A D V E R T I S E M E N T
hikes key rates to tame inflation
On April 20, 2010, the Reserve Bank of India announced a 25 basis points
increase in repo and reverse repo rates as part of monetary tightening measures
to rein in inflation. The apex bank also announced a 25 basis points increase in
the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) for banks. Following the hikes, the CRR now stands
at 6 per cent while the repo and reverse repo rates stand at 5.25 per cent and
3.75 per cent, respectively.
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The RBI expected the hike in CRR to absorb Rs 12,500 crore from the banking
system. The apex bank said it was tightening liquidity in a bid to rein in
inflation which was hovering in double digits. The RBI, however, expected
inflation to remain at 5.5 per cent during FY 11 with the GDP growing at 8 per
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
On April 8, 2010, the Union government notified the ban on Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) in cigarette manufacturing. Manufacturing of cigars, cheroots,
cigarillos and cigarettes, of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes have been put
under the list of sectors where FDI is prohibited.
The government took the decision to enhance public accountability towards
proliferation of the anti-smoking regime in the country. The decision to ban FDI
is the latest in the government's long-standing drive against smoking. In 2008,
the government had banned smoking at public places and put a curb on tobacco
Earlier, 100 per cent FDI was permitted in cigarette manufacturing, but an
industrial licence was needed and the proposals required to be approved by the
Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
New foreign investment policy document
The Union government has launched a new policy document consolidating the
plethora of rules and norms governing foreign investment in the country under
one comprehensive document. The move is aimed at making available all
information on FDI policy in one place.
It will lead to simplification of the policy; greater clarity of understanding
of foreign investment rules among foreign investors and sector regulators, as
also predictability of policy direction.
Having a single policy platform that would subsume the 178 press notes would
also ease the regulatory burden for government; it will be updated every six
months. This consolidated press note will be superseded by a press note to be
issued on September 30, 2010 to ensure that the framework document on FDI policy
is kept updated.
Chinese hackers crack India’s top defence secrets
The computer systems of scores of Indian embassies, military establishments and
corporate bodies, as well as the email account of the Dalai Lama, were hacked by
a Chinese cyber spy ring between September 2009 and April 2010.
Hundreds of documents, including classified files, were stolen, says a Canadian
cyber-security team that monitored the ring—the Shadow Network—for eight months.
The Shadow Network focussed on India, especially its military. The Canadians, in
effect, hacked the hackers and saw many documents themselves.
The Chinese hackers stole foreign ministry reports on India’s policy in West
Africa, Russia and West Asia. They got National Security Council secretariat
assessments of security situations in Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur, as
well as the Maoist problem.
The penetration of India’s defence establishments was remarkable. Three air
force bases, two military colleges and an array of military institutes like the
Army Institute of Technology, Pune, were broken into.
The hackers seemed interested in any defence information they could find: from
sensitive issues like live fire exercises and Project Shakti—the army’s
artillery command system—to more innocuous material like personnel files.
“This is a very serious, broad spectrum assault,” said strategic technology
expert Ajay Lele, whose own agency, the Institute for Defence and Security
Analysis (IDSA), was robbed of 180 documents.
The ring is believed to be based in Chengdu, in China’s Sichuan province. The
cyber-sleuths, based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global
Affairs, avoided saying this was government-approved but did say it was
The Indian security establishment has little doubt the Shadow Network is cast by
Beijing. Says K. Santhanam, former IDSA head: “These rings are normally
consortia in which Chinese academia, intelligence and military work together.”
Union Budget passed after Rs 400 crore tax relief
On April 29, 2010, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced changes in tax
proposals that will benefit coffee growers, new hospitals and construction
sector while making it clear that service tax on domestic travellers would be Rs
100 per domestic journey and a maximum of Rs 500 for international travel.
Mukherjee announced these concessions that would cost the exchequer Rs 300-400
crore a year but did not touch the demand for rolling back the hike in petroleum
and fertiliser prices on which the entire opposition walked out before Lok Sabha
passed the Finance Bill, 2010.
Explaining the reasons for his inability to concede the opposition's demand, he
said the financial position was such that oil marketing companies faced an under
recovery of Rs 85,000 crore in 2010, apart from heavy outgo on account of
subsidies, interest and other payments.
years of National Rural Health Mission
As India celebrated completion of five years of National Rural Health Mission on
April 12, 2010, Assam won the best performing State award among the
north-eastern State category for implementing the programme well.
Rajasthan was adjudged the best performing State among the high-focus areas,
while Tamil Nadu claimed the award in the category of non-focus States.
Claiming credit for arresting the infant mortality rate (down to 53 in 2008 from
58 in 2005 when NRHM started) and maternal mortality rate (down to 254 in 2004
as against 301 in 2003), Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government
was in the process of designing a comprehensive programme on population
stabilisation in consultation with the State governments.
For the record, India has missed the goal of reaching 2.1 total fertility rate
by 2010, as envisaged in the National Population Policy of 2000.
