Tag Archives: Manmohan Singh

Economy in doldrums, Manmohan takes nation back to 1990s

http://www.niticentral.com/2013/06/23/economy-in-doldrums-manmohan-takes-nation-back-to-1990s-94076.html

By Virendra Kapoor on June 23, 2013

 

 

Economy in doldrums, Manmohan takes nation back to 1990s

If you feel a sense of déjà vu, you are not alone. There are lots of Indians who might be forgiven for thinking they are back in the 1990s. Internet, invariably is the first to reflect the popular mood. A satirical message that has gone viral on the web reads:

GDP back at five percent; Dalmiya back in BCCI; Murthy back in Infosys; Nawaz Sharif back in Pakistan; Madhuri back in Bollywood; Sanjay Dutt back in jail.

Yeah, the clock seems to have been moved back, what with the rupee sinking and the foreign exchange reserves again looking vulnerable.

Plunging rupee can be revived by opening up markets

A vital part of the remedy for the 1990s’ crisis that was pressed on Narasimha Rao by the IMF-World Bank combine was to appoint a professional as Finance Minister. IG Patel said no. Manmohan Singh said yes. Much water — one may add dirty despite hundreds of crores spent by Shiela Dixit — has flown down the Yamuna bridge since those days when India had to pledge its gold with the Bank of England to tide over the forex crisis.

Rao is no longer around and the Congress leadership seems hellbent on obliterating his memory. Singh has since become Prime Minister, albeit a nominated one. Ironically, what he had managed to achieve in the 1990s under the stewardship of Rao, Singh has failed to achieve a fraction of that success under the aegis of his boss Sonia Gandhi. Blaming global factors for the economic woes is an old ploy but it fools no one. The economic mess is largely of the UPA’s own making.

Though this column is not about the state of the economy, but nonetheless, a few facts ought to alert readers about the gravity of the situation. Rupee was 45 to a dollar in early 2004. This past week it touched 60 to a dollar. That is progress for UPA. Forex reserves are about $290 billion alright, but much of it is short-term debt which can be recalled at short notice. And the trade deficit is a whopping 5.1 per cent of the GDP thanks to policy inaction and wrong-headedness on the export front. The outright ban by the Apex Court on iron ore exports following large-scale illegal mining added to the current account woes.

Admittedly, the latest run on the currency was triggered by the US Fed which is tamping down on quantity easing. But, surely, it cannot be anyone’s case that the Americans should continue to pour liquidity into the global markets so that the Indian currency does not come under pressure. The Fed took that decision following the slow but certain revival of the American economy.

UPA’s ‘success’ is just smoke and mirrors

On the other hand, the rupee has been depreciating long before the Fed announcement. And the reason is the gross neglect and mismanagement of the economy. A number of economic pundits, in fact, argue that the rupee is even now overvalued and should depreciate at least seven to eight per cent more. In other words, the intrinsic value of the rupee is about 65 to a dollar. And you know what will be the fall-out of the depreciated rupee? More hardships for the aam admi. Petrol, diesel, vegetables et al will become costlier.

Yet, all that the Government does is field its policy wonks before the media to deny the seriousness of the crisis. From P Chidambaram to his chief economic adviser, Raghuram Rajan, and that compulsive publicity hog, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, everyone seems to be engaged in talking up the rupee. If only it was so easy! Markets are a better judge of the health of the economy. When the Sensex falls more than five hundred points in a single day, it constitutes a huge vote of no-confidence in the Government’s ability to set things right.

With less than a year left before the next Parliamentary poll, the Government is hardly in a position to take tough decisions. Even if it musters the numbers in the Lok Sabha, no single legislative measure is likely to reverse the economic slide. Political drift and policy paralysis these past five years has taken a huge toll on the economy. Only a new Government with an assured majority can put the economy back on the growth path.

Where our money went wrong

Till then, the rupee would remain under pressure, the share markets would move in a narrow band, and the aam admi will have to suffer double-digit consumer inflation. The truth is the economist Manmohan Singh as PM is no patch on the economist Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister. But then you don’t have to be a leader in your own right to be a successful FM.

Advertisements

Srinagar: 8 jawans killed in Hizb strike ahead of PM’s visit Last updated on: June 24, 2013 19:58 IST

http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-srinagar-5-jawans-killed-in-hizb-strike-ahead-of-pms-visit/20130624.htm

Army personnel talking positions after a militant strike on a convoy outside Srinagar on Monday

Eight army soldiers were killed and 11 others wounded, 3 of them critically, in a militant strike on the Srinagar Muzaffarabad road Monday afternoon.

