In 2009, Aid-for-Trade commitments reached approximately $40 billion, a 60% increase from the 2002-05 baseline period," the WTO report said and suggested that "other official flows doubled, reaching $51 billion in 2009, a likely reflection of the donor response to the global economic crisis
Geneva: India remained the second largest recipient of WTO Aid-for-Trade in 2009, receiving assistance of over $1.5 billion, even as global commitments to create physical and institutional infrastructure to multiply trade opportunities shot up to $40 billion, reports PTI.
The report was jointly prepared by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). It was released on Monday.
"Asia now ranks as the second largest regional recipient, with $15.4 billion (38% of total flows)," it said.
However, Aid-for-Trade (AfT) flows to India declined in 2009 from a high of $3.4 billion in 2008.
"So far, Vietnam has received maximum assistance under AfT, while its other leading beneficiaries include Uganda, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and China, among others," it added.
AfT was conceived at the WTO's sixth ministerial meeting in Hong Kong with an aim to help countries facing structural and capacity-building constraints.
"AfT is acting as a catalyst for the private sector and it remains unaffected by the global crisis," said ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, the WTO's deputy director general.
"Private sector must play a dominant role in AfT projects in infrastructure and logistics," she added.
Ahead of the third global AfT review at the WTO, beginning Wednesday, the report attempts to showcase the positive spin-offs arising from the growing commitments to prioritising trade-related infrastructure.
"In 2009, Aid-for-Trade commitments reached approximately $40 billion, a 60% increase from the 2002-05 baseline period," the report said and suggested that "other official flows (OOF) doubled, reaching $51 billion in 2009, a likely reflection of the donor response to the global economic crisis."
Even as Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations remain inconclusive and Europe faces a financial crisis, it said, "Disbursements have been increasing at a constant growth rate of between 11%-12% for each year since 2006, reaching $29 billion in 2009, indicating that past commitments are being met."
With the industrialised countries caught in grave fiscal and budgetary crises, the South-South assistance for AfT offers a window of opportunity, the WTO official said, adding that capacity building and creating new physical infrastructure is essential to realise the advantages of trade liberalisation.
National Alliance of People’s Movements considers protest petition to the government for targeting Mr Shenoy who had filed complaint on slum rehabilitation scam
National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) will send a petition to the government, protesting against the arrest of RTI activist Kamlakar Shenoy last week. Mr Shenoy was arrested by Vasai police on Saturday evening, at Dadar, and he has been remanded for three days police custody. He has been arrested on two-year-old complaint by a builder under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Activists have alleged that Mr Shenoy's arrest is the handiwork of a builder mafia that is pressurising the Maharashtra government to withdraw the resolution that was promulgated after a nine-day fast by Ms Medha Patkar for an independent inquiry into scams related to slum rehabilitation projects. NAPM says Shivalik Ventures, a construction company, is behind Mr Shenoy's arrest, as he had blown the lid off the Golibar land scam in which the company is alleged to have been involved.
Mr Shenoy had exposed that Shivalik had flouted several rules in 150 buildings, cheated CIDCO of Rs2 crore in revenue and had illegally encroached on the firing range of the Indian Air Force in Golibar. Shivalik had stated that the land never belonged to the army and it had approached the government for a no-objection certificate to start construction on a land area of 62 acres.
After Mr Shenoy lodged a complaint before the Magistrate's Court, Shivalik's proprietor Ramakant Jadhav filed a complaint under the Prevention of Atrocities Act against Mr Shenoy, alleging that the company was being harassed wrongfully. Acting on Mr Shenoy's complaint, in August 2010 the court issued summons to 11 people from the management of Shivalik Ventures, the Nallasopara Municipal Corporation, having found prima facie evidence against them.
Mr Shenoy was arrested on Saturday in relation to this 2008 case, for which the police have failed to come up with any evidence. "We would also like to point out that there are hundreds of cases of atrocities against Dalits and adivasis across Maharashtra by the land mafia. It is against such people that the Atrocities Act should actually be used," said NAPM spokesperson Santosh Daundkar.
"Meanwhile, we are trying to get him bail", Mr Daundkar said. "We will definitely go forward with a petition. But whether or not a formal protest will be launched will be decided only after Mr Shenoy is released."
Mr Shenoy is currently in a police lock-up at Vasaigaon Police Station.
More than 80 Bills are pending since 2008. There is not much hope that they will see the light of day soon
The government has made a fantastic job of tabling Bills in Parliament and then sitting on them. While the scam-tainted government waits for the problems to dissolve themselves, its failure to implement important Bills and formulate policies seems to be giving the market a hard time.
Broking firm Macquarie Securities has released a report where it has analysed some of the crucial Bills and the factors that have affected India Inc's market performance. Not only have they found many of these Bills inadequate and that they have been watered down during revisions, the firm feels that there is "little hope" that the government will come to a decision any time soon.
"There has been a spate of policy decisions from the government lately that are aimed at clearing the pile ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament and the UP (Uttar Pradesh) elections next year. In our view the government has not fared well in making these decisions as some of them appear superficial," said the report.
Of the approximately 80 bills that are pending, three-quarters have built up over the past two years alone. Some of the important Bills and reforms pending are-Mines and Mineral Development Act that will see 26% of mining profits being shared with locals affected, Microfinance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill which has seen a deadlock between states and the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), The National Identification Authority of India Bill, the Bill on establishing a real estate regulator, amendments on banking laws & labour laws, the Direct Taxes Code, the Goods and Services Tax, pension reforms, FDI (foreign direct investment) in retail and reform in land acquisition laws.
The report has also commented on the government's attempts to project 'a semblance of activity'—like the Cabinet reshuffle and the states' power minister's conference.
"The only change of any significance was the replacement of Jairam Ramesh with Jayanthi Natarajan which was also reflected in the performance of stocks like Sterlite (STLT) and Coal India (CIL) in an otherwise unresponsive market. (As far as the) State power minister's conference (is concerned)—while it would certainly be a major positive for the sector—it should be noted that (the) Government power policy rarely gets implemented as planned. Most private sector participants appeared cautious about the implementation of such measures," says the report.
The few policies the government has formulated have failed to produce desired results. The government has failed to curb inflation, and another hike is expected from the RBI. The hike in fuel prices, which happened after almost a year of delay, is likely to add to the core inflation rate. The hike has offset the reduced subsidy with a revenue loss from duty cuts. The much-awaited draft Bill on food security was passed only recently, but the media is awash with all its shortcomings.
The country is already feeling the heat of governance deficit. If the indecision hits the market harder, the government has only itself to blame.