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Friday, September 28, 2012

Cut throat economists push for ethnic cleansing.Come October, GAAR is to be finished and black money economy would be omnipotent.For politics, it is high time for the final kill!We have to witness crudest form of genocide culture!

Cut throat economists push for ethnic cleansing.Come October, GAAR is to be finished and black money economy would be omnipotent.For politics, it is high time for the final kill!We have to witness crudest form of genocide culture!
Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time, Chapter: Nine Hundred Nine
Palash Biswas

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The government today exuded confidence that it will be able to raise Rs 25,000-Rs 30,000 crore from disinvestment and will remain very close to the fiscal deficit target of 5.1 per cent of the GDP in 2012-13. Meanwhile,Fitch Ratings has cut its 2012 growth forecast for India to 6 per cent from 6.5 per cent saying the country faces a deteriorating global growth outlook with diminished willingness or capacity to respond with domestic policy loosening, compared with 2009.We have to witness the crudest ever genocide culture now!

Cut throat economists push for ethnic cleansing.Come October, GAAR is to be finished and black money economy would be omnipotent. It is high time for the final kill!The final report of the Parthasarathi Shome panel, looking into the controversial retrospective tax issue, will be submitted to the Finance Minister on 1 October 2012, Monday, sources in the Finance Ministry said. The panel will also submit the final roadmap on GAAR on the same day.Meanwhile, corpoarte lobbying killed the land acquisition amendment act as a Group of Ministers (GoM) formed to examine certain provisions of the controversial Land Acquisition Bill met today but no decisions were taken in the meeting.India should try to completely deregulate diesel prices by the start of financial year 2014/15 as part of a strategy to cut its ballooning fiscal deficit, a government panel report made public on Friday said.The report, submitted to the government on September 3, before a hike in prices of diesel in mid-September, also recommended increasing the price of fuel by 4 rupees a litre.It also suggested cooking gas prices should be raised by 50 rupees per 14.2 kilogram cylinder.Armed with Supreme Court's opinion, the Government today appeared to caution the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) asking it to keep in mind the court's view that auction is not the only way to allocate natural resources when it does audit.On the other hand,the government today exuded confidence that it will be able to raise Rs 25,000-Rs 30,000 crore from disinvestment and will remain very close to the fiscal deficit target of 5.1 per cent of the GDP in 2012-13.  owever, in matters like allocation of coal and lignite, it said it has no choice but to auction because of the law in this regard.

"The point is that the underlying premise of the CAG reports, the implied benchmark against which loss or presumptive loss was judged, was auction.

"And to an extent the opinion of the Supreme Court says that the auction is not a constitutional mandate or an enshrined constitutional principle in disposing of natural resources, I sincerely hope that all constitutional authorities in future will bear that in mind while discharging their constitutional function", Finance Minister P Chidambaram told a press conference.

Perception among US corporate earlier this year that policy paralysis was afflicting India has changed following the government's reform initiatives, which have now paved the way for a renewed enthusiasm, Ficci President R V Kanoria said today.

"By and large, (allowing) FDI in multi-brand retail has been welcomed (here)," Kanoria said.

The earlier perception of policy paralysis "has now changed" in the US in view of the new set of economic reforms unleashed by India.

"There is a renewed confidence that India does mean business and the government also means business. It is very important the perception of India remains positive," said Kanoria, who has had several meetings with top American industrialists and US officials during his three city tour of New York, Chicago and Washington.

Based on his wide-ranging interactions in the US, Kanoria exuded confidence that the new set of economic reforms and liberalisation would bring in more FDI in India, particularly from the United States.

Referring to the energy dialogue being held in Washington, the Ficci president said there is tremendous scope for co-operation between the two nations in this sector, particularly towards clean and renewable sources.He cautioned, however, that it is important to not to be complacent at this stage.

"We should continue to tread on the reform process and take a call on some pending issues such as mobilising greater funding for infrastructure sector, introducing GST (Goods and Services tax) on priority basis, and getting simplicity and flexibility in labour laws," Kanoria said.

At the same, he said that the US also needs to review some of its policies if it wants to develop the strategic relationship with India and they need to give further concessions in their domestic trading policies.

The US also needs to share some of its technologies like smart grid and clean coal to benefit India.

"Right now US is funding its own exports through concessional finance. In the clean technology area we would like to see the US supplementing the Indian financial institutions," he said.

Kanoria added that India would have to sustain the reform process if it wants to sustain investors.