Soon after militants also struck at Barzalla, a posh uptown locality on the airport road, lobbing a grenade and opening fire at the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force convoy injuring an officer.

The twin attacks come a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are due to arrive in the state for a two-day visit.

Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attack. A person Baliguddin, identifying himself as spokesperson of the outfit, called up a local news agency and said several squads have been formed and similar attacks will be carried out in the city in the future as well.

Please click NEXT to read further…

Image: Army personnel running for cover after a militant strike on a convoy outside Srinagar on Monday
Photographs: Umar Ganie

 

The security had been beefed up across the summer capital Srinagar since Sunday following the Saturday’s attack in the busy business centre of Hari Singh High Street in which two cops were gunned down.

A senior police officer said militants ambushed the Baramulla bound convoy on the highway near Hyderpora Monday afternoon, firing indiscriminately from automatic weapons.

“Four army soldiers were killed on the spot and 13 others were injured who were evacuated to hospital for treatment. Another trooper succumbed in the hospital. Condition of some of the injured is critical,” the officer said.

One of the vehicles in the convoy which was targeted bore bullet marks with the windshield having been smashed in the attack.

Heavy army, paramilitary CRPF and police reinforcements were moved in the area which was immediately surrounded. Heavy firing was reported from the area.

Massive searches were on when reports last came in. Traffic on the highway was disrupted due to the attack.

Militants also struck in the Barzalla locality of the capital city where they lobbed a grenade and opened fire injuring a sub-inspector of the CRPF. He was immediately shifted to SMHS hospital for treatment.

Security forces immediately moved in the area to mount searches.

High tension gripped the capital city which had been on a high alert in view of the visit of the prime minister and to Kashmir on Tuesday.

Security forces have erected barricades all across the city and all the passing vehicles and pedestrians are being searched and frisked.

During his visit, Dr Singh will review the progress of development works and commission the Banihal-Qazigund rail tunnel billed as longest in India.

The separatists have called for a strike Tuesday against the visit.

The frontline Hizbul Mujaheedin outfit has claimed responsibility for Monday’s attacks.

 

Won’t overlook India’s concern over talks with Taliban: US

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/wont-overlook-indias-concern-over-talks-with-taliban-us/20130624.htm

The United States on Monday assured India that its concerns over Taliban insurgents gaining legitimacy without severing their terror links will neither be “overlooked or undermined” during the talks with the Islamic fundamentalist group.

Click here!

This emerged after the 4th round of Indo-US strategic dialogue in New Delhi that was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his American counterpart John Kerry and covered key strategic issues of security, defence, nuclear cooperation and trade ties.

Khurshid, at a joint presser with Kerry, said, “This (proposed talks with Taliban) is an experiment that is being done in order to find an alternative for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. One cannot disagree with the issues or dimensions or aspects, which are of concern to us. I must say with gratitude that the secretary of state himself earmarked that and said that as they proceed, they will ensure that none of the concerns of India are overlooked or undermined.

“That is a good way of working closely together. It is very clear what the objective is and how far that objective is possible, only time will tell. But with caution and care being approached as an objective, I think it is something that nobody will have a problem with.”

Khurshid was asked if he raised India’s concerns over the proposed talks with the Taliban in view of the impending withdrawal of US troops from war-torn Afghanistan.

On his part, Kerry made it very clear that the talks with the Taliban will only be negotiated under “certain conditions. “Thus far, those conditions have not yet been met. So, there are no negotiations at this point. If the conditions are met, then there will be negotiations that will take place. Not with the US but with the high peace council of Afghanistan.”

He also said the requirements included that the constitution of Afghanistan must be respected, that they (Taliban) do not affiliate or associate themselves, in fact disassociate themselves, from the Al Qaeda, violence and that the rights of women, minorities will be respected.

“Now, that is not going to change. If it is required to be changed, obviously there will be no agreement. But it is there to explore the possibilities of having a peaceful resolution and conclusion of a political process if it is possible. Ultimately, that will be decided by the Afghan people….”, Kerry added.

Kerry also said the US special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins will be in New Delhi on Wednesday to brief the officials directly on the proposed talks.

“We will continue under any circumstances, the US will continue as President Obama has made it clear to support the Afghan parliament, to support Afghan military, to continue to equip and train well beyond the 2014 and to continue to have a level of force on the ground that will continue to conduct anti-terrorism or counter-terrorism activities,” he said.

“The hope is this could provide an avenue for reduction in violence but there is certainly a course that we are committed to…” he added. He also hailed India as the country equipped to take on some of the biggest challenges of “our time”.

Apart from crucial regional issues, the two sides covered key strategic pillars of Indo-US relationship, namely — security, economics and technology; regional strategic and political issues and global issues.

