Saturday, February 9, 2013

 Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Saturday said she wants 2013 to be the Year of Thailand, where the country's economy is growing and confidence will be restored.
Prime Minister Yingluck expressed her wish in a weekly televised program "PM Yingluck Government Meets the People" on the occasion of Chinese New Year. Yingluck said she wishes the Thai people health and wealth.
She said after the 2011 nationwide flooding, the country has improved in several aspects including the economy, and that confidence has been restored among the world community.
The economy is growing well due to increased purchasing power of the Thais and the inflow of foreign investment which can be seen from their requests for investment promotion from the Board of Investment (BoI), rising from 23.5 to 47 billion U.S. dollars, said Yingluck.
The premier said, to make the economy grow sustainably, the government will invest in infrastructure development of 74 billion dollars.
The projects will stimulate domestic purchasing power and prepare the country for the Association of South East Asian Nations Economic Community (AEC) which will take effect in 2015.
Yingluck however added that the government will have to clarify its investments in mega-projects to the public. 


Germany's Federal election set for 22nd Sept
Germany, Europe's top economy and political powerhouse, is set for the Federal Election on 22nd September with Chancellor Angela Merkel bidding for a third term. 

On Friday, President Joachim Gauck officially announced the date of the federal election of the country.
The move comes after weeks of discussions between Germany's major political parties.
Gauck's decision also came as a new poll showed Merkel's lead over her rival Social Democrats (SPD) has narrowed slightly.
The weekly "DeutschlandTrend" survey for public broadcaster ARD put Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc on 39 per cent, down one percentage point from a week back.
The centre-left SPD gained two percentage points to register 29 per cent. However, Germany's complex coalition-based political system means that although Merkel is likely to remain chancellor, if the polls stay the same, she may have to change coalition partner.
Her current partner, the pro-business Free Democrats, polled four per cent, leaving them just short of the required five per cent for parliamentary representation.
The survey had consulted 1,000 voters between February 5 and 6.

EU leaders agree to $1.28 trillion 7-year budget

European Union leaders on Friday agreed to a significantly reduced 7-year budget worth €960 billion ($1.28 trillion) - the first cut in spending in the 27-country group's history.European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced that the agreement had been reached after two days of nearly round-the-clock negotiations — the longest negotiations of his tenure in office.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced that the agreement had been reached after two days of nearly round-the-clock negotiations — the longest negotiations of his tenure in office.
The final total was about 40 billion less than the European Commission had originally proposed.
The issue of what to give to the EU was made more difficult because, he said, its members were struggling with poor economic growth and harsh austerity measures.
"We simply could not ignore the extremely difficult economic realities across Europe," Van Rompuy told reporters. "It had to be a leaner budget."
He said it would amount to 1 percent of the European Union's gross national income.
The final number was far less than the €1.03 trillion ($1.38 trillion) the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, had originally proposed. The €959.988 billion total will cover the years 2014-2020; the budget for the years 2007-2013 was €975.777 billion.
The two-day fight over the cap on what the EU can spend on everything from infrastructure to development aid laid bare divisions over what the role of the union should be.
"The effort was worth it," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "The agreement is good and important," she added, saying it would show solidarity and ensure predictability.
The European Parliament must still approve the deal — and lawmakers there suggested that the drastic cuts proposed would be unacceptable.
"This agreement will not strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy but weaken it," said a statement by the leaders of the four largest political groups in the Parliament. "It is not in the prime interest of our European citizens."
The proposed budget has also been criticized for cutting too deeply into aid for poor countries and other programs critical for Europe.
on FridayAt its heart, the hard-fought summit in Brussels was a tussle about what the 27-nation European Union stood for: some leaders argued it was a drag on national budgets in tough economic times, while others said the economic crisis highlighted the need for closer and deeper ties, which would compel the EU to do more than in the past.
The deal that emerged seemed to lean more toward the position of countries led by Britain, which insisted that the EU couldn't look for more money at a time of belt-tightening across Europe.
"The UK public can be proud that we cut the 'credit card level' for the first time ever," said British Prime Minister David Cameron. "I wanted a cut. That is what I achieved today. Working with allies, this is a great deal for Britain and a great deal for Europe. And a great deal for European taxpayers."
Indeed, it seemed a loss for many of the newer — and generally poorer — members, who see Europe as a club that is only as strong as its weakest member. That group, led by Poland and France, argued that Europe meant nothing if the budget were not used to bridge the wealth gap between rich and poor members and help restart growth.
But French President Francois Hollande also claimed victory, taking a small dig at Britain by noting that Cameron had moved farther from his government's desired budget total than France had. More broadly, he sought to paint the agreement as a win for Europe, calling it a grand compromise that safeguarded important shared programs and values.
"If there was a loser, he could have blocked it," Hollande said, referring to the fact that each of the 27 countries had the right to veto any agreement.
Both sides had threatened to walk away from the table — again — if they didn't get what they wanted. The first summit to negotiate a budget collapsed in November.
Beyond the deeper philosophical differences, there were national concerns that made the negotiations particularly long and difficult. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, for example, had pledged to maintain his country's discount in the amount it pays to the EU — a €1 billion discount — and said he fought to achieve that, successfully, right up to the last minute.
Despite criticism of the cuts, Van Rompuy noted that the proposed budget did put aside €6 billion ($8.02 billion) to help alleviate youth unemployment, which has skyrocketed because of the economic crisis over the past few years, notably in Greece and Spain. He also said it included real increases for programs to foster education, growth and innovation.
The EU, with a population of more than 500 million people and an annual gross domestic product of €12 trillion ($16.05 trillion), is the world's largest economy.
But the EU's budget for 2012 is €147.2 billion ($196.87 billion) — less than one-fifth the size of the budget of the U.K. alone.
Separate from the national budgets, it is designed in part to balance out the economic development of EU members by injecting funding into poorer countries. The EU has funded hundreds of thousands of infrastructure and capital projects over the years, from the installation of broadband network to upgrading road networks.
The EU budget includes, as well, items meant to generate economic growth in the future, such as research and development, increasing digitalization and creating a new, more accurate satellite navigation system. It also funds regulation and administration in such areas as mergers and competition, the review of national budgets to ensure they do not include excessive deficits and banking supervision

