Amid reports that he had already sent his resignation to the Prime Minister, RailwayMinister Dinesh Trivedi attended Parliament, saying it was his "duty".A day after Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjeedemanded his sacking, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi attended Parliament saying itwas his “duty to get my Railway Budget passed in Parliament”.“I am going to Parliament as a Minister. I have come for Question Hour. I have to answermy questions. I am doing my duty, let me do that please” he told reporters before enteringLok Sabha.“But if my leader Mamata Banerjee or the Prime Minister asks me to resign, I will doso,” he told journalists in a brief interaction without taking further questions.Trivedi has not resignedIn the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the Mr. Trivedi has notresigned, but that a communication from Trinamool Congress chairperson MamataBanerjee was under “active consideration” of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Amid turmoil over the Trivedi issue, Mr. Mukherjee told the House that thecommunication from Ms. Banerjee was received late last night and “as and when adecision will be taken, the House will be informed.”Mr. Mukherjee did not divulge details of the communication and his remarks came afteropposition uproar over the issue of reported resignation of Trivedi as Railway Minister.BJP and Left leaders described the situation as “unusual and unprecedented” and soughtclarifications from the Prime Minister as it showed his coalition government in “poorlight” and as “weak“.Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Sharad Yadav (JD—U), Basudeb Acharia (CPI—M) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) had given notices for suspension of Question Hourand sought clarification from the government.Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed their notices but allowed them to have their say.Mr. Trivedi was sitting in the front row in the Lok Sabha which is usually occupied bysenior ministers and questions were listed against his name for reply during QuestionHour.However, the House was adjourned before the questions could be taken up.Ms. Swaraj also wanted clarification on the Railway Budget, to which Mukherjee said thegovernment owned up the proposals that were approved by him as Finance Minister.
Govt. to consider replacing TrivediPrime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the government will "consider"replacing Dinesh Trivedi if such a situation develops.“Well, if anything like this develops, we will consider it,” Singh told reporters inParliament House.Following are the highlights of Economic Survey 2011-12, as detailed in the website ofthe Press Information Bureau:Click here for infographics based on the Economic Survey 2011-121. Rate of growth estimated to be 6.9%. Outlook for growth and stability is promisingwith real GDP growth expected to pick up to 7.6% in 2012-13 and 8.6% in 2013-14.2. Agriculture and Services sectors continue to perform well. 2.5 % growth in Agrosector forecast. Services sector grows by 9.4 %, its share in GDP goes up to 59%.3. Industrial growth pegged at 4-5 percent, expected to improve as economic recoveryresumes.4. Inflation on WPI was high but showed clear slow down by the year-end; this is likelyto spur investment activities leading to positive impact on growth.5. WPI food inflation dropped from 20.2% in February 2010 to 1.6% in January 2012;calibrated steps initiated to rein-in inflation on top priority.6. India remains among the fastest growing economies of the world. Country’s sovereigncredit rating rose by a substantial 2.98 percent in 2007-12.7. Fiscal consolidation on track - savings & capital formation expected to rise.8. Exports grew @ 40.5% in the first half of this fiscal and imports grew by 30.4%.Foreign trade performance to remain a key driver of growth. Forex reserves enhanced -covering nearly the entire external debt stock.9. Central spending on social services goes up to 18.5% this fiscal from 13.4% in2006-07.10. MNREGA coverage increases to 5.49 crore households in 2010-11.11. Sustainable development and climate change concerns on high priority.Keywords: Ecnomic Survey 2011-12, Economic Survey, Industrialgrowth, economy, agricultural growth
Akhilesh Yadav, son of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, was on Thursdaysworn in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the youngest-ever to hold the office.Mr. Yadav at 38 will be the 33rd Chief Minister of the most populous State. He wasadministered the oath of office by Governor B.L. Joshi.He took oath in the presence of his father, family members, leaders of various politicalparties and prominent personalities.Nineteen ministers of Cabinet rank were also administered the oath, besides 29 ministersof state.The Cabinet ministers are Azam Khan, Shivpal Singh Yadav, Ahmad Hasan, WaqarAhmad Shah, Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh, Ambika Chaudhary, Anand Singh,Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya, Balram Yadav, Om Prakash Singh, AwadhshPrasad, Parasnath Yadav, Ram Govind Chaudhary, Durga Prasad Yadav, BrahmaShanker Tripathi, Kameshwar Upadhyaya, Raja Ram Pandey, Raj Kishore Singh andShiv Kumar Beria.Keywords: Akhilesh Yadav, Uttar Pradesh politics, Uttar Pradesh governmenthe Reserve Bank today kept key policy rate unchanged and said future policy actionwould be determined by the movement in inflation.“On the basis of the current macroeconomic assessment, it has been decided to keep thepolicy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 8.5 per cent,”RBI said in its mid-quarterly review.It has also kept the cash reserve ratio (CRR), the portion of deposits which banks arerequired to keep with the central bank, unchanged at 4.75 per cent.“...notwithstanding the deceleration in growth, inflation risks remain, which willinfluence both the timing and magnitude of future rate actions,” RBI said in its guidancefor the future.Inflation rose to 6.95 per cent in February which is much above the Reserve Bank’scomfort level of 5-6 per cent.Last week, the RBI had reduced CRR by 0.75 percentage point to 4.75 per cent to infuseRs. 48,000 crore into the system to mitigate pressure on account of payment of advancetaxes.Rail passengers, who have not experienced much of a fare hike in the past eight years,will be in for a shock when they buy ticket for journeys with effect from April 1, much asthe Trinamool Congress has raised the red flag against its own Minister on the issue.
Hike in Rail Fares (PDF)The “rationalisation” of fare is harsh on the short-distance traveller who will have to bearup to a 150 per cent increase, while the higher class passengers will be burdened with ahike by about 30 per cent.In Dinesh Trivedis Railway budget proposals for 2012-13, the hike is incrementallylinked in terms of the distance of travel, besides the class and the train. The across-the-board fare hike will generate an additional revenue of Rs. 7,000 crore in 2012-13.Mr. Trivedi proposes to introduce a fuel adjustment component in the fares. When itcomes into being, the fares will go up further.All fares have been rounded up to Rs. 5 that becomes the minimum fare for bothsuburban and urban commuters. The lowest fare of Rs. 2 is done away with.The platform ticket will cost Rs. 5, up from Rs. 3.All fares, second class suburban and non-suburban, ordinary second class mail andexpress, sleeper class, 1st class, AC classes and in Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto andJanshatabdi trains, have been raised.For second class suburban travel, the increase is 2 paise per km, which is the same as fornon-suburban second class. In second class mail and express trains, it is three paise a km.The minimum distance for charge is 60 km.For sleeper class, the increase is five paise a km.For AC chair car, it is up by 10 paise a km. The minimum distance for charge is 150 km.For AC 3-tier and first class, the increase is 10 paise a km.For AC 2-tier, the increase is by 15 paise a km. The minimum distance for charge is 300km.For AC first class, the increase is 30 paise. The minimum distance for charge is 300 km.While the second class non-suburban short-distance traveller, for a journey of up to 10km, will have to bear a 150 per cent hike, there are other slabs which entail a 30 per centincrease.The minimum fare in AC 3-tier coaches is Rs. 405 for a distance of 300 km. Travel up to2,500 km means a fare of Rs. 1,690.For travel by AC 2-tier, the minimum fare is Rs. 560 and for a distance of 2500 km, it isRs. 2375.
