A group of 131 academics, intellectuals, professionals and civil society leaders in Assam have sought rescheduling of hearings for National Register of Citizens applicants who have been issued notices to have their citizenship documents re-verified within a very short time.In an appeal to the Supreme Court, which has been monitoring the NRC updating exercise, the 131 signatories said the “sudden, suspicious and mischievous” notices have created panic among a section of the people who were included in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.“The people of Assam have been supporting the NRC updating process and participating in the hearings and verifications, sometimes even by paying huge costs in terms of time, energy and financial resources. Nevertheless, they are ready to go through any verification whenever required for the greater interest of an error-free and just NRC,” said the appeal to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi submitted to the court’s Registrar on Tuesday.‘Panicky situation’“However, we would like to draw your kind attention regarding the panicky situation created by suspicious and mischievous notices served to NRC applicants for reverification by the NRC authority in Assam. Now notices are being served to people and they are asked to go in far-flung areas with a short notice of one or two days,” the appeal reads.Also Read Protest against NRC reverification notices “The people of Assam in general and people living in riverine areas in particular have experienced one of the worst floods in recent years. They are struggling to cope with the losses and many of them are still living in temporary relief camps. Under such circumstances, if these people are asked to attend the NRC hearing giving them just one or two days and summoned to 500-600 km away from their homes, there is little doubt that a large number of them wouldn’t be able to attend the hearings,” the signatories said.‘At least a week’They asked the court to direct the NRC authority to reschedule the hearing either within the district or within adjoining districts and provide at least a week’s time so that the applicants could attend the hearing and complete the process within the August 31 deadline.“Kindly direct the NRC authority to make the notice available on the Internet along with the physical serving so that people living in other States can also access the same and attend the hearing accordingly,” the signatories said, also seeking instruction to the district administration to provide basic transport facilities in the greater interest of an error-free and fair NRC.
The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) is projecting economic growth ranging between 0.5 and 1.5 per cent for the 2013/14 fiscal year.BoJ Governor, Brian Wynter, who made the disclosure during the Bank’s quarterly media briefing on Wednesday, May 15, said this forecast is based on the “expected boost” to investor confidence, consequent on the government’s recent conclusion of a four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the resulting funding support from other multilateral agencies and institutions anticipated.The IMF has already disbursed an initial US$207.2 million under the EFF provision to Jamaica, of which US$87.9 million represents budgetary support for the government.This, the Governor said, is expected to be complemented by anticipated loan and grant funding of some US$2 billion in multilateral support from agencies such as the World Bank, European Union (EU), and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), over the medium term.Mr. Wynter pointed out that the private sector is expected to benefit from the government’s fiscal consolidation programme, which is anticipated to release resources for investments.“The robust growth of 18.4 per cent in private sector credit for 2012/13 is anticipated to provide some momentum for the projected growth for the current (2013/14) fiscal year. Note (should) be taken of the decline of 50 basis points, or half per cent, in average lending rates to the private sector at commercial banks during the March quarter,” he informed.While noting that these rates are “still higher than desired”, Mr. Wynter said this “bodes well” for future credit expansion.“In this regard, at 5.3 per cent, the quarter saw the strongest rate of quarterly growth in loans and advances since 2011,” he added.Mr. Wynter said BoJ estimates for the January to March quarter suggest that the economy contracted in the range of -1.2 to -0.2 per cent. The economy is estimated to have contracted in the range of -1.0 to 0.0 per cent for the 2012/13 fiscal year.“The estimated outturn for this (January to March) quarter reflected the impact of drought conditions as well as weak domestic and external demand. In addition, continued uncertainty about prospects for the economy had a debilitating impact on investments and economic activity in general,” the Governor stated.In light of this, Mr. Wynter contended that the IMF’s approval of the Extended Fund Facility for Jamaica and anticipated strengthening of currency inflows from multilateral agencies should serve to boost confidence in the economy.Additionally, he said interest rates continue to be at “historically” low levels, and are expected to remain relatively low in light of the successful implementation of the National Debt Exchange (NDX), and the government’s fiscal consolidation programme.“These developments are expected to lead to a gradual recovery in the domestic economic activity and per capita income over the near to medium term. In this context, the Bank of Jamaica’s primary focus will remain the reduction of inflation over the medium term, towards levels which prevail among our trading partners,” Mr. Wynter said.Contact: Douglas McIntosh