Nation
Was majority in parliament on FDI in retail funded by Wal-Mart asks CPI(M)

Referring to the vote in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the issue of FDI in retail, CPI-M leader Yechury said it has to be found whether Wal-Mart financed this majority too

 
New Delhi: Accusing Congress of "manufacturing majority" in Indian Parliament on teh issue of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Tuesday asked whether this was funded by American retail giant Wal-Mart, reports PTI.
 
"An independent and time-bound inquiry is necessary. It is necessary to find out whether the amount (reportedly spent by Walmart in lobbying) was spent on bribes too," senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.
 
Observing that the US media reports had said that the company had spent $25 million on lobbying with US lawmakers in 2012, he said "it has to be found whether Wal-Mart financed this majority (in Parliament) too," he said, referring to the vote in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the issue of FDI in retail.
 
In this context, he also referred to the Enron power project case in Maharashtra saying the now-bankrupt US energy firm had "spent money to 'educate' Indian officials about the company." 
 
Yechury said Walmart considered India a "very big market" as its own estimations valued the retail market here to be worth $500 billion which is set to grow to $1 trillion by 2020.
 
Walmart, he said, was looking at India at a time when US and Europe had been hit by the global recession and Britain was threatening to walk out of the European Union.
 
"This is the simple truth" about Walmart's interests in India and the company was "not interested in investing to improve infrastructure but solely to reap profits," he said.
 
The US retail chain has been "doing such activity not only in India but in a large number of other countries also, most of them developing ones. Their activities in Mexico for eight years have now come to light," the Marxist leader said, adding "our stand has been vindicated".
 
To questions on government agreeing to a probe, he said "we are open to a judicial inquiry, either by a sitting or a retired judge, or one under the Inquiry Act. CBI can be used (by the probe panel) to investigate." 
 
On Reserve Bank of India's amendments to Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) which would give legal effect to FDI in retail, Yechury said the amendments have not have been tabled in Rajya Sabha so far, though they have been placed in Lok Sabha.
 
"By not tabling it in the Upper House, the government is violating the equality of the two Houses provided in our Constitution. The government is trying to throw a subterfuge as it knows that, most likely, it will lose in Rajya Sabha", he said.
 
Observing that the amendments would "have to be laid in both Houses within 30 days", he said the last day is 13th December. "If they don't do it by then, the judicial review process, which is already on in the Supreme Court, will take over. Not tabling them will be serious subversion of our parliamentary structure."
 

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COMMENTS

Dev

5 years ago

Manmohan Singh led Government is the most corrupt since independence. He lost in a parliament election but later entered the temple of worlds largest democracy through the back door. But still Manmohan is regarded as an honest and clean man. All crony capitalists extols the virtues of this man and he unabashedly clinging to his chair.

Lok Sabha approves changes in Debt Recovery Bill amid walkout

The Bill seeks to convert any part of debt into shares of defaulting company by the asset reconstruction Company

 
New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Monday approved an amendment bill to make easier recovery of bad loans by banks amid walkout by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Left and some other parties after the government rejected their demand for referring it to the Standing Committee, reports PTI.
 
The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, which was approved by voice vote in the Lower House, seeks to convert any part of debt into shares of defaulting company by the asset reconstruction Company (ARC).
 
The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2011.
 
While the opposition demanded that the bill be referred to the Standing Committee for scrutiny, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said when the bill was introduced last year the Speaker decided against referring it to the Parliamentary committee.
 
Referring it to the committee now would delay the process further, he said, adding the then minister wanted it to be passed without delay as amendments were of technical nature.
 
"The bill was introduced in 2011 and should not be referred (to Standing Committee) now after 12 months...It would defeat the very purpose the bill. In the interest of banking sector, it is necessary to pass the bill in 2012," he said, adding the move would quicken the process of loan recovery.
 
On the issue of rising non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks, Chidambaram said the banking sector is well regulated and the gross NPA, which is around 3.5% of total loans, was not high and the situation would improve with economic recovery. 
 
Chidambaram said, "Because of stress in economy, several sectors are not doing well. So gross NPAs has risen. Efforts are to ensure that these sectors come out of difficulty. We must do some handholding to them to bring them out of stress."
 
Dismissing concerns of members that the bill was against farmers and small borrowers, he said the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) law deals with only those persons who had borrowed in excess of Rs10 lakh.
 
He said that in order to promote financial inclusion, the banks are opening branches at the rate of 20 per day.
 
Chidambaram said RBI lays down guidelines for ARCs and 64,000 cases are pending before the DRT and that is why it was necessary to limit the number of adjournments to six.
 
