Obama : Passage of the Violence Against Women Act

President on the House Passage of the Violence Against Women Act

I was pleased to see the House of Representatives come together and vote to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act.  Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse. Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the LGBT community.  The bill also reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, providing critical support for both international and domestic victims of trafficking and helping ensure traffickers are brought to justice.  I want to thank leaders from both parties – especially Leader Pelosi, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Senator Leahy – for everything they’ve done to make this happen.  Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk.

Mukesh Kumar continues to lead in round 3 :Classic Golf Resort,

 Mewat, Haryana, February 28, 2013: Mukesh Kumar
of Mhow fired a 68 and held on to his lead in round three of the PGTI
Players Championship at the Classic Golf Resort in Mewat, Haryana.
Mukesh’s total stands at 13-under-203 after three rounds. Delhi’s
Rashid Khan is a stroke behind in second place.

Mukesh Kumar (68-67-68) held on to his overnight lead after a solid
round that featured six birdies and two bogeys. Mukesh was on fire on
the front-nine as he sank four birdies. The 47-year-old seasoned
professional picked up his first birdie on the par-5 third where he
found the green in two shots. He then landed his approach shots within
seven feet to set up birdies on the sixth and eighth holes. Mukesh
chipped it within three feet to add another birdie on the ninth.

Mukesh had a comparatively quieter back-nine. He dropped bogeys on the
10th and 17th as a result of missing some short putts. His last two
birdies of the day came on the 13th where he sank a 15-footer and on
the 14th where he produced a magnificent chip shot that landed within
a few inches of the pin.

Mukesh said, “It was a fabulous round. I converted most of the chances
that came my way. I’ve been on top of my game through this week and
want to continue in the same manner. The only disappointment was
missing a couple of short putts towards the end. I’m expecting some
tough competition from the likes of Rashid Khan and Shamim Khan in the
final round.”

Rashid Khan (66-70-68) also struck six birdies against two bogeys in
his round of 68 that placed him second.

Shamim Khan (66-70-70), another Delhi golfer, brought in a card of 70
as a result of three birdies and a bogey to be placed third at

Bangalore’s Chikkarangappa S is in fourth place at nine-under-207.

Budget is deceptive for majority of Indian.


Union Budget is deceptive for majority of Indian.

CPI Gurudas Dasgupta, budget is a “lollypop election budget” with minor additional investments, “There is a lot of noise but in reality is different,”

Main opposition leaders Arun Jaitley described the budget document is of   “extremely low on substance”.Arun added it is “a bit of jugglery” to cut down on expenditure. Sushma Swaraj find, “it is unimaginative, dull and boring and there is nothing for the women, youth and poor. Neither is there anything for boosting the agriculture sector nor for controlling prices.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalaithaa today said it was full of rhetoric and lacked any tangible steps to tackle the fiscal crisis, “The Union Budget presented in Parliament today has turned out to be an uninspiring damp squib, full of rhetoric, without any tangible steps to tackle the deep crisis confronting the Indian economy today… I would describe it only as a day dream cosmetic budget of Mr P Chidambaram,” she said.

 SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav called the  budget  “anti-poor”, “anti-farmer” plan  to oppose on the floor of house.He added, “This budget is only for 10% population of the country. What kind of budget is this which ignores 65% people who are engaged in farming”?

Shatrughan Sinha on his part said the Finance Minister has presented a ‘lollypop’ budget.

BSP chief Mayawati briefing the media said  “there is nothing new in the budget,nothing  for farmers, employees,e middle class.” The policies of the central government “are not in the interest of the common man and are anti-people”.Mayawati said despite large allocations for SCs/STs in every budget, the money has not helped improve the plight of people from lower castes,she said all the budgetary announcements seem “lofty, illusive,directionless”

Sharmila wins her first title on Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour 2013

 Mumbai, February 28, 2013: Hero MotoCorp Sponsored Sharmila Nicollet today showcased her consistency to win the third leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf tour 2013 here at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club. Sharmila, who staged a super comeback yesterday to start as the overnight leader finished her final round with a three-day total of 211, two shots ahead of Kolkata golfer Neha Tripathi.


