Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bangladesh, Myanmar exchange fire in fresh border tension




Tensions has escalated afresh along the Bangladesh-Myanmar frontier as border forces of the two countries traded gunfire for hours sparked off by the killing of a Bangladeshi guard on patrol yesterday.
Border Guards Bangladesh chief Major General Aziz Ahmed told the media that Myanmar’s Border Guard Police opened fire afresh on the Bangladeshi frontier troops after asking them to come to a certain location to take back the body, believed to of slain BGB soldier.
The foreign ministry earlier summoned Myanmar’s envoy in Dhaka to protest the unprovoked action and demanded an investigation into the incident.
Bangladesh shares a 190-kilometre southeastern border with Myanmar.

Mutharika wins Malawi’s disputed presidential vote


Mutharika wins Malawi
Democratic Progressive Party leader Peter Mutharika has been declared the winner of Malawi’s disputed presidential election after defeating President Joyce Banda.
Mutharika, the brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, took 36.4 per cent of the votes cast against Banda’s 20.2 per cent, the electoral commission said.
The results were announced on Friday minutes after the high court refused a last-ditch attempt to block their release and allow time for a recount.
Electoral commission Chief Maxon Mbendera declared Mutharika “president-elect” after last week’s vote, which Banda said was marred by “serious irregularities” and “null and void”.
The results showed that Banda was beaten into third place by Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), who garnered 27.8 per cent of the vote.
Party spokeswoman Jessie Kabwila told the MCP, which had made the bid for a recount, would challenge the results in court.
“We are disappointed because this is not a credible election. We will fight through legal means…we are not taking this lying down.”
Mutharika is set to take the reins of the impoverished southern African country under the shadow of a treason charge.
The 74-year-old brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika is accused of attempting to conceal his brother’s death in office two years ago in an attempt to prevent Banda – then vice-president – from assuming power.
Banda prevailed and took office as decreed by the constitution, booting the former foreign minister out of the administration.
Mutharika, a law professor and former cabinet minister, faces additional counts of inciting a mutiny and conspiracy to commit a felony, along with other officials.
The trial is still pending, but analysts say it is likely the case will be set aside as Malawi’s presidents enjoy immunity from prosecution as long as they are in office.
There is speculation that once Mutharika is in power he could turn the tables on Banda and have her charged with corruption over a USD 30 million graft scandal dubbed “Cashgate”.
Banda has claimed the credit for uncovering the fraud, which saw aid money syphoned into top government officials’ pockets. 
But critics, including Mutharika, say the funds went into her party’s election war-chest.
“Banda did everything in her power to prevent Mutharika from becoming president… and then bringing charges against her,” said Clive Gabay of the Queen Mary University of London. 

Ukraine tells Russia to recognise new president

<br />         Ukraine tells Russia to recognise new president
Ukraine accused Russia on Saturday of unleashing a global propaganda campaign to persuade global powers not to recognise an election that gave the presidency to a pro-Western tycoon.
Washington for its part admitted to a “fundamental disagreement” with Russia and said President Barack Obama would meet Petro Poroshenko, whose May 25 presidential election win Moscow refuses to acknowledge, in Warsaw on Wednesday.The months-long fight for future of the ex-Soviet nation splintered between a more nationalist west and a heavily Russified southeast has killed more than 300 people and resurrected the geopolitical barriers of the Cold War.
Ukraine’s separatist insurgency only intensified after 48-year-old billionaire chocolate maker Poroshenko won 54.7 per cent of a ballot that was disrupted across swathes of the eastern rust belt.
Government forces reported suffering no casualties today while repelling two rebel attempts to recapture an airport in the eastern hub of Donetsk they had seized a day after the election at the cost of 40 fighters – most of them Russian nationals.
Ukraine’s acting foreign minister said Russia was now using every means at its disposal to unsettle the new Kiev leaders and regain control over its historic domain.
“Five days since elections, there has been no official recognition yet. Obviously, the Russian Federation doesn’t have legal grounds to question the election’s legitimacy,” Andriy Deshchytsya wrote in an opinion piece published in the edition of the English-language Kyiv Post.
“The massive… information campaign Kremlin has launched these days, with an avalanche of doubletalk and fake news, signals one thing — this is Russia’s last chance to try shifting the balance of international public opinion,” he wrote.
Russia yesterday accused Ukraine of breaching the 1949 Geneva Conventions protecting civilians in wartime by killing and wounding peaceful citizens during its seven-week “anti-terrorist operation” in the separatist industrial regions of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Modi abolished all the 30 GoMs and EGoMs


Dismantling a legacy of UPA rule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday abolished all the 30 GoMs and EGoMs and told ministries and departments to take decisions on pending matters. 
Announcing the decision to scrap nine Empowered Groups of Ministers and 21 Groups of Ministers, the PMO said this would expedite the process of decision-making and “usher in greater accountability in the system.” 

