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February 07


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Dear Friends,

Warm greetings to you and your family from the MapsofIndia team. Let me take this opportunity to present you the February issue of our new-look newsletter. We hope you liked the January issue of our newsletter. As we prepare to welcome spring, it is a time to rejoice and celebrate in many parts of India as reflected in the various festivals. Spring is a season of rejuvenation; it is a celebration of nature and life itself. This issue of the newsletter is packed with many informative articles and preview of our products. We hope you like this month's newsletter and await the next issue with bated breath.

Warm Regards,

Mani Singh

mani@mapsofindia.com
India Budget-2007
The entire country is eagerly awaiting this year's budget which will be presented this month. In the upcoming budget 2007-08 agriculture, infrastructure development and BCTT (Banking Cash Transaction Tax) are expected to receive the highest priority. In agriculture insurance "weather related parameters" are expected to receive attention. Agriculturists have also demanded that Special Economic Zones (SEZ) should not be allowed to encroach agriculture land. An agriculture package including major and minor irrigation is expected especially for the farmers of Vidarbha. In the infrastructure sector government is planning to invest more on Railways, Roads and Shipping.

Withdrawal of Banking Cash Transaction Tax is also being expected in the coming budget. The tax was introduced in 2005-06 to stop money laundering but in the light of objections from many State governments it is expected to be withdrawn. In this year's budget, the minimum alternate tax (MAT) may come for some adjustment. Major airlines have requested the finance minister not to tax the foreign pilots under Indian income-tax laws, which will help the domestic airlines to cut over the wage bill for foreign pilots. The finance minister may also announce a package for the small-scale industries.
Assembly Elections 2007
Punjab Three crucial states-Punjab, Manipur and Uttarakhand go to the polls in February. Punjab will go for the polls on February 13. Counting of votes will begin on February 27. There are a total of 117 Assembly constituencies in Punjab, where an electorate of 16918436 will decide the fate of 1055 candidates. Among the main candidates in the fray are Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his arch rival Parkash Singh Badal. The Congress party is contesting 115 seats while the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal is contesting 92 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) has put up candidates in 23 seats. Other main parties in the fray include the Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP), Communist Party of India(CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist(CPI-M) and the Nationalist Congress Party(NCP). Manipur

Manipur goes to the polls in three phases on Feb 8, 15 and 23. Counting of votes for all the three phases begins on February 27. In Manipur, a total of 1707562 eligible voters in a total of 60 constituencies will decide the fate of 308 candidates. All the leading parties including the Indian National Congress(INC), Nationalist Congress Party(NCP), Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), Manipur People's Party have put up their candidates.

Uttaranchal In Uttarakhand, elections will be held on February 21 and counting of votes will start on February 27. There are 70 assembly seats in the state which a total electorate of 6082755. The elections will decide the fate of 806 candidates. Voting will take place on February 21 in 7491 polling stations. The main contest is between the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) and the Congress.

The results of these three states are very important to gauge the mood of the voters. Another crucial state Uttar Pradesh will go to the polls in April. All the political parties are taking these state assembly elections seriously. It remains to be seen how they fare after the counting of votes.
Kerala
Kerala "God's own country"-indeed these words aptly describe the beauty of Kerala. A land of unspoilt beaches, swaying coconut palms, languid backwaters, houseboats, splendid temples, churches, mosques, spices et al- Kerala is truly a dream travel destination. Not only this, Kerala is famous for its mouth-watering cuisine. Kerala has emerged as a major destination for health tourism, with many institutions in the state offering Ayurveda packages. A holiday in Kerala is the perfect remedy to soothe your weary body and soul. Among the many holiday destinations in Kerala, some deserve special mention. Among them, Kovalam beach is one of the most picturesque beaches in Kerala and is known world over for its magical beauty. Kerala has many hill stations. The most-famous among them is undoubtedly Munnar, situated at a height of 1600 m. Munnar is well-known for its sprawling tea plantations and exotic flora and fauna, like the Neelakurunji, which blooms once in 12 years.

Cochin, known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea" is famous for its churches, Chinese fishing nets, splendid palaces and is known as the commercial capital of Kerala. Waves of travelers and merchants including the British, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch have come to the shores of this incredible city in the past. Thiruvananthpuram, the state capital is a must-see for every visitor to Kerala. There are plenty of sights and sounds in Thiruvananthpuram for you to discover including temples, museums, beaches and many others. Alleppey (Alappuzha)is known as the "Venice of The East" and is famous across the world for its languid backwaters and houseboats.

Kumarakom, situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, is one of the most famous attractions of Kerala. It has a bird sanctuary and is famous for its boat cruises. The list of tourist destinations in Kerala is endless. So whether you are looking for beautiful beaches, cool hills, ornately designed temples, churches or mosques, picturesque backwaters or sumptuous food, Kerala is the place to be.
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