Infra Boost!Land Acquisition Bill Cleared !Attempt To Fire Up The Economy!
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Infra Boost!Land Acquisition Bill cleared !Attempt to fire up the economy!

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Infra Boost!Speedy clearance to projects of Rs 1,000 crore or above,an attempt to fire up the economy!Land Acquisition Bill  cleared !
Thus, the monopolistic aggression against the nature and nature associated indigenous aborigin communities going to be intensified. Digital citizenship would be the greatest weapon to rob the people of India. The illegal unconstitutional UID Project has become topmost priority of the government and the political parties affiliated to the ruling hegemony have never opposed it. In fact, the hegemony is united rock solid in the ethnic cleansing drive.
Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams, Chapter:829
Palash Biswas

Mobile: 919903717833

Skype ID: palash.biswas44


Infra boost sets the mood of promoter builder raj!So, finally a good news for the infrastructure sector, which has really faced the trouble of policy paralysis, slow approvals, no certainty as far as approvals are concerned are concerned.The UPA has been positioning two big ticket ideas. One is on the infrastructure sector and the other on cash transfer scheme through the Aadhar cards.

Thus, the monopolistic aggression against the nature and nature associated indigenous aborigin communities going to be intensified. Digital citizenship would be the greatest weapon to rob the people of India. The illegal unconstitutional UID Project has become topmost priority of the government and the political parties affiliated to the ruling hegemony have never opposed it. In fact, the hegemony is united rock solid in the ethnic cleansing drive.

The Union Cabinet today cleared the proposal to set up Cabinet Committee on Investment to expedite approvals to projects of Rs 1,000 crore or above, in an attempt to fire up the economy. However,Union Cabinet on Thursday deferred decision on setting up National Investment Board (NIB) after prime minister Manmohan Singh called for some more consultations to resolve the remaining inter-ministerial differences. But the controversial Land Acquisition Bill was today cleared by the Union Cabinet, making mandatory the consent of 80 per cent of people whose land is taken for private projects. In the case of Public-Private Partnership projects, the bill makes mandatory obtaining of consent of 70 per cent of the people whose land will be for acquired. The bill was given the go-ahead at the Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Manmonan Singh. The bill was finalised by the Rural Development Ministry incorporating the suggestion of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who had asked the government to take the consent from 80 per cent land owners for purchase of land for the purpose of setting up industries and PPP projects. Sources had said that Gandhi was not in favour of the Group of Ministers' proposal that the consent of two-thirds of "land losers" (from whom land would be purchased) was enough for acquiring land for industries and PPP projects. The GoM had suggested that the consent clause be kept at 67 per cent for PPP projects and private projects. The government had constituted the GoM after some ministers voiced strong reservations against certain provisions of the bill at the Cabinet meeting. Minister of State for Rural Development Lalchand Kataria had yesterday told the Rajya Sabha that the government intends to introduce the official amendments to the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 in the Lok Sabha in the winter session.

Kataria had also told the reporters that the bill has a provision for return of the unutilised land.

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 had no provision for return of the unutilised land.

The committee to fast-track nod to mega projects will be headed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It has the power to expedite big infrastructure projects of investment worth Rs 1000 crore and above.

The committee will identify projects in notified sectors and prescribe time limits for approvals. However, the constitution to be decided by the PM will also project monitoring in notified sectors and review implementation of delayed projects.

If a ministry has to give approval there will be a 30 day window and if the ministry does not give some sort of a response by that point in time, it will then be taken over by the Cabinet Committee on Investment to take forward. This is likely to bring in some degree of predictability when it comes to the large degree of infrastructure proposals and large big ticket infrastructure investments.

Key takeaways

    PM to head Cabinet Committee on Investment
    Cabinet investment panel to fast-track nod to mega projs
    All infra ministries in Cabinet Committee on Investment
    Companies will not be allowed to go to Cabinet Committee on Investment
    Cabinet Committee on Investment to help with inter-ministerial difference
    To expedite big infra projects
    Power to expedite invst of  Rs 1,000 cr & above
    Will simplify rules followed by ministries
    To be headed by Prime Minister
    To identify projects in notified sectors
    To prescribe time limits for approvals
    Constitution to be decided by PM
    Project monitoring in notified sectors
    Review implementation of delayed projs

Amid controversy over reports that Walmart spent nearly Rs125 crore for lobbying with lawmakers to get access to Indian market, the US has said the global retail giant did not violate any American law as far as the matter is concerned.

Meanwhile,India would enhance relations with energy exporting countries and strategise with international markets to meet its growing energy needs, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on means , India has to appease US corporate interests first.