The Ministries and Departments will now process the issues pending before EGoMs and GoMs and take appropriate decisions at the level of Ministries and Departments itself, said the statement. 
It said wherever the ministries face difficulties, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office will facilitate the decision-making process. 
The statement announcing the abolition of EGoMS and GoMs termed it as “major move” to empower the ministries and Departments. Former Defence Minister A K Antony was heading most of the EGoMs.
The panels were formed to take decisions on issues like corruption, inter-state water disputes, administrative reforms and gas and telecom pricing. 
EGoMs had the power to take decisions on the line of the Union Cabinet. 
The recommendations of the GoMs were placed before the Cabinet for a final call.

News Emanates

DU VC needs to publicly explain the suspension issue


The Delhi University Vice-Chancellor owes a public explanation on how and at which level the decision to suspend five officials of the University’s School of Open Learning was taken.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is of the view that the University’s decision seriously compromises its autonomy and it is surprising that admission documents have been treated as confidential by the authorities to act in a completely unjustified manner against these officials.
The Vice Chancellor needs to explain what was the basis of the decision to suspend these officials ? Had any inquiry been conducted ? Who ordered the inquiry and what were its terms of reference ? Can an inquiry be completed within hours of a nws item appearing in a newspaper ?
Is it a case of the University authorities trying to please the new political masters since the matter pertained to the new union human resources development minister personally ?
 It is shocking that the Delhi University authorities acted with lightning speed against the officials and it is beyond any reasonable understanding that they were suspended within hours of a news item having been published in a newspaper about the admission card of the HRD minister Ms Smriti Irani. It appears that in a desperate bid to score brownie points with the new regime at the Centre, the University authorities seem to have taken an arbitrary decision, which is against the very principle of natural justice.
The Vice-Chancellor, instead of promoting and encouraging transparency, appears to be hell bent on getting into the good books of the political masters in the new regime.
 A prestigious  institution like the DU cannot be allowed to become a centre of political patronage and when the HRD minister herself has publicly stated that these officials should be reinstated, it becomes extremely important for the Vice Chancellor to come clean on the whole issue and let the students, academic community and the people know what actually led to the arbitrary and unjustified suspension of these officials. 

AAP Media Cell


Friday’s storm exposes all claims

 Friday’s storm exposes all claims
The loss of atleast nine innocent lives and largescale destruction caused by the sudden thunderstorm on Friday raises serious questions about the preparedness of the civic agencies in the national capital in dealing with such emergency situations created by natural disasters of any nature.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) condoles these untimely and sudden deaths and demands adequate steps to compensate their families who have lost their beloved ones for no fault of theirs. The administration must also ensure relief and rehabilitation of the affected families.
It is very surprising that the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) have been found wanting in dealing with such situations, and even storms of such minor intensity can throw life out of gear in the country’s capital.
 Parts of the city remained without electricity for nearly 24 hours and it is beyond any reasonable understanding that who will take responsibility for the large-scale inconvenience caused to the people.
The AAP questions the state of affairs in the capital and wants to know from those running the city’s administration that who will be held accountable for the hardships faced by the public for no fault of theirs ?
A single thunderstorm which did not last for a long time has exposed the claims of those running the administration and civic agencies that everything was on track.
All possible steps should be immediately taken to ensure that such a sorry state of affairs is not repeated again. The images of uprooted trees across the city, metro trains being disrupted, ATMs not functioning, no electricity in several parts and massive traffic jams – will keep reminding the people about the nightmare faced by them on Friday evening.
AAP Media Cell


