Inflation a key concern for govt: FM

"...when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. I do not believe in despondency. Difficulties have to be overcome by ourselves, not by anybody else," a confident Pranab Mukherjee said while reacting to the RBI's rate hike

New Delhi: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today cautioned that year-end inflation may not be less than 6%-7% even as the government and the Reserve bank of India (RBI) are making sustained efforts to fight price rise, reports PTI.

"We are fighting against inflation... increase in repo and reverse repo by the RBI yesterday conveys a strong signal... (but) we shall have to keep in mind that year-end inflation may not be less than 6%-7%," Mr Mukherjee told reporters here.

The RBI yesterday gave a rude shock to the industry, market and borrowers by increasing sharply, the key interest rate by 50 basis points.

Expressing concern over 9.44% headline inflation in June, he said, "Though food inflation has softened as compared to 22% in February 2010, still 8% food inflation is not acceptable."

While accepting that there are challenges before the Indian economy arising out of domestic and global factors, the finance minister said, he did not believe in despondency.

"...when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. I do not believe in despondency. Difficulties have to be overcome by ourselves, not by anybody else," a confident Mr Mukherjee said.

While there was some deceleration in industrial production and slower growth in interest-sensitive sectors, he expressed confidence "that the Indian economy would be in a position to come back".

Referring to the burning issue of black money, the finance minister said the government was committed to tackle the menace.

"Effort against black money is relentless...both administrative and legal steps have been taken to fight against this menace," he said.

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Hexaware Q2 net jumps four-fold to Rs60 crore; scrip hits 52-week high

"Following the healthy performance in the first half of 2011 and increased business visibility on the back of the deals signed, we upgrade our revenue outlook for the second time to a minimum of $302 million for 2011, an annual revenue growth of at least 30% compared with 2010," Hexaware Technologies chairman Atul Nishar said

Mumbai: IT consulting and software services provider Hexaware Technologies today posted a four-fold jump in second quarter net profit to Rs60 crore for the period ended 30 June 2011 compared to Rs14.4 crore in the same quarter of the previous fiscal, Hexaware Technologies said in filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Reacting to the announcement, shares of Hexaware Technologies surged 5.15% to hit a 52-week high of Rs83.70 in the early trade on the BSE. The shares were quoting at Rs82 apiece on the BSE, up 3.02% in post-noon trade, reports PTI.

During the quarter, the company recorded a foreign exchange gain of Rs16 crore, compared to a loss of Rs19 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.

Revenue from operations rose to Rs334 crore during the April-June quarter of 2011, as against Rs251 crore in the same period of the corresponding fiscal.

The board of the company has proposed an interim dividend of Re1 per share of the Rs2 face value each.

Going forward, the company expects revenue to be in the range of $78 million to $79 million in Q3, 2011.

"Following the healthy performance in the first half of 2011 and increased business visibility on the back of the deals signed, we upgrade our revenue outlook for the second time to a minimum of $302 million for 2011, an annual revenue growth of at least 30% compared with 2010," Hexaware Technologies chairman Atul Nishar said.

During the quarter, Hexaware signed its largest deal to-date, an agreement potentially worth $177 million, with an existing US client.

"We remain confident of sustaining or improving the operating margins at the current levels over the next two quarters," Mr Nishar added.

The company's global headcount stood at 7,419 at the end of June, 2011. Out of 755 employees added during the first half, 145 were freshers inducted during Q2, 2011.

Net cash and cash equivalents increased to Rs4,56.60 crore at the end of Q2, 2011. The company added 14 new clients during the quarter, taking its total number of active clients to 190 at the end of the period.

"While we continue to watch the macroeconomic developments closely, the quantum of the deals signed and the quality of the current business pipeline provides us with the perfect platform to deliver above-industry performance," Hexaware Technologies CEO and vice chairman PR Chandrasekar said.

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WHO urges ban on “unreliable” blood tests for TB

The UN health agency says that more than half of the two million blood tests carried out every year to detect tuberculosis produce wrong results, putting lives in danger

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has criticised blood tests being conducted to diagnose tuberculosis, saying they are unreliable and can produce wrong results, putting the lives of thousands of patients in danger.

The United Nations health agency has called on governments across the world to ban these diagnostic tests, which it found to be inaccurate, during a year-long analysis of as many as 94 studies covering pulmonary (67) and extrapulmonary (27) tuberculosis (TB).

More than two million of such tests are carried out every year in over a dozen countries, including India and China, according to the WHO. More than half of these tests produced false positive or false negative results.
 
"In the best interests of patients and caregivers in the private and public health sectors, WHO is calling for an end to the use of these serological tests to diagnose tuberculosis," Dr Mario Raviglione, director of WHO's Stop TB department, said. "A blood test for diagnosing active TB disease is a bad practice. The test results are inconsistent, imprecise and put patients' lives in danger."

There are at least 18 of these blood tests available on the market and they are largely produced by companies in Europe and North America and exported to poor countries, often without being checked by an approved regulator, the WHO officials said. "They cost the poor $10 to $30. And yet more often than not, the results are wrong," Dr Raviglione said.

The WHO insists that medical institutions should rely on microbiological or molecular tests, which cost between $16 to $28, and give more reliable results.
"Blood tests for TB are often targeted at countries with weak regulatory mechanisms for diagnostics, where questionable marketing incentives can override the welfare of patients," said Dr Karin Weyer, coordinator of TB Diagnostics and Laboratory Strengthening for the WHO Stop TB department. "It's a multi-million dollar business centred on selling substandard tests with unreliable results."

The WHO warning, which has already been passed on to several government, is the first time that it has issued such an explicit negative policy recommendation against a test for TB that kills about 1.7 million people each year, across the world. It underscores the organisation's determination to translate strong evidence into clear policy advice to governments.

Commenting on the WHO warning, Dr KK Chopra, director of the New Delhi TB Centre says, "These tests are not useful for diagnosis. In India 50% of people are already infected with TB. We are not giving importance to confirm the diagnosis in such type of patients. The main diagnosis we do is on the basis on sputum examination, ultrasound or other related investigations. While in the private sector these tests have become a fancy, they don't have much utility to confirm the patient's diagnosis. We are not giving weightage to such diagnosis."

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