Citizens' Issues
No negotiation if fasting activists forcefully removed: Hazare

With the government showing no inclination for talks to end their stir, a worried Team Anna held discussions on Wednesday morning while requesting Kejriwal and Rai to end their hunger strike

New Delhi: As the health of his aides deteriorated, Indian social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday warned the government that he will not negotiate with them if the fasting activists are forcefully removed from the 'Jantar Mantar' protest site, reports PTI.
Hazare and his associate Arvind Kejriwal said they saw a conspiracy to take the activists to hospital to end the stir for a strong Lokpal.
Kejriwal, whose health deteriorated along with that of Gopal Rai on the eighth day of their fast, said that it will be protesters' responsibility to get him out of the facility if he is forcibly taken there.
With the government showing no inclination for talks to end their stir, a worried Team Anna held discussions on Wednesday morning among its members on the way ahead and decided to adopt a tough stand.
Team Anna requested Kejriwal and Rai to end their hunger strike and let other members carry on with the stir but the activists refused to budge.
A Team Anna member said they requested both Kejriwal and Rai but they did not budge from their position and that they will continue with the fast.
In the meeting, it was also suggested that some other Team Anna members sit on fast in place of Kejriwal and Rai.
After the meeting, Hazare told protesters that he will not call off his fast till a strong Lokpal bill is passed.
"A man may commit suicide when he is in trouble. What is troubling Arvind? He is fighting for the country. And this fight is creating trouble for the government and there could be a conspiracy to take them to hospital. But this won't work."
"If the government forcefully removes them, I will not talk to anybody in the government. Till we have the strength, we will carry on with the protest," he said.
Kejriwal said he does not have trust in the government doctors and refused to share medical reports with them from Wednesday.
"There is a conspiracy to forcibly take me to hospital. I don't have trust in government doctors. If they take me forcefully, then it is your responsibility to get me out of it," Kejriwal said.
The team held two rounds of talks at the protest site, where Hazare's fast entered the fourth day and that of Kejriwal, Rai and Manish Sisodia the eighth day.
After being advised hospitalisation, Kejriwal on Tuesday had warned the government against using force to remove him and his associates from the protest site.
Addressing protesters this morning, Team Anna member Kumar Vishwas said the health condition of Kejriwal and Rai was "serious". "The whole country is concerned about their health," he said.
The crowd count in the morning was low as rain kept the protesters away from the venue.
Asked what the members were planning to do keeping in view the deteriorating condition of the activists, a Team Anna member said, "Wait and watch." 
Miffed over the government not initiating any dialogue process, Hazare on Tuesday had ruled out talks with even the Prime Minister to end their stir. He also threatened to return Padma Bhushan bestowed upon him as a mark of protest.
Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan targeted the government for not initiating a dialogue with the group, alleging that they want people like Hazare to die so that they can continue to "loot" the country.
"The government said they were not ready to talk to us.
This is their attitude. They have utmost disrespect for the people. They want people like Anna, Arvind, Manish and others to die so that they can continue their loot," he alleged.
Hazare began his indefinite fast against corruption on 29th July by joining his three aides - Kejriwal, Sisodia and Rai, who have been fasting since 25th July.


India’s manufacturing growth falls in July; weakest since November

Although manufacturing showed the weakest growth rate since November at 52.9, the index has remained above the 50 mark—below which it indicates contraction

India’s manufacturing sector witnessed a slowdown in July—the weakest growth rate since November—because of moderation in domestic and export orders amid sagging global economy, reports PTI quoting an HSBC survey.


The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)—a measure of factory production—declined to 52.9 in July, from 55 in June. Although it showed the weakest growth rate since November, the index has remained above the 50 mark—below which it indicates contraction.


“Manufacturing activity grew at a slower clip in July on the back of power outages and a moderation in new order inflows, with the weak global economic conditions dragging down export orders,” HSBC chief economist for India & ASEAN Leif Eskesen said.


Going forward, HSBC cautioned that a moderation in output is likely as July orders have decelerated faster than inventory accumulation, suggesting that “more moderate expansion in output will continue in the months ahead”.


According to HSBC new export orders fell for the first time since October 2011.


Even as input and output prices have decelerated to an extent, inflation remains “above historical averages”, HSBC said.


In its quarterly monetary policy review on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) left key interest rates unchanged on fears of deficient monsoon and high inflation.


It also lowered the economic growth projection for the current fiscal to 6.5% from its earlier estimate of 7.3%, stating that the rising government expenditure poses risks to economic stability.


Besides, RBI raised inflation forecast for the fiscal ending March, 2013 to 7%, from the earlier projection of 6.5%.


