In March 2012, the Lok Sabha passed an ambitious bill to lay judicial standards but despite two sessions of Parliament the bill could not be brought in the Rajya Sabha
Judicial reforms were the flavour of the year in India as the government focused its efforts on bringing a bill on judicial accountability and kept up its plans to change the present system of appointment of judges where the executive has little say, reports PTI.
In March, the Lok Sabha passed an ambitious bill to lay judicial standards but despite two sessions of Parliament the bill could not be brought in the Rajya Sabha.
Besides concentrating its energies on the bill on judicial standards and accountability this year, the government also reiterated its plans to change the present mechanism of appointment of senior judges by a collegium of judges.
The year also saw a change of guard in the law ministry with Ashwani Kumar taking over as the new minister from Salman Khurshid, who was made the external affairs minister. Kumar is the third law minister in the UPA II government, with the first M Veerappa Moily now heading the petroleum ministry.
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha during the Budget session amid din over the Telangana issue.
Following stiff opposition by eminent jurists and the higher judiciary, government had agreed to have a relook at a controversial clause which debars judges from making verbal comments against any constitutional authority in open courts. But the government decided to retain the clause.
A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by prime minister Manmohan Singh in December 2012 approved amendments to the bill.
While deciding to retain the controversial clause, it has made some changes in it to ensure it “stands the test of Article 14 which deals with equality before law”.
The earlier clause prohibited judges from making “unwarranted comments against conduct of any constitutional or statutory authority or statutory bodies or statutory institutions or any chairperson or member or officer thereof, or on the matters which are pending or likely to arise for judicial determination”.
The amended clause debars judges from making unwarranted comments against conduct of any “constitutional body and other persons”.
The measure allows citizens to complain against corrupt judges but has been facing criticism for the provision which jurists say would “virtually gag” the judges in open courts.
The bill, with fresh amendments, is now likely to come up during the Budget session next year.
In his first official press conference last month, Kumar said the government is working on a proposal to change the present mechanism of appointment of judges by a collegium of judges.
He said there was a “large political consensus” to put in place the alternative mechanism.
Under the present collegium system, the executive has no say in appointments of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts as the recommendations of the collegium are final and binding on the government.
The last effort to replace the collegium system in 2003 could not succeed. The then NDA government introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill, but the Lok Sabha was dissolved when the bill was before a Standing Committee.
As per the proposed guidelines, the NBFCs have to recognise a loan as NPA if it is not serviced for 90 days from the present 180 days
Mumbai: The proposed guidelines by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) are likely to impact the profitability of these entities by 15-20 basis points (0.15%-0.20%) in medium-term, reports PTI quoting a research report by the rating agency ICRA.
“...the proposed revision in the NPA (non-performing assets) recognition norm to 90 days (against the existing 180 days), along with the adoption of higher provisioning requirements for NPAs and standard assets (in line with that for banks) could lead to a dip in NBFCs’ profitability by 15-20 basis points over the medium term.
“...The higher Tier-I capital requirement could translate into a decline of around 115 basis points in the sectors’ return on equity (ROE),” the report said.
As per the proposed guidelines, NBFCs have to recognise a loan as NPA if it is not serviced for 90 days from the present 180 days.
It also proposes to implement 10% capital adequacy ratio (CAR) norm for most of the NBFCs.
“While this is in general a positive step, some NBFCs offering products with annual or quarterly repayments may find their asset quality turn volatile because of this change,” it said.
The report also added that further increase in Tier-I capital as well as risk weights for some other asset classes would reduce the leveraging capacity of NBFCs compared to banks.
The research firm also said lack of access to the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act as well as any liquidity back-up would continue to weigh on the performance of NBFCs.
Referring to liquidity management, the report said it may increase the cost of doing business for NBFCs.
It, however, added that enhanced disclosures are positive for the NBFCs.
According to the proposed guidelines, NBFCs have to seek prior approval from the RBI in case of change in shareholding by 25% or above, and appointment of chief executive officer in a NBFC with an asset size of more than Rs1,000 crore, among others.
The Kelkar Committee had recommended that diesel prices should be raised in staggered manner over the one-year period to wipe out Rs9.28 per litre loss on fuel sale. On kerosene, it had suggested raising rates by Rs10 per litre over two years
New Delhi: Diesel prices may have to be raised by Rs10 per litre over the next one year, and kerosene rates by same quantum over the next two years, if the government accepts recommendations of Vijay Kelkar Committee, reports PTI.
The committee, which was appointed by the finance ministry to formulate the fiscal consolidation roadmap, had in its report, suggested raising diesel and kerosene rates to cut the Rs1,63,000 crore fuel subsidy bill.
An oil ministry spokesperson said the report of the panel was with the government and no view on raising diesel or kerosene prices has been taken yet.
The ministry, he said, has “not moved any proposal or considering any increase” in rates at this point of time.
The Kelkar Committee had recommended that diesel prices should be raised in staggered manner over the one-year period to wipe out Rs9.28 per litre loss on fuel sale. On kerosene, it had suggested raising rates by Rs10 per litre over two years.
Price of diesel, which currently costs Rs47.15 per litre in Delhi, was last revised on 14 September 2012 when it was hiked by a steep Rs5.63 per litre. Kerosene rates have not changed since June last year and costs Rs14.79 per litre in Delhi.
“There is a need to rationalise prices. The losses have reached an unsustainable level,” a ministry official said.
Oil firms currently lose Rs30.93 per litre on kerosene.
Price hike along with promoting the use of LPG and natural gas will help cut kerosene consumption by 20%, he said.
While government is likely to raise soon the number of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) from six to nine cylinders of 14.2-kg per household annually, the ministry wanted to have just two rates for the fuel—a subsidised price and a market rate, instead of four rates presently, he said.
Subsidised LPG costs Rs410.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder and any household requirement beyond current cap of six cylinders is to be bought at near market price of Rs895.50 per bottle. For non-domestic use, a 14.2-kg LPG cylinder costs Rs1,156 while a 19-kg cylinder for commercial use is priced at Rs1,619.