ABC issued a statement saying it was “surprised by the action” after content on its website about unrest in Myanmar between Muslims and Buddhists was included on the blocking list. India’s Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde insisted in a statement the government was “only taking strict action against those accounts or people which are causing damage or spreading rumours.” Shinde added that the government sought to block the Myanmar online photos because they were “disturbing the atmosphere here in India.”
The government said photographs of clashes in Myanmar were circulating on the Internet with fake captions claiming the scenes were from the north-eastern Indian state of Assam, where 80 people have died in recent ethnic violence. Vivek Sood, senior Supreme Court lawyer and an author on Internet legalisation, called the government’s step “a gross abuse of power.”
“It’s completely illegal under the Indian IT Act,” he told The Economic Times. Indian journalist Kanchan Gupta, who is often critical of the government, had his Twitter account targeted by a government blocking order in a move he called a “political vendetta”. Al Jazeera webpages on the blocking list, including a report on the exodus from Bangalore, appeared unaffected by the government orders, the channel’s Delhi bureau chief Anmol Saxena told AFP.
Ministers earlier complained they had not received co-operation from websites and social network groups. The government on Thursday said Twitter had agreed to remove six fake accounts parodying Prime Minister Singh. The prime minister’s office issued a statement on Friday quoting Twitter that they have “removed the reported profiles from circulation due to violation of our Terms of Service regarding impersonation”. United States State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said as India “seeks to preserve security, we are urging them also to take into account the importance of freedom of expression in the online world”.
More Sri Lankan investments in India – IKEA to invest.
The Union minister of Commerce has decided to redefine small and medium enterprises (SME) to make it possible for investment by the Swedish furniture giant IKEA . Union minister Sharma announced this at the India road show here.
IKEA furniture manufacturer has sought some changes in policy to come in with an investment of over Rs 10,500 crore into India. As per current definition, SME is a unit with $1 million investment that can go in for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). IKEA pointed out that once it started sourcing from SME in India, the growth would be fast and SMEs would have to exceed the investment limit.
Sharma said that the moment SME started selling its products to companies abroad its investment would need to go up and under the present law it would cross the limit given and make it not eligible for FDI. Sharma said that the present law was penalizing SME for doing well.
The government to attract FDI had relaxed the foreign direct investment rules last year to allow 100% FDI in single-brand retail . Earlier it was 51% but imposed numerous conditions such as mandatory local sourcing kept off foreign players.
A few investors such as Skechers, Pavers England, Promod and Tommy Hilfiger did express interest but were deterred by stringent norms in upcoming national manufacturing investment zones (NMIZ).
Sharma announced three additional national manufacturing investment zones (NMIZ) will be
coming up in Andhra Pradesh and two in Karnataka. Work on 12 more zones will start by the end of August. Talking about Sri Lankan companies’ investment , Sharma said Sri Lankan companies especially the textile firm Brandex, MAS textiles and Toray are coming to invest heavily in India.
He said Brandex apparels aims for fourfold increase in its exports from Vizag unit in the coming years. Not only Brandex is very upbeat on increasing its investment in India, every Monday about 50 million lingerie pieces are exported by them to Victoria Secret.
China business confidence index rebounds in Q1.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revised business confidence index, which measures sentinment across industries, rose to 123 in the first quarter, from 120.9 three months earlier, the NBS said in a statement on its website www.stats.gov.cn.
Despite the recovery, confidence in the first quarter was still lower than a year ago, when the index stood at 138.9.
The statistics agency said it had revised the confidence index to include two sub-indexes that measure business sentiment in the present and future periods. It did not disclose readings for the sub-indexes.
It said its business climate index, another measure of firms’ expectations of growth, inched lower to 127.3 in the first quarter, from 127.8 in the previous quarter.
The indexes are based on surveys of almost 20,000 Chinese firms of different sizes in sectors including construction, transport, retail, software and catering.
A reading above 100 implies improving operating conditions for Chinese companies and rising confidence about the future.
China will release a flood of March data this week which is expected to show the economy is cooling, not crashing as some market watchers have feared.
On Tuesday, China surprised markets by returning to an export-led trade surplus, raising the prospect that a rebound in the global economy is lifting overseas orders just in time to compensate for a slowdown in domestic demand.
But the relatively slack pace of export growth may still fuel investors’ concerns about the outlook for Chinese companies, which saw new orders and profit margins slump through 2011.