Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quake 6.9 - HITS KURIL ISLANDS

Quake 6.9 -  HITS KURIL ISLANDS


Magnitude 6.9 Mwp
Date-Time
  • 28 Feb 2013 14:05:51 UTC
  • 1 Mar 2013 00:05:52 near epicenter
  • 28 Feb 2013 18:05:51 standard time in your timezone
Location 50.934N 157.339E
Depth 52 km
Distances
  • 85 km (52 mi) SE of Ozernovskiy, Russia
  • 233 km (144 mi) SSW of Vilyuchinsk, Russia
  • 251 km (155 mi) SSW of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
  • 260 km (161 mi) SSW of Yelizovo, Russia
  • 2205 km (1367 mi) NE of Tokyo, Japan
Location Uncertainty Horizontal: 15.9 km; Vertical 9.6 km
Aam Aadmi Party’s Response to Union Budget 2013

Date: 28.3.2013

Aam Aadmi of the country has reasons to feel disappointed, if not cheated, with the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by the ruling coalition that came to power in his name. All over the country, cutting across gender, regions, sectors, classes and the urban/rural divide, the aam aadami faces a crisis of economic opportunity and livelihood. She has suffered from a long period of high inflation, especially in food items. She has long suffered from growth that did not deliver more jobs, a decline in growth now threatens to cut down on existing livelihood opportunities. All the basic amenities that a citizen can expect from democratic governance – public provisions for heath, education and social security – are beyond the reach of the Aam Aadami. Rampant corruption from top to the bottom eats into whatever little could trickle down to them.

The Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister is a clever attempt to mislead the public in an election year. The Finance Minister’s speech offers little remedy for the key problems facing the Indian economy that he himself begins by acknowledging: slowdown of growth, rising fiscal deficit and current account deficit. The current crisis required the government to stimulate domestic investment by encouraging consumption from below; instead the FM remained focused on Foreign investors. Controlling inflation required expansion of PDS and reinforced subsidies on energy and focus on increasing agricultural output in pulses and oilseeds; instead the government has relied on hope. Meeting the demands and aspirations of the people required substantial and real increase in social sector expenditure, instead the government has resorted to statistical tricks and gimmicks rather than put its money where its mouth is. Nor is there any evidence of the government being serious about better usage and monitoring of the funds spent on these public provisions. Shockingly, the government has not come up with any measure to curb corruption and control the parallel black economy that the public is so visibly exercised about.

An analysis of the summary statistics of the budget make it clear that there is little connect between the rhetoric of the budget and its actual numbers.   In his speech the FM claimed that the government has not spared money for welfare schemes; the fact is that the UPA has drastically cut down on most of the key welfare schemes in the current year itself. The FM’s claims about increasing outlays in key sectors is a clear case of statistical fudging; the ‘increase’ claimed by the FM is with reference to the drastically reduced expenditure (Revised Estimates). In most cases the rise in budget allocations is barely enough to cover inflation. In real terms there is no increase in spending for the aam aadami. The FM has also used the age old devise of distracting public attention with the help of some gimmicks that cost very little.

The government needed to increase tax revenue, which has actually fallen by 4% in the current year over what was budgeted; similar false assumptions seem to driving the current projections of 20% increase in revenue. The much talked about move to tax the rich turned out to be a damp squib, for it would affect only 42,000 super rich and bring very small gains for the country. This small gain would be more than made up by the generous increase in the tax exemption, mostly for the well off and the corporate. The amount of ‘Tax foregone’ has gone up from Rs. 5,33,000 crores to Rs. 5,73,000 crores. There is no change in the capital gains regime to curb speculative gains activity in the stock market.The budget gives no indication of a political will to curb black income generation in the economy. The deferment of implementation of GARR to 2016 is another example of the lack of political will to curb tax avoidance. There is nothing in the budget to do away with non-transparent instruments like Participatory Notes or to reformulate the double taxation treaties with ‘tax heavens’ and black economy conduits.
 
