The suggestions on the Bill, which was introduced in Lok Sabha on the last day of the Budget session and would help India ratify the UN Convention on Corruption, will be accepted till 30th April
New Delhi: In the backdrop of uproar over corruption and black money issues, the government has sought suggestions from people on a proposed anti-graft law which will facilitate extradition and prosecution of foreign public officials involved in bribery, reports PTI.
In a public notification, the government sought views and suggestions of general public on the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, 2011 which prohibits accepting or giving gratification by or to a foreign public official or official of public international organisation and makes such acts punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years.
The suggestions on the Bill, which was introduced in Lok Sabha on the last day of the Budget session and would help India ratify the UN Convention on Corruption, will be accepted till 30th April.
Bribery involving foreign public officials in international transactions is not covered under the existing Acts. "Therefore, a need has been felt to bring a legislation to give effect to the Convention," says the Bill.
India already has in place a framework for combating corruption under certain laws-Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002-which cover a number of areas that need international standards for criminalisation of bribery.
"Article 16 of the Convention requires that each state party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as a criminal offence, the giving or taking of undue advantage to or by a foreign public official, directly or indirectly," says the Bill.
It confers power upon the central government to enter into agreements with foreign countries for enforcing the provisions of the proposed legislation. It also makes provision declaring the offences as "extraditable offences".
Certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, would be amended to include provisions of the new legislation.
Under the Bill, "foreign public official" means any person holding a legislative, executive, administrative or judicial office of a foreign country.
The term "official of a public international organisation" means an international civil servant or any person authorised by such an organisation to act on behalf of that organisation.
During the Group of Twenty (G-20) summit in Seoul, India had signed its anti-corruption action plan, which requires it to ratify and implement the UN Convention.
In February, a Group of Ministers had decided to recommend a "stand-alone" legislation on corruption to amend the relevant Indian laws to enable India ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption.
Once a signatory country ratifies the Convention, its private citizens, including businessmen, who indulge in corruption, are liable to be punished.
Indian agencies can seek co-operation of the signatory countries in investigating cases where they have information about the accused or his kin holding bank accounts in foreign countries.
The Supreme Court has termed the issue of corruption and black money as a "serious" matter which has to be dealt in the best interests of the country.
Some people are critical that taxpayers’ funds should not be used for awards, when it is needed for more important purposes
India won the cricket World Cup after a wait of nearly three decades. And the victory was celebrated with much frenzy-crowds danced on the streets waving the tri-colour, people distributed sweets, many offered prayers in thanksgiving. Some state governments immediately announced big awards to honour the cricketers for their hard-fought achievement.
Amid the celebrations, some citizens are already questioning the wisdom of the authorities to spend so much money from taxpayers' funds that would have been better used to provide a meal to millions of deprived people in our society.
"The taxpayers' money should not be given to cricketers who make tonnes of money from advertisement opportunities over and above the crore they will receive from BCCI and others," said one comment on a discussion portal.
The Indian team has been well rewarded, quite literally. On the night of the victory, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a cash prize of Rs1 crore for each player in the World Cup winning team. State governments also joined in felicitating the players. The Gujarat government decided to honour two of the players from the state with the "Eklavya Puraskar", its highest sports award. The Maharashtra government announced a cash prize of Rs1 crore each for Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan. The Delhi government said it will give Rs1 crore each to Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ashish Nehra and Virat Kohli and Rs2 crore for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Another person wrote: "BCCI is a commercial body and can afford any amount of cash or material in prizes. Governments in states and at the Centre must not throw away money like this to the cash-rich players, while there is scarcity of food grains with so many poor living at, or below the poverty line."
Krishnaraj Rao, Mumbai-based Right to Information (RTI) activist, told Moneylife that on the one hand the state information commissions were deprived of funds and on the other each cricketer was being given Rs1 crore. "The budgetary requirement of the chief information commission of Maharashtra for 2010-11 was around Rs6 crore. But only Rs4.59 crore was allocated, for eight offices spread across the state. In fact, the working staff has to manage the entire petty cash requirement on their own," Mr Rao explained. "Such is the situation of the information commissioner's office. And the same state government is rewarding Rs1 crore for a single player."
As per BCCI's retention policy, Indian cricket players are paid retainership fees in three grades. Accordingly, Grade A players like Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir get Rs1 crore as fees, Grade B players like Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli are paid Rs50 lakh as fees, and Grade C players like S Sreeshant, Rohit Kumar get Rs25 lakh. In addition to the retainership fees, players in the eleven for a particular game are paid for the match also. Accordingly, the payment for a Test match is Rs7 lakh, for a one-day international match it is Rs4 lakh and for a T20 match it is Rs2 lakh.
Some activists' have also criticised the government for its bias against sports other than cricket, which they describe as a "pampered child".
"There should be a national consensus and there should be a predetermined norm for prize money for a world champion, an Olympic champion, a national champion and state champion. The principle of equity should determine the prize money. There is no scope for fatalism and emotion-surcharged prize distribution. Let it not generate an adverse impact and a negative fall-out on other sports. Public money belongs to all categories of sports," said another netizen.
A couple of activists have pointed out that as if these cash awards were not enough, there have also been announcements of some life-time benefits for the cricketers. "Not only are they doling out prizes out of our tax money, they are committing for the future as well, with life-time railway passes and so on," read another comment.
"The challenge for many emerging and some developing economies is to ensure that present boom-like conditions do not develop into overheating over the coming year," the IMF said in its 'World Economic Outlook' report
Washington: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered India's economic growth rate forecast to 8.2% for 2011 and warned that boom-like conditions could lead to over-heating of the economy, reports PTI.
"The challenge for many emerging and some developing economies (is) to ensure that present boom-like conditions do not develop into overheating over the coming year," the IMF said in its 'World Economic Outlook' report.
The multilateral lending agency had earlier projected the country's economy to grow by 8.4% in 2011.
IMF took note of the high inflation in India, recorded at 8.31% in February, even as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expects it to come down to 8% by March-end.
"Signs of overheating are starting to materialise in a number of economies. Most of the increase in headline inflation in recent months has been due to a spike in food prices, but core inflation has also been increasing in a number of economies, most notably India," IMF said.
Further, it projected the Indian economy to grow at a moderate 7.8% in 2012 and cautioned that rising commodity prices and disruptions to oil supply could pose new risks to economic recovery.
"Commodity prices have increased more than expected, reflecting a combination of strong demand growth and a number of supply shocks. These increases conjure the spectre of 1970s-style stagflation, but they appear unlikely to derail the recovery," the IMF said.
According to the international multilateral organisation, the inflationary pressure is likely to increase further as high food and energy prices would require an increase in wages.
On global growth trends, IMF said, Asia would outpace other regions on the back of strong export performance, buoyant private domestic demand and rapid credit growth.
It said the financial conditions continued to improve after the global crisis, although they remained unusually fragile.
"In many emerging market economies, demand is robust and overheating is a growing policy concern. Developing economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, have also resumed fast and sustainable growth," IMF said.
It added, "Given the improvement in financial markets, buoyant activity in many emerging and developing economies, and growing confidence in advanced economies, economic prospects for 2011-12 are good."
However, it retained its projection for global economic growth at 4.5% in 2011 and 2012, which is lower than 5% growth it projected for 2010.