In AC first class, the minimum fare is Rs. 955 and for a distance of 2500 km, it is Rs.4,150.Similarly, the rates for AC Duronto have been raised by up to 20-30 per cent dependingupon the class.Rajdhani fares go up by 23-30 per centComments:Why thinking about a fare hike? There are a lot of untapped areas in Railways to increaserevenue.from: sajeeshkariyedathPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 14:36 ISTInstead of taking the railways to newer heights in terms ofmodernization,services and safety the railway-budget as always ispresented without any substantial increase in rail fares(even forthe AC class).This depicts the over-growing concern of TrinamoolCongress for sympathy votes of "aam aadmi". This is not a good trendwhen price hike is an inevitable consequence of a growing economyand global market.Instead of burdening the government fordevelopment of Railways , a better decision on hiking the fareswould have contributed a lot in developing this public utility. Ifthe trend continues it will meet the fate of our aviation industry.from: Amit AdhikariPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 14:52 ISTThe bad railway is going to be worse.from: Pramod KumarPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 14:59 ISTAnd we go on shelling-out more. I wonder how Nehru wanted this to be like the thenSoviet Union, when his own family was so capitalistic? And did he misread the pulse ofthe nation, which was materialistic to say the least? In his (Nehrus) family, let me bevery clear, they wanted one set of behavior from others, and an entirely another set forthemselves. Its amazing this country has continued voting for them, when simultaneouslyyouve had leaping poverty, malnutrition, water & electricity shortage, chronicinfrastructure, paralyzed bureaucracy, environment degradation, and the list of undonethings is very long, and astonishing. The BJP as the principal opposition has onlyfollowed their systems, rather than influencing change, and getting elements back inorder. But at least the BJP worked on various projects, unlike this Party (Congress) which
follows everything Western (from PR, to Marketing, to Media Mgmt, etc), therebydeliverance being zero. Reminds you of Nehru (Western)?from: Sunit Jang BahadurPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 15:21 ISTIn the budget speech the rail minister mentioned -perhaps needlessly-several times the name of his party chief. It left one wondering whetherthe cabinet system is being followed in India, with Ministers owingtheir office to the PM. It is sad that the role fo PM is being dilutedby these utterances.from: s subramanyanPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 15:26 ISTAtleast this rly minister dared to increase the fair across the classes, however minimalchanges, but its a good move. The burden over rly has increased exponentially over theyrs, including the fuel price rise, the 6 CPC recommendation and other increasing inputcosts. The ever increasing passeneger expectations to bring hygienic and safe journey hasnot been fulfilled due to several impending reasons. The rly is truly the back bone ofIndia, its running across the corners of the country. Only railway has dared to reachwhere other govt instruments havent able to make their presence felt. Despite its hugesocial service objective, the organisation must not be sacrificed to be used as a merepolitical tools for ever, the leader at the helm must muster the courage to show somebusiness mettle to run a business venture. Its a proffessional organisation, which requiredan apt management, we cant afford it to meet similar fate what most of the PSUs. Hopebetter sense prevail!from: anand jhaPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 16:39 ISTThis railway budget is effected the common people in the name of "difficult phase" goingfor the railway.from: Ajay KumarPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:04 ISTThe making of the poor people as the scapegoat in Indian politics need to be checked toavoid the worst form of exploitation. Most of the promising bills are stalled by theopposition and some other political parties giving the poor peoples welfare as the reason.Should we allowed a free run of this politics????from: Hejang MisaoPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:09 IST
Railways budget is not done in the longer interest of the country. The railway fare shouldaccommodate the operational cost and contribute for future replacement of rolling stockand expansion of railway lines by doubling as well as laying of new lines so that commonman can enjoy the fruits of developemnt. whereas the railway ministers always keep theirpolitical agenda in their mind and prepare the budget to suit their winning chances in thegeneral elections and not bothered about the existance of the organisation. every indian isnot bothered to pay reasonal fares compared to bus fares. even today the differencebetween the road fare and train fares ranges from 30 to 50 %. There fore I stronglyrecommend to increase the passenger fares reasonably so that the fares take care of futurefund requirement of railways to improve its performance and lay more new rail lines tosuit the needs of the people.from: sreeharinarayanaPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:10 ISTThe Railway Ministers budget today would be opposed by the common manwho have not seen rise in Railway fare for nearly a decade. It is wrongmove, he could have rationalized the freight rates on the other hand. Hewill earn more brickbats than bouquet.from: R. Bhavani ShankarPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:11 ISTIt is reported during the Railway Budget that they will get 3000 crores fromGovt@8.55% int. Instead Railways may be permitted to raise Development Bond Taxfree at 3% from Indian Public which will reduce the cost of borrowing.Railways canrevive their old plan of having dormitory hotels across the country which will give them agood revenue .To reduce the overheads Ticket issuing can be outsourced to handicappedpublic.from: VSBALASUBRAMANIANPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:18 ISTI agree with people about their opinions on the UPA government. But i just have onequestion to put forth.. Do you honestly believe that removing congress from power andelevating another party, say BJP, to rule the country is going to help us?? Is it a given thatthe next party is going to do things any different? I mean, okay they might not do somebad things as blatantly as the present UPA does but still they too are going to fill theircoffers whilst in power and leave the masses in licking their wounds. So why all this cryabout the removal of UPA? Agreed they are maybe bad for the country. But ultimatelytheir successors would also follow the same path albeit on a much lesser scale(hopefully).I feel all this anger against UPA has been instigated by the opposition parties only andnot the common mans voice.. and that is because UPA have been in power for close to10 years and they havent had a bite of the cherry in a long time. So friends please dontfollow this polit(r)ic(k)s!!
from: NIKPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:31 ISTAround 35% of Indias population, earns Rs. 32 per day that is Rs. ~950 per month. In anordinary class train, he can only travel 19 km in one month salary. The message is poorpeople should not travel.You will see more beggars in the trains now!This budget is only for few percentage of Indias population. Its definitely againstcommon man.from: MukeshPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:34 ISTI dont understand all this protests surrounding the hike. It has only happened after 10 yearand the price rise itself is a nominal one(5%-15%). Railways was the most profitable armof the govt 10 yrs back but it stood still for 10 years. During those time there wereinnumerable hikes in Buses, fuel, food and basically everything else. Railway had to takethis step to generate revenue so that they can in turn provide better facilities, newer trainsand safe journey to the people. Where does everyone think the money for railway comesfrom... it has to come from the people..Better service comes at a price and in this case asmall pricefrom: ThomasPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:35 ISTFinally a brave step to increase the fares which was much needed. Hope this does notbuckle under populist and political pressure.from: HarisharanPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 17:46 ISTRailways had cash reserves of Rs 19,000 crore in 2007-08, a major portion of which gotdepleted and railways was left with only Rs 5,000 crore in May 2010. Financial results ofRailways between April and December were not very encouraging and it is believed thatthis year’s revenue target is not expected to be achieved. As per Railway Budget2011-12, the current year budget will have a deficit of Rs 3,500 crore. By September2011, cash reserves of railways had completely vanished. All this shows that railway’shealth is already very poor.Recent demand for a bridge loan of nearly Rs 2,100 crore has surprised many as untilrecently railways ran a surplus and had been contributing significantly to the centralbudget by way of dividends. The railways has asked for this loan to facilitate its ongoingprojects, which are getting affected due to the resource crunch in railways. Apart fromthis loan, Railway Finance Corporation Ltd. has also been asked to issue bonds for Rs10,000 crore.
