Short Eats: June 16

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Jun. 16 – Short Eats – a roundup of small tasty bites of Indian news straight from the nation’s dailies.

Indian PM set to visit Yekaterinburg after 54 years
The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to visit the central Russian city of Yekaterinburg in the coming days, the first time an India prime minister has visited the city since Jawaharlal Nehru did in1955. Singh will attend the dual summits of the Brazil – Russia – India – China (BRIC) nations and the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Yekaterinburg, located in the Urals. The main focus of the meetings will be on discussing suitable ways to reform international financial institutions.

India Homes Still Waiting for IKEA
Home products giant IKEA, which was planning to invest US$1 billion in India by opening 25 showrooms across the country, has now put on hold its investment. Indian investment rules, which mandate that a foreign company cannot hold more than a 50 percent stake of a business in the retail sector, discouraged the Swedish furniture maker from moving ahead with the plan. IKEA has been unable to find an Indian partner with such huge investment budget for the joint venture. At present IKEA operates more than 300 stores in over 40 countries. It started exploring options in India in 2006.

India to Enact Strict Environmental Laws
The Indian government has proposed bill for constituting an Independent environment Regulatory Authority Agency to strictly enforce as many as 20 environmental laws. In the proposed law Central Pollution Control Board would get statutory powers to take direct action against the polluters. The Board will consist of representatives of the government, industry and civil society. Along with the enforcement, the new authority will also conduct research on environment issues and give “sustainable” solutions to the government. Presently, the Board is not a statutory body and does not have powers to prosecute the polluters. However, it can recommend action against violators under different environmental laws to district administration for further action.

Airbus to invest $600 million in India
The world’s biggest commercial aircraft manufacturer Airbus is planning to have its assembly line unit in India. The Indian unit would be the second unit to be established outside Europe. The company is eying Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as locations for its final assembly line which will include a 2,600 meter-long runway and facilities for painting, testing and final delivery of the planes. Towards this goal, Airbus may invest around US$600 million and employ between 600 to 1,000 workers.

Correction: June 19, 2009
An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed the date that Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited Yekaterinburg.