Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dalits, major beneficiaries of free goats/sheep scheme

The implementation of schemes involving the distribution of goats/sheep and milch cows has thrown up several interesting social indicators to the pleasant surprise of authorities.
One of the flagship schemes of the present government is to provide goats/sheep and milch cows free to the rural poor. While the distribution of goats/sheep is being done in all districts barring Chennai, the scheme for the cows is implemented in 21 milk deficient districts.
Last year, one lakh women beneficiaries were covered under the goats/sheep scheme and 12,000 under the cows scheme. During 2012-2013, the respective figures are 1.5 lakh and 12,000.
Against the norm that 30 per cent of beneficiaries should belong to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, the coverage has been around 41 per cent. Against the total target of one lakh beneficiaries for goats/sheep during 2011-2012, 41,902 beneficiaries were SC/STs, of whom SCs accounted for 39,841.
Similarly, in the case of milch cows, against the targeted 12,000 beneficiaries, 4,874 were SC/STs, of whom 4,756 were SCs, according to sources in the Animal Husbandry Department.
As for goats/sheep scheme, around 52 per cent of beneficiaries in Nagapattinam district are from SCs, while the district has nearly 30 per cent SC population as per the 2001 census.
Villupuram, another district having a high presence of the SC population (about 27 per cent), accounts for 37 per cent of beneficiaries. About one-third of beneficiaries in Dharmapuri, which has about 15 per cent SC population, is from the SCs. Against the SCs' share of one-fifth of the total Dindigul population, the community accounts for about 41 per cent of beneficiaries in the district.
In respect of STs, their share in the Villupuram population is about 2.1 per cent whereas 4.4 per cent of the beneficiaries is from the community. Likewise, in Namakkal having 3.4 per cent ST population, about 3.7 per cent of the beneficiaries belongs to the STs.
A similar trend can be seen in the case of distribution of milch cows too. For instance, 53.4 per cent of beneficiaries in Cuddalore is SCs against the community's share of 28 per cent in the overall district population.
In Namakkal, the community accounts for 72 per cent of the beneficiaries. About 46 per cent of the beneficiaries in Thanjavur belongs to the SCs, who constitute 18 per cent of the population in the district. Around one-third of the beneficiaries in Virudhunagar are from the community. A large number of widows and destitute women have also benefited. As many as 25,159 widows and destitute have been chosen under the scheme of goats/sheep distribution, representing about 25 per cent of the total number of beneficiaries. In the case of the milch cow scheme, this segment accounts for 2,056, about 17 per cent of the overall beneficiaries.
Similarly, 1,774 differently abled persons have been given goats/sheep and 181 such persons milch cows.
In respect of transgenders, 35 such persons have benefited under the goats/sheep scheme and four persons under the cows scheme.
An official says the department has put in a mechanism wherein all beneficiaries are monitored unobtrusively after being given the animals. At periodical intervals, de-worming and vaccination are being administered.

Milch Cows
Note: SC: Scheduled Castes, ST: Scheduled Tribes, Wid: Widows,
Dest: Destitute, DA: Differently Abled

