Minister of information and broadcasting Ambika Soni insisted that the affidavit submitted by the Plan panel before the Supreme Court is not a final document. "When we asked for information from the panel regarding it, we were told that it an initial document and not a final document," she said
New Delhi: The government today indicated that the Planning Commission could change its controversial affidavit on BPL (below poverty line), which had held that people earning more than Rs25 in rural areas and Rs32 in urban areas do not come under this category of the poor, reports PTI.
"These figures could undergo a change, who knows some other statistics may come up, which is acceptable to Planning Commission.
"There is concern among people. There is certain disquiet in the civil society and some sections. They believe the statistics are perhaps somewhat removed from the reality," minister of information and broadcasting Ambika Soni told reporters here.
Asked about the open letter written by two prominent social activists and NAC members-Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander-to Planning Commission chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia questioning the affidavit by the plan panel, Ms Soni said, "I too may have some questions on the figures that have been given.
Many people have questions on the affidavit."
Mr Mandar and Ms Roy have reportedly asked Mr Ahluwalia to withdraw the poverty line affidavit filed by the panel before the Supreme Court or resign.
Noting that Ms Roy and Mr Mandar are 'prominent' members of the civil society, Ms Soni said the government is waiting for the Planning Commission's final document.
Ms Soni insisted that the affidavit submitted by the Plan panel before the Supreme Court is not a final document.
"Planning Commission had given an affidavit. When we asked for information from the panel regarding it, we were told that it an initial document and not a final document," she said.
China and Brazil are also eyeing a share of the almost $30-$40 billion drugs that become off-patented in the next 3-4 years worldwide. Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association secretary general Daara Patel has sought government support to help the Indian pharma sector take on the competition
Hyderabad: Indian companies would struggle to grab opportunities that would arise when almost $30-$40 billion drugs become off-patented in the next 3-4 years worldwide without adequate support from the Centre, reports PTI quoting the Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association (IDMA).
IDMA secretary general Daara Patel said the industry may face fierce competition from China and Brazil as both nations are gearing up for a pie.
"Competition is very high and countries like Brazil and China in the fray. It's going to be an uphill task for us. But if we have proper infrastructure in place, work in unison and get proper support from the government I don't think we will lag behind," Mr Patel told reporters here.
Despite the fact that Chinese API (active pharma ingredient or bulk drugs) material is not as good as Indian APIs, other nations are tempted to buy them due to the price advantage.
"The government should support the industry in terms of providing better facilities for R&D. They must support the API industry, which is not happening. Today we are facing heat from China despite the fact that Chinese material is not as good as Indian ones in APIs," he explained.
IDMA submitted a paper to the Union government in which the pharma body requested that land should be provided to them at a cheaper price like China does, while interest rates and transaction cost should also be brought down.
The association also urged support from the government in setting up effluent treatment plants.
To a query on foreign direct investments (FDI), Mr Patel said 100% FDI in the sector should be allowed, but with riders.
"If we want funds, if we want to be seen in the global arena as fair competitors, if we do not want to be bothered by the WTO rules we should allow FDIs. But certain checks and balances have to be in place," he said.
SnapGhar, a newly-launched group buying website, claims that it will provide a collective-buying platform for the real estate industry
The Indian realty sector is in a dismal condition. Prices of property, on one side, are skyrocketing, while there are simply no buyers for ready-possession flats. However, this phenomenon hasn't stopped websites dedicated to this sector from mushrooming. The latest ones to join the bandwagon are the group-buying websites.
One such website is snapghar.com, which call itself "a collective buying platform for the real estate industry" and provides discounts for buying new properties in bulk. It says that, "Group buying tends to motivate real estate developers to offer discounts in view of the bulk business secured. SnapGhar is a win-win proposition because while home seekers (can) buy at lower prices, developers are able to sell bulk inventory at one go!"
Currently on its website, it has posted various deals of different residential apartments belonging to a cross-section of developers including Lodha Group, RNA Corp, Sai Developers, etc. These properties are from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Karjat and Jaipur. SnapGhar also allows posting of new deals on the site.
Interestingly, it does not charge any membership or brokerage fees, and it also guarantees assured gifts—ranging from a sandwich toaster to an iPad-on each home purchase. If this was not enough, the website also shells out a part of the profit if a person introduced by you purchases the property.
Experts have been critical about such group-buying websites, stating that they have an unsustainable business model. Considering the nature of the Indian realty sector, which had tainted its image in numerous corruption scandals—and the rising interest rate regime, which has kept consumers away from buying such properties, such sites are expected to generate very little offtake from a consumer. Again, a prospective costumer may get some deals and discounts through one-on-one direct physical negotiations as well.
Ganesh Vasudevan, vice president and business head of indiaproperty.com, when asked about the viability of real estate group-buying websites, told Moneylife, "Such websites might look attractive but they are not of significant advantage to the customers, as they (consumers) can also get some deals via direct negotiations. First, it takes time to build a group; it may be possible in some projects. But the scalability and sustainability remain areas of concern for such sites."
The trend of group buying is catching on in India with enormous funding from private equity (PE) players and venture capitalists. At the same time, various consumer complaints have cropped up alleging that similar sites offering discounts on products, restaurants, spas, etc., fail to deliver on the claims they make. Moneylife had recently reported on this issue. (See: Are online group-buying sites going the way of the dotcom bubble?).
It remains to be seen if SnapGhar can provide a good realty bargain to buyers.