Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, Subodh Kant Sahai resign ahead of Cabinet reshuffle

Prominent new faces in the Cabinet could be actor-turned politician Chiranjeevi from Andhra Pradesh and AH Khan Chowdhry, from West Bengal, while younger ministers like Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora and Jyotiraditya Scindia are likely to be upgraded

New Delhi: Ahead of Sunday's reshuffle of the union council of ministers, three Cabinet Ministers and a Minister of State resigned on Saturday, saying they want to work for the party, reports PTI.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik and Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai and MoS Justice and Empowerment Mahadev Khandela met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and submitted their resignations. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna quit the government yesterday.
The ceremony for swearing-in of new ministers is scheduled at 11.30 hours at the Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow when a number of new faces are likely to be inducted.
Prominent among them are actor-turned politician Chiranjeevi from Andhra Pradesh and AH Khan Chowdhry, MP from West Bengal, who is also the brother of the late Ghani Khan Chowdhry.
The possible names of the successors in the External Affairs Ministry include Commerce Minister Anand Sharma
Sahai's name had cropped up in a controversy following media expose that he had recommended for allocation of coal block a company in Jharkhand in which his brother was a Director. 
Offering their resignation, Soni, Wasnik and Sahai said they will work for the party. Soni was Congress General Secretary for several years and was Political Secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi while Wasnik was handling the dual responsibility of Congress General Secretary as well as Union Minister.
Before meeting the prime minister, Sahai said yesterday that Congress President Sonia Gandhi called him to draft for party work.
"It is an honour to work for the party. I am offering my resignation to Prime Minister. Party President (Sonia Gandhi) and others want me to work for the party so I will be working to strengthen the party as the party is supreme.We are in the government because of the party. Party is supreme and will always be supreme," he said.
Soni said, "I have taken Prime Minister's permission to resign. It is not appropriate if I do it on my own so I have taken his permission and explained it to him".
Asked if she was willing to work for the party, she said, "I think it is an honour".
Wasnik said, "I have been working for the organisation for the last several years and I would like to work for the organisation".
The reshuffle of the Union Cabinet, which could be the last before 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is expected to see induction of new faces in the government.
Chiranjeevi is being rewarded for his help in ensuring stability of the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh by lending the support of 18 of his MLAs after the merger of his party PRP.
The other changes could include ministers holding dual portfolios shedding one of their responsibilities..
Younger ministers like Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora and Jyotiraditya Scindia are likely to be upgraded.
There have been berths vacated by DMK representatives A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran in the last two years after their names cropped in the 2G scam.
However, DMK President M Karunanidhi had recently made clear that his party will not not like to reclaim their lost berths.
Whether Rahul Gandhi would join the government is still a matter of conjecture even as the Prime Minister held consultations with Congress President Sonia Gandhi the day before yesterday, apparently to give final touches to the exercise.
There is speculation that some young faces, considered close to Rahul, like Manicka Tagore and Meenakshi Natarajan could be inducted into the council of ministers.




4 years ago

"inefficient" veterans like Krishna thrown out of the cabinet. What about the most inefficient MMS? Who will chuck him out?

The Insider’s View: The Gilded life view of an IAS officer

The book contains bland memories of an IAS officer, Javed Chowdhury who comes from a privileged background (Doon School, St Stephen’s College) but believes in welfare socialism, the public sector, the subsidy system. He seems to have seen no evil, spoken no evil and heard no evil (except the ‘neo-liberal’ ideas of the 1990s)

India is a land of violence, injustice and extreme income disparity. Life for the common people is tough: courts don’t deliver justice; property rights get violated; the police are often party to crime; and money and power can fix the system, more often than not. Who could have tackled all these issues? Public servants, mainly members of the elite IAS—Indian Administrative Service—who run the country. From the police to securities regulations, from irrigation projects to banking regulations, from city corporations to transport systems—they are the omnipotent and omnipresent decision-makers.
Unfortunately, most IAS officers oversee a corrupt and inefficient system, through their entire career, without standing up and fighting for what is right. It is just a job for them, a career. They don’t go out of their gilded life of white cars, large bungalows and club memberships. A small number even do enormous damage. We believe that the principal reason for India’s poverty is not misguided policies. It is rampant loot by politicians with supporting and acquiescing bureaucrats. 
And, when they retire, they enjoy generous State pension and perks. School teachers may or may not get their pension, but retired IAS officers never have to face such problems. Some manage to grab land to build large post-retirement flats and bungalows worth crores of rupees, as several Maharashtra bureaucrats have done. 
One could argue that they are merely doing a job, like everyone else. If doctors don’t attend to patients and professors don’t teach, why should IAS officers be expected to live up to a much higher standard? Quite correct; except that if one has merely done a job all one’s life, and not made some significant change to public life that one can be proud of, why be presumptuous enough to write a memoir of such a ‘career’? 
We do look forward to the memoirs of bureaucrats who have made real change like GV Ramakrishna. But a reading of this book (The Insider’s View; Penguin Books; Pages 310; Rs499) shows that Javid Chowdhury is not one of them. He was a secretary of food, revenue and family welfare. While this book does give some insights on his life as a civil servant, it hardly inspires the reader. Mr Chowdhury comes from a privileged background (Doon School, St Stephen’s College) but believes in welfare socialism, the public sector, the subsidy system—anything but accountability and reward for human ingenuity and enterprise as the main drivers for progress. He seems to have seen no evil, spoken no evil and heard no evil (except the ‘neo-liberal’ ideas of the 1990s). He professes that was he was innocent of caste, gender and religious bias right until 1989, 24 years into his career. What a waste!


