Regulations
TRAI, IRDA, PFRDA too reach Supreme Court on Aadhaar issue
The SC is likely to announce its decision on Wednesday on applications by RBI, SEBI and others for permission to use Aadhaar card for schemes 
 
Seeking clarification on usage of Aadhaar number, other regulators like Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) too have reached the Supreme Court. These regulators along with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) have  asked for clarification on the apex court's order notwithstanding the fact that the SC had for the fourth time on 11 August 2015, had reiterated that Aadhaar cannot be a condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to citizens.
 
"No personal information of Aadhaar card shall be shared by any authority," a three-judge bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar and comprising Justices SA Bobde and C Nagappan told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi. UID or Aadhaar will not be used for any other purposes except PDS, kerosene and LPG distribution system ruled the apex court, and made it clear that even for availing these facilities Aadhaar card will not be mandatory.
 
Markets regulator SEBI, in its application, has urged the court to modify its order to permit it to use Aadhaar number in the securities market for the confirmation of address of the brokers and intermediaries under the know-your-customer (KYC) scheme.
 
Similarly, the RBI has sought the modification of the order saying that if customers voluntarily share their Aadhaar number, then they may be permitted to do so for the purpose of banking transactions.
 
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in its application too has urged the Court to permit it to issue Aadhaar number to the people who are voluntarily approaching it for the same.
 
While anyone can approach the highest Court seeking directions, none of the regulators are interested in making permanent account number (PAN) card issued by the Income Tax Department as mandatory. Most of the regulators are related with money matters and therefore it would be ideal for all of them making PAN mandatory for money transfer instead of depending upon a third party, unverified and audited ID like Aadhaar. In addition, anyone using Aadhaar is required to pay usage fees unlike PAN number. 
 
As Dr Anupam Saraph had stated in his article, by raising the need for clarification, it now becomes ever more important for the regulator to answer the serious concerns that RBI's own had raised about financing terrorism and money laundering before reluctantly agreeing to the use of Aadhaar in 2011. "It is even more important that an independent court monitored probe investigate the serious Pandora box of money laundering and financing terrorism unleashed by the Aadhaar linkage to bank accounts and money transfers," Dr Saraph wrote.
 
The three judge Bench while issuing directions on 11 August 2015, had referred all the petitions before it to a larger bench to determine whether right to privacy was a fundamental right.
 
The issue arose as the central government contended that right to privacy was not a fundamental right as it pointed to conflicting apex court judgments on the issue.
 
During a hearing on 29 September 2015, senior counsel Shyam Divan appearing for Karnataka High Court's former judge KS Puttaswamy, had said that the applications were not served on them and they knew nothing about their contents. The Bench then directed the listing of the applications for hearing on 6th October.
 
The SC is likely to announce its decision on Wednesday on applications by RBI, SEBI and others for permission to use Aadhaar card for schemes other than PDS and LPG distribution.

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COMMENTS

Avinash Murkute

1 year ago

One must understand that AADHAR is not at all one pill for all ailments and as pointed by above article, it can have it's own evils. Those who are trying to make it compulsory and mandatory have their own agenda. AADHAR is big failure in LPG distribution system. Many people have subsidy twice and thrice without booking cylinders. And many cylinders were sold causing loss to exchequers.

Indirect tax collection up; but no room to spend extra
For India, the windfall on indirect taxes may be offset by shortfalls on direct taxes and disinvestment, says Nomura
 
During the first five months, April to August of FY2016, the indirect tax collection for the Indian government grew by 36.2% against a budgeted target of around 19%. However, with shortfalls on direct tax collection and disinvestment, the windfall from indirect tax collection will get offset, says Nomura in a research note.
 
"While indirect tax collections have been buoyant, we expect them to largely compensate for the potential shortfalls in direct taxes and disinvestment targets. On Monday, the government also announced that it expects a 5%-7% shortfall in direct tax collections about Rs50,000 crore or 0.4% of GDP. As such, we do not expect any fiscal space to open up to spend above budgeted amounts," Nomura said.
 
