Sunday, July 31, 2011

Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum and others to hike ATF prices by 2.7 per cent from midnight tonight!AIR INDIA is NOT Sold as yet! But the BURN will be felt by AVIATION Industry already in Deep Water!Meanwhile,Oil falls on weak US

Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum and others to hike ATF prices by 2.7 per cent from midnight tonight!AIR INDIA is NOT Sold as yet! But the BURN will be felt by AVIATION Industry already in Deep Water!Meanwhile,Oil falls on weak US GDP data, debt worries!Whereas Gold hits record on weak US growth, debt woes!It may sound quite AMUSING just on the EVE of Parliament Monsoon Session INFLCTED with Scams and Corruption all round that Sebi amends rule to check black money, tax evasion in market!It seems that US lawmakers close to $3 trillion debt deal to avoid default! U.S. lawmakers were close to a last-gasp $3 trillion deal on Sunday to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and assure financial markets that the United States will avoid a potentially catastrophic default. On the other hand, The newdraft Land Acquisition Bill is likely to see some modifications to clarify certain points, union rural development ministerJairam Ramesh said after a meeting with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's advisor on land related matters. I am amazed why REFORMS are NOT DISCUSSED at all. Why Policy Making and Governance NOT Questioned at all! The NATION is MISINFORMED and EXCLUSION as well as Ethnic Clensing EXPEDIATED. Copetitive EXPLORATION of Natural Resources would mean Total Disaster. Yeddi Ouster may not solve the Mining Hazards! UID project is ILLEGAL but Never Protested , why? NAXAL Menace hightened with NEOLIBERAL LPG Rule. SALWA JUDUM is dubbed illegal by Supreme court but states including Bengal are all set to REPLICATE CHHATTISHGARGH. PUBLIC Interst is redefined to help the India Incs and MNCs! I have been talking to BAMCEF President Waman Meshram, Colonel Barves, Mulnivasi Nayak Editor KHARAT, Mr. PURNE from Mumbai and others how to Communicate the Masses in RESISTANCE against the MONOPOLSITIC Aggression!While now NAPAM and UPCL leaders are alos in favour to KILL the Constitution! Why? CIVIL Society NEVER does Oppose FREE MARKET Economy! for instance it has NOT oppowed Disinvestment or RETAIL FDI! Anti Corruption Drive seems to be the best TOOL of diversion so that LEGISLATION for the Next Generation Reforms may be COMPLETE without NOTICE. Like the 1991 Budget Speech, 2011 Budget Speech is equaly SIGNIFICANT for the Future of India, but neither Marxists nor AMBEDKARITES cared to analyse or discuss it? What is going on friends?

Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time - SIX HUNDRED  NINETY EIGHT

Palash Biswas

Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum and others to hike ATF prices by 2.7 per cent from midnight tonight!AIR INDIA is NOT Sold as yet! But the BURN will be felt by AVIATION Industry already in Deep Water!Meanwhile,Oil falls on weak US GDP data, debt worries!Whereas Gold hits record on weak US growth, debt woes!It may sound quite AMUSING just on the EVE of Parliament Monsoon Session INFLCTED with Scams and Corruption all round that Sebi amends rule to check black money, tax evasion in market!It seems that US lawmakers close to $3 trillion debt deal to avoid default! U.S. lawmakers were close to a last-gasp $3 trillion deal on Sunday to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and assure financial markets that the United States will avoid a potentially catastrophic default. On the other hand, The newdraft Land Acquisition Bill is likely to see some modifications to clarify certain points, union rural development ministerJairam Ramesh said after a meeting with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's advisor on land related matters. I am amazed why REFORMS are NOT DISCUSSED at all. Why Policy Making and Governance NOT Questioned at all! The NATION is MISINFORMED and EXCLUSION as well as Ethnic Clensing EXPEDIATED. Copetitive EXPLORATION of Natural Resources would mean Total Disaster. Yeddi Ouster may not solve the Mining Hazards! UID project is ILLEGAL but Never Protested , why? NAXAL Menace hightened with NEOLIBERAL LPG Rule. SALWA JUDUM is dubbed illegal by Supreme court but states including Bengal are all set to REPLICATE CHHATTISHGARGH. PUBLIC Interst is redefined to help the India Incs and MNCs! I have been talking to BAMCEF President Waman Meshram, Colonel Barves, Mulnivasi Nayak Editor KHARAT, Mr. PURNE from Mumbai and others how to Communicate the Masses in RESISTANCE against the MONOPOLSITIC Aggression!While now NAPAM and UPCL leaders are alos in favour to KILL the Constitution! Why? CIVIL Society NEVER does Oppose FREE MARKET Economy! for instance it has NOT oppowed Disinvestment or RETAIL FDI! Anti Corruption Drive seems to be the best TOOL of diversion so that LEGISLATION for the Next Generation Reforms may be COMPLETE without NOTICE. Like the 1991 Budget Speech, 2011 Budget Speech is equaly SIGNIFICANT for the Future of India, but neither Marxists nor AMBEDKARITES cared to analyse or discuss it? What is going on friends?

Political strife between the government and the Opposition and curtailed Parliament sessions are taking a heavy toll on UPA-II's legislative agenda, with 29 of 35 pending bills slated for the Monsoon session dating to 2010 or earlier even as 33 new legislations have been listed.

The monsoon session of Parliament provides a short window of opportunity to clear the backlog of pending legislations but experts say progress may be limited as proceedings are expected to be stormy given the political situation.

And the mountain of legislations is staggering with nearly 81 bills pending before Parliament, some of them for several years.

Parliament convenes for the monsoon session from August 1 and is likely to meet for about 26 days which analysts say should provide enough room to the UPA government to get some key legislations approved. But it may not be all smooth sailing as several bills have been referred to standing committees which are examining them while others have been returned for consideration.

Only 12% of the budget session was spent on legislation in the Lok Sabha and 6% in the Rajya Sabha, according to PRS Legislative, a private think tank. Of the 13 bills announced by the government in its 100-day agenda, only one has been cleared so far.

The large backlog is due to the 2010 winter session being consumed by grandstanding over the 2G and other scams, with the Opposition demanding a joint parliamentary committee and government refusing to give in while preoccupation with polls in fives states, including West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, led to a truncated Budget session.

Some pending bills include big bang ministry of human resource development-driven legislation that hopes to shape education over the next decade and more. Bills awaiting parliamentary approval include education tribunals bill, changes in the right to education with regard to children with disability and institutes of technology amendment bill.

The bill on prohibition of unfair practices in technical and medical institutions is being vetted by the law ministry and the government has lined up no less than three bills – national academic depository, universities for innovation and higher education and research – for the Monsoon session. The central board of secondary education bill is also due for introduction, but has not been listed.
Of the other bills awaiting clearance are the seeds bill, 2004, intended to regulate quality of seeds for sale, import and production, pesticide management bill, 2008, and the company secretaries (amendment) bill. The pesticide bill, like the seeds legislation, is expected to regulate sale, import, export and distribution of pesticides.

Bills aimed at helping professional bodies of chartered accountants form limited liability partnerships, the national commission for heritage sites bill, 2009, and the state bank of India (subsidiary banks laws) amendment bill, 2009 — dealing with replacing reserve bank approvals with central government sanctions – are also waiting. The heritage bill provides for an institutional mechanism to preserve sites under a uniform framework.

The architects (amendment) bill, 2010, national institute of technology (amendment) bill, 2010, national council for teacher education (amendment) bill, 2010 and a bill to increase retirement age of high court, additional and acting judges by three years to 65 is also pending.