CIL, OIL, ONGC, GAIL, focus in exploring and exploiting of energy sources in our country first

7, Janatar Mantar Road,
New Delhi-110001

8th February, 2013

     I have called you today to express my concern on substantial spending of foreign exchange by Government of India on import of expensive petroleum products.  Instead of focusing on import of expensive petroleum products, the Government should concentrate on use of gas as replacement of coal and liquid petroleum products. As you are aware, I have always expressed my great concern on judicious use of our abundant amount of natural resources as I repeatedly mentioned at the time of scam on allotment of coal blocks also.  The use of indigenous gas can be increased manifold if reliable gas supply is assured through development of new blocks. The cost of such gas will be much cheaper than today’s gas price and may be one fourth of imported gas.  With the availability of indigenous gas, there would be a scope of enormous growth in the industrialization, value addition and overall economic growth in the country.  There is a huge potential in our country for extracting gas from coal and coal based blocks.
I would like to suggest that before starting coal mining in a coal block, focus should be given on extracting gas from such blocks either by way of underground coal gasification, CBM, shale gas etc.  The public sector undertakings engaged in energy sectors like CIL, OIL, ONGC, GAIL and oil companies which have huge funds, should focus in exploring and exploiting of energy sources in our country first rather than spending huge money and time outside.  Public Sector Enterprises in the States also should be advised to focus on such initiatives.  CIL, ONGC, OIL have already got big mining areas with them and they may contribute maximum by extracting gas through coal gasification, CBM, shale gas etc at various locations.  They may be allowed to extract gas on nomination basis immediately. I am of the view that with this action of the Government, there will be a big boost to economic development of these areas as most of these locations are situated at economically underdeveloped/ developing areas.                                                   

The complete socio-economic scenario can be changed in 6-7 years if such blocks are nominated to above companies with time bound monitoring by a special cell for the purpose The right vision, policy initiative and performance based implementation and monitoring is essential.  Subsequently, I am sure that many companies in private sector in India and abroad will be interested to invest in this venture.
Further, I would like to suggest  that the preference may be given for allocation of blocks for their captive use to sectors such as power, fertilizer, steel, metal, petrochemical, CNG, commercial and domestic gas suppliers. It would be appropriate to allow fiscal benefits and early development bonus to achieve benefits in the shortest possible time, and the blocks which are already allotted for CBM/gasification and are delaying the exploration, should be penalized. There should also be a policy to enhance maximum possible initial capital outlay for exploration and exploitation of energy sources and incentives for identifying resources, purchase of technology and deployment of experts etc.  There will be huge benefit and achievements for the country if the gas sources are increased. In my view, the advantages mainly such as reduction in import of crude oil, reduction in the subsidy bill especially in fertilizer and diesel, reduction in import rate for balance imports of crude oil, reduction in pollution as compared to coal/petroleum products, reduction in use of land, high efficiency in use of gas, reduction in operating cost etc. Besides all, the overall benefit would be less outflow of foreign exchange from the country and industrialization would be increased which in turn would provide more employment and entrepreneurship.
As I mentioned above, this is also in line with my earlier statements that the Government of India should use its natural resources in a judicious manner which will help in reducing the fiscal deficit of the country.  I would like that my above suggestions should be considered by the Government for incorporation in the Finance Budget 2013 of the country.  
                                                                        Sharad Yadav
Member of Parliament

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