China is breathing down our necks in Myanmar, all because we have so far neglected to take serious interest in this country
We are neighbours, and have a 1,640 kms long border with Myanmar along with our Eastern states, with Mizoram being the closest to them. As against this, Pakistan and India share a 1,800 km border!
Our relations with Myanmar have had their ups and downs and presently, the atmosphere is improving, thankfully, for the better. China, on the other hand, is fully entrenched in Myanmar, and has booming trade relations with them. We need to make our presence felt in as many areas as possible, and our current trade with Myanmar is about $1.87 billion. This can be increased!
In the recent times, not long ago in December, unilaterally, Myanmar closed its land border at International Gate Nos I & II with India and there was an organized rally where local people claimed that India was not honouring its international boundary. As usual, it had to be handled with care by the Union Home Minister.
Our trade and related project developments in Myanmar have been slow but this could have been increased manifold, if only our government had regularly sponsored trade delegations and had held India International trade fairs in that country! Indians would rather take a holiday to other parts in the near east, but shudder to think of Yangoon to visit!
Trade development can take place when we have regular ships sailing between the two countries. At present, only when there are ship loads available, an exporter can ship to Yangoon. Myanmar has three ports and these can handle 800,000 TEUs (twenty feet equivalent units) annually. But we do not have a regular container vessel to carry our cargo!
After a lot of efforts, it appears now, that the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), a Government undertaking, has volunteered to make available a vessel that can carry 1500 TEUs provided the Union government can give them a subsidy of Rs30 crore annually! If there are regular sailings, there is no doubt that this can increase to 36,000 TEUs over a period of time. Shipping Corp’s container vessel, if made available, under this condition, can cover Chennai, Yangoon and Colombo; and if there is adequate cargo, they can berth at Krishnapatnam also.
The point at stake is, should the government accede to their demand and give them an annual subsidy of Rs30 crore? SCI has made this demand, as they are already a loss making concern, and if regular cargo was not available to the above ports, their loss will only mount! Our stake in Myanmar is too important and large; the government must not dilly-dally on this issue, and confirm their willingness to subsidise the sailings to Yangoon and back. In fact, they could include other ports such as Sittwe also, which is under expansion, if Myanmar has no objection!
Right now, Essar Projects Ltd, a construction contractor from India, is executing the "port-cum-inland waterway" and is building the Sittwe port and a jetty at Paletwa, besides being involved in dredging the 158 kms of the river Kalandan, between these two points, to make it more navigable than it is today. Essar hopes to complete this project by June this year, and will
also supply six cargo vessels.
What is important is to note that from the jetty at Paletwa, our Mizoram border is only 109.2 kms away, though another 250 kms-highway would be needed to connect it to Aizwal, the capital. It is imperative that no time is lost in calling for tenders to build this. No purpose will be really achieved if there is no road communication, of international standard, to transport the goods either way! Many of the Myanmar highways have been built by the Chinese!
Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are important and close friends for India, who have to be handled with care. There can be great trade among all the three. As we now discuss the issues with Myanmar, which has other natural resources to offer, we must move seriously in our public relations campaigns in all the three countries; and promote our trade by conducting fairs that can display our products and services.
We must remember that China is breathing down our necks in Myanmar, all because we have so far neglected to take serious interest in this country.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
Regular sale and purchase of shares is a purely commercial activity and the only motive is to earn profits. Therefore, this activity is not covered under the provisions of the Consumer Act, the National Consumer Forum ruled
The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC), while dismissing a revision petition, has clarified that a person regularly trading in share market does not fall under the definition of 'consumer' as per the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
In an order issued on 3rd January, the apex consumer forum said, "Since, respondents are trading regularly in the share business, which is commercial activity, under these circumstances, respondents would not fall under the definition of ‘consumer’ as per the Act. Moreover, regular trading in the sale and purchase of shares is a purely commercial activity and the only motive is to earn profits. Therefore, this activity being purely commercial one, is not covered under the provisions of the Act."
"Accordingly, we hold that since respondents are not the ‘consumers’ as per provisions of the Act, the State Commission committed grave error in allowing their complaint. Consequently, we allow the present revision petition and set aside the impugned order passed by the State Commission and restore the order of the District Forum. With the result, the complaint filed by the respondents before the District Forum shall stand dismissed," the NCDRC said.
The case relates with Hyderabad-based GP Ramesh and his wife Padma G who alleged that their broker Steel City Securities Ltd sold shares worth Rs11.76 lakh and Rs1.78 lakh despite their instructions about not to use their stolen depository participant slip (DPID) books.
