Citizens' Issues
Rahul Gandhi backs FDI in retail, says it will benefit farmers

Rahul said FDI in retail will help farmers store their produce safely for a longer duration, thus ensuring best value for their crops

Srinagar: Backing the Centre's decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said the decision will help farmers prosper by removing middlemen from the supply chain and generate new jobs, reports PTI.


Addressing the national executive of Indian Youth Congress in Srinagar, Rahul said FDI in retail will help farmers store their produce safely for a longer duration, thus ensuring best value for their crops.


The 42-year-old AICC general secretary, who is here on a two-day visit beginning yesterday, said around 60 to 70% of all perishable products in the country eventually rot due to lack of proper storage facilities.


The situation, however, will change once FDI in retail comes in, Rahul was quoted as saying in a Youth Congress release.


He said farmers could not get good price for their produce as the middlemen in the 'Mandis' would buy from them at very low rates and sell the same at a much higher price in cities.


But once FDI comes in, they will be taken out of this equation, he said.


FDI will also create lot of new jobs, which will not only lead to higher income generation but also significantly reduce unemployment, thereby having a salutary effect on the economy, he said.


He, however, said all contractual agreements that farmers get into with the retailers "should be carefully monitored" in order to ensure that interests of the farmer are not harmed.


Rahul noted that in the contemporary world, all economies are interconnected, thus having impact on each other.


"If something happens in the US, it will most likely affect events in India, and vice versa," he said.


Earlier, talking to members of the Jammu and Kashmir NSUI national executive, Rahul said it was important to win the hearts and minds of the student community in Kashmir.


"We need to earn their trust, their faith. I am here to win their trust through dialogue and deeds," he said.


Rahul also asked state NSUI leadership to bring a delegation of students to Delhi and meet Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal to sort out all issues concerned to them.


Kuwait Airways asked to pay Rs25 lakh for late delivery of goods

Holding Kuwait Airways guilty of negligence, inaction and passivity for not delivering the goods, the NCDRC asked it to pay Rs25 lakh for delaying the delivery of consignments of handicrafts to the US over 16 years ago

New Delhi: Kuwait Airways has been ordered by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs25 lakh as compensation to Rajasthan Art Emporium for delaying the delivery of its consignments of handicrafts to the USA 16 years ago, reports PTI.


The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) gave the order holding the airline guilty of "negligence, inaction and passivity" for not delivering the goods sent by the emporium to its US-based buyer, Williams Sonoma Inc, on time.


The NCDRC also observed that the emporium had paid air freight charges of Rs24.48 lakh, which was ten times more than the sea freight, so that the consignment could reach its buyer quickly.


"All the facts and circumstances clearly establish negligence, inaction and passivity on the part of opposite party 1 (Kuwait Airways). When the goods are not delivered within 7 days, the fault certainly lies at the door of the opposite party 1.


"The complainant paid air freight of Rs24.48 lakh, equivalent to $70,000, whereas the sea freight for the said cargo cannot be more than the $7,200. The complainant paid 10 times more so that there should be timely delivery of the goods in question. The sea cargo would have taken 25 to 30 days but the air cargo took more than 30 days," said the bench presided by Justice JM Malik.


The commission's order came on emporium's petition, which said the airline and its agent had failed to deliver its three consignments, weighing a total of 26,859.5 kgs, in seven days by 31 July 1996 as initially assured by them.


They had also failed to deliver the goods as per their revised delivery schedule, the emporium had alleged adding the goods reached its destination over a month late on 30 August 1996 instead.


Kuwait Airways had denied the allegations with its counsel arguing that there was no delay on its part as time was not the essence of the contract.


It had also said the goods had reached the destination on 23 August 1996, but had taken time in custom clearance and the airline cannot be held responsible for delay.


The commission, however, rejected the contention saying "in view of the rules and the fact that opposite party 2 (Daga Air Agents) admitted that the goods were to be sent on urgent basis, the question whether the time was the essence of the contract pales into insignificance."


India Inc hails government's decision on insurance, pension funds

Corporates feel that the forward looking measures would infuse the much-needed capital in the insurance and pension sectors


New Delhi: India Inc has termed government's second wave of reforms, including decisions to open the pension sector to foreign investment and raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in insurance to 49%, as 'path-breaking and landmark', reports PTI.


"The new instalment of big bang reforms is a clear message that the government is determined to strengthen the economy," FICCI President RV Kanoria said.


He said that these forward looking measures would infuse the much-needed capital in the insurance and pension sectors.


Kanoria also urged the government to make investment guidelines more flexible so that such funds can be used to support infrastructure development.


"Today, insurance and pension funds are constrained to participate in infrastructure projects as these are required to invest a substantial portion of their funds in government securities and also not allowed to invest in projects rated below a certain level. These limitations need to somewhat relaxed," he added.


Sharing similar views, CII said the industry was anxiously waiting for the clearance of the Companies Bill for its introduction in Parliament.


"The new company law is expected to be more streamlined and facilitative than the existing 55-year-old Companies Act, it seeks to replace," CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.


Banerjee said on enactment, the Companies Bill will be a boon for business, corporates, investors and stakeholders at large.


"The new law would strengthen the concept of shareholders democracy and offer protection of the rights of minority stakeholders," he said.


Poor showing by the manufacturing sector pulled down the GDP growth to 5.5% in the first quarter, the decade's worst Q1 performance.


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