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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Indian Interim Budget 2009 :

Worrying Budget : WB FM Asim Dasgupta
Kolkata, 16 February : West Bengal State finance minister Asim Dasgupta was guarded while reacting to the Indian Interim Budget presented by Pranab Mukherjee on Monday.
The usually vocal Dasgupta, who would otherwise either dub a budget as "populist", "anti-" or "pro-people", made it a point to describe the Budget as a "worrying" one.
Speaking to reporters at Writers' Buildings, the minister pointed out, "There are statements in this Budget about significant plan outlays for schemes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and other schemes in the sphere of rural water supply, rural sanitation, rural drinking water, urban renewal and school education.
According to Dasgupta, this concern of the states has not been reflected in the Interim Budget. Moreover, the finance minister said, the figures of central Plan outlay for ministries like rural development and urban development indicate a fall in the budget estimates for the next fiscal in comparison with revised estimates of the current year, 2008-2009.
Budget neglected Northeast India : Tripura FM Badal Chowdhury
Agartala, 16 February : Terming the interim budget of the central government a 'poll lollipop', the Left Front government in Tripura Tuesday said it largely neglected the northeastern region.
The budget is 'a political agenda ahead of the general elections and no programme to deal with the crucial economic issues of the northeastern region in view of the slowdown', Tripura Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury told reporters.
Bird flu scare in S Dinajpur, About 400 chickens died
Siliguri, 16 February : Residents of South Dinajpur fear a bird flu outbreak following the death of hundreds of chickens in the Harirampore block in the past couple of days. About 400 chickens have died in Baromahar village under Bairhatta panchayat in two days. All the dead birds showed symptoms of bird flu. On Sunday, 16 chickens of a villager, Hussein Ali, died.
While the reports of the blood samples sent to Bhopal are awaited, the district administration has started making the preliminary arrangements for culling. DM Ashoke Banerjee said: "The blood samples have been sent to the Bhopal laboratory from Belgachia. However, department of Animal Resource has asked us to make all the necessary arrangements for culling. On Monday, 20 more chickens died in Bairhatta."
Asian brown cloud has robbed West Bengal of winter
IANS, Kolkata, 16 February : Winter wear hardly got out of cupboards this year in West Bengal, as it never really got cold. Environmental experts feel a blanket of pollutants in the air, called the Asian Brown Cloud, could be responsible for the climate change.
'For the past few years we have not been experiencing winter in West Bengal. This environmental change is caused by the formation of the Asian Brown Cloud,' environmentalist Pranabesh Sanyal, who is also a member of the World Conservation Union, told IANS. 'The cloud has been formed due to increasing automobile pollution in the air, carbon soot (or particulate carbon) and chemicals used in the agriculture sector.'

According to Sanyal, the Asian Brown Cloud is the main reason behind the apparent climate change in India. 'It's also causing delayed winter and absence of chill factor in West Bengal.'
'Massive use of inorganic fertilisers and automobile byproducts lead to nitrous oxide emission in the air. This has caused the formation of an atmospheric brownish haze layer over a vast portion of South Asia,' he said.
As far as the brown cloud impact is concerned, India ranks first in the entire South and Southeast Asian region with Malaysia and Indonesia in second and third positions respectively, he added. In satellite images, the cloud appears as a giant brown stain hanging in the air over much of Asia and the Indian Ocean every year between January and March.
Quake's epicentre located in Indian state of Assam
Rangpur shaken by mild quake
Rangpur, 16 February : The Rangpur region in the northwest experienced mild tremors in the early hours of Monday. The 30-second earthquake at 1:35 am measured 4.0 on the Richter Scale, said Rangpur seismic station officer Mominul Islam.
The tremors were felt in the northwestern districts of Rangpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat, Islam said. Meteorologist Najmus Saquib of the met office, which houses the capital's central seismic laboratory, said the quake's epicentre was located in the neighbouring Indian state of Assam.

World Bank to give $90 million
for Bangladesh social safety net
Dhaka, 16 February : World Bank will provide the Bangladesh social welfare ministry $90 million in development assistance for social safety net programmes, the minister said on Monday.
"The money will be allocated for the welfare of the ultra poor, orphans, homeless and handicapped people," Bangladesh social welfare minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shahid said.
World Bank's Xian Zhu said the Bank has been working in developing the social safety net, which was why the organisation decided to provide $90 million more this year.

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