65th National Basketball Championship for Junior Men and Women 2014- Day six


The knockout stages have begun in the 65th National Basketball Championship for Junior Men and Women 2014 underway at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kochi. 
Morning Results from Day 6 (31/5/14)
Prequarterfinal Matches
1)      Kerala (Akhil AR 25, Prem Prakash 20, Sito M 14) bt Andhra Pradesh (Harsha 17, Peter 13, Neeraj 12) 91-65 [8-15; 35-12; 26-19; 22-19]
2)      Rajasthan (Mahipal Singh 30, Akhilesh 25) bt Karnataka (Sowkin Shetty 18, Bushan S 12) Anmol B 15,  92-71 [25-18; 28-19; 18-18; 21-16]
1)      Karnataka (Bhandavya 17, Lopamudra 15, Bhoomika 12) bt West Bengal (Rashmi 23, Pratyusha 14) 85-59 [25-9; 17-18; 12-17; 31-15]
2)      Delhi (Soumya B 29, Varuni B 14, Jothi Rai 13, Nishita 13) bt Madhya Pradesh (Sakshi Pandey 38, Shivangi 11) 78-74 [12-24; 18-21; 21-14; 27-15]
Quarterfinal Matches from Level 1 (Elite level)
1)      Maharashtra (Siddique 22, Parab 19, Sandhu Samson 19, Vaishakh Nambiar 15) bt Madhya Pradesh (Shubham 24, Laxman Thapa 17, Lalit 13) 90-77 [24-20; 24-13; 15-20; 27-24]
1)      Uttar Pradesh (Barkha 26, Preeti Kumari 17) bt Maharashtra (Sruthi Menon 38, Iswari Pingle 14) 67-65 [15-14; 17-10; 14-15; 21-26]
Level 1 to Level 2 (Matches between bottom placed Level 1 teams who have been relegated to Level 2 for next year)
1)      Chhattisgarh (A Kumar 19, R Shrivastav 11) bt Odisha (KS Kumar 6, SS Bemera 6) 57-29 [26-6; 22-7; 3-6; 6-10]
1)      Tamil Nadu (Srividhya 19, Sharmila 18, Shinu 17) bt Rajasthan (Nisha 22, Jagruthi 13) 84-63 [29-17; 25-15; 9-18; 21-13]
Late Evening Results from Day 5 (30/5/14)
Level 1 League Matches
1)      Kerala (Amal Anto 24, Antony 21) bt Chhattisgarh (Dinesh M 16, Shiv Kumar 14) 81-54 [12-10; 22-16; 15-12; 32-16]


GDP grows at 4.7% in FY2014


(The real GDP growth at factor cost stands at 4.6% in Q4 of 2013-14 as against 4.4% in Q4 of 2012-13)

GDP at factor cost at constant (2004-05) prices in the year 2013-14 is estimated at Rs. 57.42 lakh crore showing a growth rate of 4.7% over the GDP for the year 2012-13 of Rs. 54.82 lakh crore.  Whereas, the GDP at factor cost at current prices in the year 2013-14 is estimated at Rs. 104.73 lakh crore, showing a growth rate of 11.5% over the GDP for the year 2012-13 at Rs. 93.89 lakh crore.

Quarterly GDP at factor cost at constant (2004-05) prices for Q4 of 2013-14 is estimated at Rs. 15.38 lakh  crore, as against Rs. 14.71 lakh crore in Q4 of 2012-13, showing a growth rate of 4.6%. Whereas, GDP at factor cost at current prices in Q4 of 2013-14 is estimated at Rs. 28.01 lakh crore, as against Rs. 25.42 lakh crore in Q4 of 2012-13, showing a growth of 10.2%. The real GDP growth at factor cost stands at 4.6% in Q3 of 2013-14 as against 5.2% in Q2 of 2013-14 and 4.7% in Q1 of 2013-14.

Trend in growth of India’s real GDP (%)
Source: PHD Research Bureau, compiled from CSO

The estimated growth rates in economic activities in Q4 of 2013-14 over Q4 of 2012-13 are financing, insurance, real estate and business services at 12.4%, construction at 0.7%, community, social & personal services at 3.3%, trade, hotels, transport and communication at 3.9% and electricity, gas & water supply at 7.2%. The growth rate in agriculture, forestry & fishing, is estimated at 6.3% while for mining and quarrying and manufacturing growth is estimated at (-) 0.4% and (-) 1.4%, respectively in this period.

Recent pattern in real GDP growth           
Source: PHD Research Bureau, compiled from CSO
Note: 2nd RE: Second Revised Estimate; 1st RE: First Revised Estimate; PE: Provisional Estimate

Gross National Income – The Gross National Income (GNI) at factor cost at 2004-05 prices is now estimated at Rs.56.74 lakh crore during 2013-14, as against the previous year’s First Revised Estimate of Rs. 54.17 lakh crore. In terms of growth rates, the gross national income is estimated to have risen by 4.7% during 2013-14, in comparison to the growth rate of 4.1% in 2012-13.

