Need to Know | Plan panel open to suggestions: Montek

Need to Know | Plan panel open to suggestions: Montek

New Delhi: The Planning Commission on Tuesday said it is open to suggestions made by states on various centrally assisted schemes in order to make the best of the allocations made for such schemes in the 11th Plan.

“We are open to concrete suggestions made by different state governments on various flagship programmes and we are ready to go back to the respective ministries, which are involved in the design and implementation of such programmes with new sets of guidelines," Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman, Planning Commission, said. The centre extends financial assistance to states for implementing various social sector schemes.

The 11th Plan is expected to get its final approval by the state governments on Wednesday at the National Development Council meeting, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Chief ministers and the planning commission deputy chairman will attend the meeting.

Ahluwalia also said the Plan has given better opportunities of work and livelihood to the minorities, especially women, and any concrete suggestions made by the states in this area will be welcome.

Hike in compensation for farmers selling land

New Delhi: In an effort to keep compensation limits in tune with inflation and rising land prices, the Delhi government on Tuesday announced a three-fold increase in the compensation for farmers whose agricultural land is being acquired by the government.

Farmers selling agricultural land to the government would get Rs75 lakh per acre, against Rs25 lakh earlier. Landholders with property classified as riverbed land would be eligible for Rs25 lakh as opposed to Rs8 lakh earlier.

Compensation rates were last revised in August 2005.

- Rahul Chandran

Nokia Siemens wins $150 mn contract

New Delhi: Telecom networks manufacturer Nokia Siemens Networks said on Tuesday that it has won a $150 million (Rs594 crore) contract to provide phone equipment and services to Idea Cellular Ltd for offering GSM-based phone services in Bihar and Mumbai.

Idea Cellular has been waiting for additional spectrum to start its services in these two states. A senior official at the department of telecommunications said on Monday that the company would be allocated spectrum this week.

“The network will be ready for commercial operations by early 2008; subject to spectrum availability," a company release said on Tuesday. Idea Cellular had signed a $500 million contract with Nokia Siemens Networks in May this year for expanding operations across six states, including Delhi.

- Pankaj Mishra

Cos to hike production of cars run on CNG, LPG

Mumbai: Indian drivers can expect to lower the running cost of their vehicles with car makers bringing out more models that run on alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), according to a research report.

Customers always had the option of buying a converter kit that transforms a petrol or diesel vehicle into one that runs on CNG or LPG, and such so-called after-market sales account for the majority of transactions involving the kits. But, the study by research firm Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the share of CNG and LPG kits sold to vehicle makers will rise to 36% by 2012, as car makers such as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd and Ford India Pvt. Ltd increase their production of CNG and LPG variants. Sales of these kits to vehicle makers accounted for 29% in 2006.

The market for such kits, according to the study, is expected to grow to 1.01 million units of LPG kits and to 878,555 units of CNG kits in 2012.

- Ammar Master