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Apr 3, 2012
via India Insight

India must prepare for surge in elderly population: WHO

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India must spend more money and improve public services to prepare for a surge in its elderly population in the coming decades, the country head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

Here are excerpts from a Reuters interview with Nata Menabde:

What is the state of India’s elderly population?
“The percentage of elderly is growing very very fast, especially in India and in Southeast Asia also. The projections are that we will have between 12-13 percent of elderly as part of entire population by the year 2025, and that we’re going to reach some 17 percent of the population being elderly by 2050. Now that is every fifth Indian being elderly, which is going to be a very different society as a whole which needs to be seriously taken into consideration.”
“There’s no surprise for any one that generally healthcare provision in India requires a major improvement and that is very much related to differences of healthcare provision in urban and rural areas.”

Apr 2, 2012

Global business groups warn India over new tax plan

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – International trade groups representing more than 250,000 companies have told Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in a letter that his government’s new retrospective tax proposals have led foreign businesses to reconsider their investments in the country.

India’s federal budget last month outlined a proposal to enable the tax authorities to make retroactive claims on overseas corporate deals and bring in new anti-avoidance measures, moves that have been criticised for further denting investor sentiment.

Apr 2, 2012

Global business groups warn India over tax plan impact

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – International trade groups representing more than 250,000 companies have warned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that new taxation proposals by his government have led foreign businesses to reconsider their investments.

India’s federal budget last month outlined a proposal to allow authorities to make retroactive tax claims on overseas deals and bring in new anti-tax-avoidance measures, moves that have been criticized for further denting investor sentiment.

Mar 28, 2012

BRICS agree not bound by “unilateral” sanctions on Iran: South Africa

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The BRICS group of countries have broadly agreed they are not bound by “unilateral” sanctions on Iran, measures that threaten higher global oil prices and could result in supply shortages, South Africa’s trade minister said on Wednesday.

The BRICS group of emerging world powerhouses – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are meeting in New Delhi amid Western pressure to cut crude imports as part of sanctions designed to halt Tehran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Mar 26, 2012

U.S. pitches India infrastructure push, warns on trade

NEW DELHI, March 26 (Reuters) – Commerce Secretary John
Bryson on Monday pitched for U.S. companies to participate in
India’s massive private sector-driven push in building
infrastructure, but warned the south Asian nation’s high import
tariffs could hurt long-term ties.

U.S. companies should push to invest in sectors such as road
building, railways, aviation and energy, Bryson said, as part of
India’s planned spend of $1 trillion over the next five years in
a sector seen as crucial to its long-term prosperity.

Mar 23, 2012

Exporters seek advance rupee payments from Iran

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Exporters are pressing the government to allow advance payments from Iran in rupees to them under a new mechanism set up to facilitate trade with the sanctions-hit Islamic republic which is its No. 2 oil supplier.

Under the new mechanism, oil refiners will deposit rupees, which are not freely traded on global markets, for about 45 percent of Iranian crude purchases in an account at UCO Bank and the funds can be used to pay for some of India’s exports.

Mar 22, 2012

Insight: Life and death on India’s slow train to prosperity

KANPUR, India (Reuters) – As the Kalka Mail train pulls into Delhi railway station at dawn, it is every man, woman and child for themselves.

Before the train has stopped, crowds elbow and jostle into packed compartments destined for Kolkata, 1,500 km (930 miles) and 25 hours away on one of the largest, most decrepit and dangerous rail networks in the world.

Mar 22, 2012

Life and death on India’s slow train to prosperity

KANPUR, India, March 22 (Reuters) – As the Kalka Mail train
pulls into Delhi railway station at dawn, it is every man, woman
and child for themselves.

Before the train has stopped, crowds elbow and jostle into
packed compartments destined for Kolkata, 1,500 km (930 miles)
and 25 hours away on one of the largest, most decrepit and
dangerous rail networks in the world.

Mar 15, 2012

Rail fare row plunges Indian government into new crisis

NEW DELHI, March 15 (Reuters) – The Indian government
was plunged into yet another crisis on Thursday by a rebellion
within its own ranks over a proposed rise in rail fares,
underscoring its inability to take unpopular steps and frailty
in the face of querulous coalition allies.

Despite the row, the government was likely to survive since
nobody wanted an early election, analysts said.

Mar 15, 2012

UPA in new crisis after Trivedi’s rail fare hike move

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi looked set to quit on Thursday after a storm broke out over his move to raise passenger fares, underscoring the government’s inability to take unpopular policy steps amid growing speculation the ruling coalition could break up.

Breaking with years of populist policies, Trivedi announced the first increase in fares in eight years on Wednesday, a move aimed at shoring up the finances of a network whose dysfunction has become a major drag on the economy.