Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lankan parliament votes to not to allow UNHRC probe team

21 06 2014
Lankan parliament votes to not to allow UNHRC probe team
Sri Lankan parliament overwhelmingly voted not to allow the UNHRC team into the country to investigate alleged human rights abuses during the last phase of the civil war against the LTTE.
The government moved resolution was passed with 144 votes in favour, 10 against and 37 abstentions in the 225-membered house.”That this Parliament resolves that the investigation to be conducted against Sri Lanka by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights should not be carried out on the ground that such a course of action is detrimental to the process of reconciliation and peace and that it erodes the sovereignty, dignity and stature of Sri Lanka”, the resolution said.
Two amendments moved by the Opposition were defeated. The government received a jolt ahead of the vote when a key ally, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, said they were boycotting the parliament debate on the resolution.
Party leader, Rauff Hakeem, who is also the Minister of Justice said they were skipping parliament as the government had failed to provide security to the Muslims against a communal riot in the southwestern region.
“We are convinced that the government did not do anything to prevent the violence”, Hakeem said.
At least 4 Muslims were killed while nearly 100 were injured in the attacks blamed on the Buddhist majority BBS or the Forces of Buddhist Power.
The UN rights body’s investigation is in terms of a resolution adopted in March at the UNHRC. The investigation is to commence soon.
The action sanctioned by the UN rights body’s three successive resolutions since 2012.
Sri Lanka’s lack of action to control inter-religious tensions was highlighted by the UN rights chief Navy Pillay during her visit to the island last year.
Stepping up the international pressure, the European Union on Wednesday urged the Sri Lankan government to uphold the rule of law.
“We condemn the outbreak of violence which resulted in the loss of lives and extensive damage to property,” a EU statement said.
Up to 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed at the end of the separatist war in 2009, rights groups and experts have said.

Putin orders central Russia forces on combat alert

21 06 2014
Putin orders central Russia forces on combat alert
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday ordered military forces in central Russia on combat alert as well as a drill of airborne troops, a day after Ukraine ordered a cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels.
NATO said earlier this week that Russia has resumed a military build-up on the border with Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting government forces for weeks in a conflict that has left about 300 people dead and displaced over 34,000. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered his forces to cease fire yesterday and halt military operations for a week, the first step in a peace plan he hopes will end the fighting that has killed hundreds. The Kremlin dismissed the plan, saying it sounded like an ultimatum and lacked any firm offer to open talks with insurgents. The combat alert in the central military district, which encompasses the Volga region and the Ural mountains but not western Russia, will last until next Saturday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said, quoted by Russian state news agencies. Some 65,000 troops will take part in military drills accompanying the combat alert, according to head of Russian General Staff Gen Valery Gerasimov, including several thousand troops of an airborne division which will be moved from a city 200 kilometres east of Moscow where they are stationed to the Ural mountains. Russia’s combat alert was ordered on the first day of the cease-fire in Ukraine, which was nonetheless marked by more fighting along the border. The Ukrainian Border Guard Service reported overnight attacks on two border posts in the Donetsk region, which left three troops injured, hours after the cease-fire was announced. One of the posts, Vyselky, was attacked with mortar and sniper fire for half an hour, the border guards said. An attack on another border post, Izvaryne, immediately before the cease-fire left six men injured, the border guard service said. Ukraine’s Defence Ministry reported two attacks on the quarters of a missile unit in the village of Avdiyivka. Kiev said men armed with automatic rifles and grenade launchers attacked the base at 11 pm — one hour after the cease-fire was announced — prompting the army to respond. The rebels left in the morning, the defence ministry said.