Per Capita Net National Income – The per capita net national income in real terms (at 2004-05 prices) during 2013-14 is estimated to have attained a level of Rs. 39,904  as compared to the First Revised Estimates for the year 2012-13 of Rs. 38,856. The growth rate in per capita income is estimated at 2.7% during 2013-14 as against 2.1% during 2012-13.

Private Final Consumption Expenditure  Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE) at current prices is estimated at Rs. 64.85 lakh crore in 2013-14 as against Rs. 57.72 lakh crore in 2012-13. At constant (2004-05) prices, the PFCE is estimated at Rs. 37.20 lakh crore in 2013-14 as against Rs. 35.48 lakh crore in 2012-13. In terms of GDP at market prices, the rates of PFCE at current and constant (2004-05) prices during 2013-14 are estimated at 57.1% and 60%, respectively, as against the corresponding rates of 57.1% and 60.1%, respectively in 2012-13.

Government Final Consumption Expenditure  Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE) at current prices is estimated at Rs. 13.41 lakh crore in 2013-14 as against Rs. 11.89 lakh crore in 2012-13. At constant (2004-05) prices, the GFCE is estimated at Rs. 6.87 lakh crore in 2013-14 as against Rs. 6.62 lakh crore in 2012-13. In terms of GDP at market prices, the rates of GFCE at current and constant (2004-05) prices during 2013-14 are estimated at 11.8% and 11.1%, respectively, as against the corresponding rates of 11.8% and 11.2%, respectively in 2012-13.

Gross Fixed Capital Formation  Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) at current prices is estimated at Rs. 32.11 lakh crore in 2013-14 as against Rs. 30.72 lakh crore in 2012-13. At constant (2004-05) prices, the GFCF is estimated at Rs. 20 lakh crore in 2013-14 as against Rs. 20.02 lakh crore in 2012-13. In terms of GDP at market prices, the rates of GFCF at current and constant (2004-05) prices during 2013-14 are estimated at 28.3% and 32.3%, respectively, as against the corresponding rates of 30.4% and 33.9%, respectively in 2012-13. The rates of Change in Stocks and Valuables at current prices during 2013-14 are estimated at 1.6% percent and 1.5%, respectively.

The PFCE and GFCF at constant (2004-05) market prices in Q4 of 2013-14 are estimated at Rs. 9.78 lakh  crore and Rs.5.36 lakh  crore, respectively. The rates of PFCE and GFCF as percentage of GDP at market prices in Q4 of 2013-14 were 57% and 31.2%, respectively, as against the corresponding rates of 55.9% and 33.4%, respectively in Q4 of 2012-13.