from: shiyas IbrahimPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 18:06 ISTI totally agree to hike in fares. Rising fuel prices and equipment costs have to be metwith. New routes need to be laid and existing routes need to be repaired or maintained.The Indian Railways cannot just become another ailing PSU. Also a loss making railwayswill tremendously lower the morale of its employees.from: Ashwini KumarPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 18:06 ISTI personally feel the graduates from elite B-Schools and institutionswith standing repute in economics studies should involve themselves inthe management of these large governmental organisations to experimentinnovative and cost effective management strategies. I wonder how therailways is termed to be in a bad phase despite its employee unionsnot to reflect anything close to it. A detailed audit report of notthe Railways as a whole but of all the regional railways should bemade public(at least in their regions) for people to understand thespending culture in these organisations. After all, as they say, thedevil is in the details!from: BharadwajPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 18:24 ISTFine with me as long as they give the trains (especially in southIndia) a paint job. Trains in all directions are in depressingconditions, with leaky toilets and sometimes no water and the windowsills are so grimy, even in First class or the ac compartments, onehas to wash ones hands after opening them. Some improvement onrailway platforms which now sport some dustbins and are kept fairlyclean but it is a torture to arrive early and wait for a train as anannouncer repeats the same news or the wrong information about trainarrivals. We all know the timings of our trains and if they are latewell there is nothing more to do but wait, and the waiting is badenough but to have a shrill loud female voice shouting over theloudspeaker (especially in Coimbatore) Train No. XXX to destinationXXX will arrive shortly at platform no 2, an instant later the samething and this goes on ad infinitum. No chance to listen to the ipodmusic or have some peace and quite for a conversationfrom: angela alvaresPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 19:50 ISTThere is nothing wrong in marginal increase in the fares of the railways if the safetyservice part looks up.I would like to ask B.J.P. what is the bus fare in Bangalore which is
run by its Govt.In some places rs.7/- for a K.M. or less.I especially want to congratulatethe bold R.M. who is putting the country before the party.But look at the P.M. He stoodby the corrupt minister Raja and P.C. who is facing a case for cheating in election andalso being a party in 2G scam.from: ShivajiPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 20:16 ISTA good move by Indian Railway.from: sumit kumar raiPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 20:40 ISTIts such a small price hike, especially after almost a decade of noincreases in rail passenger fares! The Government cant subsidizeeverything. Its barely a hundred rupee increase for Delhi to Chennaisleeper class, and couple hundred for AC. People earn more now, andshould quit making a scene. They can pay, no problem. And Mamata shouldquit her usual drama.from: IyerPosted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 21:46 ISTThis was a hike after 9 years. In 9 years the world economy has changed a lot. Trivedisbudget speech impressed me with the hikes being not harsh like that has happenedrecently in Tamil Nadu for road transport.This is a nominal raise and after 9 years andwhen people werent opposing the party in its own has derailed it . Doesnt make sense.from: VinodhPosted on: Mar 15, 2012 at 09:40 IST Your Name:email:Make a commentcharacters leftWhat is 9 + 9?1. Comments will be moderated2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not the, n is not and).
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ResourcesFull Text of Economic Survey 2011-12Full text of Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi’s budget speechPresident Pratibha Patils address to Parliament - March 12, 2012Transcript of interview with Norway Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr StoreChidambarams letter on NCTC to CMsMore Resources »Economy Watch (column)Mutiny of the minority shareholderTaking American business back homeChronic famishmentA crisis ignored
The Indian footprint of US firmsMore »Code of Editorial ValuesReaders Editor: Terms of ReferenceFollow @The_HinduSocialPlease remember to logout of facebook after you complete this session.Todays PaperePaper This Day That Age Crossword Archives ObituaryGroup SitesThe Hindu Business Line Sportstar Images FrontlineThe Chinese Communist Party said on Thursday it had replaced its Chongqing chief,Politburo member Bo Xilai, in the wake of a political scandal that has been seen asdealing a blow to resurgent conservative-leaning forces in the party.Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang has replaced Mr. Bo as Chongqing party secretary,according to a decision of the party’s Central Committee reported by the State-runXinhua news agency on Thursday morning.
Mr. Bo, who had served as party chief in the south-western municipality since 2007, hademerged as a key figure in the next generation of the leadership that will come into officelater this year as part of a once-in-a-decade transition.Until recently, he was seen as a frontrunner to occupy a seat on the next nine-memberPolitburo Standing Committee, the small group of high leaders that effectively runs thecountry. Mr. Bo, like Vice President and likely successor to President Hu Jintao XiJinping, is among the most recognisable faces of the party elite, part of a second-generation of emerging leaders - the children of former revolutionaries - known here asthe “princelings”.His future had been cast under a cloud following an investigation targeting the formerpolice chief Wang Lijun, once his close associate, and triggered heated discussion inrecent weeks on Chinas vibrant microblogging community.Mr. Wang appeared at a U.S. Consulate in Chengdu last month reportedly seekingasylum following a falling out with Mr. Bo, a rare open political scandal that had grippedChina and also embarrassed the leadership days ahead of the annual parliament session.His position appeared further weakened following Premier Wen Jiabaos comments toreporters on Wednesday, when he said Chongqing authorities needed to “seriously reflecton and draw lessons” from the incident which Beijing had “taken very seriously”.He pointedly even appeared to question the leadership of Mr. Bo, who had recentlyemerged as a favourite among a resurgent New Left that has questioned the push forfurther reforms and called for a return to Mao-inspired populist policies. Mr. Bospolicies, dubbed by some as the "Chongqing model", included a greater emphasis onsocial welfare as well as campaigns to revive "Red culture", including the singing of redsongs and sending students to work in the countryside.Mr. Wen, who hinted that the push for further economic and political reforms had facedopposition, said “the mistakes of the Cultural Revolution and feudalism have yet to befully eliminated” although the Communist Party had adopted resolutions to take forwardreforms in the wake of that disastrous decade.Mr. Wen had appeared to come prepared to talk about Mr. Bo in some detail. He eveninvoked the CPC’s decision taken in 1978 at its third plenum to carry forward reform andopening up and draw a line over the Cultural Revolution, in an apparent reference toChongqings policies.The unusual public criticism of another Politburo member had suggested that the partyshighest leaders, including President and General Secretary Hu Jintao, had taken adecision to sideline Mr. Bo, whose less-than-promising fate now also leaves uncertain theaspirations of his many supporters.
Keywords: Chongqing scandal, Communist Party of China, Chinese politicaldevelopments, Bo XilaiBashar al-Assads brutal counter-insurgency crackdown in Syria raises many moralquestions. It also raises a less moral, but critical question: does force really win wars?“Weve been preparing for the worst,” a senior Syrian Defence Ministry official saidearlier this month, “for the past 40 years.”For the past month, Syrias army has subjected the Bab Amr neighbourhood in Homs to asavage bombardment that has left thousands of civilians homeless, injured — and dead.Homs has seen the most murderous assault since the 1999-2000 siege of Grozny —reduced by Russian forces into what the United Nations described as “the most destroyedcity on earth.”Even though President Bashar al-Assads lethal blows to his insurgent opponents havesecured his regime, it has little chance of securing what might meaningfully be called avictory. There is good reason to believe that worse lies ahead: a long, dirty war that isabout death, not winning.In much of the world, the war in Syria is being written about in a language reminiscent ofa morality play: a real-life allegory in which hope is fighting fear, democracy despotism,people tanks.There is, however, one less-edifying lesson that needs careful attention. The Syrian casedemonstrates the bankruptcy of maximum force doctrines as a response to existence-threatening insurgencies many states across the world face or fear. In India, wherevergreater force is being committed to stamp out the growing Maoist insurgency, the lessonis urgent.Syrian insurgencyHassan Ali Akleh marched out into the main street in the small town of al-Hasakah lastJanuary, armed with a can of kerosene, and set himself on fire. The previous year, asimilar gesture by a young Tunisian sparked off what came to be called the Arab Spring.For six weeks after Mr Aklehs self-immolation, though, Syria was quiet. Then large-scale protests broke out, often ending with forces regularly firing on — and killing —demonstrators.In June, a slain protesters funeral march in the town of Jisr al-Shughour — a historiccentre of Islamist resistance to the ruling Baath party — turned violent. The local policestation was sacked, and several officers were lynched. Later, military defectors and thelocal militia ambushed a patrol sent in to contain the violence. Hundreds of armouredvehicles were used to back a subsequent military assault, which pushed the insurgents —and as many as 10,000 civilians — across the border.