Rail fare hike difficult but correct decision: Jaitley

21 06 2014
Rail fare hike difficult but correct decision: Jaitley
Defending the steep hike in rail fare and freight rates as a ‘difficult but correct decision’, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the railways can survive only if users pay for availing of facilities.
“The passenger services have been subsidised by the freight traffic. In recent years, even freight fares have come under pressure,” he said in his first reaction to the 14.2 per cent increase in passenger fares and 6.5 per cent hike in freight rates.
Stating that the choice before the government was to allow the railways to bleed and eventually walk into a debt trap or raise fares, Jaitley said, “India must decide whether it wants a world-class railway or a ramshackled one”.
“The railway minister has taken a difficult but a correct decision…The Indian Railways for the last few years have been running at a loss. The only way that Railways can survive is when users pay for the facilities that they avail.”
BJP leaders term rail fare hike a strong and effective measure
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Siddharth Nath Singh defended the rail fare hike, calling it a strong and effective measure to counter Congress’ failure.
Naqvi told the news agency, “Correction of the Congress’ failures is the priority,” adding, “The challenges the country is facing is an inheritance passed by the people who are protesting against it.”
He added, “The Modi government was trying to take strong and effective measures. Soon people will realise that measures that are being taken is to rid people of their problems.”
Meanwhile, BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said, “Any government faces two choices, to go for the growth or to give doles in the form of vote bank, the decision taken by PM Narendra Modi’s government is to bring India out of the economic mess left by the earlier UPA-II government.”
About the railway hike, he said, “It was a decision that the previous government had already taken in February but they did not announce it because of the upcoming elections and the vote bank consideration and, therefore, left the decision to the new government.”

PM Modi address to US Congress

21 06 2014
US Lawmakers seek to honour PM Modi with address to Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to receive the honour of addressing a joint session of the US Congress during a visit to Washington in September.
California Republican Ed Royce, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to House Speaker John Boehner on Friday and asked that he invite Mr Modi to address a joint session of the House and Senate during his trip.
“In every aspect – whether it be in political, economic or security relations – the United States has no more important partner in South Asia,” the letter said.
“It is not an overstatement to say that the US-India relationship will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”
Mr Boehner’s office did not immediately announce a response to the letter, which was also signed by North Carolina Republican Representative George Holding.
Congressional aides said they expected an invitation would be issued to Mr Modi.
The administration of President George W Bush denied Mr Modi a visa in 2005 under a 1998 US law barring entry to foreigners who have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”
In 2002, when Mr Modi had just become Gujarat’s chief minister, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in sectarian riots in the state. Mr Modi denied any wrongdoing. India’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 he had no case to answer.
President Barack Obama congratulated PM Modi on his election victory in mid-May and invited him to the White House.
The United States, which sees India as a natural ally and potential counterbalance to China in Asia, is eager to expand business and security cooperation with the Modi government.

UPA governors infix

21 06 2014
With this list of Congress appointed Governors list  Congress contention of its strong case with a 2010 Supreme Court order which had said the removal of the governors was untenable as its constitutional appointment,
M K Narayanan  of West Bengal, Sheila Dikshit pf Kerala, Margaret Alva of Rajasthan, Kamla Beniwal Gujarat, BL Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), K Sankaranarayanan (Maharashtra) and Devendra Konwar (Tripura).
In spite of Congress directive not to resign as per SC Verdict. Uttar Pradesh governor B L Joshi and Chhattisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt rendered their resignations, the others have decided to stay put.
Congress did removed NDA appointed governors after Congress  came to power 2004 , Congress has considered  this time to challenge the new government on this issue as per SC Verdict 2010  thua advised its appointees not to resign.

Biometric National Population Register (NPR) is aadhaar by another name

21 06 2014

Opposed by Narendra Modi, Biometric National Population Register (NPR) is aadhaar by another name

Gopal Krishna
To toxicswatchalliance
Today at 7:21 PM

Opposed by Narendra Modi, Biometric National Population Register (NPR) is aadhaar by another name

How Rajnath Singh is wrong about Biometric NPR and the Prime Minister is right 

No lessons being learnt from misuse of electoral database and census data by Big Data companies

In a letter written to Minister of Home Affairs (MHA), Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has submitted that Shri Narendra Modi had opposed biometric National Population Register (NPR) in his letter to Dr Manmohan Singh on October 6, 2011. It has argued that MHA’s support for 12 digit biometric aadhaar number generating NPR makes Indians worse than prisoners, violates Citizenship Act, Census Act and constitutional rights. 

Isn’t there a compelling reason for MHA, RGI and all the concerned ministers and officials in the government to read the letter of Shri Narendra Modi to understand why he had opposed biometric NPR not? How can MHA deprive itself of the wisdom of Shri Modi without facing any consequence? If this government does not reconcile its actions in the light of Shri Modi’s letter, it will tantamount to breach of citizens’ trust. It will set a dangerous and unhealthy precedent and in future no one will believe even the written words of political leaders. 

