Economy in brief

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Bring black money back: India can now sign treaties with five more countries in its pursuit to bring back black money stashed abroad with the Cabinet approving such pacts on February 25. Under the agreements, India can seek information regarding secret bank accounts. The five countries include Malta, Georgia and Uruguay, sources said.

Dunkin’ goes full stream into India: The Canton-based coffee and doughnut chain on February 24 announced an agreement to open more than 500 restaurants in India over the 15 years, starting in early 2012. Dunkin’s deal — dubbed its “largest-ever international store-development commitment” — comes a month after rival Starbucks made a deal with conglomerate Tata Group to enter the largely untapped Indian market, where tea drinkers dominate.

Pranab lightens tax burden: Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee is set to spring a surprise on personal income-tax payers hurt by a sharp increase in prices. He could lighten the tax burden for those with an annual income of Rs. 5 lakh by Rs. 7,660 a year to compensate them for the increase in cost of living. The sum saved will be much higher for those with a higher annual income. The relief is set to come from a rejig in tax slabs, to be aligned with those recommended in the direct taxes code.

Food inflation rises to 11.49 percent; Food inflation rose to 11.49 percent during the week ended February 12 from 11.05 percent in the previous week, despite a 0.3 percent fall in the food article index during the week due to lower prices of vegetables and cereals. “Inflation in last 18 months has become a problem,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament on February 24. “We will expand frontiers of our ability to control inflation through National Food Security Bill,” he said.

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