Monday, March 21, 2011


A veto, or in Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to
unilaterally stop a piece of legislation.
In practice, the veto can be absolute (as in the U.N. Security Council, whose
permanent members (the China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and United
States) can block any resolution, or limited, as in the legislative process of the
United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate may
override a Presidential veto of legislation). A veto gives power, possibly unlimited,
to stop changes, but not to adopt them. The influence that the veto conveys to its
holder is therefore directly proportional to the holder's conservatism, broadly
defined. The more the holder of a veto supports the status quo, the more useful
the veto. The concept of a veto body originated with the Roman consuls and
tribunes. Either of the two consuls holding office in a given year could block a
military or civil decision by the other; any tribune had the power to unilaterally
block legislation passed by the Roman Senate
Roman veto
The institution of the veto, known as the intercession, was adopted by the Roman
Republic in the 6th century BC as a way of enabling the tribunes to protect the
interests of the plebs (common citizenry) from the encroachments of the
patricians, who dominated the Senate. A tribune's veto did not prevent the senate
from passing a bill, but meant that it was denied the force of law. The tribunes
could also use the veto to prevent a bill from being brought before the plebeian
assembly. The consuls also had the power of veto, as decision making generally
required the assent of both consuls. If one disagreed, either could invoke the
intercession to block the action of the other. The veto was an essential
component of the Roman conception of power being wielded not only to manage
state affairs but to moderate and restrict the power of the state's high officials
and institution.
Westminster systems
In Westminster Systems and most constitutional monarchies, the power to veto
legislation by withholding the Royal Assent is a rarely used reserve power of the
monarch. In practice, the Crown follows the convention of exercising its
prerogative on the advice of its chief advisor, the prime minister.
The House of Lords used to have the power of veto. However, reform first by a
Liberal government and then by a Labour government has seen their powers
limited. The Parliamentary Acts of 1911 and 1949 saw their powers reduced to
being able to amend and delay legislation. They are able to delay legislation for
up to one year. Under the 1911 Act, money bills may not be delayed, and under
the Salisbury Convention, they cannot delay any bills laid out in the party's
In Spain, the article 115 of the Constitution provides that the King shall give his
assent to Laws passed by the General Courts within 15 days after their final
passing by them; the absence of the Royal Assent, although not constitutionally
provided, would mean the bill not to become Law.
Since the Statute of Westminster (1931), the United Kingdom Parliament may not
repeal any Act of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia on the
grounds that are repugnant to the laws and interests of the United Kingdom.
Other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations (not to be confused with the
Commonwealth of Australia), such as Canada and New Zealand, are likewise
affected. However, according to the Australian Constitution (sec. 59), the Queen
may veto a bill that has been given royal assent by the Governor-General within
one year of the legislation being assented to.This power has never been used. The
Australian Governor-General himself or herself has, in theory, power to veto, or
more technically, withhold assent to, a bill passed by both houses of the
Australian Parliament, and contrary to the advice of the prime minister. This may
be done without consulting the sovereign as per Section 58 of the constitution,
"Royal assent to Bills. Recommendations by Governor-General - When a proposed
law passed by both Houses of Parliament is presented to the Governor-General
for the Queen’s assent, he shall declare, according to his discretion, but subject to
this Constitution, that he assents in the Queen’s name, or that he withholds
assent, or that he reserves the law for the Queen’s pleasure. The Governor-
General may return to the House in which it originated any proposed law so
presented to him, and may transmit therewith any amendments which he may
recommend, and the Houses may deal with the recommendation" This reserve
power is however, constitutionally arguable, and it is difficult to foresee an
occasion when such a power would need to be exercised. It is possible that a
Governor-general might so act if a bill passed by the Parliament was criminal,
illegal or in violation of the Constitution. One might argue, however, that a
government would be hardly likely to present a bill which is so open to rejection.
Many of the vice-regal reserve powers are untested, because of the brief
constitutional history of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the observance of
the convention that the head of state acts upon the advice of his or her chief
With regard to the six governors of the states which are federated under the
Australian Commonwealth, a somewhat different situation exists. Until the
Australia Act 1986, each state was constitutionally dependent upon the British
Crown directly. Since 1986, however, they are fully independent entities,
although the Queen still appoints governors on the advice of the state head of
government, the premier. So the Crown may not veto (nor the UK Parliament
overturn) any act of a state governor or state legislature. Paradoxically, the states
are more independent of the Crown than the federal government and legislature.
State constitutions determine what role a governor plays. In general, the
governor exercises the powers the sovereign would have, including the power to
withhold the Royal Assent.
United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, the royal veto ("withholding Royal Assent") was last
exercised in 1707 by Queen Anne with the Scottish Militia Bill 1708.
According to the British North America Act, 1867, the Governor General of Canada
may veto a bill by refusing Royal Assent. If the Governor General withholds the
Queen's assent, the sovereign may within two years, disallow the bill, thereby
vetoing the law in question. However, this power has never been used.
Provincial viceroys, Lieutenant Governors, however are able to reserve Royal
Assent to provincial bills for the governor general; this clause was last invoked in
1961 by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.
United States
All legislation passed by both houses of Congress must be presented to the
President. This presentation is in the President's capacity as Head of State.
If the President approves of the legislation, he signs it (sign into law). If he does
not approve, he must return the bill, unsigned, within ten days, excluding
Sundays, to the house of the United States Congress in which it originated, while
the Congress is in session. The President is constitutionally required to state his
objections to the legislation in writing, and the Congress is constitutionally
required to consider them, and to reconsider the legislation. This action, in effect,
is a veto.
If the Congress overrides the veto by a two-thirds majority in each house, it
becomes law without the President's signature. Otherwise, the bill fails to become
law unless it is presented to the President again and he chooses to sign it.
A bill can also become law without the President's signature if, after it is
presented to him, he simply fails to sign it within the ten days noted. If there are
fewer than ten days left in the session before Congress adjourns, and if Congress
does so adjourn before the ten days have expired in which the President might
sign the bill, then the bill fails to become law. This procedure, when used as a
formal device, is called a pocket veto.
Modifications declared unconstitutional
In 1996, the Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed, the Line Item
Veto Act of 1996. This act allowed the President to veto individual items of
budgeted expenditures from appropriations bills instead of vetoing the entire bill
and sending it back to the Congress. However, this line-item veto was
immediately challenged by members of Congress who disagreed with it. In 1998,
the Supreme Court declared that the line-item veto was unconstitutional. The
Court found the language of the Constitution required each bill presented to the
President to be either approved or rejected as a whole. An action by which the
President might pick and choose which parts of the bill to approve or not approve
amounted to the President acting as a legislator instead of an executive and head
of state - and particularly as a single legislator acting in place of the entire
Congress - thereby violating the separation of powers doctrine. In 2006, Senator
Bill Frist introduced the Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006 in the United
States Senate. Rather than provide for an actual legislative veto, however, the
procedure created by the Act provides that, if the President should recommend
rescission of a budgetary line item from a budget bill he previously signed into
law - a power he already possesses pursuant to U.S. Const. Art. II - the Congress
must vote on his request within ten days. Because the legislation that is the
subject of the President's request (or "Special Message," in the language of the
bill) was already enacted and signed into law, the vote by the Congress would be
ordinary legislative action, not any kind of veto - whether line-item, legislative or
any other sort. The House passed this measure, but the Senate never considered
it, so the bill expired and never became law.
