Regulations
India unveils new Foreign Trade Policy to lift exports
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" campaign in the backdrop, India's new five-year Foreign Trade policy was unveiled on Wednesday.
 
Declaring that she wants to "make India a significant factor in world trade by 2020, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the foreign trade policy 2015-20. 
 
She said mega regional agreements like the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will profoundly affect the country's future trade.
 
In its blueprint for enhancing exports, the government has merged all earlier export promotion schemes under the two plans - the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and the Served from India scheme (SFIS) for services exporters.
 
The import duty exemption scrips valued at 10 percent of foreign exchange earned, which is given to service exporters as an incentive, have now been made tradeable and can be used for service tax, customs and excise duty payments.
 
"There is no conditionality in any of the scrips issued under these schemes, (MEIS, SEIS)," Sitharaman said.
 
Moreover, as a measure to boost the special economic zones (SEZs) units within them will now be able to avail the benefit of the MEIS and SEIS schemes.
 
The new policy has come at a time when India's merchandise exports continue to log a decent growth, having expanded by just 0.88 percent in the first 11 months of the current fiscal.
 
Declining for the straight third month, India's exports fell by over 15 percent to $21.54 billion in February, even as the trade deficit narrowed to $6.85 billion on the back of declining international crude oil prices.
 
The commerce minister unveils the country's Foreign Trade Policy for five years and a review is conducted annually. The previous policy was for 2009-2014, but neither was a new policy announced in 2014 nor a review conducted.

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Mahindra tractor sales fall by 31 percent in March 2015
The farm equipment division of Indian automotive-maker Mahindra and Mahindra on Wednesday said its total tractor sales for March fell by 31 percent at 12,254 units against 17,673 for the same month last year owing to dampened demand.
 
Domestic sales of tractors fell by 37 percent at 10,392 units against 16,571 units during March 2014. Exports, however, rose by 69 percent for the month at 1,862 units.
 
"Unseasonal rains and hailstorms have adversely affected market sentiments," the company's president and chief executive of farm equipment and two-wheeler division Rajesh Jejurikar said in a statement.
 
The company's overall automobile, two-wheeler and farm equipment sales in March fell by 12 percent at 45,212 units against 51,636 sold in the corresponding month of 2014.
 
Total sales for the fiscal year 2014-15 declined by eight percent at 464,848 units from 507,176 units sold in the previous fiscal.

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Pune activist threatened by local politician-builder
RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar was threatened on Monday afternoon, by a corporator-builder during file inspection under RTI at the Pune Municipal Corp 
 
Threats and assaults on Right to Information (RTI) activists have unfortunately become a common phenomenon across the country and one more incident has been added from Pune. On 31st March, Corporator Kailash Gaikwad, threatened RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar while he inspecting certain files under Section 4, at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). The files Kumbhar was inspecting pertain to the politician’s construction site in upmarket Aundh area.
 
Kumbhar, who is a resident of the neighbourhood where the construction is coming up, went for file inspection to check out the permissions given by PMC for this construction site.
 
Kumbhar says he was shocked when suddenly Corporator Gaikwad came in and threatened him in front of the PMC officials. Gaikwad told Kumbhar that he (Kumbhar) should know that it is his (Gaikwad’s) project and he (Kumbhar) should not dare to put any hurdles; and if he does, then will have to bear the consequences. Kumbhar says he was shocked at the language used by Gaikwad.
 
In his official complaint to Police Commissioner Satish Mathur, where he describes the corporator’s threat in detail, Kumbhar has stated that, being a resident of the neighbourhood where the construction is coming up, he wanted information on certain permissions given by the PMC. He has also stated that, given the backdrop of continuous threats to whistle-blowers, the Commissioner should take up his complaint, seriously.
 
Kumbhar also stated in the complaint that after the incident was over, one of the Corporator’s builder friend called up to say that perhaps Gaikwad was not aware that Kumbhar was a RTI activist. He hence suggested that a meeting could be held to resolve the issue which Kumbhar says, he is not interested to do.
 
Kumbhar, who has pioneered inspection of files under Section 4 of the RTI Act, continues to use this tool effectively to not only expose corruption and financial irregularities in the civic corridors but has been instrumental in making the civic body amend some regulations, for better transparency.
 
The builder lobby in Pune is largely owned or controlled by the political fraternity and any transparency in this area is often met with threats.
 
Kumbhar has also sent copies of his Police complaint to the Pune’s Municipal Commissioner and the City Engineer.
 
Let us see what action the Pune Police Commissioner takes in this regard.
 
Here is Kumbhar’s letter to Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur:
 

 

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COMMENTS

vswami

2 years ago


OFFHAND
"Threats and assaults on Right to Information (RTI) activists have unfortunately become a common phenomenon across the country..."

Such obnoxious incidents could, perhaps, be stopped from recurring,once for all, should the Regulatory legislation mooted but being delayed with no serious thought given so far is taken forward to fruition.

One of the proposed measures therein,- namely, to have disclosed on the website of the regulatory authority, all the crucial details of any building project- if enacted sooner than later or never,should help in avoiding such unlawful and detestable incidents,not only faced by social activists, but by one and all concerned from the society at large.

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