NDDB and All Its Subsidiaries, including Mother Dairy, Come under CVC: Govt
National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and all its subsidiaries, including Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetables Ltd (Mother Dairy or MDFVPL), come under the purview of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, says the government.
 
Responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balayan, minister of state for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, says NDDB is covered under the definition of public authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and its officers are covered under the ambit of CVC Act and Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act. 
 
Prof Manoj Kumar Jha, member of Parliament (MP) from Rajya Sabha, had asked questions about the applicability of RTI, CVC and PC Act on NDDB and its subsidiaries.
 
In a written reply in 7 February 2020, Dr Balayan said, "As per provisions of Section 8(2)(b) of CVC Act, 2003, this department suggested NDDB that all the subsidiary companies of NDDB should fall under the purview of CVC Act, 2003. NDDB stated that no officers or employees of MDFVPL fall under the purview of the CVC Act. The issue of applicability of CVC Act was taken up with CVC. As regards to jurisdiction of CVC over Mother Dairy, CVC agrees with the view of the Department that NDDB and all its subsidiary companies including MDFVPL come under the purview of CVC Act."
 
 
As Moneylife had pointed out, although they were government organisations, NDDB and its subsidiaries were skilled at evading queries under the RTI Act. In fact, NDDB has, so far, managed a stay on the applicability of RTI and CVC Act on Mother Dairy for almost a decade.
 
On 15 April 2011, the Central Information Commission, in an order, had asked Mother Dairy to appoint a central public information officer (CPIO) and appellate authority (AA) as per mandate of RTI Act. NDDB challenged the CIC order in the Delhi High Court. On 2 February 2015, the HC dismissed appeal filed by Mother Dairy.
 
However, the minister stated that after receipt of the government’s request, the board of directors of MDFVPL passed a resolution resolving to maintain status quo on the said issue considering, amongst others, the fact that the matter of applicability of RTI Act to MDFVPL is currently sub-judice before the Delhi High Court. "The issue of applicability of RTI Act on MDFVPL and other subsidiary companies of NDDB will be discussed in the next Board meeting of the NDDB to be held on 7 February 2020," the minister had stated in his latest reply.
 
Whether NDDB discussed the issue in its meeting is not known. That NDDB brazenly refuses to submit itself to RTI queries and the government does nothing about it, seems to suggest a tacit understanding between the two—otherwise it is hard to believe that a government organisation would be so defiant. 
 
Separately, responding to another question on 7 February 2020, the minister said, based on a request from NDDB, the department authorised the project steering committee (PSC) to relax eligibility criteria for Bapudham Milk Producer Co. 
 
According to insiders, NDDB gave a grant of Rs33 crore from National Dairy Plan (NDP)-phase-I to Bapudham Milk Producer Co even when the company was non-operational. This company was inaugurated by Radha Mohan Singh, former minister of agriculture as Motihari was his constituency. This explains why the PSC relaxed its criteria under the NDP. 
 
 
"PSC in its meeting held on 21 July 2017, approved Bapudham MPC as an end implementing agency under NDP phase I after relaxing the eligibility criteria for milk producer companies. As per the decision of the PSC, fund under NDP-I was released to the Bapudham Milk Producer Co only after it was operationalised," he says.
 
However, Dr Balayan, the minister, did not share the amount of funds provided to Bapudham Milk Producer Co by NDDB under the NDP phase-I.
 
Bapudham Milk Producer Co, located at Motihari in East Champaran district of Bihar, was operationalised on 2 October 2017.
 
Dilip Rath, chairman of NDDB, informed that, under NDP phase-I, NDDB has approved funding of Rs22 crore to the MPC for implementation of village-based milk procurement systems, says a July 2018 report from Times of India.
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    Auto Sales in January Down 14% on Low Sales in Two-wheeler, CV Categories, Says SIAM
    Automobile sales in January 2020 fell 13.83% to 1.74 million vehicles, mainly due to dwindling sales in two-wheeler and commercial vehicle (CV) categories, shows data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). 
     
