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Private consumption slows, Indian economy seen ‘fraught with risks’

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Economy-Slowdown

New Delhi, Oct 12 The Indian economy, which has been witnessing slowdown over last few quarters, is likely to face several more risks in the near future, with one of the major factors being drop in private consumption, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The RBI in its Monetary Policy Report, October 2019, has also said that a combination of domestic and global headwinds has depressed economic activity in the country.

“A combination of domestic and global headwinds has depressed economic activity, especially in terms of aggregate demand. The near-term outlook of the Indian economy is fraught with several risks,” said the report.

“First, private consumption, which all along supported economic activity, is now beginning to slow down due to a host of factors. In this context, the performance of large employment generating sectors such as automobile and real estate remains less than satisfactory.”

In this context, the performance of large employment generating sectors such as automobile and real estate remains less than satisfactory, the report said. Recent measures initiated such as the sharp cut in corporate tax rates, stressed assets funds for the housing sector, infrastructure investment funds, implementation of a fully electronic GST refund system and funds for export guarantee would be helpful, it added.

It also said that bank credit growth has slowed down and overall fund flows to the commercial sector have declined, due to risk aversion and a slowdown in demand. The monetary policy report, however, said that the the recent recapitalisation of public sector banks augurs well for improving credit flows, which are important for reviving private investment activity.

“Meanwhile, global uncertainties have weakened investment activity at home. Further escalation of trade tensions could adversely impact export prospects, besides delaying the investment upturn,” it said.

It also observed that the private corporate sector has not added new capacities off late even as existing capacity utilisation has risen close to its long-term average for several quarters.

“The recent measures should help kickstart the capex cycle so that new capacities can come on stream and lead to the strengthening of domestic demand in the short-term while boosting the medium-term growth potential of the economy,” it said.

On the industrial sector, the report said that the slowdown in industrial activity which begun in the second quarter of the financial year (FY) 2018-19 deepened further in first quarter of FY 2019-20.

“A sharp deceleration in manufacturing GVA (Gross Valued Added) in Q1, 2019-20 essentially reflected weaknesses in the organised sector. In terms of the index of industrial production (IIP), however, the performance of manufacturing improved in Q1, 2019-20 from the previous quarter. In July, manufacturing output accelerated further,” the report added.

This comes as a major concern for the economy, after the economy grew at its slowest pace in over six years in the June quarter following a sharp deceleration in consumer demand and tepid investment. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5 per cent in the first quarter of the FY 2019-20. The RBI also cut its GDP growth estimates for FY 2019-20 to 6.1 per cent, from earlier estimate of 6.9 per cent.

India

Waning faith in system dangerous for nation: Hazare

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anna hazare

Ahmednagar, Dec 9 : Expressing concerns over delays in punishment in rape cases, veteran social crusader Kisan Baburao alias Anna Hazare here on Monday said no rapist had been hanged since August 14, 2005 in West Bengal and 426 convicts were awaiting the hangman’s noose.

“Since then (2005), not a single death penalty has been executed for any such (rape) convict, awarded the death. There are 426 convicts awaiting execution,” Hazare said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 82-year-old social leader asked who was accountable when – despite conviction – the punishment was not being implemented. He demanded a probe into this and stringent action against those responsible for such delays.

“People have started feeling that the delays, obstacles and difficulties in getting justice through the system is itself an injustice. This is the reason for the mass support to the recent Hyderabad encounters. People now want such criminals should be eliminated in such encounters,” Hazare said.

Citing his own experiences over legal delays, the Ralegan-Siddhi village-based social activist said he had raised corruption issue with adequate evidences against former Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party Minister Babanrao Gholap in 1998. He was convicted in 2014.

Same was the case with another former Minister Suresh Jain against whom he had complained with proof in 2003. But only after 14-long years he (Jain) recently received a 7-year jail-term.

“Gholap filed a defamation case against me and I was sentenced to 3-month jail, but released after 15 days. Jain also filed such cases against me and I have been attending hearings since so many years,” Hazare said.

