Citizens and activist groups are protesting against the proposed amendment to keep restaurants and pubs open for 24 hours, which they feel may increase noise pollution and also create law and order issues
The newly proposed pro-business amendment in the Maharashtra Shops and Establishment Act has been a subject of criticism. As per the proposal, restaurants and pubs will be allowed to remain open for 24 hours per day. The move is expected to promote business and attract more tourists in the city. Several citizens groups have vehemently objected to the proposal raising the issues of noise pollution. Residents have also complained of allied issues including law and order issues.
Police Reforms Watch, along with other citizen activist groups, in a letter addressed to Prithviraj Chavan, the chief minister of Maharashtra, has requested to channelise the pre-legislation process, after consulting the stakeholders—mainly citizens and activist groups working in this specific field.
The new amendment seeks to allow restaurants to remain open throughout the night mainly for the tourists. The amendment does not carry any specifications pertaining to the area of establishment of the restaurants: whether they are in the commercial area or residential area. The letter also brings out issues like the law and safety in such areas and preparedness of the police to enforce laws to tackle the situation.
As Dolphy D’souza, convenor of Police Reform Watch puts, “Most of the restaurants in such areas serve alcohol. There are issues of discipline, health, major concerns like lack of parking lot that makes matters worse in a densely populated residential area. These often get ignored because these restaurants have big patrons.” Such restaurants and pubs in these areas create nuisance, disturb the night time peace. There are loudspeakers used within the restaurant, honking of the vehicles and shouting in the streets while their patrons depart late at night in their private vehicles.
According to the citizens’ group the move will increase noise pollution especially in the residential areas and harm the tranquillity in such areas. The letter to the honourable chief minister also points out the fact that to entertain a small section of the people the stake of the larger part of the population cannot be ignored.
“Everything can be managed, we are not against business, but before the government brings such amendment it should observe the scenario and acknowledge the problem. It is absolutely necessary to consult the citizens and the activist groups working in this issues before proposing such amendments”, says Mr D’souza. He also points out that the passive role of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in mapping the areas of establishment of such restaurants. “The MMRDA is supposed to locate the suitability of the areas where such restaurants can be established. But it neither does things on its own even if the activists groups bring issues to their notice nor even accrue cognizance to such matters”, adds Mr D’Souza.
The Bandra, Khar and Santacruz stretch is one the instance where there are many such restaurants in a residential area. The citizens group had protested in the past Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) about restaurants that create noise pollution at night.
SEBI has spelt out the norms to be followed by the FPIs and their employees while rendering any investment advice through publicly accessible media
Overseas investors coming through the newly created foreign portfolio investor (FPI) route would need to disclose their direct and indirect interest in securities about which they offer investment advice, says Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
The new regulations, which were approved by SEBI’s board over the weekend and would be notified soon, also contain a detailed ‘Code of Conduct’ for the FPIs, a newly created category of overseas investors that would encompass existing classes like foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and qualified foreign investors (QFIs).
Besides, SEBI has clearly spelt out the norms to be followed by the FPIs and their employees while rendering any investment advice through publicly accessible media.
The FPIs and their employees would not be allowed to render “directly or indirectly any investment advice about any security in the publicly accessible media, whether real time or non real-time, unless a disclosure of his interest including long or short position in the said security has been made, while rendering such advice”.
Besides, the employee of an FPI would need to disclose the interest of his dependent family members and his employer, while rendering such advice.
The proposed Code of Conduct for FPIs also require them to ensure clear segregation of their own money and securities from its clients’ funds and assets, and also to maintain “arms length relationship between its business of fund management/ investment and its other businesses“.
The FPIs would also need to ensure that they do not engage in fraudulent and manipulative transactions in any security.
Besides, an FPI or any of its directors or managers should not indulge in insider trading, either through its own account or through any associate, family members, relatives or friends.
The FPIs would need to give an undertaking that they would not be party or instrumental in “creation of false market in securities listed or proposed to be listed in any stock exchange”, price rigging or manipulation of prices, or passing of price sensitive information to any person or intermediary in the securities market.
The FPI would also need to ensure that “good corporate policies and corporate governance are observed by it”, while maintaining confidentiality in respect to trades done on its own behalf and/or for its clients.
While ushering in easier entry norms and operational framework for overseas entities seeking to invest in Indian capital markets, the proposed regulations for FPIs also provide for strong checks and balances against any market manipulation or fraudulent activities.
According to Dr KC Chakrabarty, deputy governor, the central bank is considering making bank licensing more frequent to accommodate more banks
In order to expand the reach of banking, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is considering making the bank licensing process more frequent and allow free entry of banks as and when necessary.
“We propose to carry forward these ideas and come up with a detailed road map of necessary reform and regulations for free entry and making the licensing process more frequent after we get comments from the stakeholders,” said Dr KC Chakrabarty, deputy governor of RBI in New Delhi.
RBI is in the process of issuing new bank licences consistent with the highest standards of transparency and diligence. RBI has already come out with a discussion paper on the banking sector in India, on which the regulator has invited comments from stakeholders.
“The document explores the possibility of a differentiated licence for small banks and wholesale banks, the possibility of continuous on-tap licensing and the possibility of converting large urban co-operative banks into commercial banks,” he said.
Currently the central bank is in the process of issuing new bank licences for which it has received applications from 26 entities including public and private sector. The RBI is likely to issue the licences by January 2014.
The apex bank has already set up an external committee of financial sector experts, headed by former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan, to scrutinise the applications.
“With a view to ensuring that the banking system grows in size to meet the needs of a modern economy and improve access to banking services, the RBI is considering giving some additional banking licences to private sector players subject to their meeting our eligibility criteria,” Dr Chakrabarty said.
He further said the regulator is encouraging foreign banks to adopt the wholly-owned subsidiary model to carry out business in the country.
“We have more than 44 foreign banks in the country and at least three of them are more than 100 years old ... RBI will encourage qualifying foreign banks to move to a wholly-owned subsidiary structure that will enjoy near national treatment,” Chakrabarty said.
He further said the banking system is well capitalised. “Profitability is reasonable, return on equity is reasonable, NPA is under control and it meets with all global standards of regulation for business,” he added.
He said the Indian economy is facing challenges of high inflation, slow growth and investment, the current account deficit (CAD) is above sustainable levels and fiscal deficit high.
“It is the intent and objective of the Government to attract and promote foreign direct investment in order to supplement domestic capital, technology and skill for accelerated economic growth,” he said.