Kerry, who had five years ago while in the senate led a successful floor debate on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, also said the two sides hoped that the commercial agreement between the US energy major Westinghouse Electric company and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited will be signed in September.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been invited by Obama, is expected to travel to the US and hold bilateral talks with him in September.

The two sides also talked about Iran with Kerry terming India’s reductions in imports of oil from Iran as an “important step” in bringing pressure on Tehran over its contentious nuclear programme. “We are appreciative that India has worked hard to reduce its dependency on Iranian oil and that has been an important step,” Kerry said and also asked New Delhi to urge the Iranians “not to miscalculate about American and international commitment” to stopping Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iran has been maintaining that its nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes. Washington renewed six-month waivers on its Iran sanctions for India, China and seven other economies earlier this month in exchange for their agreeing to reduce purchases of oil from Tehran.

Kerry and Khurshid also reaffirmed their countries’ strong commitment to work collaboratively to help ensure energy security, combat global climate change and support the development of low-carbon economies that will create opportunities and fuel job growth in both countries.

Image: US Secretary of State John Kerry, on his first visit to India as secretary, gestures to the media at the end of a photo opportunity with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid at Hyderabad House in New Delhi’Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters

Coalgate scam is India’s hall of shame, says BJP

http://www.niticentral.com/2013/06/19/coalgate-scam-is-indias-hall-of-shame-says-bjp-92279.html

By Niticentral Staff on June 19, 2013

 

 

Coalgate scam is India’s hall of shame, says BJPTerming the Coalgate scam as India’s hall of shame, the BJP on Wednesday said the scandal speaks volumes of the Congress-led UPA’s corrupt empire.

“Coal blocks have been allocated with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signing on them as Coal Minister. The CAG estimates a loss of more than Rs 10 Lakh crore to the national exchequer,” BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said addressing a Press conference in New Delhi.

Lekhi said, “The recent action of ex-Law Minister Ashwini Kumar to alter the CBI’s probe report on Coalgate in order to protect Manmohan Singh’s culpability is too very well known. The CBI being a caged parrot of the Congress it seems is finally acting fast at the behest of Supreme Court.”

The BJP demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister to facilitate a free and fair investigation. “It is such an irony that the same CBI which reports to the PM is now directly investigating the PMO on the actions of the PM who is still in the office. To facilitate a free and fair investigation Manmohan Singh must step aside. It will be in the interest of the nation that truth on this matter must come out expeditiously. It is to be investigated whether PM acted of his own or was part of a larger conspiracy and was only complying with his role,” the BJP spokesperson said.

On CBI questioning some PMO officials in Colagate case, Lekhi said, “It is is merely the first step. We will hope that the CBI questionnaire is honest and bring out the truths.”

“As neither the mandatory procedure was followed and nor the back ground checks were performed, before allocating the Coal blocks to the companies. Only after the interrogation of the tainted PM, the details of the conspiracy will be unraveled,” she said.


BJP Press on Coal Block allocation & Ishrat Jahan case: Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi

By Niticentral Staff on June 19, 2013

 

 

Coalgate scam is India’s hall of shame, says BJPTerming the Coalgate scam as India’s hall of shame, the BJP on Wednesday said the scandal speaks volumes of the Congress-led UPA’s corrupt empire.

“Coal blocks have been allocated with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signing on them as Coal Minister. The CAG estimates a loss of more than Rs 10 Lakh crore to the national exchequer,” BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said addressing a Press conference in New Delhi.

Lekhi said, “The recent action of ex-Law Minister Ashwini Kumar to alter the CBI’s probe report on Coalgate in order to protect Manmohan Singh’s culpability is too very well known. The CBI being a caged parrot of the Congress it seems is finally acting fast at the behest of Supreme Court.”

The BJP demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister to facilitate a free and fair investigation. “It is such an irony that the same CBI which reports to the PM is now directly investigating the PMO on the actions of the PM who is still in the office. To facilitate a free and fair investigation Manmohan Singh must step aside. It will be in the interest of the nation that truth on this matter must come out expeditiously. It is to be investigated whether PM acted of his own or was part of a larger conspiracy and was only complying with his role,” the BJP spokesperson said.

On CBI questioning some PMO officials in Colagate case, Lekhi said, “It is is merely the first step. We will hope that the CBI questionnaire is honest and bring out the truths.”

“As neither the mandatory procedure was followed and nor the back ground checks were performed, before allocating the Coal blocks to the companies. Only after the interrogation of the tainted PM, the details of the conspiracy will be unraveled,” she said.


BJP Press on Coal Block allocation & Ishrat Jahan case: Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi