Describing corruption a scourge that confronts all of us, prime minister Manmohan Singh said, "The fact that the civil society and the government have joined hands to evolve a consensus to move this historic legislation augurs well for our democracy"
New Delhi: Terming the joining of hands of civil society and government on the Lokpal Bill issue as a step that augurs well for democracy, prime minister Manmohan Singh said the government intends to introduce the "historic legislation" in the Monsoon session of Parliament, reports PTI.
"I am happy that the government and representatives of civil society have reached an agreement in our mutual resolve to combat corruption. I am pleased that Anna Hazare has agreed to give up his fast," he said in a statement here.
Describing corruption a scourge that confronts all of us, the prime minister said, "The fact that the civil society and the government have joined hands to evolve a consensus to move this historic legislation augurs well for our democracy."
He said the interaction between the government and the representatives of Mr Hazare was productive.
"I hope that process to prepare this legislation will move forward in a constructive mode so that after consultation with a wide spectrum of stake holders, this legislation is placed before the Cabinet for introduction during the Monsoon session," the prime minister said.
The government had last night agreed to issue a formal order to set up a 10-member joint committee for drafting a strong Lokpal Bill.
The announcement of an agreement came from both sides after four days of Mr Hazare's fast-unto-death that evoked a nationwide support cutting across the society.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will be the chairman of the committee that will also include law minister Veerappa Moily, telecom minister Sibal, home minister P Chidambaram and water resources minister Salman Khurshid as members.
Besides Mr Hazare, those representing the civil society in the joint committee will be eminent lawyers Shanti Bhushan, Prasant Bhushan, retired Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal. Shanti Bhushan will be the co-chairman.
FII inflows are slowing down and the recent rally is losing steam
After a strong rally last month, which was preceded by a subdued performance in January and February, the market was almost at a standstill in the week ended 8th April in the absence of any domestic triggers. The market registered gains on the first trading day of the week, but subsequently turned south and declined sharply on Friday.
Overall, the Sensex advanced 31 points (0.16%) to end the week at 19,451, and the Nifty rose 16 points (0.27%) to 5,842.
Among the Sensex stocks, BHEL, Hero Honda (up 4% each), Mahindra & Mahindra, State Bank of India and Bharti Airtel (up 2% each) were the top gainers and DLF (down 4%), Bajaj Auto, NTPC, Hindustan Unilever (down 3% each) and Reliance Infrastructure (down 2%) were the major losers.
In the sectoral space, BSE Capital Goods and BSE Realty gained 3% each, while the BSE Auto ended flat and BSE Oil & Gas declined 1% in the week.
The market rallied 9% in March on strong foreign institutional investor (FII) inflows, but the flows slowed down this week. FII investments, which were strong till Tuesday, fell in the latter part of the week.
With fundamentals unchanged and foreign institutional investor interest shifting to other markets, a slowdown is on the cards. While the gains accrued last month could erode slowly, weak Q4 earnings may also push the market back, even as policymakers keep an eye on high crude prices and cost pressures.
On the economic front, food inflation fell to 9.18% for the week ended 26th March, the lowest level in almost four months, on the back of a decline in the prices of pulses. The quantum of the rise in food prices stood at 9.50% in the previous week. Headline inflation figures for March 2011 will be released in the week ahead. The figure for February was at 8.31%. But with food inflation showing signs of easing, the pressure on the government seems to have reduced.
Betting high on the Indian market, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased stocks and bonds worth Rs10 lakh crore in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2011. FIIs purchased stocks and debt securities worth Rs9,92,595.15 crore in fiscal 2010-11, while at the same time they sold shares and bonds worth Rs84,6157.71 crore-still leaving behind an investment of over Rs1.46 lakh crore for the fiscal. In dollar terms, foreign funds invested $32.22 billion.
State-owned oil firms-Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation-will lose a whopping Rs174,000 crore on selling fuel at government-controlled rates in 2011-12, 68% more than what they lost when crude oil touched an all-time high in 2008-09. The revenue loss, what oil firms call under-recoveries, will be the highest-ever, even more than what they lost in 2008-09 when crude oil touched an all-time high of $147 per barrel.
On the global front, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised its main policy rate on 7th April by 25 basis points, its first rate hike since July 2008. While the ECB is likely to continue with its rate hikes, it refrained from giving a time-frame for the next move.
The ECB's move follows the announcement that Portugal would seek financial assistance from the European Commission. The size of the request has not yet been announced, but it is likely to be in the range of the €85 billion bailout package that Ireland received last year.
The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, on 5th April raised the benchmark one-year borrowing and lending interest rates by 25 basis points. This was the second time that China's central bank raised the benchmark interest rates this year and the fourth such increase since last year.
Following the hikes, the one-year deposit interest rate has gone up to 3.25%, while that for one-year loans has been pegged at 6.31%. Analysts said the move indicated that the central bank was making increased efforts to ease consumer price increases.
Last evening in Pune was historic! It was probably only the third time that the city has witnessed such euphoria after the Samyukta Maharashtra movement and the JP movement all those years ago
The imposing ramparts of Shaniwar Wada were witness to an electrifying moment in history, as more than 15,000 Puneites turned out on Friday evening in support of the campaign led by Anna Hazare against corruption in the country. The candle-light march, which was more than two kilometers long, began from Bal Gandharva and culminated at Shaniwar Wada. Candles in hand, the protestors marched in triumph-the young and the old, the feeble and the physically challenged, all joined in with a missionary zeal. The shouts were predictable: 'Anna Hazare aage bado, hum tumhare saath hain' and 'Hum honge kaamayab ek din'. But the passion was unexpected and quite unbelievable.
The mobilisation from the morning was by word of mouth, and through emails and SMSs. It spread like wild fire. By 6pm there were already more than 5,000 Puneites lined up on Jangli Maharaj Road, opposite Bal Gandharva. With every minute the crowd began to swell, all with the singular determination to eradicate corruption.
It's a long time since Pune witnessed any such euphoria. Mangesh Tendulkar rightly said, "The first time was during the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. The second was during the JP movement. This is the third in support of Anna Hazare's fast.''
Through the day, streams of people visited the pandal outside the Pune Municipal Corporation, where we undertook a day-long fast. Teenagers and youngsters joined in a 'skip a meal' campaign that required citizens not to eat any one meal of the day, whether it is breakfast, tea, lunch or dinner.
Youngsters made passionate speeches about how they were fed up with the corruption in everyday life that was even affecting their education. They talked about joining the fight because they wanted to have a better life in the country and not run away because of the daily inconveniences.
Representatives from IT companies told us that at least 500 techies had joined in the candle march. Around 85 NGOs pledged their support to the cause. And passersby stopped to inquire and lend their support too.
All described the common agony: Corruption that has reached mind-boggling levels and how high-profile politicians and bureaucrats who were guilty of this were getting away easily. They were angry and did not know how to express their anger-till now, that is. The untainted figure of Anna Hazare on a hunger protest at Jantar Mantar helped draw them together, like iron filings to a magnet.
It's the biggest victory of a people's movement since Independence. The nation has indeed arrived! Corrupt politicians are realising that they will not be able to take people for granted! It has been a triumph of the people's collective resolution and sacrifice. It's the beginning of the end of the corrupt scoundrels who rolled in wealth and luxury with the people's money!
Thank you for your support.