UPA Government wins FDI vote in Rajya Sabha too

The defeat of the motion in the Rajya Sabha came two days after the Lok Sabha voted out a similar motion, paving the way for entry of global supermarkets like Walmart into the country

New Delhi: the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on Friday won the approval of Parliament to its controversial decision of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail with a motion against it being defeated convincingly in Rajya Sabha, as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) voted in favour of the UPA, reports PTI.
After a animated debate for over two days, 123 members voted against the motion while 109 voted in favour. During the debate, the Opposition attacked the proposal to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail, while the government strongly justified it saying it was in the best interest of the country.
Samajwadi Party, which has nine members in the House, staged a walkout expressing dissatisfaction over Commerce Minister Anand Sharma's reply.
The defeat of the motion moved by AIADMK member V Maitreyan in the Rajya Sabha came two days after the Lok Sabha voted out a similar motion, paving the way for entry of global supermarkets like Walmart into the country.
The government's victory in Rajya Sabha, where UPA lacks a majority of its own, came with the help of 15-member BSP, which had walked out of the Lok Sabha during voting on the issue. UPA has 94 members in the Upper House which has an effective strength of 244.
Sachin Tendulkar, nominated member who is playing test match in Kolkata, Murli Deora (Cong), who is unwell, and rebel BJD leader Pyari Mohan Mahapatra were absent.
Replying to the debate, Maitreyan insisted that majority of the House was not in favour of FDI in multi-brand retail.
He said voting did not take place on "merits of the issue, but other considerations...It is a victory of the minority."
Earlier, Sharma maintained that the move was essential for the country's growth and rejected the opposition contention that it would hurt the small retailers and farmers and harm the manufacturing sector.




5 years ago

Close on the heals of this celebrated win of UPAII, the veteran industrialist and statesman Ratan Tata, who could easily be ranked as the first citizen of India’s corporate leadership, has voiced concern of the depleting credibility of governance and sought an ‘irreversible commitment that law of the land has sanctity’. This echoes the concern of every Indian witnessing the molestation of governance at various levels in this country today. The goings on in parliament and in many other legislatures and institutions, the open spats between responsible heads of organisations and institutions on the one side and the government or political leadership on the other, continuous strictures from courts directed against executive and the media reports on unethical and corrupt practices by the rich and the powerful to hold on to the wealth and power, are all agonizing.
Who, when and how the ‘irreversible commitment that law of the land has sanctity’ sought by Ratan Tata is given will decide the course the nation’s further progress will take. The speed with which changes are brought about in the approach to governance and reforms will define the timeframe within which India will be able to come out of the present impasse. Coming out, India will. Present eruptive symptoms show that ‘we, the people’ will not show the patience with which they waited for generations to gain independence, for realizing basic human rights.



In Reply to M G WARRIER 5 years ago

The words of Ayn Rand ring so loud and so true . . .
“when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed.” - Ayn Rand from Atlas Shrugged

Tsunami hits Japan after 7.3-magnitude quake

There were no immediate reports of any fatalities after the 7.3-magnitude quake that was followed by a 6.2 aftershock. Meteorologists said the wave swept ashore at just after 6pm in Ishinomaki, a city badly hit by the 2011 tsunami 

