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Corruption, uncertain policies remain key concerns on India: Moody

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Fiscal consolidation and moderate inflation are definite pluses for India, but graft, uncertain policies and their weak execution remain key constraints, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

In an e-mail interview with IANS, Marie Diron, senior vice president for the Sovereign Risk Group, said the agency’s assessment of India is based on its own evaluation, as also that of the World Bank on government’s effectiveness, rule of law and inflation control. This is what she said:

“India’s score are in the moderate range, reflecting checks and balances between the executive, legislature and judiciary, and increasing fiscal and monetary policy transparency,” she said.

“However, corruption, policy uncertainties and slow implementation have constrained our assessment of India’s institutional strength.”

Moody’s also expected fiscal consolidation to be gradual — as a result of specific measures on which a consensus can be reached, rather than broad-ranging fiscal strategies. So high levels of government debt, at around 65 percent of GDP, will continue to be a constraint on India’s rating.

“Besides the implications of fiscal policy for the government debt burden, the broad macroeconomic policy context has become more favourable to sustain growth. The government’s repeated commitment to fiscal consolidation contributes to maintaining inflation at moderate level.”

On the external sector, Diron said the impact on India of China’s rebalancing, the general and economic developments there will be mainly indirect. This because the share of India’s exports to China is much lower — around 3.7 percent — than for some other economies in the region.

“As a result, India would be affected by a slowdown in Chinese demand mainly to the extent that the global economy would be affected. Moreover, if such a slowdown were to lead to renewed falls in commodity prices, India as an importer of commodities would benefit,” Diron said.

“Further, China’s rebalancing may contribute to global volatility in capital flows. However, with narrower current account deficit financed by foreign direct investment, India is less vulnerable to a shift in investor sentiment and global capital flows than it would have been few years ago.”

Related article:Economic conditions of India remains weaker than peers: Moody

Diron’s assessment comes against the backdrop of the caution by Moody’s Investors Service that a prolonged worsening in asset quality of state-run banks was the main threat to India’s sovereign credit profile, while suggesting that the government must recapitalise them with more money.

Moody’s, which has given for India a credit rating at ‘Baa3’ — or just a level above the junk category — had said on Wednesday that it would consider a rating upgrade after 12-18 months, depending on improvement in macroeconomic parameters in India.

Nonetheless, its outlook on the country remained positive.

“Our positive outlook on India’s rating is based on our expectations of continued but gradual policy efforts to reduce the sovereign risks posed by high fiscal deficits, volatile inflation and weak bank balance sheets.” (IANS)

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Ex-Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif Indicted on Corruption Charges

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Muhammad Safdar
Muhammad Safdar, husband of Maryam Nawaz, daughter of ousted Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, waves from a a vehicle as he arrives at an accountability court in Islamabad. VOA

Islamabad, October 19: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been indicted on corruption charges stemming from information taken from the so-called “Panama Papers.”

The country’s anti-corruption court indicted the 67-year-old Sharif during a hearing Thursday in Islamabad. His daughter Maryam and son-in-law Mohammed Safdar were also indicted. Maryam Sharif and Mohammed Safdar appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A lawyer for the elder Sharif, who is in London with his wife as she undergoes cancer treatment, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Maryam Sharif angrily dismissed the allegations as “baseless.”

Sharif was disqualified by Pakistan’s Supreme Court and removed from office in July after leaked documents last year from a Panama-based law firm revealed the family held a number of unreported overseas assets.(VOA)

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Journalist Behind the Panama Papers Killed in a Car Bomb

Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a "one-woman WikiLeaks".

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Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device. (Representative image) Pixabay

Valletta, October 17, 2017 : A journalist who led the Panama Papers probe into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her residence, the media reported.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device, reports the Guardian.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”.

Her latest revelations accused Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack, the Guardian reported.

Malta’s President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm. “In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgement and to show solidarity.”

ALSO READ Not Just Journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, these 9 People too Bore the Brunt of Speaking Truth to Fight Corruption

In a statement, Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”.

“Everyone knows Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat, adding “Both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way.”

He announced in parliament later on Monday that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for help from the US government.

According to local media reports, Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats.

The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35 p.m. on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3 p.m.

Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5 million documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. (IANS)

 

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Amit Shah Rejects Allegation of Money Laundering on Son Jay Shah

"Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks," claimed Amit Shah at an event.

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Amit Shah, BJP National President. Wikimedia

Ahmedabad, October 13, 2017 : Breaking his silence, BJP president Amit Shah rejected allegations of money laundering against his son Jay Shah whose company had reportedly recorded an extraordinary spike in business after the BJP came to power at the Centre, and asserted that it had not done any business with the government nor taken any kickbacks.

He also said that unlike the Congress, which had faced many corruption charges in the past, his son has shown courage to file a civil and criminal defamation suit on the allegations levelled against him and “invited a probe against himself” by this step.

“There is no money laundering involved in Jay’s company. This company is completely in commodity business, where turnover is more while the profit is less. We have exported bajra, corn and rice while coriander was imported. And after doing a turnover of Rs 80 crore, they don’t tell how much they made profit,” Amit Shah said at an “India Today” event “Gujarat Panchayat”.

Answering questions, he said that after making a turnover of Rs 80 crore, Jay made a loss of Rs 1.5 crore. “Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks,” he said.

Asked about Jay Shah filing a defamation suit against the publication, Shah said: “Before answering your question I would like to ask you one thing. After Independence, how many corruption charges have been made against the Congress?

“Please understand this is not corruption. Many allegations of corruption were made against the Congress. Did it ever file a civil suit or defamation suit? No. Why they lacked such courage? Today Jay has filed a defamation as well as civil suit and is demanding a probe himself. Those who have the evidence can submit it to the court, and then the court will decide,” the BJP president said.

He said: “We have ourselves invited a probe and on the company issue I want to clarify that it has not done business with the government of even Re 1 nor taken any government land or tender. Neither has it received kickbacks as in the case of Bofors.”

When asked about Jay’s company securing unsecured loans, Shah said it was not unsecured loans. “It was a line of credit,” he added. (IANS)