Sharmila who started off with a birdie on the first hole followed by a bogey played a par round till the 12th hole. Her consecutive bogeys on 13th and 14th hole followed by a birdie on 16th helped her finish the final round at one over 71. Neha Tripathi who was the only player today to shoot a par round, finished as the runners up to the tournament falling short by two shots from the winner. Her birdies on the first and 13th and two bogeys on the ninth and 14th helped her finish round three at par 70 and a total score of 213.


Veteran golfer, Smriti Mehra had another disappointing day as she carded three over 73 and a total of 216 to finish third.  Smriti had double bogeys on the first and sixth and a bogey on the 18th with two birdies on second and seventh holes.


Rani Sonti finished fourth with a final round score of four over 74 and a total of 222. Vani Kapoor finished fifth with a total score of 225 and Saaniya Sharma was placed sixth with 226.


Sharmila Nicollet – 221 (71, 69, 71)

Neha Tripathi – 213 (75, 68, 70)

Smriti Mehra – 216 (68, 75, 73)

Rani Sonti – 222 (73, 75, 74)

Vani Kapoor – 225 (78, 74, 73)

Saaniya Sharma – 226 (78, 74, 74) 

Vijitha Bandara holds 3 shot lead on day 3 of 8th NCR Cup

28th February, New Delhi: Overnight leader Sri Lanka’s Vijitha Bandara shot one-over 73 to hold the lead on day three of Gannon Dunkerley 8th NCR Cup at the Delhi Golf Club. Bandara’s three days total was 217. Three shots behind was India’s Samarth Dwivedi after firing a two-under 70 for a total of 220 along with another countryman Prince Kajotia who finished third.


India’s Amit Kumar who was tied on 2nd position yesterday, came back with the score of four-over 76 for the total of 224 to slip at 4th. India’s Pratap Atwal, whose best score on this course is seven-under, returned with two-under 70 for the total of 225 in a tie along with Dhruv Sheoran who shot four-over 76 for the total of 225.


Currently Number one on Sri Lanka amateur circuit, Bandara started the day with a bogey on first hole which led to lapse in concentration but he did some breathing exercise on the 2nd tee box to hit back to back birdies on 2nd, 3rd and 5th. He was level par after front nine but bogeys on 11th and 17th and a birdie finish got him one-over in total.


Not too impressed with putting, Bandara said, “I could have been three or four under today if I would not have missed short putts on first, 8th, 11th and 14th. I was also confused at some of the holes as my mind was saying something and my caddy was saying something else. I closed my eyes on the 18th green and counted from 20 to 1 to balance my mind but still I missed the eagle by six inch. I will do my breathing exercise in the evening so that I can start fresh tomorrow to clinch the title.”


43 players will be vying for the title tomorrow as two Pakistani players Sardar Murad and Amir Mehmood and Indian K. K. Bajoria withdrew from the tournament.

Union Budget 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister


Finance Min P Chidambaram announced a sharp increase of Rs 1.25 lakh crore in agriculture credit target to Rs 7 lakh crore for next fiscal and allocated additional Rs 10,000 crore in subsidy for implementing the Food Security Bill.

Following are some of the key highlights of the Union Budget 2013-14 presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in Parliament.