In 1982, the Supreme Court had struck down the one-house legislative veto, also
on separation of powers grounds and on grounds that the action by one house of
Congress violated the Constitutional requirement of bicameralism. The case was
INS v. Chadha, concerning a foreign exchange student in Ohio who had been born
in Kenya but whose parents were from India. Because he was not born in India,
he was not an Indian citizen. Because his parents were not Kenyan citizens, he
was not Kenyan. Thus, he had nowhere to go when his student visa expired
because neither country would take him, so he overstayed his visa and was
ordered to show cause why he should not be deported from the United States.
The Immigration and Nationality Act was one of many acts of Congress passed
since the 1930s, which contained a provision allowing either house of that
legislature to nullify decisions of agencies in the executive branch simply by
passing a resolution. In this case, Chadha's deportation was suspended and the
House of Representatives passed a resolution overturning the suspension, so that
the deportation proceedings would continue. This, the Court held, amounted to
the House of Representatives passing legislation without the concurrence of the
Senate, and without presenting the legislation to the President for consideration
and approval (or veto). Thus, the Constitutional principle of bicameralism and the
separation of powers doctrine were disregarded in this case, and this legislative
veto of executive decisions was struck down.
Early federal history
The Presidents of the Continental Congress (1774 - 1781) did not have the power
of veto. Nor could the President veto an act of Congress under the Articles of
Confederation (1781 - 1789), though he possessed certain recess and reserve
powers that were not necessarily available to the predecessor President of
Continental Congress. But with the enactment of the United States Constitution
(drafted 1787; ratified 1788; fully effective since 4 March 1789), veto power was
conferred upon the person titled "President of the United States."
The presidential veto power was first exercised on April 5, 1792 when George
Washington vetoed a bill designed to apportion representatives among the several
states. The Congress first overrode a presidential veto - that is, passed a bill into
law notwithstanding the President's objections - on March 3, 1845.
U.S. states and amendatory veto
Most U.S. states also have a provision by which legislative decisions can be
vetoed by the governor. In addition, most of these states allow the governor to
exercise a line-item veto.
In seven U.S. states, the governor has an amendatory veto. For example, in
Illinois, the governor can make specific recommendations for changes to a bill.
The state legislature can then approve the changes by majority vote, or override
the amendatory veto with a 60% majority. No law is passed if the legislature does
not accept the changes.
Presidential veto
Parliamentary republics in Europe, including Italy, Portugal, Ireland, France,
Latvia, the Ukraine, and Hungary often allow a form of limited presidential veto
on legislation.
The President of Austria does not technically have veto power. However, the
president can order a referendum on a bill passed by the legislature if they refuse
to sign it.
The President of Iceland can refuse to sign a bill which is then put to universal
adult suffrage. The president has only twice refused to sign a bill, and a
referendum has only been held once.
The President of Ireland can refuse to grant assent to a bill which he/she
considers to be unconstitutional, after first consulting the Council of State; in this
case the bill is referred to the Supreme Court of Ireland, which finally determines
the matter. This is the most widely used reserve power. The President may also,
on request of a majority of the Senate and a third of Dáil Éireann (opposition
parties), and after consulting the council of state, decline to sign a bill that he/she
believes is "of such national importance that the will of the people thereon ought
to be ascertained" in a referendum, or a new Dáil Éireann reassembling after a
general election held within eight months. This latter power has never been used
due to the fact that the government of the day almost always commands a
majority of the Senate preventing the third of Dáil Éireann that usually makes up
the opposition from combining with it.
The President of Italy
can request a second deliberation of a bill passed by
Parliament before it is promulgated. This is very weak form of veto, as the
exists in France and Latvia. While such a limited veto cannot thwart the will of a
determined parliamentary majority, it may have a delaying effect, and may cause
the parliamentary majority to reconsider the matter. In Italy, the President of
Republic can also call new Parliament elections. That makes stronger his position.
The President of Portugal can refuse to sign a bill or refer it or parts of it to the
Portuguese Constitutional Court. If the President refuses to sign bill without it
being declared unconstitutional, the Assembly of the Republic (parliament) can
pass it again and it becomes law regardless of the President's opinion.
The President of Latvia may suspend a bill for a period of two months, during
which it may be referred to the people in a referendum if a certain number of
signatures are gathered. This is potentially a much stronger form of veto, as it
enables the President to appeal to the people against the wishes of the Parliament
and Government.
The President of Ukraine can refuse to sign a bill and return it to Parliament with
his proposals. If the parliament agrees on his proposals, the President should sign
the bill. Parliament can overturn a veto by 2/3 majority. If the parliament
overturns his veto, the President should sign the bill. If he fails to do so in 10
days, then the Chairman of the Parliament signs it.
The President of Hungary has two options to veto a bill: S/he may submit it to the
Constitutional Court in case of any suspicion that it violates the constitution, or
s/he may send it back to the Parliament and ask for a second debate and vote on
the bill. If the Court rules that the bill is not unconstitutional or it is passed by the
Parliament again, respectively, the President must sign it.
Parliament can override the veto by an ordinary majority. The same provision
exists in France and Latvia. While such a limited veto cannot thwart the will of a
determined parliamentary majority, it may have a delaying effect, and may cause
the parliamentary majority to reconsider the matter. In Italy, the President of
Republic can also call new Parliament elections. That makes stronger his position.
The President of Portugal can refuse to sign a bill or refer it or parts of it to the
Portuguese Constitutional Court. If the President refuses to sign bill without it
being declared unconstitutional, the Assembly of the Republic (parliament) can
pass it again and it becomes law regardless of the President's opinion.
The President of Latvia may suspend a bill for a period of two months, during
which it may be referred to the people in a referendum if a certain number of
signatures are gathered. This is potentially a much stronger form of veto, as it
enables the President to appeal to the people against the wishes of the Parliament
and Government.
The President of Ukraine can refuse to sign a bill and return it to Parliament with
his proposals. If the parliament agrees on his proposals, the President should sign
the bill. Parliament can overturn a veto by 2/3 majority. If the parliament
overturns his veto, the President should sign the bill. If he fails to do so in 10
days, then the Chairman of the Parliament signs it.
The President of Hungary has two options to veto a bill: S/he may submit it to the
Constitutional Court in case of any suspicion that it violates the constitution, or
s/he may send it back to the Parliament and ask for a second debate and vote on
the bill. If the Court rules that the bill is not unconstitutional or it is passed by the Parliament again, respectively, the President must sign it.
Liberum veto
In the constitution of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Poland, there was an
institution called the liberum veto. All bills had to pass the Sejm (Parliament) by
unanimous consent, and if any legislator voted nay on anything, this not only
vetoed that bill but dissolved that legislative session itself. The concept originated
in the idea of "Polish democracy", that any Pole of noble extraction was as good
as any other, no matter how low or high his material condition might be. It was
never exercised in practice under the rule of the strong Polish royal dynasties, but
these came to an end in the mid-17th century, and were followed by an elective
kingship. As might be expected, the more and more frequent use of this veto
power paralyzed the power of the legislature, and, combined with a string of weak
figurehead kings, led ultimately to the partitioning and dissolution of the Polish
state in the following century.


