Anjali Damania and Preeti Menon have resigned from AAP. However, the party says both have resigned only from their posts and not from AAP
Activist-turned-politician and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Anjali Damani has resigned from the party, ahead of the state Assembly elections.
"Dear colleagues, with a heavy heart, I am ending my association with AAP," Damania said in a letter addressed to AAP colleagues, issued Wednesday evening.
Damania, who unsuccessfully contested the recent Lok Sabha elections against BJP leader Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur, said, "My greatest regards for Arvind (Kejriwal), who is like an elder brother. All I want to request is that please do not have conspiracy theories over my exit."
The state party convener said she will never compromise on her values.
Damania, however, refused to state any reasons on her sudden decision to quit the party, and said she only wished the "best" for AAP.
"Kindly excuse me, I do not wish to state anything except that I care a lot for my party and my best wishes are always with it," she said.
Reacting to the exit of Damani, AAP leader Mayank Gandhi told PTI that lack of communication at various levels and complaints against AAP committee members by party workers pushed Damania into tendering her resignation.
"Minor organisational issues like complaints against the behaviour of committee members by AAP workers and lack of communication at various levels were irritating Anjali (Damania) and Preeti (Menon). They could not focus on the major reasons for which they had joined politics. Hence, she decided to quit," Gandhi said.
There were reports about resignation of Preeti Sharma Menon, the party's spokesperson for Maharashtra. However, Menon denied reports about her resignation from the party.
"We have been able to convince her that a structure will be created for organisational issues and she should focus on what she is good at (taking up corruption-related issues). She (Damania) intends to meet all volunteers Thursday evening to exhort them to refocus on our original goals of systemic change," Gandhi added.
Damania stood at the fourth position from Nagpur Lok Sabha seat during the recent election by securing 69,081 votes.
Gadkari won from the seat, with 5.87 lakh votes to his credit, by defeating seven-term MP Vilas Muttemwar of Congress.
Acknowledging that a previous law did not go far enough, the Defense Department said it needs to expand rules to protect service members from high-cost lenders
The Department of Defense, attempting to thwart the ever-changing tactics of high-cost lenders, plans to dramatically broaden a federal law that sought to protect service members by capping the interest rate on loans made to troops.
When the Military Lending Act was enacted in 2007, it narrowly focused on how much interest lenders could charge on two types of loans: payday and auto-title. But as ProPublica and Marketplace reported last year, high-cost lenders easily circumvented the law, peddling credit from stores that often line the streets near military bases. In a newly released report to Congress, the Defense Department acknowledged that the law has proven inadequate and said it is working on new, "more comprehensive" rules.
The report, completed in April, said a survey of service members found the use of high-cost loans is widespread. Under current rules, the Military Lending Act (MLA) caps certain categories of loans at a 36 percent annual percentage rate. But the Defense Department's survey found that 11 percent of service members reported taking out a loan above that limit in the past year.
Service members are prime targets for high-cost lenders, the report says. They often aren't financially savvy—"generally high school graduates who may have started college." They're young: 43 percent of service members are 25 years old or younger. And they tend to start families earlier, adding to their financial pressures. From the results of the survey, the Defense Department estimated that up to a quarter of service members "may face emergency financial short-falls and indicate difficulties managing their finances and avoiding problems with credit."
In response to crackdowns by federal and state regulators, high-cost lenders have been busy transforming their offerings over the past several years. Instead of the typical payday loan, which carries an annual rate above 300 percent and is due in full after two weeks, lenders have increasingly been offering installment loans that last several months. They, too, can have sky-high annual rates, but the rate on installment loans isn't capped under the MLA. Neither is the rate for open-ended credit: a lender can legally offer a credit line with a 300 percent APR to a soldier.
Because they're not covered by the MLA, installment lenders are also free to lard loans with nearly useless insurance products that serve mainly to boost the cost of the loan. The report notes that if the MLA were extended to cover installment loans, these types of add-on products would be limited. Under the MLA, the Defense Department has the power to define what sorts of loans are covered.
"[W]ithout revising the definitions of credit in the MLA to encompass installment and open end credit, the MLA will lose its effectiveness," the report says. But if the DoD simply prohibited installment loans with an APR above 36 percent, lenders might find another type of loan to circumvent the law. Accordingly, the Defense Department concludes, "The complexity of the marketplace appears to be better accommodated with a more comprehensive approach." As indicated in the report, such an approach would ban any loans above 36 percent, perhaps with a few special exclusions.