Uncertain times ahead for Indian IT sector

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, India's IT industry has been unable to recreate the magic of its halcyon years from 2003 to 2008, when exports grew at a phenomenal 26 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), making it the darling of equity investors and creating blue chip behemoths such as Infosys, TCS, and Wipro.
After a brief recovery following the 2008 crisis, the global economy again appears to be going into a tailspin that has adversely affected both the U.S. and Europe, the Indian IT industry's key markets. This has led to heightened client caution on IT spends.
Intensified competition within the sector is exacerbating the pressure, which has impacted growth in billing rates and, consequently, revenues. These factors are taking a toll on the Indian IT industry's growth, and causing a shakeout at the top, if the January-March 2012 quarterly results of leading players are any indication.
For the first time in 47 quarters, Infosys, hitherto the bellwether of the sector, missed its revenue growth guidance. Its guidance for 2012-13 is just 8-10 per cent growth in U.S. dollar terms compared with the industry association National Association of Software and Service Companies' (Nasscom's) guidance of 11-14 per cent. Cognizant revised downward its 2012 revenue growth guidance to 20 per cent from 23 per cent earlier, citing slower-than-anticipated pick-up in demand in banking and healthcare verticals. Wipro did not give full-year guidance but said that it expected flat sequential growth in the April-June 2012 quarter. TCS was the only one of the biggies which adopted a more upbeat tone, saying that its deal pipeline was good and that it hoped to beat Nasscom's revenue growth estimate.
Clearly, the concerns regarding the sector's near-term prospects are not misplaced. Although India's IT services exports grew by a robust 19 per cent year-on-year in dollar terms in 2011-12, the trends in the last two quarters are worrisome. Hit by the continued macro-economic woes in developed countries that resulted in delays in project ramp-ups, the top four Indian IT companies grew at 17 per cent in the third quarter and 14 per cent in the fourth quarter, against a healthy 24 per cent in the first-half.
There does not appear to be any immediate respite, either. Crisil Research is of the view that the global economic uncertainty will persist in 2012-13. Consequently, IT services exports will grow at 12-14 per cent in 2012-13 in dollar terms, sharply lower than 19 per cent in 2011-12.
Why this will be so is clear from the economic situation in the developed countries, particularly in Europe. In the last few quarters, GDP (gross domestic product) growth in Europe has come down appreciably due to the austerity measures taken by several governments to combat the sovereign debt crisis. This fragile economic landscape and an unstable political environment have severely dented the business prospects of many IT sector clients in the region. Indian IT vendors generate close to 20 per cent of their revenue from the European market, primarily the U.K. In the U.S., the downturn has also made the noises against outsourcing shriller, particularly in an election year. In addition, visa norms have been tightened and local hiring by Indian IT companies in the U.S. has gone up, consequently hiking their costs and slowing the growth of offshore services.
Some of the aftershocks of this global economic downturn are already visible. In 2011, global BFSI (banking, financial services, insurance) clients, who account for more than 40 per cent of Indian IT vendors' revenues, reported a dip in profitability due to lower revenue growth and pressure on margins. Telecom clients, too, have been going through tough times. As a result, the cash flows and discretionary spending of such large clients have come down significantly in the last few quarters of 2011-12 and is expected to remain subdued in the next few quarters.
We believe that although the IT budget of clients will remain more or less stable in 2012, the extra caution that they are exercising, as part of measures to manage risk in an uncertain business environment, will continue to result in spending delays.
Yet another important factor impacting the competitive landscape and pricing is contract expiries.
According to TPI (an outsourcing advisory company that tracks contracts) estimates, the number of contract expiries is likely to rise by 20 per cent in 2012, compared with 2011. In such a scenario, compounded by a dismal economic environment, clients try to renegotiate contracts to suit their business needs, which, more often than not, results in pricing pressure on IT vendors.
If the rupee stays weak against the dollar, as at present, it will partly mitigate the cumulative adverse affects of some of the other factors. Nevertheless, to enhance long-term competitiveness, Indian IT players will have to increase client relationship mining, deepen their service offerings, expand their global delivery and marketing presence and increase focus on non-linear business (a model of de-linking revenue growth from employee growth).

Petrol prices hiked, diesel, LPG could be next: Ten facts

The Indian government allowed oil companies to hike prices of petrol by about Rs. 7.50 per litre. A ministerial committee is likely to meet soon to decide on a possible Rs. 5 perlitre hike in diesel and Rs. 50 per cylinder hike in cooking gas (LPG).

