The fact-finding committee of the Election Commission submitted its report stating that the malpractice of paid news had taken place in both print and electronic media on a large-scale
Jabalpur: Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Justice Markanday Katju released a report on Gujarat polls which claimed that the malpractice of paid news was noticed on a large-scale in the recently held elections, reports PTI.
Releasing the report before the media here, Katju said that the team has found large-scale practice of paid news, both in the print and electronic media, in the recent Gujarat assembly elections.
The PCI chairman was here to take part in a lecture series organised by noted lawyer Vivek Tankha.
After the Election Commission received the reports of paid news during Himachal assembly polls, a fact-finding committee, led by Rajiv Ranjan, was constituted to keep a watch on the Gujarat elections.
The committee submitted its report stating that the malpractice of paid news had taken place in both print and electronic media on a large-scale, Katju said.
The report will be placed before the PCI committee. After taking a unanimous decision on the issue, recommendations to nullify election of candidates indulged in such practices will be made to the Election Commission, Katju said.
In a similar case in Uttar Pradesh, the EC has nullified an election of a legislator in that state, he added.
The PCI chairman also insisted on bringing electronic media under the ambit of Press Council besides pressing for self-regulation in the media.
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“We expect that in the current quarter (January-March 2013), there will be an improvement in the export performance,” commerce secretary SR Rao said
New Delhi: Declining for the eighth month in row, exports contracted by 1.92% in December 2012 to $24.8 billion, widening the country’s trade deficit to $17.6 billion in the same month, reports PTI.
Exports in December 2011 stood at $25.3 billion.
The decline, however, is lower compared to November last year when the shipments had declined by 4.17%, raising hopes of further improvement during the last quarter of the fiscal.
Imports, on the other hand, grew by 6.26% to $42.5 billion in December 2012.
During the April-December this fiscal, shipments have shrunk by 5.5% to $214.1 billion compared to the same period last year. The contraction is slightly lower compared to about 6% in the April-November period.
Commerce secretary SR Rao said that the fall in exports have been slightly arrested and “with a new set of incentives, which we get into force from 1st January , we expect that in the current quarter (January-March 2013), there will be a further improvement in the export performance.”
He said the world trade has not performed well in 2012 and the year was the ‘worst’ in terms of global trade.
“If we look at the WTO forecast for 2012, initially they forecast that the world trade will grow by 3.9% but that has been scaled down thrice and it ended with 2.5%. The 2012 rate of growth in the world trade has been less than half of past 20 year average,” he said.
Reacting to fall in exports, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) chairman A Sakthivel said the government should take some steps in the Budget to boost shipments.
Imports (in the first nine months of this financial year) dipped by 0.71% to $361.2 billion. Trade deficit (during the period) stands at $147.2 billion up from $137.3 billion in the same period previous year.
Oil imports in December increased by 23.5% year-on-year to $14.4 billion. Non-oil imports, however, declined by 0.87% to $28.11 billion.
During April-December 2012, oil imports grew by 12.18% to $124.5 billion. However, non-oil imports during the period dipped by 6.37% to $236.75 billion.
Rao added that for 2013 also, the WTO has estimated a growth rate of 4.5% which is again a scale down version of 5.2% projected earlier.
When asked if the government is considering hiking import duty on gold, Rao said, “We are in consultations” with the finance ministry.
However, he said “the good news is that the US has overcome from the fiscal cliff and we hope that the US economy stabilises.” The US and Europe account for about one-third of the country’s exports, which was $307 billion in 2011-12.
The secretary said the strategy of market diversification has helped exporters.
“Fall in exports has been substantially cushioned because of diversification in Africa, Asean, far-east and Latin America. There is a need to redouble our efforts here;” he said adding “rupee has appreciated to Rs55 which is good news for us.”
On the export target of $360 billion, he said it is difficult to achieve.
Exporters body FIEO expects that exports may touch $300 billion by end of 2012-13.
Out of the top five items that India exports only pharmaceuticals recorded a positive growth of 10.7% during April-December period. Engineering exports declined by 4.4%, petroleum products by 4.1%, gems and jewellery by 10.6% and textiles by 8.4%.
Similarly, out of the top five import items, only crude oil recorded growth of 12.18 % to $125 billion.
Rest registered negative growth—gold and silver (-15%), machinery (-5%), electronics (- 9%) and pearls, semi-precious and precious stones (-36%). Gold and silver import stood at $39 billion as against $46 billion in April-December 2011.