BSE Sensex, Nifty wait for breakout: Friday Closing Report

The bias remains downward for the medium-term

The market closed in the red on disappointing earnings reports and global concerns. Today the Nifty moved in a narrow range of 5,642 and 5,697 and closed in the negative, making the lowest closing in the past six days (including today). The index made a lower low and saw a lower high for the third consecutive day. The Nifty is in an indecisive zone. However the bias is downward for the medium-term. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw volume of 61.90 crore shares and an advance decline ratio of 588:1161.       


The domestic market opened in the negative on all- round profit taking after recent gains. Mixed sentiment across the globe following not-so-impressive earnings reports also weighed on the sentiments. The Nifty opened 21 points down at 5,684 and the Sensex started off at 18,715, down 44 points from its previous close.


Buying in select stocks saw the benchmarks hit their intraday highs in early trade itself, albeit in the negative. At the highs, the Nifty rose to 5,697 and the Sensex went up to 18,730. However, the market couldn’t maintain the gains and drifted further southwards in subsequent trade on selling pressure in fast moving consumer goods, healthcare and oil sectors.


A soft opening of the European markets added to the woes in the local market as the indices extended their gains in noon trade. The benchmarks fell to their lows shortly after 2.00pm with the Nifty going back to 5,642 and the Sensex dropping to 18,558.


The market witnessed a small recovery and closed off the lows, but in the red. The Nifty settled 41 points (0.72%) lower at 5,664 and the Sensex finished the session at 18,625, down 133 points (0.71%).


The broader markets underperformed the Sensex today. The BSE Mid-cap index declined 0.84% and the BSE Small-cap index dropped 1.05%.


Except for BSE Auto (up 0.81%), all other sectoral gauges settled lower. They were led by BSE Consumer Durables (down 2.84%); BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 1.78%); BSE Healthcare (down 1.20%); BSE PSU (down 1.15%) and BSE Power (down 1.06%).


Eight of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The chief gainers were Mahindra & Mahindra (up 2.57%); Bajaj Auto (up 1.72%); Hero MotoCorp (up 1.68%); GAIL India (up 0.83%) and BHEL (up 0.73%). The top losers were Hindustan Unilever (down 2.14%); ITC (down 2%); Cipla (down 1.84%); Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (down 1.59%) and Reliance Industries (down 1.39%).


The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—United Breweries (up 4.94%) and Emami (up 4.01%)..

The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—CESC (down 15.32%) and Lanco Infratech (down 10.77%).


The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Intec Capital (up 17.49%) and Fintech Communications (up 16.38%).

The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Centerac Technologies (down 19.94%) and Orissa Sponge Iron & Steel (down 14.65%).


Out of the 50 stocks listed on the Nifty, 15 stocks settled in the positive. The key gainers were M&M (up 3%); Hero MotoCorp (up 2.11%); Bajaj Auto (up 1.98%); Ambuja Cements (up 1.38%) and Asian Paints (up 1.23%). The main losers were Punjab National Bank (down 6.72%); Jaiprakash Associates (down 5.40%); Hindustan Unilever (down 2.72%); ITC (down 2.23%) and Reliance Infrastructure (down 2.15%).


Most markets in Asia were closed for the Eid holiday today, but those that were open settled lower. Investors were concerned that the global slowdown, which has already dented corporate earnings, is expected to impact exports from the region.


The Shanghai Composite tanked 1.68%; the Hang Seng dropped 1.21%; the Nikkei 225 declined 1.35%; the Seoul Composite tumbled 172% and the Taiwan Weighted settled 1.76% down. Financial markets in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines were closed today.


At the time of writing, key benchmarks in Europe were down between 0.49% and 0.66% and the US stock futures were in the negative, indicating a soft opening for US stocks.


Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of shares amounting to Rs551.34 crore on Thursday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net buyers of equities aggregating Rs34.73 crore.


German chemical major BASF today said it will invest Rs1,000 crore to set up a new manufacturing facility at Dahej in Gujarat by March 2014. Besides the domestic market, the plant will export chemicals to other nations including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand and some other Asean countries. The stock declined 0.78% to settle at Rs659.50 on the NSE.


Mahindra Holidays & Resorts will soon start a full-fledged office in Dubai to enrol Indians living there as its members. As at the end of September, Mahindra Holidays had 151,200 members. During the quarter ended September, the company added 4,162 members. The stock rose 0.04% to settle at Rs282 on the NSE.


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