The Centre has denied RTI requests for information on how Central
Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director AlokVerma was divested of his powers
last October. It is also unwilling to provide information on the ongoing
selection process to appoint his successor, once his term finishes end of
On October 23, 2018, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT)
and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) invoked powers of superintendence
over the CBI to issue orders divesting Mr.Verma of his powers. The legal
validity of those orders is now under challenge in the Supreme Court.
National Campaign for People’s Right to Information co-convenor
Anjali Bhardwaj filed RTI requests with both the DoPT and the CVC, asking
for copies of the relevant orders as well as related file notings and
“In a democracy, it is important to have transparency in the
appointment and removal of key players in our institutions,” said
Ms.Bhardwaj. “The government is also not sharing information on the process
to appoint his successor.”
RTI queries regarding the meetings of the selection committee,
shortlisted candidates, or the criteria involved in shortlisting, were all
returned with a summary response from the DoPT that the process, “has not
attained finality.” The replies noted that in accordance with a Supreme
Court order, all IPS officers of the four seniormost batches would be
considered for the post.
Study reveals MGNREGA short of funds
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme
is facing a severe fund crunch, with 99% of money allocated already
exhausted three months before the end of the financial year, and 11 States
and Union Territories having a negative net balance.
Studies analysing government data show that the scheme faces
difficulties in meeting the demand for work and paying wages on time. These
issues are likely to be exacerbated by the current fund crisis, according to
worried economists, researchers and workers on the ground.
The scheme’s financial statement shows that as on Saturday, the
total availability of funds was Rs. 59,032 crore. The total expenditure,
including payment due, stands at Rs. 58,701 crore. That leaves a slim margin
of only Rs. 331 crore. For 11 States, that margin is non-existent, as their
accounts are already in the red.
A team of independent researchers led by AzimPremji University’s
Rajendran Narayanan has found that employment provided was already 32% lower
than work demanded during 2017-18.
In monetary terms, using this data to estimate national
allocation, this means that Rs. 76,131 crore is the minimum amount needed to
meet the registered work demand last year, almost 30% higher than the
current allocation, said the study.
“This shows that the employment provided is wilfully capped based
on the funds available. On the ground, we are seeing that State governments
and field functionaries are compelled not to register demand for work in
order to contain the payment liabilities of the governments,” said Mr.Dey.
Centre to focus on welfare of Jute farmers
Textiles Minister SmritiIrani today said, government has taken
various initiatives to improve the lives of people associated with the
Inaugurating a day-long National Conclave - Accomplishment and Way
Forward for Textile sector - in New Delhi, Ms Irani said, welfare of the
farmers in the jute sector is something which is being given special focus
by the government.
Our correspondent reports that the objective of the conclave is to
highlight the achievement of the textile sector and to chart out a road map
for building new capabilities for sustainable and resource efficient growth
of the sector.
The event will have deliberation on issues ranging from technical
textiles, ease of doing textiles business and access to global markets and
global supply chain.
In the evening, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu will give away
awards to weavers, artisans, investors and corporates for their immense
contribution towards the achievement in the textiles sector.
SEBI changes disclosure norms of traders in commodity derivative exchanges
Commodity derivatives exchanges will now have to disclose the
quantum of trading done by farmers and other commodity market participants
like millers and wholesalers on the exchange platform, as the capital market
regulator has tweaked the disclosure norms for such bourses.
In a circular issued on Friday, the Securities and Exchange Board
of India (SEBI) directed commodity bourses to disclose the open interest and
turnover of various categories of participants like farmers, farmers
producer organisations (FPOs), value chain participants, proprietary
traders, foreign participants, and domestic financial institutional
Value chain participants include processors, commercial users like
dal and flour millers, importers, exporters, physical market traders,
stockists, cash and carry participants, produces and wholesalers among
Currently, commodity derivatives exchanges disseminate turnover
data for only two broad categories of participants - clients and
Incidentally, the SEBI move assumes significance also because a
large section of market players believe that the commodity market turnover
is largely dominated by speculators and other participants that are not
genuinely connected with the commodity segment.
Chinese President urges armed forces to strengthen urgency and prepare
themselves for battle
China’s armed forces must strengthen their sense of urgency and do
everything they can to prepare for battle, President Xi Jinping told a
meeting of top brass on Friday.
China is keen to beef up its armed forces amid territorial
disputes in the South China Sea and escalating tension with the U.S. over
issues ranging from trade to the status of Taiwan.
The official Xinhua agency said Mr. Xi told a meeting of the top
military authority that China faced increasing risks and challenges, and the
armed forces must work to secure its security and development needs.
Mr. Xi, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission,
said the armed forces must devise strategies for the new era and take on
responsibilities for preparing and waging war.
Mr. Xi’s comments followed his remarks on Wednesday that China
still reserved the right to use force to achieve “reunification” with Taiwan
and prevent the island’s independence. The Taiwan speech came just days
after U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act
into law, reaffirming the U.S. commitment to its security.
Mr. Xi’s call for battle preparedness also came as acting U.S.
Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the U.S. forces that he sees China
as a key priority. “While we are focused on ongoing operations, Acting
Secretary Shanahan told the team to remember China, China, China,” reports
from Washington quoted a U.S. defence official as saying.
Abu Dhabi crown prince holds meeting with Pak PM
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan
met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan here Sunday as the cash-strapped
country seeks economic assistance to bolster its foreign exchange reserves
and the government’s fiscal policies.
Pakistan, reeling under severe financial crisis, reached out to
some “friendly countries” for economic assistance including Saudi Arabia,
China and the UAE since Prime Minister Khan assumed office in August.
Pakistan and the UAE last week finalised the terms and conditions
of a USD 6.2 billion support package for Islamabad, which the crown prince
is expected to announce during his visit, the report said, adding that the
package is to help Islamabad address its balance of payment crisis.
With the new package, Pakistan will save a total of about USD 7.9
billion on oil and gas imports from the UAE, accounting for over 60% of the
annual oil import bill amounting to roughly USD 12 to 13 billion, the news
Pakistan’s all weather ally China has also pledged to provide a
generous aid to Islamabad to overcome its financial woes. Beijing has not
yet revealed the quantum of its financial suppor
Pakistan is negotiating a USD 8 billion bailout package from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) to overcome a severe balance-of-payments
crisis that threatens to cripple the country’s economy.
Pakistan apprehends the IMF will come with stringent conditions of
austerity besides scrutiny of USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor projects whose terms till now remained confidential.