But the insurgent campaign — barbarous in its own right — continued to escalate. InSeptember, insurgents succeeded in holding off a military assault on the town of Rastanfor four days. From October to December, the rebel forces staged successful hit-and-runraids on convoys travelling through the Jebel al-Zawiya region. In January, theyregistered their first significant success, repulsing an armoured assault on Zandabani, just30 km from Damascus.Late last year, the insurgents evicted from Rastan set up base in the Sunni-dominated BabAmr neighbourhood of Homs. The army tried, without success, to evict them from dug-inpositions in the city — and then, after weeks of skirmishes, began shelling the entire area.From satellite pictures, it is clear the firing was indiscriminate.Five decades ago, the French Special Forces officer, Roger Trinquier, described themilitary machine fighting in Algeria as “a pile-driver attempting to crush a fly”. Presidental-Assads military was doing precisely the same thing —and, like the French, failed. Theregimes tactics, scholar Joseph Holliday has pointed out, dispersed the insurgents fromheld positions, but “generated [new] pockets of rebel control that will stretch securityforces thinner still.” Fresh units have spread out into areas like Idlib and rural Hama —armed by states like Saudi Arabia.From December to February, there were also three car-bomb strikes — attacks JamesClapper, the United States Director of National Intelligence, said “bore the earmarks”[sic.] of the al-Qaeda. Fighters from jihadist organisations earlier involved in Iraq —many of whom transited through Syria, with the quiet support of its intelligence services— have joined the insurgents ranks.Nir Rosen, in a rich account based on extensive time with rebel groups, noted thatIslamist organisations were acquiring increasing influence on the rebellions politicalculture. Increasingly, the language of the rebellion suffused with religious chauvinism,suggesting that the prospects for a negotiation built around secular-democratic values arerapidly diminishing.Lessons for armiesIn an evocative 2000 article, communist leader Riyad al-Turk described Syria as “thekingdom of silence”: a state which ruled through a single instrument, fear. Few militaryhistorians, though, would be persuaded by the proposition that the Syrian armys way ofwarfare derives from the regimes world-view.From the time of Timur Lang, armies serving quite different kinds of regimes havefought rebellions in similar ways. Less than a decade ago, the United States twincampaigns against insurgents in the Iraqi city of Fallujah led to the levelling of betweentwo-fifths and a third of the citys buildings — and the death of over 1,000 civilians.Lethal white phosphorous bombs were dropped on Fallujah; there is evidence that dozenswere executed in cold blood.
Indian soldiers who, ever since the bombing of Aizawal by the air force in 1953, havecarried out counter-insurgency operations without heavy weapons or air support,nonetheless burnt down hundreds of homes in Sopore in 1993. Pakistans campaign inWaziristan has inflicted devastation with regularity.These armies learned, as historian Christopher Coker wrote of Fallujah, that “hearts andminds cannot be won by using Abrams tanks, armoured personnel carriers, fighter-bombers, and C-130 gunships within the confines of a modern city”.How is it, then, that militaries continue to make the same mistakes? The case of Syriasarmy is instructive. From 1973 to 1997, Syrias military grew from 118,000 to 421,000 —all designed to ward off a perceived existential threat from Israel, which had half as manysoldiers but access to vastly superior military technologies and equipment. The collapseof the Soviet Union hollowed out this massive force, reducing it to a pool of ill-trainedmanpower.“Large elements of Syrian forces,” scholar Anthony Cordesman wrote in an authoritative2007 survey, “have become garrison units with limited recent practice in moving andoperating outside of their bases and caserns”.Syrias combat-fatality figures — 800 insurgents killed, against up to 2,700 soldiers —make clear how poor its fighting skills were — and why the seduction of maximum forcewas so strong.Philosophies of warIn 69AD, the stoic philosopher, Musonius Rufus, lectured imperial Romes legions on theevils of a looming civil war. He was saved, historian Cornelius Tacitus tells us, becausehe “listened to the warnings of the quieter soldiers and the threats of the others, and gaveup his untimely wisdom.” In centuries since, human rights organisations had somewhatbetter success in their struggle against barbarism. In many militaries, these codes aredeeply internalised.Yet, we know from the experience of United States troops in battlefields from Vietnam toIraq and Afghanistan, that barbarism continues to flourish, even when soldiers arentfighting existential enemies at home. From the memoirs of British soldier Tony Banks, ithas emerged that troops in the Falklands received orders to take no prisoners — and didwhat they were told.Tacticians of counter-insurgency often respond to criticism of barbarism by noting no onehas devised a clean way of fighting dirty wars. Even Britains anti-communist campaignin Malaya, often invoked to illustrate how insurgencies can be defeated withoutbarbarism, involved torture and population displacement. Historian David Benet hasnoted: “coercion was the reality — ‘hearts and minds the myth”. Field Marshal GeraldTemplar, the architect of the Malaya campaign, called ‘hearts and minds “that nauseatingphrase I think I invented.”
Yet, advocates of maximum force must also concede that power alone doesnt win wars:Indias counter-insurgency successes have come from patient police actions that sought torestore order, not secure victory. From the work of scholars like Ivan Arreguin-Toft, wealso know this: asymmetrical wars and insurgencies are increasingly ending in grimstalemates. From 1800-1842, states decisively won 88.2 per cent of wars; in 1950-1998,that figure had come down to 45 per cent. Barbarism is an excellent tool for desolatingthe ranks of enemies — but it rarely wins peace.Part of the answer to insurgencies, perhaps the greater part, lies in a politics that pushesstates to respect human aspirations and rights — addressing the complex networks ofcauses that underpin all wars.Part of the answer, however paradoxical it might seem, must also lie in thinking abouthow to fight wars better: a task that cannot, and ought not, be left to militaries alone.Keywords: Bashar al-Assad, Syrian insurgency, Syria unrest, Syrian army, insurgencySyrian regime forces on Thursday seized full control of the Baba Amr district of powder-keg Homs after rebels pulled out “tactically” in the face of relentless shelling and adeadly ground assault.With the rebel fighters in retreat, the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) said inParis that its newly-created “military bureau” would from now on coordinate the armedresistance against President Bashar al-Assads regime.The all-out assault on Homss defiant neighbourhood came as international envoy KofiAnnan said he hoped to go to Damascus with a clear message that the “violence muststop”, and the U.N. Human Rights Council called on Damascus to allow relief supplies into besieged protest cities.Gulf states, which have been at the forefront of international calls to supply arms to therebels, said they will hold talks next week with key Damascus ally Moscow, which has sofar blocked Arab and Western efforts to take action through the U.N. Security Council.Britain announced that it was following the United States in closing its embassy andpulling out its remaining diplomats in response to the “deterioration of the securitysituation in Damascus”.Rebel fighters said on Thursday they had pulled out from Baba Amr after nearly two daysof an all-out assault by the dreaded Fourth Armoured Division, led by a younger brotherof President Bashar al-Assad, Maher.Rebels “have pulled out tactically in order to protect the remaining civilians”, saidColonel Riyadh al-Asaad, the leader of the free Syrian Army, which is made up mostly ofdeserters.
