Citizens' Issues
Air India plane makes emergency landing in Pakistan

The plane coming from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi was landed in Nawabshah in Pakistan after detecting a problem with its hydraulic system. All 122 passengers and crew members on board the plane are safe

Lahore: A New Delhi-bound Air India airplane made an emergency landing at Nawabshah in southern Sindh on Monday after developing a technical problem with its hydraulic system, an official spokesman told PTI.

All 122 passengers and crew members on board the plane are safe.

The captain of the Airbus aircraft, going from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi, contacted Pakistani authorities and sought permission for an emergency landing after detecting the problem with the hydraulic system, Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George told PTI.

The plane landed at Nawabshah airport in southern Sindh province at 3.37 am.

In New Delhi, an Air India spokesperson said: "The aircraft was flying over Pakistan air space when the pilot saw a warning light in the cockpit and sought permission to land at the nearest airport which was Nawabshah."

The captain preferred to have the passengers remain on board the aircraft though Pakistani authorities had offered to allow them to disembark, George said.

George said Air India could send another aircraft to take the stranded passengers and crew to India.

It was also possible that the private Shaheen airline, which has a tie-up with Air India, could provide an aircraft to ferry the passengers and crew to the nearest Indian airport, he said.

A release plane with material and men will be shortly leaving Delhi for the spot to take the passengers.


Markets in for a big correction

A deluge of falling prices will seem far heavier than anything a monsoon can produce

The beginning of July often is part of the early monsoon season in Africa, south western US and South Asia. For investors it marks the beginning of earnings season for the second quarter. The upcoming season could dampen profit expectations as much as the seasonal rainfall.
The recession that started in 2008 has brought instability, defaults, high unemployment and a lot of bad news. But one area routinely impressed investors: corporate profits. Despite the many challenges, businesses in almost all countries managed to delight shareholders with record profits. In the US corporate earnings have grown steadily since the bottom in 2009 and ascending into record territory last year. Earnings growth for US companies last year was 14% down from 39% in the post-recession spurt of 2010. Earnings forecasts for 2012 continue that optimism and expect the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) earnings grow to an all time high.
Recently the optimism has been tempered. As I pointed out in May many companies try to manage earnings in order to be sure that when they announce their earnings they beat analysts’ expectations. But this quarter it appears that pessimism is wide-spread. So far, there are 74 companies in the S&P 500 who have lowered their forecasts compared to 28 who have raised them a ratio of almost three to one. For US financials, the projected growth has fallen from 55.2% to 9.5%. The energy sector is no better. Their estimates have fallen by 5%.
But it’s not just the US. Forecasts are declining all over the world. Consensus forecasts were predicting 12% growth for Europe next year. Morgan Stanley reduced this to a fall of 8% this year followed by growth of only 2% next. The spectacular growth in Asia has begun to slow. According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch in June there were only 63 upgrades for every 100 downgrades.  
Over the past two months some large multinational companies in the US have been trimming expectations. One bellwether is FedEx. As an international shipper, its health can reflect the prospects for world trade. It recently reduced its forecast of $1.45 to $1.60 a share, which was well below expectations of $1.70. Procter & Gamble is usually considered a defensive stock. Even in bad times, people still have to buy soaps. But it recently issued profit warnings. The Olympic Games were not enough to boost global sportswear giant Nike. Inventories are rising in Europe and China, which will ultimately lead to discounting and lower profits.
The US company, Caterpillar Inc, manufactures machinery used in construction, mining, energy and other areas integral to growth. A large part of its sales are international, 9% come from China alone. In the final months of last year it sales were up 27%. These have slowed to 11%. Still analysts remain optimistic. The company projects record earnings and analysts generally haven't made big changes in their second-quarter estimates. Caterpillar believes that growth in the US will make up for loss of international sales even though the most numbers show tepid growth.
US companies are not the only ones that are having issues. The Economic Times in India reported that its analysis of 2,302 companies reported that revenue growth fell to 13.5% year-on-year, compared to 19.3 % in the previous quarter, and 17.8 % in the quarter to September 2011. According on analyst in Mumbai the second quarter “is going to be very rough—it will be a train wreck.”
China is certainly not in any better shape. The widely expected soft landing has turned decidedly hard. The much anticipated monetary easing has actually been going on for six months without much effect. The Chinese adamantly refuse to lift restrictions of construction for fear of exacerbating the housing bubble. But the construction industry makes up between 11% and 15% of the gross domestic product (GDP). As the US is discovering, it is difficult to stimulate an economy without a healthy construction industry.
Meanwhile the need for short-term loans has created myriads of unstable daisy chains based on a wide variety of overleveraged stores of commodities, everything from copper to soyabean to cement and heavy equipment, each used as collateral for other investments. So it is not surprising that the Shanghai Composite is valued at near its record low of 12 times last year’s earnings and 9.7 P/E of forecast earnings.
Last quarter managers were able to perform miracles managing analysts’ expectations. Over 79% of reporting companies posted earnings per share that beat analysts’ forecasts. This record has encouraged wildly optimistic forecasts of future earnings despite the global slowdown. These expectations will no doubt return to haunt the companies in the harsh light of reality. Present market valuations may be in for a large correction. A deluge of falling prices will seem far heavier than anything a monsoon can produce.

