Friday, December 23, 2011

PIB notes 22nd dec

PM's remarks at the meeting of the Council on Trade and Industry

  • We face the continued possibility of a potentially severe crisis in the Eurozone.
  •  issues of international food price volatility and the increase in oil prices.
  • persistent high inflation for some time now is unacceptable. We have to steer the economy back to the path of fiscal consolidation.
  • with the policy focus on improving agricultural production and productivity, our economy will soon be able to step up the production of food articles, thereby controlling inflation in these products. 
  • This is the broad context in which the RBI has had to use monetary policy in an attempt to bring down inflation
  • In order to curb inflationary pressures some reduction in aggregate demand was essential.
  • sharp depreciation of the rupee is also a matter of concern
  • exchange rate depreciation increases the profitability of exports and our industry should take advantage of this development.
  • almost every major government decision has to be negotiated in the larger democratic arena. This is especially true of sensitive issues like those related to acquisition of land and environmental concerns.
  •  industry and the government will have to work together to find solutions that are fair and equitable even as they promote growth. 
  • our country has remained on the path of liberalization even as we have sought to provide social safety nets for the poor and underprivileged
  •  policies of pro-poor growth, skill development and agricultural rejuvenation will help industry to grow at a faster pace. 
  • The energy sector, the port sector, the transport sector, the supply of gas and coal, all need greater attention. Corruption and better governance also require firm handling

Farmer Associations Support FDI in Retail

FDI in retail will free farmers from the middleman and will get the remunerative price for the produce to the farmer

As supply chain efficiencies are built up, post-harvest losses will be considerably reduced, thereby enabling remunerative prices to farmers

 safeguards pertaining to a minimum of 30% procurement from Indian small industries would provide the necessary scales for these entities to expand capacities in manufacturing thereby creating more employment and also strengthening the manufacturing base of the country

Rural economy will benefit as large-scale investment in the retail sector especially in backend infrastructure will provide substantive gainful employment opportunities in the entire range of activities

Consultative Committee Meeting of the Ministry of Labour & Employment Emphasises Upon Providing Employment to Skilled Work Force on Priority Basis

 employment on priority basis to the work force trained by the various skill development institutes

 a holistic approach to skill development is necessary so that training imparted is according to national standards, of quality excellent and can meet the specific needs of various sectors of economy

 low-skill, low-productivity, low-wage economy is unsustainable in the long run

There is a vicious circle of low education, low skill, low productivity , poor quality jobs and low wages that traps the working poor

skills development is an essential factor for achieving the objective of decent work both by increasing productivity and sustainability of enterprises and improving the working conditions and employability of workers

three main objectives:

(a) Matching supply to current demand for skills;

(b) Holistic approach and effective Policy for Skill Development.; and

(c) Active participation of stake holders, particularly employers.

  • “National Policy on Skill Development”  addresses the need of skill development of a huge population, by providing them with skills that make them employable and help them secure a ‘decent’ job
  • Current capacity of skill development in the country is about 53 lakh per annum
  • policy sets a target of skilling 50 crore people by 2022 to meet the challenges of India
  • Due to demographic advantage, both in terms of numbers and age, the entire world is looking towards India as a great reservoir of skilled manpower.
  • Need  to keep pace with technological changes and provide necessary support for skill development as per the requirement of the industry. 
  • many reforms like re-engineering of National Council for Vocational Training by making it a statutory body; design and development of National Vocation Qualification Frame- work and creating a Labour Market Information System by modernizing all the employment exchanges in the country have been initiated
  • “National Council on Skill Development” under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, and a “National Skill Development Coordination Board” under the chairmanship of Dy. Chairman, Planning Commission, have been constituted
  • National Skill Development Corporation” under the chairmanship of a leading industrialist, has also been set up to support private efforts in skill development
  •  setting up Sector Skills Councils for identification of skill development needs and formulating sectoral skills development plans.
  • State level Skill Development Missions have also been constituted by 26 States and 5 Union Territories
  • the numbers of Government and Private ITIs have almost doubled from 5114 to 9404 in the last 5 years
  •  significant scheme titled ‘Skill Development Initiative’ (SDI) based on the Modular Employable Skills was started in 2007-08 with a total outlay of Rs.550 crores. The scheme offers skill development programmes for early school leavers and existing workers of 14 years of age or above. 
  • concern on the current practice of direct recruitment by the employers byepassing the Employment Exchanges

Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 Introduced in Lok Sabha

                Government today introduced in Lok Sabha the  Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, aimed at setting up the body of Lokpal at the Centre and  Lokayuktas at the level of the States.  Government also introduced a Bill for amending the Constitution for conferment of Constitutional status on both bodies.  Government also withdrew earlier Lokpal Bill, 2011 as it decided to introduce a new comprehensive Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 Bill after consideration of the suggestions made by the Parliamentary Committee which recommended significant changes in the scope and content of the earlier Bill.

The salient features of the proposed new Bills are as under:-

Focus on improving accountability

Ø       Establishment of new institution in the Constitution called  Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for the States.  These autonomous and independent bodies, shall have powers of superintendence and direction for holding a preliminary inquiry, causing an investigation to be made and prosecution of offences in respect of complaints under any law for the prevention of corruption.

Ø       The Bill provides a uniform vigilance and anti corruption road map for the nation, both at Centre and States.

Ø       The Bill institutionalizes separation of investigation from prosecution and thereby removing conflict of interest as well as increasing the scope for professionalism and specialisation.

Structure of the Institution:

Ø       Lokpal will consist of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight Members of which fifty percent shall be judicial Members.

Ø       Fifty per cent of members of Lokpal shall be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.

Ø       There shall be an Inquiry Wing of the Lokpal for conducting the preliminary inquiry and an independent Prosecution Wing.

Ø       Officers of the Lokpal to include the Secretary, Director of Prosecution, Director of Inquiry and other officers.
 Process of selection:
Ø       The selection of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal shall be through a Selection Committee consisting of –
§         Prime Minister;
§         Speaker of Lok Sabha;
§         Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha;
§         Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by CJI;
§         Eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India

Ø       A Search Committee to assist Selection Committee in the process of selection.  Fifty per cent of members of Search Committee shall be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.


Ø       Prime Minister to be brought under the purview of the Lokpal with  subject matter exclusions and specific process for handling complaints against the Prime Minister.  Lokpal can not hold any inquiry against the Prime Minister if allegations relate to:
§         International relations;
§         External and internal security of the country;
§         Public Order;
§         Atomic energy
§         Space.

Any decision of Lokpal to initiate preliminary inquiry or investigation against the Prime Minister shall be taken only by the Full Bench with a majority of 3/4th.  Such proceedings shall be held in camera.
Ø       Lokpal’s jurisdiction to include all categories of public servants including Group ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ & ‘D’ officers and employees of Government.  On complaints referred to CVC by Lokpal, CVC will send its report of PE in respect of Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ officers back to Lokpal for further decision.  With respect to Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees, CVC will proceed further in exercise of its own powers under the CVC Act subject to reporting and review by Lokpal.
Ø       All entities receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs. 10 lakhs per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
Ø       Lokpal will not be able to initiate inquiry suo moto.
Other significant features of the Bill
Ø       No prior sanction shall be required for launching prosecution in cases enquired by Lokpal or initiated on the direction and with the approval of Lokpal.
Ø       A high powered Committee chaired by the Prime Minister with leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India as members,  will recommend selection of the Director, CBI.
Ø       Provisions for confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
Ø       Lokpal to be final appellate authority on all decisions by public  authorities relating to provision of public services and redressal of grievances containing findings of corruption.
Ø       Lokpal to have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them.
Ø       The Bill lays down clear time lines for :
§         Preliminary enquiry – three months extendable by three months.

§         Investigation – six months extendable by six months.

§         Trial – one year extendable by one year.

Ø       The Bill proposes to enhance punishment under Prevention of Corruption Act :
(a)     Maximum punishment from 7 years to 10 years
(b)     Minimum punishment from 6 months to 2 years
Ø       The Bill proposes to give legal backing to Asset Declaration by public servants.
Ø       The Bill also seeks to make necessary consequential amendments in the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, and the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.

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