Ramesh said, the depository participant slip books belonging to him and his wife were stolen from his scooter on 24 January 2008. He informed Steel City Securities about the theft and requested the broker not to allow any transactions on the said depository participant slips.
Steel City Securities advised Ramesh to lodge a police complaint and enclose the same along with his representation for their record purpose. The broker also assured him that they will not allow any transaction on the said depository participant slips which were lost.
Following the advice, Ramesh filed a complaint on the same day before the SR Nagar police station. On 30 January 2008, police issued an investigation certificate stating that efforts were made to trace the above slips but all are in vain.
Ramesh wrote a letter to Steel City Securities on 30 January 2008 along with the copy of the police complaint, and requested the broker to issue new DPID books.
However, there was no response. Later on, Ramesh came to know that the broker sold the shares worth Rs11,768 on 29 January 2008 and Rs1.78 lakh, respectively, belonging to his wife. In spite of the assurance that Steel City Securities will not transact till new books are issued, the broker sold the shares which was unfair and hence it is bound to reimburse the same, Ramesh said in his petition before the District Consumer Forum.
Since there was no response, he sought reimbursement of Rs1.78 lakh and Rs11,768 with an interest @18% per annum from 29 January 2008 till date of payment to his wife. Further he asked the broker to issue new DPID books in favour of both the husband and wife, besides Rs30,000 each towards compensation and Rs10,000 as costs of the complaint.
In its reply, Steel City Securities denied the allegations and also that it had advised Ramesh to lodge a police complaint. The District Forum, held that the complaint was not maintainable as there was agreement between them that in case of dispute, they shall approach the Arbitrator. "The respondents (Ramesh and his wife) have failed to show any deficiency of service/unfair trade practice. Lastly, the respondents are not ‘consumers’ since the transactions are commercial in nature," the Forum said. It then dismissed the petition.
Ramesh then filed an appeal before the State Commission, which while allowing it set aside the order passed by the District Forum. The State Commission also directed Steel City Securities to reimburse Rs1.78 lakh and Rs11,768 to Ramesh and his wife.
Steel City Securities then filed a revision petition before the NCDRC. During the hearing, the apex consumer forum said, "It is an admitted fact that respondents had been indulging in trading of the shares as respondents in their complaint have stated that they are regularly transacting the transactions through the petitioner. Thus, the short question which arise for consideration in the present case is as to whether respondents are ‘consumers’ or not as per Section 2(1)(d) of the Act."
Expression ‘consumer’ has been defined in Section 2 (1) (d) of the Act, which reads as under;
“d “Consumer” means any person who,---
(i) buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose; or
(ii) hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person but does not include a person who avails of such services for any commercial purpose;
Explanation------ For the purpose of this clause, “commercial purpose” does not include use by a person of goods bought and used by him and services availed by him exclusively for the purposes of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment”.
The NCDRC said, both the Rameshs have nowhere pleaded in their complaint that they are doing the share trading business for self-employment nor it has been pleaded that the services provided by Steel City Securities are being availed exclusively for the purpose of earning their livelihood by means of self-employment. "It is well settled that the dispute between the parties relating to commercial purposes are excluded under the Act," the Commission said.
It said NCDRC in Vijay Kumar Vs. Indusind Bank, II (2012) CPJ 181 (NC) has held;
“Since, petitioner has been trading regularly in the shares which is a commercial transaction and for which he has also availed the “over draft facility” from the respondent, as such he would not be a consumer as per Section 2 (1) (d) (ii) of the Act. Moreover, regular trading in the purchase and sale of the shares is a commercial transaction and the only motive is to earn profit. Thus, this activity is purely commercial one and is not covered under the Act”.
"Since, both the Rameshs are trading regularly in the share business which is commercial activity, under these circumstances, respondents would not fall under the definition of ‘consumer’ as per the Act. Accordingly, we hold that since respondents are not the ‘consumers’ as per provisions of the Act, the State Commission committed grave error in allowing their complaint. Consequently, we allow the present revision petition and set aside the impugned order passed by the State Commission and restore the order of the District Forum. With the result, the complaint filed by the respondents before the District Forum shall stand dismissed," the NCDRC said in its order.
NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
REVISION PETITION NO.3060 OF 2011
(Against the order dated 25.5.2011 in Appeal No.603 of 2009 of the State Commission, Andhra Pradesh)
Steel City Securities Ltd.
VI Floor, Sanous Manohar Complex,
Opp Dinmy Pen Shop Sindhi Colony
PG Road, Secunderabad, AP
Rep. by its Manager …. Petitioner
1. Shri GP Ramesh
SR Nagar, Hyderabad
2. Smt Padma G
SR Nagar, Hyderabad