Home / Politics / News /  Need to Know | BJP-led BMS is biggest labour union in India

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is the biggest labour union in the country with 6.21 million members, according to a government survey. It is followed by Congress Party-affiliated Indian National Trade Union Congress (Intuc) with 3.95 million, and Communist Party of India-led All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) with 3.44 million members.

- Pragya Singh

Puravankara to launch Rs1,200 cr housing plan

Bangalore: Bangalore-based construction firm Puravankara Projects Ltd will launch a Rs1,200 crore housing project in Chennai. The project ‘Purva Windermere’ at Pallikarnai, Lake District in Chennai will spread over 54 acres of land and have 2,072 units of two and three bedroom flats.

The company said the housing project would also have provisions for a super market. The company did not divulge the pricing of the apartments under the project. Shares of the company closed at Rs443, up 0.11%, on Monday on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

- Deepti Chaudhary

EC announces poll dates for?three N-E?states

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Monday announced the schedule for assembly elections in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura, three North-Eastern states with five seats altogether in the Lok Sabha; while also announcing 20 February as the date when a final schedule for elections to the Karnataka assembly will be declared.

“Votes will be cast in Meghalaya on 3 March, in Nagaland on 5 March and in Tripura on 23 February," chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswamy, said at a press conference on Monday. He said that the model code of conduct (MCC) will start immediately in these three states. Once the MCC is enforced, states cannot announce important decisions that could have an impact on the election results. Elections to at least five states are expected to be held in 2008, and is politically crucial for the Congress, which leads the ruling UPA government.

- Pragya Singh

ITC?to?export?frozen?products, introduce flaxseed biscuits

Bangalore: ITC Foods, the food division of ITC Ltd, will add frozen foods products to its exports line and introduce flaxseed biscuits in India in a few months.

ITC Foods exports ready-to-eat foods under its “Kitchens of India" brand to the US, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Germany, among others.

Besides ready-to-eat meals, the brand also includes instant rice snacks, chutneys, curry pastes, conservers as well as spice pastes.

“We will add a frozen foods line for exports in six months. We are adding this line as we believe frozen foods would provide us with an opportunity to serve any food product that can be offered in a semi-processed state," said CEO Ravi Naware.

Naware said the frozen foods market in the US is $3-4 billion (Rs11,790- 15,720 crore). ITC Foods plans to offer samosas, ‘tikki’ and channa, frozen naan meals, daals, palak paneer, rice meals and vegetables under this line.

Ready-to-eat meals, such as dal makhani, need not be refrigerated and can be consumed directly after opening the packet. Frozen foods, such as french fries, on the other hand, need to be cooked as they are in a semi-processed state and have to be refrigerated.

“Indian food is gradually getting recognized as an alternative cuisine in foreign countries, particularly in the UK. This acceptance as well as the swelling population of non-resident Indians has opened new doors for Indian food companies...," says Preeti Reddy, consumer and retail expert, KSA Technopak.

ITC Foods also plans to expand its biscuits line and would introduce flaxseed cookies in about three months.

- Deepti Chaudhary

UN seeks funds to stabilize Nepal as it readies for poll

Sydney/Bangalore: Nepal’s Election Commission published its schedule for the Himalayan nation’s 10 April elections as the United Nations appealed for more than $104 million (Rs408 crore) to help the country recover from a civil war that killed 13,000 people.

Parties must provide a list of candidates who will run for seats under a proportional representation system on 22 February and nominate people for direct election by 25 February, Nepalnews.com reported on its website.

The UN is seeking the funds to boost Nepal’s 2006 peace accord that ended a decade-long insurgency by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to install a republic. The election, which was postponed last year, is the centrepiece of the agreement that saw the rebels join the government and bring 30,000 fighters into camps under UN supervision.

The commission plans to establish election offices across the nation by 20 February, according to Nepalnews.com.

Maoists quit the cabinet in September when other parties refused to immediately abolish the monarchy, causing elections scheduled for 22 November to be postponed.

The rebels agreed to return in late December when lawmakers said the interim constitution will be amended to declare Nepal a republic, subject to ratification by the first meeting of the newly elected National Assembly.

The UN said Nepal continues to face challenges in its recovery and reconstruction efforts after the civil war. “Bombings, killings, abductions, demands for ransom and other forms of threats aimed at political opponents and civilian populations continue to hinder the ability of the state to deliver basic services in the country," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said last week.

Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries, where about 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. It is also home to Mt Everest, which attracts climbers from around the globe.

- Bloomberg

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