Meanwhile, the situation is very different for high-cost loans targeted at everybody else. There is no federal law limiting high-cost loans to civilians, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working on new rules for payday lenders that will affect all consumers. "I think that the challenges of defining high-cost credit under the MLA are the same challenges of defining high-cost credit for the civilian population," said Tom Feltner, director of financial services at the Consumer Federation of America.
But where the Defense Department can simply institute a broad 36 percent rate cap, the CFPB's hands are tied. The 2010 financial reform bill that created the agency forbade it from capping interest rates. That makes CFPB's job much more of a challenge, said Feltner.
An essential step in delivering on the government's promise of maximum governance and minimum government is the re-organisation of existing power structures. Here are some ideas for the Modi government. This is the first part of a series which shall follow
The formation of Modi government has the financial markets in a tizzy and bureaucrats on their toes. Much is expected in the coming weeks in the form of announcements and key posts but all eyes are on the upcoming budget and as some have speculated, a cabinet expansion. The following list is a pared down version of a larger set of ideas, some of which were settled in the initial government formation after 26 May 2014.
Here, we take a look at some out of the box ideas for streamlining and specialising the work flow in the government:
a. The Ministry of Home should be rechristened the Ministry of Internal Security.
b. Create a new ministry exclusively for defence production, procurement and requirements which will work directly under the Prime Minister to be called Ministry of Defence Requirements.
c. Create a new Ministry for Development of Electronics and White Goods Manufacturing again to work directly under P.M.
d. Create a separate Ministry for Development of Animal husbandry, Dairy farming, Poultry and Fisheries with separate departments to deal with each one of them.
e. Create a new Ministry for Cash crops with separate departments for sugarcane, cotton, oil seeds, pulses, rubber, tea, coffee, horticulture, fruits, vegetables, co-operative farming and food processing.
f. Create a new Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources with the existing Ministry of Water Resources to be subsumed by it. The responsibility of this ministry should be to to go all out in creating permanent irrigation facilities (Canals, sub canals, digging reservoirs and water bore wells ) for lands having only one monsoon based crop per year particularly in eastern states of Bihar, central and east U.P, Jharkhand, Orissa etc
g. Ministry of Minerals and Natural Resources- This new ministry will subsume the existing ministries of Coal, Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gases to bring all of these under one umbrella for quick and better coordination.
h. Ministry of Industry and Public Sector Enterprises- it will subsume the existing Ministry of Steel and Ministry of Textiles. The separate ministry of disinvestment, ministry of chemicals and fertilizers to be abolished.
i. Ministry of Power to be renamed as Ministry of Energy and it will subsume the Ministry of New and Renewable energy and Atomic energy.
j. Ministry of Tourism to be renamed as Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality services- so as to also look after development of hotels, motels, guest houses and restaurants.
k. Ministry of Culture should be merged with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
l. Ministry of Commerce and Industry should be renamed as Ministry of Commerce and Trade.
m. Ministry of Communication and Information Technology should be disbanded and communication affairs should be merged with Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Information Technology to be clubbed with Ministry of Science and Technology.
n. Ministry of Minority Affairs and Ministry of Tribal Affairs should be merged and renamed as Ministry for the Welfare of Underprivileged Citizens.
o. Ministry of Housing and Urban poverty alleviation should be renamed as Ministry of Housing Development with exclusive focus on development of housing.
p. Ministry of Women and Child development should be merged with ministry of Health and Family welfare.
q. Ministry of Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions should be renamed as Ministry for Welfare of Govt employees.
r. Create two separate ministries—one for Public complaints and grievances and another for Grievances of business, commerce and industry
s. Create a new Ministry called Ministry of Coordination to ensure coordination between centre and states.
Needless to say, some of these ideas may seem like a mere renaming exercise, but in the larger context, it helps provide focus and better distribution of responsibilities as new departments crop up with a growing economy. Be that as it may, a running discussion on these issues is the order of the day when the citizens of our country have more at stake in the government's performance than ever before.
(Kolkata-based Dalbir Chhibbar practised as a CA till 1990 and later started his own buinsess)