During the April-August period, direct tax collection grew 8.5% against the budgeted target of 16.1%. Weak disinvestment receipts of Rs12,800 crore over this period against the budgeted target of Rs69,500 crore for FY16.
 
In addition, government spending has already accelerated (up 8.8% during April-August versus budgeted growth of 8.1%), led by higher public spending on infrastructure, particularly roads, rural and urban development, reflecting the government’s effort to front-load spending to kick-start growth, Nomura said.

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World Happiness Index 2015 – Where does India stand?

India is unique in its composition, unusual in its character, incomparable in its diversity and peerless in its ethos. So much so, this report does not reflect correctly the happiness or unhappiness of our people, which is purely a state of mind based on several social factors that do not get captured into the survey.

 
The World Happiness Report 2015 is published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which is a global initiative started in 2012 for United Nations (UN). This contains the world happiness index of 158 countries based on a survey conducted by an American research-based company called Gallup over 2012-2014. 
 
Happiness score or subjective well-being (SWB): 
 
As per the report, the survey measures happiness or subjective well-being of an individual as per the Gallup World Poll, which is arrived based on zero score at the bottom and 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life and the bottom represents the worst possible life. Here is a list of top ten and top bottom countries in the list. 
 
Top 10 – world’s happiest countries with their score in brackets
 
1. Switzerland (7.587)
2. Iceland (7.561)
3. Denmark (7.527)
4. Norway (7.522)
5. Canada (7.427)
6. Finland (7.406)
7. Netherlands (7.378)
8. Sweden (7.364)
9. New Zealand (7.286)
10. Australia (7.284)
 
Bottom 10 - world’s least happy countries with their score in brackets:
 
158. Togo (2.839)
157. Burundi (2.905)
156. Syria (3.006)
155. Benin (3.340)
154. Rwanda (3.465)
153. Afghanistan (3.575)
152. Burkina Faso (3.587)
151. Ivory Coast (3.655)
150. Guinea (3.656)
149. Chad (3.667)
 
What is India’s ranking in this index?
 
India’s ranking is way below the BRICS countries and stands at 117 as under: 
 
16.    Brazil (6.983)
64.    Russia (5.716)
84.    China (5.140)
113.  South Africa (4.642)
117.  India (4.565)
 
The US is ranked 15, followed by UK (21), Singapore (24), Saudi Arabia (35), Japan (46) and China (84). Pakistan is at 81st position with a score of 5.194. 
 
What are the Components of the World Happiness Index?
 
As per the report, happiness or subjective well-being is assessed on the basis of following six parameters considered in the survey: it is the national average response to the question of life evaluations.  
 
GDP per capita: The statistics of GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) at constant 2011 international dollar prices are from the 6 November 2014 release of the World Development Indicators (WDI).
 
1. Healthy Life Expectancy: The time series of healthy life expectancy at birth are calculated by the authors based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Development Indicators (WDI), and statistics published in journal articles. 
 
2. Social support: This is having someone to count on in times of trouble and is the national average of the binary responses (either 0 or 1) to the question “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?”
 
3. Perceived freedom to make life choices: Freedom to make life choices is the national average of responses to the question “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life”
 
4. Corruption Perception: The measure is the national average of the survey responses to two questions in the Gallup World Poll: “Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not” and “Is corruption widespread within businesses or not?” The overall perception is just the average of the two responses. The corruption perception at the national level is just the average response of the overall perception at the individual level.
 
5. Generosity: This is the residual of regressing national average of response to the question “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?” on GDP per capita.
 
Why India is at the lower end of the index?
 