The 2002 Gujarat violence describes the Godhra train burning and resulting
communal riots between Hindus and Muslims. On 27 February 2002 at Godhra
City in the state of Gujarat, the Sabarmati Express train was forcibly stopped and
attacked by a large Muslim mob. As a result, 58 Hindu pilgrims — mostly women,
children and seniors returning from the holy city of Ayodhya — were burned alive.
The attack prompted retaliatory massacres against Muslims on a large scale, in
which 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed. 223 more people were reported
missing. 523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17
temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the
damage. 61,000 Muslims and 10,000 Hindus fled their homes. Preventive arrests
of 17,947 Hindus and 3,616 Muslims were made. In total, 27,901 Hindus and
7,651 Muslims were arrested. Nearly 10,000 rounds of bullets were fired by the
police, killing 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.
The nature of the events remains politically controversial in India. Some
commentators have characterized the massacres of Muslims as a genocide in
which the state was complicit, while some government sources have countered
that the Muslim dead were victims of mere "riots" or "disturbances".
Initial media reports blamed the local Muslims for setting the coach on fire, in
what Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and the VHP leader Giriraj Kishore
alleged was a "pre-planned" attack. The New Nanavati Report states that the
attack on the "Kar Sevaks" on the train from Ayodhya was pre-planned, and
exonerates Chief Minister Narendra Modi. A previous report on the Godhra train
burning, filed by Justice Banerjee, states that it was "pre-planned" by the mob.
The Gujarat High Court ruling, as of 2006, has declared as illegal and
unconstitutional, setting up of the Umesh Chandra Banerjee committee, which
had concluded that the fire started by accident. Gujarat High Court quashed the
conclusions of the Banerjee Committee and declared its formation as a “colourful
exercise,” “illegal, unconstitutional, null and void,” and its argument of accidental
fire “opposed to the prima facie accepted facts on record.". According to the
Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, "most Congress corporators" "and some Congress leaders of
Gujarat had actively participated in last year's riots". The majority of the media
and party remained silent over the issue of the Congress role in the riot
However, in September 2008, the Godhra Commission confirmed that there was
an attack by a mob going further. The report claims that one Hassan Lalu had
thrown burning objects into the train and 140 litres of petrol had been used to set
the train on fire, adding that stones were thrown at passengers to stop them from
fleeing. The bodies of those killed in the train were brought to Ahmedabad, where
a procession was held, a move seen as a major provocation for the ensuing
communal violence. The VHP issued a call for a state-wide strike on 28 February
2002, which was supported by the BJP. In February 2011, the findings of the
Nanavati-Mehta commission were upheld in court, and the Godhra train burning
was called a "pre-planned conspiracy". 31 people were convicted of setting fire to
the train and "roasting alive 59 helpless kar sevaks." of which 11 were sentenced
to death and 20 to life sentences.
Post Godhra violence
151 towns and 993 villages in fifteen to sixteen of the state's 25 districts were
affected by the post-Godhra violence, which was particularly severe in about five
or six districts. The violence raged largely between 28 February and 3 March, and
after a drop, restarted on 15 March, continuing till mid June. Northern and central
Gujarat, as well as the north-eastern tribal belt, which are closer to Godhra City,
were the worst affected while Saurashtra and Kutch remained largely peaceful.
Attacks on Muslims
Attacks by large Hindu mobs began in the districts of Ahmedabad, Vadodara,
Saberkantha and, for the first time in its history, Gandhinagar on 28 February.
Violence spread to the largely rural districts of Panchmahals, Mehsana, Kheda,
Junagadh, Banaskantha, Patan, Anand and Narmada the next day. Over the next
two days, Bharuch and Rajkot and later Surat were hit.
The first incidents of attacks on the Muslim community started at Ahmedabad,
where Hindus began throwing stones at and later burned a Muslim housing
complex known as Gulburg Society, and then spread elsewhere. The initial
violence was believed to be instigated by unsubstantiated rumours, endorsed by a
senior VHP leader, of Muslims having kidnapped three Hindu girls during the
Godhra train attack. In Ahmedabad, the dargah of the Sufi saint-poet Wali
Gujarati in Shahibaug and the 16th century Gumte Masjid mosque in Isanpur
were destroyed. The Muhafiz Khan Masjid at Gheekanta was ransacked. Police
records list 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples and three churches as
damaged in the months of March and April.
Attacks on Hindus
Attacks on Hindus by Muslim mobs in Danilimda, Modasa, Himmatnagar, Bharuch,
Sindhi Market, Bhanderi Pole, and other localities in the city of Ahmedabad in
Gujarat were perpetrated by Muslim mobs. There was a significant loss of
property. Late in March, more than one thousand Hindus in Dariyapur and
Kalupur, including 550 Dalits, fled their homes to stay in makeshift shelters after
being attacked by Muslim mobs. According to the HRW report, over ten thousand
Hindus were made homeless. Several Hindu residential areas, including Mahajan
No Vaado, a fortified enclave in Muslim dominated Jamalpur, were targeted
following calls for retaliation.
In the morning, the mosques began announcing that Islam was in danger, that
there was poison in the milk. This was used as a code word. The milk was meant
to be Muslims and poison meant Hindus. The rioting lasted between 2:15 p.m.
and 5:30 p.m. Residents were unable to go to work, fearing attacks. A Hindu
temple in the area was destroyed. In Himmatnagar, a young man was killed when
he went to a Muslim enclave on business.
According to an official estimate, 1044 people were killed in the violence - 790
Muslims and 254 Hindus including those killed in the Godhra train fire. Another
223 people were reported missing, 2,548 injured, 919 women widowed and 606
children orphaned.
Unofficial estimates put the death toll closer to 2000, with Muslims forming a high
proportion of those killed. When missing people were declared dead after 7 years,
total deaths went up from 1044 to 1,267.
Security failure
By the evening of 28 February, curfews were imposed in twenty seven towns and
cities. By 25 March, thirty five towns were under curfew. Police records show that
21,563 preventive arrests were made by the end of April (17,947 of the arrested
were listed as Hindus and 3,616 as Muslims) as well as 13,989 substantive
arrests (9,954 Hindus and 4,035 Muslims).
The New York Times' Celia Dugger reported that witnesses were "dismayed by the
lack of intervention from local police", who often "watched the events taking place
and took no action against the attacks on Muslims and their property". Human
Rights Watch reported that in some cases, members of the state police force led
rioting mobs, "aiming and firing at every Muslim who got in the way", or instead
of offering assistance "led the victims directly into the hands of their killers." Calls
for assistance to the police, fire brigades, and even ambulance services generally
proved futile. By the end of April, police recorded 170 people as killed in police
firing, of whom 93 were Muslims and 77 were Hindus. Hindu residents of Mahajan
No Vaado, part of the Muslim dominated area of Jamalpur, told HRW that on 1
March, the police ignored phone calls and left them to fend for themselves when a
Muslim mob attacked. Numerous calls by Hindus throughout the riots were
reportedly ignored by the police. One thousand army troops were flown in by the
evening of 1 March to restore order. Intelligence officials alleged that the
deployment was deliberately delayed by the state and central governments. On 3
May, former Punjab police chief K P S Gill was appointed as security adviser to the
Chief Minister. The Gujarat government transferred several senior police officers
who had taken active measures to contain and investigate violent attacks to
administrative positions.
