SC issues notice to two companies on Subramanian Swamy's plea

The apex court, however, refused to issue notice to Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram who allegedly has majority stake in the companies

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to Chennai-based Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Ltd and its offshore sister concern on a plea of Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against them for filing a defamation suit in Singapore against him, reports PTI.


"We will issue notices to two companies to seek their responses... returnable within 12 weeks," a bench of justices GS Singhvi and KS Radhakrishnan said, moments after Swamy rose to advance his arguments on his contempt petition.


The bench, however, refused to issue notice to Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram who allegedly has majority stake in the companies.


Swamy filed contempt plea against the companies, including Advantage Strategic Singapore, which had had filed the defamation suit against the Swamy for allegedly defaming them in judicial proceedings related to 2G spectrum allocation scam case.


He said the companies had intentionally filed suits abroad to harass him and to make him run around the world.


26/11 NSG commando claims non-payment of financial benefits

Surender Singh, the former commando of the NSG told a press conference that he has so far received just Rs4 lakh, including Rs2.5 lakh from the Government as financial benefits. However, the government rejected his claim saying that he has been paid Rs31 lakh

New Delhi: A former commando from the National Security Guard (NSG), who fought terrorists in the 26/11 attack and was invalidated from service after he became medically unfit, on Thursday claimed he has not got any financial benefits or pension and the money "gifted" to him and his colleagues, reports PTI.


Flanked by activist-politician Arvind Kejriwal and his associates, 34-year-old former NSG commando Surender Singh told a press conference that he has so far received just Rs4 lakh, including Rs2.5 lakh from the Government of India, as financial benefits.


However, the government rejected his claim with Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari saying that the commando has been paid Rs31 lakh in the form of ex-gratia payment by the Governments of India and Maharashtra.


Interestingly, the Government's rejection first came on the Twitter handle of Press Information Bureau (PIB) even as the press conference was on.


Narrating his story, Singh said he was severely injured in the operation to flush out terrorists from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai and was invalidated from service in October, 2011.


Since last year, he alleged, he has not received "even a single paise" from the government.


Singh claimed that NSG commandos, who were injured in the 26/11 operation, received a "number of gifts in the form of cheques" but the force had not dispersed them to the people concerned.


"When I asked officials what happened to the money, they said the Home Ministry decided that no gifts or donations will be received by the NSG. But they did not show me the records to prove that those money have been returned," Singh said.


He also demanded that an enquiry be launched into the matter and the government clarify what it did with the money gifted by several firms and individuals.


He also distributed copies of a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) which said he received around Rs2.5 lakh as financial benefits from the Government of India.


Presenting an order from the Government which said Singh was not eligible to get pension as he has put in only 14 years and three months of service as against the mandatory 15 years, Kejriwal claimed there are several clauses in the law under which a commando can be given concessions so that he gets his pension.


"Is this the way to treat our commandos who sacrifice their lives for the nation? Does he deserve just Rs4 lakh? The government should say what happened to the cheques that were gifted to the NSG?" he asked.


The Government was swift in rejecting the allegations when it took to twitter and said: "The government has given Nk (Naik) Surender Singh all his dues."


Press Information Bureau's twitter handle said: "(The government has) informed Singh on November 16 through telephone that war injury pension has been sanctioned and bankers were also informed."


"Surender Singh is getting war injury pension of Rs25,254 per month. Rs31 lakh retirement emoluments is paid to Surender Singh," it said.


Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the commandos were drawn from different forces. "I will inquire into it," he told reporters when asked about the allegations.


Tewari said he has been paid Rs31 lakh and that he also received Rs25,000 which is not in the form of a war injury pension.


"....if at all anything which needs to be done in order to preserve and protect the honour of those people who on daily basis risk their lives for the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the the country, this government will never be found wanting," Tewari said.


However, Singh rejected the claims and said he has not received any money from the government.


"You can check my bank account. I have not got any money. The government is lying," he said.