A Syrian security official said in Damascus that the army was in total command of therebel bastion on the 27th day of bombardment targeting the defiant neighbourhood.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 21 people were killed in Homs onThursday, including 17 civilians caught up in the battle for control of Baba Amr. Theopposition SNC said the military bureau, announced on Wednesday, would coordinatethe flow of weapons to the rebels.Keywords: Syria unrest, Bashar Assad regime, Syrian National Council, Free SyrianArmyGiven Indias fractious politics, a Railway budget wouldnt be a Railway budget if theOpposition didnt accuse it of being “anti-people.” But when the charge comes from theTreasury benches — and from the coalition partner to which the hapless minister belongs,whose leader then goes on to demand his sacking — the signals this sends out about thestate of the government are not at all encouraging. Considering the financial crisis theIndian Railways is passing through, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi has tried to arrestthe slide. But the method he has chosen hits poor citizens the hardest. Ironically, it washis predecessor, Mamata Banerjees pursuit of a political agenda in West Bengal that sentthe railways down a dangerous financial track. The problem with populism is that it isimpossible to sustain indefinitely. For eight years, successive Railway ministers tookpride in never raising fares. Of course, when the deferred rise eventually comes, the one-shot hike hurts more than if there had been continuous but marginal increases over alonger period. So while Ms. Banerjee is obliged to decry Mr. Trivedis fare increases —which range from 20 per cent to 150 per cent depending on the fare class and distancetravelled — she must share the blame for this kind of crisis budgeting. The Minister triedto soften the blow by a major pre-budget revision and rationalisation of freight tariffs thatshould raise Rs. 20,000 crore a year. But the opposition to his budget makes a fare hikerollback for the poorest of passengers inevitable.Where Mr. Trivedi has scored is in his focus on safety. Besides setting up a RailwaySafety Authority as a statutory regulatory body as recommended by the KadkodkarCommittee, tracks, bridges, signalling and telecommunications, rolling stock, stations,level crossings and freight terminals will all be focus areas. Mr. Trivedis decision topursue the redevelopment of stations through the PPP mode may help upgrade passengerfacilities but the contracts and projects must be carefully audited. He also said a LogisticsCorporation will take on freight, and a national High Speed Railway Authority will be setup to look at the six corridors identified for development. However, the key index theRailways has to look at is the Operating Ratio — the amount spent to generate Rs. 100 inrevenue — which has climbed to 95 per cent. Mr. Trivedi intends to bring this indicatordown to 84 per cent in the coming year. The long-term health of the Railways depends onmeeting that efficiency target and going beyond it; squeezing a few extra rupees fromthose passengers who may least be able to afford it is hardly the answer.Keywords: Railway Budget, Dinesh Trivedi, Kadkodkar Committee, railway farehike, Railway Safety Authority, railway safety
The United Nations special rapporteur on torture has just submitted his findings onWashingtons prolonged and controversial detention of WikiLeaks hero BradleyManning. Simply put, he has concluded that the punitive conditions imposed on him,before being pronounced guilty, amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Theformer U.S. intelligence analyst has been under incarceration since May 2010 forallegedly having leaked secret State Department cables to the whistleblower websiteWikiLeaks. Mr. Manning is charged with over 20 offences, of which that of aiding theenemy could even attract the death penalty. The United States government has hamperedinvestigations into his treatment — including solitary confinement for eight months,ostensibly to prevent him from causing harm to himself. Significantly, the U.N. specialrapporteur, Juan Mendez, who has concluded his 14-month investigation, was denied aprivate interview with the detainee. The findings, which form part of his report last weekto the U.N. Human Rights Council, is the latest attempt to elicit U.S. cooperation in theinvestigations into Mr. Mannings incarceration. Earlier, over 50 members of theEuropean Parliament and hundreds of American legal scholars had written to the U.S.Congress noting that 17 months had elapsed in bringing the accused before a pre-trialcourt.Mr. Mannings treatment is reminiscent of the Central Intelligence Agencys infamousenhanced interrogation techniques used with impunity during the Bush era againstdetainees at Guantanamo. Significantly, the White House today is guilty of supporting thevery kind of extra-judicial methods that Barack Obama the candidate pledged to end andeven outlaw in the run up to the 2008 elections. While the Bush administration at leastallowed the Red Cross to have access to Guantanamo inmates, the current administrationhas taken a step back in refusing to allow the U.N. rapporteur to meet privately with Mr.Manning. The Manning case is proof yet again of the hypocrisy and double standards thatgovern Washingtons attitude towards human rights and the rule of law. Equallydisturbing, from the point of view of international precedent, is the fact that Washingtonseems intent on making an example of someone who is essentially a whistleblower. Thefinancial targeting of WikiLeaks is of a piece with the same vindictive mindset. States areentitled to protect their secrets and punish those who break the law. But there is a linethey must not cross in trying to do so. In the Manning case, the U.S. has crossed that line.Keywords: whistleblower, WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, U.N. Human RightsCouncil, human rights
Tweet0inShareState Bank of IndiaBSE2295.00-56.50 (-2.40%)Vol:607867 shares tradedNSE2296.80-58.00 (-2.46%)Vol:2228545 shares tradedPrices|Financials|Company Info|ReportsRELATED ARTICLES • Facebook signs $8 billion credit deal with lenders • UBS in revival mode, to focus on transaction banking space • RBI signals a downward bias in interest rate cycle: S Raman, CMD of Canara Bank • Banks resilient despite rising NPAs, pressure on margins: Care • Europe bank pullback absorbed as rivals step in: BIS<a target="_blank" href="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/clickthrough?slotid=37105"><img alt="Advertisement" height="71" width="640" border="0"src="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/photoserv?slotid=37105"></a>In a chat with ET Now, Deven Choksey, MD, KR Choksey Securities shares his viewsabout RBI credit policy.What is the expectation from the RBI after a 75 bps CRR cut that we already haveseen while yesterday you have the bond markets rally as well as banking equities,what is it indicating to you in terms of what the RBI may do today?If I look at the liquidity positions right now after the CRR cut of 75 bps releasing Rs48,000 crore into the system. There is still a short fall of about Rs 12,000 crore, the totalshort fall in the system is close to around Rs 60,000 crore. So there is a distinctpossibility that RBI may once again bring down CRR by another 25 bps and allow thesystem to take its course and probably stay liquid.Budget at ET: Budget 2012 | Union Budget | Railway Budget 2012 | Economic Survey 2012LiveMore importantly liquidity in the system should help the banks to bring down the interestrate going forward. They may not take immediately the rate cut measures in this
particular policy. We will probably wait for the next month but if CRR cut is done thenprobably they would be doing at least some amount of liquidity infusion which is moreexpected.If you translate this action into the banking stocks and the bottom line of the bankingportfolios, some of the banks like State Bank of India would have a positive impact ofclose to around 3.5% on to the bottom line due to the portfolio provisioning norms onwhich they would probably get benefits. So at around 3.5% State Bank of India and someof the other banks like Axis Bank and private sector banks would have correspondinglysome amount of gains to talk about at the bottom line. So generally it would be seen as apositive move if RBI cuts 25 bps on the CRR.NEW DELHI: The Supreme Courts decision to quash 2G licences has boosted theflagging anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare, after his ill health hit hismovement.It was the uproar over the governments inaction and delayed action in the 2G spectrumallocation scam that created the space for Hazares anti-corruption movement. The apexcourts decision to cancel all the 122 licences issued without auction in 2008 would beseen as a clear endorsement of the claims made by leaders of the anti-corruptionmovement. This will strengthen the credibility of the movement. The fact that PrashantBhushan, a key member of Team Anna, was among those who filed petitions in the 2Gcase will give credence to this.Hazares movement had been in downswing in the aftermath of the late December fast inMumbai, which failed to take off like the August effort in Delhi. With Hazare out of thepicture on account of ill-health, the teams campaigning efforts in the assembly electionsalso made little progress.The Supreme Courts order restores to a great extent the patina of the anti-corruptionmovement, whose members had come under attack for their less than stellar record oncorruption."It is a salutary judgment and establishes a huge precedenta¦ It will go down the historyand will change the way cases of corruption will be investigated in this country,"Bhushan said. He said that it "will send a strong signal to the entire country and inparticular the corporate world that this country is no longer willing to allow these corruptcorporates and the corrupt public officials to retain the benefits of illegal and corruptacts."NEW DELHI: The Supreme Courts decision to quash 2G licences has boosted theflagging anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare, after his ill health hit hismovement.It was the uproar over the governments inaction and delayed action in the 2G spectrumallocation scam that created the space for Hazares anti-corruption movement. The apex