Most of the schemes meant for the aam aadmi have remained static or have in fact gone down in real terms or even compared to the actual expenditure in the year before. The central Plan size has come down from Rs. 6,51,000 crore in the Budget last year to the Revised estimate of 5,56,000 crores, huge shortfall of Rs. 96,000 crores. In 2012-13 expenditure on agriculture and allied activities, rural development, irrigation and flood control and welfare of ST has actually gone down compared to the actual expenditure of the previous year. A similar comparison of the expenditure on health and education shows a marginal increase that barely keeps pace with inflation. The total expenditure on social services has fallen short by Rs. 23,000 crores compared to the budgeted allocations. This fact acquires significance for much of the social sector expenditure takes place at the level of the states where the transfer has been cut down by as much as 10,000 crores.

It is unfortunate that even the opposition has not drawn the country’s attention to these statistical lies and inattention to the needs of the aam aadmi. Aam Aadmi Party resolves to take this collective conspiracy of the political establishment to the people’s court and place the concerns of aam admi at the heart of our economic policy. 

Naresh – Brace yourself. If congressional Republicans don’t act by tomorrow

by sagarmedia
Organizing for Action Naresh –
Brace yourself.
If congressional Republicans don’t act by tomorrow, we’re going to be hit by a series of devastating, automatic budget cuts called the sequester.
It’s a sledgehammer to the budget, our economy, and millions of Americans across the country — and the most frustrating part? It doesn’t have to happen.
The majority of Americans support President Obama’s balanced approach to deficit reduction — add your name if you do, too.
So far, congressional Republicans are refusing to compromise — all because they don’t want to close tax loopholes for millionaires, billionaires, vacation homes, and corporate jets. Seriously.
This has very real consequences.
On the chopping block are 10,000 teaching jobs, more than 70,000 kids’ spots in Head Start, $35 million for local fire departments, $43 million to make sure seniors don’t go hungry, and access to nutrition assistance for 600,000 women and their families. That’s just a few of the things we’ll lose.
President Obama has put forth a balanced deficit reduction plan with smart spending cuts that protect the critical investments needed to strengthen middle-class families and our economy.
We need to send a strong signal about where Americans stand on this issue.
Add your name today:
http://my.barackobama.com/Tell-the-GOP-to-Act
Thanks,
Messina
Jim Messina
Chair
Organizing for Action

Thailand signs peace agreement with rebel

Thailand signs peace agreement with rebel group,Yingluck Shinwatra visiting Malaysia

by sagarmedia on February 28, 2013
Thailand  authority  signed a peace agreement with an insurgent group as a big step toward resolving the decades-old insurgency and violence in the border region.National Security Council (NSC) secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabutr revealed to Thai media on Thursday while he was in Malaysia that the Thai authority on Thursday has signed an agreement called “General consensus dialogue process for peace” with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) Coordinate, one of the leading insurgent group in the restive southern Thailand with the help by Malaysian authority who facilitated the meeting with the insurgents.
The agreement is considered the first step as to show recognition from each side and show good wills for future agreement to resolve the problem. This has been the outcome of several meetings between Thai and Malaysian authorities toward solving southern Thai insurgency since last year, he added.
More than 5,000 people have been killed and more than 9,000 hurt in over 11,000 incidents, about 3.5 incidents a day, in Thailand’s Muslim, ethnic-Malay dominated three southern border provinces — Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla — since violence erupted in January 2004, according to Deep South Watch, which monitors the regional violence.
Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra along with several other high ranking Thai officials are  paying a visit in Malaysia.Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra left Bangkok on Thursday to visit Malaysia to meet with her Malaysian counterpart Najib Tun Razak.Yingluck is accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and several other ministers.
The visit is the fifth Annual Consultation between Thai premier and Malaysian premier aims at cultivating friendly relations between the two countries, reaffirming the close partnership between Thailand and Malaysia, following up on the progress on various areas of cooperation since Yingluck’s official visit to Malaysia on February 20, 2012.
According to the Thai Foreign Ministry press release, during the consultation, the parties are expected to discuss varied issues of common interest, including a comprehensive approach to resolve the insurgency in Thailand’s southern border provinces, social and economic development and connectivity in border areas such as the proposed construction of two bridges crossing the Golok River linking Thailand’s Narathiwat province and Malaysia’s Kelantan state.
Cooperation on trade and investment, such as the establishment of a Thailand-Malaysia Business Council and cooperation on tourism, particularly linking Thailand’s Satun province with Malaysia’ Langkawi island, will also be on the agenda.
After the plenary session, the prime ministers will witness the signing of an agreement on border crossings and an MoU on youth and sports cooperating before holding a joint news conference.

