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Newsletter. Issue 2008-20. September 27, 2008

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India News Clips

India a genuine emerging power: Britain
Sep 24, 2008 at 1532 hrs

Manchester, September 24: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, considered to be a potential Prime Minister, has heaped praise on India as a “genuine emerging power” from whom the world had “many expectations.”

“India is genuinely emerging as a power and in it the Indian diaspora is a huge source of strength” Miliband said, adding “we are lucky to have such a diaspora.”

Miliband was the Chief Guest at a reception jointly hosted by the Labour Friends of India, led by British MP Barry Gardiner and the Indian High Commissioner Shiv Shankar Mukherjee.

Referring to India’s role in the world, Miliband said “many of us have many expectations. We want India to play a big role in climate change and we have to work with India as a genuine partner of equals.”  Miliband said that the UK-India relationship was a “partnership of equals.”  “Just as you are already playing a major role in (UN) peace keeping, we want India to play a bigger role in climate change, which is already having its impact,” he said.

Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State, Department of International Development; Sir Gulam Noon, NRI industrialist; Virendra Sharma, Labour MP; Jordana Diengdo K Pavel, among others were also present at the meeting.

High Commissioner Mukherjee recalled India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Nehru’s famous lines about “a tryst with destiny” and said, “Sixty years down the line, we are quite a way ahead with the ‘tryst with destiny’ but there was a great deal yet to be done in wiping out tears from eyes of the weakest of the weak."


US bans key Indian drug imports

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has banned the import of more than 30 generic drugs made by Indian drug firm Ranbaxy.

The FDA said the decision was made after it found manufacturing quality problems at two of Ranbaxy's factories in India. The import ban affects some popular generic versions of antibiotics and cholesterol medicines.

Ranbaxy says it is "disappointed" with the decision of US drug authorities.

The FDA said the move would not create any shortages of drugs in the United States, which could be obtained from other sources.

In July, US prosecutors had alleged that Ranbaxy, India's largest pharmaceutical company, deliberately lied about the quality of its low-cost drugs, including those for HIV. The US Department of Justice wanted the firm to hand over key documents relating to drug testing procedures.

See full Story from BBC NEWS click here


3 Indians among Forbes Web billionaires

New York, Sept 12: Three Indians, including Indiabulls` Sameer Gehlaut and Party Gaming founder Anurag Dikshit, have been named among the 34 innovators in the `Web Billionaires` list by US magazine Forbes. The internet boom has put 34 innovators on our list of world`s richest, comprising a total networth of USD 109.7 billion, the Forbes report said.

The list includes Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page with the highest networth of USD 18.7 billion and USD 18.6 billion, respectively. Indiabulls' Sameer Gehlaut, the youngest self-made billionaire in India, with a networth of USD 1.2 billion, has featured in the list.

Gehlaut had started an online brokerage firm Indiabulls with two college pals in 1999 and still heads the company and is its largest shareholder. The group has moved into real estate business and is further looking to expand into the power sector, the magazine stated.

Kavitark Ram Shriram, is another India-born innovator on the list, with a networth of 1.8 billion dollar and owns Indian job site Naukri.com. In 2007, Shriram had sold online classifieds site StumbleUpon.com to eBay and at present backs Indian and US tech outfits -- 24/7 Customer, Frontline Wireless and Zazzle.com.

Online gambling firm, Party Gaming`s Anurag Dikshit is the third Indian on the list, with USD 1.6 billion of wealth. The magazine described Dikshit as "Developmental engineer turned online gambling mogul."

Dikshit holds a degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. He had joined Party Gaming a year after its founder, American Ruth Parasol, had launched Starluck Casino on the Internet in 1997.

Dikshit wrote company's betting software, which enables gamblers around the world to play one another in poker. However, the company's stock is down since its 2005 peak due to new US laws banning financial groups from facilitating online bets and Dikshit had left its board but still holds a big stake.

Bureau Report


Tata seeking new sites for Nano
By Rahul Tandon
BBC News, Calcutta


The Indian firm Tata says it is actively looking for new sites at which to build the world's cheapest car. Work at Tata's plant in West Bengal state has been suspended since the end of August in a row over land acquired from local farmers. On Thursday the chief minister of the southern state of Karnataka said he had offered Tata 1,000 acres of land to build the car, called the Nano. The Nano is due to be launched in October, but that could be delayed.


Asian Development Bank offers new poverty benchmark in Asia

MANILA, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday announced that it has adopted a poverty line that is more accurate and specifically more relevant to the Asia and Pacific region. The new poverty line, called the Asian Poverty Line, is roughly1.35 U.S. dollars per day, the Manila-based regional lender said in a press release to announce its flagship annual statistical publication -- Key Indicators 2008.

ADB said that according to the new evaluation system, there were probably 843 million people in Asia lived under the poverty line in 2005.

Ifzal Ali, ADB Chief Economist, called it a landmark study, saying that it is the first time a thorough sensitivity analysis of internationally comparable poverty estimates has been carried out He said while the one-dollar-a-day poverty line remains an appropriate benchmark for counting the extent of extreme poverty in Asia, in a region that has witnessed rapid economic growth it might also be time to evaluate poverty incidence using a benchmark that reflects the region's dynamism. He said a major contribution of the Key Indicators 2008 report is to examine the sensitivity of poverty estimates to different methods for evaluating purchasing power parities (PPP).

The report noted that the World Bank's one-dollar-a-day poverty estimates are based on PPPs developed for comparing household consumption across countries, known as consumption PPPs.

But the report said that there is a considerable difference in quality and price between packaged rice bought in a supermarket and rice bought by the scoop in a wet market where is the traditional poor shop. The prices paid for the products purchased by the poor are used to generate a new set of PPPs, called poverty PPPs.

Using consumption PPPs, the report estimated that in the 16 countries that participated in the study, 1.042 billion people would have been living below 1.35 U.S. dollars a day in 2005. Under the more robust poverty PPPs, this estimate would drop to 843 million people.

Clearly, Ali said, the choice of PPP used matters a lot to the final estimates of poverty and it is therefore critical that we price the most appropriate set of goods and services.

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