Activists concerned about the state of Mumbai's railway system resolved on Saturday to join forces to press the demand for safe and humane commuting within Mumbai
A coalition of activists and organisations working at different aspects of ensuring safe rail travel held their first meeting at Mumbai on Saturday, 5th January.
The meeting identified a few core issues to be actively pursued in 2013 as well as the persons or organisations that would take it up. They are:
The Coalition will be open to all individuals and organisations who want to support safe and humane rail travel. It seeks the association of experts and retired railway executives. The group will meet on the first Saturday of every month between 3pm to 5 pm and is open to all. Moneylife Foundation (www.mlfoundation.in) will be the convener of the group.
Mr Piyush Goel, Member of Parliament (MP) Rajya Sabha attended the meeting and promised to support the group by helping to make their voice heard by policy makers. He felt confident that the new Railway Minister, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal was sincere about making a difference and would be willing to give a fair hearing to issues that are cogently argued and backed up.
Everybody agreed that the task on hand was gigantic an would require a lot of support, but small incremental successes based on doable projects was the way forward.
Uptrend to continue as long as the Nifty stays above 5,900
The market settled higher in the week, its best weekly performance since November, on the US budget deal and reports that the Indian government plans to hike diesel prices. Positive economic indicators also supported the upmove. Local investors will focus their attention to the December quarter earnings season for further direction to the market.
The Sensex closed the week at 19,784, a gain of 339 points (1.74%) and the Nifty rose 108 points (1.82%) to 6,016. The uptrend is expected to continue as long as the Nifty stays above 5,900.
The market settled lower on Monday amid range-bound and volatile trade on weak global cues as the world waited for a solution for US’ fiscal woes. Key benchmark surged on the first trading session of calendar 2013 after the US Senate approved an agreement early Tuesday to keep the world's biggest economy from falling off the fiscal cliff. Global optimism following the US budget deal enabled the market closing higher on Wednesday.
Gains in oil & gas, technology and IT stocks as well as global cues saw the indices closing higher on Thursday. A remarkable recovery in the last half hour enabled the market maintain its winning streak on Friday.
BSE Realty (up 5%) and BSE PSU (up 4%) were the top sectoral gainers while BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 1%) was the only loser.
The top performers on the Sensex were ONGC, BHEL (up 7% each), GAIL India, State Bank of India (up 5% each) and ICICI Bank (up 3%). ITC (down 2%) was the lone loser on the index.
The main Nifty gainers were Punjab National Bank (up 8%), ONGC, BHEL (up 7% each), BPCL and IDFC (up 6% each). ITC (down 2%), Lupin and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (down 1% each) settled at the bottom of the index.
The HSBC India Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for December stood at 55.6, up from 52.1 in the previous month, registering the fastest pace of growth in three months.
The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)—a measure of factory production—stood at 54.7 in December, up from 53.7 in November. The December reading indicated the fastest pace of growth in the past six months.
The government may take a look at raising the cap on supply of subsidised LPG cylinders to nine per household in a year from current limit of six along with the Vijay Kelkar Committee recommendations to deregulate diesel prices by next year along with steep hike in cooking fuel rates.
The Kelkar Committee, which was appointed by finance ministry to suggest a roadmap for fiscal consolidation, had recommended an immediate hike in price of diesel by Rs4 per litre, of kerosene by Rs2 a litre and of LPG by Rs50 per cylinder.
In international news, the US House of Representatives late Tuesday night passed the “fiscal cliff” bill by 257 to 167 votes, ending a dramatic New Year’s Day showdown over income taxes and deep federal spending cuts. Had not passed, fiscal cliff would have resulted in increased tax rates for more than 98% of Americans.
Meanwhile, the minutes of the December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee released on Thursday hinted at an earlier-than-expected end to its unprecedented bond buying programme. In September, in an unprecedented move, the Fed linked its bond buying programme to unemployment, pledging to continue the scheme until the US jobless rate falls to 6.5%, from the current 7.7%.
An interactive discussion on the Mumbai Development Plan was conducted by Moneylife Foundation on 3rd January wherein participants urged the citizens of the metropolis have their say
The people of Mumbai have a one-week window in which to play an active role in helping to ensure that the Mumbai Development Plan for next twenty years (from 2014 to 2034) addresses all our concerns. This was the message from a packed and interactive workshop at the Moneylife Foundation Centre conducted by the Urban Development and Research Institute (UDRI) on 3rd January.
The Mumbai Development Plan, which envisions the future of Mumbai from 2014 to 2034 is of special importance, since it is the first time public participation has been officially sought and encouraged in developing the planning itself.
Pankaj Joshi, executive director of UDRI, explained that a development plan had first been drawn up in 1964 and was revised in 1981. Only 10%-12% of each of these plans were implemented in the past fifty years. Consequently, the city has been growing rapidly, but without a proper development plan in place. He also said that if the new development plan (DP) for Mumbai isn’t drafted well, there is a chance that another generation would lose out on the benefits intended by the plan.
The DP has been sent to all ward offices under the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to seek feedback from citizens and to evolve a consensus about mapping locations properly. Mr Joshi urged participants to become more involved to make it a meaningful exercise. “The city’s boundary has increased by 2000 hectares i.e. 20 square kilometres which is equivalent to 4000 Oval Maidans being added to the city. At the same time, there has been a substantial decrease in saltpans, mangroves and wetlands,” noted Mr Joshi.
He also pointed out that markets and hawking zones form an integral part of the city’s landscape and cannot be wished away. It is therefore important to map these projects. Mr Joshi said that facilities such as carsheds for the Mumbai Monorail project do not even exist as per the current development plan.
He urged participants to work with coordination by helping the Municipal Corporation to map them correctly. The session was followed by an engaging discussion on the future of Mumbai. The experts at UDRI agreed that a development plan is much needed. The plan would map the growth of the city in a phased manner with active participation of citizens.
You can access videos of past Moneylife Foundation events on our Moneylife TV channel on YouTube here.
If you’d like to empower yourself, do join Moneylife Foundation for free. It costs nothing and you will be part of one of the fastest growing communities in India. Click here to join Moneylife Foundation.
Details of all other events can be found here.