One of the apprehensions that has expressed here is that FDI in retail is a State subject and as such what happens if there is a change in government at the State level, he said.

As such "some amount of assurance is required that States would not change their policy", Kanoria said.

Under attack for nearly two years in the wake of CAG report on 2G spectrum auction that estimated a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore and the recent report on coal blocks allocation, government made use of the apex court's opinion yesterday to make its point.

Flanked by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Chidambaram said the whole problem was people pointed a finger at the government and said the policy was illegal and irregular.

"That criticism is neither based on law nor on logic. We have never defended irregularities or illegalities. Investigating agencies and the courts of law will hold people to account if they committed any illegalities," he said.

In mid-September, the government raised diesel prices by 5 rupees per litre, and limited the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinders for each connecton to six in a year.

The panel also said India needed to take "urgent reform" in urea pricing.

"We will decide next time. This week, I am going to Vietnam and I will be back on October 4. After that, we will meet. Three members gave their views. No decision happened today," Agriculture Minister and GoM Chairman Sharad Pawar told reporters after the meeting.

The government had constituted a 14-member GoM headed by Pawar last week after some ministers had voiced reservations against certain provisions of the Bill.

Rechristened as 'The Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition' Bill, it has been hanging fire since long even though the National Advisory Council headed by Sonia Gandhi has been pushing for the law and has framed its broad contours.

The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 was introduced in Parliament in September last year and was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee which submitted its recommendations in May.  

After the big-bang reforms, Law Minister Salman Khurshid today indicated government's keenness to push bills on food security and land acquisition, insisting that even Mamata Banerjee will not be able to oppose them.

He maintained that "the bills drive a deft political balance between populism and reforms".

"The draft (food security) Bill is being given the final touches by the Cabinet. This will ensure that poor will have their stomachs full. Nobody will sleep hungry. And when the law comes into force, people will get good food at low prices. 70 per cent of India will come into the ambit. We want to see which party can oppose the food Bill," Khurshid said.

The proposed Food Security Bill is estimated to cost the exchequer at least Rs 1.19 lakh crore in way of subsidy.

"We will also table the Land Acquisition Bill. This was (Trinamool Congress chief) Mamata's agenda at Singur. Can she oppose the Bill now? We are confident that SP and other allies will back this Bill. So there's no cause of concern about numbers in Parliament," Khurshid said in an interview on Aaj Tak channel.

The minister also said the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) will very soon be extended to the urban class .

Rebutting talk of running a minority government, he said "these Bills will have political consensus -- driving a deft political balance between populism and reforms".

Refusing to accept that there was a scam in coal block allocations, he said, "When there are incidents of rapes in the country, do we call India a rape capital. There is no coal scam. There could have been discrepancies in allocations. This is being probed."

Asked why UPA-II took three years "to shake off policy paralysis" and announce the reforms, the Union Minister said, "It's all about timing. The move wasn't sudden. We have to keep in mind when we make friends, anticipate when ties could snap and what alternatives we have," he said.

On the opposition to FDI in retail, he said, "BJP had even created a cabinet note on FDI. Another had even mentioned it in their manifesto. Why this U-turn now?" he asked.

Dispelling fears that retail giant Walmart would monopolize the market and shut down the local kirana stores, he said, "the Completion Commission will intervene if monopoly strikes root."

On the coal allocation issue, he said, "Those who didn't get coal blocks didn't object about being denied. So where is the scam? There is no conflict of interest in making recommendations. The CBI is already investigating the case. And remember the CAG has clarified it did not say competitive bidding was the only option to allocate blocks."

Khurshid tried to cap the controversy by saying, "A five-judge Supreme Court bench will give its verdict on competitive bidding. If the court says CAG was right, we will accept the judgment."

Despite the dare devil act to accomplish second generation reforms agenda, fiscal deficit knows no bound as fundamentals of agrarian crisis or production system or Indian economy are not addressed at all.

India's current account deficit shrank by 24 per cent in the April-June period from an all time high in the previous quarter, returning the balance of payments to surplus after an earlier worrying slide towards dangerous territory.The Reserve Bank of India data released on Friday showed India ran a balance of payments surplus of $0.5 billion in the April-June quarter, versus a deficit of $5.7 billion in previous three months. In the June quarter last year, India had posted a $5.4 billion surplus.The current account deficit fell to $16.55 billion in the June quarter, down from an all-time high of $21.76 billion in the March quarter, and also below the $17.54 billion deficit posted in the June quarter last year.The reduced deficits will be some relief for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose government was reduced to a minority last week by the withdrawal of a coalition ally in protest at a package of reforms aimed at shoring up finances, cutting fuel subsidies and opening the economy further to foreign investment.