RB Sreekumar, who served as Gujarat's intelligence chief during the riots, alleged
that the state government issued "unconstitutional directives", with officials
asking him to kill Muslims involved in rioting or disrupting a Hindu religious event.
The Gujarat government denied the allegations, calling them "baseless" and
instigated out of malice because Mr. Sreekumar was not promoted. Defending the
Modi administration in the Rajya Sabha against charges of genocide, BJP
spokesman V K Malhotra said that the official toll of 254 Hindus, killed mostly in
police firing, indicates how the state authorities took effective steps to curb the
violence. BJP MP and journalist Balbir Punj disputed allegations of bias against
Muslims by the BJP-run state government, pointing out that the majority of those
arrested during and after the riots were Hindus.
An unidentified pamphlet circulated to journalists in Gujarat in 2007 labelled
Modi's government as anti-Hindu for arresting Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)
workers and Hindu activists involved in the riots.]
Role of government and police
The Gujarat state government was reprimanded immediately for failing to prevent
the riots, but then increasingly for actively fomenting and participating in it, which
was a far more serious charge. Critiques came repeatedly from the Supreme
Court, and the upper house of the Indian parliament unanimously passed a
resolution calling for federal intervention in Gujarat; a similar censure motion in
the lower house was defeated by about 100 votes.
The United States Department of State in its International Religious Freedom
Report 2003 commented on the episode, based on a report by USCIRF:
India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), an official body, found
evidence in the killings of premeditation by members of Hindu extremist groups;
complicity by Gujarat state government officials; and police inaction in the midst
of attacks on Muslims. The NHRC also noted "widespread reports and allegations
of well-organized persons, armed with mobile telephones and addresses, singling
out certain homes and properties for death and destruction in certain districtssometimes
within view of police stations and personnel," suggesting the attacks
may have been planned in advance. Christians were also victims in Gujarat, and
many churches were destroyed.
In April 2002, retired Supreme Court justices V. R. Krishna Iyer and P. B. Sawant
headed a citizen's panel to investigate the riots. Their report includes testimony of
the then Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Haren Pandya (since
murdered), who testified about an evening meeting convened by Narendra Modi
in the evening of the Godhra train burning. At this meeting, officials were
instructed not to obstruct the Hindu rage, following the incident. The report also
highlighted a second meeting, held in Lunawada village of Panchmahal district,
attended by state ministers Ashok Bhatt, and Prabhatsinh Chauhan, and other BJP
and RSS leaders, where "detailed plans were made on the use of kerosene and
petrol for arson and other methods of killing." In 2003, a comment by G.T.
Nanavati, who leads the official commission investigating the riots, that part of
the evidence collected and reviewed till then did not indicate any serious lapse on
the part of the government or police in Gujarat was criticised as inappropriate by
aid and reconciliation activists and other jurists.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch criticized the Indian government for
failure to address the resulting humanitarian condition of people, the
"overwhelming majority of them Muslims," who fled their homes for relief camps
in the aftermath of the events; as well as the Gujarat state administration for
engaging in a cover-up of the state's role in the massacres. Many of the
investigations and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots have
been opened for reinvestigation and prosecution. The large-scale civil unrest has
been generally been described as riots or inter-communal clashes.
In response to allegations of state involvement, Gujarat government spokesman,
Bharat Pandya, told the BBC that the rioting was a spontaneous Hindu backlash
fuelled by widespread anger against Muslims. He said "Hindus are frustrated over
the role of Muslims in the on-going violence in Indian-administered Kashmir and
other parts of India". The US Ambassador at Large for International Religious
Freedom, John Hanford, expressing concern over religious intolerance in Indian
politics, said that while the rioters may have been aided by state and local
officials, he did not believe that the BJP-led central government was involved in
inciting the riots. At the same time, about two hundred policemen lost their lives
trying to control the violence in Gujarat.
Criminal prosecutions
The Indian Supreme Court has been strongly critical of the state government's
investigation and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots,
directing police to review about 2,000 of the 4,000 riot related cases that had
been closed, citing lack of evidence or leads. Following this direction, police
identified nearly 1,600 cases for reinvestigation, arrested 640 accused and
launched investigations against 40 police officers for their failures.
Human Rights Watch alleges that state and law enforcement officials harass and
intimidate key witnesses, NGOs, social activists and lawyers who are fighting to
seek justice for riot victims.
In its 2003 annual report, Amnesty International says, "the same police force that
was accused of colluding with the attackers was put in charge of the
investigations into the massacres, undermining the process of delivery of justice
to the victims." The Best Bakery murder trial received wide attention after
witnesses retracted testimony in court and all accused were acquitted. The Indian
Supreme Court, acting on a petition by social activist Teesta Setalvad, ordered a
retrial outside Gujarat in which nine accused were found guilty in 2006. A key
witness, Zaheera Sheikh, who repeatedly changed her testimony during the trials
and the petition, was found guilty of perjury.
After a local court dismissed the case against her assailants, Bilkis Bano
approached the National Human Rights Commission and petitioned the Supreme
Court seeking a retrial. The Supreme Court granted the motion, directing the
Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation, transferring the
case out of Gujarat and directing the central government to appoint the public
prosecutor. Charges were filed in a Mumbai court against nineteen people as well
as six police officials and a government doctor over their role in the initial
investigations. In January 2008, eleven men were sentenced to life imprisonment
for the rape and murders and a policeman was convicted of falsifying evidence. In
2005, the Vadodara fast track court acquitted 108 people accused of murdering
two youths, during a mob attack on a group of displaced Muslims returning under
police escort to their homes in Avdhootnagar. The court passed strictures against
the police for failing to protect the people under their escort and failing to identify
the attackers they had witnessed.
Nine people were convicted of killing a Hindu man and injuring another during
group clashes in Danilimda, Ahmedabad on 12 April, while 25 others were
acquitted. Eight people, including a VHP leader and a member of the BJP, were
convicted for the murder of seven members of a family and the rape of two minor
girls in the village of Eral in Panchmahal district. Fifty two people from Pavagadh
and Dhikva villages in Panchmahal district were acquitted of rioting charges for
lack of evidence.
A stringent anti-terror law, the POTA, was used by the Gujarat government to
charge 131 people in connection to the Godhra train fire, but not invoked in
prosecuting any of the accused in the post-Godhra riots. In 2005, the POTA
Review Committee, set up by central government to review the application of the
law, opined that the Godhra accused should not be tried under the provisions of
Public enquiries
Shah-Nanavati commission
The report claims failure of intelligence, failure to take appropriate action,
patterns of arrests, uneven handling of major cases, and "Distorted FIRs:
‘extraneous influences’, issue of transparency and integrity" as key factors in the
Banerjee Committee
In September 2004, a panel appointed by the central government and headed by
former Supreme Court judge UC Banerjee to probe the Godhra train fire
concluded that the fire was accidental. Its findings were challenged by the BJP
and the Gujarat inspector-general of police. In October 2006, the Gujarat High
Court ruled that the panel was set up illegally, in violation of the Commissions of
Inquiry Act, 1952, which prohibits the setting up of separate commissions by
state and central governments to probe a matter of public importance.
