NRI Worldwide > Back Home Bytes
India's internet population rose to 238.71 million in 2013
Report dated 20/02/2014 @ 6:21 PM
Quoting data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Minister of State for Communication and IT, Milind Deora, announced that India's total Internet subscribers were 238.71 million as of December 31, 2013,
Maharashtra has the largest number of Internet subscribers at 38.78 million, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
Deora also said the IT hardware market in India is likely to reach Rs.3 lakh crore in fiscal 2013-14, and in the current fiscal 6.99 million units of desktops are expected to be sold, as well as 5.12 million notebook PCs, 21.46 million smart phones, 3.84 million tablet PCs and 2.84 million printers.
Supreme Court commutes death sentence of Rajiv Gandhi's killers
Report dated 19/02/2014 @ 2:41 PM
The Indian Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence and spared the lives of the three killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, citing delays in the case 23 years after his assassination by a Tamil suicide bomber.
The Court handed Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan life in prison on the grounds that successive Indian presidents had taken 11 years to decide on their pleas for mercy against execution. There is now hope that the three will walk out of jail and remission will be decided by the state government of Tamil Nadu. The three men were members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a Sri Lankan based separatist movement that was eliminated by Sri Lankan forces in 2009. They were convicted of plotting the May 21, 1991 murder of Rajiv Gandhi by a female suicide bomber.
The decision came after the Supreme Court issued a landmark judgement last month that places new restrictions on executing prisoners in India. The Court had then commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts, ruling that 'inordinate and inexplicable' delays in carrying out a death sentence were grounds for commuting a sentence.
Amnesty International hailed the Supreme Court ruling to commute the death sentences of Gandhi's killers and said 'the decision to spare the lives of the three prisoners is a welcome judgment that shows the judiciary's willingness to uphold standards it set down for the treatment of prisoners on death row. The rulings offer context and impetus for India to move towards a direction of a society that can be free of the death penalty - a cruel, inconsistent and irreversible form of punishment that has no proven deterrent effect on crime'.
Budget 2014: Taxes unchanged as economy more stable now
Report dated 18/02/2014 @ 9:21 PM
Finance minister P Chidambaram presented the interim Union Budget for 2014-15 in which he left direct taxes untouched, saying he does not propose to make any announcements regarding changes to the tax laws.
He slashed excise duty on cars, SUVs and two-wheelers, and capital goods and consumer durables, in order to boost manufacturing and growth. He also provided service tax exemptions for storage and warehousing of rice as was done in the case of paddy last year.
He justified excise duty relief, saying however that the current economic situation demands some interventions that cannot wait for the regular Budget, particularly in the manufacturing sector that needs an immediate boost.
Giving budget estimates, the minister said the current financial year will end on a satisfactory note with the fiscal deficit at 4.6 percent and the revenue deficit at 3.3 percent.
He said the economy is more stable today than it was two years ago. The fiscal deficit is declining, the current account deficit has been contained, inflation has been moderated, the quarterly growth rate is on the rise, the exchange rate is stable, exports have increased and hundreds of projects have been opened up.
Rejecting the argument of policy paralysis, Chidambaram enumerated the path breaking decisions of the government in 2013-14 that included decontrol of sugar, gradual correction of diesel prices, rationalisation of railway fares, starting the process of issuing new bank licenses and restructuring of power distribution companies.
The current year will end with merchandise exports of $326 billion, indicating a growth of 6.3 percent.
Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal formally charged with rape
Report dated 18/02/2014 @ 9:19 PM
Indian police have charged Tarun Tejpal, 50, the former news magazine editor of Tehelka, with raping a female colleague in Goa. He has been in custody since his arrest after the alleged incident in a hotel lift in November.
A charge sheet was filed before a court in Panaji, Goa laid down charges including sexual harassment, outraging modesty, and rape. The woman who quit the magazine since the scandal broke, told police she was molested by her employer twice in the lift during a magazine-sponsored event in the state.
The case made headlines in India for days, especially as it came at a time when sexual assault was under the spotlight after the fatal gang-rape of a student in Delhi, which sparked widespread protests. The magazine too, has reported forcefully on gender inequality in India, highlighting police and judicial insensitivity to rape victims as well as the misogynistic attitudes of many Indian men. It has been accused of hypocrisy and trying to cover up a serious crime, after staff were sent an email recently saying Tejpal was stepping down for six months for 'misconduct'.
Tejpal has denied the allegations.
'Indians at high risk of small dense cholesterol'
Report dated 17/02/2014 @ 7:33 PM
Speaking at a recent event in Mumbai, Dr Srinath Reddy, founder of the Public Health Federation of India and one of India's leading public health specialists, said though genetics is blamed for Indian heart problems, there is little evidence to prove this.
Indians have low levels of good cholesterol or HDL. They have small dense LDL (bad cholesterol) which move quickly and attack and damage vessel walls. As there is no easy test to measure small dense LDL, doctors are veering towards a surrogate marker.
If the ration of triglycerides and HDL in a lipid profile test is more than 3.8 then a person has small, dense LDL.
American guidelines were revised in 2013 to prescribe moderate or high dosages of statins, a class of drugs that reduce cholesterol but now are known to increase the risk of diabetes.
Indian guidelines should consider the ratios and dietary changes to cut refined carbohydrates like bread and rice, and a low dose of statins would be better for Indians as they have a high risk for diabetes.