FM not worried about high capital inflows

New Delhi: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said he would not press the panic button due to high capital inflows, including an over $38 billion by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) till November, though a higher level could be a constraint (rpt) constraint for the economy to absorb, reports PTI.

"We have the capacity to absorb these levels (of capital inflows). If this goes beyond a point, definitely that would be a matter of concern but that may be in a near future but not right now and therefore I am not pressing a panic button right now," he said.

Mr Mukherjee who was speaking at the Annual General Meeting of industry body PHD said he is not unduly perturbed about the FIIs inflows while foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have moderated.

Overseas funds have infused a staggering $4.78 billion in the capital market in November, taking the total to $38.5 billion in the 11 months of 2010.

FDI during January-October stood at $17.37 billion, down 27% from $23.8 billion during the corresponding period of previous year.

The finance minister exuded confidence that government's fiscal policy and the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) monetary actions are in tandem and will help the economy recover and than achieve higher growth trajectory.

RBI's actions to inject liquidity in the economy while refraining from hiking policy rates shows that the central bank is fully aware of the inflationary pressures but is also mindful of the requirements for higher growth.


Wholesale onion prices slide 20% in Lasalgaon

New Delhi: Wholesale onion prices slid by another 20% in the major producing regions of Lasalgaon and Manmad in Nashik today in the wake of steps taken by the government to boost domestic supply, reports PTI.

At Lasalgaon mandi, wholesale onion prices fell by 20% to Rs3,200 a quintal for best quality onions from Rs4,000 per quintal yesterday.

This was despite the fact that just 9,000 quintals of onions made their way into the Lasalgaon market today, compared to 12,000 quintals yesterday, according to data compiled by the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation.

However, prices of best quality onions rose by 15% at Pimpalgaon, another major market in Maharashtra's Nashik district.

Earlier this week, the government imposed an indefinite ban on exports and permitted duty-free imports of onions to bring down soaring prices, which had gone up to as high as Rs85 per kg in some major cities.

State-owned trading agencies STC, MMTC and PEC have also been asked to step up imports of onions from all possible sources, taking cues from private traders, who had imported about 1,500 tonnes of the staple vegetable from Pakistan till yesterday since Monday this week.

In the last four days, onion prices have declined by nearly 50% at Lasalgaon to Rs3,200 from Rs6,299 per quintal on 20th December.

At Manmad, onion prices today fell to Rs2,899 from yesterday's Rs3,500 per quintal despite a slowdown in arrivals to 3,500 quintals from 7,500 quintals. The rates have fallen by nearly 50% in this market during the last four days, from Rs5,576 per quintal on 20th December to Rs2,899 per quintal yesterday.

However, in another key market, Pimpalgaon, wholesale prices of onion today rose to Rs3,500 per quintal from Rs3,031 a quintal yesterday. Nevertheless, prices of onions have gone down by 44% in Pimpalgaon during the last four days-from Rs6,273 per quintal on 20th December to Rs3,500 yesterday.

The average (modal) prices of onion in all the three markets fell and were ruling at Rs1,800-Rs2,000 per quintal.

The declining wholesale rates have started getting reflected in the retail markets of major metros, with onion prices softening by Rs10 per kg yesterday.

In order to provide relief to the common man, the government is selling onions at Rs40 per kg in Delhi through retail outlets of Mother Dairy (288 stores), Nafed (5), Kendriya Bhandar (85) and National Consumer Co-operative Federation (13 retail outlets).


nurturing new lives

Besides building houses for people living in slums, SRS also focuses on supporting the communities, reports Dolly Mirchandani

Founded in 1972 by Adolf Tragler, an Austrian, Slum Rehabilitation Society (SRS) was the first NGO dedicated to slum rehabilitation in Mumbai. Over the years, it has built a considerable record of successfully converting slums into healthy communities.

SRS works with people who have lived in slums for over a decade because they cannot afford proper housing in the metropolis. It aims to provide slum-dwellers with a legal, self-contained home that has basic amenities like: a raised kitchen platform, a toilet and a bathroom. Having a home is only the beginning; so SRS involves itself with post-rehabilitation activities to ensure that slum-dwellers make a smooth transition to living in apartments. This involves help with understanding co-operative housing society rules, building maintenance and upkeep and taxes. Having done this, SRS also works at empowering women’s groups, building a network to provide pre-school education, income-generation projects, solid waste management, activities to beautify the environment and other services.

The Society initially focused on a section of Bandra (a Mumbai suburb), containing 30-odd slum pockets. Its first rehabilitation project at Mount Mary was completed in 1977. Until now, SRS has rehabilitated 7,000 families. Speaking about the new initiatives, Mr Tragler, the honorary  secretary says, “The Society is currently engaged in two assignments—one for safe and legal supply of electricity to Shivaji Nagar slum in Deonar; the other is a socio-economic survey of nearly 10,000 families living in slums in Sion Koliwada. In terms of housing slum-dwellers, we are working on two projects, one in Khar and the other in Andheri, comprising 260 families. In Andheri and Bandra, we are working on several slum rehabilitation projects. Our greatest handicap is inadequate financial capacity.”

SRS promotes a ‘self-development’ approach to rehabilitation in which slum-dwellers play an active role. They are mobilised to develop their own land so that no outsider or individual walks away with the profit and no individual can indulge in profiteering. The benefits then accrue to the dwellers as well as the city. “However, because of the free housing scheme, people do not contribute financially,” says  Mr Tragler. When asked about the challenges faced by the organisation, he says, “We are not in favour of the free housing scheme for slum-dwellers. This scheme has made people passive and demanding without any responsibility on their part. It also has pitted us against the powerful builder lobby who do not like to hear of self development and people having a say in their rehabilitation. Some builders try to intrude on our projects by offering money to the committee members, persuading them to join the builder and to bring the people also over to the builder.” He further adds, “A big problem is corruption in the committees of the slum-dwellers; and undue support from interested political parties or elected representatives adds to our problems.”

On funding and donations, Mr Tragler says, “We received Rs5.20 lakh from Alternaid, Germany, for medical services, while interest from fixed deposits is close to Rs2 lakh. We have received only Rs1.45 lakh this year from consultancy service. Our other amounts are overdue, particularly from Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority. Miscellaneous expenses till date are about Rs2.25 lakh. The amount received through funding is very poor. We mostly struggle to create some additional income from our consultancy. Donations in our case are very few.”

The welfare activities of SRS include running balwadis (kindergarten), creating self-help groups, mahila mandals and holding health camps. SRS also conducts events such as Children’s Day, dental camps, medical programmes, teacher training, anti-malaria programme, etc. Donations made to SRS are exempt under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act.



Angela Nagarajan

6 years ago

I am an RJ with MUST Radio station in Kalina University. And I read about this NGO on the net. Would like to interview one of the members of the NGO who can elaborate more the Initiatives that this NGO id taking up. Please do let me know who can I speak with reagrding this.


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