For the future, five challenges have been listed for NRHM—transition from
curative to preventive health care, human resource management, setting of output
and outcome targets, convergence and inclusive growth and approaches to public
health that look at the different stages of health transition at State and
district levels so that appropriate strategies can be adopted.
quashes expulsion of Amarinder Singh by Punjab Assembly
In what is being viewed as a major political victory for former Punjab Chief
Minister and Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh, the Supreme Court has ruled
that his expulsion from the State Assembly on September 10, 2008 was
“constitutionally invalid” and ordered restoration of his membership.
If Amarinder had committed any irregularities in the allotment of land to a
private builder when he was Chief Minister during the tenure of the 12th House
of the Vidhan Sabha, the proper course of action for the State government should
have been to move the criminal law machinery, a five-member Constitution Bench
headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan held.
Further, the alleged improper exemption of land from the Amritsar Improvement
Scheme “was an executive act” in his capacity as Chief Minister which “did not
distort, obstruct or threaten the integrity of legislative proceedings in any
manner”, the apex court ruled.
Also, the exemption had taken place during the 12th term of the Vidhan Sabha,
whereas the constitution of the Special Committee to inquire into it took place
during the 13th term. “It was not proper for the Assembly to inquire into
actions that took place during its previous term, especially when there was no
relatable business that had lapsed from the previous term.”
The court clarified that its judgment would not act as a hurdle against the
investigation, if any, into the alleged role of Amarinder Singh in the Amritsar
Improvement Scheme notified on January 13, 2006.
of Afghan President Karzai
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, during his two-day trip to New Delhi on April 26,
2010, sought to allay India’s concerns over the proposed re-entry of the Taliban
in the Afghanistan government.
Karzai indicated that his government would enter into a power-sharing
arrangement with those elements of Taliban who had accepted the country’s
constitution and were not part of the Al Qaida.
His meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came in the backdrop of moves
being initiated by the Afghan government to enter into a power-sharing
arrangement with the so-called “moderate” elements of the Taliban. New Delhi is
worried that such a development will lead to the increased influence of Pakistan
In a statement issued after the meeting, Karzai said they had discussed the
upcoming Afghanistan peace consultative jirga that, he explained, should
“comprise people of Afghanistan, those from all walks of life to advise on how
to move forward for reintegration and reconciliation of those elements of
Taliban and others who have accepted the Constitution and are not part of the Al
Qaida or any terrorist network.”
The Afghan President also requested Prime Minister Singh to send representatives
to the follow-up to the London conference in Kabul so that “India can
participate once again in Afghanistan’s reconstruction”.
India was forced to backtrack on the Taliban issue after the US and other
European countries encouraged Karzai to do business with the Taliban at the
London conference held in early 2010. While the US and NATO countries are
looking for an exit route from war-ravaged Afghanistan, India is worried that
that this will have an adverse impact on the security and stability of the
Bangladesh lifts ban on Indian films
On April 24, 2010, Bangladesh announced that it has lifted an almost four-decade
ban on Indian films in a bid to boost attendances at cinemas. The move, however,
drew loud complaints from local actors and directors.
Films produced by Bollywood were banned from cinemas in Bangladesh since the
country’s independence in 1972 in a bid to protect the local movie industry.
The lifting of the ban comes amid warming relations between India and Bangladesh
after ties worsened between the neighbours when an Islamist-allied government
was in power in Dhaka from 2001 to 2006.
But not everyone supports the move. “Indian films will completely destroy our
film industry and our culture. At least 25,000 people will be jobless,” said
Masum Parvez Rubel, a leading star and a co-coordinator of a front against
China Prime Ministers to connect via hotline
On April 7, 2010, India and China signed an agreement to establish a hotline
between Prime Ministers of the two countries, as External Affairs Minister S.M.
Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi resolved to take the bilateral
relationship to new heights.
The agreement, under which dedicated phone lines will be set up in the Prime
Minister's office of the two countries, was signed by Krishna and Yang after
their talks in Beijing. This would enable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his
Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao to hold direct conversations whenever they want.
This is the first time in recent years that India has established a dedicated
hotline facility with any country. The two countries also decided to strengthen
their cooperation in regional forums and on addressing issues like global
financial crisis and climate change.
meeting between India-Pak Prime Ministers
On April 29, 2010, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart
Yousaf Raza Gilani held their first bilateral meeting in nine months to end the
diplomatic stalemate in ties between their two nations since the 26/11 Mumbai
At their hour-long meeting, described as an “exercise in soul searching” by
Indian officials, the two leaders decided to upgrade the bilateral dialogue to
the political level, something which Islamabad had been insisting upon for
After the Pakistani premier assured Manmohan Singh that his government would not
allow the misuse of the Pakistani territory for launching terror attacks in
India, the two PMs instructed their foreign ministers and foreign secretaries to
meet “as soon as possible” to work out the modalities to pave the way for a
“substantive dialogue” on all issues of mutual concern to restore trust and
confidence in the relationship.