Here is our 10-point cheat-sheet:

11. Petrol prices hiked: In a statement released, the state-run Indian Oil Corporation said it was hiking petrol prices by Rs6.28 a litre, exclusive of sales/value-added taxes. Sales and VAT taxes differ from state to state, and range between 94 paise and Rs. 2.07 a litre. Petrol prices will go up by Rs7.50 in New Delhi.
2. Relief for oil companies: Every one rupee rise in US dollar wipes out Rs.8,000 crore annually from revenue of oil marketing companies. The hike in petrol prices was largely expected as petrol prices have been decontrolled. This means the government does not fix them. However, state-owned oil marketing companies like BPCL, HPCL and IOC were not allowed to pass on rising oil prices to consumers due to elections last year. The government had decontrolled petrol price in June 2010 but rates were last increased on November 4 last year. This despite oil price rising by 14 per cent and 7 per cent fall in value of rupee against the US dollar.
3.     More fuel price hike: The government is also likely to consider raising diesel prices by Rs. 5 per litre and LPG cylinder prices by Rs. 50 per cylinder. The hike in fuel prices means lesser burden on government finances. The government compensates oil marketing companies for discounted prices of diesel and LPG. It borrows from RBI to pay for the subsidies. With the rupee falling sharply to touch record lows, the government has to cut the borrowing.
4.     Government finances called for action: The government action may be negative for consumers and add to inflation. However, the move was necessary to shore up government finances. The rupee slump could continue if the government does not cut borrowing and reduce expenditure.
5.     The government oil subsidy is estimated to the tune of Rs. 43,600 crore in the budget for 2012-13. Analysts expect this to surge to over Rs. 75,000 crore. The only way the government can cut fuel subsidies is by passing on hike oil prices to consumers. A material impact is possible only if the government hikes diesel and LPG prices.
6.     Revenue loss: In its statement, IOC said it has lost Rs. 2108 crore, while the industry has lost Rs. 4651 crore since the last change in prices. It added that it was suffering revenue losses of Rs13.64 on each litre of diesel, Rs31.41 a litre on kerosene and Rs479 on each cylinder of LPG. (Then how come IOC and other companies are in ‘profit making’ Maharatna status/ in the list of ‘fortune 500’)
7.     Auto sales may drop: Besides the obvious dent it will make in consumers' budgets, the price hike is also likely to impact auto companies, particularly two-wheeler makers, that largely make petrol-driven vehicles. Already, most carmakers are launching diesel versions as well as ramping up capacity for diesel vehicles.
8.     Political parties protest the hike: The government has to pass on this fuel price hike to consumers. Allies like DMK and Trinamool Congress have already expressed concern and unhappiness. The real test of this government would be when it decides to hike prices of diesel and LPG. It may have to face some stiff resistance from within. The opposition BJP has already called for a rollback.
9.     Oil imports could rise: India imports about 170 million tonnes of oil or equivalent products each year while domestic production is about 37-38 million tonnes. Analysts say that the natural gas production is likely to fall short of expectation. This could mean India may have to import more oil this year.
10.                    Falling international oil prices: The price of oil dropped below $90 per barrel on Wednesday, the latest milestone in a weekslong decline brought on by uncertainty surrounding economies from Europe to China. Benchmark US crude fell by $1.95 to end at $89.90 per barrel. Oil has tumbled more than 15 percent this month and is at its lowest level since October 21.

India cuts crude oil imports from Iran --> USA won.....

In the aftermath of the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and an indication of rising U.S. pressure not to deal with Iran working, the Central Government, admitted that it had cut the crude oil supplies from Iran by 11 per cent to 15.5 million tonnes this fiscal.
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R. P. N. Singh said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that the total crude oil imported from Iran by Indian companies during 2010-11 and 2011-12 is 18.50 million tonnes and 17.44 million tonnes, respectively. The target fixed for import of crude oil from Iran for 2012-13 is about 15.5 million tonnes.
India has been under tremendous U.S. pressure to curtail sourcing of crude oil from Iran following sanctions imposed by it and the European Union. However, India had stated that it was not bound by bloc sanctions and it would only go by UN backed sanctions. Mr. Singh said the quantum of crude oil imported by Indian refineries from various sources is decided by them on the basis of technical, commercial and other considerations.
In fact, a recent strategy paper by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry had called for diversifying the sourcing of crude oil from the traditional countries to new sources, which was an indication of the changing equations and attempts by India not to annoy the U.S. on the issue. During her visit to India, Ms. Clinton had stressed on the need for India to further reduce crude oil imports from Iran to win waiver from U.S. sanctions.
External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna, in reply, had said Iran was a key country for India's energy needs. India had not publicly said it was aiming to cut back oil imports from Iran but was understood to have unofficially conveyed to refiners and importers to prune shipments from Tehran.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jaya's one year rule - my opinion.