The MHA’s must explain as how is India’s NPR for identity cards different from Identity Cards that has been abandoned in UK. There is a need to guard against ID Card cartels and learn from the fate of such databases in Egypt, Pakistan and Greece. It must set up a committee to examine why countries like China, Australia and France abandoned such ID projects.

CFCL had appeared before t he Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance that examined the National Identification Authority of India Bill to legalize and legitimize aadhaar scheme. The PSC endorsed the concerns about national security and citizens rights and questioned and trashed the scheme. 

The parliamentary committee had categorically raised question about the absence of legal mandate for biometric data collection. The parliamentary committee’s report observes, “The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information of individuals without amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955 as well as the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, appears to be beyond the scope of subordinate legislation, which needs to be examined in detail by Parliament.”

Notably, the PSC’s report revealed that “Bharatiya – Automated Finger Print Identification System (AFSI), was launched in January, 2009, being funded by the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, for collection of biometric information of the people of the country.” But admittedly the same is not being used by UIDAI because according to the Government, “The quality, nature and manner of collection of biometric data by other biometric projects may not be of the nature that can be used for the purpose of the aadhaar scheme and hence it may not be possible to use the fingerprints captured under the Bhartiya-AFSI project.” It is bizarre as why the parliamentary committee did not question AFSI program of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology headed by A Raja. How can this program be allowed to continue without “amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955”?

Despite such observation of the parliamentary committee, MHA’s support for NPR is quite inexcusable. 

Besides the Ministry of Planning in their written reply stated, “UIDAI is adopting a multiple registrar approach and the Registrar General of India (RGI) will be one of the Registrars of the UIDAI. To synergize the two exercises, an Inter Ministerial Coordination Committee has been set up to minimize duplication. The UIDAI is making all efforts to synergize with National Population Register (NPR) exercise.” This recorded reply illustrates that NDA government’s proposal for NPR and UPA government’s aadhaar is simply the same rose with different names. 

It is quite clear from the conceptual design that aadhaar and NPR is one and the same. This feigned ignorance seems to demonstrate the collusion between BJP and Congress on biometrically profiling Indians.  Admittedly, biometric data is a property. It is not surprising that property dealers of all shapes and shades are visible on the horizon.    

The examination of the terms of reference of UIDAI reveals it all. The entire political class and citizenry was taken for a ride regarding a so called turf war between the Ministry of Home Affairs and UIDAI which media was made to understand that got resolved by diving the Indian population in two parts of 60 crore for coverage under aadhaar and the rest under National Population Register (NPR) which also generates Aadhaar number. The fact is the terms of reference of the UIDAI mandated it “take necessary steps to ensure collation of National Population Register (NPR) with UID (as per approved strategy)”, to “identify new partner/user agencies”, to “issue necessary instructions to agencies that undertake creation of databases… (to) enable collation and correlation with UID and its partner databases” and UIDAI “shall own and operate the database”. The executive notification dated January 28, 2009 that set up UIDAI mentions this. The entire exercise has been staged to hoodwink unsuspecting Indians.

If there was still any doubt about the oneness of NPR and aadhaar, the report of Press Trust of India of January 30, 2014 revealed the proposal of the Planning Commission to allow UIDAI to start enrolments in areas other than 18 states and Union Territories allocated to it. The Commission’s proposal is based on the view that this is required to speed up collection of biometrics details of residents and for issuing them Aadhaar numbers as well as a National Multi-purpose Identity Cards (NMIC) based on NPR. It was reported, “The Commission discussed the proposal with Registrar General of India (RGI) under the Ministry of Home Affairs. They have agreed that UIDAI can be allowed to enrol in some states where they are collecting biometrics details of resident, to speed up enrolments.”
It may be noted that the states and union territories where RGI is enrolling residents and collecting their biometrics details under NPR are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep. Notably, RGI is also enrolling residents in Udupi, Gadag, Uttara Kannada, Haveri, Davangere, Bangalore rural, Chikkabalapur and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. So far 14 crore Indians have been enrolled under NPR.

UIDAI has been enrolling residents in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura. It claims that so far it has enrolled 63 crore Indians.