Concerned Citizens Tribunal
The citizen tribunal, headed by retired Supreme Court justice Krishna Iyer,
collected evidence and testimony from more than 2000 riot victims, witnesses
and others. In its report, the tribunal accuses the state government and chief
minister Modi of complicity in the violence. While Krishna Iyer was nominally part
of this tribunal, he made it clear in the preface of the report that his involvement
was very limited.
Opposition parties as well as three coalition partners of the BJP-led central
government demanded the dismissal of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for
failing to contain the violence, with some calling for the removal of Union Home
Minister L K Advani as well. On 18 July, Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked the
Governor of Gujarat to dissolve the state assembly and call fresh elections. The
Indian Election Commission ruled out early elections, citing the prevailing law and
order situation, a decision the union government unsuccessfully appealed against
in the Supreme Court. In August 2002, a plot by Lashkar-e-Toiba to assassinate
Narendra Modi, Praveen Togadia, and other Sangh Parivar leaders was unearthed
by Indian police. The terrorists were planning to set up a base in Gujarat and
were trying to lure some of the riot-hit people into taking up "so-called jihadi
activities". Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Intelligence) K K Paul said. In
September 2002, at least 29 people were killed when Islamic fundamentalist
gunmen engaged in the Akshardham Temple attack in the city of Gandhinagar in
Gujarat. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and Islamic terrorist group
Lashkar-e-Toiba were accused of supporting the terrorists.
Elections were held in December and Modi was returned to power in a landslide
victory. Emails made public by the perpetrators of a series of bombings in
On 6 March, the Gujarat government set up a commission of enquiry headed by
retired High Court judge K.G. Shah to enquire into the Godhra train burning and
the subsequent violence and submit a report in three months. Following criticism
from victims' organisations, activists and political parties over Shah's alleged
proximity to the BJP, on 22 May, the government reconstituted the commission,
appointing retired Supreme Court Justice G.T. Nanavati to lead the commission.
In 2008, the Nanavati commission came out largely in favour of the Gujarat
government's aspect. Nanavati's evidence hinged on the acquisition of 140 litres
of petrol hours before the arrival of the train and the storage of the said petrol at
the alleged key conspirator's, Razzak Kurkur, guest house. This was further
corroborated by forensic evidence showing that fuel was poured on the train
compartment before being burnt. The alleged mastermind was said to be the
cleric Maulvi Husain Haji Ibrahim Umarji and a dismissed Central Reserve Police
Force officer named Nanumiyan, from Assam, who had instigated the Muslim
crowds. Furthermore, two Kashmiris, Gulamnabi and Ali Mohammed, were in the
same guesthouse for a fortnight prior to the event, speaking about the Kashmir
liberation movement. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Indian
National Congress party both came out railing against the exoneration of the
Gujarat government by the commission citing the timing of the report (with
general elections months away) as evident of unfairness. Congress spokesperson
Veerappa Moily commented at the strange absolvement of the Gujarat
government for complacency for the carnage. He also said that the report
reinforced communal prejudices.
National Human Rights Commission
In its Proceedings of 1 April 2002, the Commission had set out its Preliminary
Comments and Recommendations on the situation and sent a Confidential Report
of the team of the Commission that visited Gujarat from 19–22 March 2002 to
Gujarat government and Central Home Ministry. The Gujarat government in its
reply did not provide its response to the confidential report. Therefore, the
Commission was compelled to release the confidential report in its entirety and
observed that nothing in the reports received in response "rebuts the
presumption that the Modi administration failed in its duty to protect the rights of
the people of Gujarat" by not exercising its jurisdiction over non-state players
that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights.
It further observed that "the violence in the State, which was initially claimed to
have been brought under control in seventy two hours, persisted in varying
degree for over two months, the toll in death and destruction rising with the
passage of time despite the measures reportedly taken by the State
western India in July 2008 indicated that those attacks were "the revenge of
Relief efforts
Amnesty International's annual report on India in 2003 claimed that the "Gujarat
government did not actively fulfill its duty to provide appropriate relief and
rehabilitation to the survivors". The state government initially offered
compensation payments of 200,000 rupees to the families of those who died in
the Godhra train fire and 100,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the
subsequent riots, which local Muslims described as discriminatory. Subsequently,
the government set the compensation amount at 150,000 rupees. By 27 March,
nearly 100,000 displaced people moved into 101 relief camps. This swelled to
over 150,000 in 104 camps the next two weeks. The camps were run by
community groups and NGOs, with the government committing to provide
amenities and supplementary services. Drinking water, medical help, clothing and
blankets were in short supply at the camps. At least another 100 camps were
denied government support, according to a camp organizer and relief supplies
were prevented from reaching the camps over fears that they may be carrying
arms. Relief camp organizers alleged that the state government was coercing
refugees to leave relief camps, with 25,000 people made to leave eighteen camps
that were shut down. Following government assurances that camps would not be
shut down, the Gujarat High Court bench ordered that camp organizers be given
a supervisory role to ensure that the assurances were met. On 23 May 2008, the
Union Government announced a 320 crore rupee (US $ 80 million) relief package
for the victims of the riots.
Media coverage
Covering the first major communal riots following in the advent of satellite
television to India, television news channels set a precedent by identifying the
community of those involved in the violence, breaking a long-standing practice.
Critical reporting on the Gujarat government's handling of the situation helped
bring about the Indian government's intervention in controlling the violence. The
Gujarat government banned television news channels critical of the government's
response. STAR News, Zee News, Aaj Tak, CNN and local stations were blocked.
The Editorial Guild of India rejected the charge that graphic news coverage
aggravated the situation, saying that the coverage exposed the "horrors" of the
riots as well as the "supine if not complicit" attitude of the state, helping propel
remedial action. The team also faulted Gujarati language papers Gujarat
Samachar and the pro-Hindutva Sandesh of distorted and provocative reporting.
The Godhra fire received extensive news coverage until it was overtaken by the
subsequent violence and the presentation of the Union budget. Television and
newspaper reports, particularly local Gujarati language media, carried graphic and
at times sensationalized images and accounts of the Godhra train fire. S
Gurumurthy, Arvind Lavakare and columnist Rajeev Srinivasan argue that news
reports emphasized the provocative behaviour of the kar sevaks on the
Sabarmathi Express in an effort to rationalise the subsequent mob attack at
Godhra and displace blame from the mob on to the kar sevaks.
