WikiLeaks’ latest expose shows a diligent follow up on Bhopal tragedy/Dow Chemicals issue in the Indian media. The files evoke interest as Dow is one of the sponsor of the London Olympics
Today WikiLeaks has started publishing ‘The Global Intelligence Files’—more than five million emails—from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. A quick study reveals that the Bhopal issue is of major interest for the USA.
WikiLeaks says, “Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men” for the US chemical giant Dow Chemicals. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.” About Stratfor, it says ‘They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Company, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency.”
Among the files released today, there are almost 40 files that are related to Bhopal and Dow Chemicals—including media updates: Both Indian and international, activists’ reactions, confidential investigative reports and other material. The earliest file dates to 2010. Most of the files are about media coverage to issues related to the Bhopal gas tragedy and Dow Chemicals. They also include media reports on the Indian Olympics Association’s remarks on London Olympics, which is being sponsored by Dow Chemicals. The list can be viewed at http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/releasedate/2012-02-27.html
In a file dated 3 December 2011, which was the 27th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy, there is a detailed report on every activist activity on ground, including strikes, hartal, rail-roko and media coverage. The file also mentions acts/demonstrations and government discussions that happened that day in other countries (for e.g. Scotland) which sternly criticised Dow Chemicals.
Another file dated 15 November 2011 also quotes a report in the The Independent of UK, about drug trials in India in which writer Nina Lakhani had slammed western pharmaceutical companies for funding trials that were carried on in hospitals set up for Bhopal victims that “violated international ethical standards and could have put patients at risk.”
Stratfor also thoroughly tracked activities of international organisations fighting for Bhopal victims like Students for Bhopal and International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal and kept tabs on their members and prominent campaigners.
The fund management of IDFC MF has been decent in the past, but that is just in case of a few of their schemes. The bigger issue is that to offer you tax-exempt gains, balanced funds invest in 65% of equity which makes them, well disbalanced!
IDFC Mutual fund plans to launch an open-end balanced fund—IDFC Balanced fund, according to an offer document filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The scheme would invest 40% to 75% of its assets in equities and equity-related instruments and the rest in debt and money market instruments. The performance of the scheme would be benchmarked against the Crisil Balanced fund index.
This scheme joins the 20-odd list of balanced fund schemes available in the market, giving investors just another option to choose from. And only half of them were able to beat the benchmark in the one-year period ended 31 December 2011.
Only a few equity diversified schemes of IDFC have performed well in the past. IDFC Premier Equity fund has beaten the benchmark in the last one-year, two-year, three-year and five-year period. The mid-cap fund—IDFC Sterling Equity Fund—has done well, too. However, IDFC Classic Equity Fund has underperformed its benchmark in all the respective periods.
Kenneth Andrade who is the sole manger of IDFC Sterling Fund and joint manager of IDFC Equity Fund, IDFC Premier Equity Fund and IDFC Strategic Sector Equity Fund will be the joint manager along with Suyash Choudhary for the balanced fund scheme.
Most investors find it hard to decide what the ideal asset allocation should be, and they are, therefore, often led to balanced fund schemes of mutual funds that are supposed to provide a blend of growth and capital preservation. Such funds cater to investors who are looking for a mix of income, capital appreciation and safety. The fund managers take a call on the allocation and realign the portfolio depending on their market expectations. For instance, if equity outperforms, the fund manager will book profits in stocks and put these gains into debt instruments to maintain the asset allocation. But as we can see, taking a call is not as easy as it seems. Only a few fund managers are equipped for the job. The fund management of IDFC MF has been decent in the past, but that is just in case of a few of their schemes. The bigger issue is that to offer you tax-exempt gains, balanced funds invest in 65% of equity which makes them, well disbalanced!
“Seven bank unions of nine have given strike call for stringent and effective measures to recover bad loans of banks and unilateral imposition of Khandelwal Committee recommendations,” All India Bank Employees Association general secretary CH Venkatachalam told reporters
New Delhi: As many as seven employees’ unions of banks have given a call for strike on Tuesday, demanding stringent measures to recover bad loans and opposing outsourcing of non-core activities to the private sector, reports PTI.
“Seven bank unions of nine have given strike call for stringent and effective measures to recover bad loans of banks and unilateral imposition of Khandelwal Committee recommendations,” All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam told PTI.
Besides, the unions are opposing banking sector reforms and outsourcing of jobs, he said, claiming that about 8,00,000 employees and officers affiliated with these unions will participate in the strike.
There are about 87,000 branches of public sector banks across the country. The state-owned lenders control about 75% of banking business.
Meanwhile, many banks including, SBI, Corporation Bank, State Bank of Mysore have said that if the proposed strike materialises, normal services may have to be curtailed.
The Centre-appointed Khandelwal panel had suggested a slew of measures, including outsourcing more and more non-core activities in a time-bound manner.
The panel had also recommended raising the standard of recruitment, including the methodology and content for tests, besides making the testing of computer skills mandatory for both officers and clerks.
The Khandelwal Committee on human resources (HR) had also suggested that the minimum qualification for clerks and sub-staff should be graduation and class 10, respectively.
In a statement, Mr Venkatachalam said, "The government is insensitive to the problems of the workers and no steps are being taken to address issues, like exploitation of workers, disinvestment and privatation. About 15 unions of bank employees and eight unions from insurance sector will participate in the strike."
In the Banking Sector, the following Unions have given the call for strike.
1. All India Bank Employees Association - AIBEA
2. National Confederation of Bank Employees - NCBE
3. All India Bank Officers Association - AIBOA
4. Bank Employees Federation of India - BEFI
5. Indian National Bank Employees Federation - INBEF
6. National Organisation of Bank Workers - NOBW
7. National Organisation of Bank Officers - NOBO
8. Bank Karamchari Sena Mahasangh - BKSM
9. All India Reserve Employees Association - AIRBEA
10. All India Reserve Bank Workers Federation - AIRBWF
11. All India Co-op. Bank Employees Federation - AICBEF
12. All India NABARD Employees Association - AINBEA
13. All India Regional Rural Bank Employees Association - AIRRBEA
14. All India Gramin Bank Employees Association - AIGBEA
15. All India Gramin Bank Officers Association - AIGBOA
In the Insurance Sector the following unions have given the call for Strike:
1. All India Insurance Employees Association - AIIEA
2. General Insurance Employees All India Association - GIEAIA
3. All India LIC Employees Federation - AILICEF
4. General Insurance Employees Association - South Zone - GIEA(AIIEA)
5. National Organisation of Insurance Workers -NOIW
6. National Federation of Insurance Field Workers of India - NFIFWI
7. All India National Life Insurance Federation - ALNLIF
8. Bharatiya Vima Kamgar Sena - BVKS