It’s been a tough week for the ruling UPA. The government has been under attack after two-landmark decision from the Supreme Court, both connected to the 2G-spectrum scandal. The most far-reaching judgment came on Thursday. That’s when the court stunned observers by scraping more than a hundred telecom licenses. The Supreme Court cancelled all 122 licenses allotted to nine companies in January of 2008. It also ordered telecom regulator Trai to make fresh recommendations for 2G-spectrum allocation. Trai will have two months to complete this task. The licenses in question were all issued during the time of former telecom minister A. Raja, who’s currently under trial in the 2G case.
And the Supreme Court’s other big decision came on Tuesday. In a move aimed at increasing public accountability, the court ruled in favour of a case filed by- none other than Subramanian Swami. The court’s ruling said any citizen could demand the prosecution of officials accused of corruption. It added that if the sanctioning authority didn’t take action within four months of a complaint, sanction for prosecution would be assumed to exist. Subramanian Swami had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh six times about alleged irregularities in telecom spectrum allocation. When he got no response, Swami went to the Supreme Court.
Subramanian Swamy. AP
Switching to the economy, new figures indicate a revival in manufacturing. The HSBC Markit purchasing managers’ index has reached an eight month-high in January. The PMI for the month stands at 57.5. In December it was at 54.2. Any figure above 50 on the index indicates a gain. January’s growth was driven by both foreign and domestic demand. On the downside, the month saw input costs rise more rapidly than in December.
European cargo airline Farnair Switzerland has bought a stake in Bangalore-based Quikjet Cargo. Farn-air says it has picked up a strategic stake in Quikjet, though it’s not known how much the deal is worth. Quik-jet begins operations on 10 February.
There’s some relief for struggling firm SKS Microfinance. Small Industries Development Bank of India has lent it Rs100 crore. This is the first loan from a major bank to India’s struggling micro-lenders since October of 2010. That’s when a new law in Andhra plunged the sector into crisis.
Coal India has reversed a 12.5% price hike that came into effect on 1 January. The rollback came after consumers of coal like power companies said they were struggling to cope with the higher prices. Coal India will review its prices once again after 31 March.