courts decision to cancel all the 122 licences issued without auction in 2008 would beseen as a clear endorsement of the claims made by leaders of the anti-corruptionmovement. This will strengthen the credibility of the movement. The fact that PrashantBhushan, a key member of Team Anna, was among those who filed petitions in the 2Gcase will give credence to this.Hazares movement had been in downswing in the aftermath of the late December fast inMumbai, which failed to take off like the August effort in Delhi. With Hazare out of thepicture on account of ill-health, the teams campaigning efforts in the assembly electionsalso made little progress.The Supreme Courts order restores to a great extent the patina of the anti-corruptionmovement, whose members had come under attack for their less than stellar record oncorruption."It is a salutary judgment and establishes a huge precedenta¦ It will go down the historyand will change the way cases of corruption will be investigated in this country,"Bhushan said. He said that it "will send a strong signal to the entire country and inparticular the corporate world that this country is no longer willing to allow these corruptcorporates and the corrupt public officials to retain the benefits of illegal and corruptacts."FNEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday assured industry that theCentre is making renewed efforts to open up foreign direct investment in multi-brandretail, despite Uttar Pradesh (UP) election results where the winning Samajwadi Party hasopposed FDI in retail in its manifesto.Singh told a delegate of senior members of industry body Assocham that the Centre istaking fresh efforts to evolve consensus amongst the various stakeholders on allowingFDI in retail."Manmohan Singh communicated to us that renewed efforts are being made to formconsensus and open up multi-brand retail for foreign investment," Assocham senior VPRana Kapoor said after the meeting between the industry body and the prime minister.Assembly elections in the countrys most populous state UP is seen as crucial indicator ofthe political fortunes of the ruling Congress alliance, which in turn could decide onallowing FDI in India. More so, since Samajwadi Party supremo and forthcoming UPchief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has opposed any foreign corporate interest in retailduring his campaign.The countrys top retailers too are getting mixed vibes on the FDI issue after the UPelection results. The state was one of the first to have attracted local backlash in 2007,when Reliance Retail was forced to shut down about a dozen shops due to opposition
from politically powerful small shop-owners, farmers and middlemen."While FDI is good for the sector, I dont see the government going ahead with the moveafter the UP elections outcome," said Govind Shrikhande, MD at Shoppers Stop.Retailers Association of India (RAI), which represents major big retailers in the country,says theres no clarity on whether FDI will be allowed or not."We are optimistic on foreign money coming into India because the sector needs it. Butwe will have to wait for some more time to get some sense," Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO atRAI, said.In November last year, the cabinet allowed 51% FDI in multi-brand retail with stringentconditions on back-end investments, market accessibility and sourcing. But it had to puton hold its decision due to stiff opposition from key allies like Trinamool Congress andother political parties.The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has since then started widerconsultations with farmers, consumers and the food processing industry. Several globalgiants like Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour are waiting in the wings to enter Indias multi-brand retail segment.Manmohan Singh had then said he hoped to open up FDI in retail as soon as elections tothe state legislatures of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are over.A section of the organised retail industry is still hopeful that reform will continue. "Thegovernment should continue with reforms by hopefully bringing FDI soon, irrespective ofthe outcome in state elections," Future Group chief executive Kishore Biyani said.However, trade associations are in no mood to let go the issue off the hook easily."We are planning for a nationwide protest on the day of Holi and burn FDI posters andeffigies to show our opposition. We expect to have around two lakh traders, retailers andmanufacturing participating on the say," said Viren Shah, president of Federation ofRetail Traders Welfare Association.Tweet1inShareRELATED ARTICLES • Koramangala: Industrial growth, commercial activity bolster demand for private security services • Rail Budget 2012: Need to focus on finances, says ICICI Securities • Chart Check from Kotak Securities for Friday, March 09: HCL Tech, Lupin
• Funds mop-up through debt placements reach 1.64 lakh crore • Economic growth and food security depend on healthy farm sector, whose pillar, the farmer, is still...<a target="_blank" href="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/clickthrough?slotid=37105"><img alt="Advertisement" height="71" width="640" border="0"src="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/photoserv?slotid=37105"></a>By Bibek DebroyFood price inflation, and inflation in general, has become less of an issue. But it isnt anissue that will go away. Give it till June and inflation is likely to inch up again.Competition is a good antidote against price increases. It ensures efficiency and reducesprice volatility. Logically, food price inflation should trigger and stimulate agriculturalreform, so there is competition and supply-side changes can occur. But in practice, itoften leads to greater distortions and state intervention, at least in short term.What is the core issue? That is one of investing in agriculture and rural sector andinjecting competition into market access by farmers, reducing intermediation. But thepoint is that government policies often prevent this. In output markets, producer pricecontrols exist in several developing countries. Triggered by food price increases, across arange of countries, there have been interventions on consumption side, including pricecontrols, consumption subsidies, food aid, food for work, cash transfers and eliminationof taxes on consumption. Are these fiscally sustainable? Do they lead to additionaldistortions? Do they lead to supply-side adjustments or are they knee-jerk reactions?To take but one example, in several countries, minimum support prices (MSPs) foragricultural commodities have been increased. Apart from contributing to food priceinflation, this increases spread between prices paid to producers and subsidised pricescharged to consumers, increasing the fiscal burden. Since MSPs need not always extendto all agricultural commodities and public procurement need not cover all commoditieseither, this creates perverse price signals and distorts resource allocation.Just because other countries have introduced knee-jerk reactions, that doesnt mean theyare rational. The proposed Food Security Bill needs to be considered against thatbackdrop. A Commission on Centre-State relations, set up on this, submitted a report in2010. One of the sub-reports focused on lack of harmonised domestic market inagricultural products. This sub-report has the following kind of numbers from unificationand harmonisation of agricultural markets:- Reduction of post-harvest losses by 5-7% for grains and 25-30% for fruit andvegetables.- Static gains of 10% through harmonising standards of farm products across states.- Static efficiency gains of up to 20% because of disintermediation of distribution chains,resulting in higher prices for farmers and lower prices paid by consumers (welfare gains
are roughly distributed in a ratio of 40% for farmers and 60% for consumers).- Savings in compliance costs by 5% after fiscal unification.- Savings of up to 20% if there is a transition to a complete and unified GST and revenuegains of 25%.- Increase in tax/GDP ratio by 1%.- 30% reduction in transportation costs.- Incremental growth in agriculture and allied activities by 2% because of static gains.- Static increment to GDP growth by 1% because of removal of inter-state barriers alone.- Increment by 2% if broader agricultural-cum-rural sector reforms are undertaken.- Increase in export volume (not value) of agricultural products by 20%.- More direct employment generation by five million a year.With 230 million people under-nourished, the country awaits some comprehensive policyintervention from the government to tackle this haunting crisis. One of the most logicalmeasures would be to provide a fixed amount of foodgrain to all citizens. But wouldntthe costs be enormous, ask sceptics?The Center for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), a Delhi-based thinktank, crunched all the numbers and came up with the answer. It would take Rs 1.85 lakhcrore every year to provide 24 crore households with adequate monthly food grains. Thisassumes that each household will be sold 23 kg rice at Rs.3 per kg, about 12 kg wheat atRs.2 per kg and millets at Rs.1 per kg every month.At present, the monthly food subsidy provided by the government is about Rs. 60,573crore (as per 2011-12 Budget Estimates). So the government will have to mobilize Rs1.25 crore in addition to this.But, heres the rub: the government has provided for just Rs 79,800 crore in the proposeddraft National Food Security Bill. That is about two-thirds of what is actually needed.CBGA researchers say that what the government is planning is to make available foodgrain at low prices only to certain targeted sections, that is, the below-povertylinepopulation. "Dividing households into "priority" and "general" category and notuniversalizing the distribution of grains, seems to be a step backwards," says CBGA.This is because the poverty line is pegged very low at Rs. 25 per day in rural areas and