*No change in income tax slabs
*Relief of Rs 2,000 for tax payers in tax bracket of Rs 2-5 lakh
*10 pc surcharge on persons with taxable income of over Rs 1 crore
*Tobacco products, SUVs and mobile phones to cost more
*Income limit under Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme raised to 12 lakh from Rs 10 lakh
*First home loan of up to Rs 25 lakh to get extra interest deduction of up to Rs 1 lakh
*Duty free limit of gold import increased to Rs 50,000 for male passengers and Rs 1 lakh for female passengers
*India’s first women’s bank to be set up by October
*Concessional six per cent interest on loans to weavers
*Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana benefit extended to rickshaw pullers, auto and taxi drivers, among others
*’Nirbhaya Fund’ of Rs 1,000 crore to empower women and provide safety in the wake of Delhi gang-rape incident
*Fiscal deficit for 2013-14 pegged at 4.8 pc of GDP and 5.2 per cent in 2012-13
*Market borrowings pegged at Rs 6.29 lakh crore, higher
than Rs 5.59 lakh crore in FY13
*Disinvestment target more than doubled to Rs 55,814 cr
*Plan expenditure pegged at Rs 5,55,322 crore and non-Plan at Rs 11,09,975 crore
*New taxes to collect Rs 18,000 crore for government
*Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme launched for recovering service tax dues
*Rs 14,000 crore earmarked for capital infusion in public sector banks in 2013-14


He also allocated 22 percent more funds to Agriculture Ministry at Rs 27,049 crore for the 2013-14 fiscal, of which Rs 3,415 crore has been earmarked for farm research.

Chidambaram announced extension of interest-subvention on crop loans to private sector banks and commercial banks.
“Agricultural credit is a driver of agricultural production. We will exceed the target of Rs 5,75,000 crore fixed for 2012-13. For 2013-14, I propose to increase the target to Rs 7,00,000 crore,” Chidambaram said while presenting the Budget for the 2013-14 fiscal in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The interest-subvention for short-term crop loan will be continued and farmers who repay loan on time will be able to get credit at 4 percent interest per annum, he added.
“So far, the scheme has been applied to loans extended by public sector banks, Regional Rural Banks and cooperative banks, I propose to extend the scheme to crop loans borrowed from private sector banks and scheduled commercial banks in respect to loans given within the service area of the branch concern,” the Minister said.
Looking at the success of the scheme — Bringing Green Revolution in the Eastern India, Chidambaram allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the next fiscal.
Another Rs 500 crore was allocated for crop diversification in states covered during the Green Revolution such as Punjab and Haryana, which are facing stagnation in farm yields.
On proposed Food law, the Minister said: “I sincerely hope Parliament will pass the Bill as early as possible. Over and above the normal provision for food subsidy, I have set apart Rs 10,000 crore towards the incremental costs that is likely under the Act.”
Fiscal deficit for 2012-13 estimated at 5.2%: Chidambaram
The fiscal deficit for the current financial year has been contained at 5.2 percent of GDP, lower than 5.3 percent as was targeted, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.
“The fiscal deficit for 2012-13 has been contained at 5.2 per cent. I propose to bring it down to 4.8 per cent by 2013-14,” Chidambaram said while unveiling Budget 2013-14 proposals in the Lok Sabha.
Further, the Revenue Deficit has been contained at 3.9 percent in the current fiscal and would be brought down to 3.3 percent in 2013-14.
As per the fiscal consolidation roadmap, the government plans to reduce fiscal deficit to 3 percent by 2016-17.
“We must redeem our promise and bring down the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent and revenue deficit to 1.9 per cent by 2016-17,” Chidambaram said.
Tax benefits in RGESS extended to 3 years: Chidambaram
While presenting the Budget 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday proposed liberalising the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) to enable first time investors to park funds in MFs and listed shares and extended tax benefits to three successive years.
Also, the limit for investors wanting to invest in RGESS has been raised to Rs 12 lakh from Rs 10 lakh earlier.
The RGESS will be liberalised to enable first time retail investors to invest in mutual funds and listed shares and not in one year alone, but for three successive years, Chidambaram said.
The RGESS, which was originally announced in the Budget for 2012-13, seeks to provide tax benefits to first-time investors in stock markets. Under the scheme, an individual with an income of less than Rs 12 lakh would get tax incentives for investing up to Rs 50,000 in the stock market.

Budget quote of Mr. Aneesh Srivastava, CIO, IDBI Federal.

An insipid budget

The Union Budget for 2013-14 seems to be a populist one that neither creates any impact on the economy, nor does it address the long-term growth needs.

