No witch hunting in name of fighting corruption: PM

A civil servant who does not take decisions might always be safe, but at the end of the day he or she would have contributed nothing to our society and to our country, Dr Singh said

New Delhi: Fighting the charge of policy paralysis in Government, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday asked civil servants to show "boldness" in decision making, assuring them there will be "no witch hunting" in the name of fighting corruption, reports PTI.

Addressing them on the Civil Services Day, Dr Singh asked the bureaucrats to fight the tendency of not taking decisions because of the fear that things might go wrong and they might be penalised for that.

"It should be our endeavour that there is no witch hunting in the name of fighting corruption. It is our government's commitment to put in place a system and create an environment in which our civil servants are encouraged to be decisive, and no one is harassed for bonafide mistakes of errors of judgement," the Prime Minister said.

Dr Singh, however, also noted there is a growing perception, right or wrong, that the moral fibre of civil servants and public servants in general is not as as strong as it used to some decades back and that the civil servants are now more likely to succumb to extraneous pressures in their work. "These perceptions might be exaggerated but I do think that there is a grain of truth in them," he said.

While maintaining that the decisions that civil servants take must be fair and objective in nature, he made it clear that the government stands committed to protecting honest and well meaning civil servants who might have made genuine errors in their work.

"...We cannot have a bureaucracy which is hundred percent risk averse. In fact we should encourage boldness in decision making, provided that the decisions are well considered and as per the law of the land. A civil servant who does not take decisions might always be safe, but at the end of the day he or she would have contributed nothing to our society and to our country," the Prime Minister said.

Dr Singh also chose the occasion to stress that the Centre has made "substantial progress" in the last one year towards strengthening the legislative framework and revamping the country's administrative practices to enable it to fight the menace of corruption in public life better.

Maintaining there is a need to be honest in admitting our failures and our deficiencies, the Prime Minister said that the decisions that the civil servants take must be fair and objective in nature, based on sound evidence and deep analysis and designed to serve the best interests of the country.

"Their judgement and advice should not be affected by the nature and colour of the political leadership. If this does not happen, the impartiality and fairness of the decision making processes in public administration would get compromised and the quality of our output would be sub-optimal...this is a vigil that the civil servants must maintain constantly," he said.

Noting that there is a growing perception in the public that the attributes of objectivity in work have been diluted, Singh said he leaves it to the civil servants to ponder to what extent this perception is true and what they can collectively do to remove it from the public mind.

Congratulating the award winning civil servants on the occasion, he also said that several civil servants in the country have been shining examples of probity and integrity, working selflessly for the public good.

The Prime Minister also urged the bureaucrats to redouble their efforts to keep pace with the new technology and to new ways of doing things, saying it is generally felt that the civil services have somewhat lagged behind in.

Dr Singh chose the occasion to impress upon the bureaucrats the necessity of inclusive growth, saying the country's growth would not have much meaning if "we fail in building a truly inclusive society and country".


Another scary weekend selloff but crucial support level holds!

The market is not very exciting at the moment but this sideways narrow range movement might just be the lull before the storm. One should stay alert in the weeks ahead and not be lulled into sleep lest you want to miss a big opportunity

S&P Nifty close: 5290.85

Market Trend

Short Term: Sideways            Medium Term: Sideways        Long Term: Down

The Nifty opened flat and recovered to make a high of 5,342 points before a selloff on the weekend saw the Nifty (futures) hit a low of 5,000 points. Short-covering coupled with some speculative buying at lower levels saw the Nifty recover some of its losses to close only 42 points lower. However, it closed 83 points (1.60%) higher over last week albeit on lower volumes. A fresh trendline is drawn (in blue) which shows that it provides resistance around the current week’s close.

The sectoral indices which outperformed were BSE Auto (+5.88%), BSE Metal (+3.33%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (+2.98%) while the gross underperformers were BSE Oil & Gas (-0.47%), BSE Power (-0.29%) and BSE Capital Goods (-0.27%).  The weekly histogram MACD remained below the median line (though it has flattened) which is a warning sign for the bulls this may be their last chance to try to pull thing back in the near future. The volumes during the recovery have been lower implying that it is corrective in nature and all in not well for the bulls even though they continue to cling on.