Legislation that the government hopes to bring includes the much-discussed Lokpal, national food security act, prevention of money laundering and benami transactions (prohibition) bills, nuclear authority bill, national commission for human resources for health and the mines and minerals bills.

"There is a cost for not passing a bill. The pension bill, for instance, has not yet been passed by Parliament but we already have a regulator and a pension fund that is functioning without statutory backing. This is not the best situation,'' said M R Madhavan, head of research at PRS Legislative.
A crucial reason for the delay in getting legislations approved is the lack of consensus among political parties. "We usually see that the parliamentary standing committees do a lot of work but it is the last mile where the government, for whatever reasons, is unable to pull off,'' Madhavan said.

Of the eight bills that were part of UPA-2's 100-day agenda, only Right to Education (RTE) has won parliamentary approval.

Investors are keenly awaiting the fate of several financial sector legislations. The string of scandals in the past one year has led to a policy paralysis and stalled legislative business as the government has been caught up fending off allegations of corruption.

"The government inaction on crucial financial and other key reforms has weakened the investment climate, and will soon start taking a toll on the economy. As a result, it has heightened the uncertainty, and there is genuine fear of a slowdown. The government needs to do take some corrective steps soon," said Rajeev Kumar, director general of Ficci.

At least 10 key financial sector reform bills await parliamentary nod. Some have been vetted by parliamentary standing committees but others have been pending for several years. They include the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, the Companies Bill 2009, Constitution (One hundred and fifteenth amendment) Bill, 2011, Direct Taxes Code Bill, 2010, Forward Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2010, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Amendment) Bill 2009, Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008 and Regulation of Factor (Assignment of Receivables) Bill, 2011.

India waiting: Market wilting under government indecision

July 18, 2011 04:56 PM |  

Moneylife Digital Team

More than 80 Bills are pending since 2008. There is not much hope that they will see the light of day soon

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The government has made a fantastic job of tabling Bills in Parliament and then sitting on them. While the scam-tainted government waits for the problems to dissolve themselves, its failure to implement important Bills and formulate policies seems to be giving the market a hard time.

Broking firm Macquarie Securities has released a report where it has analysed some of the crucial Bills and the factors that have affected India Inc's market performance. Not only have they found many of these Bills inadequate and that they have been watered down during revisions, the firm feels that there is "little hope" that the government will come to a decision any time soon.

"There has been a spate of policy decisions from the government lately that are aimed at clearing the pile ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament and the UP (Uttar Pradesh) elections next year. In our view the government has not fared well in making these decisions as some of them appear superficial," said the report.

Of the approximately 80 bills that are pending, three-quarters have built up over the past two years alone. Some of the important Bills and reforms pending are-Mines and Mineral Development Act that will see 26% of mining profits being shared with locals affected, Microfinance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill which has seen a deadlock between states and the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), The National Identification Authority of India Bill, the Bill on establishing a real estate regulator, amendments on banking laws & labour laws, the Direct Taxes Code, the Goods and Services Tax, pension reforms, FDI (foreign direct investment) in retail and reform in land acquisition laws.

The report has also commented on the government's attempts to project 'a semblance of activity'—like the Cabinet reshuffle and the states' power minister's conference.

"The only change of any significance was the replacement of Jairam Ramesh with Jayanthi Natarajan which was also reflected in the performance of stocks like Sterlite (STLT) and Coal India (CIL) in an otherwise unresponsive market. (As far as the) State power minister's conference (is concerned)—while it would certainly be a major positive for the sector—it should be noted that (the) Government power policy rarely gets implemented as planned. Most private sector participants appeared cautious about the implementation of such measures," says the report.

The few policies the government has formulated have failed to produce desired results. The government has failed to curb inflation, and another hike is expected from the RBI. The hike in fuel prices, which happened after almost a year of delay, is likely to add to the core inflation rate. The hike has offset the reduced subsidy with a revenue loss from duty cuts. The much-awaited draft Bill on food security was passed only recently, but the media is awash with all its shortcomings.

The country is already feeling the heat of governance deficit. If the indecision hits the market harder, the government has only itself to blame.

Government may push key reform Bills in monsoon session

Posted on March 19, 2011 by Team - Mehta & Mehta

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has set its eyes on the monsoon session of Parliament, to be held in July-August, to push its key reform Bills. The curtailed schedule of the ongoing Budget session, with its predominant agenda of passing the Budget, has left very little space for government managers to follow the original routine.

While the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill is waiting for Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee s green signal after the Assembly elections are over, other Bills like amendments to the Insurance Act and the Pension Fund Regulation and Development Act (PFRDA) are still with the Standing Committee on Finance.

Apart from the two Bills on subsidiary banks and insurance, Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherjee had specifically mentioned five other Bills which the government is committed to pass. These are Bills to amend the RDBFI Act of 1993 and SARFAESI Act of 2002, the Life Insurance Corporation (Amendment) Bill, the revised PFRDA Bill, Banking Laws Amendment Bill and the Bill on Factoring and Assignment of Receivables.

Law Minister M Veerappa Moily recently said the Banking Laws Amendment Bill was not fully ready and would not be introduced in the current session.

As things stand today, the Lok Sabha will be busy till the evening of March 17 to pass the demands for grants. On March 18, discussion on the Finance Bill is likely to start. The finance minister is expected to reply on March 23, before the Finance Bill is passed in the Lok Sabha. As the session will come to an end on March 25, the government doesn t have much time to push its reforms agenda.

32 new bills in monsoon session of parliament

by Siddharth Zarabi | 29th-Jul-11 19:19
The monsoon session of parliament reopens on August 1st. It is poised to tackle thorny, though pivotal economic reforms.

Some of the major Bills are: The Companies (Amendment) Bill 2011, The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill, The Amendment Bill to anti-Money Laundering Law and the controversial Lokpal Bill. No timeline has been yet given for the Insurance Amendment Bill, 2009, still with Standing Committee. The session will also propose the bill to amend law for land acquisition for petro pipelines and anti-Money Laundering law. The Company Secy's Bill 2010, CA's Bill 2010, Cost & Works Accountants Bill 2009, SBI (subsidiary bank laws) Amendment bill, 2009 will be taken up for nod in the session. The other bills to be introduced in the monsoon session are the Warehouding Corp (amendment- bill, 2011, Mines & Minerals (devlp & reg) bill 2011.

Meanwhile the PFRDA Bill and the GST bill which are still at standing committee will not come up in this session. The session which ends on 8th September will see the introduction of 32 New Bills over a one-month long period taking the total Bills to debated to 35.

Government Ready with Major Reform Measures: Finance Minister

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New Delhi, Jul 27 (IANS): The government is ready with "important reform measures" but legislative action was needed to implement them into law, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here Thursday.

He said the bills pending before parliament were in areas such as insurance, pension, banking, goods and services tax, while administrative action had been completed to table bills on food security and mining sector development and regulation.

He said in the backdrop of reports that as many as 81 bills were pending before parliament whose legislative business has been frequently stalled due to opposition floor protests and adjournments in its daily businesss.

"Already, in the last session of parliament, I have introduced a number of important reforms measures, which are to be implemented through the legislative route," Mukherjee told a press conference at North Block, the finance ministry headquarters.

"We have also taken certain important administrative measures by finalising some important legislations," he said, alluding that for these reform-oriented measures to take shape, the cooperation of the opposition was necessary.

"I do hope some of the recommendations will be available during the monsoon session of parliament and when we get these recommendations, it would be possible for us to get some of these bills passed," he said.

"But I cannot tell exactly which bill -- what would be the number. Because it depends on the availablity of recommendations from the standing committee."