Political analysts, however, pointed out that this was not the first time that
the Pakistani leadership has promised not to allow the misuse of the country’s
soil for anti-India activities. This commitment has been given to India time and
again by Islamabad since January 2004 when Pervez Musharraf was at the helm of
The two PMs did agree that there was lack of mutual trust that was impeding the
normalisation process and it was time to think afresh on the way to move
mole in MEA held
Madhuri Gupta, a promotee officer of the Ministry of External Affairs who was
posted as Second Secretary at the Indian mission for the last three years, was
arrested by Delhi police on April 25, 2010, on the charge of passing sensitive
information to her contacts in Pakistan’s ISI.
“We have reasons to believe that an official at the High Commission of India in
Islamabad had been passing information to Pakistan intelligence agencies. The
matter is under investigation. The official is cooperating with our
investigations and inquiries,’’ MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash.
Fifty three-year-old Madhuri, who is a spinster, was summoned to New Delhi on
the pretext of discussions on the SAARC Summit when she was taken into custody.
Medical Council Chief held for taking bribe
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Medical Council of India
(MCI) president Ketan Desai in Delhi on charges of corruption.
Desai and an associate, J.P. Singh, were picked up for allegedly demanding Rs 2
crore for granting recognition to a private medical college in Punjab. It is the
MCI’s responsibility to maintain standards in medical education and in the
Desai is also accused of granting recognition to several colleges that didn’t
meet required criteria. In 2001, he had stepped down as MCI president after the
Delhi High Court indicted him on corruption charges.
Meghalaya gets its 9th CM in 12 years
Meghalaya Chief Minister D.D. Lapang submitted his resignation to Governor R.S.
Mooshahary on April 19, 2010, paving the way for his deputy Mukul M. Sangma to
Sangma, elected as leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), was sworn in
as the 25th CM since Meghalaya acquired Statehood in April 1970.
Political instability in Meghalaya has seen eight CMs coming and going in the
past 12 years. Only two CMs have completed five-year terms since the State was
The Congress-led ruling alliance has a comfortable majority of 44 in the
60-member Assembly, though the Congress has 28 MLAs of its own. Its partners are
the United Democratic Party with 10 MLAs and six others, including three
Sangma, known to be a Lapang loyalist, is a four-time MLA from Ampatigiri
Assembly constituency. More importantly, he is believed to be the counter of
Congress to Nationalist Congress Party veteran and former Lok Sabha Speaker
Purno A. Sangma in the Garo Hills half of Meghalaya. This Garo tribe-inhabited
half has a traditional ambivalent relationship with the other half dominated by
Trouble began for Lapang after some Congress MLAs wanted him to drop three
Independents and the lone regional party (KHNAM) MLA from the Cabinet. Lapang
declined, saying he could not betray “friends” who helped him form the
Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government.
The Independents and some regional party MLAs had broken away from the NCP-backed
Meghalaya Progressive Alliance to help Lapang cobble together the MUA government
on March 19, 2008, after voters delivered a fractured verdict in the Assembly
elections that year.
kill 73 security personnel in the deadliest attack ever
In the biggest Naxal strikes in the country, the Left-wing extremists killed 76
jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and critically wounded eight
others in the restive Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on April 6, 2010.
The rebels had meticulously planned the entire operation; inviting security
personnel to walk into the trap laid on the Chintalnaar-Tademetla road, about
100 km from the district headquarters and some 540 km south of the State
The Naxalites, who were reportedly 1,000 in number, had planted landmines and
created temporary bunkers on the hilltops to easily target the jawans. The
kaccha road where the incident took place had been surrounded by hilly terrains
and dense forests.
The CRPF jawans did not get much time to take position and retaliate. The
Naxalites opened indiscriminate fire from the bunkers located at strategic
points and detonated a series of landmines.
A key reason for the CRPF’s dismal response to the Naxal attack has been their
lack of training. As CPO units poured into Chhattisgarh for Operation Green
Hunt, 5 battalions of the Border Security Force (BSF), 5 battalions of the
Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) and 2 battalions of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
were all put through jungle warfare orientation courses at Chhattisgarh’s
well-reputed Jungle Warfare College in Kanker. The CRPF, inexplicably, refused
to undergo this training.
Training at the Jungle Warfare College, as every organisation except the CRPF
seems to have known, has underpinned anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh since
2005, when the college was set up with the help of the Indian Army. Over the
last five years, Chhattisgarh has trained 12,700 policemen (including 3700 from
other States) at this institution. The college’s credo: Fight the guerrilla like
Instead of providing adequate training to each battalion that is sent into
counter-insurgency operations, the CRPF has relied heavily for success on
“elite” units, like its feared “Naga Battalion” which was based in Bastar for
several years before being pulled out. In 2008, the Home Ministry authorised the
CRPF to raise 10 COBRA (Commando Battalions for Resolute Action) units, for
counter-Naxal operations. But the regular battalions remain largely untrained,
pushed at will from election duty, to counter-insurgency, to patrolling
riot-affected areas, to anti-Naxal operations. The Home Ministry’s approach has
always centred on getting the CRPF to the trouble-spot. After that, it is left
to the harried battalion or company commander to deliver the goods.
