CUTS IN MEDIA-January 2006

 

"Use competitive bidding mechanism to procure foodgrains"
January 29, 2006, Press Trust of India, New Delhi
New foodgrains procurement system mooted
January 29, 2006, The Hindu, New Delhi
EGoM on airport modernisation may throw bait to more bidders
January 24, 2006, The Financial Express, New Delhi
Call for rationalisation of taxes on oil products
January 22, 2006, The Hindu, New Delhi
Merger of Jet & Sahara is full of suspicion in the eyes of customers
January 22, 2006, Dainik Bhaskar, New Delhi
Merger of Jet & Sahara is full of suspicion for the customers
January 22, 2006, Rajasthan Patrika, New Delhi
Tax structure of petroleum products ought to be logical
January 22, 2006, Rashtriya Sahara, New Delhi
Merger of Jet & Sahara can be burdensome for the customers: CUTS
January 22, 2006, Navbharat Times, New Delhi
Over haul prevailing tax structure to rationalise prices on Petroleum products
January 21, 2006, The Western Times, Ahmedabad
Have reforms benefitted fair sex?
January 19, 2006, The Financial Express, New Delhi
25-yr-old suffers cardiac arrest in dentist’s clinic
January 11, 2006, DNA, Mumbai
'Hong Kong conference just five percent success'
January 03, 2006, HT Jaipur Live
Game of Fake Data About Aid
January 03, 2006, Rajasthan Patrika, Jaipur
Don't Sow the Same Crop Again & Again
January 03, 2006, Dainik Bhaskar, Jaipur

Archives


"Use competitive bidding mechanism to procure foodgrains"

January 29, 2006, Press Trust of India (PTI)
New Delhi

Procurement of foodgrains for distribution to the poor through the Public Distribution System should be separated from the price support to farmers done through the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, said a civil society group.

Instead, this should be done through competitive bidding for delivery at target locations to minimise procurement cost of foodgrains," CUTS International said in a statement.

"There are distortions and inefficiency in the way food subsidies are delivered, leading to mounting subsidy bills, without commensurate benefits to target beneficiaries," CUTS Secretary General Pradeep Mehta, said.

He also highlighted that while food subsidy bill has gone up by 10.5 times to Rs 25,800 crores in 2003-04 from Rs 2,450 crores in 1990-91, only 25 per cent of the grains actually reach the poor.

He also said the government should take measures to separate the MSP-PDS operations.

Favouring decentralising of the procurement process, he said, states should be encouraged to create buffer stocks to ensure price stability.

The organisation has also suggested transferring of cash through post office network in order to minimise leakage of foodgrains and provide direct cash support to needy families to cover the subsidy differential.

Pointing out that at present the cost of transferring a rupee to the poor through PDS is Rs 6.68 as administrative cost account for 85 per cent of the total expenditure, CUTS said this entailed a huge gap between the purchase price and issue price.

New foodgrains procurement system mooted

January 29, 2006, The Hindu
New Delhi

A consumer body suggests steps to reduce procurement costs

A leading consumer body has called for a new system of foodgrains procurement to ensure rationalisation of food subsidies.

In a pre-budget memorandum submitted to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, it has suggested that procurement of foods for distribution through the public distribution system be separated from the price support to farmers through the minimum support price. It proposed that it be done through competitive bidding for delivery at target locations to effect cost rationalisation. The Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has argued that since these foodgrains are to be distributed to the poor at affordable prices, competitive bidding will minimise the cost of procuring the foodgrains..

Distortions
"There are distortions and inefficiencies in the way food subsidies are delivered, leading to mounting subsidy bills, without commensurate benefits to target beneficiaries. Whereas the food subsidy bill has gone up by 10.5 times from Rs.2,450 crores in 1990-91 to Rs.25,800 crore in 2003-04, only 25 per cent of the foodgrains actually reach the poor," according to CUTS Secretary General, Pradeep Mehta.

He felt the government should separate the MSP-PDS operations. While some States have taken the initiative, others should be encouraged to follow suit so as to provide support to small and marginal farmers and to create buffer stocks with the foodgrains so procured to maintain price stability. The procurement process should be decentralised.

The CUTS has suggested that to minimise leakage of foodgrains, cash transfers through post office network should be initiated to provide direct cash support to needy families to cover the subsidy differential. At present, the cost of transferring a rupee to the poor through the PDS is Rs.6.68 as administrative costs account for 85 per cent of the total expenditure. This entails a huge gap between the purchase price and issue price and, consequently.

This news can also be read at
URL: http://www.hindu.com/2006/01/29/stories/2006012900831400.htm

EGoM on airport modernisation may throw bait to more bidders

January 24, 2006, The Financial Express
New Delhi

The empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on the modernisation of airports will meet on Tuesday to finalise the bidding process of Delhi and Mumbai airports.