In 2004, the weekly newspaper Tehelka published a hidden camera exposé
alleging that a BJP legislator Madhu Srivastava bribed Zaheera Sheikh, a witness
in the Best Bakery killings trial. Srivatsava denied the allegation, and an inquiry
committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court drew an "adverse inference"
from the video footage, though it failed to uncover evidence that money was
actually paid. In a 2007 expose, the newspaper released hidden camera footage
of several members of the BJP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal admitting their role in
the riots. Among those featured in the tapes was the special counsel representing
the Gujarat government before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Arvind Pandya,
who resigned from his post after they were made public. While the report was
criticized by some as being politically motivated, some newspapers said that the
revelations simply reinforced what was common knowledge. The Gujarat
government blocked telecast of cable news channels broadcasting the expose, a
move strongly condemned by the Editors Guild of India. The riots were also the
subject of a 2004 documentary film by Rakesh Sharma (filmmaker), called Final
Solution (Gujarat Riots). The film was denied entry to Mumbai International Film
Festival in 2004 due to objections by Censor Board of India, but won two awards
at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival (2004)
Controversies on the riots
Atrocities against women

An international fact finding committee formed of experts from US, UK, France,
Germany and Sri Lanka reported, "Sexual violence was being used as a strategy
for terrorising women belonging to minority community in the state." Taking a
stand decried by the media and other rights groups, Nafisa Hussain, a member of
the National Commission for Women accused organisations and the media of
needlessly exaggerating the plight of women victims of the riots, which was
strongly disputed as Gujarat did not have a State Commission for Women to act
on the ground. The newspaper Tribune reported that "The National Commission
for Women has reluctantly agreed to the complicity of Gujarat Government in the
communal violence in the state." The tone of their most recent report was
reported by the Tribune as "lenient".
Riot cases controversy
In April 2009, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) setup by the Supreme Court
of India to investigate and expedite the Gujarat riot cases submitted before the
Court that Teesta Setalvad had cooked up cases of violence to spice up the
incidents. The SIT, which is headed by former CBI director, R. K. Raghavan, has
said that false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents
by Setalvad and other NGOs. The SIT charged her of “cooking up macabre tales
of killings”.
The court was told that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits
before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by SIT and it was
found that the witnesses had not actually witnessed the incidents and they were
tutored and the affidavits were handed over to them by Setalvad. The report,
which was brought to the notice of the bench, consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat,
P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, noted that the much publicised case of a pregnant
Muslim woman Kausar Banu being gang-raped by a mob and foetus being
removed from sharp weapons, was also cooked up and false.
Godhra verdict: 31 convicted in Sabarmati Express burning case
Thirty-one people were convicted and 63 others, including the main accused
Maulvi Umarji, were acquitted by a special court here in the 2002 Godhra train
burning incident that left 59 people dead and triggered violence in Gujarat that
had claimed the lives of over 1200 people, mainly Muslims.
The sentencing would be pronounced on February 25 after arguments on the
quantum of punishment by the Special Court that accepted the theory of
conspiracy behind the burning of the coach of Sabarmati Express carrying kar
sevaks returning from Ayodhya.
The court acquitted prime accused Maulana Umarji while other prominent accused
Haji Billa and Rajjak Kurkur were convicted.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


1. 'Equity schemes managed strong NAV gains, which boost their assets'
was news in some financial newspapers. What is the full form of the
term NAV as used in above head lines ?
(A) Nil Accounting Variation (B) Net Accounting Venture
(C) Net Asset Value (D) New Asset Venture
(E) None of these
2. As per reports published in various newspapers, mutual fund companies
showed 94 percent growth in their total profits during 2009-10. This
means the profits earned by these companies were 94 percent
(A) Of the total investments they made collectively during the year
(B) More than their profits during previous year
(C) Of the total capital of the company
(D) Less than the total expenditure of the companies
(E) None of these
3. As per the news published in various newspapers Pakistan has imposed
15 percent regulatory duty on exports of cotton yarn. Why countries
are required to impose regulatory duties on exports of some of their
commodities while in the eyes of the layman more exports means more
foreign exchange and more revenue for the Government ?
(1) It is done to control the exports of a commodity as it may be
needed more in local markets than in foreign countries.
(2) It is done to control the general inflation in the country as the
inordinate exports of various commodities create imbalance and
also cost push inflation.
(3) It is a good short time measure to collect more revenue from the
exports of the commodity which is in high demand in overseas
(A) Only A (B) Only B
(C) Only C (D) All A, B & C
(E) None of these
4. As per the reports published in some major newspapers "ADAG
companies" made good profits during the year. ADAG companies are
popularly known as _______ .
(A) companies owned, by Tata Group
(B) Aditya Birla Companies
(C) Reliance companies
(D) Companies owned by Aptech
(E) None of these
5. ONGC-Mittal Energy finds hydrocarbons in two blocks OPL-279 & OPL-
285 in Nigerian sea was the news in some major newspapers. What is
the full form of the term OPL as used in the above head line?
(A) Oil Prospecting License
(B) Ownership & Partnership Lease
(C) Overseas Private Line
(D) ONGC-Petroleum Ltd.
(E) None of these
6. "Mutual Funds reported exceptional performance in 2009-10" was the
news in major financial newspapers recently. What is a mutual fund ?
(1) A type of collective investment scheme that pools money from
many investors and invests it in stocks, bonds or other money
market instruments.
(2) It is a subsidiary of a bank or financial company created specially
to raise money to be invested in a particular industry i.e. housing
or insurance etc. The money raised thus cannot be invested
anywhere else.
(3) When several banks and financial companies come together and
create a common pool of money to fund mega infrastructural
project like bridges, roads, power plants etc. the common pool is
known as Mutual Fund.
(A) Only A (B) Only B
(C) Only C (D) All A, B & C
(E) None of these
7. As we all know the Bank Rate at present is fixed at 6%. What does it
mean in context to the banking operations ?
(A) No bank will be able to give loan to any party on a rate lower than
the Bank Rate.
(B) Bank should give loan to their priority sector
customers/borrowers at the rate of 6% only. They cannot charge
less or more than this from their priority sector clients.
(C) Banks are required to invest 6% of their total capital on financial
inclusion and inclusive banking operations.
(D) Banks will be required to give 6% of their total deposits to the
Government of India for meeting its Balance of Trade
(E) None of these
8. As per the reports in various newspapers many private companies are
trying to obtain the licences to launch a banking company in India.
Which of the following organisations/agencies issue the licence for the
same ?
(A) Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
(B) Indian Institute of Banking & Finance (IIBF)
(C) Indian Bank Association
(D) Registrar of Companies
(E) None of these
9. We very frequently read about Europe's Sovereign-debt crisis these
days. Which of the following statement/s is/ are true about the same ?
(1) In early 2010 the Euro crisis developed in some countries like
Greece, Spain & Portugal.
(2) This created a credit default swap between the countries of the
(3) SAARC countries have offered some assistance to some of
severely affected countries like Portugal, Spain & Greece.
(A) Only A (B) Only B
(C) Only A & B (D) All A, B & C
(E) None of these
10. As we all know the RBI has raised the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by 25
bps, in April 2010. What action banks will have to take to implement the
same ?
(1) They will have to deposit some more money with the RBI as a
reserved money.
(2) Banks will. be required to give some more loan to projects of the
priority sector.
(3) Banks will be required to give loan equivalent to the CRR to the
Government of India for its day-to-day expenditure as and when
(A) Only A (B) Only B
(C) Only C (D) Only A & B
(E) All A, B & C

Answer Key
1.(C) 2.(D) 3.(A) 4.(C) 5.(A) 6.(C) 7.(B) 8.(A) 9.(D) 10.(C)


A hawkish line on North Korea
Despite a concerted international effort since the start of the year to soothe
heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, the South Korean government is
bracing for a different type of aggravation from Pyongyang: terrorism, perhaps.