"On the US side, I don't have any reason to believe that we have a violation of US law here. With regard to the Indian side, I'll refer you to them," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said yesterday, categorically dismissing allegations by Indian opposition parties in this regard.

Nuland was responding to questions on charges by opposition parties in India that Walmart spent huge sums in four years in lobbying before the US Congress, including on those related to enhanced market access for investment in India.

"We've seen these press reports. With regard to lobbying in the US, I think you know that the Lobby Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 requires lobbyists for any company or organisation to disclose its activities in a periodic report to Congress," she said.

"So the report which some of these allegations have cited is a regularly required report for the US Government as part of our open government transparency in governance requirements," Nuland said.

Meanwhile, Walmart has also denied of being involved in any wrongdoing.

"These allegations are entirely false. In accordance with US law, American companies are required to disclose issues and expenditures associated with lobbying on a quarterly basis. The expenditures are a compilation of expenses associated with US federal lobbying contacts and include staffing cost, association dues and payments made to consultants, all in the US," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the company had "held discussions" with US officials about a range of "trade and investment issues" that impact its businesses in the US and worldwide, and disclosed this in accordance with the law.

The high-powered panel for according speedy clearance to infrastructure projects was initially mooted by Finance Minister P Chidamabram. He had suggested that the body be called National Investment Board (NIB).The Cabinet at its meeting today, however, renamed the body as Cabinet Committee on Investment. The panel will have ministers in charge of infrastructure sectors as its members.

Chidambaram's proposal had evoked sharp criticism from the Environment Ministry which had argued that the NIB would dilute its powers to take care of green concerns.

"All the concerns of the Environment Ministry have been addressed," the source said, adding that the committee would fast track and coordinate mega projects.

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had earlier written to the Prime Minister opposing any move to bypass the required green clearances for mega projects.

She had said that the proposal seems to have been mooted only for the benefit of large firms and investors, while having no provision for redressing the concerns of affected people.

Recently Chidambaram had said that there were over 100 projects, each involving investment of Rs 1,000 crore or more, that have been delayed due to various reasons.

"The proposal to set up Cabinet Committee on Investment, headed by Prime Minister, to fast-track mega projects of over Rs 1,000 crore was cleared," a source said.

Recently Chidambaram had said that there were over 100 projects, each involving investment of Rs 1,000 crore or more, that have been delayed due to various reasons.

"Our problem is not conceptualising projects. Our problem lies in getting numerous clearances and getting the project off the ground within a reasonable time," he had said.

Swedish businessman and former chief executive of International Finance Corporation Lars Thunell on Monday said the country should shed its obsession with mega projects and instead concentrate on having a multiple smaller ones, which can get us the same impact.

"Politicians have a tendency of liking mega projects. Instead, you should have a string of smaller projects," Thunnel, who is respected for his view on development finance, said delivering a lecture organised by Exim Bank here.

Thunell compared having smaller projects with keeping one's eggs in multiple baskets and said even if half of them fructify, the impact is very good, whereas if a single mega project fails to take off, as is the case with many projects here, all efforts go vain.

Later, speaking to reporters, he also congratulated an idea like the NIB (National Investment Board) saying it will help expedite bigger projects through the single window functioning it would offer.

Calling the ongoing financial turmoil as basically a challenge for creating jobs, Thunell called on leaders to help generate jobs by encouraging small businesses and concentrate on getting them into the formal, organised sector.

Given the state of sovereign finances, he said public private partnerships are the future wherein the government carries out its developmental agenda with the the help of private capital.

When asked about the controversy surrounding the GMR-Maldives over the Male airport, he said he would need to wait for the legal process to be over.

He also asked Indian businesses to concentrate on the African continent, saying the region, long neglected, is abound with opportunities now and India constitutes for only 6 percent of African trade.

The NIB is envisaged as body that is adequately empowered to clear large infrastructure projects of over Rs 1,000 crore delayed in the government machinery. Finance minister P Chidambaram had mooted the idea of the body at the meeting of the full planning commission in mid-September.The Economic Times reports.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also deferred the fertiliser ministry's much-awaited new Urea Investment Policy. The policy was aimed at incentivising fertiliser firms setting up new plants and expanding existing capacity attracting an investment of over Rs 40,000 crore.

It was decided that more consultations should be held on the issue, a person privy to the developments said. The proposal could be taken up by the Cabinet next week. The environment ministry had expressed its reservations over the body, fearing that the body would dilute the ministry's powers.

Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan had even written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that she did not favour any such move to do away with environmental clearances for mega projects.

There are nearly 90 projects in the country of over Rs 1,000 crore stuck with various ministries. "Our problem is not conceptualising projects. Our problem lies in getting numerous clearances and getting the project off the ground within a reasonable time," Chidambaram had said last week in Lok Sabha.

Chidambaram seeks BJP help for key reforms legislations

Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that he has discussed five key economic reforms legislations with BJP leaders and expects them to be passed by Parliament in the current session.

"I have discussed all five economic reforms bills with two leaders of opposition (Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley). They understand there is an urgent need. I have offered to meet them again. I sincerely hope that principal opposition party would cooperate," he told reporters here.

"I hope all of them (economic reforms bills) will be passed," he said, adding, that whosoever is in the government has to get these legislations enacted.

The key economic reform Bill which are pending before Parliament including Banking Laws Amendment Bill, Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill.

Two bills -- Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011, and Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011,-- have already been passed in the Lok Sabha this session.

"I have got two passed in the Lok Sabha. One has gone to the Rajya Sabha. There are three more," Chidambaram said.

The discussion on Banking Reforms Bill could not be taken up in the Lok Sabha following protest by opposition which wanted the Bill to be referred back to the Standing Committee saying a significant clause has been added to it.

The Minister ruled out the possibility of referring it to the Standing Committee on Finance again saying, "No. There is only one clause. I have used Rule 80".

Chidambaram said that suggestions to include a new provision had come from the standing committee on food and consumer affairs.

On the possibility of dropping the clause from the Banking Bill, Chidambaram said, "But why? I have accepted another Standing Committee (on Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry) recommendation. There is only one clause".

The Clause, which is being objected to by the Opposition, seeks to allows banks to participate in commodity futures trading.

Of the other key reforms legislations, the Insurance Bill seeks to raise the FDI cap in the sector to 49 per cent, from the existing 26 per cent.

"I told them (Opposition) let me pass the Banking Bill and I would come back to you over the weekend and discuss the Insurance Bill", he said.

Besides, the Pension Bill also proposes to allow FDI in the sector to the extent it is proposed in Insurance Bill, which is 49 per cent.

As for the MFI Bill, it seeks to empower the Reserve Bank of India to regulate the micro-finance industry and fix interest rates ceiling on loans to be provided by lenders.

Cabinet okays 30% cut in spectrum reserve price for 4 circles

The Cabinet today approved a 30 per cent cut in the reserve price for sale of mobile phone spectrum in four zones that went unsold in the recent damp-squib auction.

Airwaves in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan found no takers in last months auction as bidders found the prices too high.

Subsequently, a ministerial panel recommended a 30 per cent cut in the base or reserve price for spectrum in 1,800 mega-Hertz (MHz) band in the four circles.

The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accepted the EGoM recommendation and approved auction of airwaves in the four zones at 30 per cent lower price, one of the participants said.

The reserve price for last month's sale per block in Delhi was Rs 693.06 crore, while the same for Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan was fixed at Rs 678.45 crore, Rs 330.12 crore and Rs 67.08 crore respectively.

The Cabinet also gave its go ahead for auctioning spectrum in 900 MHz band in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata simultaneously with the sale of radiowaves in 1800 Mhz in these four circles.

Reacting to the development, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said there needs to be transparency in how the reserve price is arrived at.

"Participating is not the problem. All our operators by and large especially when 900MHz is involved will be interested. The question is what is the right price, "COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said.

The last 2G mobile phone spectrum auction was virtually a flop as government managed to garner bids worth just Rs 9,407 crore as against a minimum target of Rs 28,000 crore.

Compared to the 3G auction, which lasted 35 days and got Rs 67,719 crore, the last round of 2G spectrum auction held in November lasted just two days.

Banks to remain stressed next year too: Fitch

Maintaining negative outlook on the country's banking sector, Fitch Ratings today said gross bad assets of domestic banks could reach 4.2 per cent of advances this fiscal and the asset quality could remain stressed over the next year.

"There is a risk that our initial gross NPA ratio forecast of 3.75 per cent could rise to 4.2 per cent this fiscal due to a more protracted downturn, the impact of which should be felt over the next three-four quarters," Fitch said in a report.

"The stress is not yet completely visible in the reported NPAs, but is clear in the performing restructured loans," it added.

On the negative outlook for the sector, Fitch said it is closely aligned with those of the sovereign, and could be affected by any change in the sovereign rating/outlook.