"There is now a decision for disinvestment in several PSUs. Some more are under consideration. And, therefore, we believe that we could net about Rs 25,000-30,000 crore from that itself.

"Then there is spectrum auction, which is on stream. We have a target of Rs 40,000 crore," Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram told reporters here.

He said the government would take steps to curb wasteful expenditures and plug leakages in implementation of schemes.

"Wasteful expenditure, if any, will be strongly curbed and, therefore, I am confident that we will be able to come pretty close to our fiscal deficit target... We are cognizant of the fact that there could be a possibility (of wasteful expenditure)... we will be watchful," he said.

The fiscal deficit in the April-August period rose to Rs 3.38 lakh crore or 65.7 per cent of the budgeted target for the full fiscal. The government had budgeted fiscal deficit at 5.1 per cent of GDP.

"We are expecting that we will be able to come very close to our fiscal target if we are prudent in our expenditure where all important critical expenditure commitment will be fully met," Mayaram said.

Mayaram's comments come in wake of Vijay Kelkar Committee report which has pegged the receipt from disinvestment in the current fiscal at Rs 10,000 crore as against the budgeted target of Rs 30,000 crore.

"It would be extremely difficult for the Government to move ahead with its disinvestment programme, given the subdued equity market conditions. In our assessment, a conservative estimate for disinvestment receipts, if no policy interventions are made, would stand at around Rs 10,000 crore," said the report.

With five months of the fiscal already over, the government is yet to come out with stake sale offers of any PSU.

The Kelkar committee has said that the fiscal deficit in 2012-13 is likely to be 6.1 per cent as against the budget estimate of 5.1 per cent, in absence of "proactive policy actions", like reducing subsidy.

To contain the subsidy bill, the government had earlier this month raised diesel prices by over Rs 5 a litre and capped the number of subsidised LPG cylinders at 6 per year per family.

"Ongoing concerns over government economic and investment policy may be weighing on business confidence. The authorities' ability to respond with looser policy is constrained by India's high inflation, fiscal deficit and public debt," Fitch said in a statement.

The rating agency said reforms announced in September including liberalisation of FDI in multi-brand retail may help to restore confidence and lift investment, but the volatile political environment points to implementation risk.

Fitch projects India's general government deficit at 8.5 per cent of GDP in fiscal 2012, leaving little room for fiscal easing.

This is the third downward revision in India's growth forecast in the last fortnight. On Thursday, Credit Suisse cut India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for the fiscal year ending in March 2013 to 6 per cent from 6.5 per cent. Earlier, Standard Chartered Bank cut India's economic growth forecast for the current financial year to 5.4 per cent from 6.2 per cent.

India's consumer price index (CPI) for industrial workers at 10.31 percent in August from a year earlier, higher than an annual rise of 9.84 percent in July, government data showed on Friday.

The consumer price index for industrial workers rose by 2 points from the previous month to 214 in August, data released by the labour ministry showed.

The government uses CPI for industrial workers to fix wages for its employees.

India's statistics ministry separately releases annual inflation data based on the CPI every month. Annual consumer price inflation was 9.86 percent in July.

It was a strong start to the October series as the NSE Nifty closed about its psychological 5700 mark. Strong buying was seen in auto, metal, power and FMCG stocks. Reliance, ITC, ICICI Bank, HDFC and L&T were major contributors to the Sensex while Infosys, HDFC Bank, SBI and BHEL were negative contributors.The Sensex was up 183.24 points or 0.99% at 18762.74. It has touched an intraday high of 18869.94 and an intraday low of 18698.51. The Nifty was up 47.85 points or 0.85% at 5697.35. It has touched an intraday high of 5,735.15 and an intraday low of 5,683.45. About 1620 shares were advanced, 1227 shares declined, and 606 shares unchanged.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Pulok Chatterjee, has called for a meeting with power and coal secretaries on October 5. The issues on the table would be the progress made by the inter-ministerial group (IMG) on coal block deallocations and price pooling of coal, among other things.

Just days back, Coal India board had approved the modified fuel supply agreement (FSA) sans coal price pooling. The Prime Minister's Office has asked for an update on signing of new fuel supply agreement by CIL.