MYTHS AND REALITIES OF UNION BUDGET 2013-14

Myth: The Budget has rapidly increased spending on Aam Aadmi:

Reality:  The Actual Expenditure (See RE 2012-13) in key sectors and Ministries is estimated to be either below or only marginally above actual expenditure of last year (See Actual 2011-12)
Sl no.
 
Actual: 2011-12
(Rs in crores)
BE: 2012-13
(Rs in crores)
RE: 2012-13
(Rs in crores)
1
Plan Size
508,596
651,000
556,000
2
Capital Expenditure
158,580
204,816
167,753
 
Sectoral Allocation
 
 
 
3
Social Sector Spending
135,480
178,906
158,339
4
Agriculture and Allied Activities
16194
17692
15971
5
Rural Development
47471
50729
43704
6
Irrigation and Flood Control
506
1275
428
 
Ministry
 
 
 
7
Ministry of Tribal Affairs
1562
1573
1427
8
Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
15031
13331
15243
9
Ministry of HRD
50658
61427
56223
10
Ministry of Rural Development
66638
76376
55000
11
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
23159
30477
24894
 
PROGRAMS
Sl No
Scheme
Allocation 2012-13 (BE) (Rs in crores)
Allocation 2013 -14 (BE) (Rs in crores)*
Comments
1
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)
33,000
33,000
No Change
2
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)
24,000
21,700
Decrease
3
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
25,555
27,258
6% increase (barely covers inflation)
4
Mid Day Meal Scheme
11,937
13,215
10% increase (little over inflation)
4
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)
20,542
20,999
2% increase (Much less than inflation)
5
Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)
15,850
17,700
11% increase (little over inflation)
 
