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New customs forms for passengers arriving in India from Jan 1
Report dated 01/01/2014 @ 5:41 PM
According to official sources, all passengers arriving in India from Jan 1, 2014 onwards will have to fill in a new detailed customs form that will help authorities check duty frauds and under-valuations as well as keep a record of gold jewellery and bullion being brought into the country.
For the first time, travellers will be asked to specifically declare any prohibited articles including gold jewellery (over the free allowance), gold bullion and Indian currency exceeding Rs.7500. Passengers will also have to provide details of countries visited in the previous six days.
Also from Jan 1, Indian citizens will have to fill an immigration form only when they depart the country. There will not be an immigration form for Indians returning from abroad.
Kolkata to build landmark wax museum
Report dated 01/01/2014 @ 5:37 PM
India will soon have its first wax museum, to be built in Kolkata.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who laid the foundation stone for the museum and who has been trying to develop the state into a tourism hub, said this will be a landmark tourist destination where people can have themselves photographed with world famous personalities.
Unconfirmed reports say the wax personalities to be immortalised at the wax museum include Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Mother Teresa, among others.
A 480 acre eco-tourism park has also been built in Kolkata as part of the plan for a tourism infrastructure, and includes a butterfly park, floating musical fountain, bamboo garden, fruit orchard, tea garden and a mask garden.
Sources say the the government may seek help from London's Madame Tussauds for the wax museum.
Ms Banerjee's critics are not happy with the developments calling it superficial when the state needs high-end infrastructural development such as freeways, bridges and flyovers.
AAP's Kejriwal delivers on promise of cut in electricity tariffs
Report dated 01/01/2014 @ 5:34 PM
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has confirmed a 50 percent cut in electricity tariffs for the capital, delivering one of his major pre-poll promises.
Kejriwal made the announcement after chairing a cabinet meeting at the Delhi secretariat, confirming that the power tariff will be effective from January 1 and will apply to those homes that consume up to 400 units of electricity a month. Those who consume more will pay for the entire supply.
Earlier he also delivered on another promise he made to voters - free water, which says that every household in Delhi with a working meter will receive nearly 700 litres of free water everyday. Families that consume more will have to pay for the entire amount with a 10 percent increase over last year's rates.
The AAP placed second in the recent elections, depriving the BJP of a majority and forcing the ruling Congress into third place. Mr Kejriwal has formed his government with the external support from the Congress. However he has to prove his majority shortly.
India declares war on bitcoin
Report dated 31/12/2013 @ 3:25 PM
The Reserve Bank of India, who have been trying to prop up the rupee by blocking gold imports, has discovered that Indians are using bitcoins to avoid capital controls and to invest in assets insusceptible to inflation.
In order to stop the 'leakage of funds' from rupees to bitcoins, the regulators first warned Indian users of the digital currency, now however the Reserve Bank of India has issued an effective ban on bitcoin transactions and Indian law enforcement agencies have decided to raid the country's bitcoin exchanges.
Officers from the federal Enforcement Directorate recently raided the offices of the biggest bitcoin exchange located in Ahmedabad. They found that through the website 400 persons recorded 1000 transactions, which is a violation of foreign exchange regulations. If they are able to establish money laundering aspects then the owner can be arrested.
Even as the West considers the bitcoin a favoured financial instrument, central banks in China and India are restricting the usage of the digital currency.
Indian scientists develop insulin pill for diabetics
Report dated 30/12/2013 @ 11:21 PM
In a huge breakthrough, Indian scientists have reported a new development toward a long-sought insulin pill that could save millions of diabetics the pain of having to inject themselves with insulin.
For a number of years researchers have tried to find a way to transform delivery of insulin from a shot to a pill but it has been a challenge.
To come closer to a solution Sanyog Jain of India's National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research combined approaches and packaged insulin in tiny sacs made of lipids or liposomes, which are already used in some treatments. Then they wrapped the liposomes in layers of protective molecules called polyelectrolytes. To help these get absorbed into the bloodstream, they attached folic acid that has been shown to help transport liposomes across the intestinal wall into the blood.
Libby Dowling of Diabetes UK said 'oral insulin could make a big difference to people with diabetes, especially children, elderly people and those with a phobia of needles.
Diabetes is one of India's biggest burdens that is expected to cross the 100 million mark of sufferers against 87 million estimated earlier.
A report of the Indian scientists' work has been published in the American Chemical Society journal.