Rs.32 in urban areas. A large number of people are technically above this line but inreality are very poor. Also, the poverty line surveys are ten years old, and they missed outon thousands of people.Given the widespread hunger and malnutrition, the government will have to get seriousand "take the bull by the horns", says CBGA.NEW DELHI: Concerned over poor budget allocation for the farm sector, AgricultureMinister Sharad Pawar today said it may be difficult to implement the proposed FoodSecurity Bill without adequate funds to boost agri- output, a must for increased foodgrainrequirement."My grievance is only one -- the total budgeted provision for entire agriculture ministry isRs 20,000 crore. And subsidy is, as of today, Rs 65,000 crore. It might go to Rs 1 lakhcrore in the current year.""Solution is that unless and until we increase production, we will not be able toimplement, we will not be comfortable to implement this (Food Bill)," Pawar said.The Food Bill, which aims to provide legal right over cheap foodgrains to 63.5 per centof the countrys population, has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.When pointed out that the Food Bill was the pet project of UPA chairperson SoniaGandhi, the minister said: "This is not a question of individual. This is a question ofinvestment in agriculture."The ambitious Food Bill, which is considered as a pet project of Gandhi, proposes to givelegal entitlement to food to 75 per cent of the people in rural areas, including at least 46per cent in the priority sections (which is the same as below poverty line families in theexisting public distribution system).Up to 50 per cent of people in urban centres will be covered under the proposed law, ofwhich at least 28 per cent will be in the priority category.Tweet1inShare
RELATED ARTICLES • Koramangala: Industrial growth, commercial activity bolster demand for private security services • Rail Budget 2012: Need to focus on finances, says ICICI Securities • Chart Check from Kotak Securities for Friday, March 09: HCL Tech, Lupin • Funds mop-up through debt placements reach 1.64 lakh crore • Economic growth and food security depend on healthy farm sector, whose pillar, the farmer, is still...<a target="_blank" href="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/clickthrough?slotid=37105"><img alt="Advertisement" height="71" width="640" border="0"src="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/photoserv?slotid=37105"></a>By Bibek DebroyFood price inflation, and inflation in general, has become less of an issue. But it isnt anissue that will go away. Give it till June and inflation is likely to inch up again.Competition is a good antidote against price increases. It ensures efficiency and reducesprice volatility. Logically, food price inflation should trigger and stimulate agriculturalreform, so there is competition and supply-side changes can occur. But in practice, itoften leads to greater distortions and state intervention, at least in short term.What is the core issue? That is one of investing in agriculture and rural sector andinjecting competition into market access by farmers, reducing intermediation. But thepoint is that government policies often prevent this. In output markets, producer pricecontrols exist in several developing countries. Triggered by food price increases, across arange of countries, there have been interventions on consumption side, including pricecontrols, consumption subsidies, food aid, food for work, cash transfers and eliminationof taxes on consumption. Are these fiscally sustainable? Do they lead to additionaldistortions? Do they lead to supply-side adjustments or are they knee-jerk reactions?To take but one example, in several countries, minimum support prices (MSPs) foragricultural commodities have been increased. Apart from contributing to food priceinflation, this increases spread between prices paid to producers and subsidised pricescharged to consumers, increasing the fiscal burden. Since MSPs need not always extendto all agricultural commodities and public procurement need not cover all commoditieseither, this creates perverse price signals and distorts resource allocation.Just because other countries have introduced knee-jerk reactions, that doesnt mean theyare rational. The proposed Food Security Bill needs to be considered against thatbackdrop. A Commission on Centre-State relations, set up on this, submitted a report in2010. One of the sub-reports focused on lack of harmonised domestic market inagricultural products. This sub-report has the following kind of numbers from unificationand harmonisation of agricultural markets:- Reduction of post-harvest losses by 5-7% for grains and 25-30% for fruit and
vegetables.- Static gains of 10% through harmonising standards of farm products across states.- Static efficiency gains of up to 20% because of disintermediation of distribution chains,resulting in higher prices for farmers and lower prices paid by consumers (welfare gainsare roughly distributed in a ratio of 40% for farmers and 60% for consumers).- Savings in compliance costs by 5% after fiscal unification.- Savings of up to 20% if there is a transition to a complete and unified GST and revenuegains of 25%.- Increase in tax/GDP ratio by 1%.- 30% reduction in transportation costs.- Incremental growth in agriculture and allied activities by 2% because of static gains.- Static increment to GDP growth by 1% because of removal of inter-state barriers alone.- Increment by 2% if broader agricultural-cum-rural sector reforms are undertaken.- Increase in export volume (not value) of agricultural products by 20%.- More direct employment generation by five million a year.HYDERABAD: Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today said the government will notbail out struggling air carrier Kingfisher Airlines, and it was the responsibility ofpromoter Vijay Mallya to steer it out of the crisis."The Government cannot and will not bail out private companies, but that does not meanwe want private airlines to close down," Singh said at a press conference here.He added that it was for Kingfisher promoter Vijay Mallya to marshal funds to bring thecarrier out of the financial crisis.Singh also said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation would submit its report onKingfisher in a couple of days.Meanwhile, Director General of Civil Aviation has said that Kingfisher Airlines did notstick to its recovery plan submitted to the regulator last month and the situation is a graveconcern to the public and the Government.Singhs remarks are in line with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjees statement in
Parliament yesterday that SBI has no plans to provide fresh loans to the debt-riddencompany.Mukherjee had said, "SBI has informed that currently there is no such plan to provideadditional loan to Kingfisher Airlines."The airline has a debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore. The financial crunch has hit its operationswith dozens of flights being cancelled regularly. Tax authorities have added to its woesby freezing its bank accounts for non-payment of dues.Mallya had told reporters that the airline was "facing a serious handicap" as its accountsare frozen and stressed, "We are not asking for bailout from the government but hope forhelp from banking sector to de-freeze our accounts".The airline has apologised to passengers for the inconvenience caused by the cancellationof flights and said Mallya will meet pilots tomorrow over unpaid salaries.Tweet2inShareWipro Ltd.BSE424.00-1.40 (-0.33%)Vol:57586 shares tradedNSE423.70
-2.35 (-0.55%)Vol:945532 shares tradedPrices|Financials|Company Info|ReportsRELATED ARTICLES • Wipro share auction fetches Rs 750 cr for Azim Premji Trust • Azim Premji Trust to sell 1,530-crore Wipro shares to fund education • Nifty seen opening higher; Natco, Kingfisher eyed • BUY OR SELL ideas by experts for Wednesday, March 14 • BUY OR SELL ideas by experts for Friday, March 09<a target="_blank" href="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/clickthrough?slotid=37105"><img alt="Advertisement" height="71" width="640" border="0"src="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/photoserv?slotid=37105"></a>MUMBAI/BANGALORE: Azim Premji Trusts offer for sale of 3.5 crore of Wiproshares was not completely subscribed on Wednesday.Put on sale through the newly-introduced auction route, the shares could manage only71% subscription, receiving bids for 2.48 crore of shares, according to stock exchangedata.Wipro is expected to decide whether to accept the bids it has received or reject all ofthem by Thursday. The floor price for the offer was kept at 418, a 3% discount toTuesdays closing price of 430.95 on BSE.Azim Premji Foundation, a non-profit unit set up by the Wipro founder, was planning toraise nearly 1,463 crore to invest in education institutes that it is setting up in backwardregions and Azim Premji University which started operations last year. Details of theprice at which the Wipro shares will be allotted or of the major buyers were notimmediately available. However, at the floor price, the trust can raise 1,037 crore."It is not that IT stocks are not doing well. There is no reason why all the shares (onoffer) should not have been subscribed. Perhaps the market is very cautious. I cant thinkof any other reason," said an IT analyst with a domestic broking firm.Azim Premji, the billionaire chairman of Wipro, had made a gift of shares worth over8,846 crore to the Azim Premji Trust in 2010 to which he still holds voting rights. Thesale of these 3.5 crore shares will also take Premji closer to meeting the Sebi requirementof at least 25% public shareholding in listed entities, reducing promoter holding by 1.4%.Shares of Wipro closed at 424.40 on Wednesday, down 1.4% from the previous daysclose on BSE.
