In what may signal a new approach to verification of the
health benefits of food, the Mysuru- based Central Food Technological
Research Institute (CFTRI) is teaming up with hospitals to conduct “human
clinical trials” on an “anti-obesity” cooking oil it has developed.
Usually, only new drugs developed internationally but set
to be sold in India are subject to such trials.
The objective is to test if the oil has side- effects and
the extent to which it can help contain obesity.
The four organisations involved in the trial, which is
set to begin later this year, are JSS Medical College, Mysore Medical
College and Research Institute, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical
Sciences and Manipal University.
The oil has been chemically altered; less of it is stored
as fat and more burned of to provide energy, compared to conventional
Vegetable oils are usually rich in triglycerides, a class
of fats that, over the years, has been associated with heart disease and
higher chances of stroke.
The digestive system breaks them down for energy but it
reappears again and is stored in the body as fat.
The oil developed by the institute replaces triglycerides
with diglycerides — a chemical cousin — that are believed to provide as much
energy but is not stored as fat.
The Supreme Court asked the Centre and public sector
banking authorities to consider providing reservation to Scheduled Castes
and Scheduled Tribes employees in promotion to officers ranks at all levels.
The grievance of the employees belonging to the Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes category is that there is negligible
representation of employees belonging to their community in the officers
category at all levels.
Keeping in view the statistical figures which have been
placed on record showing their representation in officer ranks, it would be
open to the authorities, namely, the state and the banks to consider whether
their demand is justified, and it is feasible to provide reservation to the
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes category in pro- motion in the
officers category and if so, upto which scale/level
The banks contended that there was no rule for
reservation in promotion in Class-A (Class-I) to the post having a basic
salary of more than Rs.5,700 per month.
They argued that a 1997 office memorandum merely provided
for concessions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes category staff in
Both Mr. Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
have, on a number of occasions in the recent months, spoken of the need for
finding a meaningful an- swer to the question.
Minorities, both Tamils and Muslims, are keen that the
government makes substantial progress during the course of 2016.
Pointing out that enough work has been done on the Tamil
question in the last 25 years, R. Sampanthan, Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
chief and Leader of Opposition in Parliament, says “I do not want the prob-
lem to be dragged end- lessly. I expect SIRISENA’S there must be FIRST YEAR
a fair and reasonable Focus on resolution by September.”
In fact, devolution is linked to the larger issue
concerning Tamils. Despite the stipulation in the 13th Amendment, the
non-transfer of powers on land and police to the Provinces has been
bothering Tamil groups and parties.
Last month, in a talk, Mr Wickremesinghe too identified
devolution as the first issue to be tackled as part of the
While indicating his preference to retain the unitary
character of the existing Constitution, he said the “impending task” was to
identify the additional powers to be devolved to the Provincial Councils.
As part of the implementation of a resolution of the
United Nations Human Rights Council inOctober last year on reconciliation
and accountability, the government would have to put in place mechanisms to,
as Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera put it the other day, “deal with the
Judicial and administrative mechanisms are being thought
of and the government has plannedof initiate discussions shortly.
Demand for commercial bank loans are showing signs of
picking up after registering single digit growth for almost a year,
according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
Bankers attributed the revival in loan growth to some
projects that got stuck due to various reasons such as lack of environmental
clearance now showing signs of revival due to the government’s initiatives.
Besides, there is also increasing demand for work- ing
capital loans for projects which have been completed.
According to latest data re- leased by the RBI, the two
fortnights of December saw loan growth of close to Rs.1.5 lakh crore, taking
the overall credit growth of banks to 11.1 per cent year-on-year compared to
10.1 per cent during the same period last year.
During the fortnight ended 25 December, loans grew by
Rs.50,000 crore and in the previous fortnight, it grew by Rs.98,180 crore.
In November, credit growth was less than Rs.60,000 crore
while in October outstanding loans in the system fell by Rs.26,000 crore.
Deposits grew by 10.9per cent, year-on-year till the
fortnight ended December 25.
The year 2014 was the worst in terms of credit growth as
it hit a two-decade low of 10.1 per cent. For the financial year 2014-15,
credit growth was below 10 per cent.
The central bank has start- ed reducing the key policy
rate or the repo rate from the start of 2015 in a move to raise loan demand.
During the year, RBI reduced the repo rate by 125 bps to 6.75 per cent.
Banks have also started to reduce their lending rate —
though at a slower pace — which came down by about 70 bps. Some of the large
banks had base rate at around 9.3-9.4 per cent.
Base rate — the benchmark rate to which all loan rates
are linked — of banks was 10 per cent and above, a year ago.
Azim Premji, 70, chairman of Wipro, is the most generous
Indian of the year for the third time in a row with donations worth Rs.
27,514 crore to the education sector, says Hurun India Philanthropy List
The top five contributors on the list belonged to the
information technology indus- try. Mr. Premji is followed by Nandan Nilekani
and wife, Rohini Nilekani, with dona- tions of Rs. 2,404 crore, while
Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy stood third with donations of Rs.
The Azim Premji foundation works in the education sector
with operations in eight States and over 3,50,000 schools.
The top five are also the biggest wealth creators on the
Hurun India Rich List.
The richest Indian, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance
Industries (RIL), stood sixth on the philanthropy list with donations of Rs.