Lokpal Bill: Government reaches out to Opposition to evolve consensus

The government is coming around to the view that the state Lokayukta be kept out of the Lokpal Bill and a model law be passed by Parliament to enable states to create their own Lokayukta

New Delhi: In a bid to evolve consensus on the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill before it is brought to the upper house of the Parliament, Rajya Sabha, the UPA government on Thursday reached out to the Opposition and other parties to thrash out differences and ensure smooth passage of the proposed legislation, reports PTI.

Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, Salman Kurshid, Pawan Kumar Bansal and V Narayansamy met Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley in Parliament House to discuss the Lokpal Bill.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition party, is adamant on two main issues, namely, that the process of appointment and removal of the Lokpal or the proposed ombudsman be made more democratic and the investigation agency CBI be kept out of government control.

Sources said government is coming around to the view that the state Lokayukta be kept out of the Lokpal Bill and a model law be passed by Parliament to enable states to create their own Lokayukta.

Opposition ruled states as well as east Indian West Bengal state, where ally TMC is in power, are against the Lokayukta clause in the Bill.

These Union Ministers are also likely to meet CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury and leaders from other parties to discuss their views.

Other than the issues of appointment and removal of the ombudsman and keeping CBI out of government control, the Left wants foreign-funded non-governmental organisations to be brought under the Lokpal.

"We would like the Bill to come to Rajya Sabha only after there is a consensus. If the Bill is brought and then consensus is sought in the House, it would lead to certain problems," Law Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters.

On activist Anna Hazare's demand for appointing Lokayukta in states, Khurshid said Hazare's supporters in Delhi are accusing the government of trying to keep it out of Lokpal Bill.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had held an all-party meeting on 23rd March to resolve the issues regarding the Bill.

Though the meeting failed to evolve a consensus, it was decided that parties will continue negotiations on the Bill.

The Bill could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha in the Winter Session last year. The House was adjourned sine die amid high drama with the opposition accusing the government of running away from a vote because it was in a minority.

The Bill, which was earlier passed in the lower house -- the Lok Sabha -- in the same session, was brought in the Upper House on the last day of the Winter session and key constituent of the ruling coalition UPA, Trinamool Congress refused to bail out the government there.

Even in the all-party meeting this year, opposition parties and key allies like Trinamool Congress and DMK had opposed the provision for setting up Lokayuktas in states along with Lokpal and wanted that states be given the freedom to decide on it

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Air India stops bookings for US, Europe till 15th May

With over 200 pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild refusing to join duty, Air India has suspended its international operations to the US, Canada and Europe  
 
New Delhi/Mumbai: Crisis-hit Air India on Thursday stopped bookings for the US, Canada and Europe-bound flights till 15th May 15 as it sacked nine more pilots on day three of their agitation which led to cancellation of over 20 flights and left hundreds of passengers fuming, reports PTI.

With over 200 pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) refusing to join duty, Air India said it was suspending its international operations to New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, London, Paris and Frankfurt. Some other foreign destinations are also likely to be affected.

Air India sacked nine more pilots taking the number of pilots whose services have been terminated to 45. While 10 pilots, mostly office bearers of the IPG, were dismissed on Tuesday, another 26 were shown the door yesterday. Air India management has also derecognised IPG.

Showing no signs of relenting, the IPG asserted that the AI management must withdraw the sack orders and till then there was no question of resuming work.

The agitating pilots sought the intervention of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve the impasse.

"It is a matter of life and death and career for the pilots. Talks were held by IPG with AI management which did not honour its commitments. The management is having a non-serious attitude towards our grievances,'" Jitendra Awhad, IPG president, told reporters.

Over 20 Air India flights were cancelled today from Delhi and Mumbai. From Delhi flights to Frankfurt, Shanghai, Toronto, New Jersey, Chicago and Seoul were cancelled while Air India flights to New York, Riyadh and Shanghai were not operating from Mumbai.

Air India daily operates about 50 international flights and 400 domestic flights.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said, "If they (pilots) are not willing to follow the court order, why would they listen to me. They have to decide to follow the High Court order. That's the law but they are not willing to do so. What can we do."

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‘Hiring, pay packets for freshers in IT sector rising’: Survey

The survey findings reveal that IT and ITeS sector had recruited 24% freshers in the last quarter of FY'12 of their total hiring, a surge of 9% from the year-ago period. Salary level in campus placements was up by 8% in IT and ITeS

New Delhi: Notwithstanding the economic uncertainty, fresher recruitment and salary levels have seen a upward trend in the IT and ITeS sector during the January-March quarter of 2012 compared to other sectors in the same period, shows a survey, reports PTI.

The survey findings reveal that IT and ITeS sector had recruited 24% freshers in the last quarter of FY'12 of their total hiring, a surge of 9% from the year-ago period.

Besides, salary level in campus placements was up by 8% in IT and ITeS.

Overall, recruitment index has risen by 11% in January-March quarter to 24%.

Among the nine industries surveyed, infrastructure sector recruited 21% freshers, followed by engineering and manufacturing and automobile sector (18%), retail (16%) and FMCG (14%).

"The fresher's hiring trend this year looks upbeat with IT majors recruiting more compared to last year. The fresher's recruitment market had seen growth in terms of number of hiring and salary," said Rajesh Kumar, CEO, MyHiringClub, which conducted the survey.

However, fresher recruitment in banking and financial services, telecom had taken a beating in fourth quarter of 2012 in comparison to same period last year.

Further, hiring in banking and financial services declined by 2% to 13% and dipped by 4% to 9% in telecom sector.

The survey, which was done among nearly 900 employers and over 1,200 institutes, said the growth of salary level in campus placement was low in banking and financial services as it grew by 2% and rose a dismal 1% in telecom space.

In terms of geography, Bangalore, hub of IT and ITeS companies witnessed a maximum fresher recruitment of 24% followed by Delhi-NCR (21%), Chennai (18%), Mumbai (15%), Hyderabad (13%) and Kolkata (10%).

Talking about outlook, Kumar said: "global concerns would not have an impact on the fresher recruitment in the current year though it might be an issue later. Even if various economic issues in the developed countries have an impact on the Indian industry, the fresher recruitment would not be the first to get affected by this."

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