As against the two bidders who had qualified the technical round, the EGoM may now consider the bids of more bidders, sources said.

The EGoM in its last meeting had asked the E Sreedharan-committee to evaluate the remaining five bids also, after it had eliminated Reliance-led consortium by giving it less than 80 points, leaving only GMR-Fraport in the race.

Meanwhile, CUTS International, an NGO had asked the government to invite fresh bids and restart the entire airport modernisation process afresh.

“If tendering cannot be conducted in an objective manner, the government must call for new bids and start the entire airport modernisation process afresh,” a CUTS International release said.

“The present process of tendering for the Mumbai and Delhi airport modernisation projects has been shrouded in doubt and opacity. In this case, each of the two bidders who passed the technical evaluation by AirPlan would win one project each. But there are concerns for healthy competition,” said CUTS secretary general Pradeep Mehta.

This news can also be read at
URL: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=115464

Call for rationalisation of taxes on oil products

January 22, 2006, The Hindu
New Delhi

A consumer protection body has called for an overhaul of the tax structure on petroleum products in the forthcoming budget in order to bring down inflation. In a pre-budget memorandum submitted to the Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, here on Saturday, the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has called for "rationalisation" of taxes on oil products.

The CUTS Secretary-General, Pradeep Mehta, pointed out that by imposing high taxes and duties on petro-products, the government was actually fuelling inflation. "Concerns are expressed over inflation and the impact of rise in petro-product prices on prices of other commodities is also acknowledged. More than half of the retail selling price of petrol and one-third of the selling price of diesel is made up of Central and State duties," he said in the memorandum.

The consumer protection agency has proposed that the current ad valorem duty structure on oil products should be replaced with a specific one.

Pointing out the anomaly in calculating subsidy, the memorandum notes that the method of calculating subsidies is based on import-based parity pricing of petroleum products and not on the basis of unrecovered costs of oil companies. The subsidy amount is therefore unduly inflated, it points out.

Besides, CUTS has suggested that a Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board be established to foster competition and ensure transparency in the determination of prices for petroleum products. It has also demanded creation of a price stabilisation fund to check the high volatility in crude prices.

This news can also be read at
URL: http://www.hindu.com/2006/01/22/stories/2006012203871300.htm

Merger of Jet & Sahara is full of suspicion in the eyes of customers

January 22, 2006, Dainik Bhaskar
New Delhi

Merger of Jet & Sahara is full of suspicion for the customers

January 22, 2006, Rajasthan Patrika
New Delhi

Tax structure of petroleum products ought to be logical

January 22, 2006, Rashtriya Sahara
New Delhi

Merger of Jet & Sahara can be burdensome for the customers: CUTS

January 22, 2006, Navbharat Times
New Delhi

Over haul prevailing tax structure to rationalise prices on Petroleum products

January 21, 2006, The Western Times
Ahmedabad

Submitting its pre budget memorandum to Mr P Chidambaram, Finance Minister in the capital today, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) called for rationalization of taxes on petroleum products in the forthcoming budget in order to bring down inflation.

“Concerns are expressed over inflation, and the impact of rise in petro product prices on prices of other commodities is also acknowledged. More than half of the retail selling price of petrol and one third of the selling price of diesel is made up of central and state duties. Thus, by high imposing taxes and duties on petro products, government is actually fuelling inflation,” Mr Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS said.

The current ad valorem duty structure on petro products should also be replaced with a specific one. This would remove the cascading effect of a rise in oil prices and contain inflationary pressures, the pre budget memorandum suggests.

Pointing out the anomaly in calculating subsidy, the memorandum has stated that the method of calculating subsidies is based on import based parity pricing of petroleum products and not on the basis of unrecovered costs of the oil companies. The subsidy amount is therefore unduly inflated. The government should take immediate measures to directly support the needy rather than canalize subsidies through oil PSUs, which distorts the market process.

A Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board should be established to foster competition and ensure transparency in the determination of petroleum products. CUTS has further demanded creation of a price stabilization fund to check the high volatility of crude prices. The fund may be sourced from the cess collected under the Oil Industry Development Act.

Have reforms benefitted fair sex?

January 19, 2006, The Financial Express
New Delhi

Has the process of globalization marginalized women or has it opened more avenues for them? In the absence of adequate gender-specific data on the effect of globalization, views diverge on how the process of globalization has affected women.

