Despite several reminders, eight MPs have still not declared their assets mandated under the Parliamentary Rules. In addition, the Committee on Ethics does not favour publishing the details of MPs on the website
Eight members of Parliament (MPs), including Ajay Sancheti (close associate of Nitin Gadkari) from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Darshan Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party (SP), Narendra Budhania and Dr Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu (both Congress) and Munquad Ali of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from the Rajya Sabha and Harsh Vardhan (Congress), Madhu Koda and Putul Kumari (independent) from the Lok Sabha, have not yet declared their assets despite several reminders from the respective secretariat.
According to information obtained from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by Right to Information (RTI) activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, despite several reminders these MPs have failed to submit details of their assets to respective secretariats. “What is more shocking is hiding such information or about bigamy has not been taken seriously by secretariats of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. In addition, the Committee on Ethics does not favour posting the asset details of MPs on the website,” says Mr Agrawal.
While Koda, the former chief minister of Jharkhand and accused in multi-crore mining scam, has sought permission from the Lok Sabha Speaker for exemption, others have failed to follow the Rules for MPs, reveals the reply received under the RTI Act.
In the present era of requiring transparency, it is utmost necessary that asset-details of Parliamentarians and their spouse/s may be put on website. It becomes necessary because many times some parliamentarians have been found hiding information about their spouse. The situation, however, has improved than since 2010. According to an RTI reply received by Mr Agrawal at least 70 MPs, including former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Congress spokesperson at that time Manish Tewari, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu have not disclosed details of their assets at that time.
As per the members of the Lok Sabha (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Rules, 2004, every elected candidate is mandated to furnish details like...
1. Movable and immovable property of which he, his spouse and dependent children are jointly or severally owners or beneficiaries;
2. His liabilities to any financial institutions; and
3. His liabilities to the Central or State government
In addition, some members have also been found hiding information about their spouse/s. Bollywood actor and former MP Dharmendra did not mention the name of Hema Malini as his spouse in his declaration. However, Hema Malini as MP from Rajya Sabha mentioned Dharmendra as her spouse in her bio-data.
Another MP Rajesh Kumar Manjhi of the RJD misused the facilities by substituting other woman in the name of his wife. He took another woman in place of his wife on an official trip.
According to the RTI reply, the offence of bigamy is punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the authority to take action against an MP belonging to the Hindu community having more than one spouse lies with the court. “Only after a bigamous relationship has been established by the court, action can be initiated by the Speaker on a complaint against a member on the ground of concealment of facts in his asset/liability declaration form as per Rules 5 & 6 of Members of Lok Sabha Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Rules, 2004,” the reply said.
The reply says it is for the court or police to take action against a MP found guilty of breaking law in his/her personal or public life. The Parliament can take action against an MP only if he/she violates any of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business or commits an unethical or criminal act concerned with the discharge of his Parliamentary duties.
This explains why Manjhi, a MP from Gaya in Bihar, got away with light punishment. According to the RTI reply, the Committee on the Misconduct of Members of Lok Sabha in its report on 23 August 2007, recommended to reprimanded and also suspend Rajesh Kumar Manjhi from the membership of the House for 30 sittings of the House. Further, the Committee recommended restraining the MP from taking his spouse or companion on official tours till the conclusion of the 14th Lok Sabha.
Pramila Manjhi, wife of Rajesh Majhi, had requested Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to take steps against her husband by claiming that he had been allegedly traveling everywhere with some other woman by posing her as his wife. Earlier in April 2007, the Parliament had suspended another Babubhai Katara for his alleged involvement in a human trafficking case. Katara was caught at the New Delhi International Airport while taking a woman and a boy using passports of his wife and son.
“Rules of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha should be uniform and re-written to make them stringent so that membership of parliamentarians may be cancelled on hiding, untrue or incomplete personal information. How funny it was that a Lok Sabha member Rajesh Manjhi was mildly punished for being suspended for 30 sittings of Parliament for the heinous crime of taking a girlfriend in name of wife on a Parliamentary delegation. Allowing wives on parliamentary trips also proves that such trips are practically meant for leisure and pleasure at public-expense,” said Mr Agrawal.
Indian steel companies would continue to see a tough quarter. The key issue facing the industry is the weaker domestic steel demand which has kept the domestic prices under pressure, according to Nomura Equity Research in its Quick Note
In the Indian steel sector seasonal strength should help, but 4QFY13 would still be a tough quarter, according to Nomura Equity Research in its Quick Note. It is expected that Indian steel companies would continue to see earnings pressure in 4QFY13 given domestic steel prices remained weak despite higher global prices. However, the fourth quarter is typically the strongest demand period and, hence, it is expected that sales volumes will pick up sequentially.
