Hope West Bengal CM attends Niti Aayog meet Rajiv Kumar

first_imgNew Delhi: Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar Saturday expressed hope that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will attend its Governing Council meet on June 15. The chief minister has refused to attend the meeting of Niti Aayog to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it is “fruitless” as the body has no financial powers to support state plans. “We have invited her with all due respect and I am still hoping that she will accept my personal invitation and attend the meeting on June 15th and give us the idea as to how to improve Niti further,’ Kumar told reporters here. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess Durga Modi is set to chair the fifth meeting of the Niti Aayog’s Governing Council to discuss various issues regarding the country’s development. Banerjee conveyed her decision not to attend the meeting in a letter written to the prime minister. “Given the fact that the Niti Aayog has no financial powers and the power to support state plans it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting of a body that is bereft of any financial powers,” Banerjee wrote. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers Kumar said Niti Aayog has the power of persuasion and it will use its two tools — competitive and cooperative federalism — to move forward. “No financial incentive necessarily needed because that financial incentive existed in Planning Commission for four decades, (but) I do not see what they have changed… growth did not go up,” he said. When asked about unemployment, Kumar said it is linked to growth and added that informal sector has created a lot of jobs which has not been captured in the data. Earlier, speaking at a function on accelerating India’s economic growth, Kumar said greater focus is required in sectors like health, education, agriculture, exports and in pushing private investments. “We need to reverse the decline in growth. You will see in the Budget that the government will make use of whatever fiscal space it has,” he said. He added that the government will make sure that private investment revives, which is key to push growth and “we should clock at least 7.5 to 8 per cent growth in the next five years”. Talking about agriculture, he said the story needs to be changed in this sector as huge opportunities exist in agro-processing, where rate of investment is very low. “There are problems, so we will be taking steps to remove the Essential Commodities Act and may be APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee) to be replaced by APLM (Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing). I hope to see that. Agro-processing and exports requires huge attention from government and industry,” he said. On exports, Kumar said India’s share in global exports is just 1.7 per cent, which is unacceptable and it should be increased significantly to push the economy. Elaborating on improving the health sector, he said so far 37 lakh people have already benefited from the government’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat programme. When this scheme covers all 40 per cent of the population, then “you can imagine the impact of that on health and welfare of people,” he said. He said that bigger hospitals are still out of the supplier network of this scheme and negotiations are going on to bring them in. “On government hospitals, you will soon see Niti Aayog coming out with a ranking of 740 district hospitals in the country and that is the way we want to improve,” he informed. He added that there is a need to give special focus on reducing under-nourishment as one cannot build a knowledge economy if a large base of population is malnourished. Further, he said focus is required on quality of basic education as it is still not accessible. Talking about labour reforms, he said, “You will see action very soon. But you have to see action not in terms of hire and fire. You have to have labour reforms where labour gets his due and rightful participation but yet investors get the flexibility to be able to change its composition of labour force. We will action in the coming Parliament session.” He added that states have huge inventory of land which can be utilised by industry to set up units.last_img read more

Trudeau pledges to raise issue of falling media revenues at G7 leaders

TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he plans to take the issue of declining news revenues amid domination by tech giants to the G7 leaders’ summit in France later this week.The subject resurfaced when Groupe Capitales Medias, a cash-strapped French-language newspaper chain, filed for creditor protection Monday.The same day, the province announced a $5-million loan from Investissement Quebec to the media company, whose daily newspapers include Le Droit of Gatineau-Ottawa and Quebec City’s Le Soleil.But Trudeau says the situation requires more than a “one-off solution” and requires traction with the international community.Speaking with reporters in Trois-Rivieres, Que., the prime minister insisted that “everyone has to pay their share.”He says G7 leaders “will certainly be discussing” the issue of media ad revenues at the summit, which runs Friday through Sunday in the southwestern French city of Biarritz.French President Emmanuel Macron last month imposed a landmark tax on tech companies like Google and Facebook — which have lured advertising revenues away from news outlets — designed to stop multinationals from avoiding taxes by setting up European headquarters in low-tax European Union countries.The Canadian Press read more

Ontario vows to shut down private clinics that pay for blood plasma

by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 18, 2014 12:41 pm MDT TORONTO – Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews vowed Tuesday to shut down any private clinics that pay people to donate blood plasma, accusing one firm of targeting the poor.Canadian Plasma Services was told it would not be given a licence by the province to open clinics in Toronto and Hamilton that would pay people $25 to donate plasma, said Matthews.“If you look at where they’re located, there’s no question that they’re going into low-income neighbourhoods,” she said. “It’s very clear what their business model is.”Paying people to donate plasma would threaten Canada’s voluntary blood donation system, said Matthews, who noted that 30,000 Canadians were infected with HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood and plasma purchased from “blood brokers” in the 1990s.“We really believe that a voluntary system is the best system, and I do not want to jeopardize our volunteer-based blood collection system,” she said.Canadian Plasma Services said it was baffled by the province’s attempts to shut down the clinics when Ontario buys plasma products from U.S. companies that pay donors directly, and pointed out that the province compensates organ donors for expenses.“I cannot comprehend why a minister from the government of Ontario would be trying to prohibit any type of compensation for time, for out of pocket expenses, for travel expenses, to plasma donors in Ontario and then go and buy these products from U.S. companies that do the exact same thing,” said CEO Barzin Bahardoust.Canada should develop its own plasma products sector which could create thousands of good paying jobs just to service the domestic market, he added.“Almost all of the $670 million worth of plasma protein products that were imported to Canada last year were made from plasma collected from paid donors in the United States.”The company offers donors two options for payment: a $25 donation in their name to the Hospital for Sick Children or a $25 Visa card that cannot be converted to cash, in addition to reimbursing travel and accommodation expenses.Donating plasma takes three times as long as donating blood, and people need to make a commitment to donate dozens of times each year to maintain their status as a qualified donor, said Bahardoust.“That time commitment means that a plasma donor has to spend up to 80 hours (at the clinic) every year,” he said.“Without compensating them for their time, travelling back and forth to our centres probably 40 times a year, then it’s very difficult to get people.”Quebec is the only province to have outlawed payments for plasma donations, and that province is now having trouble finding donors, added Bahardoust.“Without compensation they are not getting donors, and self-sufficiency levels in Quebec are even lower than in the rest of Canada,” he said. “The fact is Canada’s need for plasma significantly exceeds our ability to produce it.”The plasma collected by Canadian Plasma Services is processed into drug products for the global market and is not used for transfusions in Canada, said Matthews.“Unlike the Canadian Blood Services, (where) the blood collected is used in Canada, this company’s business model does nothing to enhance access to those drugs for Canadians or Ontarians,” she said.Matthews introduced regulations last week to prohibit payments to people who donate blood and blood products that she said will be in force within days.“It still has to go through the next stage, but that will happen very quickly so that it will be illegal for them to offer payment for blood or plasma,” she said. “We are not going to be changing our mind on this.”A Health ministry inspector visited one of the company’s Toronto clinics Tuesday, but was apparently there just to observe, said Bahardoust.Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Ontario vows to shut down private clinics that pay for blood plasma donations read more