Nation
Government unveils urban agenda for next 20 years
Stressing the need to go for a big push to fully realise the benefits of urbanisation, the government on Monday unveiled its urban development strategy for the next 20 years.
 
Union Minister for Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M. Venkaiah Naidu released the "India Habitat III - National Report", ahead of the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador, slated for later this month. A global "New Urban Agenda" for the next 20 years is likely to be adopted at the conference.
 
Speaking at the launch ceremony in Vigyan Bhavan here, Naidu on Monday said: "The agenda for the next two decades proposed in the national report will be ensuring economic growth and productivity, improving quality of life, and importantly, addressing issues of inclusivity, sustainability and climate change." 
 
The challenge is about ensuring sustainable development while taking advantage of economic growth that results from rapid urbanisation in the country, he said. 
 
"For long, urbanisation has been looked at from the limited perspective of providing basic services. But our contemporary response shall be wide ranging, aiming at serving larger macro-economic transformational goals together with meeting local priorities. We need to go for a big push to harness fully the potential of urbanisation," said Naidu.
 
Elaborating on the strategy for transforming urban India, the minister said it would be achieved through elimination of barriers to the flow of factors of production, like capital, land and labour, and development of rural and urban areas, in a synergetic manner.
 
The minister said that the outcomes of new urban agenda based on sustainable urban planning would include reducing water and electricity use by 50 per cent from that of normal use, enabling over 60 per cent of urban travel by public transport, generating half of power from renewable sources, and compact and cluster urban development, among others. 
 
"It's an eloquent testimony of India's commitment to sustainable development," said Naidu on India ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Sunday. 
 
Naidu also announced that under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), construction of 10,10,424 houses for urban poor has been approved.
 
"An investment of Rs.59,771 crore has been approved with the central assistance of Rs.14,955 crore," he added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Interesting to see how MPC will tackle monetary policy: Fitch
A day before the Reserve Bank of India announces 2016-17's fourth monetary bi-monthly policy, rating agency Fitch said it is waiting to see how the newly-formed Monetary Policy Committee tackles it, hinting that a low inflation targeting could positively impact the country's rating.
 
"The inflation targeting framework now in place, should reduce the impact of pressures, but it will be interesting to see how this will play out in the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), in which members appointed by both the government and RBI, will have a vote on monetary policy," Thomas Rookmaaker, Director, Asia-Pacific Sovereigns Group, Fitch Ratings, told IANS.
 
"Structurally low inflation would positively impact the sovereign rating profile as it would improve the investment climate and, hence, contribute to sustainable growth," he added.
 
Fitch implied that it expected no rate cuts with a focus on containing inflation in Tuesday's policy, which will be also the first under the leadership of new Governor Urjit Patel.
 
"The fact that Dr. Patel has served as deputy governor in the past three years, suggests continuation of the current policy direction in the years ahead. Dr. Patel was part of the team at RBI that set in motion significant policy changes to deal with both high inflation and weak bank balance sheets, including through the set-up of new policy frameworks," Rookmaaker told IANS in an e-mail interview.
 
The elevation of Patel has raised expectations among those who were critical of his predecessor Raghruam Rajan for not easing enough the monetary policy by cutting rates, though Patel's moorings are as monetarist and he is considered to attach the same importance to inflation control.
 
The MPC, which is now tasked with the job of taking a call on the interest rates, would theoretically target the range around the mid-point and not one of the outer points specifically, though it was early to tell if inflation in practice will remain skewed to one side of the range, Rookmaaker said.
 
The government has set an annual inflation target of four per cent, plus or minus two percentage points.
 
"The inflation target range that the RBI will use in the medium term seems rather broad, in the sense that 2 per cent seems quite low and 6 per cent quite high for an emerging economy like India. But it seems to make sense to have a rather broad range around the 4 per cent mid-point, as food and oil price movements can have a large impact on headline inflation," Rookmaaker said.
 
Wholesale food price inflation was 5.3 per cent during financial years 1996 to 2005 but increased to 9.2 per cent between financial years 2006 and 2016. Clearly, the fight on the inflation front, particularly food inflation, is far from over.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Japan's Yoshinori Ohsumi wins medicine Nobel
Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist specialising in autophagy and a professor in Tokyo Institute of Technology's Frontier Research Centre, was on Monday awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries of the mechanism for autophagy, a process that deals with destruction of cells in the body.
 
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet decided to award the prize to Ohsumi, 71, as his discoveries led to a new paradigm in the "understanding of how the cell recycles its content".
 
"His discoveries opened the path to understanding the fundamental importance of autophagy in many physiological processes, such as in the adaptation to starvation or response to infection," a statement on the official website of the Nobel Prize said.
 
Because of Japan's 23rd Nobel Laureate Ohsumi's works, it is now known that autophagy -- self eating -- controls important physiological functions where cellular components need to be degraded and recycled.
 
The concept emerged during the 1960s, when researchers first observed that the cell could destroy its own contents by enclosing it in membranes, forming sack-like vesicles that were transported to a recycling compartment, called the lysosome, for degradation.
 
Ohsumi reasoned that if he could disrupt the degradation process in the vacuole while the process of autophagy was active, then autophagosomes should accumulate within the vacuole and become visible under the microscope.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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