Warm regards,

Dr. S P Sharma
Chief Economist


Antibiotic Resistance  

Danielle Nierenberg, Food Tank
To Nksagar_1@yahoo.comSagar
May 30 at 8:39 PM -

A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report highlights how antibiotic resistance—the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of antibiotics they were previously sensitive to—is a threat without borders. And the use of antibiotics in the food industry means that humans and animals alike are exposed to antibiotics on a daily basis, making them less effective when we really need them.
The routine use of antibiotics in the feed and water of otherwise healthy chickens, cattle, and pigs since the 1950s has created a breeding ground for antibiotic resistant bacteria. A shocking eighty percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to farm animals, not people, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Antibiotics have played a major role in protecting public health and have saved millions of lives. However, inappropriate use of antibiotics now threatens their effectiveness, the ability of humans and animals alike to fight off infection, and costs lives.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in 2010, almost 52 percent of chicken breasts tested were contaminated with antibiotic resistant E. coli. And in three states drug-resistant bacteria have been found in drinking water and detected in the air downwind from factory farms. Drug-resistant infections cost Americans up to US$26 billion a year in additional health costs.
Because of serious public health risks, there is a push to end use of low dose antibiotics in livestock. Organizations like the Center for a Liveable Future (CLF) have been promoting research and developing communication on global health and the environment for a long time.
And CLF is helping eaters better understand the impact of their food choices. “If enough of us on the demand side create influence through our choices, we will transform the food system, and the supply side will follow,” said Dr. Bob Lawrence, Director of CLF.
There are dozens of other organizations working tirelessly to gather evidence, inform policymakers, and promote more sustainable methods of food production.
Alliance for a Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA)— APUA’s motto is “preserving the power of antibiotics.” Gathering experts in a wide range of fields- from medicine to economics- APUA conducts research and educates on antimicrobial treatment and resistance at the grassroots and global levels.
Animal Welfare Approved (AWA)— Founded in 2006, AWA is a food label for meat and dairy products guaranteeing the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. The organization supports independent family farmers who provide their animals with continual access to pasture, as well as the opportunity to perform natural and instinctive behaviors essential to their health and well-being. Following AWAstandards, farmers can avoid routine antibiotics and other chemical inputs on the farm.
Center for Food Safety— The Center promotes organic agriculture and opposes harmful food production methods such as factory farming. Involved in the Meat Without Drugs campaign, they launched a petition calling on U.S. pork producers to stop using Ractopamine, a drug banned or strictly limited in 160 countries. You can also take part in this online action by calling on Congress to tackle antibiotic resistance.
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)— Founded in 1971, CSPI fights for food safety, nutrition and health. In 2013, CSPI released an “Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Pathogens” report that details antibiotic-related outbreaks from 1973 to 2011. CSPI also supports the Meat Without Drugs and Keep Antibiotics Working campaigns.
Compassion in World Farming (CIWF)— CIWF campaigns internationally against animal cruelty in farming practices. Part of the Save Our Antibiotics Alliance along with the Soil Association and Sustain in the United Kingdom, CIWF published the Case Study of a Health Crisis that details the health implications of the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.
Consumers Union— Working for a food system that assures “food is safe, affordable, healthful and processed in a sustainable manner,” Consumers Union is the co-instigator of the Meat Without Drugs campaign along with Fix Food. The campaign aims at raising awareness about antibiotic resistance and is calling big food retailers, specifically Trader Joe’s, to stop selling meat raised with antibiotics.
Fix Food— This American nonprofit is dedicated to changing the food system by raising awareness and partnering with leading organizations. Fix Food is also part of the Meat Without Drugs campaign.
Food Animal Concern Trust (FACT)— FACT is a research-driven nonprofit organization founded in 1982. It aims to raise awareness about animal welfare in agriculture and consequent public health issues. FACT opposes, among other things, the extra label use of antibiotics, which is a drug approved for humans and used for cattle. FACT provides leadership for the Keep Antibiotics Working campaign.
Food and Water Watch— This consumer organization believes accessibility to safe food produced in a sustainable manner is a human right. In order to change practices in factory farms, Food and Water Watch initiated the Save Antibiotics campaign calling city councils to pass resolutions to end non-therapeutic use of antibiotics.
Healthy Food Action—Healthy Food Action is a national network of health professionals advocating for healthier food systems. Founder, Dr. David Wallinga, is among the leading science and policy experts applying a health lens to our food system and has written extensively on the impact of antibiotics and super bugs on human health.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)—IATP promotes safe food and healthy ecosystems, opposing the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and aquaculture. The organization produced a bibliography listing 147 studies supporting public health action to reduce antibiotic overuse in food animals, has organized 30,000 comments to the FDA on taking antibiotics out of meat, and published reports on how the FDA fails to regulate antibiotic use.
Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW) - KAW is a coalition of health, consumer, agricultural, environmental, humane and other advocacy groups with more than 11 million members dedicated to eliminating the inappropriate use of antibiotics in health farm animals.
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)— NRDC is involved in a wide range of issues related to environmental protection and supports the Meat Without Drug campaign. NRDC also takes legal actions and runs an online petition to stop the spread of superbugs.
Soil Association— This English charity is comprised of farmers, scientists, and nutritionists who work for “healthy, humane, and sustainable food, farming and land use.” Soil Association joined the Save Our Antibiotics Alliance and also acts as the main certification body for organic products in the United Kingdom.
Sustain—Sustain is an environmental organization advocating for sustainable food and agriculture practices and policies. It is one of the founders of the Save Our Antibiotics Alliance.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)—HSUS fights for animal rights and protection. Considered the largest of its kind, HSUS work includes; influencing public policies, investigating animal cruelty, and enforcing existing laws. Dedicated to improving lives of farm animals in many ways, HSUS also supports the Meat Without Drugs campaign.
The Pew Charitable Trusts— The Trust organized a campaign on human health and industrial farming and a petition calling on the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB)-a global, multi-stakeholder initiative representing five different constituencies-to ensure criteria which define “sustainable beef” exclude the non-therapeutical use of antibiotics. In 2011, they published a seminal report on reforming industrial animal agriculture and seeking a new model which is less damaging to the environment, communities, animal and human health.
Please share this article online by clicking HERE.
All the best,