Launching of new coal block allocation policy and auction also to be discussed by PMO on October 5 at 4 pm.

The Indian economy is on the edge of a "fiscal precipice" and should urgently slash subsidies in diesel and petrol to curb a budget deficit that could hit 6.1 percent of gross domestic product in this fiscal year, a government panel said on Friday.

The panel delivered its report amid continuing jitters over the state of Asia's third-largest economy, where growth has slowed sharply and a large deficit caused by a ballooning subsidy bill has sparked fears of a credit rating downgrade.

The panel, whose recommendations are not binding, warned that failing to curb subsidies would see a flight of foreign capital and a potential downgrade.

Failing to tackle the deficit means India could potentially face a worse situation than the balance-of-payments crisis in 1991, when the country was bailed out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the report warned.

"The Indian economy is presently poised on the edge of a fiscal precipice, making corrective measures aimed at speedy fiscal consolidation an imperative necessity if serious adverse consequences stemming from this situation are to be averted in an efficient and timely manner," the report said.

"We cannot overemphasize the need and urgency of fiscal consolidation. Growth is faltering and inflation seems to be embedded. The external payment situation is flashing red lights," it said.

Amid political wrangling over a long-pending economic reforms programme, India's economy slowed to 5.5 percent growth in the April-June quarter, far below the country's expectations of near double digit growth.

The Finance Ministry will shortly move a Cabinet note for setting up of a National Investment Board (NIB) to provide fast-tracking clearances to mega projects in the infrastructure sector.

"The Finance Ministry is likely to move a Cabinet note on NIB today. The note is unlikely to mention any investment threshold for fast tracking infrastructure projects," a Finance Ministry official said.

Concerned over delay in implementation of mega projects, Finance Minister P Chidambaram during the meeting of full Planning Commission earlier in the month had proposed Prime Minister-headed NIB to accord speedy clearance to proposals.

"It is not necessary for projects to be worth Rs. 1,000 crore and above to come for NIB's consideration. The NIB will be headed by the Prime Minister," the official added.

Several large projects involving investments of Rs. 1.5 lakh crore are being held up because of delay in statutory clearances.

"The NIB's authority should extend to proposals/projects where the investment is above a certain threshold, say, Rs. 1,000 crore. Once the final decision is taken by the NIB, no other Ministry or Department or Authority should be able to interfere with that decision or delay its implementation,"

Chidambaram had said.

In June, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had approved setting up of an investment tracking system to ensure speedy implementation of mega projects envisaging outlay of over Rs. 1,000 crore.

The Department of Financial Services and the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council have to submit quarterly reports on the tracking being done by them and on identified issues to the Prime Minister's Office.

Declining output of crude oil, fertilisers and cement pulled down the growth rate of eight key sectors of the industry to 2.1 per cent in August from 3.8 a year ago, indicating persistent sluggishness in the economy.

The cumulative expansion of these industries in April-August 2012 slowed to 2.8 per cent from 5.5 per cent in the same period last year, according to official data released here today.

"The moderation in growth was on account of the negative growth in the production of natural gas, cement, fertilisers and crude oil, besides a decline in the growth rates of steel and electricity production," it said.

The eight industries include crude oil, petroleum refinery products, coal, electricity, cement and finished steel and have a weight of 37.9 per cent in the overall Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

Economists said the poor performance of the eight key industries reflects economic slowdown. These numbers would impact industrial production data for August to be released next month.

"The core sector numbers are bad. It will have its effect on IIP as well," Principal Economist D K Joshi said.

Natural gas and crude oil production contracted by (-) 13.5 per cent and (-) 0.6 per cent, respectively in August.

Fertiliser and cement output also shrunk by (-) 2.1 per cent and (-) 2.4 per cent during the month under review.

Steel and electricity production slowed to 1.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively. In the comparable month, it was 7.9 per cent and 9.4 per cent in that order.

However coal and petroleum refinery output grew by 11 per cent and 8.4 per cent in August, against (-) 15.2 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.

The eight core sector industries have a weight of 37.9 per cent in the overall Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

The growth in core sector industries in May, June and July, too, had moderated to 4 per cent, 3.6 per cent and 1.8 per cent.

Poor showing by the manufacturing sector had pulled down the GDP growth to 5.5 per cent in the first quarter of this fiscal, the decade's worst Q1 performance.