The answer clearly lies in carefully training CPOs, especially before they go
into counter-insurgency operations.
New strategy to counter Naxals
The Union government is tweaking its strategy to deal with Naxals. The list of
changes includes: segregation within the CRPF to have specialist anti-insurgency
units, which will be trained to “attack first”; introduction of unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance; more choppers; and re-training of men on the
pattern of Indian Army before induction.
“Operations will go on…rather they are still on,” said well-placed sources,
adding that 10 such battalions had been trained specially for the “attack first”
policy which is the dictum of the Army and the BSF in dealing with adversaries.
The training will include ramping up of infrastructure with firing ranges and
also the use of the existing training facilities of the Army in Jungle warfare.
The Army’s jungle warfare expertise is such that even the Chinese Army conducted
a joint exercise with India in 2009.
For effective use, the CRPF—comprising 2.30 lakh personnel—will be segregated
into two parts. One will help the State governments in maintaining law and order
duties, while the other, comprising younger men, will deal with insurgents.
The CRPF has also made it clear that the State governments have to start raising
special operations groups of its local policemen, like in Andhra Pradesh and
J&K. The local boys know the population and glean out good information from
villagers which comes handy.
is a Press Note in FDI?
Foreign Direct Investment
into India is a capital account transaction under the Foreign Exchange
Management Act (FEMA), 1999. The Government of India and the
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulate such
The Government comes up
with new regulations or amends/changes the existing
ones, keeping in view the requirements that may exist
at a particular point in time. Various aspects of FDI policy are, accordingly,
pronounced/ notified through Press Notes issued by
DIPP, RBI circulars, Acts and changes in regulations.
DIPP itself has issued
about 177 Press Notes since 1991, covering various
aspects of FDI policy, including cross border investment, policy
liberalisation, policy rationalization and foreign
technology collaborations, Industrial Policy etc.
There are a number of
issues related to FDI policy that are currently under
discussion in the Government, such as foreign investment in Limited Liability
Partnerships (LLPs), policy on issuance of partly paid shares/warrants,
rescinding Schedule IV of FEMA, clarifications on
issues related to Press Notes 2, 3 & 4 of 2009 and on Press Note 2 of 2005, as
also certain definitional issues etc. When a decision on these is taken, the
Government decision would be announced and thereafter incorporated into the
ConsolidatedPress Note subsequently.
Education becomes a basic right
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Elementary Education Act came into
force in the country from April 1, 2010, amid an emotional appeal of collective
effort by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and loads of applauses for the
government from various parties, including those in the Opposition—the BJP and
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recalled the 100-year old resolve of Gopal Krishna
Gokhale, who urged the Imperial Legislative Assembly to confer on the Indian
people the Right to Education.
With the RTE Act coming into force, the fundamental right to education as
incorporated in the Constitution under Article 21 A also became operative.
Right to Education (RTE) Act has, however, come into force amid a whopping
shortage of 5.3 lakh school teachers. Add to this, an additional seven lakh
teachers that would be required for proper implementation of the Act that gives
a three-year window period to States to make education a fundamental right of
children in 6-14 age group and mandates setting up of neighbourhood schools with
Uttar Pradesh tops the list, contributing 32 per cent of all existing teachers’
vacancies in the country. Next is the Left Front-ruled West Bengal, where 53,000
posts were lying vacant, as per MHRD records. Bihar has 51,000 vacancies, the
figure for Chattisgarh and Orissa, the other educationally backward States, is
Single-teacher schools are another big challenge for the RTE law. Currently, 9
per cent (about one lakh) of the total 12 lakh schools at primary level have
only one teacher, whereas the RTE Act specifies that any school with enrollment
of up to 60 students must have at least two teachers.
Right To Education Act
is notified and will become a legally enforceable from 1 April 2010
Education Act is notified and will become a legally enforceable from 1 April
2010. Key features of RTE Act are : All children in 6-14 age group must get free
and compulsory eduction; No child shall be held back,expelled or required to
pass a board examination till Class VIII; There must be 25 % reservation for
poor children even in private & minority schools; There must be one teacher for
every 30 students; A child rights commission will look into violations of the
the PM’s address to the Nation on The Fundamental
Right of Children to Elementary Education.
This is the first time
that the PM is addressing the
Nation when a new act is coming into force.
About a hundred years ago a
great son of India, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, urged the
Imperial Legislative Assembly to confer on the Indian
people the Right to Education.
About ninety years later
the Constitution of India was amended to enshrine the
Right to Education as a fundamental right.
Today, our Government comes
before you to redeem the pledge of giving all our children the right to
elementary education. The Right of Children to Free
and Compulsory Education Act, enacted by
Parliament in August 2009, has come into force today.
The Fundamental Right to
Education, as incorporated in our Constitution under Article 21 A, has also
become operative from today. This demonstrates our national commitment to the
education of our children and to the future of India.
We are a Nation of young
people. The health, education and creative abilities of our children and young
people will determine the wellbeing and strength of our Nation.
Education is the key to
progress. It empowers the individual. It enables a nation.