While the Budget may prove to be positive for FIIs as they can now invest in corporate & government bonds as collateral to meet margin requirements, the Tax Residency Certificate has again become an issue.

The piecemeal perks in some sectors are just not enough to accelerate growth. India continues to face the challenge of getting back to its potential growth rate of 8% along with bringing down inflation. The target to achieve a higher growth rate and a decrease in fiscal deficit looks unlikely in these conditions. The Budget also does not give any direction to address the issue of high current account deficit. The expenditure programme announced by the government would actually be inflationary.


During the flag-off of the BCIM rally on Wednesday, Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh announced that the Centre has decided to provide Visa on arrival at Moreh for the Myanmarese Nationals seeking medical treatment.

“As a first step towards easing of restrictions, the government has decided to provide Visa on arrival at Moreh for the Myanmarese,” he said at Kangla Fort on Wenesday morning.
Singh said the restrictions in the movement of goods and services and people across the border need to be eased.
“We are looking at the opening up of road and rail passages to Bangladesh through Tripura so that our goods can be exported by using the ports of Bangladesh,” the chief minister said.
The rally on Wednesday set off on its sixth stage from Imphal to Ka Lay in Myanmar.
CII chairman (eastern region) R K Agrawal hoped that the rally would revive ancient links and also forge new ties.
“It would also highlight the potential of northeast and explore cross-border land trade. CII is priviledged to partner the rally and have all the governments in its side,” he added.
Hundreds of school children holding flags and flowers lined up at the Kangla Fort street to send off the rally.
The 12-day rally will then proceed to Myanmar and culminate at Kunming, in the Yunnan province of China on March 5.
“We have got the assurance from the highest level from the government of India. We don’t see any trouble along the route anymore,” Indian rally contingent head Sunil Misra said here as the rally left Imphal, in the last stretch of India before entering Myanmar.
The Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) had earlier threatened to block the entry of the four-nation rally into ‘Kuki areas’ of the state with an indefinite public blockade in the tough 270-km NH-53 stretch from Silchar to Imphal.
Paramilitary personnel were stationed along the entire stretch from Silchar to Imphal as the cavalcade of 20 cars took more than 14 hours to cover the treacherous hilly terrain.
The car rally, which has a motto of ‘Building Bonds, Fostering Friendship’, is focused to play catalysis in stimulating interest of the concerned stakeholders in deepening BCIM cooperation.
The 3028-km rally’s next stop is Ka Lay before heading to Mandalay, Ruili and then to Tengchong, Dali and Kunming in China where it is scheduled to culminate on March 5.

Robust Inflow of FDI in the Services Sector

Robust Inflow of FDI in the Services Sector 
India’s Share of Services Exports Increasing Faster than Share of Merchandise Exports
The FDI inflows in the services sector grew robustly at 57.62% compared to the growth of overall FDI inflows at 33.6%, in 2011-12. However, in April-November, 2012-13, overall FDI inflows fell by 43.3% to US $ 15.85 billion from US $ 27.93 billion in the corresponding period in the previous year. FDI inflows in the top five services also fell by 9.7% to US $ 8.19 billion. 

The Government has taken many policy initiatives to liberalize FDI policy for services sector. This includes increasing FDI limit from 49 to 74% in teleports and DTH and cable networks, permitting FDI upto 74% in mobile TV, upto 49% in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services and upto 50% in multi-brand retail trading. The Government has also amended the existing policy on FDI in single brand product retail trading. 

The share of services export of India in the world exports of services has been increasing faster than the share of merchandise exports in world exports. It grew from 0.6% in 1990 to 1% in 2000 and 3.3% in 2011. The overall openness of the economy reflected by total trade including services as a percentage of GDP shows higher degree of openness at 55% in 201-12 as compared to 38.1% in 2004-05. The openness indicator based only on merchandise trade is 43.2% in 2011-12, as compared to 28.3% in 2004-05. 