Also, after taking so long to get the verdict from the lower courts, it’s not known how much more time would be taken for appeals (filed by the two ex-Ministers) in these cases to be disposed, he pointed out.

Despite strengthening of laws after the Nirbhaya episode in New Delhi, we had failed to ensure justice to her, and such cases against even minor girls were on the rise, he said.

“I am told over 700,000 cases are pending for 7-10 years in fast-track courts, the 1091 helpline for women in distress doesn’t function efficiently, Nirbhaya Fund remains unused. What’s the meaning of all this,” Hazare remarked.

He lamented that instead of sympathising with the women victims’, the ordeal would begin right from the stage of lodging a complaint with the police, as was proved in the recent Hyderabad rape-cum-murder case of a veterinary doctor.

Reiterating that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, the social worker said despite having an exemplary Constitution drafted by B.R. Ambedkar, apprehensions were building up and people were losing faith in the justice system.

“If this is not checked, it could lead to mass public unrest, which will not augur well for our democracy,” Hazare remarked.

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Form full-bench to review Ayodhya verdict: 40 petitioners

The petition contended that the balance of probabilities was erroneously observed to be in favour of the Hindu parties by the apex court.

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Ayodhya Babri Masji Supreme Court

New Delhi, Dec 9 : A group of 40 historians, academics and activists, including Irfan Habib, Harsh Mander, Nandini Sundar, Shabnam Hashmi and Akar Patel, has moved the Supreme Court seeking a full-bench review of its November 9 judgement in Ayodhya title dispute.

“The faith of one of the communities was consequently regarded higher than the other, thereby violating the secular principle embedded in the Constitution”, said the petitioners.

The review petition urged the apex court to institute a full bench for hearing the review petition, as this is not merely a title dispute but “a contestation about the core of India’s constitutional morality, and the principles of equal citizenship, secularism, justice, rule of law and fraternity.”

The petition contended that the balance of probabilities was erroneously observed to be in favour of the Hindu parties by the apex court.

The top court through its judgement ordered construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site and allocated five-acre land elsewhere in Ayodhya for the construction of the mosque.

The petition said the top court erred in coming to a conclusion based on the fact that Hindus had proved to be worshipping in the outer courtyard since 1857, but also proved to worship in the inner courtyard prior to 1857, and the Muslim parties failed to prove exclusive possession of the inner courtyard.

The petition said: “However, the court failed to appreciate that neither parties had proved exclusive ownership of the land.” Instead, the court provided exclusive ownership of the disputed land to the Hindu worshippers, and completely excluded Muslim worshippers from access to the land.

The petition said that the court did not acknowledge in its judgment the wanton debasement of the law in the two cases, desecration of the mosque by illegally placing idols and then demolition of the mosque.

“It (top court) also overlooks that these crimes took the toll of hundreds of innocent lives in communal violence that rocked the country from 1989 to early 1993, and that their unhealed wounds continue to tear apart the country decades later”, said the petition.

“The court by categorically ruling in favour of the so-called Hindu parties provided legal recognition of these illegal acts. Because of this, the court’s decision is dangerously complicit in the violation of constitutional principles,” said the review petition challenging the Ayodhya judgement.

Earlier, a clutch of review petitions were filed by Muslim parties. Five review petitions have been supported by All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

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AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi tears Citizenship Bill in Parliament

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New Delhi, Dec 9 : All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday tore the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha while participating in a debate, calling it “arbitrary in nature” and “against the Muslim community”.

The Hyderabad MP tore a copy of the Bill after expressing his objection over its nature, saying “secularism is the basic structure of the Constitution and the Bill was arbitrary in nature and was in violation of fundamental rights.”

He accused the government of moving the Bill against the Muslim community and tore a copy of the Bill declaring that “I am tearing this Bill”.

He said that Home Minister Amit Shah should be prevented from carrying out this enactment, saying “if you does not do it, you will be compared with David Ben Gurion, the founder of the Jewist state of Israel, and Hitler.”

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