It is the belief of our
government that if we nurture our children and young people with the right
education, India’s future as a strong and prosperous country is secure.
We are committed to
ensuring that all children, irrespective of gender and social category, have
access to education. An education that enables them to acquire the skills,
knowledge, values and attitudes necessary to become responsible and active
To realise the
Right to Education the government at the Centre, in the States and Union
Territories, and at the district and village level must work together as part of
a common national endeavour. I call upon all the State Governments to join in
this national effort with full resolve and determination. Our government, in
partnership with the State governments will ensure that financial constraints do
not hamper the implementation of the Right toEducation Act.
The success of any
educational endeavour is based on the ability and motivation of teachers. The
implementation of the Right to Education is no exception. I call upon all our
teachers across the country to become partners in this effort. It is also
incumbent upon all of us to work together to improve the working conditions of
our teachers and enable them to teach with dignity, giving full expression to
their talent and creativity.
Parents and guardians too
have a critical role to play having been assigned school management
responsibilities under the Act.
The needs of every
disadvantaged section of our society, particularly girls, dalits, adivasis and
minorities must be of particular focus as we implement this Act.
I was born to a family of
modest means. In my childhood I had to walk a long distance to go to school. I
read under the dim light of a kerosene lamp. I am what I am today because
I want every Indian child,
girl and boy, to be so touched by the light of education. I want every Indian to
dream of a better future and live that dream.
Let us together pledge this
Act to the children of India. To our young men and women. To the future of our
Features of Right to
The Right of children to
Free and Compulsory Education Act has come
into force from today, April 1, 2010. This is a historic
day for the people of India as from this day the right to education will be
accorded the same legal status as the right to life as provided by Article 21A
of the Indian Constitution.
Every child in the age
group of 6-14 years will be provided 8 years of elementary
education in an age appropriate classroom in the vicinity of his/her
Any cost that prevents a
child from accessing school will be borne by the State which shall have the
responsibility of enrolling the child as well as ensuring attendance and
completion of 8 years of schooling.
No child shall be denied
admission for want of documents;
no child shall be turned away if the admission cycle in the school is over and
no child shall be asked to take an admission test.
Children with disabilities will also be educated in the mainstream schools.
private schools shall be required to enroll children
from weaker sections and disadvantaged communities in their incoming class to
the extent of 25% of their enrolment, by simple random selection. No seats in
this quota can be left vacant.
These children will be
treated on par with all the other children in the school and subsidized by the
State at the rate of average per learner costs in the government schools (unless
the per learner costs in the private school are lower).
All schools will have to
prescribe to norms and standards laid out in the Act and no school that does not
fulfill these standards within 3 years will be allowed to function.
All private schools will
have to apply for recognition, failing which they will
be penalized to the tune of Rs 1 lakh and if they still continue to function
will be liable to pay Rs 10,000 per day as fine.
National Commission for Protection of
Child Rights (NCPCR) has been mandated to monitor the implementation of this
Census begins today with
Enumeration of President
We had earlier read about
the details that would be covered in the Census.
And also How the Census will be carried out.
The enumeration of the
President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil at
Rashtrapati Bhavan today, by the staff of the Office of the
Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, marked the launch of
the Decennial Census Operation and the preparation of the first ever National
Population Register. The preparation of the first ever National Population
Register is one of the biggest processes of its kind attempted anywhere in the
world so far.
Census 2011 will be
conducted in two phases. The first phase is called the Houselisting and
Housing Census. This is to be conducted between April
and July. This operation is to be conducted over a period of 45 days in each
State/UT. The details required for creating the NPR will also be canvassed
during this phase. The second phase called the Population Enumeration phase will
be conducted simultaneously all over the country from February 9-28, 2011.
Spread across 35 States and
Union Territories, the Census would cover 640 Districts,
5767 Tehsils, 7742 Towns and more than 6 lakhs villages. More than 24 crores
households will be visited and 1.20 Billion people enumerated during this
exercise. To carry out this massive exercise more than 2.5 Million people will
Railways Lift Record
Number of 165 Rakes of Sugar
In a major transporting
exercise under taken by the Ministry of Railways,
Railways have lifted 165 rakes of sugar in March 2010
thereby increasing the loading by more than 100% over the performance in
February and January 2010.
This became possible due to
a record loading of 80 rakes of imported raw sugar from Gandhidham area (Kandla
and Mundra Ports). Such high level of loading has brought down prices of sugar
in the country especially Delhi and UP.
Railways have to put in a
considerable amount of effort to mobilize sufficient number of wagons for this
mega exercise. One rake means one goods train
consisting of 42 wagons, each carrying approximately 60 tonnes.
There was a shortage of
sugar in the country for most part of this year (2009-10). In order to meet the
shortfall, large quantities of raw sugar were imported mostly at Kandla and
Mundra ports in Gujarat.
Smaller quantities also
arrived at Krishnapatnam and Kakinada ports in
Andhra Pradesh. The imported raw sugar was meant for refining in the
factories in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
INS Chennai – new Naval
The country’s third
indigenous Naval destroyer INS Chennai built at the Mazagon Docks. INS Chennai
has been built under the code name of Project 15 Alpha.