Singh said he received roughly around Rs4 lakh as rewards from various sources, including Rs1 lakh each from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. "In that money, I spent over Rs1 lakh on medical expenses. I have a family to run," he said.


Later, Kejriwal tweeted: "Govt shamelessly misleading the nation. 31 lakhs given to 11 injured, not to Surinder Singh. Out of 31 lakhs, surinder got jst 2.5 lakh."


"Can govt prove that surinder getting Rs25 thousand per month? If it is not proved, who wud resign in govt for misleading nation?" he asked.


"Govt says that surinder informed of pension on "phone" on 16 Nov. Interesting. Pensions informed on phone? Since when? No papers needed?" he asked.


India’s current account deficit looks endemic

The Indian economy’s woes with respect to exports appear to be the twin problems of low savings—caused by reckless fiscal policy—and some evidence on falling export competitiveness, says Espirito Santo Securities

India is suffering from a serious current account deficit which appears to be because of the twin problems of low savings, caused by reckless fiscal policy, and evidence of falling export competitiveness. This is according to Espirito Santo Securities in its Fundamental Insights Report of November 2012.


Espirito Santo observes that the top sectors in Indian exports with the highest RCAs (Relative Comparative Advantage) are i.e. largely ‘traditional’ sectors: gems & jewellery, rice, spices, cotton, tea, textile fibres, organic chemicals and petroleum products. The new entrants include base metals (e.g. zinc with its RCA up from 0.1 in 2000 to 3.4 in 2011). Similar sharp increases in RCAs were seen in pig iron, lead, copper and mineral products. Within transportation, India has increased its relative comparative advantage in “ships, boats & floating structures”, ‘tractors’ and “motorcycles & cycles”.


India’s exports seem more diversified than China’s, though the degree of diversification has fallen somewhat in the last few years, says Espirito Santo. But, contrary to conventional wisdom, which associates diversification of Indian exports with rising competitiveness in more non-traditional (manufacturing based) sectors, this doesn’t seem to stack up. Regarding manufactured goods, like China, India has gone beyond the initial industrialisation stage, reflected in reduced specialisation in traditional manufacturing such as textiles. But China is now far more specialised in innovative sectors like electronic data processing, telecommunications equipment and also (to a certain extent) integrated circuits and electronic components. An opposite trend is seen in chemicals, where India seems to have a distinct relative comparative advantage.


While India has been able to maintain its comparative advantage in tea, coffee, spices and marine products, it has lost comparative advantage in export of some agricultural commodities to other Asian competitors during the period after economic reforms. Tea has suffered one of the sharpest falls in RCA since 2000, with Sri Lanka increasingly dominant. Hence the level of interest by the Indian tea firms in acquisition of plantations in Africa and Sri Lanka. The RCA of coffee has also fallen sharply from 3.5 in 2000 to 1.3 in 2012. In coffee exports, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are the major competitors to India. The computed RCA values for India were positive for all the years and indicated its comparative advantage in coffee exports. But, Indonesia and Vietnam have outperformed India.


Rice exports, accounting for 1.5% of India exports in 2011, witnessed varied levels of RCA with a net rise from 2000 to 2005, but a net fall from 2005 to 2011. India’s status remained inferior to its major Asian competitors (Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam) in almost all the years. Post-2000 seemed to have a detrimental effect on exports of spices, with the RCA falling from 14.3 in 2000 to 9.6 in 2005, with a corresponding sharp increase in competitiveness of China’s spices’ exports.


The labour-intensive sectors of gems & jewellery and agriculture products and the scale-intensive sectors of chemicals are the foremost sectors enjoying a comparative advantage in India, observes Espirito Santo.


The steady deterioration in India’s trade deficit and current account deficit has been one of the key factors exacerbating the external sector risks for India. While export demand is a function of a multitude of factors, the key ones are global demand for exports and competitiveness. While falling global demand has no doubt impacted India’s exports (down 7.5% FYTD), falling comparative advantage in key sectors is one of the reasons impacting the long-term export growth trajectory for the Indian economy, according to Espirito Santo.


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