Mukherjee's remarks come less than a month after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's comments, accusing the principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of playing politics in blocking some key legislations, particularly on a unified goods and services tax.

"The consensus that emerged until a few months ago on the goods and services tax -- the BJP is clearly playing politics," the prime minister had said rather candidly while interacting with a select few editors.

"We had helped the BJP pass the first insurance bill. All we want now is to increase the share of foreign direct investment to 49 percent. The bill is in parliament," he said, adding: "I hope we can still persuade the opposition, other parties to pass the bill."

Banking, pension Bills head for monsoon session

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New Delhi, July 22:  
The Standing Committee attached to the Finance Ministry is all set to submit reports on two key financial reform Bills — banking and pension — during the monsoon session of Parliament beginning August 1.
Sources told Business Line that the Committee's reports on two other Bills — Unique Identification Authority and The Regulation of Factors (Assignment of Receivables) — are also likely to be tabled during this session.
Though the Government is not bound to accept the Committee's suggestions, some may be incorporated. After Cabinet approval, the Bills will be tabled for consideration and passage.
The much-awaited Banking Laws Amendment Bill proposes to provide voting rights in proportion to shareholding. At present, except for the Government, the voting right is capped at 10 per cent for all, irrespective of shareholding. Analysts feel the removal of cap will pave way for the proposed norms on new banking licences.
The Pension Fund Regulatory Bill will provide statutory status to the Pension Fund Regulation and Development Authority (PFRDA). However, the Standing Committee, at its meeting on Wednesday, asked the Finance Ministry to submit within a week answers to four key queries, sources said.
First, it wanted to know why the Bill was silent on foreign direct investment. Second, it wanted details of the Authority's experience as an executive agency. The third query related to the highs and lows of returns on investment, and the fourth on how PFRDA could work as a national social security regulator.
"After a reply from the Finance Ministry, the Committee may need to sit once more and then finalise its reports," sources added.
Sources said the reports on three other Bills — Direct Taxes Code, the Constitutional Amendment Bill for goods and services and Insurance Bill — may have to wait until the winter session, as consultations were still on.

Govt to push key Bills in monsoon session
BS Reporter / New Delhi March 15, 2011, 0:23 IST

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has set its eyes on the monsoon session of Parliament, to be held in July-August, to push its key reform Bills. The curtailed schedule of the ongoing Budget session, with its predominant agenda of passing the Budget, has left very little space for government managers to follow the original routine.
While the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill is waiting for Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's green signal after the Assembly elections are over, other Bills like amendments to the Insurance Act and the Pension Fund Regulation and Development Act (PFRDA) are still with the Standing Committee on Finance.
Sources in the Standing Committee told Business Standard two bills — the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill of 2008 and the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks Laws) Amendment Bill of 2009 — were likely to get cleared towards the end of May. This effectively makes the government wait till the monsoon session to push them.
"We are currently working on a host of issues including the Direct Taxes Code Bill and BPL measures. The Committee will take time to clear its other agenda," said a senior member.
Apart from the two Bills on subsidiary banks and insurance, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had specifically mentioned five other Bills which the government is committed to pass. These are Bills to amend the RDBFI Act of 1993 and SARFAESI Act of 2002, the Life Insurance Corporation (Amendment) Bill, the revised PFRDA Bill, Banking Laws Amendment Bill and the Bill on Factoring and Assignment of Receivables.
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily recently said the Banking Laws Amendment Bill was not fully ready and would not be introduced in the current session.
As things stand today, the Lok Sabha will be busy till the evening of March 17 to pass the demands for grants. On March 18, discussion on the Finance Bill is likely to start. The finance minister is expected to reply on March 23, before the Finance Bill is passed in the Lok Sabha. As the session will come to an end on March 25, the government doesn't have much time to push its reforms agenda.


Land bill draft to be modified: Jairam Ramesh

Kolkata: The latest draft of the land acquisition bill will be modified as there was need for more clarity on some issues, union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said here Sunday.
"This bill is better. But there are specific points we need to clarify," Ramesh said after his parleys with Debabrata Bandopadhyay, a former bureaucrat considered West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's adviser on land related matters.
He heads a two-member expert panel formed by Banerjee to draft a land policy in the state.
Ramesh said there was not much difference between the union government and the Trinamool Congress on the draft.
The minister said he has explained to Bandopadhyay that the bill does not provide for government acquiring private land for private purposes.
"An issue that has been raised is clarity on acquisition by government for private company for private purposes. I have explained to Debuda that this bill provides for acquisition by government for private companies for public purposes, like say power plants or railway projects or port projects.
"This bill does not envisage government acquiring land for private company for private purposes," he said.
He said another issue that was raised was about title deeds that had been distributed and the Forest Rights Act, 2006. "That is part of the bill," he said.
Ramesh Saturday night held a 40-minute discussion with Banerjee to explain the National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011, on which the second largest ally of the Congress in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had expressed reservations.
After the deliberations, Ramesh had said Banerjee "appeared to be broadly in sympathy with the approach of the bill which has proposed minimum land acquisition".
Banerjee said the new land bill draft prepared by the central government was much more positive than the previous one. The chief minister added that she would give her views in a few days days after thoroughly studying the document.
Earlier, in an interview to a Bengali news channel, Banerjee said her party will back the bill on the floor of parliament only if its suggestions were incorporated.
"Our state government has also made a new land policy and that says that we will not acquire land forcefully," Banerjee said.
She said exceptions could be made for projects of defence, national security and railways, which are essentially public utility services.
"The previous land draft bill was opposed by me. The new bill says there will be no land acquisition for private sector. Only for public purpose they have kept 80-20 acquisition clause," said Banerjee.
"If they take our suggestions, then only will we back the bill. Of the developed land, 10 percent should be returned. The compensation rate has to be more than the prevailing market rate along with a pension scheme for 10 years and a job," Banerjee said in the interview.
"I am totally against acquisition of land for private purposes. Even for public purpose, we should not go for acquisition unless it involves essential services," she added.
Source: IANS
  1. 'Company bill before monsoon session'

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  3. 5 days ago – The new Companies Bill, being drafted by the Union Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily, former law minister, may come up for ...
  4. Nuclear regulator Bill in monsoon session - Business Line

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  6. 7 Jul 2011 – The Government will introduce a Bill aimed at setting up a Nuclear Regulatory Authority in the upcomingmonsoon session of Parliament. ...

Govt. to introduce Lokpal Bill in first week of Monsoon session

The Hindu - ‎Jul 30, 2011‎
The Lokpal Bill would be introduced in the first week of the Monsoon session of Parliament, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said on Saturday. "The government will introduce the Lokpal Bill passed by the Cabinet in the ...

Opp ready to give Govt a stormy monsoon session

Indian Express - ‎13 hours ago‎
New Delhi: The Monsoon session of Parliament beginning tomorrow is expected to be stormy with the Opposition raring to have a go at the government on a host of issues ranging from corruption and price rise to Telangana and terrorism. ...

Lokpal Bill to lead a series of legislations in monsoon session

Livemint - Ruhi Tewari - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
The anti-graft Lokpal Bill will lead a series of legislations that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government plans to introduce in the monsoon session of Parliament that starts Monday and runs for about a month. ...

In monsoon session, all eyes on Lokpal Bill

Indian Express - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
The government will introduce the Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha during the first week of theMonsoon Session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced on Friday. Bansal said the session was scheduled to begin on August 1 and he was ...