    SIAM says, during January, two-wheelers registered sales of 1.34 million, down 16.06% over the same month past year, while CV sales fell by 14.04% to 75,289 units. While passenger vehicle (PV) sales continue to remain low at 263,000 units, down 6.20% from 280,000 units sold in January 2019, three-wheelers, however, recorded 12.70% growth at 60,903 units during January this year.
     
    Commenting on the January sales and production data, Rajesh Menon, director general (DG) of SIAM says, "Wholesale sales continue to dip in all segments barring the three-wheelers segment."
     
     
    On a cumulative basis, total auto sales during April 2019 to January 2020 period fell 15.55% to 18.9 million units. During the same period, passenger vehicle segment recorded a sales of 2.38 million units from 2.81 million units a year ago. 
     
    Commercial vehicles sales are most affected during the current financial year. It recorded 20.33% fall to 646,000 units in April 2019 to January 2020 compared with 811,000 units during same period a year ago. 
     
    Three-wheeler sales were marginally down to 568,000 units compared with 5.7 units in April-January 2019. Two-wheeler sales tumbled 15.83% to 1.52 million units in April-January 2020, compared with 1.81 million units in April-January 2019, the data shared by SIAM shows.
       
    In a statement, Rajan Wadhera, president of SIAM says, "Sales of vehicles continue to be stressed due to rising cost of vehicle ownership and slower growth in gross domestic product (GDP). We are hopeful that the recent announcements from the government on infrastructure and rural economy would support growth of vehicle sales going forward, especially in commercial vehicle and two-wheeler segment."  
     
    "The excellent response of consumers to Auto Expo 2020, should also help to build positive consumer sentiments and improve sales in the coming months. We as SIAM are also looking forward to early announcement of an incentive based scrappage policy in the context of the recent assurances of the government,” he added.
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    Govt set to privatise Central Electronics, invites bids by March 16
    The government is set to privatise Central Electronics Ltd, a CPSE under the Department of Science and Technology, by selling its 100% stake with management control and has invited the Expression of Interest for the same by March 16.
     
    The selected bidder will be required to lock in its shares for a period of three years during which it cannot undertake the sale of its stake in CEL, the PIM (Preliminary Information Memorandum) said.
     
    "The government of India has 'in-principle' decided to disinvest 100 per cent of its equity shareholding in CEL (which is equivalent to 100 per cent of the total paid up equity share capital of CEL) through Strategic Disinvestment with transfer of management control (Strategic Disinvestment or Transaction)," DIPAM, the Disinvestment Department, said.
     
    The process for the transaction has been divided into two stages, namely, Stage I and Stage II.
     
    After BPCL and Air India, this is yet another CPSE which government is slated to privatise if it gets offers from bidders.
     
    The government has set a challenging target of Rs 2.1 lakh crore disinvestment proceeds from CPSE sell-offs and IPOs, OFSs (Offer for sale) in the next fiscal and it going out all guns blazing to meet that target after revising this fiscal target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore to Rs 65,000 crore.
     
    The Interested Bidders (which can also include employees of CEL) must have a minimum net worth of Rs 50 crore as on March 2019. DIPAM has released complete invitation Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) of CEL. Resurgent India Limited is the advisor to the Transaction.
     
    CEL is a pioneer in the country in the field of Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) with the distinction of having developed India's first Solar cell in 1977 and first Solar panel in 1978 as well as commissioning India's first solar plant in 1992.
     
    More recently, it has developed and manufactured the first crystalline flexible solar panel especially for use on the passenger train roofs in 2015.
     
    Its solar products have been qualified to International Standards IEC 61215/61730. CEL is further working on development of a range of new and upgraded products for signaling and telecommunication in the railway sector.
     
    In the SWOT analysis of the CPSE, DIPAM has stated under weakness that "the company has weak financial loss due to past losses, high manufacturing cost and non payment of dues by state nodal agencies affecting the financial position of the company".
     
    The CPSE has adequate land for expansion, the SWOT analysis said adding "the CPSE faces threat of dumping of solar cells at very low rates which makes solar PV manufacturing industry unviable".
     
    Entry of new players in the market for solar products and railway signalling systems also is cited as a threat.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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