Both NPR and aadhaar are online databases by design.  
Now that it has been established that surveillance agencies of USA, UK and their allies have dismantled firewalls created for online privacy and encrypted Internet communications, the new government must dismantle the illegitimate biometric database to undo the damage to done to Indians by the previous government.

In its letter CFCL said, “even as the surveillance infrastructure that was bulldozed by the previous  government unfolded in India, UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said in a speech in British House of Commons said, “This government will end the culture of spying on its citizens. It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop. So there will be no ID card scheme. No national identity register, a halt to second generation biometric passports,” He added, “We won’t hold your internet and email records when there is just no reason to do so. Britain must not be a country where our children grow up so used to their liberty being infringed that they accept it without question. Schools will not take children’s fingerprints without even asking their parent’s consent. This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state.” The speech of the British Deputy Prime Minister is available at” It added, “it is quite significant to take note of these developments to avoid the fate of Shri Tony Blair and his UK’s Identity Cards Act, 2006. Both have been abandoned.”

During the election campaign, BJP opposed biometric aadhaar in strongest words. Now it is apparent that the MHA has accepted aadhaar as irreversible and as a face saving stance it will have citizens believe that it will not accept biometric aadhaar but will gladly do so if it is mentioned as biometric NPR unmindful of Shri Modi’s opposition to it.   

The technological drive to ensure mastery over human beings is not merely a by-product of a faulty political economy but also of a world view which believes in the absolute control. It has become more and more apparent that genocides, ecodisasters and ehtnocides are but the underside of corrupt sciences and psychopathic technologies wedded to new secular hierarchies, which have reduced major civilization to the status of a set of empty rituals, observes Ashish Nandy in his book The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism. 
The lessons from database based genocides are part of recent world history should not be forgotten in the face of a large section of complicit and partisan corporate media especially those that regularly received advertisements from UIDAI and its partners.

The MHA’s initiative for biometric NPR reveals that no lessons are being learnt from misuse of online electoral database and census data by Big Data companies. The companies like FourthLion Technologies and Modak Analytics have collected and analysed electoral data in the absence of any data protection law.  The latter analysed 18 tera bytes of data and built India’s first Big Data-based Electoral Data Repository system and vetted about data related to 81 crore people to help our client understand the electorate on a wide variety of aspects such as caste, gender, age and economic status. We used all the publicly available data provided by Election Commission and Census figures.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Mb: 09818089660, 08227816731, E-mail:


21 06 2014
 Dividend Cheque Photo-1

Shri Milind Kharat, CMD, United India Insurance Company presented a Dividend cheque of R106 crores for the year 2013-14 to the Hon. Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley at New Delhi on 19th June 2014.

The Dividend of R106 crores declared amounts to 70.66% of paid-up capital. The premium income of  the  Company for the year 2013-14 stands  at R9709 crores with an accretion of R443 crores over last year. The Company earned a net Profit After Tax of R528 crores during 2013-14.

The investment income of the company stood at R1857 crores as against R1777 crores  last year and market value of the Company’s total investment portfolio is R21545 crores. The solvency margin as at 31.03.2014 is 2.54 as against the statutory requirements of 1.50 for the year 2013-14. The net worth of the company grew to a robust R5361 crores showing an increase of 8% over last year.

The company enjoys strong fundamentals with ICRA according iAAA rating for the 12th consecutive year indicating its highest claim paying credentials. The company has secured B++ (positive) rating from AM Best, an international Rating Agency. The reputation of the company paying dividend to the Government of India continuously over the period of years  remains intact.