Crucial education bills to be tabled during monsoon session - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
PTI | 09:07 PM,Jul 29,2011 New Delhi, July 29 (PTI) Three crucial bills on higher education, including one seeking to create an overarching regulatory body are set to be introduced in theMonsoon session of Parliament beginning Monday. on August 1. ...

Meira Kumar presides over all-party meet ahead of parliament's monsoon session

Newstrack India - ‎5 hours ago‎
The monsoon session is expected to be a stormy affair with the opposition all set to take on the government on several issues, including corruption and inflation. The government held discussions with opposition before finalising the Lokpal Bill, ...

Ready to discuss all issues in session says PK Bansal - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
Despite an impressive 32 new bills slated to be introduced in the upcoming monsoon sessionof parliament beginning August 1, the fact remains that crucial economic reforms including PFRDA bill and the GST constitutional amendment bill among others are ...

Cong apprehends tough monsoon session ahead - ‎Jul 30, 2011‎
PTI | 10:07 PM,Jul 30,2011 New Delhi, July 30 (PTI) With issues like corruption and price rise expected to take the centre stage, Congress apprehends a difficult Monsoon session of Parliament beginning on Monday. A senior party leader, who declined to ...

Women's groups demand Reservation Bill

The Hindu - Aarti Dhar - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
With the monsoon session of Parliament set to begin on Monday next, women's groups have got together to demand the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha. The Bill that seeks to reserve 33 per cent seats for women in State Assemblies ...

No consensus on women's quota bill: Bansal

Economic Times - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
The bill figures in the list of business during the Lok Sabha's monsoon session. Bansal also said that there was a strong view against the use of house marshals in the Rajya Sabha on March 9 last year when the bill was passed by the upper house. ...

Lokpal top agenda in Monsoon Session

India Today - Kay Benedict - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎

Besieged by a multitude of corruption cases, the UPA government has given top billing to the proposed anti-graft Lokpal legislation for the Monsoon Session of Parliament that is set to begin on a stormy note on Monday. The Lokpal Bill, likely to be ...

Lok Pal Bill to be tabled next week

Business Standard - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
The Lok Pal Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha by August 3 and it will be the government's endeavour to ensure its early passage in the month-long monsoon session itself, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters on Friday. ...

Government on guard as Opposition armed with over a dozen issues

Tehelka - Iftikhar Gilani - ‎Jul 30, 2011‎

A staggering number of 81 official Bills have piled up in Parliament and it is doubtful that 26 sittings planned in the monsoon session will be enough to reduce this backlog of the pending bills. The Government finds itself handicapped in pushing ...

Two key legislation in monsoon session

Deccan Herald - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
In what may further stir up the ongoing political debate on contentious issues of having a Lokpal and land acquisitions, the Centre plans to introduce two key legislation in the monsoon sessionof Parliament. The Lokpal bill will be introduced within ...

Lokpal Bill in Monsoon Session: Shukla

Outlook - ‎Jul 30, 2011‎
PTI | Lucknow | Jul 30, 2011 The Lokpal Bill would be introduced in the first week of the Monsoon session of Parliament, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said today. "The government will introduce the Lokpal Bill passed ...

Bill woes for UPA Government

Express Buzz - ‎15 hours ago‎
NEW DELHI: Despite tall claims, the UPA Government could not get 66 Bills passed in Parliament. As many as 36 Bills of various ministries are pending in the Rajya Sabha and 30 in the Lok Sabha. Though the UPA-II Govt has enlisted a heavy agenda of 123 ...

Crucial education bills to be tabled during monsoon session

MSN India - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
New Delhi, July 29 (PTI) Three crucial bills on higher education, including one seeking to create an overarching regulatory body are set to be introduced in the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning Monday. on August 1. The National Council for ...

Lokpal Bill to be tabled by August 3

Deccan Chronicle - ‎Jul 29, 2011‎
The government is going all the way for the passage of the Lokpal Bill, which is to be introduced in the Lok Sabha by August 3, despite sharp divisions among political parties. The main issue is whether the Prime Minister should be brought within the ...

Stating that he received a lot of useful suggestions from the advisor,Debabrata Bandopadhyay, the union minister Jairam Ramesh known as PRO ACTIVE said "There are some points we need to clarify."

Ramesh who had a two-hour meeting with Bandhopadhyay, said "he has given me a lot of useful suggestions. There are certain issues he has raised."

Though the land under the draft Land Acquisition Bill would not be acquired for private purpose, but in certain circumstances the state could acquire it where private enterprises worked for public purpose, Ramesh said.

"The draft bill provides for land acquisition by the state for private parties working for public purpose like railway or port projects," Ramesh said.

Ramesh said that land would, however, "not be acquired for private parties working on private enterprise."

The minister said that the draft bill would be published online for getting feedback from the people.

Bandopadhyay, however, remained non-committal on the issue. "Let us see what comes up in the draft Bill."

Last night, after a meeting with Ramesh, the chief minister had said that this draft bill was better than the earlier one, but she was yet to go into the details.

With an aim to check flow ofblack money and evasion of taxes through stock market, market regulatorSebi has decided to imposehefty penalty on brokers facilitating such transactions from tomorrow.

The regulator recently came across a loophole in its existing regulations, which was being abused by stock brokers for facilitatingtax evasion and flow of black money through fictitious trades in lieu of hefty commissions.

To remove this anomaly, Sebi has asked stock exchanges to penalise the brokers transferring trades from one trading account to another after terming them as 'punching' errors.

The penalty could be as high as 2 per cent of the value of shares traded in the 'wrong' account, as per new rules coming into effect from August 1.

In a widely-prevalent, but secretly operated practice, the people looking to evade taxes approach certain brokers to show losses in their stock trading accounts, so that their earnings from other sources are not taxed.

These brokers are also approached by people looking to show their black money as earnings made through stock market.

In exchange for a commission, generally 5-10 per cent of the total amount, these brokers show desired profits or losses in the accounts of their clients after transferring trades from other accounts, created for such purposes only.

The brokers generally keep conducting both 'buy' and 'sell' trades in these fictitious accounts so that they can be used accordingly when approached by such clients.

In the market parlance, these deals are known as profit or loss shopping. While profit is purchased to show black money as earnings from the market, the losses are purchased to avoid tax on earnings from other sources.

As the transfer of trades is not allowed from one account to the other in general cases, the brokers show the trades conducted in their own fictitious accounts as 'punching' errors.

The regulations allow transfer of trades in the cases of genuine errors, as at times 'punching' or placing of orders can be made for a wrong client.

To check any abuse of this rule, Sebi has asked the bourses to put in place a robust mechanism to identify whether the errors are genuine or not. At the same time, the bourses have been asked to levy penalty on the brokers transferring their non-institutional trades from one account to the other.

The penalty would be one per cent of the traded value in wrong account, if such trades are up to five per cent of the broker's total non-institutional turnover in a month.

The penalty would be 2 per cent of trade value in wrong account, if such transactions exceed five per cent of total monthly turnover in a month.

After a brief lull, state-owned oil firms on Sunday hiked jet fuel, or ATF, prices by a steep 2.7 per cent, in line with firming rates in international markets.

TheAviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) price in Delhi has been hiked by Rs 1,520 per kilolitre (kl), or 2.69 per cent, to Rs 57,844 per kl with effect from midnight tonight, an official ofIndian Oil Corp, the nation's largest fuel retailer, said.

Prices of jet fuel, which accounts for 40 per cent of an airlines' operating cost, had softened this month. ATF rates were on July 1 cut by over 2.75 per cent and only marginally raised by Rs 78 per kl from July 16.

