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If one observes the comments of Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s, a doubt arises whether the Indian government is going to show rising inflation as an excuse for inviting foreign private investments in Indian retail sector.
The Vice-President of planning commission Mr Montek Singh Ahluvalia has been telling that supply side bottlenecks have been the major cause for the rising inflation in India. Today, speaking at a conference in New Delhi Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concerns over rising inflation adding that inflation is becoming a major obstacle for the growth prospects of India.
An important aspect of Mr Singh was that what he opined for rise in inflation. He said that the farm supply chains needed to be boosted with organised retail chains. This raises doubt that Indian government is going to give permission for foreign entry into retail sector in the name of organized retail chains.
IANS | Yahoo News | 24/01/2011
An-eight member delegation of the European Union (EU) is expected to arrive in Bilaspur town Monday to attend a bail plea of rights activist Binayak Sen that is to be heard by the Chhattisgarh High Court. The EU delegation members who landed Sunday night in state capital Raipur amid protests of ‘Go Back’ by some local groups left for Bilaspur town Monday by car to attend the hearing. The high court is based in Bilaspur town, 110 km from here.
Sen, 60, who is a People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) leader, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a district and sessions court in Raipur Dec 24 on sedition charges and his links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal. The court verdict has been widely slammed by human right activists in India and abroad who say he was victimised by the Chhattisgarh government for highlighting human right abuses.
In the following, FII is providing a summary of the discussion paper by DIPP about the “Issue of Discussion Paper on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Multi-Brand Retail Trading” with the most important points.
The discussion paper starts with the present scenario, according to which Multi-Brand retailing is prohibited in India, but FDI in Single-Brand Retailing is permitted since 2006, to the extent of 51%. Since then, a total of 94 proposals have been received till May, 2010. Of this, 57 proposals were approved. An FDI inflow of US $ 194.69 million (Rs. 901.64 crore) was received between April, 2006 and March, 2010, comprising 0.21% of the total FDI inflows during the period, under the category of single brand retailing.
FDI in cash and carry wholesale trading was first permitted, to the extent of 100%, under the Government approval route, in 1997. It was brought under the automatic route in 2006, the paper reports.
A number of CONCERNS have been expressed with regard to opening of the retail sector for FDI. The first is that the retail sector in India is the second largest employer after agriculture. As per the latest NSSO 64th Round, in 2007-08 retail trade employed 7.2% of total workers and provided job opportunities to 33.1 million persons. A second would be that FDI would lead to unfair competition and ultimately result in large-scale exit of domestic retailers, especially the small family managed outlets, leading to large scale displacement of persons employed in the retail sector. Further, as the manufacturing sector has not been growing fast enough, the persons displaced from the retail sector would not be absorbed there. A third argument listed by the discussion paper is that the Indian retail sector, particularly organized retail, is still under-developed and in a nascent stage and that, therefore, it is important that the domestic retail sector would be allowed to grow and consolidate first, before opening this sector to foreign investors.
From the retail front, the discussion paper comes to the backend and argues that there would be “limitations of the present setup”, as there has been a lack of investment in the logistics of the retail chain, leading to an inefficient market mechanism. Though India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables (about 180 million MT), it has a very limited integrated cold-chain infrastructure. The chain would be highly fragmented and hence, perishable horticultural commodities find it difficult to link to distant markets, including overseas markets, round the year. STORAGE INFRASTRUCTURE is necessary for carrying over the agricultural produce from production periods to the rest of the year and to prevent distress sales. Lack of adequate storage facilities cause heavy losses to farmers in terms of wastage in quality and quantity of produce in general, and of fruits and vegetables in particular.
CommonDreams.org | Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.
Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir that had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer’s husband and Asiya’s brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get insaf-justice-from India, and now believed that Azadi-freedom-was their only hope. I met young stone pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I traveled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones.
Yahoo News | Tue, Oct 26 2010 | 03:15 PM
Even as the Centre mulls action against Arundhati Roy for her seditious speeches on Kashmir, writer Arundhati Roy issued a statement refuting the allegations that her speeches on Kashmir were anti-India.
"I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years," she said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world," she said.
She further said, "Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free."
Earlier, advocating the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir, author-activist Arundhati Roy Sunday contended that in 1947, British imperialism was replaced with Indian colonialism which ‘continued to subjugate the people of India’.
BBC News | 20 October 2010 | 23:28 GMT
The number of people dying from malaria in India has been hugely underestimated, according to new research. The data, published in the Lancet, suggests there are 13 times more malaria deaths in India than the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates. The authors conclude that more than 200,000 deaths per year are caused by malaria. The WHO said the estimate produced by this study appears too high.
The research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. The new figures raise doubts over the total number of malaria deaths worldwide.
Calculating how many people die from malaria is extremely difficult. Most cases that are diagnosed and treated do not result in fatalities. People who die of extremely high fevers in the community can be misdiagnosed and the cause of death can be attributed to other diseases and vice versa.
As most deaths in India occur at home, without medical intervention, cause of death is seldom medically certified. There are about 1.3 million deaths from infectious diseases, where acute fever is the main symptom in rural areas in India.
In this study, trained field workers interviewed families, asking them to describe how their relative died. Two doctors then reviewed each description and decided if the death was caused by malaria. This method is called verbal autopsy. Some 122,000 premature deaths between 2001 and 2003 were investigated. The data suggests that 205,000 deaths before the age of 70, mainly in rural areas, are caused by malaria each year.