Arun Jaitley is the richest minister in Modi cabinet

Arun Jaitley stands out as the richest minister in the Modi cabinet with assets totalling Rs72.10 crore, while Venkaiah Naidu has assets of just Rs20.45 lakh


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assets worth Rs1.26 crore while Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stands out as the richest minister in the cabinet with assets totalling Rs72.10 crore.


According to the Assets and Liabilities declared by the Prime Minister and other 44 members of the Council of Ministers, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu is among the Union Ministers who has the least assets of Rs20.45 lakh.


Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has assets to the tune of Rs37.68 crore.


Minister of State for Coal and Power Piyush Goyal has assets of Rs31.67 crore and is closely followed by Minorities Affairs Minister, Najma Heptulla with assets to the tune of Rs29.70 crore.


Notably, 17 out of 22 Cabinet Ministers are crorepatis including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


The five Cabinet Ministers who are not crorepatis are Naidu with assets worth Rs20.45 lakh, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan with Rs39.88 lakh, Labour and Employment Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has assets worth Rs44.90 lakh.


Health Minister Harshvardhan has assets of Rs48.54 lakh, while Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar with Rs60.62 lakh worth of assets.


World Bank sees Indian economy growing by 6.4% in FY16

Over the next year or so, India's economic growth should be supported by the recovering US economy that would provide a market for the country's merchandise and service exports


World Bank has said that the Indian economy, which accounts for 80% of South Asia’s output, is set to grow by 6.4% in 2015-16 as against 5.6% in 2014-15.


With economic activity buoyed by expectations from the new elected government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bank in its twice-a-year South Asia Economic Focus report said, “India is benefiting from a 'Modi dividend'."


Over the next year or so economic growth should be supported by the recovering US economy that would provide a market for Indian merchandise and service exports, it said.


“The outlook over the next years for South Asia indicates broad economic stability and a pick-up in growth with potential risks concentrated on the fiscal and structural reform side,” said Martin Rama, Chief Economist for South Asia at the World Bank.


“Future growth will increasingly depend on strong investment and export performance,” he added.


Private investment is expected to pick up thanks to the government’s business orientation, and declining oil prices should boost private sector competitiveness.


But economic reforms will be needed for India to achieve its full long-term growth potential, the report argued.


The report said the region’s economy will expand by a real 6% in 2015 and by 6.4% in 2016 compared to 5.4% this year, potentially making it the second fastest growing region in the world after East Asia and the Pacific.


Other countries in the region are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


The Bank said India’s long-term growth potential remains high due to favourable demographics, relatively high savings, and policies and efforts to improve skills and education, facilitate domestic market integration and incentivize manufacturing activities.


In the medium term, with the economy still below potential and reforms on a gradualist path, growth is expected to accelerate from 5.6% in 2015 to 6.4% and 7% in 2016 and 2017.


Inflation is expected to decline with monetary policy switching to inflation targeting while the current account deficit is expected to widen somewhat as import demand and capital inflows rise.


Fiscal consolidation is expected to continue with stronger revenue mobilisation, while the oil subsidy burden could decline to 0.6% of GDP if benign global crude prices persist, it said.


Supply chain delays and uncertainty are a major yet under-appreciated constraint to manufacturing growth and competitiveness in India, it said.


$1.1 Billion in Drug, Device Payments to Doctors Not Included in New US Database

The new Open Payments database of industry payments to doctors and teaching hospitals is more incomplete than previously known


The US government's new database of drug and device industry payments to doctors is even more incomplete than has been reported previously.

In a fact sheet posted online, federal officials disclosed that the database, dubbed Open Payments, is missing more than $1 billion in payments made between August and December 2013. These omissions are in addition to information the government has redacted from the payments it has disclosed, citing inconsistencies.

Open Payments was unveiled last week and included data on 4.4 million payments valued at $3.5 billion. More than half a million doctors and about 1,360 teaching hospitals received at least one payment.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the database, had said last week that it was not publishing any details on 9,000 payments that had been disputed by doctors or hospitals because those disputes hadn't been resolved. It also said it would withhold data on 190,000 research payments related to drugs and devices that are not yet on the market, as is mandated by law.

On a conference call with reporters, though, federal officials did not disclose that the unpublished data amounted to almost a quarter of the money drug and device makers dispensed in the final five months of last year.

That so much data is missing has been among the primary complaints lodged about Open Payments. The government withheld the names of doctors and hospitals associated with 40 percent of published payments and promised to disclose this information next year once it has been corrected and verified.

Early reviews of the Open Payments website, including our own, also have noted how difficult it is for consumers to use. In addition, doctors and pharmaceutical companies have been critical of the government for not being willing to immediately correct errors identified in the database, the Wall Street Journal reported. The government plans to correct them next year.




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