Note: * Represents allocations and NOT the revised estimates which are less because of the various budgetary cut. As such, they do not represent the actual increases in some of these expenditures.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Response to Union Budget 2013
Date: 28.2.2013
Aam Aadmi of the country has reasons to feel disappointed, if not cheated, with the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by the ruling coalition that came to power in his name. All over the country, cutting across gender, regions, sectors, classes and the urban/rural divide, the aam aadami faces a crisis of economic opportunity and livelihood. She has suffered from a long period of high inflation, especially in food items. She has long suffered from growth that did not deliver more jobs, a decline in growth now threatens to cut down on existing livelihood opportunities. All the basic amenities that a citizen can expect from democratic governance – public provisions for heath, education and social security – are beyond the reach of the Aam Aadami. Rampant corruption from top to the bottom eats into whatever little could trickle down to them.
The Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister is a clever attempt to mislead the public in an election year. The Finance Minister’s speech offers little remedy for the key problems facing the Indian economy that he himself begins by acknowledging: slowdown of growth, rising fiscal deficit and current account deficit. The current crisis required the government to stimulate domestic investment by encouraging consumption from below; instead the FM remained focused on Foreign investors. Controlling inflation required expansion of PDS and reinforced subsidies on energy and focus on increasing agricultural output in pulses and oilseeds; instead the government has relied on hope. Meeting the demands and aspirations of the people required substantial and real increase in social sector expenditure, instead the government has resorted to statistical tricks and gimmicks rather than put its money where its mouth is. Nor is there any evidence of the government being serious about better usage and monitoring of the funds spent on these public provisions. Shockingly, the government has not come up with any measure to curb corruption and control the parallel black economy that the public is so visibly exercised about.
An analysis of the summary statistics of the budget make it clear that there is little connect between the rhetoric of the budget and its actual numbers.   In his speech the FM claimed that the government has not spared money for welfare schemes; the fact is that the UPA has drastically cut down on most of the key welfare schemes in the current year itself. The FM’s claims about increasing outlays in key sectors is a clear case of statistical fudging; the ‘increase’ claimed by the FM is with reference to the drastically reduced expenditure (Revised Estimates). In most cases the rise in budget allocations is barely enough to cover inflation. In real terms there is no increase in spending for the aam aadami. The FM has also used the age old devise of distracting public attention with the help of some gimmicks that cost very little.
The government needed to increase tax revenue, which has actually fallen by 4% in the current year over what was budgeted; similar false assumptions seem to driving the current projections of 20% increase in revenue. The much talked about move to tax the rich turned out to be a damp squib, for it would affect only 42,000 super rich and bring very small gains for the country. This small gain would be more than made up by the generous increase in the tax exemption, mostly for the well off and the corporate. The amount of ‘Tax foregone’ has gone up from Rs. 5,33,000 crores to Rs. 5,73,000 crores. There is no change in the capital gains regime to curb speculative gains activity in the stock market.The budget gives no indication of a political will to curb black income generation in the economy. The deferment of implementation of GARR to 2016 is another example of the lack of political will to curb tax avoidance. There is nothing in the budget to do away with non-transparent instruments like Participatory Notes or to reformulate the double taxation treaties with ‘tax heavens’ and black economy conduits.
Most of the schemes meant for the aam aadmi have remained static or have in fact gone down in real terms or even compared to the actual expenditure in the year before. The central Plan size has come down from Rs. 6,51,000 crore in the Budget last year to the Revised estimate of 5,56,000 crores, huge shortfall of Rs. 96,000 crores. In 2012-13 expenditure on agriculture and allied activities, rural development, irrigation and flood control and welfare of ST has actually gone down compared to the actual expenditure of the previous year. A similar comparison of the expenditure on health and education shows a marginal increase that barely keeps pace with inflation. The total expenditure on social services has fallen short by Rs. 23,000 crores compared to the budgeted allocations. This fact acquires significance for much of the social sector expenditure takes place at the level of the states where the transfer has been cut down by as much as 10,000 crores.
It is unfortunate that even the opposition has not drawn the country’s attention to these statistical lies and inattention to the needs of the aam aadmi. Aam Aadmi Party resolves to take this collective conspiracy of the political establishment to the people’s court and place the concerns of aam admi at the heart of our economic policy. 

Union Budget 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister

Finance Min P Chidambaram announced a sharp increase of Rs 1.25 lakh crore in agriculture credit target to Rs 7 lakh crore for next fiscal and allocated additional Rs 10,000 crore in subsidy for implementing the Food Security Bill.
Following are some of the key highlights of the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in Parliament.
*No change in income tax slabs
*Relief of Rs 2,000 for tax payers in tax bracket of Rs 2-5 lakh
*10 pc surcharge on persons with taxable income of over Rs 1 crore
*Tobacco products, SUVs and mobile phones to cost more
*Income limit under Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme raised to 12 lakh from Rs 10 lakh
*First home loan of up to Rs 25 lakh to get extra interest deduction of up to Rs 1 lakh
*Duty free limit of gold import increased to Rs 50,000 for male passengers and Rs 1 lakh for female passengers
*India’s first women’s bank to be set up by October
*Concessional six per cent interest on loans to weavers
*Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana benefit extended to rickshaw pullers, auto and taxi drivers, among others
*’Nirbhaya Fund’ of Rs 1,000 crore to empower women and provide safety in the wake of Delhi gang-rape incident
*Fiscal deficit for 2013-14 pegged at 4.8 pc of GDP and 5.2 per cent in 2012-13
*Market borrowings pegged at Rs 6.29 lakh crore, higher
than Rs 5.59 lakh crore in FY13
*Disinvestment target more than doubled to Rs 55,814 cr
*Plan expenditure pegged at Rs 5,55,322 crore and non-Plan at Rs 11,09,975 crore
*New taxes to collect Rs 18,000 crore for government
*Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme launched for recovering service tax dues
*Rs 14,000 crore earmarked for capital infusion in public sector banks in 2013-14

He also allocated 22 percent more funds to Agriculture Ministry at Rs 27,049 crore for the 2013-14 fiscal, of which Rs 3,415 crore has been earmarked for farm research.
Chidambaram announced extension of interest-subvention on crop loans to private sector banks and commercial banks.
 
