Lord Swraj Paul: Recent scams a national shame

The noted Indian-born British business magnate calls on corporate to be more honest. Says both giver and taker should be held responsibly for corruption

Chennai: Lord Swraj Paul, the Indian-born British business magnate, has said that the scams which have come to light in India recently "do not make any Indian proud" and he labelled corruption as "a national shame".

Clearly referring to the 2G licences and spectrum allocation scam and the irregularities in the preparations for the Commonwealth Games, Lord Paul said in an interaction with the Press Trust of India last night, "Corruption should be condemned because it has become a national shame. The most difficult thing is to kill corruption completely".

He said, "If you have to follow the law, then we have to make sure that the people who ought to be punished, should be punished. India has many of the richest people, but on the other hand it has more poor people too. Thirty per cent of Indian children still do not have primary education and that cannot be acceptable."

Calling on corporates to be "more honest with themselves", Lord Paul said, "in corruption, there is always a giver and a taker. It cannot be a one-side story. "The responsibility of removing corruption should not fall on one side and both the giver and taker should be held responsible."

Lord Paul, who is also Chancellor of London's Wolverhampton University, said education in India had become a business. "It is a very dangerous trend happening in India on education. Most importantly, (education) should be done as a contribution to lift society. But it is a problem in India. If you want to (provide) education, then for God's sake give it as a service," he said.

"India is not short of teaching, India is not short of bright students, but we need to give them the right freedom," he said. Admitting that the number of students taking up research in their respective fields was minimal in India, Lord Paul said he faced many "hurdles" while setting up a research institution at his hometown Jalandhar, named after his daughter Ambica Paul.

"We are just getting started with the Ambica Paul Punjab Institute of Technology. If I tell you the hurdles which I have gone through (in setting up the institution), I might have become a 10-year-old," he said.

He said that the number of students joining universities abroad for higher education was comparatively less and that was where India needed to take a big step. "In the Western world, almost 47%-53% of students go for higher education. But, India it is below 10%."

Lord Paul along with senior faculty members of Wolverhampton University were in Chennai on Monday to confer an honorary doctorate to Narasimhan Ram, editor-in-chief of The Hindu newspaper, for his contribution to journalism.


Slower manufacturing drags GDP growth to 7.8% in March quarter; FY11 growth improves by 8.5%

Higher growth in the farming sector and better performance in financial services boosts GDP growth overall for 2010-11, albeit a little lower than the government’s target of 8.6%

New Delhi: Confirming worries about a possible slowdown, India’s economy grew by just 7.8% in the fourth quarter ended 31 March 2011, mainly due to a poor performance by the manufacturing sector, compared to the 9.4% in the previous corresponding period.

However, overall economic growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), for 2010-11 improved to 8.5% from 8% in the previous year, due to better farm output and construction activity and an improved performance by the financial services sector.

The government’s department for statistics has revised upwards the GDP growth figures for the first and third quarters of FY11. The GDP growth figure for the first quarter has been revised to 9.3% from the earlier estimate of 8.9% and the third quarter growth figures has been revised to 8.3% from 8.2%, PTI reports.

In the quarter ended 31 March 2011, manufacturing growth slowed down to 5.5% from 15.2% in the corresponding period a year ago. In addition, mining and quarrying activity grew by only 1.7% in the quarter under review, compared to 8.9% in the year-ago period.

Furthermore, trade, hotels, transport and communications all clubbed together in one segment, grew by 9.3% in the March quarter compared to a 13.7% expansion in the previous corresponding period. But services, including banking and insurance, did better, growing by 9%, compared to the previous 6.3%.

Farm output also showed tremendous improvement, growing at 7.5% during the quarter under review, compared to a meagre 1.1% in the three-month period last year. So even while slower manufacturing hurt growth in the March quarter, the smart recovery in farm output helped GDP growth for the year get to 8.5%, compared to 8% in the previous year.

Agriculture and allied sectors grew by 6.6% in the fiscal, against a meagre 0.4% in the previous year.

Growth of services, including banking and insurance, improved to 9.9% in 2010-11 from 9.2% in the previous fiscal.

Trade, hotels, transport and communications grew by 10.3% in FY11 compared to 9.7% in the previous fiscal year, while the construction sector grew at 8.1% against 7% in the previous financial year.

Manufacturing sector growth, however, slowed down to 8.3% in 2010-11, from 8.8% in 2009-10. Growth of the mining and quarrying sector also slowed down to 5.8% in 2010-11 from 6.9% in 2009-10.

Electricity, gas and water supply segment grew by 5.7% in FY11, compared to 6.4% in 2009-10.


Foreign Contribution Act now has new provisions for punishment of NGOs violating rules

New provisions introduced in FCRA, 2010 to prevent wrongful use of foreign contributions received by organisations

New Delhi: The government has introduced several new provisions in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, (FCRA) that will now also provide for suspension and cancellation of registration of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that violate the rules.

Under the new provisions, no person who receives foreign contributions under the provisions of the FCRA shall transfer the same to another person, unless that person is also authorised to receive foreign contributions as per the rules made by the central government.

The foreign contribution shall be utilised for the purpose for which it has been received and up to 50% of such contribution received during a particular financial year can be used for administrative expenses.
In the case of more than half the contribution to be used to defray administrative expenses, prior approval of the central government will be required, PTI reports.

The new provisions came into effect from 1 May 2011 and a notification was issued by the government on 29 April 2011.

The new guidelines also include provisions for suspension or cancellation of registration of NGOs for violation of the provisions of the Act.

Another provision relates to the management of foreign contributions and assets created out of such contribution of persons whose certificates have been cancelled.

While the provisions of the repealed FCRA, 1976 have generally been retained, FCRA, 2010 is an improvement over the repealed Act, as more stringent provisions have been made in order to prevent the wrongful utilisation of foreign contribution received by associations.


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