USA SC:No challenge to FISA


United States Supreme Court will not let Americans challenge a provision in a foreign intelligence law that lets the federal government secretly eavesdrop on the intimate communications of millions of Americans.
On Tuesday, the top justices in the US said the country’s highest court will not hear a case in which Amnesty International and a slew of co-plaintiffs have contested a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or FISA, that lets the National Security Agency silently monitor emails and phone calls [.pdf].
Under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), the NSA is allowed to conduct electronic surveillance on any US citizen as long as they are suspected of conversing with any person located outside of the United States. That provision was scheduled to expire at the end of 2012, but Congress voted to re-up the bill and it was put back on the books for another five years.
Along with human rights workers and journalists, Amnesty International first challenged the FAA on the day it went into effect, arguing that the powers provided to the NSA under the FISA amendments likely puts the plaintiffs and perhaps millions of other Americans at risk of surveillance. Now years later, though, they are finally being told that they cannot challenge the law that, while meant to collect foreign intelligence, puts every person in the country at risk of being watched.
“Under the FAA, the government can target anyone — human rights researchers, academics, attorneys, political activists, journalists — simply because they are foreigners outside the United States, and in the course of its surveillance it can collect Americans’ communications with those individuals,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote on behalf of the plaintiffs in a legal brief filed last year with the court.
Amnesty, et al have been pursuing an injunction against the NSA in their lawsuit, which names former NSA-Chief James Clapper is a co-defendant. Because the plaintiffs cannot prove that they’ve actually been targeted under the FAA, however, the case is been stalled endlessly.
In last year’s filing, the ACLU acknowledged that an appeals court panel agreed in 2011 that “plaintiffs have good reason to believe that their communications, in particular, will fall within the scope of the broad surveillance that they can assume the government will conduct,” and the full body of US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit later refused the government’s attempts to have them reconsider.
“But instead of allowing the case to be heard on the merits, the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to review the case,” the ACLU’s Ateqah Khaki, wrote. “Our brief urges the Court to affirm the appeals court’s decision.”
On Tuesday, however, the Supreme Court dismissed the claims that the plaintiffs were being watched under the FAA. Amnesty and others had argued that the presumed surveillance they were subjected to has caused them to go out of their way to maintain working relationships with clients, forcing them to travel abroad to communicate without the fear of being monitored.

Egypt hot air balloon crash kills 19 Asian, European tourists

At least 19 people, mostly Asian and European tourists, were killed on Tuesday when a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed near the southern historic Egyptian city of Luxor.

The hot air balloon carrying 21 people caught fire mid-air before crashing to the ground, General Mamdough Khaled, director of security for Luxor Governate said in a statement.
Luxor International Hospital received 19 badly burned bodies, Khaled said. The balloon was operated by a company named Sky Cruise, state-run news agency reported.
Ahmed Aboud, who runs another balloon company, was quoted by the media as saying that gas tanks ignited the balloon about 1,000 feet.
Two people survived, a tourist and the pilot, Aboud said.
Both are in critical condition, the statement from Khaled said.
Passengers in the balloon included 19 foreign tourists, nine from Hong Kong, four from Japan, three from Britain, two from France and one from Hungary, officials said.
An Egyptian pilot and another Egyptian were also on board, Luxor province spokesman Badawi al-Masri said.
Balloon rides offering scenic aerial views of the Nile river and the ancient temples of Karnak and Hatshepsut are a popular tourist attraction in Luxor, about nine hours’ drive southeast of Cairo.
The catastrophe may be the deadliest hot air balloon accident in history.
In 1989, 13 people were killed when two hot air balloons collided in Australia.
Luxor lies on the banks of the river Nile and is home to some of Egypt’s most famous pharaonic-era ruins.
US photographer Christopher Michel was in another balloon, taking some aerial shots, at the time.
“We flew over the ancient ruins. Just before landing in the cornfields, I heard an explosion and saw smoke. I think it was the balloon behind mine,” he was quoted by the news agency as saying.
“I wasn’t sure what had happened at first. It was only when we landed we heard the full extent of what happened,” he said.