Citizens' Issues
Three blasts at Dadar, Zaveri Bazar and Opera House in Mumbai; scores injured, some deaths reported

Explosions happened at about 7pm; not known immediately who may be responsible

At least three blasts occurred in separate parts of Mumbai late this evening injuring scores of people, according to information available. Some deaths were also reported in the explosions that happened at around 7pm.

Very little was known immediately about the explosions that went off in the generally busy Dadar area in central Mumbai, and Zaveri Bazar and Opera House in south Mumbai. Police said it was too early to say anything specific about how the blasts happened or who may be responsible.

The incident brought back memories of the serial train bombings five years ago that killed over 200 people and wounded 700 more. The seven blasts that went off within a few minutes on the suburban Western Railway, on 11 July 2006, were carried out by the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Students Islamic Movement of India.

In November 2008, in a coordinated terror attack in South Mumbai, about 160 people were killed and 300 injured at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (the main railway terminal), Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, Oberoi Trident hotel, Cama Hospital and Nariman House (a Jewish community centre).

Zaveri Bazar, a busy business area of the city, has previously suffered two explosions that killed about 50 people.


Montek suggests higher power tariffs during peak hours

Power distribution companies in the country are estimated to have incurred a staggering loss of about Rs70,000 crore in the last fiscal and the amount is expected to be as much as Rs1,16,000 crore by 2014-15

New Delhi: Raising concerns about the health of power distribution utilities, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today suggested introduction of different electricity tariffs for peak and off-peak hours, reports PTI.

Power distribution companies in the country are estimated to have incurred a staggering loss of about Rs70,000 crore in the last fiscal and the amount is expected to be as much as Rs1,16,000 crore by 2014-15.

Speaking at the power ministers conference on distribution reforms here, he said it is easy to have a 'time of the day tariff', where the rate is slightly higher for the peak period.

"The real issue is the difference between peak and non-peak is sufficiently large to actually encourage a switch.

That probably requires higher tariffs during peak period and may be even lower tariffs during non-peak periods," he said.

Peak period generally refers to the time when electricity is high compared to ordinary time.

There has always been a mismatch between power tariffs and the cost of generating electricity, which is hurting the financial health of power distribution companies (Discoms).

Going by estimates, electricity distribution losses touched about Rs70,000 crore in 2010-11.

Power secretary P Uma Shankar noted that electricity distribution losses are expected to reach as much as Rs1,16,000 crore by 2014-15.

"Losses are seeing an upward trend... We have to improve the health of Discoms," he said.

The main focus of the power ministers' conference is the financial health of Discoms and reasons for huge losses incurred by them. The country has about 73 power distribution entities.

"To tackle the commercial losses, strong political will is required. Curbing power pilferages and improving governance can bring down the losses," minister of state for power KC Venugopal said.

The government has taken various initiatives, including Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (R-APDRP), to reduce the Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses in power distribution area.

According to power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, more than Rs40,000 crore have already been spend on R-APDRP.

AT&C losses in the country are pegged in the range of 20% to 40%.


Booming interest in Indian healthcare industry

After private equity funds, now strategic investors are moving in. Aetna has just acquired Indian Health Organization Pvt Ltd, a three-year old startup

The Indian healthcare sector with its super speciality hospitals and extensive network of healthcare service providers is proving to be an attraction for many. So far, private equity players have been showing great interest in the Indian healthcare sector, funding a series of startups. Now, a US-based healthcare benefits company has entered the market. Aetna International today announced the acquisition of Indian Health Organization Pvt Ltd (IHO), a three-year old company started by two Delhi-based entrepreneurs, that offers medical and dental care through an accredited provider network.

This comes close on the heels of a flurry of deals by private equity firms to fund India's burgeoning healthcare needs.

Recently, HDFC PE acquired a 12% stake in an e-hospital, MediAngels, founded by Dr Debraj Shome and Dr Arbinder Singal. Wellspring Healthcare, a preventive healthcare service founded by Dr Gautam Sen and Kaushik Sen received its first round of funding from Narayana Murthy's venture capital firm Catamaran, Anil Ambani Group's Reliance Venture Asset Management and some foreign investors.

Vasan Eye Care, chaired by Dr AM Arun, raised money from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital through three rounds of investments in the last two years, for its chain of 80 eye care centres. Glocal hospital raised equity funding to the tune of Rs15 crore for a minority stake from Elevar Equity and Sequoia Capital to complete the first phase of eight hospitals.

And now, following the IHO takeover, it seems that strategic investors too are interested in the Indian healthcare market. Aetna International's expatriate business is one of the industries largest and most prominent US-based international health benefits providers, supporting more than 400,000 members worldwide. With 80,000 members enlisted as IHO customers, Aetna has a platform to expand its network in the country. Entering the Indian market through an already established network will enable Aetna diversify into a new geography.

Derek Goldberg, Aetna's managing director, South East Asia, said, "India's growing healthcare market presents tremendous opportunity. The out-of-pocket medical spend in India is more than $30 billion annually, which is more than 60% of the total healthcare expenditure in the country. The service offered by IHO targets that direct consumer spending on healthcare by providing access to primary and preventive care."

Visham Sikand, IHO's co-founder and business development head, said, "As a global leader in healthcare, Aetna has the expertise and resources to take IHO's business to the next level. I am excited about the prospects of making quality healthcare and wellness programmes more affordable and accessible for consumers in India."

Aetna says it is convinced that IHO's network and market insight coupled with Aetna's global expertise and resource strength will make a strong statement by making healthcare and wellness programmes more affordable and accessible for consumers in India.




5 years ago

article in moneylife

Shibaji Dash

5 years ago

Health care industry has great future in India- urban, semi-urban and rural included. People want it and the no. of people with paying capacity is increasing. While Govts are paying lip service, lack of competition has resulted in overcharging by some. To my knowledge, Chennai and then Bangalore have so far done very good in this area. There is no dearth of good doctors in this country. What has been lacking is healthy enterpreneurship.

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