Nothing is certain, of course. But if these fears were to be justified, it would
reopen one of the darkest chapters in the fratricidal north-south relationship since
the 1950-53 Korean war.
Mr Lee’s determination to launch a disproportionately strong response in the
event of another North Korean attack (like the one on Yeongpyeong island in
November) was no empty threat. “This is the best way to keep the peace and
avoid war,” he said.
North Korea has already caught South Korea’s message and because of this it will
not choose to make any aggression in the daytime or in the open space that
everyone knows the source of. South Korea is looking at many other possibilities,
such as terrorism and other kinds of provocations, other than military means.
Elsewhere in the government people speculate that such shadowy threats could
include assassinations or the use of biological warfare.
The tone in Seoul, when it comes discussing the dangers from North Korea,
remains strikingly hawkish, not least because many fear that the succession
between Kim Jong Il and his son and heir, Kim Jong Un, is not yet consolidated.
The youngster may need to perform more acts of belligerence to shore up his
credibility in the eyes of the trigger-happy army. What’s more, higher food prices
may make the internal situation in the penniless North even more fragile, not
least if China has to go easy on the handouts it provides to its allies in Pyongyang
in order to preserve its own foodstocks.
It was no comfort that North Korea pulled out of military-to-military talks with the
south on February 9th , even though, as one official put it, weeks before it had
been engaged in “peace offensives” with all-and-sundry. The stumbling point was
North Korea’s refusal to discuss the sinking last March of the Cheonan, which
South Korea and many of its allies blame on the North. It is not surprising
Pyongyang finds that a big hurdle, because it denies torpedoing the Cheonan. But
it can hardly have expected South Korea, which lost 46 men as a result of its
sinking, to shrug it off.
Some are hoping that the North will return to military-to-military talks after
South Korea and the United States hold 11 days of joint military operations due
to start on February 28th. But if not, South Korea will be on heightened alert. If it
is terrorism they are worried about, North Korea has form. In 1987 a Korean Air
flight from Baghdad to Seoul was bombed by two agents apparently acting on
orders from “Dear Leader” Kim, with a resulting loss of 115 lives. In 1983 North
Korean agents attempted to assassinate South Korea's then-president while he
was visiting Myanmar. (They missed their mark, but killed 21 other people and
lost the hermit kingdom its welcome in Myanmar.) Since those dark days the
threat seemed to recede and in 2008 George Bush’s administration removed
North Korea from Washington’s list of states reckoned to sponsor terrorism.
These new rumblings from Seoul would seem to push in a different direction.


Protesters calling for reform and democracy in Bahrain reoccupied Pearl
Square in centre of the capital, Manama, as the government called a truce
after a week of bloodshed in the tiny Sunni kingdom.
Bahraini police retreated as thousands of jubilant demonstrators erected tents
in the square just three days after being driven away from the square in a
savage raid that left four dead. "Maybe they will attack us again but we will
stay. And if they drive us out we will come back," said 19-year-old Mohammed
Jaffa, as the crowd passed around drinks and packets of Jeetos, an Iranian
snack. "They tried to make this about Sunni against Shia but it is about basic
rights. That is all we are asking for."
Bahrain’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, ordered troops off the
streets and offered to begin talks with the protesters. Opposition groups are
calling for steps towards a constitutional monarchy, a new cabinet and the
release of political prisoners.
At least six people have died and hundreds have been injured in a week of
clashes that have shattered Bahrain’s coveted image as a friendly tourist
destination and business hub. The protesters have said they will target the
first race of the Formula One season, scheduled for next month which would
do still more damage. Many are still missing after Thursday's attack and there
have been accusations of a cover-up and calls for the minister of the interior to
step down.
Al Wefaq, the main Shia opposition party in Bahrain, postponed a
demonstration planned for yesterday while it pondered the Crown Prince’s
offer. But many remain sceptical about the regime’s true intentions.
"We are still not convinced they are serious about dialogue. If we see a
timeframe and a roadmap to reform it would help build confidence," said Matar
Ebrahim Ali Matar, one of the party's MPs. They walked out of parliament in
protest at the violence this week. Al Wefaq has little sway over the protesters
in Pearl Square anyway. The uprising has been led by local youth groups
inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt who have used social
networking sites to organise the demonstrations. The government insists that
the crown prince’s offer of dialogue extends to all parties but the opposition
has no clear leader to negotiate on its behalf.
The government has also come under immense international pressure to stop
the violence and allow peaceful protests to continue. The Obama
administration is furious that its appeals for restraint were ignored last week.
Instability in Bahrain threatens American interests throughout the Gulf region.
America will have to work out how to deal with another ally cracking down on
its own citizens.


A major Chinese telecoms equipment producer says it is calling off its purchase of
a US computer company after a security panel refused to approve the deal.
Huawei Technologies Ltd. initially said it hoped to win White House approval for
its purchase of 3Leaf Systems despite a security review panel's recommendation
that the company cancel the deal.
But in a weekend statement, the company reversed course and said it would
withdraw its application to acquire assets from 3Leaf.
U.S. critics of the deal complained it might allow sensitive technology to be
transferred to China's military. The Chinese government appealed last week for
Washington to carry out a fair, transparent review process.


A major Chinese telecoms equipment producer says it is calling off its purchase of
a US computer company after a security panel refused to approve the deal.
Huawei Technologies Ltd. initially said it hoped to win White House approval for
its purchase of 3Leaf Systems despite a security review panel's recommendation
that the company cancel the deal.
But in a weekend statement, the company reversed course and said it would
withdraw its application to acquire assets from 3Leaf.
U.S. critics of the deal complained it might allow sensitive technology to be
transferred to China's military. The Chinese government appealed last week for
Washington to carry out a fair, transparent review process.


Rising global food prices to dominate deliberations at G-20Issues of spurt in global food prices to "dangerous levels" and fragile economic
recovery will figure prominently during the two-day meeting of the G-20 finance
ministers beginning here tomorrow.
The meeting, which will also be attended by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee,
will deliberate on steps to moderate volatility in energy prices, check tax evasion,
disruptive capital flows, reform the International Monetary System (IMS) and
work on indicative guidelines for quantifying global imbalances.
Ahead of the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors, the
World Bank has warned that food prices worldwide are rising to "dangerous
levels" and have pushed 44 million people in developing countries into poverty
since June last year.
The food price index has climbed 15 per cent between October 2010 and January
2011, the World Bank said, adding that global wheat prices have doubled during
the same period.
"Sugar and edible oils have also gone up sharply. Other food items essential for
dietary diversity in many countries have increased. This includes vegetables in
India and China, and beans in some African countries," it noted.
India, which has been witnessing high food prices, will impress upon the G-20
ministers to work on policy options to improve the functioning of the commodities
"Finance ministers... are expected to exchange views on the recent trends and
volatility (of food and energy prices), make an assessment of their possible
macroeconomic consequences on growth and inflation, and discuss policy options
with a view to improving the functioning of commodities market", finance
ministry said.
France, which is holding the first meeting of the finance ministers and central
bank governors under its presidency, said it "would like to find collective solutions
Drishti to reduce excessive price volatility, particularly of agriculture and energy
commodity prices, which undermines world growth and threatens food security."
