The fate of the ambitious Rs5,00,000 crore project proposing linkages between major rivers by the year 2016 has remained a virtual non-starter and the detailed project report (DPR) is in cold storage
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to implement the ambitious interlinking of rivers project in a time-bound manner and appointed a high-powered committee for its planning and implementation, reports PTI.
Observing that the project has already been delayed resulting in an increase in its cost, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said the Centre and the concerned state governments should participate for its ‘effective’ implementation “in a time bound manner”.
The bench, also comprising justices Swatanter Kumar and AK Patnaik, appointed a high-powered committee comprising representatives of various government departments, ministries, experts and social activists to chart out and execute the project.
The committee will comprise Union minister of water resources, its secretary, secretary of ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) and four expert members appointed by the water resources ministry, finance ministry, Planning Commission and MoEF.
Representatives from state governments, two social activists and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who has been assisting the court in the case, will also be members of the committee.
“We direct the Union of India to forthwith constitute a committee for interlinking of rivers,” the bench said, adding “we direct the committee to implement the project”.
“The committee shall plan for implementation of the project,” the bench said, adding the delay has already resulted in an increase in the cost of the project.
The river interlinking project was the brainchild of the NDA government and in October 2002 the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year.
A Centre-appointed task force had in a report recommended division of the project into two—the Peninsular component and the Himalayan component.
The Peninsular component—involving the rivers in southern India—envisaged developing a ‘Southern Water Grid’ with 16 linkages. This component included diversion of the surplus waters of the Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar, Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery.
The task force had also mooted the diversion of the west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east, the interlinking of small rivers that flow along the west coast, south of Tapi and north of Mumbai and interlinking of the southern tributaries of the river Yamuna.
The Himalayan component envisaged building storage reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main tributaries both in India and Nepal in order to conserve the waters during the monsoon for irrigation and generation of hydro-power, besides checking floods.
The task force had identified 14 links including Kosi-Ghagra, Kosi-Mech, Ghagra-Yamuna, Gandak-Ganga, Yamuna- Rajasthan, Rajasthan-Sabarmati, Sarda-Yamuna, Farakka- Sunderbans, Brahmaputra-Ganga, Subernarekha-Mahanadi, and Ganga-Damodar-Subernarekha.
The task force had also concluded that the linking of rivers in the country would raise the irrigation potential to 160 million hectares for all types of crops by 2050, compared to a maximum of about 140 million hectares that could be generated through conventional sources of irrigation.
The fate of the ambitious Rs5,00,000 crore project proposing linkages between major rivers by the year 2016 has remained a virtual non-starter and the detailed project report (DPR) is in cold storage.
WikiLeaks’ latest expose shows a diligent follow up on Bhopal tragedy/Dow Chemicals issue in the Indian media. The files evoke interest as Dow is one of the sponsor of the London Olympics
Today WikiLeaks has started publishing ‘The Global Intelligence Files’—more than five million emails—from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. A quick study reveals that the Bhopal issue is of major interest for the USA.
WikiLeaks says, “Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men” for the US chemical giant Dow Chemicals. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.” About Stratfor, it says ‘They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Company, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency.”
Among the files released today, there are almost 40 files that are related to Bhopal and Dow Chemicals—including media updates: Both Indian and international, activists’ reactions, confidential investigative reports and other material. The earliest file dates to 2010. Most of the files are about media coverage to issues related to the Bhopal gas tragedy and Dow Chemicals. They also include media reports on the Indian Olympics Association’s remarks on London Olympics, which is being sponsored by Dow Chemicals. The list can be viewed at http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/releasedate/2012-02-27.html
In a file dated 3 December 2011, which was the 27th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy, there is a detailed report on every activist activity on ground, including strikes, hartal, rail-roko and media coverage. The file also mentions acts/demonstrations and government discussions that happened that day in other countries (for e.g. Scotland) which sternly criticised Dow Chemicals.
Another file dated 15 November 2011 also quotes a report in the The Independent of UK, about drug trials in India in which writer Nina Lakhani had slammed western pharmaceutical companies for funding trials that were carried on in hospitals set up for Bhopal victims that “violated international ethical standards and could have put patients at risk.”
Stratfor also thoroughly tracked activities of international organisations fighting for Bhopal victims like Students for Bhopal and International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal and kept tabs on their members and prominent campaigners.
The fund management of IDFC MF has been decent in the past, but that is just in case of a few of their schemes. The bigger issue is that to offer you tax-exempt gains, balanced funds invest in 65% of equity which makes them, well disbalanced!
IDFC Mutual fund plans to launch an open-end balanced fund—IDFC Balanced fund, according to an offer document filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The scheme would invest 40% to 75% of its assets in equities and equity-related instruments and the rest in debt and money market instruments. The performance of the scheme would be benchmarked against the Crisil Balanced fund index.
This scheme joins the 20-odd list of balanced fund schemes available in the market, giving investors just another option to choose from. And only half of them were able to beat the benchmark in the one-year period ended 31 December 2011.
Only a few equity diversified schemes of IDFC have performed well in the past. IDFC Premier Equity fund has beaten the benchmark in the last one-year, two-year, three-year and five-year period. The mid-cap fund—IDFC Sterling Equity Fund—has done well, too. However, IDFC Classic Equity Fund has underperformed its benchmark in all the respective periods.
Kenneth Andrade who is the sole manger of IDFC Sterling Fund and joint manager of IDFC Equity Fund, IDFC Premier Equity Fund and IDFC Strategic Sector Equity Fund will be the joint manager along with Suyash Choudhary for the balanced fund scheme.
Most investors find it hard to decide what the ideal asset allocation should be, and they are, therefore, often led to balanced fund schemes of mutual funds that are supposed to provide a blend of growth and capital preservation. Such funds cater to investors who are looking for a mix of income, capital appreciation and safety. The fund managers take a call on the allocation and realign the portfolio depending on their market expectations. For instance, if equity outperforms, the fund manager will book profits in stocks and put these gains into debt instruments to maintain the asset allocation. But as we can see, taking a call is not as easy as it seems. Only a few fund managers are equipped for the job. The fund management of IDFC MF has been decent in the past, but that is just in case of a few of their schemes. The bigger issue is that to offer you tax-exempt gains, balanced funds invest in 65% of equity which makes them, well disbalanced!