SC rejects plea seeking government control over BCCI, IPL

The Court dismissed a PIL, filed by freelance journalist Alok Varshney, that had sought a direction that the accounts of both BCCI and IPL should be scrutinised thoroughly and all international cricket matches should be telecast only on Doordarshan

The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL seeking government control over the working of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Indian Indian Premier League (IPL) to check alleged corruption and misappropriation of funds in the two bodies, reports PTI.

"You want the accounts of BCCI should be audited. It is audited under the Companies Act," a Bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said.

The remarks of the Bench came when advocate Manjulla Wadhwa, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the accounts of BCCI should be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) because the body represents the Indian cricket team.

The Bench, also comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, was not impressed by the counsel's submission that government should involve itself with the working of BCCI which is a registered society under law.

The counsel also contended that BCCI does not come under the RTI Act.
The PIL, filed by a freelance journalist Alok Varshney, had sought a direction that the accounts of both BCCI and IPL should be scrutinised thoroughly and all international matches should be telecast only on Doordarshan.

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Fuel hike prudent, should have come sooner: Chief statistician

It would be better to make fuel prices rise than to let Budget deficits grow, said TCA Anant, who recently took over as secretary of the ministry of statistics and programme implementation

New Chief Statistician TCA Anant today said hiking fuel prices was a better option than keeping them artificially low and widening the fiscal deficit, even as the Opposition organised a nationwide strike against the government's decision today, reports PTI.

"On the balance, it would be better to make fuel prices rise than to let Budget deficits grow," Anant, who recently took over as Secretary of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, told PTI in an interview.

Anant also hinted that the government's move to hike fuel prices should have come sooner, but acknowledged that it was difficult to time these kinds of decisions because of "multiple pressures" in a democracy.

"It is very difficult to time these kinds of things, trying to time these things right is next to impossible, particularly in a democracy where you have multiple pressures at any given point of time. It is a right policy and it should have been taken earlier," he said.

Explaining his reasoning for supporting the hike, he said if an open-ended fuel subsidy is maintained, huge budget deficits would occur when global petroleum prices rise. "This, too, contributes to generalised inflation," Anant said.

When asked whether diesel prices should also be deregulated like petrol, he said it is not a question of whether you should give a diesel subsidy or not, the relevant point is whether it should be given in a manner that it has an unbounded effect on the budget deficit.

"Then what you are doing is you are converting uncertainty in a single commodity's price into a generalised uncertainty over your entire price level," he explained.

Anant said an economy cannot have a strict regulated regime for fuel prices, as it will widen the Budget deficit.

"You can continue a policy of management, where you temper the global effects on the domestic economy, but you cannot have a strict regulated regime that we will not allow diesel prices to rise. What does it mean? It means that you have created an open-ended draw on your Budget," he said.

The Chief Statistician said since a rise in petroleum prices makes them relatively expensive vis-a-vis other fuels, some kind of substitution of these petroleum products will also happen, leading to a dampening impact on inflation.

"Rise in fuel prices will lead to some effect on general price level, but because it changes relative prices, there will be some substitution. So, the effect would be dampening. If I don't do it, I will be creating generalised inflation," he said.

The government had last month deregulated petrol prices, leading to a hike of Rs 3.5 a litre, while diesel rates were increased by Rs 2 a litre, LPG by Rs 35 a cylinder and kerosene by Rs 3 a litre.

The Opposition NDA and Left Front today protested against the government's move to raise fuel prices and rising inflation.

Though food inflation has moderated substantially by a whopping 3.98 percentage points to 12.92 per cent for the week ended June 19, food prices are quite high.

Earlier, RBI had said, "There has been some moderation in food price inflation, but the price index of food articles continues to increase."

RBI further said, "Although entirely justified in terms of long-term fiscal and energy conservation objectives, the recent increase in fuel prices will have an immediate impact of around one percentage point on WPI inflation, with second round effects being felt in the months ahead."

Overall inflation stood at over 10 per cent in May.

Petroleum Secretary S Sundareshan had said the decision to hike fuel prices will help bring down the revenue oil PSUs lose on selling fuel by about Rs 21,000 crore to Rs 53,000 crore.

"This (Rs 53,000 crore) under-recovery will be borne by the government and upstream oil companies like ONGC," he had said.

A lower fuel subsidy bill may help the government reduce the fiscal deficit substantially. It was estimated to come down to 5.5 per cent of GDP during 2010-11 from over 6.6 per cent last fiscal.

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Food inflation will fall to 5%-6% in due course: Finance secretary

 Food inflation declined by almost 4 percentage points to 12.92% for the week ended 19th June, but several analysts attributed the decline to the base effect rather than any real decline in prices

The government today said food inflation has started easing and will fall to an acceptable level of 5-6 per cent in due course, even as the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and Left Parties went ahead with a nationwide strike to protest against rising prices, reports PTI.

"Food inflation is going down. It will take some time before it really comes into a range which is acceptable to the government and which is good for the people," Finance secretary Ashok Chawla told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on state highways here.When asked what would be an acceptable range of food inflation, he said it would be 5-6 per cent.

The Finance Secretary's statement came on a day when the Opposition NDA and Left Front staged protests against rising inflation and the hike in fuel prices announced by the government last month.

Food inflation declined by almost 4 percentage points to 12.92 per cent for the week ended June 19. Several analysts attributed the decline to the base effect, rather than any real decline in prices.

Wholesale price-based inflation, which includes variation in food prices, crossed double digits (10.16 per cent provisionally) in May, but as per final figures, the rate of price rise has been 11 per cent or more since February.

Analysts feel that inflation will increase in the coming days as the impact of the fuel price hike comes into effect.

The government had last month deregulated petrol prices, leading to a Rs 3.5 a litre hike, while diesel rates were raised by Rs 2 a litre, LPG by Rs 35 a cylinder and kerosene by Rs 3 a litre.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank yesterday said that managing inflation will remain its main priority.

"For RBI, inflation is everything. For (finance) ministry, it is growth. But in the long run, both will converge. Inflation is the biggest enemy," RBI Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty had said.

In an unscheduled move, the Reserve Bank on Friday hiked the lending and borrowing rates (repo and reverse repo) by 25 basis points each to 5.5 and 4 per cent, respectively.

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