“The committee would look into all the issues relating to de-regulation of the sugar sector and it has been requested to complete its task as early as possible and give its recommendations to the prime minister,” a statement issued by PMO said
New Delhi: Prime minister Manmohan Singh today constituted an expert committee, headed by his Economic Advisory Council chairman C Rangarajan, to examine issues related to decontrol of the sugar sector, reports PTI.
Earlier this month, representatives of the apex sugar industry bodies ISMA and NFCSF had met finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, seeking partial decontrol of the sector, including freedom to sell sugar in the open market and doing away with the levy obligation for Public Distribution System (PDS).
“The committee would look into all the issues relating to de-regulation of the sugar sector and it has been requested to complete its task as early as possible and give its recommendations to the prime minister,” a statement issued by PMO said.
The other members of the committee include Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Adviser, ministry of finance, and secretaries to the Department of Food and Agriculture.
Other members of the panel are: Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chairman Ashok Gulati, former agriculture secretary Nand Kumar and KP Krishnan, secretary EAC Convener.
“The committee has been empowered to involve such experts, academics as required as special invitees,” the statement said, adding that the food ministry would provide the necessary support to the committee in discharging its functions.
The statement did not state any deadline for the committee to submit the report.
The sugar industry is under government control, right from the level of production to distribution.
Under the levy obligation, sugar mills are required to sell 10% of their output to the government at below-cost rates for supply to ration shops.
Mills supply levy sugar at 60% of the cost of production, resulting in an annual industry loss of about Rs2,500-Rs3,000 crore.
The industry has also been demanding removal of the monthly release system under which food ministry allocates quantity of sugar to be sold in the open market every month.
Let’s ask the professors UIDAI cited in its latest report: Do you agree with UIDAI’s assessment of Aadhaar? Do you share their confidence in the project? Did UIDAI ask you in advance, before using your name for their marketing purposes?
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) have been accused of making false claims about the reliability of the biometrics that its unique identification number (UID) or Aadhaar scheme relies on. The report released earlier this week by UIDAI is in response to those criticisms.
UIDAI say that “… based on the analysis, it can be stated with confidence that UIDAI enrolment system has proven to be reliable, accurate and scalable to meet the nation’s need of providing unique Aadhaar numbers to the entire population. It is now safe to conclude that the system will be able to scale to handle the entire population”. But that is mere assertion, it begs the question, they would say that, wouldn't they.
They need independent and respected biometrics experts to agree with them, if this report is to boost confidence in UIDAI’s abilities. They mention several names. The casual reader may assume that these named experts all agree with UIDAI’s conclusion that Aadhaar will work. It would be instructive to ring them up and ask them directly for their opinion.
Does Professor John Daugman, for example, agree with UIDAI when they say that “… although [the false positive identification rate of 0.057%] is expected to grow as the database size increases, it is not expected to exceed manageable values even at full enrolment of 120 crores”? It seems unlikely—Professor Daugman is the man who first pointed out that any attempt to prove uniqueness in a large population of biometrics must drown in a sea of false positives, please see
And does Professor Jim Wayman, for example, agree with UIDAI when they say that “… based on the [receiver operating characteristic] model, the UIDAI expects the accuracy of the system to remain within the same order of magnitude as reported above. Hence it can be stated that system will be able to scale to handle the entire population without significant drop in accuracy”? It seems unlikely—Professor Wayman is the lead author of a paper which concludes that biometrics is a discipline out of statistical control, the results gathered so far tell you nothing about what to expect in future, please see
If the two professors agree with UIDAI and renounce their earlier statements, well and good.
But if, on the other hand, they say that they have no reason to believe that UIDAI is right, they have not had a chance to assess the evidence that UIDAI claims to have, they do not understand why UIDAI has mentioned their names, then this schoolboy attempt to justify UIDAI’s waste of public money will fall humiliatingly flat on its face.
(David Moss spent eight years campaigning against the UK’s National ID (NID) card scheme, which was finally scrapped by the British government. Mr Moss is an MA in Philosophy from Cambridge University, MSc in Software Engineering from Kingston. With a career spanning of over 35 years, Mr Moss at present works as director at Business Consultancy Services Ltd and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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Attributing the decline in food inflation mainly to seasonal factors, the central bank said the impact of good vegetable output will remain limited in the absence of effective measures to address supply-side bottlenecks
New Delhi: India’s food inflation remained in the negative zone for the fourth week in a row, at (-)1.03% for the week ended 14th January, on account of cheaper vegetables, reports PTI.
Food inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was at (-)0.42 per cent in the previous week. It was above 17% in the corresponding week of 2011.
According to the official data released on Friday, onion prices fell steeply by 79.10%, year-on-year, for the week under review, while potato prices were down 22.46%. Prices of wheat also fell by 3.37%.
Overall, vegetables were 47.06% cheaper during the week under review, from the same period last year.
However, other food products, led by protein-based items, became more expensive on an annual basis.
Pulses prices were 12.77% higher, while milk grew dearer by 12.25%. Eggs, meat and fish prices were up 20.33% year-on-year.
Fruits also became 5.17% more expensive on an annual basis, while cereal prices were up 2.71%.
Inflation in the overall primary articles category stood at 1.89% for the week ended 14th January, as against 2.47% in the previous week. Primary articles have a weightage of over 20% in the wholesale price index.
Experts feel that the decline in food inflation, along with moderation in headline or overall inflation in December will be a major incentive for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to look at the option of cutting key interest rates in the near future.
At its third quarterly monetary policy review earlier this week, the apex bank had injected Rs32,000 crore into the system by lowering the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by half-a- percentage point to 5.5% but kept the short-term lending rate unchanged.
Inflation in the non-food primary articles segment, which includes fibres and oilseeds, was recorded at 0.56% for the week ended 14th January against 1.84% in the previous week.
Fuel and power inflation stood at 14.45%, same as in the previous week.
Headline inflation, which also factors in manufactured items, fell to a two-month low of 7.47% in December.
According to experts, the moderation in both overall inflation and food inflation will allow the RBI to look at the option of reversing its tight monetary policy in near future.
In its review, RBI had however said inflation remains a concern in view of volatile crude prices in international markets and widening fiscal deficit.
Attributing the decline in food inflation mainly to seasonal factors, the central bank said the impact of good vegetable output will remain limited in the absence of effective measures to address supply-side bottlenecks.
RBI had hiked interest rates 13 times between March 2010 and October 2011 to curb demand and tame inflation.
The apex bank, which has pegged the year-end inflation at 7%, said the revision in domestic-administered prices would add to inflationary pressures.