Ideally, he said, these cases should be disposed of in one or two hearings as these are well documented.
 
Responding to allegations of members that banks refrain from taking actions against large corporates like Kingfisher, Chidambaram said no favour is being shown to anyone and law is taking its own course.
 
He said tax authorities have taken severe action in attaching property and banks have not given any fresh loan to them.
 
On concerns of allowing 49% FDI in ARCs, Chidambaram said permission was given by RBI in 2005 for foreign investment as domestic companies did not have any experience in setting up this business.
 

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Economy & Nation Exclusive
Aam Admi Party: Dilemma of accepting current political practices?

People with dubious political antecedents are seen jumping on to the AAP bandwagon. Unless Kejriwal and team find a way to deal with such situations, some of these unguided enthusiasts or maybe even deliberately planted infiltrators can do a lot of damage to the AAP

 
The newly formed Aam Admi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal and a set of noted activists is grappling with an unusual set of teething problems. Chief among these is to find ways to get ground intelligence about people who want to be associated with them and how to prevent persons with dubious political antecedents from jumping on to the AAP bandwagon. Unless it quickly finds a way to deal with it, some of these unguided enthusiasts or maybe even deliberately planted infiltrators can do a lot of damage to the party. 
 
Consider this. On 6th December, among the sea of political posters jostling for space to wish the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar at Chaitya Bhumi in Dadar, we came across this poster (see below).  It has the look and feel of a typical political poster—the occasion, a salute to party leaders and at the bottom the ‘humble’ party worker who prints the poster and usurps public space to hang it. The difference was that this was an Aam Admi Party poster.  It was startling enough for us to tweet it and the response, was the same as our initial thoughts—isn’t it too early to join the poster plastering form of politics? AAP’s Mumbai head Mayank Gandhi then clarified that an over ‘enthusiastic’ supporter had printed the poster without permission. Clearly, this is not the last time it will happen and it needs fixing.
The very next day, activist, advocate and IPS officer Yogesh Pratap Singh issued an open letter to Arvind Kejriwal, founder of AAP. He stated, “I have been informed by my associates in Raigad, rather in anguish, that when you (Kejriwal) were speaking passionate and strong words against corruption, your dais was shared by Jayant Patil of the Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP) who controls a business empire of thousands of crores in Alibaug and is involved in several violations of laws including large-scale destruction of mangroves, much in violation of the high court order. However, somewhat like other politicians of the Congress and BJP, he too, has managed to escape from the strong arms of the law.”
We checked with well-known activist Sumaira Abdulali who has been fighting illegal sand-mining in the Alibaug area from which Jayant Patil comes. She not only confirmed it, but also told us that Mr Patil's family was among those who had attacked her. She mentioned that Jayant Patil and his sister Meenakshi Patil are also prominently into illegal sand mining and were named in police reports as being so. Ms Patil’s son was one of the people who attacked Ms Abdulali and her colleagues at Mahad . The attack on Ms Abdulali and her harassment through dubious cases had caused a lot of outrage among Mumbai activists. 
 
Fortunately, AAP is fully aware of the challenges it faces.  One of its top leaders, Dr Yogendra Yadav responded to our query to say, “We need to find ways to avoid such mistakes without becoming overly regimented. I remember that something similar happened to us on 2nd October. An MLA of dubious reputation from Haryana got on to our stage and everyone thought he was invited by the other person. It is only when he insisted on speaking that we discovered who he was.”
 
One of the ways, AAP can attempt to avoid similar situations is to engage a lot more with people who have long experience in activism and civil society matters. Although some of the experienced activists may be opinionated and may not agree to AAP’s agenda, an open discussion may lead to something fruitful for the new entrant in the political arena.
 

 

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COMMENTS

Ashish Kumar

5 years ago

I agree. It is certainly also becomes a very disheartening moment for those honest workers who in day-to-day life engage with their surrounding and have to face questions regarding such people and incidences. I know walking inside a carbon-black path without such spots is extremely hard, but that the challenge we have taken now can't miss by saying it was just an incidence. I wish AAP my best wishes and support.

M G WARRIER

5 years ago

AAP or for that matter, any political party or social organisation in India, in the present situation, may not be in a position to insulate against the kind of infiltration or misuse of platform of the kind mentioned here. What could be tried is, transparent functioning, vigilant approach to feedbacks like this and online corrective measures. It may not be teething trouble and may last longer. But let us hope, as competition from new generation banks compelled old banks to provide better services, the vision and mission being announced by AAP will give opportunity for introspection and reform for major political parties which are trying ‘coalition’ tactics on a day-to-day basis.

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