Costa Rica beat Italy

21 06 2014
Costa Rica stun Italy to oust England; crushing win for France
Costa Rica energetic and speedy  performance shocked a fancied Italy 1-0 thereby booking a last 16 berth and also ensuring England’s ouster from the World Cup at Recife on Friday.
Italy faces Costa Rica and at half time both teams showed their skill to Pass the ball and dribble to ones interst but Just before half time at 44  minutes Bryan Ruiz of Costa Rica with-head kick made it to the goal with best of video Technology showing the goad well placed.Costa Rica with lead of a goal were  in total delight.Team costa Rica making  aggressive efforts to possess the ball and work out with eff9cent speed.Team Italy with more collective spirit to be back in the game with their capacity and intensity.43rd minute, Costa Rica looked like being denied a penalty when their striker Joel Campbell latched on to a ball from middle-third and sprinted down inside the box before being felled by Giorgio Chiellini but referee Enrique Osses thouight otherwise.
But within a minute, the Costa Ricans got their lead as left wing back Junior Diaz kept a measured cross from the left as Bryan Ruiz evaded the duo of Chiellini and Matteo Darmian to head home.
The ball hit the horizontal before crossing the goalline beating a full stretched Gianluigi Buffon.
The first half could be divided into three distincts parts with first and last phase belonging to Costa Rica while Italy dominated for a duration during the middle phase.
The first 15 minutes belonged to Costa Rica who pressed really hard with Cristian Bolanos’ inswinging corner saw Celso Borges head wide off the target despite wrong anticipation on Buffon’s part.
Bolanos, Gamboa and Campbell took control of the midfield during that phase as Mario Balotelli cut a lonely figure upfront.
The next 20 minutes saw Italy get into the game as their midfield artist Andrea Pirlo got into the action providing a couple of assists for Balotelli.
Costa Rica kept their aggressive energy intact and kept on trying to possess the ball giving less chance to Italy to  bounce back in game.costa Rica  till last minute with fighting spirit maintain the lead of one goal and thus qualify for last sixteen.

France beat sluggish Switzerland 5-2

21 06 2014


France thrash Switzerland 5-2 in World Cup

SALVADOR: France all but insured their place in the World Cup knock-out rounds by crushing Switzerland 5-2 in Salvador on Friday.
France were in complete command during their match against Switzerland which they won convincingly despite Karim Benzema missing a penalty.
The Real Madrid hitman did make amends with an opportunistic strike as did Olivier Giroud with a header, Blaise Matuidi off a counter.
Diminutive Mathieu Valbuena and young Moussa Sissoko also didn’t miss out on converting the assists.
Benzema provided a couple of assists apart from scoring his third goal for the Les Bleus in the tournament.
The Fifa Rankings went for a toss as the higher ranked Swiss men (No 6) were outplayed by Didier Deschamps’ men as the French manager is in pursuit of becoming only the third player-turned-manager to win the World Cup for his country.
Franz Beckenbauer and Mario Zagallo are the ones who have achieved the coveted feat.
Benzema’s close-range strike and a Sissoko effort added further gloss in the second period, before Blerim Dzemaili and Xhaka bagged late consolation goals for the losing team.
France are now on the brink of the last 16 having taken a maximum six points, while Switzerland still have work to do in their final pool encounter with Honduras.
Switerland’s woes started early when Steve von Bergen caught a boot in the face from Giroud and had to be replaced.
And Giroud was in the thick of the action again when he put France ahead in the 17th minute.
The Arsenal striker leapt highest to thump Valbuena’s corner past Benaglio who, despite getting a full hand to the ball, could not keep the effort out. Within 66 seconds, Frenchmen took complete control.
Benzema pounced on Valon Behrami’s poor pass before playing in Matuidi on the left of the box and he side-footed past Benaglio at the near-post, the goalkeeper perhaps beaten too easily.
France missed the chance to extend the lead in the 33rd minute when referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the spot after Johan Djourou recklessly felled Benzema.
However, Benaglio dived to his right to keep out Benzema’s spot-kick before Yohan Cabaye inexplicably volleyed the rebound against the crossbar. But France did get a third just five minutes before the break.
Raphael Varane brought the ball away following a Swiss corner before producing an exquisite pass that sent Giroud free down the left and he in turn laid the ball across goal for Valbuena, who could not miss from inside the six-yard box.