Industry body Assocham today announced launching of a campaign across the country to spread awareness among public about advantages of permitting foreign players to open multi-brand retail stores.

"Our campaign would spread awareness at the grass-root level that FDI is a blessing which would lead to massive job generation, inflow of foreign investments in villages, reduce farm wastage, provide farmers' their due in form of higher prices for their produce and will not have any impact on kirana merchants in any way whatsoever," Assocham President Rajkumar Dhoot said in a statement.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma launched the Assocham's pan-India campaign, titled 'Retail India: Advantages Farmers & Consumers' here today. Dhoot said the chamber has formed a core group of 10 past-presidents to hold 100 interactive sessions all over the country in cooperation with its 300 regional chambers on foreign direct investment (FDI) and its advantages.

"We have entrusted region-wise responsibilities to senior office bearers and past presidents to effectively carry out the campaign in north, south, east and west," he added. Dhoot said strong back-end infrastructure would help reduce wastage from farm production and improve efficiencies of a highly-fragmented food supply chain in India.

"Besides, it would also create about 1.5 direct and indirect jobs and give a much-needed push to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs)," he said. FDI in retail sector would lead to mushrooming of large outlets with different sales formats and generate new jobs in services sector, he added.

"Though some middlemen may be affected in the short-term, supply-side constraints will be removed and consumers will benefit as inflation eventually comes down," the president said.

India rejects UPA's fuel price hike, LPG cap, FDI: Poll

Feeling the pinch of the fuel price hike, the urban middle class has dealt a severe blow to the Manmohan Singh Government, giving the Prime Minister's push for reforms a big thumbs down. The aam admi, Congress' target group, feels the government has not just lost credibility in the face of corruption charges, but also that its policies are burning a hole in their pockets.

A CNN-IBN survey conducted across six urban cities shows that 57 per cent feel UPA 2 has failed its battle against inflation. The other big let down is corruption with 32 per cent of the respondents claiming it's a matter of concern.

After Mamata's exit, UPA 2 is struggling with numbers but adding to the nightmare are DMK and NCP who're now demanding a rollback of reforms. The Congress may try to appease its allies with sweet deals but the aam admi is gunning for its head.

When asked if the government's decision to hike diesel prices is justified, 87 per cent said no and that's a figure the government needs to worry about, and revamp its game-plan for 2014.

The decision to reduce the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders to 6 is hurting every kitchen as had been predicted by the Left and other opposition parties.
The government stands isolated with 93 per cent of Indians saying the move is unjust. In capital Delhi 99 per cent of the respondent have voted against the government's move.

So what should the limit on the number of subsidised LPG cylinders in a year be? The people of India say a realistic one cylinder per month is an essential requirement.

Battling negative public perception here's another shocker for the government. Dr Manmohan Singh's push for FDI in retail, a move clearly aimed at winning the support of the urban middle class has backfired at well.

A vehement no coming from 76 per cent of the respondents when asked if they think FDI in retail is a correct decision.

We asked what will be the impact of FDI in retail?

Fifty-three per cent think neighbourhood shops will be out of business and 23 per cent say the consumer will be the biggest gainer because of competitive pricing. Remember trade unions are a major votebank for political parties and the UPA cannot afford to get on their wrong side.

Under attack from the opposition, isolated by its close ally the TMC, desperately trying to hold on to the DMK and NCP as they too demand a rollback will UPA 2 be able to complete its full term?

Almost 41 per cent say no and 14 per cent claim there could be snap polls this year itself.

The government is clearly losing the people's trust and the Prime Minister is leading the nose dive. Labelled Underachiever by Time Magazine Dr Manmohan Singh seems to inspire no confidence among Indians either.
A vast majority - 67 per cent - say they have no faith in their Prime Minister and do not think he's capable of bailing the country out of the current economic crisis.

But even as the Prime Minister's popularity hits a new low, Mamata seems to have gained immensely by walking out of the UPA. Riding her pro-people and pro-poor agenda Mamata's strong stance is being hailed by the common man. Sixty-seven per cent support her decision to withdraw support and 64 per cent feel she's shown strong political will.

But UPA's loss is not NDA's gain. The lead opposition cannot expect to ride the anti-incumbency wave in 2012. As far as political alternatives go it's a toss between Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal.

Fifty-two per cent feel Anna made the right choice by not launching a political party but 40 per cent are in favour of Arvind Kejriwal's decision.

Interestingly a majority across metros claim they will support a candidate put up by the India Against Corruption group.

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