Danielle Nierenberg
President, Food Tank
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SIT on black money: If there is political will, it should go for gold and a big haul


By Prof R. Vaidyanathan    First Post—FirstBiz—31-05-2014
More than six years ago, in February 2008, the German authorities had collected information about illegal money stashed away by citizens of various countries in a Liechtenstein bank. The German Finance Minister offered to share the names of these account-holders with any government interested in them. The UPA-1 government, unfortunately, did not act for many months and, after much prodding by the Opposition, asked for the list in late 2008.
A German intelligence agency appears to have paid an unnamed informer more than $6 million for this confidential and secret data about clients of the LGT group, a bank owned by the Liechtenstein Prince’s family. The revelations have already led to the resignation of the head of Deutsche Post, which is currently the world’s largest logistics company. Liechtenstein leaders were furious and have focused all their ire on the theft of the data rather than on the facts of the case.
The German list contained the names of 1,400 clients of the Liechtenstein bank, of whom 600 were Germans. A spokesman for the German finance ministry, Thorstein Albig, had said in March 2008 that information on the other accounts would be shared without charging any fees. Finland, Sweden, and Norway quickly obtained the data, but  our government began pussyfooting around this issue. If it had genuinely wanted to act against black money, it should have immediately despatched senior officials/ministers to get the names. Pushed and prodded by the Opposition and the media, when the government finally moved, it got nearly 100 Indian names – but those names have been kept a secret.
This writer, who has been studying tax havens for more than a decade, wrote in April 2009 (in the journal Eternal India, published by India First Foundation) about the need to get back the illegal deposits kept by Indians in various tax havens, including Liechtenstein. A public interest litigation was then filed by Ram Jethmalani and others in the Supreme Court, to which the government responded that it was taking steps to recover such amounts. It had also mentioned that the German government had given a list of people who had kept money in the LGT Bank of Liechtenstein (May 2009). The government’s response also said that steps were being taken in the case of Hasan Ali Khan, a Pune horse-breeder, who was alleged to have indulged in several illegal transactions through the UBS Bank of Switzerland.
In the meanwhile, the then Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, LK Advani, had constituted a committee consisting of S Gurumurthy, well-known Chartered Accountant, Ajit Doval, the current National Security Advisor, lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, and this writer. The report of the committee was also used by Ram Jethmalani in his PIL filed with the Supreme Court.
The government maintained that it cannot reveal the names received from Germany since it had obtained the same under the double taxation avoidance treaty. The point is: why did the government ask for information under the double-tax treaty with Germany when the issue – stolen data from the Liechtenstein bank by Germany – was unconnected to the treaty? Where is the issue of confidentiality vis-a-vis criminals? Actually, it is wealth kept illegally in the bank in Liechtenstein, and the money does not even concern Germany.
The double-tax treaty generally prevents the use of information supplied under the treaty for any purpose other than the levy and recovery of tax. It is doubtful whether the income tax department can share the details it has secured under the treaty with the Enforcement Directorate or the National Investigation Agency which tracks terror cases, or the NSA. That is why the Supreme Court had refused to regard it purely an issue of tax evasion.
The finance ministry says it has the names but will not reveal them. But is this right? The accounts are those of international crooks who have deprived our land of huge financial resources through capital flight. It is an unpatriotic act which can be equated to financial terrorism. Domestic black money (that is untaxed income) is merely a no-confidence motion against the government’s tax policies, but black money in tax havens abroad amounts to no-confidence against the country – which is akin to treason.