ATF in Mumbai, home to the nation's busiest airport, will cost Rs 1,597 per kl more at Rs 58,628 per kl from tomorrow, as against the current price of Rs 57,031.66 per kl.

No comment could be immediately obtained from airlines on the impact of the price reduction on passenger fares.

ATF prices vary from airport to airport, depending on the local sales tax or VAT.

IOC and its sister public sector retailers, Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) andBharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL)), revise jet fuel prices on the 1st and 16th of every month, based on the average international price in the preceding fortnight.

Oil prices fell on Friday, headed for a weekly loss after a report showed weak US economic growth and as Congress kept wrangling ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline to to raise the government debt ceiling and avoid default.

The US economy stumbled in the first half, according to Commerce Department data that showed a weaker-than-expected 1.3 per cent growth rate in the second quarter.

"The slowdown in second-quarter economic activity has been confirmed, and the reading will add to concerns about the remainder of the year," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

Two other reports showed business activity in the US Midwest grew less than expected this month as the labor market weakened, while US consumer sentiment fell in July to its lowest point in more than two years.

ICE Brent crude for September fell 66 cents to $116.70 a barrel by 3 p.m. (1900 GMT), after falling as low as 115.75.

US September crude fell $1.74 to settle at $95.70 a barrel, the lowest close in two weeks and with the $94.95 intraday low just above the 200-day moving average of $94.88 a barrel.

US crude fell 4.2 per cent for the week, snapping a string of four weekly gains. For the month, front-month crude managed a 28-cent gain.

US gasoline and heating oil futures also slipped on Friday as front-month August contracts expired.

Trading volumes remained tepid, with Brent and US crude volumes both below 30-day averages.

Friday's choppy trading allowed Brent's premium to US crude to push above $21 intraday.

The Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark fell 0.7 per cent as investors fretted over the US economy and the likelihood of default.

Gold hit another all-time high on Friday as investors sought a safe haven, after anemic US growth data raised the prospect of recession if a deadlock over Washington's debt fails to be resolved quickly.

Gold volatility climbed as Republicans pressed ahead with a deficit plan that cannot pass Congress and President Barack Obama told lawmakers to stop wasting time. The metal could tumble if a debt-ceiling deal eases fears in other financial markets, analysts said.

Bullion hit its third record in five days, notching a near 9 per cent gain for July, after Friday's GDP data showed the US economy stumbled badly in the first half of 2011 and came dangerously close to contracting in the January-March period.

"The weak economic data suggests that you may see some form of stimulus, certainly highly accommodative monetary policies, and that will continue to put a bid on gold prices," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist of broker-dealer Janney Montgomery Scott, which oversees $54 billion in assets.

"As long as there is no re-normalization of a steady state of economic or fiscal circumstances, gold will move higher."

Spot gold touched an all-time peak of $1,632.30 an ounce, and was up 0.5 per cent at $1,623.99 by 2:51 p.m. EDT (1851 GMT).

On weekly charts, CitiFX strategists said bullion's monthly close above $1,557.75 indicates that July is a bullish outside month, confirming a 2011 target between $1,700 and 1,750.

The US December contract settled up $15 at $1,631.20 an ounce. Futures volumes were lower than the last several sessions, as most investors had completed contract rollover ahead of the August contract's first-notice day on Friday.

Silver rose 0.8 per cent to $39.97 an ounce, but was off a more than two-month high of $41.42 hit this week. It posted a gain of around 15 per cent for July, its best month since April.

The CBOE Gold ETF Volatility Index, which is often referred to as the "Gold VIX" and is based on SPDR Gold Trust options, rose to its highest in over two months, as the market braced for a swift pullback following the rally.

Investor unease can also be seen in the holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, which rose 1.5 per cent on Thursday from a day earlier to a six-month high of 1,262.98 tonnes.


US output increased at a 1.3 per cent annual pace in the second quarter as consumer spending barely rose. Other US economic data this week also pointed to a slower economic growth for the rest of the year.

"We're very close," said Senate Minority LeaderMitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican who is playing a key role in the debt ceiling negotiations.

White House senior adviser David Plouffe said there was general agreement on a deal that would cut the U.S. deficit in two stages. It was first time the White House had acknowledged that both sides were close to a deal.

The first $1 trillion in cuts have been largely agreed on by lawmakers. Under the emerging deal described by congressional aides, a further $1.8 trillion would be recommended by a special committee appointed by Congress and automatic measures would implement the planned cuts if Congress failed to vote on them.

"It is clear that in the first stage we're going to get ... an extension of the debt ceiling, a first set of spending cuts over $1 trillion, and then you're going to get this committee that will be charged with reporting out hopefully a balanced deficit reduction," Plouffe told NBC's "Meet the Press."

An agreement would end weeks of political gridlock that brought the world's largest economy teetering on the brink of an unprecedented default and close to losing its triple-A credit rating.

Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, told CNN: "Default is far less of a possibility now than it was even a day ago because the leaders are talking, and talking in a constructive way."

Politicians were scrambling for a deal to avoid the possibility of market shock on Monday, before Tuesday's deadline when the United States loses its borrowing authority.

"We have to get this solved. Today is obviously a critical day. We have to give confidence that there is a pathway" to reduce the deficit, Plouffe said.

A U.S. default would plunge financial markets and economies around the globe into turmoil. U.S. stock markets last week posted their worst losses in a year, the dollar slumped and nervous investors put cash into insured bank accounts.

Japan, the second largest holder of U.S. debt, was increasingly alarmed that the United States would miss the deadline, sources familiar with Japan's fiscal affairs said.

McConnell, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," said he hoped to be able to recommend an agreement "very soon" to Republican senators. Asked if a deal would emerge on Sunday, he said, "Soon."

The emerging deal seemed to answer key demands of both sides. It would have no tax increases as Republican wanted, and it would extend the debt ceiling through the 2012 election year as PresidentBarack Obama insisted.

But by relying solely on spending cuts, Obama and his Democrats were likely to face questions about whether they ceded too much ground to Republicans and how they would protect popular but expensive social programs from the knife.

US debt crisis: Key politicans outline emerging debt, default deal as Senate opens debate

The Senate opened debate on Sunday on a plan to cut American spending, raise the nation's borrowing limit and avert an unprecedented default on its debt. The top Republican and Democrat in the chamber spoke optimistically about reaching a deal to end one of the nastiest partisan conflicts in recent U.S. political history.

Senate Majority LeaderHarry Reid said he was "cautiously optimistic" agreement could be reached. Republican leaderMitch McConnell said earlier that negotiators were "very close."

The White House was likewise more upbeat but cautioned that details of an agreement were still to be worked through.

The broadest outlines of the emerging bargain would increase the debt limit in return for spending cuts of about $1 trillion initially. A joint committee of members of Congress would then need to act on a larger package of cuts that included tax and entitlement reform as the price for a second raise in the nation's borrowing limit through early 2013 _ a date that takes the highly partisan issue off the agenda until after next year's presidential and congressional elections.

McConnell said he was nearing a recommendation of the tentative agreement to Republicans in the upper chamber. It would, he said, likely extend U.S. borrowing authority past the election, a fundamental demand of Obama.

At the same time, the agreement would include none of the tax increases Obama has sought and Republicans had steadfastly rejected. It also includes, he said, the requirement that both houses of Congress vote on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. That outcome of that vote, however, would have no effect on raising the debt limit.

Senior White House adviser David Plouffe said that both sides are generally in agreement on an emerging package that would cut the deficit in two stages, with key details still being worked out.

