Citizens' Issues
Maharashtra has just one FDA officer for 1.35 lakh people
Food and Drug Administration is the only department directly related to the health of a common man, and yet 31% of the posts in this department are vacant, reveals RTI query
As many as 365 posts of the total 1,176 sanctioned by the Maharashtra government in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are vacant, a query filed under Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed.
RTI activist Anil Galgali had sought information regarding the total posts that were allotted to FDA, along with the ones occupied and the ones that have been left vacant.
"31% of the posts have been lying vacant. For a population of 11 crores of Maharashtra, 1,176 posts that have been allotted for the FDA, only 811 posts have been occupied which means that against 1.35 lakh people, there is only one FDA officer in the state," he said.
According to Galgali, FDA was the only department that is directly related to the health of a common man.
The headquarters of the department is in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) area of Mumbai along with divisions at Thane, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Sangli, Satara, Nagpur and Latur comprising 31 districts of Maharashtra.
In all these offices, only 265 posts of Food Security Officers (FSOs) and 161 posts of Drug Inspectors have been sanctioned by the government. But 78 posts of FSOs and 37 of Drug Inspectors posts still lie vacant, the RTI filed this year, revealed.
In the Food Department, 22 Joint Commissioners' posts lay vacant as compared to the 62 posts sanctioned.
In the Drugs Department of the FDA, 13 out of 35 posts that of technical officers, four out of eight senior Technical Officers, 22 out of 52 posts sanctioned for the Joint Commissioners, nine out of the 12 posts that of the Administrative heads, 23 out of 60 posts that of Sample Assistants and two out of three Plant Operators remain vacant, it further said.



Nifty, Sensex continue to head higher – Weekly closing report

Nifty is putting in a pre-budget rally. Likely to target 8,950 next week

The S&P BSE Sensex closed the week that ended on 13th February at 29,095 (up 377 points or 1.31%), while the NSE’s CNX Nifty closed at 8,806 (up 145 points or 1.67%). In the previous week, we had mentioned that further move on the Nifty will be determined by the outcome of the Delhi assembly election on Tuesday.
Exit polls released by several media had showed that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will get a majority and will be able to form the next government in Delhi. After a range bound session on Monday, the Nifty closed at 8,526 (down 135 points or 1.56%).
The Ministry of Finance, on last Saturday, said that the government has decided to infuse Rs6,990 crore in nine public sector banks during the current fiscal year based on efficiency parameters for individual banks.
On Tuesday, Nifty broke the trend of consecutive losses for seven days and closed at 8,566 (up 39 points or 0.46%), after a volatile session. Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP got a sweeping majority in the Delhi Assembly elections.
According to Indian government’s advance estimates for GDP based on the new calculation methodology, the economy is likely to grow at a faster pace of 7.4% in the current fiscal as against 6.9% in 2013-14.
As anticipated, on Wednesday, Nifty continued to book gains. Nifty closed at 8,627 (up 62 points or 0.72%). Rating agency Moody's Investors Service said the lower oil prices are expected to alleviate India's high inflation and spur economic growth.
On Thursday, Nifty closed at 8,712 (up 84 points or 0.98%). It closed near to the day’s high. After market hours, the Indian government announced CPI data for January 2015 and industrial production data for December 2014. Indian inflation rose marginally to 5.11% in January, according to the new base year for calculating prices. December inflation now stands revised to 4.28% as per the new series. Industrial output grew 1.7% in December, slower than November's 3.9%.
Further support of $2 million provided by World Bank after International Monetary Fund (IMG) agreed to bail Ukraine out of economic crisis, and Germany logging better-than-expected fourth-quarter growth, helped sentiments in Indian markets. State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s biggest lender, too posted improved December 2014 quarter result, which added momentum to the past three days of positive up move. On Friday, Nifty closed at 8,806 (up 94 points or 1.08%) in what looked like a strong pre-budget rally. The market mood was lifted by quarterly results of State Bank of India.
Out of the 27 main sectors tracked by Moneylife, top five and the bottom five sectors for this week were:


Iran projects and trade need push from Indian government

India needs to move ahead with the Urea Project to be set up in Iran as well work out the logistics of container traffic movements from Chabahar port to other Iranian cities


The Iranian New year, Nav Roz falls on 21st March and there are signs that export of basmati rice, which had stopped a couple of months ago, will start once again. It may be noted that, in 2013-14, India exported 1.4 million tonnes of basmati but this is likely to be about 800,000 tonnes by March this year, though the exporters were hoping to at least reach a million tonnes.  This has not been possible due to excess stocks imported earlier.
Due to the US and European Union sanctions, Iran's export of oil has been restricted to 1.1 million barrels a day and India has been able to absorb as much as 42% of Iranian supplies last year. It may be remembered that the Special Rupee payment mechanism set up and operated through UCO Bank in Kolkata has been used for payment for imports from India, and part payment for oil imports has been paid into this account. This arrangement has helped both the countries.
Only a few weeks ago, due to the efforts taken by both the Governments, particularly the Indian Fertiliser industry, India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by which a 1.3 million tonnes (mt), a joint venture, to produce Urea using the gas as  feeder stock. This 1.3 mt urea plant will be established in Chabahar port development area and the Indian companies that would take part are the Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers, GNFC and GSFC.
Additionally, the memorandum includes the development of a container piers though a $100 million investment and permits the formation of joint ventures between Indian and Iranian companies, in various approved areas.  With this MoU, India will gain maritime and land access to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.
In fact, it is reported, in the Pakistani press, that India recently shipped two container consignments to Astara in Gilan province in Iran, on land route, and it was found to be both "economical" and "fruitful" for Indian investors.
By taking advantage of this MoU, India has plans to make further investments in Iran, especially, under what is to be called as "reverse' Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Indian officials claim that these reverse SEZs can produce various types of goods that can be exported to other world markets, and that India intends to establish such zones in friendly countries that have lots of raw materials that can be “finished” for export, not only to India but to other areas as well.  
The Pakistani press has pointed out that Gwader Port is still not operating vigorously as Chabahar because supporting "structures" are not yet ready! It says that several projects, such as the 950 Kms railway line or the 900 Kms motor way to link with the railways/ highways of the country with the Gwadar port have so far remained only on "file"; whereas, the developments in Chabahar has been better.  Thus they expect that with the Indian involvement, Gwadar port may face stiff competition from Chabahar!
In the meanwhile, while speaking at an event in Moradabad, Mehdi Mahdavipour, a representative of Supreme Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei, is reported to have said that Tehran is very much interested in "developing" ties with New Delhi.  He said further that the Hassan Rouhani administration would try its best to bring back the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project back on track in the near future!
It may be remembered that the project has been stalled due to security concerns over the pipeline traversing through Pakistan and the sanctions imposed on Iran by US/ European Union over its nuclear programme. 
But of immediate importance are the urgent steps that Ananth Kumar, the Fertiliser Minister, has to take. These steps include moving forward with the Urea Project plan that has to be set up in Chabahar. A high powered business-oriented delegation must visit Iran to work out the logistics of container traffic movements from Chabahar port to other Iranian cities as well as for studying the prospects of connections to Central Asian republics.  This they must do, just after the holidays, celebrating the Nav Roz!
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)




2 years ago

like Russia our trade relations with Iran is bound to benefit Indians in future. Proper political analysis is necessary on the Indian side. There are hurdles because of the sanctions imposed on Iran by U.S. With improving U.S relation India should not over look the advantage we have in supporting Iran.

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