(William Gamble is president of Emerging Market Strategies. An international lawyer and economist, he developed his theories beginning with his first hand experience and business dealings in the Russia starting in 1993. Mr Gamble holds two graduate law degrees. He was educated at Institute D'Etudes Politique, Trinity College, University of Miami School of Law, and University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He was a member of the bar in three states, over four different federal courts and has spoken four languages. Mr Gamble can be contacted at [email protected] or [email protected].)




5 years ago

Excellent article

Keep track of your provident fund online

The Employees Provident Fund Office is more than willing to help with online facilities

Nothing can be more depressing than meeting young people who have lost their jobs due to the ongoing slowdown such as airline pilots and seafarers as well as people from the infotech industry. Many of them without the family back-up and support to continue with the lifestyle they had achieved or aspired to.

What makes things worse is that even the ‘protected’ savings like Employee Provident Fund and leave wages appear to have gone adrift. It is also not feasible, in many cases, for these young people to consider legal options for recovery as apart from placing a big question mark on their future careers, the practical part is that these legal options are not so simple and nor do they come for free.

However, specifically in the context of provident fund, the EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Office) appears to be trying to take some steps. And you can do some good work for yourself if you want to.

1) You can now find out about the latest position about balances in your EPFO account online here: Downside is that while the response online says information up-to-date, the fine print in some cases when you get the SMS message says “account updated up to 31st March 2011”. There is also some doubt on whether the interest calculations for FY10-11 and FY11-12 have been added to this figure as yet or not.
2) The next step is to file an online grievance in this context here: You can ask for specific details like all deposits by your employers into your specific EPFO account here. In return you will get a very specific reference number as well as a contact person. It is reported by many that this appears to work at some EPFO offices, and is absolutely useless at some other EPFO offices.
3) The next step is to file an RTI (Right to Information) application direct to the head office of the EPFO in New Delhi, whose postal address is:
Shri Jag Mohan, (CPIO under RTI Act of India 2005 or incumbent) RPFC I,
Head Office, Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan, 14, Bhikaiji Cama Place,
New Delhi-110066

cc Shri .B.Saini, (CPIO under RTI Act of India 2005 or incumbent), Section Officer,
Head Office, Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan, 14, Bhikaiji Cama Place,
New Delhi-110066

The relevant email addresses are: [email protected]; [email protected] and [email protected].

Give a reference of your grievance under step ‘2’ above and seek information on action taken as well as the details requested. Full precise details including all interest calculations to date as well as information about the separately-held pension account.

An important point to remember is that the EPFO has set various accountability levels within its organisation for defaults by employers/EPFO, and they are as follows, listed in the circular appended below:

The good thing about EPFO was that you would eventually get your money, and meanwhile, it would keep earning interest. In one specific case involving this writer, it took about 14 years to get the money stuck with the EPFO when the company was merged with another group company—one of the top groups of the country. But after relentless follow-up, the new entity had to pay up—and it was all tax-free with interest.

This, however, is not the case anymore, as the EPFO has taken it upon itself to stop paying interest on “inactive accounts” after three years. Problem here is that an account also becomes ‘inactive’ when an employer/establishment defaults, and the withdrawal of EPFO by a claimant is accompanied by all sorts of fine print which makes his/her position weak against a defaulting employer, which is a very anti-employee step by the EPFO department.

Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing.)



B V Vijaya

5 years ago

A nice article. Many people are frustrated with the behavior of staff in PF office in the psst years. It is the technology helping the employee.
B V Vijaya BE CIS

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