On Monday, the world's largest rating agency S&P warned of a one-in-three chance of a sovereign downgrade within the next 24 months, citing bloated government finances and poor chances of an improvement in revenue generation and thus narrowing the fiscal gap, which is projected to touch 5.5 per cent this year.

Fitch also said that it believes the slowdown would be more protracted than previously envisaged, compounded by global economic weakness and domestic concerns such as a weak fiscal position and persistent inflation. It further noted that the Q2 GDP numbers are at their lowest in seven years.

About the banking system worries, it said the rising risks come primarily from concentrated exposure of banks to the infrastructure sector which could prove to be a long term challenge if structural bottlenecks are not cleared swiftly.

"The risk of asset quality deterioration is higher for medium-sized banks and is weakening their credit profiles," said the report.

The restructured assets problem is also partly cyclical, which should be largely alleviated by an economic recovery, as in previous years. However, Fitch believes that the level of slippages from restructured assets could be higher as the level of stress is higher this time around.

On the flurry of reform measures in the recent months, it said though these steps may provide the much-needed boost to investor sentiment, timely implementation is critical to put the economy back on a recovery path.

On the positive side, the report notes that the core capital of the banks is largely protected.

"The government's commitment to a minimum 8 per cent Tier 1 capital for its banks underpins the capital position of the overall banking system. The capital of most large banks is well protected, as profit and general reserves should absorb stressed credit costs," the report said.

Government notifies new drug pricing policy

The government on Thursday said the new drug policy which aims at bringing more medicines under price control has been notified.

"The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy (NPPP-2012) approved by the Cabinet on November 22, 2012 has been notified on December 7, 2012," Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

"Based on the same a new DPCO (Drugs Price Control Order) shall be prepared, notified," he added.

Price control over drugs was first introduced in the country in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression by Drugs (Display of Prices) Order 1962 and the Drugs (Control of Prices) Order 1963.

The outgoing drug policy of 1994, which covers 74 bulk drugs, was implemented through Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO) 1995.

The NPPP-2012, which was cleared by the government last month, would bring 348 essential drugs under price control.

In another reply, Jena said the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) has requested the Department of Pharmaceuticals for amendment in 'form IV' of DPCO, 1995, "which will enable them to seek additional information from the importers of drugs than what is prescribed under DPCO, 1995."

CCEA approves urea investment policy

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved a urea investment policy that is likely to incentivise fertiliser firms setting up new plants and expanding existing capacity.

India imports over 30% of urea requirement and the policy aims at reducing that. But, it is unlikely to have any impact on existing prices.

"The new urea investment policy has been cleared," sources said after the CCEA meeting in Delhi.

The policy, which aims to attract fresh investment of about Rs35,000 crore to increase domestic production by 8 million tonne, has been cleared as the 2008 urea investment policy failed to attract the much needed funds.

Under the new policy, the government will give 12-20% post-tax return on fresh capital infused by manufacturers for setting up of new plants as well as for expansion and the revamp of the existing ones.

To ensure this return, the government would cover the entire cost of the natural gas, which is main feedstock of urea and accounts 80% of the cost.

The government controls the urea sector and has fixed the MRP at Rs5,360 per tonne. The difference between the MRP and cost of production is given as subsidy to manufacturers.

For determining the cost of production of new plants to be set up after the policy comes into effect, the government has set a floor and ceiling price of urea based on the price of natural gas plus 12-20% equity returns.

The new investment policy was approved by the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on February 24.

However, sources said the ministry made some changes in the draft policy after inter-ministerial consultation. It proposed covering entire cost of natural gas, while the GoM had favoured providing subsidy on gas price within the range of USD 6.5-14 mmBtu.

The country produces 22 million tonnes of urea, against the requirement of 32 million tonnes.

CREDAI urges MPs to consider real estate reforms

Real estate developers' association, CREDAI on Monday urged lawmakers to consider reforms in the real estate sector to boost growth.

In a letter to MPs, Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) national president Lalit Kumar Jain said: "Though the government is moving in right direction with bold reforms agenda, much more can be achieved without any controversy or incurring additional cost just by focusing on the housing sector."

He has also mentioned a 10-point action plan drawn up by Credai to rejuvenate the sector.

"This action plan will help the economy to grow at much faster rate since realty contributes to the growth of over 200 other industries. Real estate is highly capital and labour intensive which makes it the largest employer after agriculture," Jain said.

The association added that there are some shortcomings in the proposed Land Acquisition and Real Estate Regulatory Bills which are likely to be moved in the ongoing session of Parliament.

"The bills appears to be one-sided as they seek to punish errant developers while ignoring defaulting buyers and corrupt officials. (While provisions) in the Land Acquisition Bill may make housing costlier," the letter said.