According to All India Women’s Conference president Aparna Basu, it is difficult to establish a direct link between economic liberalisaqtion and gender. More over, the impact is not uniform across all sectors and nations. “Clothing is one sector where liberalization has benefited women and there has been a more positive impact on them in Sri Lanka and Bangla desh than other countries, “Ms Basu said at a session on women and gloablisation in a seminar organized by Ficci. Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Saraswati Raju, however, believes ;that globalisation has had an adverse impact on women. She said that while there may not be enough data to establish globalization’s effect accurately, indications revealed that liberalization has benefited only those who were in the bargaining position.

Dr. Raju pointed out that because of modernization of traditional industry and the introduction of new machinery, a lot of women had lost their jobs, especially in small towns. In fact, the result of displacement of women from their employment is different for different regions in the country. Ms. Basu pointed out that a study showed that women who lost their jobs in Delhi had a higher likelihood of finding alternative employment opportunities than women in West Bengal.

Pradeep Mehta from CUTS said it was incorrect to assume that globalization would necessarily lead to greater marginalisation of women. Citing an example of a positive fall out of the liberalization process, Mr. Mehta said despite apprehensions that the end of the quota regime in garments and textiles would harm the interests of women in Bangladesh, they are the ones who have gained the maximum from the process.

25-yr-old suffers cardiac arrest in dentist’s clinic

January 11, 2006, DNA
Mumbai

This 25-year-old left home on Tuesday, to keep his appointment with his dentist at the Nair Dental Hospital, Mumbai Central, little knowing that an hour later he would land up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the nearby Nair Hospital.

At 3pm, the man suffered a massive cardiac arrest and fell on to the floor unconscious. He was rushed to the Nair Hospital, where he is currently fighting for life; doctors attending him say that the next 48 hours are extremely critical.

“We don’t know the reason behind the cardiac arrest as we have no case history. He showed no signs of illness, just collapsed without warning. No drug had been administered to him at the dental hospital,” said Dr Shubha Mohite of the cardiology department at Nair Hospital.

Meanwhile, the doctors are now struggling to establish the patient’s identity and how to contact his relatives. “It is a procedure we strictly follow in such cases,” says Dr MH Shah, deputy dean, Nair Hospital.

“The only identification is a driving licence that identifies him as Shamim Abdul Athar, and a mutilated railway pass valid between Bandra-Masjid on which the details are illegible,” said Shah. The Nagpada police are working on finding Shamim’s relatives. But crucial hours have already been lost, as police procedure is long and tedious.

This, pointed out Nupur Anchlia, volunteer, CUTS (Consumer Unity and Trust Society), is just another reason that goes to prove why it’s vital for people to carry information about themselves and their health at all times.

Most pocket diaries have forms that ask the user to fill in details about themselves including name, age, marital status, blood group, whether they are allergic to any drugs, medical history, emergency contact number and address of the people to be contacted. “But who bothers to fill it out?” asked Anchlia.

She suggested every person must carry details like election card, a PAN card, a driver’s licence, or Organ Donor card, or some residential address and telephone numbers and other relevant details for such emergencies.

This news can also be read at
URL: http://dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1006816

'Hong Kong conference just five percent success'

January 03, 2006, HT Jaipur Live
Jaipur

HONG KONG conference of the WTO was just five per cent success. But this gain is important in the sense that the developing nations and particularly India had nothing to loose for a period of 10 years. Now, the State governments must do the study of agriculture sectors and form policies based on their nature that actually fit in the WTO scenario.

Negotiator from India in WTO and Additional Secretary in the Department of Commerce in the Union government G.K. Pillai said this on Monday. He was delivering a special lecture at the HCM-RIPA on ‘Implications of WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference: What it means for States in India”. Pillai said that India and other developing countries would make their own tariff lines. After these gains too, he felt need for strong ne3gotiations. BK Zutshi remarked that the negotiations were moving in the right direction that was favourable to India. Our stake in the WTO must not be defensive, he argued and added that as India was competitive, it should be offensive.

An agro-economy expert Surjeet Singh said that domestic support to their farmers by the US and the European countries was the real cause of worry for the developing nations.

That could not be brought to the discussion table and this was a failure of India and other countries in its side. Pradeep Mehta argued that accusing the Hong Kong conference of being a failure, would hit the world market very hard. This scenario would go against the developing countries including India.

Game of Fake Data About Aid

January 03, 2006, Rajasthan Patrika
Jaipur

 

Don't Sow the Same Crop Again & Again

January 03, 2006, Dainik Bhaskar
Jaipur

CONTACT US
Consumer Unity & Trust Society
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Jaipur  302 016, India,
Ph: +91(0)141-2282821
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Email: cuts@cuts.org

Copyright 2005 Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), All rights reserved.
D–217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, Rajasthan, India
Ph: 91.141.2282821, Fax: 91.141.2282485

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