While the market may try to bounce back, the medium-term trend is firmly down
The market closed lower this week, down for the second straight week, as the government lowered the GDP growth rate estimate for the current fiscal to 5%, compared to 6.2% growth in 2011-12. Macro-economic indicators like industrial output for December and monthly inflation data will drive the market in the week ahead.
The BSE Sensex closed the week with a loss of 296 points (1.50%) at 19,485 and the Nifty ended at 5,904, down 95 points (1.59%). While the market may try to bounce back, the medium-term trend is firmly down.
Weak global cues and selling in PSU, healthcare and power stocks caused the market to end lower on the first day of the week. The market settled in the red on Tuesday on selling pressure in heavyweights. The benchmarks ended flat on Wednesday as the market gave up its gains in the second half of the trading day.
The lower GDP estimate for the current fiscal pulled the market down on Thursday. Subdued quarterly earnings from corporates and selling in stocks from rate-sensitive sectors led the market lower on Friday. While the Sensex closed lower on all trading days of the week, the Nifty barely managed a green close on Wednesday (up two points).
BSE IT (up 2%) and BSE TECk (up 1%) were the sectoral gainers in the week while BSE Consumer Durables and BSE PSU (down 5% each) were the top losers.
TCS (up 6%), HDFC (up 4%), Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 3%), HDFC Bank and Wipro (up 1% each) were the top Sensex gainers. The key losers on the benchmark were Sterlite Industries (down 10%), Cipla (down 8%), BHEL (down 7%), ONGC and NTPC (down 6% each).
The Nifty was led by TCS (up 6%), HDFC, Sun Pharma (up 4% each), UltraTech Cement Company (up 3%) and HDFC Bank (up 2%). The major losers in the week were Jaiprakash Associates (down 12%), Bank of Baroda (down 11%), Cipla, Sesa Goa (down 8% each) and BHEL (down 7%).
The Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) on Thursday projected a fall in the country’s GDP growth to a decade low of 5% in 2012-13, a sharp decline from the 6.2% expansion witnessed in the previous fiscal. The CSO's economic growth projection is a lower than the 5.5% forecast made by the Reserve Bank of India in its quarterly monetary policy review last week.
Meanwhile, the finance ministry has said the CSO has underestimated GDP growth rate for current financial year and exuded the confidence that economic expansion will exceed 5.5%.
Among corporates, weak results and outlook impacted companies including Mahindra & Mahindra, BHEL, Hindalco Industries and Cipla.
In international news, the focus shifted to Europe as the European Central Bank (ECB) kept interest rates at a record low 0.75% at its policy meeting earlier this week. ECB president Mario Draghi said the central bank will monitor the economic impact of a strengthening euro, feeding expectations the currency's climb which could lead to an interest rate cut.
Also, Chinese exports grew 25% in January from a year ago, the strongest showing since April 2011, while imports surged 28.8% on the year.
Guru’s hanging comes less than three months after the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist who was part of the 26/11 Mumbai attack. However, Guru was hanged 11 years after his crime and just a year before general elections
Afzal Guru, who was convicted for his role in the attack on Parliament in December 2001, was executed this morning at Delhi's Tihar Jail. Sushilkumar Shinde, Union home minister said Guru was declared dead at 8am.
President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Guru's mercy petition on 3rd February, clearing the way for his execution. He was hanged at the high security Cell No 3 at Tihar, where he spent more than eight years on death row.
Guru’s body will not to be handed to his relatives and he will be buried in Tihar Jail itself, in accordance with the rituals, Union home secretary RK Singh said in the national capital.
Guru was given the death sentence by the Supreme Court in 2004. His hanging, scheduled for 26 October 2006, was stayed after his wife filed the mercy petition, which had been pending with the President's office since.
His hanging comes less than three months after the hanging of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistan-based terrorist who was part of the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
Meanwhile, curfew has been imposed in the Kashmir valley, to prevent trouble in Guru’s native Baramulla.
Majlis Law provides legal support to women, has built a support system for victims of rape, and is deeply involved in bringing about a positive change in the community’s and the legal system’s attitudes toward women
Majlis Law (Majlis) is known only as a legal aid group, perhaps because of its well-known founder-director Flavia Agnes, but its operations are diverse. Besides offering legal services, Majlis has been trying to effect serious social change—it is committed to empowering women by informing them about their rights, conducting legal awareness programmes for women’s groups across Mumbai, engaging in policy interventions and public campaigns, creating support systems for rape victims and publishing books and articles on women’s issues.
The organisation was started in 1991, by Flavia Agnes, herself once a victim of domestic violence, and other activists. Majlis has an in-house team of 25, mostly lawyers, at its office in Kalina. The small team belies the number of cases it has fought over the years. Audrey D’mello, the programme director of Majlis, pegs the number at 50,000. She says, “Since 2000, we had started a fellowship programme. We identify women lawyers from all over Maharashtra and give them a five-day course on women’s rights. In most years, we had 100 participants, 10 of whom we hired at a stipend of Rs5,000 for a year. The programme ended in 2008, for lack of funding, but we still have a loose women’s lawyer network of about 120. Collectively, this network has fought about 50,000 cases.”
Despite being an NGO, Ms D’mello says that Majlis doesn’t provide only free legal aid. She says, “Nearly all our activities, and 80% of the cases we take up, are funded. Ours is a ‘pay-as-much-as-you-can’ organisation. After all, many of our clients are high-profile, well-to-do women who come to us simply because they know they can trust us. You need to understand that women in all walks of life can be in violent marriages. This isn’t an Indian phenomenon either. Women the world over are often unaware of their rights. Or they just want to find a way to save their marriage. So they need counselling, which is usually not the best approach because it is not enforceable unless it is the ruling of a court.”
But Majlis doesn’t believe that fighting case after case is the answer. This is where its other initiatives come in. “There’s a limit to the number of cases you can fight. This is why we believe it is also necessary to devote resources to bringing about social change. So, for example, we give talks and organise interactive programmes in colleges in Mumbai. We continuously write articles and books, to highlight procedural and technical shortcomings in the legal system and the police. We try to effect policy-level changes and modify existing laws. Also, instead of simply hosting discussions, we now train social service organisations around Mumbai. We organise lectures on women’s rights and teach them how to build evidence, so that correct information is spread within communities. We also help victims of rape by putting them in touch with groups that can provide them the support system they need at that time.”
Since its inception, Majlis has had an all-women team, which draws criticism from certain sections. To them, Ms D’mello says, “What we’re trying to do is create opportunities for women so that they, and those they are connected to, can be convinced that it is possible to work and manage families. It isn’t easy working with women. They need leave to look after their parents, children and husband.”
Majlis is constantly looking to raise funds to support its lawyers and to ensure that its services remain free. It costs Rs12,000 to support a litigant for one year and Rs1.2 lakh to support a lawyer for a year. Donations qualify for tax deduction under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act.
A 2/4 Golden Valley, Kalina,
Phone: 91-22-26662394 / 26661252
Email: [email protected]