Valencia valiant effort Ecuador thrash Honduras

21 06 2014
Valencia double gives Ecuador new life
Ecuador moved into second place in World Cup Group E as two goals from Enner Valencia handed them a 2-1 win over Honduras in Curitiba on Friday.
Honduras had looked on course for their first ever World Cup win when Carlo Costly fired them in front on 31 minutes, but Valencia levelled from close range just three minutes later.
And the Pachuca striker moved alongside Karim Benzema, Robin Van Persie, Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben as the tournament´s joint top scorer on three goals when he headed home the winner from Walter Ayovi´s free-kick 25 minutes from time.
Ecuador now lead Switzerland on goal difference with both sides locked on three points after two games behind group leaders France on six.
However, Honduras can also still qualify despite losing both their games so far should they heavily defeat the Swiss and Ecuador lose to France.
After a nervy opening from both sides the game began to open up midway through the half and Honduras felt they had a strong penalty appeal waved away by Australian referee Benjamin Williams when Costly went down under pressure from Juan Paredes.
Moments later it was Ecuador who should have taken the lead as Valencia timed his run onto Frickson Erazo´s long ball forward perfectly but couldn´t find the target when left with just Noel Valladares to beat.
Honduras´s first clear chance of the game came just before the half hour mark when Victor Bernardez headed wide when unmarked at the far post.
Four minutes later, though, Costly did net his country´s first World Cup goal in five games stretching back to their inaugural appearance at the finals in 1982 as he beat Jorge Guagua to a high ball before slamming home left footed.
The Hondurans´ lead was short-lived as within three minutes Juan Paredes´ deflected effort fell perfectly for Valencia to bundle home his second goal of the tournament.
Honduras ended the half the stronger side as Bernardez´s powerful free-kick was turned behind by Alexander Dominguez and Jerry Bengston rightly had a goal ruled out for handball after Costly´s initial header had come back off the post.
After the break it was Ecuador´s turn to feel aggrieved with referee Williams as he again was unmoved when Felipe Caicedo tumbled under a challenge from Maynor Figueroa.
However, that decision mattered little in the end as Valencia netted the winner when he rose highest to meet Ayovi´s sweet delivery.
Enner Valencia struck twice on either side of the break in the 34th and 65th minute to provide Ecuador with full points and hopes of qualification for the second round.
It was a come-from-behind win for the Ecuadorians after Carlos Costly got Honduras ahead in the 31st minute.
Ecuador now are placed second in the group behind France and will like to put up a spirited fight against the 1998 World Cup winners.

Poor monsoon no excuse for price rise, Govt needs to act

21 06 2014
 Ashok B Sharma
To Me  Naresh Sagar
 Today at 12:52 PM
Poor monsoon no excuse for price rise, Govt needs to act 
The weathermen have predicted poor rainfall in the country during the four-month monsoon season. This has caused panic. Actually the worry is not much for the foodstock which is in comfortable position in the current year, but for the rising trend in prices of essential commodities, particularly food items that pinches the pocket of the common man.
Just after the country’s official weather forecasting agency, India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued its preliminary forecast inApril 24 cautioning about poor rainfall, the wholesale prices of commodities began shooting up. Rising prices of food and beverages like coffee, tea, poultry, fish and vegetables pushed up the wholesale price inflation to a 5-month high at 6.01 per cent in May. The Wholesale Price Index based inflation was 5.20 per cent in April and 4.58 per cent a year ago.
The IMD’s final forecast issued on June 9 compounded the fears of a poor South-West Monsoon in the period June-September. Not only the rainfall is likely to be deficient generally over the country being below normal at 93 per cent of the long period average of 89 cm with a model error of +-4 per cent, but over most of the regions with the exception of north-eastern states, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand the rainfall will also be equally poor. Rainfall forecast for the crucial agriculture months, July and August, is also not encouraging. It is likely to be 93 per cent of the LPA in July and 96 per cent of the LPA in August with a model error of +-9 per cent. Late arrival of the monsoon and its tardy advancement over the country also raises concern.
The chances of the spoilsport, El Nino, emerging during the monsoon period is as high as 70 per cent. El Nino is the warming of the Pacific waters above its normal range. The warming in Nino 3 and Nino 3.4 regions of the Pacific Ocean impact the Indian monsoon. However, the conditions in the tropical Indian Ocean are warmer than normal uniformly throughout the basin and therefore ruling out any possibility of positive Indian Ocean Dipole conditions in the monsoon season.
Though the rainfall is likely to be deficient, there is some hope as the storage position in major reservoirs across the country, except in South India, is satisfactory. The available surface water can be used for irrigation.
However, in this critical hour, the Government should step in to mitigate the hardship of the farmers. The farmers need real time weather information in local areas so that they can plan for alternate crops in case of poor rainfall. Adequate power and diesel subsidy should be given to draw water for irrigation. Drip irrigation materials should be sold to farmers at a subsidized cost. De-silting of canals, energizing tubewells, repairing of faulty pumps should be taken up on a war footing. Subsidized seeds should be given to farmers to grow alternate crops. Special attention should be given to the chronic dry areas of the country. Subsidized fodder should be provided for milch animals and poultry, particularly in dry areas. These are some immediate measures to mitigate the hardship of farmers.
The incidences of suicides committed by farmers are on the rise and hence there is a need to reschedule payment of crop loans and providing interest subvention on rescheduled loans for farmers in drought affected areas. Even additional subsidy should be given on premium for crop insurance. If farmers’ income falls, the Government needs to bridge the gap by setting up a Price Stabilization Fund.
Apart from addressing farmers’ immediate problems the government must care to mitigate the problems of the common man. There is ample foodstocks with the Government. Against a buffer norm of about 100 lakh tonne of rice and 170 lakh tonne of wheat, the Government stock is 206.45 lakh tonne of rice and 415.86 lakh tonne of wheat. There should not be any worry for any shortage of staple food. Besides as per the third advanced estimate, foodgrains production in 2013-14 is likely to break earlier records and be at its highest at 264.38 million tonne. This includes coarse cereals, pulses, apart from rice and wheat. Oilseeds output is also estimated at a high of 32.41 million tonne and sugarcane at 348.38 million tonne.
Going by the estimates of availability of food in the country, there should be no reason for panic. The present rising trend in prices of essential commodities is due to the sentiments generated in the market on account of the forecast for a deficient rainfall. The government needs to crack down on futures trading which responsible for generating sentiments for price rise. Hoarders must be booked. All types of storages are controlled by business houses and big traders. Efforts must be made to offload stocks from the storages to control the rising trend in prices. The government should take steps to adequately subsidize petrol, diesel and cooking gas which have telling impact on price inflation.
Poor monsoon can be no excuse for unwarranted price rise. Timely and determined action by the government can hold the price line and mitigate the woos of the farmers. 
(*The writer is a former Agriculture Editor in The Financial Express. He also writes on important policy and strategic issue. He can be reached at – His mobile phone no – 09810902204)

