Indian Stocks Decline on Reform Concerns, Bharti Airtel L

Indian stocks fell amid concern the government will struggle to implement measures to revive growth.

Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BHARTI), the largest mobile-phone operator, retreated to near a six-year low. Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), owner of the world’s largest refining complex, surged the most in two weeks. Housing Development Finance Corp. (HDFC), the top mortgage lender, fell the most in a week. The BSE India Sensitive Index (SENSEX), or Sensex, lost 0.2 percent to 17,844.69, according to preliminary closing prices in Mumbai.

India’s main opposition party demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resign after a report by the chief auditor last week said the government may have lost $33 billion by giving away coal blocks rather than auctioning them. Offshore funds have bought a net $11.5 billion of shares this year, a record for the period, on optimism Singh will revive reforms stymied by opposition from his allies as he seeks to bolster an economy growing at the slowest pace in almost a decade.

Both houses of parliament were adjourned yesterday after protests and disruptions by groups led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, threatening to deepen the political impasse that has stalled legislation and cabinet decisions on allowing foreign investments in retailing, pensions and insurance. The auditor’s report said the government gave undue benefit to companies including Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. (JSP) and Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA) by awarding mining contracts at negotiated prices. Asia’s third- largest economy grew 5.3 percent in the March quarter, the weakest pace in nine years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Santanu Chakraborty in Mumbai at schakrabor11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net

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