Citizens' Issues
30,000 elderly haven't got pension in East Delhi
Facing a financial crunch, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has not paid monthly pension of Rs.1,000 to over 30,000 elderly people under the Old Age Pension Scheme since March 2013, the Delhi High Court has been informed.
 
The East Delhi civic body told a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva that due to the financial crunch it has also not paid the salaries of its officials and staff.
 
"The total number of pensioners under Old Age Pension Scheme is 30,816 and of them, 30,610 have received the pension up to March 31, 2013," EDMC said in its affidavit in the court.
 
The agency's response came after the bench asked it to file a status report while hearing a PIL filed by an NGO, Social Jurist, accusing it of stopping the pension of nearly 45,000 people, including the disabled, widows and the elderly under the scheme.
 
The court asked the civic body to file an affidavit stating the number of people entitled to receive pension under the scheme and the number actually receiving the pension.
 
In its response, the civic body claimed it had not stopped the pensions.
 
"EDMC has never stopped from its end, once the pension is allowed under the scheme to eligible persons," it said, adding: "However, pension is not paid to those who have expired or who have shifted their address without informing about the new address and/or have started receiving the pension from Delhi government (Delhi government pays Rs.1,500 per month, Rs.500 more than the corporation)."
 
Asking the court to dismiss the plea, EDMC said: "The Old Age Pension, under the scheme, was last paid on March 31,2013; therefore, the contention of the petitioner society that the pension was not paid since long is based on imagination."
 
"The EDMC is facing financial crunch due to which the salary of its officials/staff is not paid and this problem was raised even before union home minister by the mayor and commissioner of EDMC. The minister has assured to help," it added.
 
The civic body said the PIL is not maintainable as the "distribution of Old Age Pension is (a liability) upon the corporation which is subject to the availability of funds, apart from the obligatory functioning of the EDMC."
 
The PIL, filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal and Khagesh Jha, termed the denial of pension as a violation of fundamental rights.
 
Agarwal termed the EDMC action "arbitrary and illegal".

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Nifty, Sensex, Bank Nifty weak – Weekly closing report

If Nifty remains weak, the decline may halt at around 8,300

 

The S&P BSE Sensex closed the week that ended on 20th March at 28,261 (down 242 points or 0.85%), while the NSE’s CNX Nifty closed at 8,571 (down 77 points or 0.89%). In the week before that we had mentioned that NSE’s CNX Nifty may remain weak and the short-term support for the index maybe around 8,550.
 
Monday turned out to be a volatile session on the Nifty, with the index trading mostly in the red, and it finally ended closing lower.  Nifty closed at 8,633 (down 15 points or 0.17%). While the wholesale price index (WPI) remained in negative zone in February 2015, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) reportedly said that India's economy is a bright spot in a cloudy global economy and that recent policy reforms and improved business confidence are set to boost the country's growth. 
 
Data released by the Indian government previous week showed the trade deficit narrowing to the 17-month low of $6.85 billion in February 2015. As we anticipated on Monday, Nifty managed to close in the green on Tuesday, in spite of giving up all the intra-day gains mid-way. Nifty closed near the day’s high at 8,723 (up 90 points or 1.04%).
 
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India more than doubled to $4.48 billion in January, the highest inflow in last 29 months. The head of the IMF said that emerging markets must prepare for the impact of a rise in US interest rates, which could surprise in both its timing and pace.
 
On Wednesday, although Nifty managed staying above Tuesday’s low, it closed lower 8,686 (down 37 points or 0.43%). Among the various happenings back home, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Dr Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in Rajya Sabha stated said that the Ministry of Finance was requested to include aviation turbine fuel (ATF) under declared goods. India's exports grew marginally by 0.88% to $286.58 billion during the April- February period of the current fiscal. There was also the news of SEBI planning to change the rule that will make it easier for home-grown start-ups to list their shares. The government has decided to divest its stake in BHEL next fiscal.
 
US housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could require more bailouts from US taxpayers as risks are rising due to shrinking reserves, an internal watchdog for the firms' regulator said on Wednesday. These two firms had been bailed out in 2008 financial crisis.
 
On Thursday, Nifty closed at 8,635 (down 51 points or 0.59%), despite a sharp rally on Wednesday in the US. We had anticipated that Nifty would move sideways. After a gap up opening, the benchmark hit a higher high. However, it then started moving lower. The OECD, in its latest Interim Economic Assessment of the world economy, said that India is expected to be the fastest-growing major economy in the world over the next two years.
 
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said that according to PwC's 18th Annual Global CEO Survey (India report), CEOs in India continue to be more confident about the growth prospects of their business than their global peers. On Friday Nifty continued to head lower. Nifty closed at 8,571 (down 64 points or 0.74%).
 
Rajya Sabha passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015. Fitch India has forecast gross domestic product to grow at 8.0% in 2015-16 and 8.3% in the next fiscal, based on the new data series. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the sale of equity in four state-owned companies including ONGC and NMDC, which may fetch the exchequer Rs22,574 crore.
 
Out of the 27 main sectors tracked by Moneylife, top five and the bottom five sectors for this week were:
 

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Coal Mines Bill passed by Rajya Sabha
With the coal ordinance permitting auction of cancelled blocks due to lapse early April, the Rajya Sabha on Friday passed the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2014, in the nick of time before parliament goes into its scheduled month-long recess.
 
Failure to pass the bill, already cleared by the Lok Sabha, would have put into jeopardy the status of mines already auctioned, which has yielded revenue of more than Rs.200,000 crore from winning bids. 
 
The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015, provides for allocation of coal mines and vests the right, title and interest over mine infrastructure together with mining leases to successful bidders through a transparent bidding process.
 
The bill will now replace the ordinance which outlines the procedure for auction of coal blocks that were cancelled by the Supreme Court in September.
 
The Bill also provides for allotment of blocks to public sector undertakings. As per rules the auctions are being conducted under tariff based reverse bidding where the
end-use is power generation, and forward bidding for production of steel, cement and generation of power for captive use.
 
While the criteria for calculating the floor price for bidding is based on state miner Coal India's (CIL) price of coal of the same grade, the auction would also have a ceiling price for power sector bidders to keep the lid on power tariffs.
 
The floor price would not be less than Rs.150 per tonne, while potential bidders would have to pay upfront as floor price is 10 percent of the intrinsic value of the mine. The bidder with the highest floor price would be the preferred bidder.
 

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