Here are some key levels to watch out for this week
  • As long as the S&P Nifty stays above 5,272 points (pivot) the bulls would breathe a bit easy even though the intermediate trend is sideways.
  • Support levels in declines are pegged at 5,202 and 5,113 points.
  •  Resistance levels on the upside are pegged at 5,361 and 5,431 points.

Some Observations
1.    The Nifty closed on the resistance line (in blue), hence drawn afresh which depicts that resistance is pegged around 5,290 points.
2.    Weekly averages have become positively phased and the price has managed to claw back above them, keeping the bulls hopes alive though whisker thin.
3.    Unless and until the 5,372-5,385 points range is taken out in close the bears would hold the egde and a break of the recent low of 5,171 points (in close) would set the cats amongst the pigeons.

The tug-of war is continuing for the past few weeks with neither the bulls nor the bears making any headway. Last week was the 8th week (Fib) from the top of 5,629 points and we have to see whether a small recovery during the first day or two of the week takes place, though in all probability it will be short-lived. Expect a small top on the 23rd-24th followed by a decline during the weekend. In short the market is not very exciting at this moment but this sideways narrow range movement might just be the lull before the storm. Therefore one should stay alert in the weeks ahead and not be lulled into sleep lest you want to miss a big opportunity.

(Vidur Pendharkar works as a consultant technical analyst & chief strategist at


Economy & Nation Exclusive
Indian consumers are pessimistic about the economy

A newly launched index called Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) has shown nationwide pessimism about the future of the economy

A comprehensive index known as the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) has shown that our consumers are pessimistic about their economic future. In a first of its kind move to measure consumer sentiment in India, the overall score 39.9 was recorded for the month of March 2012. This is markedly higher than the low it recorded in December 2011 (35.8). Since then it has been trending upwards, indicating slightly better prospects, but still in bearish territory.

However, despite poor consumer sentiment (which is very different from investor sentiment), which is usually a big factor in determining the direction of the Indian economy, the stock market has been climbing and is up roughly 12% since January. Ever more so, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has simply done a horrific job of containing the aam admi's expectations, and even worsened their present situation.

The CCI Index is designed to measure how consumers are feeling about the economy and their ability and desire to spend across India. The index, created by BluFin, takes into consideration the present as well as the future. These so called Present Situation and Future Expectation indices each are further divided into three sub-indices measuring consumers' opinions on: a) inflation b) spending and c) employment prospects.

The Present Situation index showed a reading of 45.7, which is 0.6% lower than the last month and 2% lower over the last six months, indicating that the situation is worsening. On the other hand, the future expectations sub-index showed a 14% improvement in the sentiment over the last six months climbing to 37.6, showing optimism bias in play. However, it is still lower than the Present Situation index which is a cause of concern for policy makers and the markets.

But the RBI doesn't seem to care about the sentiments of the average Indians, especially the poor, when it catered to the demands of the institutions by adopting a loose money policy by cutting the cash credit ratio (CRR) by 50 basis points. The stock markets have been flying as central banks world over adopted the same policy. It is pertinent to note that majority of the Indians are pessimistic with regard to inflation which is, of course, hampering spending.

North India had a bleak view on inflation showing just 17.2 (whole of India being 23.5), which is extremely pessimistic. South India recorded the highest score of just 28.5. Further, inflation sentiment has worsened not just in the north, but in the east and west, as well. Over the last six months, inflation sentiment has fallen by 49.6%, 33.5% and 15.1% respectively to 17.2, 20.6 and 25.9 respectively.

Despite poor inflation, employment has been relatively stable, at 47.2, which is near neutral territory, with Kochi recording a healthy 65.1. The other side of the spectrum is Japiur- at 29.7.

On an overall basis, out of the 18 cities that were sampled, the only city that was "slightly optimistic" was Mangalore, which showed a reading of 52.6, while the most pessimistic were the residents from the Pink City-Jaipur-which recorded as low as 30.4.

The score is measured on a scale of 0-100, with 100 indicating perfect optimism while 0 is the exact opposite. This is the first time that the Consumer Confidence Index has been put to practice on a monthly basis.


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