World Cup 2014 on 20 June : Costa Rica beat Italy

20 06 2014
Costa Rica stun Italy to oust England; crushing win for France

Rail fare, freight hike

20 06 2014
Rail freight and fare hike  before the budget session is bitter bill by Modi government. A Bitter pill of which Modi has enunciated in his public address before the budget is coming to light with first shot of surge in rail hike of fares and freight rates.Rail minister said he is implementing previous government plan and this surge has come after the Railway Chairman had meeting with PMO last night.
Rail freight hike by  6.5%
Rail fare hike by   14.2%
People hope s on Modi government has been dashed down ,immediate reaction of this  will soon bring masses  back to the desperation and despair .Masses specially youth will  not trust the political  assurances and  their deficit which existed  between politicians and masses remains intact.
Modi outlook to bring in creativity has too lost its luster.
Modi Goverment is under attack by various political parties for this untimely hike of rail fares.
Manish Tiwari Congress spokesperson has called these hike a contradiction in Modi governments slogan shouting  and  it’s action  on the ground.
RJD Chief Lallu has asked for roll back of this hike in rail fare and freight.
Brinda Karat too has jibed that  these are  the incoming of this Good days ahead slogan for common man.
Modi government  to come under severe criticism the way this hike has been imposed on the public,the enhancement  of rail rates may be compulsion of the rail costing of Indian rail but for this government needs to explain the  masses along with certain amenities to be provided  to justify the hike.Rail managements  plan to bring more funds imperative  for their day to day costing couldq also be allocated by the  government injecting funds with PP models along with the adequate hike  at the time of rail budget but  the  concession to General passengers were  too important which Modi has not paid any heed.
Next week natural Disater will prevail and the Modi Goverment to faces challenges offood  wheat,rice to  rot in coming rains but donot reach market to lower or contain inflation , soon Goverment will roll out crocodile tears as  floods and drought to make twin attack on  government as usual.
Interestingly it is also implied that PM who has abandoned Press conference in BJP HQ from last thirty days doesn’t not trust it’s talent or intellect of sffaron apokesperson.PMO moving with such action seen as inaction better ,further imposes grave responsibilities and account abilities for all action fair or  unfair part of PMO direct act which brings descision not versatile  and make it hoarded not good for governance.

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