It has also been decided to hold a meeting of the G-20 agriculture ministers in
June to work out solutions for strengthening food security and enhancing
agricultural supplies.
With global economic recovery still fragile, uneven and fraught with significant
downside risks, India will press for a coordinated response to deal with current


7 Biggest tech MNCs in India
A recent study has ranked country's top 10 multinational companies (MNCs) by
revenue. Interestingly, the list comprises as many as seven technology
These technology bigwigs seem to be overshadowing the likes of Hindustan
Unilever (still in top 10), Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Cadbury whose very names till
sometime back were synonymous with the term MNC in the country. As new
names ascend to the top 10, many of these old timers have been relegated to the
lower rungs -- some not even featuring in the billion-dollar club.
Here's over to the tech brigade that rules MNC landscape in the country.
The world's largest cell phone maker Nokia ranks at No. 2 on the list of top MNCs
in India.
Turnover: 23,000 cr
Parent holding: 100%
Employees: 132,430 (end 2010)
Global performance: The Company, which is currently facing tough competition
from Google and Apple globally, in January reported its third profit fall in a row
and warned of a weak start to 2011. Recently, Nokia teamed up with software
giant Microsoft to adopt Windows Phone software across its devices, replacing its
home-grown Symbian platform. Nokia is expected to launch Windows phones in
Vodafone Essar
The Indian subsidiary of Vodafone Group is at No. 3 on the list.
Turnover: 22,000 cr
Parent holding: 67%
Global performance: Vodafone Group reported 3% growth in sales to 11.9 billion
pounds ($19.29 billion) for the October-December period on the back of strong
performances in businesses in India, Turkey and the UK. The British mobile
operator said its group service revenue grew by 2.5% to 11 billion pounds.
Vodafone said service revenues from Indian operations grew by 16.7% during the
third quarter ended December 31, 2010. Apart from India business, the UK unit
recorded underlying sales growth of 7% in the third quarter.
Hewlett Packard
At No. 5 is the world's largest computer maker Hewlett Packard.
Turnover: 18,500 cr
Parent holding: 100%
Employees: 3,04000
Global performance: For the fourth fiscal quarter, the company globally reported
a 5% increase in profits. The company benefited from increased spending by
enterprises on storage and servers. Revenue from that segment jumped 25%
year over year, to $5.3 billion.
The world's largest manufacturer of flat screen televisions is at No. 7.
Turnover: 16,000 cr
Parent holding: 100%
Global performance: In January, the company's global net profit rose 13% in the
fourth quarter amid higher sales of semiconductors and smartphones.
At No. 8 on the list is consumer electronics major LG India.
Turnover: 16,000 cr
Parent holding: 100%
Employees: 3000+ (India)
Global performance: LG Electronics Inc posted a record quarterly loss in its fourth
quarter ended December 2010. The absence of premium models continued to hit
LG's phone business, while the TV division also lost money on intensified price
competition. The world's No. 2 TV maker and No. 3 handset vendor reported an
October-December operating loss of $219.8 million, its second consecutive record
quarterly loss.
IBM, the world's largest computer services provider, is at No. 10 on the list.
Turnover: 14,000 cr
Parent holding: 100%
Global performance: IBM recently posted its fourth-quarter profits that beat
analysts' estimates. The hardware revenue climbed 21% to $6.3 billion, as the
mainframe helped boost sales in that product category by almost 70%. Sales
from the software division gained 7% to $7 billion.


Applications for US H-1B visas, the most sought after by Indian professionals for
working in America, recently reached the Congressional-mandated cap of 65,000
for the current fiscal.
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the US which allows American companies to
temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.
Here are the top 12 earliest gainers of the visa programme according.
Infosys Technologies LtdTopping the list is the country's IT bellwether Infosys Technologies Ltd. According
to US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) data, the company bagged
3792 H-1B visas. Country's second-biggest IT company, Infosys Technologies,
recently reported lower-than-expected third quarter earnings due to wage costs,
currency fluctuations and sluggish European economic growth.
However, Infosys revised its revenue guidance for the year upwards, as it hopes
that customers will give more outsourcing orders after the Christmas vacation.
Since April 2010, Infosys has revised its revenue guidance every financial
Cognizant Tech Solutions CorpAt no. 2 on the list is Cognizant Tech Solutions Corp with 3388 H-1B visas in the
kitty. Cognizant, which posted revenue of $1.31 billion for the fourth quarter,
forecast a 26 percent revenue growth for 2011. This brings the company in
touching distance of Wipro, India's No. 3 software services exporter.
Microsoft CorpSoftware giant Microsoft Corp ranks at no. 3 on the list. The company has bagged
1618 visas. The Redmond-based company has been among the biggest
supporters of the visa programme.
Last week, the company announced a strategic partnership with cell phone giant
Nokia. The deal gives Microsoft access to one of the world’s largest mobile-phone
distribution networks.
Wipro LtdAt no. 4 on the USCIS list is Bangalore-based Wipro. The company bagged 1521
visas in 2010. India's third-largest software company has been growing at a
slower pace compared to its peers Infosys, TCS and Cognizant.
The company recently announced that its IT business will now be driven by six
new business units and it would have eight key functions in finance and accounts,
human resources, strategic marketing, CIO and operations, mission quality,
strategy and M&A, legal and risk compliance.
IBM India Pvt LtdIBM India Pvt Ltd ranks at no. 5 on the list with 882 visas. The company is among
one of the biggest IT employers in the country.
IBM does not break out country-level employee numbers, but company insiders
and experts tracking IBM said it employs nearly 1,28,000 staff in India.
Accenture Technology SolutionsIT consulting firm Accenture Technology Solutions is next in line with 506 visas.
Accenture India recently appointed Avinash with global revenues of nearly $24
billion, Accenture, the world’s second-biggest tech consulting firm, has lagged
global rivals such as IBM in over $20 billion Indian market.
Larsen & Toubro Infotech LtdNext on the list is the technology arm of Indian engineering giant Larsen &
Toubro. Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd ranks at no. 7 with 333 visas.
Speculations are rife that Larsen & Toubro may sell stake in Larsen & Toubro
Infotech. L&T Infotech employs over 12,000 people and offers end-to-end
software solutions and services to banking and financial services, energy,
manufacturing, product engineering services and healthcare verticals.
It earns 30% of revenues from manufacturing verticals and is relatively less
exposed to banking, finance and insurance verticals.
Satyam Computer ServicesSatyam Computer Services, now called Mahindra Satyam, ranks at no. 8 with 224
visas. Mahindra Satyam has reported an over two-fold sequential jump in
consolidated net profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2010, to Rs 58.9
The company had 217 clients at the end of December 31, 2010. Its consolidated
cash and cash-equivalent reserves stood at Rs 3,048 crore for the reporting
Mphasis CorpHewlett-Packard's outsourcing company Mphasis Corp ranks next in line with 197
Deloitte Consulting LLPAt no. 10 on the list is Deloitte Consulting LLP with 196 visas.
Google IncAnother H-1B visa proponent Google Inc is the eleventh biggest beneficiary of H-
1B visa. The company reportedly has recieved 172 H-1B visas.
Patni America IncAt no. 12 is Patni America with 164 H-1B visas. US-based iGate recently took
majority stake in Patni Computer Systems.