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Cong, BJP in war of words over cash transfer

NEW DELHI: The Congress and the BJP on Monday traded barbs over the government’s direct cash transfer scheme after the Election Commission sought a reply from the Centre on the timing of the announcement.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the government would provide information to the EC and asked the BJP to make clear its stance on the scheme.

“The BJP should make its position clear on cash transfers. Are they for cash transfers or are they against it.

Do they want that the money of the people should go directly into the hands of the people or they do not want the money of the people to go to the people, this is the germane issue,” Tewari told reporters here.

“If the Election Commission has asked the government for a clarification or for some sort of an explanation, I am sure that the appropriate part of the government would provide that information to the Election Commission,” Tewari said.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back by questioning the Congress’ seriousness on the issue.

“Is the Congress serious about it? Have they done their homework well?” Prasad asked and said that his party had formed a committee to study the entire matter and would revert on the matter after that.

He, however, said that BJP was not for abolition of the Public Distribution System and also questioned why the pilot project for direct cash transfer scheme in Rajasthan did not succeed.

“But one thing is very clear and categorical. If this means the abolition of Public Distribution System, BJP is opposed to it because states like Madhya Pradesh, states like Chattisgarh... Bihar and others have done so well. By the way let Manish Tewari respond to one thing, the fanfare with which it (cash transfer scheme) was inaugurated in Rajasthan, why it has come a cropper,” Mr. Prasad asked. — PTI





FDI issue: Will clear stand in Parliament, says Mayawati 

NEW DELHI: BSP on Monday indicated that it will support the government in Parliament on the issue of FDI, saying the fact that the Centre has not thrust the policy on states and the aim of keeping communal forces at bay will determine its stand.

BSP chief Mayawati said her party feels the FDI in multi-brand is needed for the country's economic growth but the policy should be implemented with certain conditions to prevent the harmful impact of some of its provisions on the poor and the middle class.

"The only plus point of this policy of the Centre is that if a state does not want to implement the FDI policy, then it will not be forcefully imposed on that state. Our party has taken serious note of this. Our party is also serious thinking whether it should be standing with those parties that encourage communal forces," Mayawati said.

She pointed out that though BSP has not yet taken a decision on the issue, when the matter comes up in Parliament these two issues will determine its stand.

"In case of voting on the FDI in retail issue our party will keep these two factors in mind while taking the right and proper decision in the interest of the country," she said.

Asked if BSP is putting the passage of the Reservation in promotion for SC/ST as a pre-condition to pledge support to the UPA government, Mayawati replied in the negative.

The BSP chief, however, maintained that her party still has certain reservations about the FDI policy in its present form and suggested that the government do a "serious analysis" of its impact on the poor and the middle classe before implementing it.

Mayawati said her party is not against the idea of FDI as foreign loans and FDI were the two options through which a developing country can improve its economy.
"Due to lack of resources, development cannot take place. So, developing nations have to take loans or depend on FDI. But there is a limit to the amount of loan a country can take. FDI then is the only other option. Many countries have taken the help of FDI to improve their economy," she noted.

However, she cautioned that FDI should be allowed with certain caveats.

"While one section and the government believe FDI will bring big benefits, those opposed say there will be big losses due to it. No decision should be taken in a hurry and without checking all aspects. Our suggestion to the government is to study its impact on Congress-ruled states, do a deep analysis and then proceed further," Mayawati said.

She pointed out that countries like Thailand and Malaysia invited FDI but the results were not very good and their economies suffered.

Mayawati said India needs to look into which sectors FDI should be allowed as it may have an adverse impact in some areas.

"Allowing FDI into India without any conditions will not be good for the domestic economy," she said, adding that her party is concerned about its impact on farmers, small businesses, labourers, factories, small traders and the like.

"There is an apprehension that due to FDI in multi-brand retail the small traders will suffer big loses and will lose their significance," Mayawati said.

The BSP supremo hit out at the government for claiming that FDI in retail will bring down prices of commodities.

"The wrong economic policies of the government have led to price rise and growing unemployment," she said.

She maintained that foreign multinational companies want to tap those markets which have maximum consumers.— PTI





No case against Sunil Mittal in 2G scam: CBI

NEW DELHI: The then CBI Director A P Singh and agency’s prosecution chief were of the view that there was no case against Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Airtel Sunil Mittal in the 2G spectrum scam. This has been disclosed in the opinion given to the Supreme Court last week by Attorney General Ghulam V Vahanvati, who said “there is no disagreement on this point” between the CBI Director and its Director of Prosecution Abdul Aziz. 

“Therefore, it is not for me to comment on the views of the executive officers of the CBI for the reasons already stated hereinabove,” the AG said in his opinion. 

The AG noted that the Director of Prosecution and the retired Additional Legal Advisor (ALA) had in a note in October 2012 had agreed that there was a case against former Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and late minister Pramod Mahajan. 

The ALA had said that as regards the corporates namely Bharti Cellular Limited, Hutchison Max Limited and Sterling Cellular Limited and Mi5 BPL Cellular Limited, the circumstances mentioned by the investigating officer as well as other officers was that Sunil Mittal of Bharti Telecom used to meet the Minister and the then Secretary during that period. 

It also referred to the launch of IPO by Bharti Airtel in early 2002 and the lobbying by Sunil Mittal with the Minister and other officials of the ministry. 

“From the chart it appears that the linking of the issue of investment of Qualified Institutional Bidders (QIBs) in the companies with the omissions and commissions of the Secretary and the Minister is too remote. 

“Similarly, meeting of the corporate lobby with the high ups in the office are common unless evidence of any text of meeting indicating any criminal intent of the parties are available, it cannot be linked with criminal motive,” the ALA’s note said. 

The ALA concluded “moreover the corporate houses contribute to the economic growth of the country. Therefore, meeting by corporate lobbyist with high-ups in the government cannot be termed to be criminal intent.” 





Ranjit Sinha takes over as CBI chief

New Delhi: Senior IPS officer Ranjit Sinha will on Monday take charge as the new director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a two-year term.

Sinha, a 1974 batch officer of Bihar cadre, is presently Director General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force. He also headed the Railway Protection Force and served at senior positions in the CBI in Patna and Delhi.

Sinha, having an illustrious career spanning over 37-years, has served in CBI as DIG in Patna and Joint Director (Anti corruption) and Joint Director (administration) at its headquarters here.

An M Phil from Indian Institute of Public Administration, Sinha is an avid reader, writer and regular contributor on police-related issued in various journals and magazines.

A recipient of Police Medal for Meritorious Service and the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service, Sinha has served as SSP at Ranchi, Madhubani and Saharsa districts and also as DIG of Naxal-affected Magadh Range in Bihar. Back




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