The Mint report for 30 November

The Mint report for 30 November

New Delhi: Good news for India’s economy on Monday. Government statistics show economic activity grew 7.9% in the second quarter, India’s fastest growth rate in 15 months. Economists say the growth was more than expected because the agricultural growth of 0.9% for the quarter was higher than expected. But lower agricultural output could temper growth in the current quarter. That’s because Kharif crops, which felt the impact of this year’s poor monsoon, are harvested in this period.

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As the number of swine flu cases in India shoots upwards, multinational drug companies are preparing to bring the H1N1 vaccine to India. GlaxoSmithKline and Baxter International have got government approval to conduct human trials of their H1N1 vaccines. The drug controller general of India says vaccine makers will begin studies on how the vaccine behaves in the Indian population. It also says India will get a minimum 4 million doses this winter. The vaccines will first be given to health workers treating patients with the H1N1 virus.

Question Hour is supposed to be a time when members of Parliament can demand answers from the government. But it was cut short on Monday because some of the MPs who had given notice to ask questions didn’t show up. House speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house after completing procedures for Question Hour.

With just a week to go before the UN meet on climate change, India made it clear it would not compromise on its stand on emission cuts. On Monday the Prime Minister’s special envoy on climate change, Shyam Saran, said India would not accept any binding emissions cut. He also said India was not expecting any financial assistance or technology transfer for dealing with climate change.

India has proposed an investment of $6.5 billion for developing gas fields in Iran. It has also told Iran it wants to buy 5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas from it each year.

Larsen and Toubro has signed a deal with Nuclear Power Corporation of India to make special steel components. Larsen and Toubro will make the parts at a plant in Hazira and will start production in 2011. The joint venture will require an investment of Rs1,725 crore. And Larsen and Toubro will have a 74% stake in the venture while NPCIL will hold the remaining 26%.