But he and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer cautioned that there still was no deal and talks on many issues still needed to be settled. Schumer said, however, that there was "relief" in Congress and the White House because serious negotiations were now making headway.

The deal, negotiated late Saturday night, would raise the nation's debt limit in two steps by about $2.4 trillion and spending would be cut by a slightly larger amount. The first stage _ about $1 trillion _ would take place immediately and the second later in the year. Schumer said one of the last sticking points is the creation of a "trigger" mechanism that would hit priorities of both parties if the committee does not come up with a plan for further deficit reduction.

Among the trigger ideas being discussed are automatically reducing spending on entitlement programs such as Medicare _ the government health care program for the elderly _ along with closing tax loopholes or reducing defense and non-defense programs by an equal amount.

"It should be equally tough on Democrats and Republicans," Schumer said.

McConnell said the bipartisan committee, which would be asked to come up with a plan by the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of November, would have a "broad mandate" to look at all aspects of government finance, including tax reform.

McConnell said he had spoken to both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday. "I particularly appreciate that we are back talking to the only person in American who can sign something into law, and that's the president of the United States," he said.

McConnell said the deal being worked on, while raising the debt ceiling in two stages, would satisfy Obama's demand that there not be another divisive debate on the issue before next year's election. The scenario being discussed would raise the debt ceiling unless there is a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress to reject it.

McConnell said that there would be no tax increases in the deal, andWhite House National Economic Council Chairman Gene Sperling said there would be no revenue increases over the next year and a half.

Obama is seeking legislation to raise the government's $14.3 trillion debt limit by enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections. He has threatened to veto any legislation that would allow a recurrence of the current crisis next year but has agreed to Republican demands that deficits be cut _ without tax increases _ in exchange for additional U.S. borrowing authority.

Without a compromise in place by Tuesday, administration officials say the Treasury will run out of funds to pay all the nation's bills. The subsequent default could prove catastrophic for the U.S. economy by causing interest rates to rise and financial markets to sink, sending shock waves around the world, they say. With financial markets closed for the weekend, lawmakers had a little breathing room, but not much. Asian markets begin opening for the new work week when it is late Sunday afternoon in the U.S. capital.

"There is very little time" Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. He called for an end to political gamesmanship, saying "the time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now."

Obama needs Congress to approve an increase in the government's borrowing authority. In the past increases have been routine, but Republicans, citing the giant U.S. deficit, have demanded huge spending cuts as a condition for approving the increase.

Global economy on the verge of a precipice
When the world's money managers start doing the equivalent of stuffing their money under the mattress, it may be time to start worrying.

The global economy seems to be teetering, again, on the verge of a very uncertain precipice - but unlike in 2008, this time the trigger could come from any of a half dozen directions. American politicians could start a global economic and markets tsunami if they're unable to reach an agreement to raise the country's debt ceiling by August 2, and honour its sovereign debts, even for a few hours or days.

The Eurozone, once again has been patched up, which is being viewed as make-do short term solution. More critically, whenItaly which doesn't have the same economic problems asGreece or Ireland, was dragged into the sovereign debt fears, the risk of contagion within Europe shot up.

The good news is that most of the current uncertainty revolves around political decisions. If American and European politicians can get their act together, the crisis can be averted, believe most experts, long enough for the current doziness in the economy to recover.

Add to this, the global economy is showing clear signs of sputtering down. Corporate second quarter results are awash with "warnings" and below expectation results, from top manufacturing, financial services and technology companies. Except for energy companies, and the odd Amazon, the summer of 2011 is not looking good for earnings. A slew of global banks, UBS, CreditSuisse,Morgan Stanley, Nomura, and others have announced thousands of job cuts, reminiscent of the post-Lehamn era, citing poor business.

TheUS turned up some dismal employment data, well below expectations. Growth in Asia has slowed as inflation soars, theUK could be poised to sink back into recession, and the future of the Euro is looking increasingly uncertain. Consumer confidence surveys in Europe are getting progressively gloomier.

As various sovereign crises seem about to peak, investors are reportedly moving to holding cash, gold, and that safe haven of Swiss francs. Central banks, the world over, are under pressure again, facing the possibility of an upheaval in the dollar, to add to all their existing monetary woes of managing inflation, sputtering growth, and sovereign crises.

29 JUL, 2011, 11.10PM IST, REUTERS
Data shows deeper US recession, sharper slowdown

WASHINGTON: The Great Recession" was even greater than previously thought, and theUS economy has skated uncomfortably close to a new one this year.

New data on Friday showed the 2007-2009US recession was much more severe than prior measures had found, with economic output declining a cumulative of 5.1 per cent instead of 4.1 per cent.

The report also showed the current slowdown began earlier and has been deeper than previously thought, with growth in the first quarter advancing at only a 0.4 per cent annual pace.

The data indicated the economy began slowing in the fourth quarter of last year before high gasoline prices and supply chain disruptions from Japan's earthquake had hit, suggesting the weakness is more fundamental and less temporary than economists had believed.

The annual revisions ofUS GDP data from the Commerce Department showed economic growth contracted at an annual average rate of 0.3 per cent between 2007 and 2010. Output over that stretch had previously been estimated to have been flat.

At the depth of the recession in the fourth quarter of 2008, output plummeted at an annual rate of 8.9 per cent -- the steepest quarterly decline since 1958, and 2.1 per centage points more than previously reported.

For a table, see see [ID:nCLATIE70O] The recession was already the deepest since the Great Depression and, while it still pales in comparison, the data help explain why it is taking so long to shake off its legacy.

"The general picture of the recession remains pretty much the same, it was a record decline before and now it is a even bigger decline,"Steven Landefeld, the director of the department'sBureau of Economic Analysis, told reporters.

Opposition has too many skeletons in cupboard: PM

New Delhi: On the eve of parliament's monsoon session, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday sought to take the wind out of sails of the opposition on the 2G spectrum allocation row, saying it had "too many skeletons in its cupboard" and that it should not "pre-judge" a matter that is sub-judice.


"We are not afraid of discussing the issue of corruption. The opposition also has too many skeletons in its cupboard. We are not afraid of discussing any issue in parliament," Manmohan Singh, who came to Parliament House to attend an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, told reporters on the sidelines of the event.
"There are some matters, which are in the courts and being investigated by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). I sincerely hope that the matters which are in courts should be left to be decided by courts and we should not pre-judge the issue," Singh said.
His remarks came as the Bharatiya Janata Party and the AIADMK trained guns on the prime minister and Home Minister P. Chidambaram after former communications minister A. Raja alleged that they had the knowledge of his actions on the 2G spectrum allocation.
On social activist Anna Hazare's threat to go on a fast from Aug 16 in protest a "weak" Lokpal bill approved by the cabinet for parliament's consideration, the prime minister said the bill's fate will be decided by parliament.
"Our government has taken a view taking all factors into account. It is not advisable to bring the prime minister (under) the purview of the Lokpal except when he demits office," Singh said when asked about civil society members' demand for bringing the prime minister within the ambit of ombudsman.
On MPs and legislators from Andhra Pradesh's Telangana region resigning over the statehood demand, Manmohan Singh hoped that the government would overcome the issue.
Noting that the government was "prepared" to discuss all issues in parliament, he said: "It is my sincere hope that this session of parliament will be peaceful, will be productive. Parliament is the supreme democratic institution of the country."
Source: IANS


