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    India Drives it First Hybrid Car


    June 19 – India got its first hybrid car on Wednesday with Honda rolling out a petrol-electric version of its Civic sedan. The car will be more eco-friendly and fuel efficient (for its class) than any other in the market but will remain a niche product, the Times of India reported.

    With a price tag of Rs 21.5 lakhs (approximately US$500,000) twice the price of the petrol Civic, it virtually makes the country’s search for green and fuel-efficient options a non-starter.

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    India plans 43 IT cities in next decade

    June 16 – In order to stop India's Information Technology and Outsourcing companies from losing their global cost advantage to Vietnam or the Philippines, and to develop Indias rural areas, the Indian government has decided to build 43 IT cities in India's rural areas the Times of India reported.

    The initiative will curb high inflation and attrition rates in urban areas while creating infrastructure and jobs in the rural areas.

    According to the plan, each IT city will be set up in an area of more than 500 hectare. The cities will altogether generate employment for around 3.5 million people by 2018.

    The proposal is to create self-contained satellite townships with commercial space for renting and a commensurate increase in residential accommodation, education, healthcare, retail and recreational facilities.

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    Japanese Pharma Firm Acquires India’s Ranbaxy

    June 13 – At a time when Indian compnaies are snapping up international conglomerates worldwide, India's largest pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy was sold to Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo Co for an estimated US$4.6billion, the largest buy out of an Indian company till date.

    The agreement allows Daiichi Sankyo to buy at least 50.1 percent of the Indian generic drug maker's voting rights through March 2009, the Japanese company said in a statement.

    Adding Ranbaxy's network, Daiichi Sankyo can more than double its global reach from the current 21 countries to 56, the Japanese company said.

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    The Monsoons Wash Up on India

    June 10 – The much awaited monsoon washed up on India's south western coast earlier this month. Providing a much needed respite from the dreaded heat that can reach 45 degrees celcius, the Indian monsoom brings with it joy and disease. While low lying areas drown in a downpour, cities become a swirl of traffic and diseases, nonetheless Indians all look forward to the frenzy of the monsoon.

    In India the monsoon is not just a season, it has social, political and economical connotations to the Indian. The rainy season brings with it a reason to enjoy India's verdant hill stations and throw rain dance parties, it is also integral to the economy.

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    Fuel prices rise by 10 percent

    June 5 – India's government on Wednesday boosted fuel prices for the second time in a year to stem huge losses at state-run oil firms, stirring widespread political anger and worries about higher inflation.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defended the hike in a nationally televised address, saying Indian oil companies were under huge stress as a result of record high global oil prices, reported the AFP.

    India, which imports 70 percent of its oil needs to feed its fast-growing economy, raised petrol prices by five rupees (12 cents) a litre and diesel by three rupees — or 11 and 9.4 percent respectively based on pump prices in the capital.

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    India’s Best Football Club Will Play in Asian Champions League

    May 28 – In a major boost to club football in India, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has chosen India as one of the 11 participants in the revamped 2009 Champions League. The champions of I-League, the professional league in the country, will take part in the Champions League, Indiatimes reported.

    Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Iran were the other countries which were recommended by the committee for the 2009 AFC Champions League to be re-launched on completely professional lines.

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    India – Pakistan work to dissolve differences

    May 23 – India and Pakistan agreed to give consular access to each other’s prisoners and increase cross-border bus service in the disputed region of Kashmir during talks between the countries’ foreign ministers. The small concessions were considered a sign of progress between the nuclear powers. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, foreign minister of Pakistan, said talks were “very frank,” while India’s foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, said the two countries “have to cover a long distance.” The governments plan to meet again in July, reported the New York Times.

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    India’s social welfare better than many Asian nations

    May 21 – The Asian Development Bank has ranked India 10th among 31 Asia-Pacific countries in providing social security like health care, education and child welfare to its people reported Businessweek.

    India ranked above China and Malaysia, but below Uzbekistan, Mongolia, South Korea and Japan, which topped the ADB's Social Protection Index (SPI).

    The ADB, in the new Index, has established that providing social protection is not subject to the wealth of a nation. Even poor countries like India can afford to provide social cover in the form of health insurance, labour market, child protection, education among other things, if there is government will.

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