A report in The Economic Times dated 4 June 2009 said that of the 50 Indians who have stashed funds in LGT Bank, 25 belong to Mumbai. The tax authorities have reopened assessments of these 25 tax evaders under section 148 of the Income Tax Act. This implies that the government is treating it as tax evasion and not capital flight and a crime against the country. But on 19 January 2011 – after two years of waiting – the Supreme Court made a historic observation about this shameful phenomenon of Indian funds being kept illegally abroad and the obstructionist attitude of the central government in unravelling the truth.
A report in The Hindu quoted the court as saying that black money stashed abroad by Indians was “pure and simple theft of national money.” The court “questioned the Centre’s approach to tackling this menace and retrieving the huge amounts kept in foreign banks. When Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam furnished in a sealed cover a list of 26 names who had accounts with (the) Liechtenstein Bank, a bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar was not convinced of the steps taken by the government for getting back black money. Justice Reddy, after perusing the list, told the SG: ‘This is all the information you have or you have something more? We are talking about huge money. It is a plunder of the nation. It is pure and simple theft of national money. We are talking about mind-boggling crime. We are not on (the) niceties of various treaties.”
The court then insisted on the formation of a special investigation team (SIT) with ex-Supreme Court judge Jeevan Reddy as Chairman, assisted by Justice MB Shah, and asked the government to share details about the Liechtenstein list. The UPA government dilly-dallied and used every ruse in the legal book to buy time. But the Supreme Court was very upset and told the government that it can be hauled up for contempt of court. The court, in its order of 1 May 2014, had given the government three weeks’ time to issue a notification for setting up an SIT to be presided over by Justice MB Shah (since Justice Jeevan Reddy had declined to head it for personal reasons), with retired Justice Arijit Pasayat as vice-chairman, to guide and direct the investigation.
The three weeks ended on 22 May and extended to 27 May due to a change in the government. Hence, the first decision of the new government was about the SIT. It was a decision pushed down the throat of the government of India by the court due to the sustained efforts of Ram Jethmalani, represented by Anil Dhavan, and armed with reports of this writer. The SIT will consist of the Chief of the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, a Deputy Governor of the RBI, the IB Director, the Narcotics Bureau chief, and the head of the Enforcement Directorate. The group will also have access to the accounts of HSBC Bank, Geneva, details of which were given by the French government.
The SIT is essentially a group of bureaucrats with varying degrees of expertise about tax havens. This is mainly for illicit money kept abroad and not for domestic black money. Most of the double tax treaties which the UPA-2 entered into are prospective in nature and the task of looking into past illegal funds is complicated.
The group should distinguish between pure tax evasion (let us call it vegetarian black money) and funds connected to terror/arms smuggling/narcotics (say, non-veg black money). The former is easy to focus on and can be dealt with through penalties. A recent Supreme Court judgment, which says that “that Indian resident beneficiaries shall not be taxed on the income of an offshore discretionary trust as long as the trustees do not distribute income to the beneficiaries,” may help many in the first category.
The best way to proceed is to have a joint sitting of Parliament and pass a resolution stating that “any funds abroad held by Indian nationals belong to the Republic of India” unless they have been kept abroad under legal rules and regulations. Armed with such a resolution and recent agreements entered into by Switzerland and Singapore with OECD countries, the SIT can go for gold! Actually, the SIT should be willing to use the concept of sama/dhana/bheda/dhanda in achieving its task – many secretive jurisdictions, including Switzerland, can and should be arm-twisted to part with information. After all they have huge investments in India
It is also necessary to consider the gold/diamonds/precious items kept by Indians in the lockers of banks in tax havens abroad. The road ahead for the recovery of illegal money stashed abroad is full of pot holes and craters, but we Indians have a way of navigating such impediments. What is needed is the political will for the same.
(The author is finance professor, IIM Bangalore. These views are personal)

