Govt open to suggestions on Lokpal, never said no to joint committee: Law minister

Veerappa Moily says government is prepared to put proposed Bill for public discussion

New Delhi: A day after social activist Anna Hazare launched his indefinite fast demanding the implementation of the Lokpal Bill to deal with corruption, the government today said it was open to any suggestion on the proposed legislation and that it had not turned down his demand for a joint committee.

Law minister M Veerappa Moily said that the government was open to suggestions even though it was "anxious to introduce the Bill in the next session". Mr Moily said the government "did not say no" to the demand for a joint committee to draft the bill, after a sub-committee of the group of ministers (GoM) on the issue of corruption held discussions with representatives of Mr Hazare and other citizens, PTI reports.
"Even on the demand for a joint committee, we said we were open. We never closed our mind even on the formation of a joint committee...In principle we did not say no," Mr Moily said. He said that the prime minister was open to all suggestions on the Bill.

The minister said that though the Bill was already drafted, it would not "find a finality" unless it goes to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

"The Standing Committee can always throw it open to discussion and deliberation. No bill is passed in hide and seek manner. Parliament has the most transparent way of functioning in our country," Mr Moily said.
Mr Hazare, 72, is on a fast to demand enactment of the anti-corruption bill that will give wider powers to the ombudsman. He is pushing for the formation of a joint committee comprising 50% officials and the remaining citizens and intellectuals to draft the Bill.


Maruti to recall 13,157 vehicles for faulty engine part

Company says it wants to inspect possible fault in ‘connecting rod bolt’

New Delhi: The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India today said it will recall 13,157 units of its three diesel driven models of Dzire, Swift and Ritz, due to a possible faulty engine part.

"Maruti Suzuki India today announced that it will inspect the 'Connecting Rod Bolt' for 13,157 units of Swift Dzire, Swift and Ritz diesel cars with engines manufactured between 13 November 2010 and 4 December 2010," the company stated, PTI reports.

Of the total number of vehicles being recalled, 4,505 units are of Swift Dzire, 6,841 units of Swift and 1811 units of Ritz diesel cars. "If the Connecting Rod Bolt is found defective, the company will replace the component free of cost," Maruti said.


ADB lowers India's GDP forecast to 8.2% on high crude prices

The Bank also believes that the RBI’s tight monetary stance will squeeze demand

New Delhi: Surging global oil prices and the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) tight monetary policy has prompted the ADB to lower its growth forecast for the Indian economy to 8.2% for the current fiscal, from its earlier projection of 8.7%.

"Rising oil prices will bring down the growth rate to 8.2% in the year ending March 2012. Also, aggregate demand will tend to get squeezed on the RBI's tight monetary policy stance," Asian Development Bank (ADB) principal economist (India) Rana Hasan said today.

The multilateral lending agency had in September last year projected India's growth rate for 2011-12 at 8.7%. The ADB's forecast, however, is in sharp contrast to the projection by the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) of a 9% growth in the current fiscal, reports PTI.

The ADB, which today released its Asian Development Outlook Report 2011, said concerns over high food prices would shift to oil, as elevated international oil prices will put pressure on inflation. "Food inflation concerns will now shift to oil. The average crude oil price is likely to remain at $104 a barrel in the current fiscal and rise to $112 a barrel in fiscal 2012-13," Mr Hasan said.

With inflation now shifting to manufacturing items, the RBI will continue with its tight monetary policy stance, the ADB said. The central bank has hiked its key policy rates eight times since March, 2010, to tackle inflationary pressure. "We expect another 50 basis points hike by the RBI in both repo and reverse repo rate in the current fiscal," Mr Hasan said.
Overall inflation, measured on the basis of wholesale prices, was 8.31% in February. The RBI expects it to come down to 8% for the period to end-March. In the new fiscal 2011-12, the ADB expects inflation to be around 7.8% and for 2012-13, at around 6.5%.

The Asian Development Outlook Report 2011 says India's economic expansion will rebound in the fiscal 2012-13 and its GDP will grow by 8.8% as investment and overall economic activity pick up and the government pushes forward an economic reform agenda.

The ADB said India's current account deficit (representing net flow of income out of the country barring capital movements) would be around 3.5% in the current fiscal, higher than 3% in the year ended 31 March 2010. The current account deficit has been sustained by capital inflows, but heavy reliance on portfolio capital relative to FDI raises vulnerability, the ADB said.

ADB chief economist Changyong Rhee said India's foremost development challenge is to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.


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