Tokyo: A one metre-high tsunami hit northeast Japan on Friday, after a powerful undersea quake struck off the coast which was devastated in last year's quake-tsunami disaster, reports PTI.
Meteorologists said the wave swept ashore at just after 6pm in Ishinomaki, a city badly hit by the 2011 tsunami that wrecked a large swathe of the northeast coast, killing thousands.
There were no immediate reports of any fatalities after the 7.3-magnitude quake that was followed by a 6.2 aftershock, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Residents of at least one town, Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture, were advised to get to safety, with reports suggesting other towns were also affected.
"We are now calling on people to evacuate to higher ground," town official Ryuichi Omori told AFP: 
"It's already pitch dark here. Calls phones -- both landlines and mobiles -- are not going through now, which makes it difficult to see people's movement.
"The quake was not so big although it felt very (strong). It was not big at all compared with last year's earthquake. The town office is now setting up a disaster taskforce." 
A presenter on state broadcaster NHK repeatedly told viewers to get to safety after the initial tremors, which set Tokyo buildings swaying violently.
"Remember last year's quake and tsunami," he said. "Call on your neighbours and flee to higher ground now!" 
NHK, quoting the national meteorological agency, said the tsunami was expected to hit the coast of Iwate at 5:40 pm, Fukushima at 5:50 pm, and Aomori and Ibaraki at 6:00 pm
The 7.3 quake struck 36 kilometres under the Pacific, USGS said.
The epicentre was 284 kilometres east of Sendai, or 459 kilometres northeast of Tokyo, according to the USGS.
NHK said the Japan Meteorological Agency had issued a tsunami warning, one notch lower than a tsunami alert, for the Pacific coast of Iwate, Fukushima, Aomori and Ibaraki prefectures.
There was no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami, US monitors based in Hawaii said. Officials in both Indonesia and the Philippines south of Japan said there was no threat of a localised tsunami.
Nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power told AFP there were no reports of any problems at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
"No abnormalities have been recorded on instruments at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant's six reactors," a TEPCO spokesman said.
"All workers were ordered to take shelter inside buildings at the Fukushima plant.
"No abnormalities were confirmed with the radiation monitoring posts at the Fukushima plant. No abnormalities were seen with the water processing facilities." 
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was heading to his office where he would be monitoring the situation, Jiji Press said.
Japan Railways East temporarily suspended Shinkansen bullet train services to check any damage, Jiji said, while Haneda Airport near central Tokyo was reported to be operating normally.
Narita airport was reported to have resumed operations after a temporary suspension.


EPFO bars inquiry against employers in PF cases beyond seven years

According to the EPFO circular, the inquiry against employers cannot be initiated beyond seven years

New Delhi: Retirement fund body Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has tightened the norms for initiation of its inquiries against employers and also set a time bar of seven years for such proceedings, a move which the trade unions have described as anti-worker, reports PTI.
The circular, which was issued by Central Provident Fund Commissioner (CPFC) RC Mishra on his last day in office (30th November), seeks to modify the provisions that result in harassment of employers and establishments.
In a worker friendly move, the circular also redefined the meaning of "basic wages" for the purpose of provident fund deductions and said, "All such allowances which are ordinarily, necessarily and uniformly paid to the employees are to be treated as the basic wages.
According to the circular, the inquiry against employers can only be initiated after, "actionable and verifiable information," is placed for consideration before the compliance officers.
The employer, it said, would be required to make available online the complete history of the establishment for the benefit of compliance officers.
The information to be provided should include the amount remitted and the number of employees engaged by the establishment.
The order of assessment to be issued by the EPFO, it said, should be 'speaking order' (with reasoning) and should not suffer from procedural infirmities.
With regard to the time period for initiating inquiry, it said, "no inquiry or investigation shall ordinarily go beyond seven years, i.e., it shall cover the period of default not exceeding preceding seven years." 
The open assessment, inquiries and investigations serve no real purpose the circular said adding, "such inquiries often don't result in identification of beneficiaries and only tend to harass the employers and establishments." 
Opposing the circular, the trade union leaders have decided to press the government for withdrawal of the circular.
"This circular which has time-barred such inquiries is anti-worker and we would Lodge our protest with the Labour Secretary," a EPFO trustee and Secretary Hind Mazoor Sabha AD Nagpal told PTI.
Echoing similar views, another EPFO trustee and Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) D L Sachdeva said: "We will demand withdrawal of this circular and soon write to Labour Secretary about this."
EPFO has over 50 million subscribers and manages a corpus of over Rs3.5 lakh crore.


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