Tamil Nadu gave a clear mandate to Jayalalithaa in the 2011 elections. But whether she fulfilled the wishes of people is a big question? Though one year of rule is not a correct method to judge the rule, here are some important areas I am discussing about the Jaya’s one year rule…
(1) Law and Order: In general, AIADMK means it will be fruitful for the common people in the law and order, but this time AIADMK is not much too the mark in the law and order. (However it is far better than the previous DMK & Co backed by Congress). The often transfers of bureaucrats is the most important reason for this.
(2) Electricity Crisis: The AIADMK totally goes WORST in this sector. The previous DMK itself better in this sector. Every fortnight, Jaya assures that Tamil Nadu will be free from the power crisis. But the people are losing the faith.
(3) Fare hike of transport, milk, and electricity bill: The fare hike of bus, milk and electricity bill after a gap of ten years will not go easy for the people (whatever reasons CM says). {In rural areas, they are saying that DMK is far better; though they are totally corrupt they not raised any hike to the public}. Even the educated, uneducated, rural and urban people are fed up with this. Even now the public are daily murmuring in buses while they buy tickets. (In Chennai it is confusing to travel in buses, many types viz, white board, yellow boards, green board, cricket special, summer special, deluxe, super deluxe, etc…)
(4) Kudankulam Crisis: I really wonder what made Jaya first to halt the operation and then nod the project? (Though by-election maybe the reason, it is not the Jaya’s style) She not even came publicly to address about the crisis is a big drawback. (It is not wrong to have national significance alone, but she should come to the media often. It is really wondering why she still stay away from the media) But handling the protestors without any violence was a good thing.
(5) Meeting the public /press: Jaya is probably the only CM who will never address the media. After winning the 2011 election, she said to press that, she will meet press once in a week but in this one year, she met only twice. Remaining small interviews are done while she passes in car (That too about Chidambaram or DMK alone)
Some of the things where really Jaya done OK
*     Changing the school marking system to grading
*     Introduction of trimester
*     Turning the TNPSC into a real ‘service’ rather than the ‘commission’
*     Ministers under control
*     Fighting for the State rights (Mullaperiyar, Cauvery, etc)
 Where she totally failed:-
*     Increasing crime rate (t s totally different from law and order)
*     Price rise unable to control
*     ‘Powerless’ TN
*     Sand mafia

Why TN achieved in health sector?

Tamil Nadu has been one of the best performers with regard to reduction in fertility rates and a large number of indicators of women’s and children’s well being like IMR, MR, Nutrition, schooling, etc. While Kerala has had an advantage of good social indicators over a long time frame, Tamil Nadu is a better example for other states as it demonstrates that even with high poverty ratios, large population, and poor nutrition statistics, etc, it is possible to improve the performance in a short span of only a few decades. Some of the factors identified to explain the improved performance are as follows:
*   Female Age at Marriage has risen significantly in Tamil Nadu. This has been possible due to a strong social awareness programme created by a popular reformer called “Periyar” Ramaswamy (EVR) whose influence was felt all over Tamil Nadu, particularly by people of the poorer strata. Periyar emphasised the need to ‘liberate women from frequent delivery by the use of contraception’ and ‘not to allow marriage of a woman before 22, so that 3 to 4 births could be averted’. The initial push given by Periyar for raising the age at marriage continues to be given support by the Tamil Nadu government. Welfare schemes for girls provide grants if girls complete 8th/10th
*   Standard of education and marry after the age of 20. The amount is forfeited if either condition is not fulfilled.
*   The Chief Minister’s Noon Meal Programme launched in 1982 all over the State (It covered some areas in Kamaraj’s time), has given a tremendous boost for health, welfare and for the acceptance of the small family norm. It was launched against administrative advice as it was expected to be very expensive, involving Rs. 100 croes, at 85000 feeding centres, for 85 lakh children in the 2-15 age group, requiring 2 lakh additional staff, and huge logistic issue of supplies. MGR’s pushed the scheme. He said – “When hunger haunted my home a lady next door extended to us a bowl of rice, and saved us from 88 extinction….Today as CM it is my duty t provide at least one meal to every child every day, to eliminate the agony of their helpless mothers.
*   Expected and unexpected benefits of the Noon Meal programme have been many. It is a crèche for the 2-5 age kids; school attendance has improved and drop out reduced; child nutrition has improved; Centres serve as immunization/
*   antenatal care/ supplemental feed centres for 6 month to 2 year children covered under TINP; provides employment for about 2,00,000 women, mostly widows and destitutes, as mid day meal organisers. These women helped carrying the health message to the poorest households as they came from that social background. Provided an all women focus.
*   Serious efforts at raising female literacy and status. Kamaraj in 1961 introduced the concept of one school for every village. Assistance for education up to Class– VII is provided by the State by free education, mid – day meal, free textbooks, one set of uniforms, one set of chappals, and free bus pass.
*   Since 1987, assignment for Government land both for cultivation and for house site is issued only for women. Commission for women established in 1993 to go into issues concerning women; Schemes for marriage assistance, nutritional support for pregnant women, grants for widow remarriage, and special schemes for girl child are there in Tamil Nadu.
*   Improvement in IMR reduction and Child Survival has also been on account of intensive training of ANMs, establishment of Rural Health training Centres in selected PHCs to provide such training, creation of new post of Chief Health Nurse to monitor all MCH activities in a Block, special training of dais in antenatal care, provision of Disposable Delivery Kits (DDKs), adoption of fixed day schedules for ANMs (Mondays for antenatal care, Tuesday for review meetings in the PHC, Wednesday for immunisation, Thursday for School Health Programme, Friday for IEC activities for expectant mothers.
*   Acceptance of Contraception and Birth Spacing is another feature in Tamil Nadu. Sterilization has been a very high priority for Collectors. At the district level, most Collectors roped in the entire resources and manpower at their disposal for the family welfare programme.
*   A large part of the success of Tamil Nadu in reducing Crude Birth Rates from 1984 onwards can also be attributed to the very effective IEC programes – many messages emphasised – small family, spacing, age at marriage, ideal weight of the new born child , etc.
*   Recent studies point out a number of enabling factors that have facilitated Tamil Nadu’s rapid demographic transition. Commonly cited factors include a good infrastructure, a rich history of social reform movements, high literacy rates in the younger age groups, wide popular exposure to mass media, and strong ‘political will’. Less widely discussed is the relatively liberated status of women in contemporary Tamil society. Tamil Nadu has a high female – male ratio, little gender bias in school attendance, and high levels of female labour force participation. Also interesting is some recent information from the second round of the national Family Health Survey (1998-99) relating to different aspects of ‘female autonomy’. Whether we look at the proportion of adult women who work outside the household (43 percent), or who have independent access to money (79 percent), or who are able ‘to go to the market without permission’ from other family members (79 percent again), Tamil Nadu is ahead of all other major states (with one exception – Himachal Pradesh – in the case of independent access to money). Bearing in mind the role of women’s agency in the demographic transition, this feature of gender relations is crucial to our understanding of what happened in Tamil Nadu.
*   Study on Tamil Nadu contains a wealth of insights into the practical, day – to- day measures that have helped to enhance the quality of health services in Tamil Nadu. To illustrate:
*   primary health care centers in Tamil Nadu are well supplied with basic drugs;
*   about 40 to 45 percent of medical officers or women;
*   ANMs meet the Medical officer typicall six times a month;
*   many primary health centers ( more than 250) are open 24 hours a day. In all these respects, the situation in Tamil Nadu contrasts quite sharply with the situation in most other States.

Category                   Tamil Nadu              National Average
Female Literacy                64.55                       54.16

Decennial growth
in population                   11.19                       21.34

School Attendance
6-17 age                           79.7                          72.1

Infant Mortality Rate        48.2                           67.6
12-23 month children
who have received all
vaccinations                    88.8                            42.0