Alternative Investment
Too much money invested in gold in India, says CII

According to the industry body, higher gold imports are contributing to deterioration in the country's balance of trade, and investors should be provided better incentives to invest in MFs and stocks

 
Bangalore: Investors in mutual funds and equity should get better incentives so that Indians do not invest much money in gold, industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said, reports PTI.
 
Gold imports in 2011-12 were to the tune of $60 billion, which also contributed to deterioration in the country's balance of trade, CII President Adi Godrej told reporters.
 
"We need to balance our trade better," he said.
 
The government is planning and CII is fully supportive of better incentive for investment in mutual funds and equity so that people do not invest that much money in gold which could also help in improving balance of trade.
 
Pushing for early implementation of the GST regime, he said it would be the single most important reform and help reduce fiscal deficit, contain inflation and get the country back on a high growth path.
 
Godrej said some states are growing at double digits and others need to emulate them. "If some states can grow at double digits, there is no reason why other states can't and also why the country can't." 
 
"We should revive growth through reforms and governance", Godrej, who is also chairman of the Godrej Group, said. "There must be better governance".
 
The institution of Lokpal which could expose and punish the cases of corruption is necessary but not sufficient to improve transparency and curb corruption, he said.
 
"What's also needed is that government procedure should be simplified", Godrej said as he vouched for e-governance which would lead to "less corruption, more transparency".
 
Godrej said the general investment climate in India is not good and the reasons for it include "retrospective amendments that came in the budget" and labour unrest at the Maruti Suzuki plant at Manesar.
 
He hoped the current slowdown in the economic reforms process was a "cyclical phenomenon" and not a "system problem". "Momentum of reforms has suffered. The climate for both Foreign Direct Investment and domestic investment have been negatively affected".
 
Asked about disruptions in Parliament over the coal block allocation issue, Godrej said: "We do think Parliament should run normally. Parliament should operate".
 
"There might be various accusations; there could be various reports. CII feels they should be debated in Parliament", he said. "If Parliament doesn't work, then the various pieces of legislation that are pending in Parliament will get delayed," he added.
 

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Less scope for action on hotels over mineral water rates: Government

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister KV Thomas said there is little scope for legal action against hotels and restaurants for overcharging of mineral water as the Delhi High Court has held that it does not violate any provisions of the law

New Delhi: The Union government said there is little scope for legal action against hotels and restaurants for overcharging of mineral water as the Delhi High Court has held that it does not violate any provisions of the law, reports PTI.

 

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister KV Thomas said, "Yes sir", the government is aware of such unfair practices.

 

However, the "scope for legal action against such practice is limited," because the Delhi High Court in a writ petition has held: "charging prices for mineral water in excess of maximum retail price (MRP) printed during the service of customers in hotels and restaurants does not violate any of the provisions of the Standards of Weights and Measures Act", he said.

 

The Court further said that it does not constitute a sale or transfer of the commodity by the hotelier or restaurateur to its customers, he added.

 

To create awareness about consumer rights, Thomas mentioned that the government runs several media campaigns to make consumers aware about the MRP.

 

Mineral water in hotels are restaurants are normally charged more than double the MRP.

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Competition Commission rejects plea on insecticides import

The informant has also not submitted any material to show that insecticide importers and manufacturers are charging exorbitant prices either due to any anti-competitive agreement, the CCI said while rejecting the plea

New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed a plea against the Agriculture Ministry that alleged existing registration norms for importing insecticides create monopoly of existing players in that segment, reports PTI.

 

The CCI said the material submitted before it does not provide the basis for a prime facie opinion to refer the case to its Director General for investigation. Hence, the matter is closed, it said in an order.

 

No violations of Section 3 (related to anti-competitive agreements) and Section 4 (regarding abuse of market position) under Competition Act 2002 were found, it added.

 

The case was filed against the Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Agriculture Commissioner and Chairman of the Registration Committee and Secretary of Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee.

 

The Commission said the informant -- Saurabh Bhargava from Madhya Pradesh -- was aggrieved by the rules with regard to registration of insecticides for importing into India.

 

According to the order, the informant said the conditions prescribed for grant of registration certificate were onerous and created monopoly in respect of the existing entrants.

 

Further, the informant said it was difficult for new entrants to get themselves registered. As a result, there was monopoly in the market and exorbitant prices were being charged by insecticide importers and manufacturers.

 

"The informant has also not submitted any material to show that insecticide importers and manufacturers are charging exorbitant prices either due to any anti-competitive agreement between them or any dominant player amongst them is abusing its dominance in the relevant market," the order said.

 

The Commission noted that the impugned conditions prescribed for grant of registration certificate cannot be termed either as anti-competitive agreement or as abuse of dominant position.

 

As per the order, the three entities cannot be termed either as enterprises or as being participants in the market under consideration.

 

"The question of violation of Sections 3 or 4 of the Act, therefore, does not arise.

 

"The opposite parties are primarily responsible for administration of The Insecticides Act, 1968 and rules framed thereunder, including the related technical and procedural responsibilities and, as such, their activities would normally not be covered under the Competition Act, 2002 unless there are strong grounds to suggest otherwise," it added.

 

In an dissenting order on the issue, Commission Member R Prasad said there exists a "prima facie case" that deserves to be investigated further.

 

"After carefully considering the entire material on record, I am of the view that there exists a prima facie case of anti-competitive effect due to the conduct of the opposite parties and there is a need on the part of the Commission to intervene to correct the situation for the welfare of the consumers," Prasad said in his dissenting order.

 

As per this order, the anti-competitive situation is arising due to the interpretation of the relevant section of the Insecticides Act and unless the parties' activities are set right, the market would not see benefits of competition.

 

"... I am of the opinion that there exists a prima facie case in the matter and deserve to be sent for investigation by the DG," the dissenting order noted.

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