NEW DELHI: Indias headline inflation accelerated in February after a gap of fivemonths, indicating that upside risks persist and diminishing hopes of a rate cut by theReserve Bank at its monetary policy review on Thursday.Inflation, as measured by the wholesale price index, rose to 6.95% in February from ayear ago compared with a 6.55% increase in January, the commerce ministry said onWednesday. Overall prices in the economy rose 0.44% during the month."The latest inflation number almost rules out a rate cut on Thursday by the ReserveBank," said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings. "The reading, combinedwith the upward revision for December, shows that the problem of inflation has not beensorted out."The government on Wednesday revised Decembers inflation to 7.7% from 7.5%announced earlier.The latest data, however, offered some comfort in core inflation, which fell to 5.8% inFebruary from 6.7% in the previous month. Core inflation, which excludes food and fuelinflation, is considered a good indicator of demand pressures in the economy.But the decline in core inflation was more than offset by an increase in food inflation,which rose to 6.07% in February against a contraction of 0.52% in January. Economists
say food inflation is expected to rise further because the seasonal effect of decliningvegetable prices has waned."The drop in year-on-year food inflation over the last two months should provetransitory, caused by unseasonal rains last year," said Sonal Varma, India economist forNomura. "We expect it to revert to a normal 7-10% y-o-y range over the course of 2012."Within the food basket, inflation in the category of eggs, meat and fish rose to 20% from18.63% in the previous month. Inflation in milk prices stood at 11.7%, while that invegetables turned positive at 1.52% after two months of contraction.Inflation in manufactured products, which comprises 64.97% of the overall index, fell to5.75% from 6.49%. Seven of the eleven indices under this category rose in February.But risks due to suppressed inflationary pressures persist as commodity prices havemoved up recently in the international markets. Crude oil prices have been hovering at$120 a barrel since February."We expect the increase in international crude oil prices to be partly passed on todomestic fuel prices," said Aditi Nayar, economist with ICRA. "Additionally, a revisionof coal prices and an increase in electricity tariffs is likely in the coming months."Inflation in primary articles rose to 6.28% from 2.25%, while that in energy declined to12.83% from 14.21% in January.While RBI has started loosening its monetary policy through cash reserve ratio cuts of1.25%, economists say the bank will not cut key policy rates before April. "Mostconditions for a rate cut have been met, but we expect RBI to wait until after the Budgetbefore cutting the repo rate," said Varma.NEW DELHI: India should open up retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI), theEconomic Survey 2011-12 said.Last years economic survey too favoured a phased opening of foreign direct investmentsin multi-brand retail, saying it could help address concerns of consumers and farmers,besides bringing technical know-how.Also see: Budget 2012 | Union Budget | Railway Budget | Economic surveyThe survey had emphasised the need to curtail the margin between farm gate and retailprices. This it said could be done by modern supply chain management systems and retailsellers into the picture. A quick way to get at this is to allow foreign direct investment(FDI) in multi-product retail into India.
It had been stated that FDI in multi-brand retail could enable farmers to get higher pricesand consumers to have to pay less. Initially limiting international multi-product retailersto a few outlets in each major city had been recommended. This was meant to preventthem from getting full control of the market and, at the same time, set an upper bound onthe prices that other retailers will be able to charge for their products.Tweet0inShareEDITORS PICK • Economic survey recommends FDI in retail • Economic Survey: Fuel pricing needs transparency • Economic Survey: Banking biz may become riskier • Central bank cautious on inflation: Nomura • Inflation remains anchor point for policy: SMC GlobalRELATED ARTICLES • India job market prospects to improve in next quarter: Survey • Budget 2012: Government to pursue Lokpal bill in budget session • Economic growth and food security depend on healthy farm sector, whose pillar, the farmer, is still... • Budget 2012: Majority of staff expects tax exemption limit to Rs 3L, says a survey • Andhra Pradesh plans 67,000-cr Agribusiness zone<a target="_blank" href="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/clickthrough?slotid=37105"><img alt="Advertisement" height="71" width="640" border="0"src="http://netspiderads2.indiatimes.com/ads.dll/photoserv?slotid=37105"></a>NEW DELHI: The Economic Survey 2011-12 was tabled in the Parliament on Thursday.The survey sees 2.5% agriculture growth in FY 12. Budget at ET: Budget 2012 | Union Budget | Railway Budget 2012 | Budget News | Economic Survey 2012
Last years economic survey stated the following on Agriculture and FoodManagement:Pioneering work by agriculture scientists and the efforts of farmers had helped achieve abreakthrough in the agriculture sector in the 1960s, popularly known as the GreenRevolution.High agricultural production and productivity achieved in subsequent years has been themain reason for attaining food security to a large extent. The country has not witnessedany big technological breakthrough in agriculture since then. The food safety net for eachand every of the over a billion citizens-a number that is growing- requires enhancedagricultural production and productivity in the form of a Second Green Revolution.Further, special attention is required for achieving higher production and productivitylevels in pulses, oilseeds, fruits, and vegetables, which had remained untouched in theFirst Green Revolution but are essential for nutritional security. In this regard, achievinghigh production of poultry, meat and fisheries is also essential.The relatively weak supply responses to price hikes in agricultural commodities,especially food articles, in the recent past brings back into focus the central question ofefficient supply chain management and need for sustained levels of growth in agricultureand allied sectors.The choice before the nation is clear-to invest more in agriculture and allied sectors withthe right strategies, policies, and interventions. This is also a necessary condition forinclusive growth and for ensuring that the benefits of growth reach a larger number ofpeople.NEW DELHI: The global recession only partially succeeded in slowing the Indianeconomy thanks to the robust growth in services at nearly 10 per cent in 2010-11 and 9.4per cent this fiscal, says the latest Economic Survey.Budget at ET: Budget 2012 | Union Budget | Railway Budget 2012 | Budget NewsThis apart, the northeastern states have powered the service sector growth, it adds.Tabled by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in parliament Thursday, the survey saysthat the service sector has continued to remain the driving force for the Indian economywith growth higher by 10 basis points this fiscal over the previous year."The industry sector contributes nearly 26 per cent to Indias gross domestic product(GDP). However, maintaining the growth momentum, the service sector recordedexpected growth rate to bottom out the industrial slow down across the globe," the surveysays.
"The service sector along with the agricultural sector, placed India in the top fastestgrowing economies of the world despite the Eurozone crisis and North Americaneconomic instabilities."The survey clearly says the economy has successfully navigated the turbulent years ofrecent global economic crisis because of the vitality of the service sector and itsprominent role in Indias external economic interactions.The survey says the share of services in Indias GDP has increased from 33.5 percent in1950-51 to 55.1 percent in 2010-11 and to 56.3 percent in 2011-12. If construction isincluded, the share increased to 64.4 percent in 2011-12.Analysing the performance of states in the service sector, the survey notes the highestgrowth are in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh (34.9 percent) and Sikkim(30.1 percent).Among the others, Goa with 20.1 percent and Bihar with 16.6 percent growth top the list."This is over and above their very high growth rates in 2008-09. Others with higher thannational average growth are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Mizoram."