Indian cos invest USD 2.31 billion overseas in November

Overseas direct investment by Indian companies rose by 13.6 per cent over the previous month to USD 2.31 billion in November, data from the Reserve Bank showed. Indian companies had invested USD 2.03 billion in October. A total of 430 deals were carried out by the Indian companies in November to carry out the outward foreign direct investment during the month, the RBI data showed.

Infosys Ltd , Videocon Oil Ventures, REI Agri and Bharti Airtel were among the major investors in terms of outward FDI. Infosys Ltd invested USD 207.14 million in its wholly owned subsidiary Lodestone Holding AG in Switzerland which is engaged in financial, insurance and real estate services. Videocon Oil Ventures invested USD 127 million in its wholly owned subsidiary Videocon Hydrocarbons Holdings in Cayman Islands. The company is into agriculture and mining business.

REI Agri invested USD 95.19 million in its wholly owned unit based in United Arab Emirates which is into manufacturing business. Bharti Airtel invested USD 80 million in its wholly owned unit Bharti Airtel International (Mauritius) which is engaged in transport, storage and communication services.

Govt brings quota bill in Rajya Sabha, Mayawati backs it

It was a day of high drama in Parliament as the quota bill was introduced and discussed in the Rajya Sabha amid loud protests and adjournments. Creating chaos in the House over the issue was the Samajwadi Party (SP), which went on to stage a walkout over the issue, even as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati gave a strong push to the bill, seeking passage of the amendments.

During the proceeding of the House, MPs from the Samajwadi Party rushed to the well of the House, chanting slogans and demanding the withdrawal of the bill. Following this, there were noisy scenes in the Upper House of Parliament. The situation turned worse and the Speaker had to even evict one Samajwadi Party MP while the party stages a walkout as the bill was taken up for discussion.

However, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BSP chief Mayawati pushed for the bill while addressing the House. Making a strong case for the bill, she said that according to data, people from the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) communities needed reservation in promotions in government services. It is being seen as a quid pro quo for Mayawati's support to the government on the vote on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail in the Rajya Sabha.

Mayawati said, "We are in favour of promotion for backward classes. The amendment is applicable for just SC/ST section thus OBC cannot be included under it." The BSP chief further pointed that her party was never opposed to quota in promotion to those from the backward classes and was also in favour of giving reservation to people from the upper caste who are economically weak.

Speaking about the issue outside Parliament, Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav said that party would continue to protest as it wanted the bill to withdrawn. He alleged that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was working under the pressure of the BSP.

He said, "We will continue to protest, want this bill to be withdrawn. The government is acting under the pressure of the BSP...we will participate in the discussion and oppose the bill." The SP leader likened the situation inside the House to that of the epic Mahabharata where "everyone sat witnessing injustice".

While there was uproar in the Rajya Sabha over the quota bill, as many as 18 lakh government employees and officers went on a flash strike with immediate effect to protest against the introduction of it in Parliament. The emergency services were, however, exempted from the strike. Demonstrations were also planned across the state.

The voting on the quota bill is likely to take place in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Referring to the voting, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said, "It has been decided that we will pass the quota bill on Monday."

The CPM also supported the quota bill in Parliament asking the Samajwadi Party to not disrupt the House on the issue. The CPM said it supported constitutional amendments to this effect and suggested creation of "supernumerary post" to enable officers get their due.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to move two amendments to the bill.

Earlier on Thursday, moving the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said it was important in the backdrop of backwardness of the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes and their inadequate representation in government jobs.

With an aim of garnering maximum support, government incorporated some crucial elements like 22 per cent cap on promotions for which consideration of Annual Confidential Report (ACR) will be crucial.

The bill, which is strongly opposed by Samajwadi Party, got conditional support from the BJP and clear cut backing from some other parties like the BSP, the CPI-M, the CPI, the Trinamool Congress and the JD(U). However, the Shiv Sena did not support the bill. Voting on the bill, which will require two-third support for its passage, is expected to take place on Monday.

Land bill highly anti-farmer, anti-industry: NAC

NC Saxena, member, National Advisory Council and Rajeev Talwar, executive director, DLF both discuss about the land acquisition bill and CCI which received cabinet's nod and the implication of the nod on industry, farmers and economy at large.
NC Saxena, member, National Advisory Council and Rajeev Talwar, executive director, DLF both discuss about the land acquisition bill and CCI which received cabinet's nod and the implication of the nod on industry, farmers and economy at large.  

Below is the edited transcr
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