The 163 meter long INS
Chennai, propelled by four gas turbines is designed to
achieve speed in excess of 30 knots. The indigenously designed ship will have
state of the art weapons and sensors, stealth features,
an advanced action information system, a comprehensive auxiliary control system,
world class modular living spaces, sophisticated power
distribution system and a host of other advanced features.
INS Chennai will be fitted
with the supersonic BrahMos surface-to-surface missile system.
RBI at age 75 (or 96):
Old is not gold
government agency reaches its 75th year, does this
call for veneration? In the case of RBI, it is a wake up call for reform.
Age is a
Arms of government are
monopolies and do not face a market test. Creative destruction of laws and
government agencies does not happen by itself: it requires a special push called
economic reform. A continual and harsh scrutiny is required, of each agency and
law, asking whether it has reinvented itself adequately to reflect the needs of
today’s India. The older an agency is, the bigger the shortcomings are likely to
of role and function of RBI
The design of the
RBI Act is rooted in British
government committee reports of 1914 and 1925. As a consequence, there are two
fatal flaws: (a) the designers did not intend a central bank for a free India,
and, (b) essentially nothing about monetary economics
was known at the time. To some extent, the age of RBI is worse than 75 years: in
a few years there will be the 100th anniversary of the 1914 committee.
The role and function of
RBI was further distorted in the decades of Indian socialism, and put under
great stress with bank nationalisation. Far from maturing into a genuine central
bank, it became a central planning agency for finance. When central planning
died, the rationale for the existence of this central planner ended.
thinking in public administration in India
We now do things very
differently in India, when compared with the age of colonialism or the age of
socialism. SEBI (which is 18 years old) presents a useful comparison of the
present ethos of public administration:
SEBI regulates a competitive
ecosystem of exchanges and depositories – it does not own or run them. RBI
has the conflict of interest of owning and running a exchange and
depository, thus combining (monopoly PSU) service provision with regulation
in the manner of the old DOT.
SEBI does not trade on the markets that
it regulates. The RBI is a big market manipulator on the very markets where
it is supposed to be a regulator.
SEBI’s world is one with rule of law where all orders are public,
and there is a vigorous appeals mechanism at the SAT. RBI’s world is one
where actions are not public, where the same rule is interpreted differently
for different supplicants, and where financial
firms have neither an effective mechanism, nor the courage, to appeal.
RBI scores in the bottom decile of the
central banks of the world on the question of transparency. The agenda
papers of SEBI board meetings are on the SEBI
SEBI has overseen the greatest success
in Indian finance — the rise of a
world class equity market. This is the only area
where India appears in top 10 rankings in global finance. RBI has overseen
the greatest failures of Indian finance — the Bond-Currency-Derivatives
Nexus and banking.
It is now time to reinvent
RBI, drawing on what we have learned in recent decades worldwide about central
bank reform, and what we have learned in recent decades about law, regulation
and public administration through success stories such as SEBI. Such change
will, of course, be resisted by the incumbent. The DOT did not support telecom
reform; the Ministry of Steel resisted decontrol of steel prices; the EPFO
detests pension reform. The RBI is no different. It comes up with many different
elaborate arguments but always the same predictable
conclusion: the RBI is always right and nothing should be done by way of reform.
The views of RBI staff or loyalists are hence not useful in thinking about RBI
Force Station at Phalodi,Rajasthan
Bridging further the gap in
air defence in the western sector, a new Indian
Air Force (IAF) airfield, replete with modern
infrastructure will be inaugurated by Chief of the Air Staff,
Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, at Phalodi in
The airbase located between
Jaisalmer and Jodhpur will straddle the distance between the two airbases. The
base is ready to undertake all types of operations of
– towards paperless Govt. Office
program called e-Office has been developed byNational
e-Office provides a
platform for personalized, role based, secure access to internal information for
the employees that is accessible through any browser. Its salient features
include unified view of data, content and document
management, collaboration and messaging
services with SMS interface, single standards based directory service, identity
and access management role and integration of applications.
The implementation of this
system is expected to improve the employee productivity by introducing
collaborative working in digital workspace and thus pave the way towards
India-Australia Education Council
A landmark initiative to
constitute the India-Australia
Education Council has been agreed on by India and
Australia A first of its kind, this Council will bring
together government, academia, business and industry of both the countries to
further bilateral collaboration in theeducation sector.
Express gets 5 million visitors
Express gets 5 millionth visitor. This unique experiment in the area of
science and technology communication is unparallel elsewhere in the world and it
again reiterates the belief that India is not only leading in pure and applied
sciences but also in science and technology communication.
