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e guess nothing sells like Shah Rukh Khan. The actor, whose film Don 2 is set for a Christmas release, has started raking in the money already, or so we hear.

This Farhan Akhtar directed motion picture has sold its satellite rights for a whopping 37 crores, inform trade sources. It’s Zee TV who has bought the satellite rights for this movie.

Apparently, this is one of the biggest satellite deals to take place in the history of Indian cinema. It’s the hype of the movie along with the success of it’s predecessor that has helped it in scoring this big one at the box office.

It looks like the producers have already started their walk to the bank, smiling.

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Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee admitted that India is going through a difficult time as headline inflation is still high.

Briefing reporters here, on Sunday, after meeting with the chief ministers of southern states and the CEOs of public sector banks based in South, Mukherjee said headline inflation in the country remains “perilously close” to double digits but is expected to moderate to 6-7 per cent by March 2012 if the present declining trend continues.

“I do hope if this trend continues, then the year-end inflation... by March will be 6-7 per cent,” he said.

However, he highlighted that though overall inflation is high in the manufacturing sector, fuel and certain other commodities, food inflation has come down.
Food inflation fell sharply to a four-year low of 4.35 per cent in the week ended December 3 from 6.6 per cent in the previous week, while headline inflation moderated to 9.1 per cent in November from 9.7 per cent in the previous month.

Talking about the global slowdown, Mukherjee said, “It’s true that we are going through difficult times, not only in India, but also all over the world.” As per the latest assessment, there is no possibility of a recovery in the euro zone -- comprising 28 countries of the European Union -- till the third quarter of the next calendar year (2012), he said. Mukherjee said as per another assessment, there has been slow recovery in the US economy, but “how long it will continue and how far it is, is yet to be seen.”

“The same is the story with Japan,” he said, adding that the growth rate in many emerging economies has come down and the rate of inflation is also high in these countries.

Intensify financial services
Mukherjee asked southern states to intensify efforts to expand financial services such as banking and insurance to rural areas. “Out of 14,612 villages allotted to South Zone for provision of banking services, 11,114 villages have been covered by the end of October. This comes to about 76 per cent,” Mukherjee told chief ministers of the region.

Therefore, the rest of the villages representing nearly 24 per cent need to be covered in the next three months. This in turn will require quite a bit of efforts on the part of state governments and banks, he added. The government has set a target of extending banking facilities to 73,000 habitations by 2012. “We have been encouraging expansion of regional rural banks (RRBs) and 276 branches will be opened by March 2012 and 325 by March 2013 in the southern region. I request state governments to extend their full support for RRBs,” Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee expressed concern over the delays in the grant of various clearances for large infrastructure projects worth Rs 39,424 crore in the southern region, which he said, endangers their viability. “It has come to my notice that in the southern region, 14 projects with a total investment of Rs 39,424 crore are pending for want of various approvals,” Mukherjee said.

He requested the chief ministers to pay personal attention to the issue and review the status of large projects that are pending for want of water, electricity, land and state-level environmental clearances, among other approvals.
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