Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs will be convened in the first week of February to decide on the date of the Budget Session of Parliament
New Delhi: The Union Budget may be presented around the middle of March in view of the ongoing state assembly elections, reports PTI quoting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
In an informal chat with journalists, he said a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs will be convened in the first week of February to decide on the date of the Budget Session of Parliament.
He said the customary President’s address to the Budget Session of Parliament can take place after 9th March because of the model code of conduct being in force till that day when the election process would be completed.
Asked if the Union Budget will be presented around the middle of March, he said, “Yes”.
He said there is a Constitutional sanctity to two dates—one is 31st March before which a vote on account should be taken so that there is no problem of withdrawal of money in the new financial year and the 75 days deadline after presentation of taxation proposals to pass the Finance Bill.
Asked about prosecution of people whose names have figured as holding black money in banks abroad, he said that is an ongoing legal process.
To a question about the Supreme Court judgement on Vodafone tax, he declined any comment, saying the government will study it.
Indian CEOs are more concerned than their global peers about issues like bribery and corruption, over-regulation, increasing tax burden, exchange rate volatility, government’s response to fiscal deficit and debt burden and the government protectionism, as per the 15th Annual CEO survey conducted by consultancy major PwC
Davos: As the top leaders from across the world converge here to discuss the business of the world, the chief executive officers (CEOs) have painted a gloomy picture for global economy in a worldwide survey, reports PTI.
At the same time, the confidence level of the CEOs is relatively better when it comes to the prospects for revenue growth in their own companies, as per the 15th Annual CEO survey released by consultancy major PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) here last evening.
The confidence level among Indian CEOs about revenue growth prospects has, however, declined to the lowest in six years, although the percentage of Indian business chiefs being confident about their growth prospects is higher than that of their global peers.
Besides, Indian CEOs are also more confident about their hiring plans and a lesser number of business chiefs in India are planning any cost-cutting measures in the next one year.
At the same time, the Indian CEOs are more concerned than their global peers about issues like bribery and corruption, over-regulation, increasing tax burden, exchange rate volatility, government’s response to fiscal deficit and debt burden and the government protectionism.
As many as 92% Indian CEOs were concerned about bribery and corruption, 89% about uncertain or volatile economic growth, 86% about over-regulation, 83% about growing tax burdens, 80% about forex fluctuations, 79% about fiscal deficit and government borrowings and 75% about government protectionism.
PwC released the survey results here ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2012, where business and political leaders from across the globe are expected to discuss the global economic slowdown and deteriorating business sentiments, among other issues.
As per the survey, 55% of Indian CEOs (as against 40% globally) said they were very confident of their revenue growth in 2012.
However, this marks a significant decline from 88% last year and is the lowest in past six years, PwC International chairman Dennis Nally told journalists here.
Africa is the only region where the confidence level has increased to 57%, from 50% a year ago.
For the overall economy, only 15% CEOs globally expect a growth in 2012, although nearly three-times as many CEOs are confident about their revenue growth.
On a positive note, Mr Nally said, the CEOs are confident about hiring and a majority of them believe that emerging markets are important for their future.
Asked about the decline in confidence level in India and China, despite their high economic growth rates, Mr Nally said it shows how integrated the global economy has become and even the European sovereign debt crisis becomes a matter of concern for businesses across the world.
As per the CEOs, the best strategic growth opportunities would come in the next one year from increasing their share in emerging markets.
A total of 59% CEOs felt that emerging markets were more important for the future of their companies than the developed markets and identified BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as their top growth targets.
But despite a sluggish economy, the CEOs were in favour of fresh hiring, while this sentiment was even better in India.
A total of 55% Indian CEO (as against 53% globally) said their have increased their headcount in past one year, while 61% (again higher than 51% globally) said they plan to increase their headcount in 2012.
Also, just 14% Indian CEOs (lower than 18% globally) said they expect to lower their headcount in the next one year.
Mumbai-based consumer activist AR Shenoy found out that in four years only 172 branded samples were drawn in Mumbai, of which 41 samples failed the tests as per PFA Act, 1954. Not a single loose milk sample was drawn and tested for reasons best known to Maharashtra FDA
The issue of milk adulteration was in limelight after a national survey found that 68% of the tested samples were of sub-standard quality. Experts point out that loose milk is more susceptible to adulteration. However, information received under the Right to Information (RTI) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Maharashtra revealed that not a single sample was drawn from Mumbai and other major districts of the state for testing from April 2005 to March 2009.
Mumbai-based consumer activist AR Shenoy, filed an RTI application in July 2009 to find out the measures taken by the state FDA to keep a tab on unscrupulous milk adulterators from 12 districts of the state.
As per the RTI reply, during April 2005 to March 2009 a total of 1,342 branded milk samples were drawn and 28% of samples were found not conforming to the standards prescribed by the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA), Act 1954. Only 67 loose milk samples were drawn, of which only 15 samples failed the tests.
However, Mr Shenoy says, “It is surprising that in four years only 172 branded samples were drawn in Mumbai, of which 41 samples failed the tests as per PFA Act, 1954. Not a single loose milk sample was drawn and tested for reasons best known to Maharashtra FDA. To conclude, the information reveals that 22% milk samples fail when tested as per PFA standards.”
In Mumbai, more than 60 lakh litres of milk is sold daily though branded pouches, loose and tetra packs. The majority is through pouches and loose medium available in dairies.
According to Mr Shenoy, the milk sold by milk handlers is adulterated with water by using syringes and in some cases by the use of actual packaging machinery to give you the neatly adulterated milk. Since there is staggering returns in the business, they often indulge in adulteration.
Pritee Shah, editor of Insight, a consumer magazine, and chief general manager of Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) says that loose milk is adulterated with anything one can think of. “There is water, glucose, starch, urea and other things in it. People have the misconception that milk pouches are powdered milk while loosely sold milk is fresh. Many dairy owners don’t even provide proper fodder to their cattle so they end up eating plastics, stale food often seen on roadsides. This is harmful as it gets to their food chain and subsequently in the milk as well.”
Recently a survey was conducted across India, with total of 1,791 samples drawn from 33 states and Union Territories, to identify common adulterants like urea, detergent, skimmed milk powder, hydrogen peroxide, starch, etc. Out of the total tested samples, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) found 68.4% samples non-conforming to set standards of which 46.8% were deficient in fat and solid no-fat content (SNF) and 44.69% had skimmed milk powder (SMP). Detergent was found in 8.4% of the total samples.
Moneylife contacted FDA Maharashtra. CB Pawar, Maharashtra joint commissioner (food), however, refused to comment on phone and asked to personally visit his office on Monday.