“Agricultural credit is a driver of agricultural production. We will exceed the target of Rs 5,75,000 crore fixed for 2012-13. For 2013-14, I propose to increase the target to Rs 7,00,000 crore,” Chidambaram said while presenting the Budget for the 2013-14 fiscal in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
 
The interest-subvention for short-term crop loan will be continued and farmers who repay loan on time will be able to get credit at 4 percent interest per annum, he added.
 
“So far, the scheme has been applied to loans extended by public sector banks, Regional Rural Banks and cooperative banks, I propose to extend the scheme to crop loans borrowed from private sector banks and scheduled commercial banks in respect to loans given within the service area of the branch concern,” the Minister said.
 
Looking at the success of the scheme — Bringing Green Revolution in the Eastern India, Chidambaram allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the next fiscal.
 
Another Rs 500 crore was allocated for crop diversification in states covered during the Green Revolution such as Punjab and Haryana, which are facing stagnation in farm yields.
 
On proposed Food law, the Minister said: “I sincerely hope Parliament will pass the Bill as early as possible. Over and above the normal provision for food subsidy, I have set apart Rs 10,000 crore towards the incremental costs that is likely under the Act.”
 
 
Fiscal deficit for 2012-13 estimated at 5.2%: Chidambaram
 
The fiscal deficit for the current financial year has been contained at 5.2 percent of GDP, lower than 5.3 percent as was targeted, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.
 
“The fiscal deficit for 2012-13 has been contained at 5.2 per cent. I propose to bring it down to 4.8 per cent by 2013-14,” Chidambaram said while unveiling Budget 2013-14 proposals in the Lok Sabha.
 
Further, the Revenue Deficit has been contained at 3.9 percent in the current fiscal and would be brought down to 3.3 percent in 2013-14.
 
As per the fiscal consolidation roadmap, the government plans to reduce fiscal deficit to 3 percent by 2016-17.
 
“We must redeem our promise and bring down the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent and revenue deficit to 1.9 per cent by 2016-17,” Chidambaram said.
 
Tax benefits in RGESS extended to 3 years: Chidambaram
While presenting the Budget 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday proposed liberalising the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) to enable first time investors to park funds in MFs and listed shares and extended tax benefits to three successive years.
Also, the limit for investors wanting to invest in RGESS has been raised to Rs 12 lakh from Rs 10 lakh earlier.
The RGESS will be liberalised to enable first time retail investors to invest in mutual funds and listed shares and not in one year alone, but for three successive years, Chidambaram said.
The RGESS, which was originally announced in the Budget for 2012-13, seeks to provide tax benefits to first-time investors in stock markets. Under the scheme, an individual with an income of less than Rs 12 lakh would get tax incentives for investing up to Rs 50,000 in the stock market.
Budget quote of Mr. Aneesh Srivastava, CIO, IDBI Federal.
An insipid budget
The Union Budget for 2013-14 seems to be a populist one that neither creates any impact on the economy, nor does it address the long-term growth needs.
While the Budget may prove to be positive for FIIs as they can now invest in corporate & government bonds as collateral to meet margin requirements, the Tax Residency Certificate has again become an issue.
The piecemeal perks in some sectors are just not enough to accelerate growth. India continues to face the challenge of getting back to its potential growth rate of 8% along with bringing down inflation. The target to achieve a higher growth rate and a decrease in fiscal deficit looks unlikely in these conditions. The Budget also does not give any direction to address the issue of high current account deficit. The expenditure programme announced by the government would actually be inflationary.

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