SIM) Free Meta Tag Generator

    Plaxo Badge

    Don't copy

    Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape Note: Copyright © 2000-2008 S.Chatterjee. All Rights Reserved. | Copyright © 2000-2008 Whatanews4u. All Rights Reserved.
    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.