Citizens' Issues
YV Reddy to head 14th Finance Commission set up to look into pricing of utilities

The Commission would also look into the "need for insulating the pricing of public utility services like drinking water, irrigation, power and public transport from policy fluctuations through statutory provisions

New Delhi: The Indian government on Wednesday constituted the 14th Finance Commission under the Chairmanship of YV Reddy, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which among other things, will suggest steps for pricing of public utilities like electricity and water in an independent manner, reports PTI.


Announcing the formation of the Commission, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said it will look into issues like disinvestment, GST compensation, sale of non-priority PSUs and subsidies.


The other members of the Commission, which will submit its report by 31 October 2014, include Former Finance Secretary Sushma Nath, NIPFP Director M Govinda Rao, Planning Commission Member Abhijit Sen and Former Acting Chairman of National Statistical Commission Sudipto Mundle.


The recommendations of the Commission, set up under the provisions of the Constitution on sharing of tax proceeds between the Union and States, will apply for the period beginning 1 April 2015.


Among other things, the Commission would look into the "need for insulating the pricing of public utility services like drinking water, irrigation, power and public transport from policy fluctuations through statutory provisions".


Asked whether the government is giving a signal for price hike of public utilities, Chidambaram said: "We are not giving any signal. We are only highlighting matters (relating to) the management of nation's finances over the five year period from 2015 ... These are matters which cannot be ducked or shrugged away. We have to face these matters".


Finance Commission is set up every five years to suggest principles governing the distribution of tax proceeds among Centre, States and local bodies..


The Commission, Chidambaram said, would review the state of finances, deficit and debt levels of the Centre and states, keeping in view, in particular, the fiscal consolidation roadmap recommended by the 13th Finance Commission.


It would suggest measures for maintaining a stable and sustainable fiscal environment consistent with equitable growth including suggestions to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management Acts.


With regard to debt-stressed states, the Commission has been asked to suggest steps for augmenting revenues of states which are lagging.


"The taxation efforts of the Central government and each state government and the potential for additional resource mobilisation to improve the tax-Gross Domestic Product ratio in the case of the Union and tax-Gross State Domestic Product ratio in the case of the States" would also be part of the recommendations of the Finance Commission.


Besides, it would suggest the level of subsidies that would be essential for sustainable and inclusive growth and sharing of burden between the Centre and states.


Among other things, the Commission has also been asked to review the non-salary expenditure of states and recommend steps for upkeep of capital asset.


The need for making the public sector enterprises competitive and market oriented, listing and disinvestment, and relinquishing of non-priority enterprises would form part of the recommendation.


No objection from the girl's family for naming new anti-rape law after her

Home Ministry officials, however said the IPC and the CrPC do not have a provision for naming any law after an individual

New Delhi: The revised anti-rape law, which is expected to be stringent and facilitate speedier justice, is unlikely to be named after the Delhi gang-rape victim as suggested by some quarters, reports PTI.


The new law will be framed after Justice Verma Committee, which was constituted to suggest the possible amendments of criminal law to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment to criminals in cases of sexual assault against women, submits its report by the end of January.


Home Ministry officials said the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) do not have a provision for naming any law after an individual.


"No law has been named after any person in India. Neither the IPC nor the CrPC provides for that. One has to see the case in national perspective. The issue has wide repercussion while registering offences. This girl has been a catalyst to the changes in the anti-rape law but naming is not an option," an official of said.


Besides others, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor had said yesterday the revised anti-rape legislation should be named after the victim if her parents do not have objection.


The Justice Verma Committee is reviewing criminal law to punish juvenile in sexual assault cases and considering whether the existing law should be amended or to bring a fresh one.


"The Women and Child Development Ministry is the nodal Ministry. They are also considering the need to plug loopholes in sexual assault law," the official said.


Meanwhile, the Home Ministry inquiry into the controversy over allegations and counter-allegations by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar on recording the gang-rape victim's statement before her death has not been completed yet.


"We expect an early closure of the probe. But no time line can be put to the process," the official said.


SC to hear PILs on women's safety and speedy trial of rape cases

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to hear on Thursday the PIL, filed by retired woman lady IAS officer Promilla Shanker for setting up fast track courts across the country for speedy trial of rape cases

New Delhi: Agreeing to examine the issue of proper safety to women and stopping gender discrimination, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre and all states and also decided to hear another plea for creating fast-track courts for speedy trial of all rape cases, reports PTI.


A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir will hear tomorrow a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking establishment of fast-track courts for trial of rape cases and for suspension of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) who have been charge-sheeted for crime against women.


Meanwhile, another bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the Centre and all the states and sought their responses to another PIL by advocate Mukul Kumar, seeking safety measures for women.


Kumar, in his PIL, demanded creation of women police stations in every town to investigate complaints of rape and sexual assault against women and implementation of UN convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.


The court asked the Centre and the states to file their replies within four weeks.


In the backdrop of the nation-wide outrage over 16th December brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, who died in a Singapore hospital on 29th December, a bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to hear tomorrow the PIL, filed by a retired woman lady IAS officer Promilla Shanker for setting up fast track courts across the country for speedy trial of rape cases.


Promilla in her petition also demanded that cases of rape and crime against women and children be investigated by lady police officials and trial be also conducted by lady judges.


Promilla, in her petition, submitted that the apex court should intervene in the issue as one woman is raped every 40 minutes in the country and most of them remain unregistered.


"As per reports one woman is raped every 40 minutes in different parts of the country despite 90 percent of the cases remaining unregistered. After the ghastly gang rape incidence, more than 61 women and children are missing in Delhi and 9,000 young girls are reported to be victim of human trafficking and sex trade in Chhattisgarh which has gone unnoticed in the present national debate," the petition said.


"Punitive actions are being taken only after incidents were reported by media, but no preventive, reformatory or systematic improvements are being made by governments. People are increasingly getting frustrated by absence of deterrent effect of law on criminals and innocent people are suffering due to misuse of police power at behest of political system," she said.


She submitted that no effort is being made to address the deep-rooted problem on implementation of existing laws and empowerment of civil and judicial system.


The other petitioner, Kumar submitted that the plight of women in the country exposes the shortcomings that have beset the laws and they have to be removed.


"It is undisputed that women find the outside atmosphere increasingly unsafe. Even travelling on public transport is fraught with risks too, in addition to general discomfort.


Atrocities against women cannot be interpreted as just isolated instances of failing law and order," he said in his petition.


"In spite of international agreements, the denial of women’s basic human rights is persistent and widespread. As per a study, conducted by the Centre for Social Research (CSR), 18 women were tortured every hour in some way or the other across the country," the petition said.


He also submitted that in cases of honour killings, the concerned panchayat should be penalised and concerned persons be tried for murder charges.



Vaibhav Dhoka

5 years ago

In fact Supreme court should initiate PIL on Judicial functioning and reforms which is Need of hour.Women safety needs priority but every field in justice system NEEDS reform keeping in mind changes social and economic scenario.


prat mahesh

In Reply to Vaibhav Dhoka 5 years ago

I agree. In fact this is a good article by the first lady Additional Solicitor General, Indira Jaisingh.

She was also the India rep on CEDAW which is referred to in this PIL.
CEDAW is the only United Nations human rights treaty that addresses issues related to sex and gender discrimination. On 18 December 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It entered into force as an international treaty on 3 September 1981 and over 100 hundred nations have agreed to be bound by its provisions. India became a signatory in 1993.

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