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Words of Wisdom – GAIL Voice

GAIL Voice
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Words of Wisdom – GAIL Voice


Posted: 31 May 2014 02:33 AM PDT
Recently a UK based energy journal “LNG Magazine” published an article “A passage to India” on the Indian LNG demand and GAIL’s efforts towards meeting the same with inputs from Mr. Prabhat Singh; director, marketing , GAIL (India) Limited.
The article talked about the energy demand and supply shortage in India and around the globe. Involvement of natgas in India’s energy mix is 11% whereas it accounts to 24% in the global scenario. As of now, domestic production contributes 73% of the total supply of the gas. The gap between supply and demand is growing with the intense development and rising conscience to go green in the nation. GAIL has stepped up to the challenge and has assumed a key role in development of natgas market in India in meeting rising demand. It has also been vigilant about securing deals with the foreign nations as well. The long term deals with Qatar, Yemen, Nigeria, Algeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Norway, Oman, UAE etc. shows the efforts of the company in doing so.
The article basically consisted of three important constraints:
Indian natural gas market has become a global attraction because of its demographical location as well as rising domestic demand. GAIL has secured part of natgas supplies from countries like Russia and Turkey and is constantly examining potential LNG hubs.
Business & Sustainability
GAIL has been consistently trying to reduce the carbon footprint in the production process and with usage of renewable energy in the production process it depicts the strong willingness of the motive. Alongside the busy operations GAIL with its CSR projects has also been ensuring the sustainable development of underprivileged the needy communities.
Future Projects
GAIL has constantly trying to fill the gap between supply and demand in the country. Company is pursuing regional cooperation with fellow Asian nations. GAIL has also been looking to diversify its operations and in the process has also commissioned wind energy projects in Gujarat. Future plans are to concentrate on the renewabels starting with solar & wind energy.
With strong words from the marketing manager we are assured that the future demands will be met and India may soon achieve energy security.
The post Words of Wisdom appeared first on GAIL Voice.
Posted: 30 May 2014 04:43 AM PDT
While the nation seeks a better a better future, its the youth who hold the foundations of the brighter tomorrow being anticipated. Here is a true story of a champion who did not give up when knocked down by life but instead bounced back with a bang

Apar Tiwari – (GAIL Utkarsh Super 30 – 2009 – 2010) – IIT Varanasi – (Mechanical Engineering)
‘A lesson learnt, a career achieved’
As I look back to my school days, I remember that I wasn’t much into studies. I preferred watching TV and being involved in sports activities. I belong to a middle class family. My parents always tried to make me understand the importance of a good career but I couldn’t drive myself to study in those initial days. However, taking the Cyber Olympiad in 6th standard made me realize where I stood when it came to knowledge – nowhere. As such, I couldn’t even secure a satisfactory position in the Olympiad even at the district level. I used to think I was far better than others, but the results said otherwise. I felt as if I was standing at the bottom and others were moving to the top, though my parents and my sisters encouraged me a lot. It was because of their efforts that I was finally able to recognize my potential. When I was in 9th standard, my father expired and the entire burden fell on my mother. I started paying attention to my studies but one thing that persisted in my mind was on improving my knowledge without worrying about my class rank. I got an opportunity to be a part of my school NCC team, where I gave my 100 percent as I felt it is most important to be sincere and dedicated to whatever one takes up. I qualified for mains level in NTSE and scored 92% in 10th standard. It was around that time that I decided to be an engineer and set my sight on IIT. However, it was during my preparations that I realized that the method of study was wrong. Coaching basically meant making students cram the entire study material, ignoring individual capability. This was very upsetting. Then I came to know about the Super 30 coaching sponsored by GAIL India limited in co-operation with CSRL. Here the teaching pattern was totally different. I wouldn’t even call it coaching. In fact, it was more like a home for me where I was provided proper guidance by well experienced and talented teachers. The approach was basic and simple but the result was undoubtedly awesome. The IIT aspirants just need to be conceptual and this is a prominent feature of the Super 30 art of teaching. Today, I am most content. My father is not here to see me, but he would have been proud to see me an IITian.My mother, sisters, maternal uncles and two of my true friends never let me feel his absence. I express my deep gratitude to Abhayanand Sir, Krishnamurti Sir, Chandra Sir and Phurkan Sir and the whole GAIL and CSRL team for their tremendous efforts and the patience they showed for me, enabling me reach this successful station in life.
Apar continuously maintained a CGPA of 8+ and has secured 133 score in GATE examination. Now he has also secured 1st position in SAIL Management Trainee exam. GAIL is proud of him and wishes him all the best for the future.
We hope that with project Utkarsh we keep on helping talents like Apar in the future too.
The post True Story of a CHAMPION appeared first on GAIL Voice.


WaterTech e-News Daily_ Top News from the Week of May 26, 2014

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Globe with Earthquake Location


Preliminary Earthquake Report
  • 31 May 2014 11:53:48 UTC
  • 31 May 2014 04:53:48 near epicenter
  • 31 May 2014 15:53:48 standard time in your timezone
Location18.852N 107.445W
Depth10 km
  • 259 km (160 mi) WSW of Tomatlan, Mexico
  • 303 km (187 mi) SW of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • 306 km (189 mi) W of Cihuatlan, Mexico
  • 311 km (192 mi) SW of Ixtapa, Mexico
  • 877 km (543 mi) W of Mexico City, Mexico

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