Some citizens are disturbed that Team Anna will not listen to other viewpoints on a strong anti-corruption law. There is also concern about who a powerful Lokpal will be accountable to
While Anna Hazare's call for strong ombudsmen against corruption has gone from strength to strength, his ultimatum to the government on tabling his Jan Lokpal Bill by 31st August does not seem to have gone down well with many. At the same time, some citizens think that Anna must also consider suggestions offered by other groups and individuals-like Ms Aruna Roy and her group-instead of being rigid about his draft.
The National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) activist Ms Roy recently presented an alternate version of the Lokpal Bill, which is quite different from those proposed by the government or Anna Hazare. However, Team Anna has apparently cold-shouldered the proposal.
Noted RTI activist Bhaskar Prabhu says, "Setting aside the NCPRI'sdraft is something I consider erroneous." He has also expressed scepticism over the shape the movement has taken and he thinks that it should go beyond the popular uproar and manifest itself in concrete forms. The idea that corruption will vanish after the Lokpal is set up is too simplistic.
One of the troubling aspects of Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill is the question of accountability. There is confusion about who this immensely powerful body should be answerable to. The NCPRI version has sought to fill up this lacuna. "The Joint Committee was to hear suggestions from all as to how the prime minister or the judiciary should be brought under the Lokpal. They did not hear the NCPRI and so it is NCPRI's right to suggest their deferred version," Mr Prabhu said.
The NCPRI version suggests that there should be three nodal bodies, instead of one. Also, there are suggestions on strengthening the existing bodies, the Judicial Accountability Bill, and something for the protection of whistleblower.
However, Team Anna has been unwilling to accept any changes to its draft or to discuss its contents.
Ms Roy said, "There have been public meetings, but few consultations on the content of the Act in detail. Every critique was attributed to wrong intent and viewed with suspicion and mistrust by the civil society members of the Joint Committee. A critique of the Bill has evoked sharp reactions, and statements have been made that disagreement with the draft was tantamount to promoting corruption. We were baffled by such statements."
EAS Sarma, former power and finance secretary now turned activist says, "It is not an easy task for any one to come up with a fool-proof behemoth of a system that will eliminate corruption. The strength of civil society lies in its ability to sort out its internal differences and develop a healthy consensus."
Some other citizens, too, have voiced there concerns about the Lokpal as envisioned by Team Anna which appears too powerful. Rajaram Bojji, former managing director of the Konkan Railways, said, "If thousands of inspectors of Lokpal, spread out and start descending on every office, even routine work gets dislocated."
He thinks that in most cases vigilance bodies have victimised more innocent people than culprits. The proposed Lokpal with its vast powers can abuse its authority; considering that its functioning will be the same as others. Moreover, the scope of the Lokpal, as suggested, is too broad. In that case, there will be an overload, and cases/files will soon start to pile up like it has happened with the judiciary.
But Hazare's movement condemns the entire system, which many citizens feel is pushing the envelope too far. "We are one nation and it is unfair to treat the entire group of public servants to be useless and dishonest. That includes the politicians. It does not mean we condemn the entire system. We have done well in spite of some bad guys," says Mr Bojji.
The increase in business volume of commexes came from futures trading in gold, silver, guar seed, chana and soyoil, FMC data showed
New Delhi: The turnover of the 23 commodity exchanges in the country has risen by 57.50% to Rs53,11,356 crore as of July in the current fiscal on the back of increased trade in bullion and farm items, reports PTI quoting the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) data.
The turnover of the commodities exchanges stood at Rs33,72,249 crore in the corresponding year-ago period, the FMC said in a statement.
Much of the business volume came from futures trading in gold, silver, guar seed, chana and soyoil, it said.
According to the FMC data, the turnover from bullion has more than doubled to Rs30,57,508 crore till July of the current fiscal from Rs15,19,559 crore in the corresponding year-ago period.
The turnover from agricultural items rose by 56.43% to Rs5,89,893 crore from Rs3,77,099 crore, while business from energy items jumped by 31.32% to Rs8,25,432 crore in the review period from Rs6,28,568 crore in April-July of FY10-11.
However, the turnover from metals like copper has declined marginally to Rs8,38,520 crore as of July of 2011-12 fiscal from Rs8,47,009 crore in the corresponding year-ago period.
During July, leading commodity bourse MCX did the maximum business of Rs12,45,256 crore, followed by NCDEX (Rs1,92,791 crore), ICEX (Rs15,998 crore), ACE Derivatives and Commodity Exchange (Rs13,089 crore) and NMCE (Rs10,288 crore).
Currently, there are five national level and 18 regional commodity exchanges in the country. The commodity futures market did business worth Rs119.48 lakh crore in 2010-11.
In his address at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kolkata, the prime minister said while the Indian economy has inherent economic strength, 'difficult things would be needed' to reach the growth target
Kolkata: A 'business-as-usual' approach will not work if the Indian economy is to achieve its long-term 9% annual growth target, which is 'very ambitious' in the backdrop of global uncertainties, reports PTI quoting prime minister Manmohan Singh.
In his address at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) here, Singh said while the Indian economy has inherent economic strength, 'difficult things would be needed' to reach the growth target.
The full Planning Commission had set a goal for 9% annual economic expansion in the 12th Plan (2012-17) at its meeting last week.
He said India has been transformed into one of the fastest growing emerging markets in the world. "If we can continue to grow at this rate, we are well-positioned to be the country with the third-largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world by 2025," he said.
But robust growth would not happen "automatically by simply proceeding on a business-as-usual basis... It may seem that a transition (from 8.2% in 11th Plan) to 9% growth is not difficult... However, it is in fact a very ambitious target given the current global economic situation...," the prime minister said.
He said the global economy is facing uncertainties about industrialised countries and their implications for capital markets.
"Our own economy has also slowed down compared to last year and this year's growth may be around 8% or a little more, at best," he said.
Following the downgrade of the US credit rating, capital flows to emerging stock markets, including India, have been hit severely.
The prime minister highlighted the challenges before the Indian economy, which include tapping its full agricultural potential, building and financing infrastructure, achieving energy efficiency and its rational pricing and planning rapid urbanisation.
Despite this, he said the country has been transformed into one of the fastest growing emerging markets in the world.
He said that with India's growing economic weight, "Our voice is also heard more carefully in the councils of the world."
From being a relatively closed economy at one time, it has become more open both for trade and technology flows, he said, adding that India is now viewed as one of the most attractive destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI).
The country received $13.4 billion in FDI during the first quarter of the fiscal, an increase of 133% vis-à-vis the year-ago period despite uncertainties in the global economy.
He said the 21st century has been called an Asian century because a shift is taking place in economic power from the industrialised countries of the West to a new dynamic Asia.
"I am happy to say that India is playing its part in this transformation... India's corporations are expanding their footprint abroad through investments and mergers and acquisitions," Mr Singh added.
He said that many countries have grown rapidly at 9% to 10% per year for two or three decades before slowing down.