CHennai 5 september 2013 tHURsday `3.00 pages 26 late city edition CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BANGALORE ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELGAUM ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIMOGA ■ TIRUCHY ■ www.newindianexpress.com at CHENNAI TRADE CENTRE LS Passes Pension Bill, Opens Field to 26% FDI For Stall Booking please contact UPA-II pushes first major reform Bill at fag end of tenure; New Pension Scheme offers wide coverage like govt bonds and other funds entailing risk EXPANDING METROPOLIS GRAND PROPERTY FAIR 2013 on October 19th & 20th 09566061555 09884907441 r a da r Depose in Coalgate, PM told New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday took on the UPA government saying PM Manmohan Singh must voluntarily depose in the coal blocks allocation scam to prove his innocence. P11 Fishermen Plead Guilty in SL New Delhi: For the first time since Sri Lanka changed the procedure to deal with arrested Indian fishermen, 34 of them have pleaded guilty in a Sri Lankan court of transgressing into the waters of the island nation. After 36 days in custody, a court in Point Pedro has ordered their release, since the fishermen pleaded guilty. P4 26 pages, including 6 pages of City Express Markets Indices 18,567.55 5,448.10 24 ct (1 gm): 3,017 22 ct (1 gm): 2,821 Sensex: Nifty: Gold Silver Bar (1 kg): 57,570 Retail (1 gm): 61.60 Exchange US$: Euro: Source: BSE, NSE, RBI websites 67.02 88.23 by Santwana Bhattacharya New Delhi: A long-pending, key economic reform legislation — the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill, which opens the doors to 26 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in pension funds, was approved by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with the main opposition BJP supporting it. The Bill was introduced amid din over issues such as the missing coal scam files and the steep rise in fuel and cooking gas prices. Initially, it seemed to be hitting a hurdle with UPA’s supporting parties, like the Samjawadis and DMK, opposing the Bill, especially the opening up of pension funds to FDI. But with the BJP owning up the Bill as reform agenda of the NDA tenure, the government breathed easy. The PFRDA was set up in August 2003 by the NDA government. Later, an executive order mandated the authority to manage the entire pension sector. The pension reform bill was being actively pursued since then, but political consensus eluded it as employees’ associations opposed it tooth and nail. The Bill passed by the LS on Thursday provides for 26 per cent FDI in the pension sector or as may be approved for the insurance sector, whichever is higher. rS clears amended land acquisition bill After a marathon session, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday approved an amended version of the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Bill, with the BJP joining hands with the UPA to see it through. The government accepted new amendments pressed by the main opposition party. Now, the Land Bill as amended by the Rajya Sabha will go back to the Lok Sabha for endorsement for it to become an act of law. Only then it will go to the President for approval. Replacing a century-old law, the new Bill proposes land value compensation of up to four times the market rate in rural areas and two times in urban parts. Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh tabled the “The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2012” in the Upper House, but the discussion didn’t start till much later after the Congress reached a compromise that a short duration discussion on the missing coal files will be held first. P11 It stipulates that at least one of the pension fund managers be from the public sector. The new legislation provides for a Pension Advisory Committee which has representatives from all major stakeholders. This is the first major economic reform Bill that UPA-II has managed to push through at the fag-end of its tenure. Beleaguered with scams and hemmed in by the Congress’ poll agenda, PM Manmohan Singh’s reform agenda has been lying dormant for a long while. Replying to the rather short debate, Finance Minister P Chidambaram tried to assuage apprehensions about the — New Pension Scheme (NPS) — as based on the principle of “you save while you earn”. He said the government accepted most of the recommendations of the Standing Committee, except for one. The Bill was referred to it twice — in 2005 and 2011. The Bill, which grants statutory status to the PFRDA, will actually be opening a kitty of `35,000 crore for investment. The NPS has 52.83 lakh subscribers, including those belonging to 26 State governments. Chidambaram said, “`35,000 crore should not be used by un-statutory authority. All this Bill does is make un-statutory authority, a statutory authority…with powers to penalise.” More: P11 Sonia Gets US Court Summons Express News Service Chandigarh: A US Fe deral Court has issu ed summons on Congress president Sonia Gandhi “for shielding and protecting leaders, offi i ls, ca members and workers of her party who had organised, committed, aided, abetted and incited genocid l attacks a on Sikhs during November 1984”. A class action suit against Sonia has been filed by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), a US-based human rights group, along with victims of November 1984 under the Alien Tort Claims Act and Torture Victim Protection Act. In the lawsuit filed on September 3 before the Eastern District of New York (13 CV 4920), SFJ and the victims sought compensatory and punitive damages from Sonia for her role in shielding and protecting Kamal Nath, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and other Congress leaders from being prosecuted for their crimes. SFJ has 120 days to serve Sonia with the summons. She is currently in US for medical treatment. More: P11 Door Shut by SC on Convicted MPs Won’t Be Opened Express News Service New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed one of the two review petitions filed by the Centre seeking re-examination of its judgment that an MP or MLA, convicted of any criminal offence attracting a punishment of two years and more, will stand disqualified. However, on the second petition, it agreed to review its judgment debarring arrested persons from contesting elections. A Bench comprising justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhyay said there is no error apparent in the judgment. Parliament is free to amend the law if it does not agree with the interpretation given by it. Additional Solicitors General L Nageshwar and Paras Kuhad appeared in the two petitions filed by the Centre. At one stage, the Bench asked Paras Kuhad, “What is the error?” The ASG said, “Two errors.” However, the Bench brushed aside his argument. “It’s a well considered judgment. I’m glad Parliament has accepted it,” Justice Patnaik remarked. “Alright. We might have gone wrong. It is our view. You may have another view,” Justice Patnaik told Kuhad. “We may refer it to a larger Bench,” said Justice Mukhopadhyay. The Bench agreed to hear the review petition on the limited ground whether disqualification mentioned in the Constitution bars an arrested person from contesting elections. The Bench asked the Centre why it chose not to argue the case when the matter was being heard. house workaround to overturn ban It was only five days ago that a bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha, which sought to overturn the July 10 Supreme Court order that disqualifies MPs and MLAs immediately after they are convicted, even if their appeal is pending in a higher court. The Representation of the People’s Act is ‘clumsy’ and this caused the confusion, the Bench remarked and said, “The object of the provision is to keep the person with criminal background away from elections.” “Parliament frames laws in the manner they like. If we make interpretation of law and if it is not accepted by it, it is again for Parliament to enact a law,” the Bench said. It posted the matter to October 23 for further hearing.
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