The Science Express was
flagged off by Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh and Chancellor of
Germany from Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station on October 30, 2007. The Phase III
started on October 2, 2009 from Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Most of exhibits have been
developed by the Max Planck Society, Germany, while some are indigenous, such as
glorious legacy of India, future programmes in science
and technology, achievements in IT, Biotech, Space, Nanotechnology, innovations
and discoveries including current issues.
coaches, the visitors explore wide areas in science in a fascinating
manner, such as Our Universe, Space, Black Holes, Galaxies,
Big Bang, Our Home in the Cosmos, Spaceship Earth, Nanotechnology, Building
Blocks of Life, from ‘Gene to Organism’, the World of Senses, Architecture of
the Mind, Technologies and Energy Sources for Future, Computer Applications in
Medicine, Biotechnology, Genetics, Cell Biology, and Global Challenges.
Financial &Eco. Partnership Launched
The India-U.S. Financial and
Economic Partnership to strengthen
bilateral engagement and understanding on macroeconomic,
financial sector and infrastructure-related issues has been launched.
The Partnership’s launch affirmed the commitment of India and U.S.
to cooperate on economic and financial issues – both critical in addressing
shared challenges and achieving shared goals in
The newly-launched dialogue will encompass discussions of economic
developments in both countries as well as
bilateral policy actions in the broader context of the
G-20 commitment to strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
Given the significant infrastructure needs in the years ahead, the
Partnership will also serve as a forum to share experiences and engage in a
robust and ongoing dialogue on infrastructure financing, including the
potential of private-public partnerships to unlock private sector financing
for critical investment.
The discussions focused on macroeconomic policies needed to
sustain growth in incomes and jobs; measures to reform financial regulation,
deepen capital markets as a means to improve growth and increasing financing
for infrastructure investment critical to future
productivity and economic growth.
mission failed: sad moment
India’s ambitious quest to
achieve total independence in cryogenic technology for launching satellite
launch vehicles suffered a setback with the
indigenous cryogenic engine in a Geo-synchronous
Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3) failing
to ignite and the vehicle tumbling into the sea.
The mission to put
communication satellite GSAT-4 in orbit
thus ended in failure. The vehicle, however, was not destroyed in mid-flight as
its trajectory was in a safe corridor over the Bay of Bengal.
The cryogenic technology is
crucial to put heavy satellites in geo-synchronous transfer orbit at an altitude
of 36,000 km.
GSLV – 3
vehicle GSLV-3 blasted off from the SHAR centre and
will put in geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) India’s 2,220 kg communication
satellite GSAT-4. It will have a seven-year mission life.
This proves our
capabilities and reflects our scientists’ determination to take up any
AIR correspondent reports that with this India will join the select club of 5
nations .It will also be the response to challenges posed by technology denial
This is the
first time India would be using indigenously built
cryogenic stage and technology, which is crucial to put communication
satellites weighing more than two tones in GTO.
The indigenous technology has come to fruition nearly 19 years after India was
denied the cryogenic technology.
Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 introduced
Cabinet approved a proposal to introduce
the Prevention of
Torture Bill, 2010 in the Parliament.
This is a step towards ratification of the Convention
against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly on 9th December, 1975 [resolution 3452(XXX)]. India had signed the
Convention in October, 1997.
Ratification of the Convention requires
enabling legislation having provisions that would be necessary to give effect to
the Articles of the Convention. Although some provisions exist in the
Indian Penal Code, they neither define “torture” as
clearly as in Article 1 of the Convention nor make it criminal as called for by
For ratification of the
Convention, therefore, the domestic laws of our country would require to be
brought in tune with the provisions of the Convention. This would necessitate
either amendment of the existing laws such as Indian Penal Code or bringing in a
new piece of legislation.
Public Sector Day
Public Enterprises in
association with Standing Conference of
Public Enterprises and public sector
fraternity will observe the ‘Public Sector Day’ on 10.04.2010 for the
The focus of the
Public Sector Day will be to recapture the
glorious history, contributions and achievements as well as the current spirit
with which the economic revolution is
being taken forward by the public sector.
Power and Reliance Infra – war in Mumbai
THE shenanigans surrounding
the Indian Premier League may be grabbing
all the eyeballs, but away from the headlines a littlenoticed war has erupted
between energy companies belonging to two of India’s
biggest business houses, the Tatas and the Anil
Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG).
In the past few days Tata
Power Company and
Reliance Infrastructure, or R-Infra, have been locked in an escalating
and bitter war of words over the terms of supply of power to the suburbs of
Mumbai. Both companies have approached the state government and the regulator,
Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), with proposals to take
over the power generation and distribution assets of the other.
Tata Power Company (TPC)
has told the government that it should
be allowed to take over parts of R-Infra’s
distribution network and supply power to around 3 lakh R-Infra consumers.
R-Infra, meanwhile, wants permission to acquire TPC’s generation assets located
in Trombay and Khopoli. Both propose to carry out these acquisitions at
so-called book value or the value mentioned in the company’s balance sheet,
which is a tiny fraction of the market value of these companies.
Dept. is behind IPL and its Franchisees
The premises of
World Sport Group (WSG), MSM—formerly known as Sony Entertainment
Television (SET)) and IMG had been surveyed.