Electricity outages pan India over the last month also affected production activities as factories were without power, the survey said.


However, the power outages of the last two days of July, which were very severe and impacted nearly half of the country's population, have not been included in the survey.


Considering the power outages in the last two days of July, the manufacturing PMI index would have been hit much harder than reported.


Job creation was recorded at manufacturing firms in India during July, however, the increase was ‘modest’ and at a slower rate than in June, HSBC said.


Analysing the data, BNP Paribas reports:


India’s manufacturing PMI (purchase managers’ index) fell to an eight-month low of 52.9 in July from 55. The new orders and output indices, both down over 3 points, led the move lower. A further fall in new orders relative to inventories points to sustained weakness. Output prices remained historically elevated. These were the observations made by the BNP Paribas Economic Research team on India’s manufacturing PMI in July 2012.


The July manufacturing PMI survey provides more evidence of lacklustre growth. The headline index, while is some way above the lows seen in 2011, is well below average levels, signalling that growth in the manufacturing sector remains sub-par. The survey’s pricing indicators ticked down on the month but remained out of line with dampened demand, suggesting a higher level of inflation. Combined with upside inflation risks from the lifting of domestic energy prices and the poor progress of monsoon, inflation control will remain RBI’s dominant concern.


The weakness observed in the July 2012 survey findings was across the board as all the five sub-components entering the calculation of the headline index dropped on the month. Leading the move lower, however, was the output sub-index, which fell by 3.8 points to 54.7, the lowest since November 2011. The more forward-looking, new orders sub-index also weakened. In July, it dropped by 3.6 points to 54.9, similarly the weakest since November 2011. Within the overall orders balance, new export orders drooped to below 50 for the first time since October 2011, falling to 49.7 from 52.3 in June.


The slide in export orders inevitably reflects India’s relatively high export exposure to the developed world, where signs of activity stalling have been more forthcoming. However, the fact that the wedge between the overall new orders and export orders narrowed a touch also suggests a domestic element to overall orders’ drop in July 2012.


Overall, the headline PMI cements the view that activity in the manufacturing sector, having started the year solidly, has once again moderated. For the RBI, however, other components of today’s survey should lead it to retain its judgement that the space for further reduction in policy rates without aggravating inflation risks is limited. The output price sub-index edged down in July. But, at 57.5, it remained historically elevated and continues to decouple from output developments.


In the present context, it is unlikely that the RBI will go for rate cuts for next few months unless the central government is able to consolidate on the fiscal deficit. Consequently, BNP Paribas says that upside inflation risks from the lifting of domestic energy prices and the poor progress of this year’s monsoon imply a harsh interest rate regime from the RBI.


Indian boxers set for last-16 battle in Olympics

Tomorrow, Beijing Olympics bronze-medallist Vijender will be up against American Olympic Qualification Tournament gold-medallist Terrell Gausha of the United States. Jai Bhagwan, on the other hand, will square off against Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan

London: The hype is increasing and so is the pressure as Indian boxers begin their pre-quarterfinal campaign in the Olympic Games with Vijender Singh (75kg) and Jai Bhagwan (60kg) taking on tricky opponents in their last-16 stage bouts on Thursday, reports PTI.


Beijing Olympics bronze-medallist Vijender will be up against American Olympic Qualification Tournament gold-medallist Terrell Gausha of the United States. Jai, on the other hand, will square off against Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan.


While Vijender would be facing Gousha for the first time, Jai would have revenge on his mind as he lost to Zhailauov by just a point in the quarter-finals of the World Championships last year.


The overall record between the two boxers is tied at 1-1.


The 26-year-old Vijender, making a record third Olympic appearance in boxing, is aiming to better the colour of his medal in the British capital where the expatriates have come out in droves to support the boxers.


"Vijender's opponent has both stance. He can box both as a southpaw and with an orthodox style. But we are positive about getting a favourable result. Vijender is full of confidence," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI.


Talking about the challenge facing Jai, who is an Asian Championships silver-medallist, Sandhu said, "The Kazakh guy is world number five and the bout will be very tough."


"The overall record says 1-1 but Jai says 'sir, it is my turn now'. It's a contact sport at the end of the day and you never know how lucky or unlucky you would be. So, we can just focus on giving a good account of ourselves," he added.


Of the seven male boxers who qualified for the Olympics, two -- Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) -- lost in the first round but Sandhu said the team is still quite upbeat.


"The disappointment is behind us now because our boys fought well even when they lost. Overall, the boys are very positive and mood in the team is good," said Sandhu.


Apart from Vijender and Jai, the other Indian boxers in the pre-quarters are L Devendro Singh (49kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and third seed Vikas Krishan (69kg), who got a first-round bye.


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