Nomura expects SAIL volumes at 3.2 million tonnes (mt), up 16.4% quarter-on-quarter but flat year-on-year. Tata Steel has also seen volumes increasing by 20.8% quarter-on-quarter and 29% year-on-year on account of the ramp-up of the 2.9mtpa expansion. However, JSW Steel should see flat volumes given production is still constrained by Karnataka iron ore shortage.
Indian steel demand growth remained weak in 4QFY13, resulting in sustained weakness in steel prices, remark Nomura analysts. While companies should see sequential improvement in volumes on account of a seasonally strong demand period in 4Q, volume growth year-on-year should be muted. Indian steel demand growth during FY13 was just 3.3% and 4QFY13 demand growth was even weaker at about 1.5% as per Joint Plant Committee data.
A weaker demand environment has kept domestic steel prices weak during the quarter despite global steel prices increasing by 6-7% quarter-on-quarter. As per Nomura’s interaction with the management of Indian steel companies and steel traders, it is expected that flat steel prices will be marginally weak (down Rs300-500 per tonne (1%-2%) quarter-on-quarter) while long product prices remained largely flat quarter-on-quarter.
Expect residual benefits of lower coking coal prices in 4QFY13
Nomura expects companies to realize a further $8-10/t of benefits from the fall in coking coal prices during 4QFY13. The impact of change in contract coking coal prices is realized by the companies with a lag of 0.5-1 quarter. Coking coal prices have been falling for the past 3-4 quarters and, hence, the benefit would continue in 4QFY13.
Nomura expects Tata Steel to see a quarter-on-quarter improvement given its Indian operations should see higher volumes though profitability would remain under pressure. At the same time, the European operations should turn EBITDA positive (about $15/t) on the back of stable steel prices and fall in raw material costs. Nomura expects consolidated EBITDA of Rs33.5 billion, up 5.4% year-on-year and 49.6% quarter-on-quarter.
The analysts expect Tata Steel’s Indian operations to report EBITDA of Rs30 billion in 4QFY13, up 18.7% quarter-on-quarter but flat year-on-year. Sequential EBITDA growth would be driven primarily by 20.8% volume growth on account of ramp-up of 2.9mtpa production. While profitability would be supported by 1) lower coke purchases, 2) fall in coking coal prices, and 3) operating leverage on account of higher volumes, there are neutralizing factors, i.e., 1) weaker steel realizations, 2) lower ferroalloy contribution due to production shutdown at Sukinda mine, and 3) weaker product mix (as TATA Steel is currently producing basic HR coils from incremental capacity.
Key estimates of Nomura analysts in the steel sector are given below:
Weaker LME prices are likely to keep profitability under pressure for Indian non-ferrous companies, says Nomura Equity Research in its Quick Note
Indian non-ferrous companies should see an improved quarter on the back of higher production; however weaker LME (London Metal Exchange) prices are likely to keep profitability under pressure, says Nomura Equity Research in its Quick Note.
LME aluminium prices have been flat quarter-on-quarter and down 8% year-on-year, while zinc prices are up 3% quarter-on-quarter and flat year-on-year and lead prices are up 4.5% quarter-on-quarter and 9% year-on-year.
Nomura expects Hindustan Zinc to see a very strong quarter driven by record mined metal production (up 16.6% quarter-on-quarter and 27.5% year-on-year). At the same time, integrates lead and silver productions are also up 3.2% and 20.7% year-on-year, respectively. As a result the brokerage forecasts EBITDA at Rs18 billion, up 8.4% year-on-year and 20.4% quarter-on-quarter.
Nomura also expects Hindalco Industries to see an improved quarter with aluminium production at 145kt up 4.3% quarter-on-quarter and flat year-on-year. Hindalco should report EBITDA of Rs6.5 billion up 11.6% quarter-on-quarter, though still down 24.9% year-on-year (on account of lower aluminium prices).
Sterlite Industries should also see a strong quarter driven by improved zinc and power business. We forecast EBITDA at Rs26.7 billion up 14.8% quarter-on-quarter but down 1.3% year-on-year.
Sesa Goa’s iron ore operations remain suspended on account of the continued mining ban in Goa and Karnataka. The company reported pig iron production of 104kt (kilo tonnes), up 25.5% quarter-on-quarter and 76.2% year-on-year. However, as per management, the company had to purchase external iron ore for the production and hence profitability would be impacted.
Quarterly previews of the four companies are given below by Nomura analysts: