Raghuram Rajan Criticizes Srikrishna Committee Recommendations Opposes Bringing All Regulators into One

first_imgReserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan opposed recommendations in the BN Srikrishna Committee report, and termed merging of all regulators into one entity as “schizophrenic”.The report was submitted in March 2013. Rajan debated regarding the recommendations mentioned in it during an industry event in Mumbai on Tuesday. Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Committee (FSLRC) report is important in the financial history but most of the recommendations are “faddish” and “impressionistic” than scientific, according to Rajan.The RBI governor points out two “fundamental areas of tension” from the report in his speech. One is the size and scope of regulators and the other is the negligence of regulators. Rajan claims the report does not give importance to the magnitude of synergies gained or lost.”It emphasizes synergies in bringing together some regulators into one entity. But in the process it suggests breaking up other regulators, with attendant loss of synergies,” he pointed out.The report suggests that laws which do not micromanage, gives regulators the freedom to fill in the details, in accordance with the changing needs of the economy.Speaking of this suggestion, Rajan stated: “At the same time, the FSLRC wants to check and balance the activities of regulators through judicial oversight. Too much of checks and balances could completely vitiate the flexibility afforded by rewriting laws.”Rajan opposed the recommendation mentioned in the report that merging of all regulation of trading will be done under one roof and consumer protection regulation under another. According to him, if it is implemented, then it will slow down the consistency and development of the market.The RBI governor said if the government wants to manage its own debt, then the RBI will not come in its way.”I don’t believe the government suffers any less from conflicts of interest in debt management (unlike the views of the FSLRC), but the RBI could well carry out the government’s instructions without any loss in welfare,” he said.Rajan was not in favor of implementing such recommendations as according to him, if something is not broken, there is no need to fix it.”As the Chinese would say, let us recognize the value of crossing the river by feeling each stone before we put our weight on it. Let us not take a blind jump hoping that a stone will be there to support us when we land. Or in American, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” he said.last_img read more

Crumbling plaster cracks exposed in new jail buildings

first_imgNewly built Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj. Photo: Prothom AloIt has hardly been a year since the construction of the new Dhaka Central Jail buildings but the plaster has already started to crumble from the walls.The walls inside become damp at the slightest of rain and several of the doors and windows are falling apart. Many of the power poles are broken, too.The prison authorities are concerned at the state of the new buildings meant for 7,000 inmates.Inspector general of prisons brigadier general Syed Iftekhar Uddin told Prothom Alo, now that the prison is in use, it is evident that the quality of construction work has been extremely poor. “Structural weaknesses are a security risk for the inmates,” he added.During a visit on 15 July, the officials took this correspondent on a tour of the jail, other than to the sensitive areas. A new layer of cement had been applied to the walls of the administration building where the plaster had crumbled off the walls. Cracks on the walls had also been filled.The inside walls become damp during the rain. Broken windows of the prison guard barracks have been repaired. Three iron gates of the three residential buildings for the officers and employees had broken about two months ago. The public works department had repaired these gates. Two buildings for the prisoners have not been used as yet due to use of poor quality construction material.The prison officials said, the doors and windows of two of the buildings for the prisoners cannot even be shut properly. Some doors have bent out of shape. The steps leading up to the platform for hanging are excessively narrow and steep.The visiting room for the prisoners is too narrow. It is impossible to hear anyone speak properly if several people talk in the room.There are 260 power poles within the prison grounds for security. At the slightly gusty wind in April, seven of these fell. Three had fallen before this. The poles which have replaced these are of poor quality and have rusted already. Some of the poles have been propped up with iron pipes.Additional inspector general of prisons colonel Iqbal Hasan sent a letter on 5 April to the home ministry and the planning ministry asking for better quality power poles. The letter stated that these present poles were a security risk and could also cause death. However, nothing has been done.According to sources in the public works ministry, it was the responsibility of the public works department to construct this building at a cost of Tk 406 crore (Tk 4.06 billion).Allegations for shoddy construction work led to the removal of the project’s executive engineer Utpal Kumar from the project. The housing and public works ministry formed a five-member committee to look into the irregularities and faults. The members of the committee visited the jail on 19 July.A senior official of the prisons directorate told Prothom Alo, during the visit the inquiry committee members tapped on one of the walls of the buildings meant for prisoners. The plaster simply crumbled off the wall. The committee suspected that low grade cement and sand had been used.Head of the inquiry committee, housing and public works additional secretary Mohammed Afzal Hossain told Prothom Alo, “We are investigating the matter. We will be able to say what irregularities took place once the investigation is over.” As to when the investigation will be complete, he said, “We have held a meeting and will carry out a visit of the site again, then we will submit a report.”The project to construct the new buildings of Dhaka central jail was taken up in 2006 in Teghria of Rajendrapur. It was to have been completed in June 2011. The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, finally inaugurated it on 10 April last year. On 29 July last year, inmates were transferred there from the old jail at Nazimuddin Road in Dhaka. There are about 7,000 inmates in the new jail at present.Officials of the prison directorate said that 20 construction firms had been appointed for the construction of 30 buildings. Nine buildings were still under construction.Managing director of construction firm Khan and Shams, Abul Kasem, told Prothom Alo, the buildings were constructed two years before the jail was inaugurated. Then the buildings were lying unused. “That is why perhaps the plaster has crumbled,” he argued.Director of the prisons project, joint secretary of the public works and housing ministry Shamsul Alam had admitted to minor faults. He told Prothom Alo, “There is no major fault in the construction. The public works department will fix any of the faults pointed out to them.” Then why did the power poles fall at the slightest gust of wind? He replied, “They were set up quite a long time back, that’s why.”* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir.last_img read more

115 Rohingyas stopped to reach Malaysia

first_imgRohingya file photoPolice have prevented 115 Rohingyas from being smuggled to Malaysia in rickety fishing boats, officials said Saturday, but no suspected traffickers were detained.The group from the Kutupalong camp near Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar — the biggest refugee settlement in the world — were stopped as they headed to boats in the Bay of Bengal.The operation, which took place late Friday, was the latest in a series involving Rohingya refugees seeking to leave squalid camps for Malaysia, a more prosperous Muslim-majority nation.”We stopped a convoy of 15 auto-rickshaws and rescued 50 men, 39 women and 26 children,” Bangladeshi police officer Anwar Hossain told AFP.”But we could not catch any traffickers.”The officer said the Rohingyas, who had already paid the traffickers some money, would be taken back to the camp.About 740,000 of the Muslim minority Rohingya fled Myanmar for Bangladesh following a brutal military clampdown in the Buddhist-majority nation in August 2017.They joined another 300,000 Rohingya who have already been living in the overcrowded camps in the Cox’s Bazar area following previous bouts of violence.Thousands have risked their lives travelling to Malaysia and Thailand by boat when the Bay of Bengal is calm before monsoon season sets in at the end of March.So far this year, Bangladeshi security forces have stopped more than 300 Rohingya from attempting the trip on small fishing boats, which experts say are not fit for deep-sea navigation.The group detained Friday was the third prevented from heading to Malaysia this week alone.The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has said the vulnerability of Rohingya to trafficking has increased enormously as livelihoods, support networks, and other fundamental systems are disrupted.”It is hard to comment on the scale of the activity, due to the clandestine nature of the activity,” UNHCR spokeswoman Caroline Gluck told AFP.”The community finds it difficult to speak up.”last_img read more

Man wakes up just before burial

first_imgHis grave was dug and his body was about to be buried — just when some of the family members noticed movement. Mourning stopped and a bewildered family rushed Mohammad Furqan to an Indian hospital where he has been put on ventilator.The 20-year-old was admitted to a private hospital on 21 June after an accident. He was declared dead on Monday and his body arrived at his home in an ambulance.His elder brother Mohammad Irfan said: “Devastated, we were preparing for the burial when some of us saw movement in his limbs. We immediately took Furqan to the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where the physicians said he was alive and put him on ventilator support.””We had paid Rs 700,000 to the private hospital earlier and when we told them that we had run out of money, they had declared Furqan dead on Monday,” Irfan said.Lucknow chief medical officer (CMO) Narendra Agarwal said, “We have taken cognizance of the incident and the matter will be thoroughly probed.””The patient is in critical condition but definitely not brain dead. He has pulse, blood pressure and his reflexes are working. He has been put on ventilator support,” the physician treating Furqan said.last_img read more

Drainage Disasters Fixing Houstons Flooding Hotspots

first_imgStephen Costello, Houston’s Flood Czar, at a forum on flooding held by the Center for Houston’s FutureAfter the Tax Day floods, Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner,  appointed Stephen Costello — a former council member and an engineer — to see what the city could be doing better. One thing he’s finding is flood hotspots.“One street, four houses flood all the time,” Costello says of one neighborhood in West Houston.They are neighborhoods where Costello says drainage is so bad that a typical downpour can mean a couple inches of water inside homes.“My next goal is to meet with the (Turner) administration to identify these areas that we need to go in and fix these pockets of problem areas,” says Costello.Costello was speaking to forum on flooding held by the Center for Houston’s Future.Other problems highlighted included the thousands of small detention ponds that can be required to hold rain run-off from housing and commercial development. Mary Anne Piacentini, Executive Director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy, says there’s no oversight of the ponds that some think are critical component in reducing flooding.“Once a development is done, nobody comes back in to make sure you’re doing everything right,” says Piacentini.Says flood czar Costello: “Who’s maintaining them? I have no idea who’s maintaining them. I know the city’s not.”There was agreement at the forum that it’s not just up to the City to do something, but rather there needs to be a regional coordinator for flood projects in the surrounding counties as well. Listen X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /01:07 Sharelast_img read more