The reasons are not far to seek. India is a complex country with diverse faiths, multitude of castes and sub-castes, variety of cultures, innumerable languages, low level of literacy and a large number of people living below the poverty line. The demography of our country is so complex, any survey on parameters mentioned above will not only be grossly inadequate, but also simply inequitable and cannot be a fair comparison with the developed and the less populous nations of the world. Our Country is unique in its composition, unusual in its character, incomparable in its diversity and peerless in its ethos. So much so, this report does not reflect correctly the happiness or unhappiness of our people which is purely a state of mind based on several social factors which do not get captured into the survey. 
 
Therefore, though the index of happiness cannot be taken at face value so far as India is concerned, it does not mean that everything is hunky-dory in our country.  It is a fact of life that there is considerable unhappiness across the country, as evidenced by  media reports, which hit the headlines daily reflecting considerable upheaval in everyday life of our people throughout the length and the breadth of our country.  
 
For instance, recently, there was a shocking revelation that when the Uttar Pradesh government advertised for posts of 368 peons on 11 August 2015, they received more than 23 lakh applications, i.e. over 6,250 applications per post. And the most surprising part is that among the applicants, there were more than 2 lakh graduates with degrees like B. Tech, MSc, and M.Com, and 255 with PhDs. The minimum qualification for the post was Class V pass but only 53,000 applicants had not studied beyond Class V. This is a classic example of the existence of widespread unemployment among the educated class in the most populous state of our country. And in such a society how do you expect people to be happy? 
 
Another media report highlighted the rampant corruption existing in every walk of life in our country, despite all the talk of eradicating corruption though enactments, which have not touched the fringe of the problem. As per the website, ‘Ipaidabribe.com’ (IPAB), an online initiative set up in 2010 by Bengaluru-based NGO to crowd-source corruption reports in India, it recorded over 47,000 reports amounting to Rs280 crore of bribe paid from more than 600 cities in India. This is only a fraction of the bribes paid in India simply because, these relate to petty bribes paid by common people for getting small jobs done through government departments. Besides, very few people are bold enough or even bother to report such payment of bribes either due to fear of backlash or sheer indifference once their job is done. The level of corruption existing both in the public and the private sector cannot be even imagined.
 
Nonetheless, the World Happiness Report says that the well-being and happiness are critical indicators of a nation’s economic and social development and should be a key aim of government policy. It is said that the report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well-being. It is not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust and good health that happiness of people could be judged. “Increasingly happiness is considered a proper measure of social progress and goal of public policy,” the report said, adding the happiness index describes how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations. 
 
However, judging the happiness of people based on the amount of money donated to charity during the previous month is not only myopic, but is also an uncharitable way of judging the happiness of people, especially in a country with diverse population like India. Instead, I would venture to suggest to the authors of the World Happiness Report that a society should be judged by how it treats its least fortunate amongst them, namely the deprived and the disabled. This is because it brings out the test of humanity and its humane approach to life, and this can make all the difference in the life of people.  
 
 
(The author is a financial analyst, and writes for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’.)

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COMMENTS

MG Warrier

1 year ago

An excellent analysis of the survey. The observation “The demography of our country is so complex, any survey on parameters mentioned above will not only be grossly inadequate, but also simply inequitable and cannot be a fair comparison with the developed and the less populous nations of the world. Our Country is unique in its composition, unusual in its character, incomparable in its diversity and peerless in its ethos. So much so, this report does not reflect correctly the happiness or unhappiness of our people which is purely a state of mind based on several social factors which do not get captured into the survey.” says it all, if you need any comment on India’s poor show in most of the international assessments. Though for ‘my own readers’ this will be repetition, one has to concede that the comparisons made in such surveys do not make any sense for a country like India. The ranking of countries like India and China with huge population and several country-specific reasons for their present status using the same parameters used for Singapore and U A E which have different development backgrounds do not make much sense. Perhaps, the rankings will get realistic, if Indian states or cities with higher population than the countries included for survey are assessed separately!
M G Warrier

Mukund Rajamannar

1 year ago

Thank you for not blindly spreading the wrong results of a survey that doesn't directly apply to our nation.

Good article!

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