High drama as BS Yeddyurappa resigns at last

Bangalore; An emotional Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Sunday said he is leaving office "happily" without being hurt and saw it as an opportunity to work "freely" to strengthen the party.
His voice choking, 68-year-old Yeddyurappa said as Chief Minister he felt like his hands and legs had been tied and he had to discharge his duties from Vidhan Soudha, the state secretariat, within "limitations".
"From now onwards, I can happily and freely meet people... (those of) backward classes... scheduled castes...scheduled for the welfare of women without any obstacles and anxiety", he said, describing it as a "golden opportunity".
The BJP leader was speaking at a felicitation function, organised by the Balija community, which was recently extended benefits in education under backward classes category 2A, withdrawing it from 3A, by his government.
Yeddyurappa said there is no need for anybody to feel that he had been hurt because he had to leave office and declared that he is "quitting happily and with satisfaction".
In what appeared to be his "farewell speech", Yeddyurappa said he would commence a tour of the state from tomorrow, visiting "villages-after-villages" and strengthen the party. Listing the achievements of his 38-month tenure as Chief Minister, he said that in fiscal management "the state is number one, while communal harmony and law and order situation is good".
"Wish of the people is that BJP should continue to be in power for the next 15-20 years," Yeddyurappa said, adding, he would work towards that goal, as well as to realise the aim to win 150 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in the next elections.
He said he never dreamt of becoming Chief Minister, and is grateful that from being a mere municipal coucillor in Shikaripura in Shimoga district, he rose to this position.
"In the last 40 years, I staged agitations by mobilising farmers as a 'madman' (driven by passion)".
But Yeddyurappa betrayed his own statement of not being hurt when he asked, "What's the crime I have committed? Iron ore wealth should not be looted (he made efforts to curb that). I wanted to ensure that mining should not in the stranglehold of some idiots," he said.
After he came to power, Yeddyurappa said he has not given any (fresh) permits for mining, and adopted a policy that iron ore should only be used for value-addition within the country. He said his stand had been appreciated by the Supreme Court.
Yeddyurappa said he also wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a ban on iron ore export, adding, mineral resources should last for generations. "Power is not permanent. What's very important is what you do when you are in power".
He also said he never used to go to bed before midnight and never slept beyond 5 AM.
Yeddyurappa noted that he chose not to meet the media in the last four days as he believed his achievements should do the talking, and "his statements should not become achievements".
He said he was preparing to present Rs one lakh crore-budget next year. "What if Yeddyurappa is not going to present it? My friend Chief Minister will do so".
Through his successor, Yeddyurappa said he would seek to realise his "wish and dream" of making Karnataka a model state and work towards that without "resting for a single day".
Source: PTI
US debt crisis: Signs of debt deal 'great news' for markets: Analyst
WASHINGTON: Signs that Republican and Democratic leaders are close to an agreement to avert a US debt default was "great news" that would be received positively in US markets, a leading analyst said Sunday.

Mark Zandi, chief economist forMoody's Analytics, said a deal outlined by the top Republican in the US Senate Mitch McConnell also would be sufficient avert a downgrade of the US credit ratings.

"Great news," Zandi said in an interview on CNN's State of the Union show. "Sounds like we will avoid a crisis."

McConnell said earlier on CNN he was "very close" to a deal involving three trillion dollars in spending cuts over 10 years, no tax increases, and creation of a joint congressional committee to decide on the cuts.

White House officials and leading Democrats cautioned that a deal had not yet been reached, but also expressed optimism that a default on the US debt would be averted.

"I think the markets expect they will get some kind of deal where they push the deal to the other side of the election. That's the minimum the market has expected," said Zandi.

"This sounds like it will go beyond that. The idea of a congressional committee with teeth and pressure to come to an agreement is a very positive step. I think the markets will react positively."
People, particularly youngsters, returning to agriculture: ICAR
COIMBATORE: A data being collected byIndian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has revealed that people, particularly youngsters, are of late returning to agriculture, a topICAR official said on Sunday.

"Use of Information and Communication Technology tools in the field ofagriculture is driving more people to this sector, Dr S Ayyappan, Director General,ICAR, told reporters on the sidelines of valedictory of 4-day Agriintex-2011 here.

"Agriculture should be made an attractive and exciting proposition. Gone are the days of sustainable agriculture. We are more concerned about resilient farming today," he said.

On the more numbers of suicides happening in agriculture sector, Ayyappan said that it was not farming but the size of holding that was not remunerative.

Stating that around 140 million people were holding 130 million acres in India, he said that these holdings were highly fragmented and input-use was completely disorganised.

ICAR has promoted 10 business development projects, as part of incubator initiatives and 51 value chains have been in place, which are one of its kind in the entire World, covering the entire value chain from seed to market.

Earlier addressing the valedictory function of Agri-intex, jointly organised by Coimbatore District Small Industries Association andTamil Nadu Agricultural University, the official urged the participants to display their products at the annual exhibition at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. He also lauded the University for bagging the Best Institution Award for the year 2011, instituted by ICAR.

22 JUL, 2011, 04.46AM IST, ASHOK GULATI,

Agriculture remains a laggard as India celebrates two decades of economic reforms

July is a month when we need to remind ourselves how reforms have changedIndia since 1991, from vulnerability to resilience, whether to external shocks (say, oil) or internal ones (droughts).

In 2009, we witnessed the worst drought since 1972, yet the agricultural growth rate stayed positive (0.4%), nor did we resort to any major cereal imports. And in 2010-11, we are likely to have a record harvest of 241 million tonnes (mt) of grain and public sector stocks of 65 mt. This heroic achievement is presumably the result of the doubling investment in agriculture from less than 10% of agri-GDP in 2002 to more than 20% of agri-GDP in 2010. Let us celebrate this resilience and new-found confidence and salute the duo of Narasimha Rao andManmohan Singh and their teams, who worked to bring about this massive change.

But big challenges remain: a high fiscal deficit, inflation, deficient governance, deficient infrastructure, remnants of crony capitalism in some sectors, recidivist visions of the control raj. While there has been a sea-change in the services sector, as also in the manufacturing after several hiccups, agriculture continues to underperform.

The sector cries out for major reforms, from marketing to investment and institutional change, especially in water management, new technologies (seeds), land markets and creation of efficient value chains. This needs to come uppermost in the reform agenda during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, if we have to reduce poverty faster than has been the case so far.

In agriculture, normally our Five-Year Plans target increasing production of almost everything. True, with rising incomes and population, India will perhaps need more of most of things. Yet, a strategic vision must factor in three important elements: (1) India's comparative advantage; (2) efficient markets at home and/or abroad; and (3) environmental sustainability.


Plan schemes have to fit within this three-dimensional architecture. We often forget that besides the farmers and the government, there are several other actors in agriculture, especially private companies and NGOs working at the grassroots. These various stakeholders should come together in an institutional framework that can incentivise and unleash a new change in agriculture. To see how, we need to look at the big-bang achievements of the last decade.

Three biggest successes in agriculture during the last decade seems to be in cotton, maize and basmati rice, each one of these successes giving the nation a benefit of almost 10,000 crore each year. Cotton production more than doubled in the country, from 16 million bales to about 34 million bales, between 2002-03 and 2010-11, driven by Bt cotton. Today, almost 90% of cotton area, including millions of small holdings, is under Bt,. The seeds of this change came from a large multinational company (Monsanto), and today there are more than 30 companies in India producing and multiplying those seeds in an extremely competitive environment. They have the potential to change the cotton scene even in Africa!

