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For India’s Farmers, a Bare-Bones Drip System by Vikas Bajaj

During a recent trip to a rural part of western India to report on rising food prices, I met two kinds of farmers — those with access to irrigation and those without. The differences between the two were stark. Those with drip irrigation or sprinklers invariably were reaping rich harvests and profits. But the vast majority of India’s farmers fall in the second camp: they water their crops by flooding their...

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Infrastructure push vital to achieve growth target by Sujay Mehdudia

Continued poor performance of some key infrastructure sectors cause for concern As India is on the path of achieving 8.5 per cent economic growth, aiming to exceed the 9 per cent growth mark next fiscal, the biggest worrying factor that could derail this horse power of growth and play spoilsport in the “growth story” of the UPA II government is the poor state of infrastructure and its tardy pace of development...

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ADB plans to set up $250 mn guarantee fund for microfinance by Aveek Datta and Anup Roy

India’s microfinance institutions (MFIs), under pressure because of stricter rules in their largest market Andhra Pradesh and the consequent slump in repayments there, may get a boost from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB is constituting a $250 million (around Rs1,135 crore) facility to offer guarantees against loans to MFIs extended by banks in the Asia-Pacific region where it operates, including India. The move is aimed at encouraging banks to lend...

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Plan panel mulls ways to spur Dalit capitalism by Pallavi Singh

The government has begun discussions with Dalit entrepreneurs on what can be done to promote business ventures set up by members of their community. As a part of its discussions with various groups before it finalizes the 12th Plan for 2012-17, the Planning Commission has sought suggestions from the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dicci), a business group, on what can be done to spur Dalit capitalism, how these...

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Startling growth in “businessmen MPs” by Vidya Subrahmaniam

A potential for conflict of interest, says study by National Social Watch As many as 128 members of the Lok Sabha, forming nearly a fourth of the strength of the lower House, fall in the categories of “industrialist/trader/businessperson/ builder.” In the Rajya Sabha, MPs from these groups (25 out of 245) account for a more modest 10 per cent. However, in a potential conflict of interest, many of the MPs are...

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