WSG owns the telecast rights for the IPL
matches while MSM is the official broadcaster. IMG describes itself as
an organiser of sporting events. About 40 I-T sleuths were deployed to
survey the premises of these three companies.
Enforcement Directorate registered an
Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against the IPL under the
Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Wide-ranging investigations being
carried out by different agencies. ECIR is the equivalent of an FIR.
reason for the survey in Mumbai is to obtain details of a socalled
facilitation fee of $80 million connected to the restructuring of
thetelecast arrangements for the second edition of the IPL held in South
Africa. MSM had also agreed to pay a facilitation fee of $80 million to
WSG’s offshore company in Mauritius, according to media reports.
A report in The
Times of India suggested that the $80 million fee was negotiated by Mr
Modi without the consent of the governing council of the IPL. The amount
was siphoned off to a middleman, the report had suggested.
rules, tax is required to be deducted before making payments to
and officials had been verifying whether WSG (World Sport Group) had
sought the clearance of the tax department to
remit the amount.
Some tax experts
say since the money was sent from a bank in
Singapore, WSG is likely to claim
that there was no need to deduct tax as no
money was sent from India. But in the recent past, Indian I-T
authorities have aggressively tried to tax
such payments if it is determined that the income paid to an overseas
entity is generated in India.
In a number of
cross-border tax claims made by Indian tax authorities over the past
three years, including the famous multi-billion-dollar tax claim on
Vodafone, the nub of the
income-tax department case is that the country has a right to claim tax
on income generated in India, irrespective of the location where the
transaction took place.
Management Guru C.K.Prahalad passes away
Renowned Management Guru
C.K.Prahalad passes away.
Prof. Prahalad’s brilliance was dazzling. He was widely acclaimed as one of the
most influential management thinkers ever and his contribution to modern
business theory and practice was invaluable. Professor Prahalad’s bold and
amazingly innovative ideas benefited companies around the world, including those
in India. He was also a prolific writer, well known for many seminal works in
the field of management.
Professor CK Prahalad will
be remembered among the greatest thought-leaders of
the 21st century. His path-breaking work on strategy undoubtedly represents one
of the defining points in the evolution of management
A bachelor in Physics, he took up a job at Union
Carbide battery plant but destiny had bigger plans for
him. After coming back from IIM Ahmadabad, Prahalad joined Harvard Business
School for a D.B.A. degree in the year 1975. His essay co-authored with Gary
Hamel on the topic “core competence” is the most reprinted article in the
Harvard Business School.
The guru of the bottom of the pyramid approach, Prahalad has worked closely with
companies like Board of Directors of NCR Corporation, Teradata Corporation,
Hindustan Unilever Limited and the
World Resources Institute.
more model schools for backward blocks
The Cabinet Committee on
Economic Affairs (CCEA)
has approved a proposal to set up 1,000 additional model
schools as a benchmark of excellence in educationally backward blocks (EBBs)
through State governments. With these, the number of
model schools to be set up will go up to 3,500.
The cost of setting up
2,500 schools, which were approved by the CCEA in November 2008, was estimated
to be Rs. 9,322 crore during the 11th Five-Year Plan, of which the Centre’s
share is Rs. 7,457 crore. The requirement for the additional 1,000 schools, has
been estimated at Rs. 3,304 crore, the Centre’s share being Rs. 2,478 crore.
present proposal is meant for 3,500 EBBs in 27 States and Union
Territories, although the model school scheme will
cover 6,000 blocks in all States and UTs. All States will be
eligible for one model school with classes from VI to XII or from IX to
XII. These schools will have norms and standards equivalent to or better than
Kendriya Vidyalayas, but the medium of instruction and the affiliating board
will be decided by the State governments.
As much as 75 per cent of
the recurring and non-recurring cost, subject to scheme norms, will be borne by
the Centre except for special category States for which the sharing pattern is
These schools are expected
to act as pace-setting institutions and to have a demonstration effect on
neighbouring schools, according to the statement.
E-Governance Initiatives in the States in INDIA
Following are list of Some E-governance
Initiatives in different states
e-Seva, CARD, VOICE, MPHS, FAST, e-Cops, AP online—One-stop-shop on the
Internet, Saukaryam, Online Transaction processing
: Sales Tax
Administration Management Information
: Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion
Society, Treasury office, e-linking project
: Automatic Vehicle Tracking System,
Computerisation of website of RCS office, Electronic Clearance System,
Management Information System for Education etc
: Dharani Project
: Mahiti Shakti, request for Government
documents online, Form book online,
G R book online, census online, tender notice.
: Nai Disha
: Lok Mitra
: Bhoomi, Khajane, Kaveri
: e-Srinkhala, RDNet, Fast, Reliable,
Instant, Efficient Network for the Disbursement of Services (FRIENDS)
: Gyandoot, Gram Sampark, Smart Card in
Transport Department, Computerization MP State Agricultural Marketing Board (Mandi
: SETU, Online Complaint Management
: Jan Mitra, RajSWIFT, Lokmitra,
: Rasi Maiyams–Kanchipuram;
Application forms related to public utility, tender
notices and display