Karnataka's mining scandal
Sadanand Gowda & VS Acharya top contenders for CM
Yeddyurappa indulged in last-minute theatrics, first by making loyalists demand status-quo on the leadership sweepstakes.
Rise of Dalit entrepreneurship
Bhingardevay taking on powerful sugar lobby in Maharashtra
Sugar in Maharashtra is an industry where political connections and caste play a role. Bhingardevay tried to meet Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar.
31 JUL, 2011, 10.56PM IST, REUTERS

US debt deal: No deal on debt, issues to resolve, tweets White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer

WASHINGTON: No deal has been reached to solve the U.S. debt and deficit crisis,White House communications directorDan Pfeiffer said in a tweet on Sunday, adding that "a lot of bad info is floating out there."

Lawmakers from both parties said they were close to a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and assure jittery financial markets that the United States will avoid a potentially catastrophic default.

"Despite all the reporting, no deal has been reached," Pfeiffer said via Twitter.


Government panel says 'Go, No-Go' concept of forest area classification legally not tenable and should be abandoned

NEW DELHI: A government panel has said the 'Go, No-Go' concept of forest area classification for clearances tocoal blocks is legally not tenable and should be abandoned.

The environment ministry's ban on mining in areas of thick forest cover has locked away millions of tonnes ofcoal reserves. According to the power ministry, coal shortage is likely to hold up new power projects of over 17,000 mw aggregate capacity. This has triggered debate among the ministries of coal, power and steel on the 'Go, No-Go' concept's merits.

The panel, set up by an inter-ministerial committee to consider the efficacy and legality of forest clearance procedures, has said the concept has no legal standing. The panel is headed byPlanning Commission member B K Chaturvedi and has representatives from power, coal and finance ministries.

"The above policies are mandated neither under Forest Conservation Rules, 2003 nor under any circular issued by the ministry of environment and forests. The ministry of law and the Attorney General have confirmed the position that it is not consistent with the current provisions," the committee said in its report.

In 2009, theenvironment ministry had placed the country's forested areas under two categories - Go and No-Go - and imposed a ban on mining in the 'No-Go' zones on environmental grounds.


Based on this categorisation, the ministry has barred mining in 203 coal blocks that hold 660 million tonnes reserves and 1,30,000-mw electricity generation potential, as they fall in the 'No-Go' or dense forest zone.

Shortage of coal in the current fiscal is projected at about 83 million tones, which is expected to cross 200 million tonnes by 2013-14.

The committee has also recommended amending the environment ministry's directives on banning coal exploration in certain industrial clusters and securing forest clearances before mining.

In November last year, the environment ministry had barred development in some industrial clusters because the pollution index had risen above the permitted level of 70. Coal India suffered a production loss of 19 million tonnes due to the moratorium.

The ministry's March 31 circular said coal companies could start mining in the non-forest area of a mine only after obtaining environment clearance. Earlier, securing forest clearance was necessary before mining the forest portion. Coal ministry has said this directive would impact Coal India Ltd's production by 11.5 million tonnes in the current year. The Chaturvedi committee suggested that the coal blocks should be taken up for mining unless there is a strong case for rejection on environment grounds.

The committee also suggested having a single-window approach by setting up nodal agencies with representatives from various departments of a state. Another recommendation was giving incentives to state forest departments that process cases quickly. Acquiring forest clearances takes three to six years, against the stipulated timeframe of 360 days.


New Land Acquisition Bill unlikely to set threshold for government intervention, states to frame policies


NEW DELHI: The newLand Acquisition Bill is unlikely to set a threshold for government intervention in land purchases, leaving it to the states to frame policies on this politically volatile subject.

The Bill will, however, eliminate any scope for discrimination by specifying the same rate of compensation for all affected for land acquired by private developers or the state on their behalf. It will also put the onus of compensation on the party directly acquiring more than 100 acres.

This is expected to end the anomaly in the current system where the government pays the compensation to the landholders and then passes on the acquired land to private developers.

"We have altogether done away with the ratios,"Planning Commission member Mihir Shah told ET.

The existing law requires private companies to directly acquire at least 70% of the land before seeking government assistance for acquisition of the remaining 30%.

"The point of the Bill is that whoever acquires the land will have to give compensation according to the rehabilitation and resettlement contents of the Bill. The issue is not who acquires the land; the issue is of compensation," Shah said

The Bill seeks to replace the colonial law of 1894, which gave powers to the government to acquire land at lower-than-market rates. It aims at offering farmers and other landowners market or better rates for land taken over for industrial projects.

The Bill is also likely to ban acquisition of multi-cropped land for 10 years. This clause will effectively put about 55 million hectares, or 40% of arable land, out of the reach of private developers.

Most of this land falls in the Indo-Gangetic plains, which encompasses areas of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal-the most fertile and densely populated regions of the country. Ground water here is available just 20-40 feet below the surface as against states such MP and Gujarat where it is found more than 200 feet.

"Multi-cropping land will be treated on a par with reserved forest land and tribal lands in terms of need to protect from indiscriminate acquisition," an official with the rural development ministry said. "Only farm and rural activities will be allowed in adjoining zones, strictly preventing industry from coming up."

The government is likely to set up monitoring agencies at the state and national levels to regulate acquisition and ensure resettlement and rehabilitation issues.

The official said the Bill will tackle relief and resettlement at the national level for the first time in the country. It will require industries to meet all the relief and resettlement provisions 5-6 months before they begin work on core projects.

Government role in land acquisition has become a politically contentious issue with the TrinamoolCongress - a key ally of the United Progressive Alliance- calling for no state intervention while theNational Advisory Council, led byUPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, insisting on a government role in acquisition.

More stories from this edition of Land Acquisition

Fiscal deficit surges four-fold in April-June
The central government'sfiscal deficit surged by over four-fold in the first three months of the current fiscal to Rs 1.62 lakh crore on account of lower non-tax receipts.

The deficit was Rs 40,196 crore in April-June, 2010. The fiscal deficit, or the gap between overall expenditure and receipts in the first quarter of this year is almost 40 per cent of the Budget estimate of Rs 4.12 lakh crore for 2011-12.

The sharp rise in Centre's fiscal deficit is on account of 89 per cent decline in non-tax receipts which went down to Rs 12,221 crore in the first quarter of this fiscal compared to Rs 1.15 lakh crore in the year-ago period.

Besides, there was a 6.3 per cent decline in tax revenues at Rs 78,699 crore during the period under review. The figure was Rs 83,994 crore in the year-ago period.

As per the latest data of theController General of Accounts (CGA), the total receipts were Rs 98,564 crore in April-June 2011, down by 51 per cent year-on-year. The figure was Rs 2.02 lakh crore in the three month period in 2010.

The government has set a fiscal deficit target of 4.6 per cent of the GDP for the current fiscal.

However, non-tax receipts have been lower as the government's disinvestment programme for this year is yet to take off fully. The higher non-tax revenue in first quarter of last fiscal was on account of auction of3G spectrum.

Experts had also said that lower revenue collection on account of removing duties on petroleum products, could pose a challenge and take the deficit to over 5 per cent.

In 2010-11, the fiscal deficit was 4.7 per cent. Meanwhile, the revenue deficit, the difference between revenue earned and expenses, in April-June this year stood at Rs 1.34 lakh crore, which is almost 13 times higher than the figure of Rs 10,577 crore in the first three months of 2010-11.

The latest number is 48.3 per cent of the Budget estimate of Rs 3.07 lakh crore.


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Reuters - Anurag Kotoky,Sanjeev Choudhary - ‎Jul 28, 2011‎
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Voice of America -‎16 minutes ago‎
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MyFox Tampa Bay -‎13 minutes ago‎
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The Guardian - ‎5 hours ago‎
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Xinhua - Zhang Xiang -‎11 hours ago‎
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Voice of America -‎1 hour ago‎
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