India Bans Surrogacy To Despair of Indian Couples

India’s government intends to stop the once-sanctioned commercial surrogacy they introduced because the poor, illiterate women with high fertility rates are being exploited in the country. The $2.3 (£1.5) billion industry creates about 5,000 surrogate babies from locals who wish to use the service to foreigner couples whose females have very weak wombs.

As a growing hub, India’s government sanctioned commercial surrogacy making sure their surrogate mothers are safe, allowing medical technology to enter the country.

Should the industry stop, the US is the next state to allow surrogacy. However, because of strict regulation and advanced equipment, the service is more expensive.

For and Against

While India’s government openly opposes commercial surrogacy, Epping resident Rekha Patel, who had used India’s surrogates to bear her daughter, started an online petition against the ban.

“There might be a general opinion among people who don’t really know what’s involved that rich westerners go over and drag poor Indian women off the street to carry their child for nine months,” she says.

“And that’s just not the case at all. This was our last chance to have a family of our own and we took it and there are thousands of families like ours. But if it’s taken away it would be a real tragedy because we were really desperate when we went, really desperate.”

Indian Government About To Investigate Volkswagen Following US Scandal

US regulators confirmed Volkswagen had used specialised software to adjust its fume emission rates during rigid environment examinations. South Korea, Italy, South Africa and India had all begun investigations to confirm the US emissions-rigging scandal with car models procured from the country.

According to the German automaker, about 11 million vehicles using its two-litre engine passed strict examinations using the software designed by senior managers from Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen, now dismissed in the wake of the scandal. The Automotive Research Association of India will check if Volkswagen vehicles in India were rigged in the same manner.

The US Special Environmental Protection Agency raised allegations that Volkswagen could possibly have used a special mechanism to hide its emissions.

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkom, who resigned two days ago, said the company did use a special software that hid their manufactured vehicles’ real emissions. The cars would detect the examinations and lower their pollution levels automatically.

Millions of drivers worldwide may have to return their vehicles to Volkswagen or have it fitted with a new engine or lower its emission rates, which would impinge on the vehicle’s original performance.

Volkswagen’s stock in India had fallen. Worldwide, the carmaker had lost 40 percent of its original value.


Indian Government Discusses Limitations Of Market Access and Social Security With The United States

During a meeting with Deputy US Trade Representative Robert Holleyman, Indian Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia pushed on behalf of India issues regarding the high costs of Visa in the United States and a mechanism that allows Indian executives on short-term work visas have their social security contributions rightfully returned to them.

Teaotia also suggested creating a separate working group to discuss market access for Indian pharmaceuticals and traditional AYUSH pharmacopeia and professionals.

“She (the commerce secretary) highlighted the need for setting up a High Level Group to discuss India’s concerns on US Totalization and Social Security Act (how the policy was discriminatory towards Indian workers in the US, who ended up losing their social security contributions due to discrepancy in the visa and social security regimes, also indicating recourse to legal remedies),” an official statement said.

The suggestions and issues come after the United States signed Totalisation Agreements with several countries including India. As other countries have been treated fairly, India argues that its professionals do not get a refund on their unusable social security benefits because they were not part of the welfare net.

Meanwhile, the US argued that India’s social security net is not similar to the US’ scheme, which downplays the dilemma further.

Indian Heat Rave Kills 230 From Mid-April

The very high temperatures in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states have soared to 48 degrees Celsius last Saturday. The heat has killed 100 people in the former and 130 in the latter.

In Telangana’s Khammam district, more than 16 people have died from the high heat.

Officials have issued a health warning that people must not go outside at midday to avoid sunstroke due to high temperatures and blistering winds. They have advised people to drink lots of water.

Top state official Bhambal Ram Meena said the local governments are urging all the necessary precautions and advising people to consumer liquid whenever they can.

In Telangana, towns and city exterior were deserted.

High temperatures for India may continue for at least another week. Once the approaching monsoon rains approach, the temperature is likely to cool down.

By Monday, officials report a total of 500 deaths for both states

Temperatures in the area had risen by 47-48 degrees Celsius in the last few weeks.

Air Kerala To Be Owned By Indian State

India’s own state of Kerala is to own Air Kerala, the newest addition to the industry. Air Kerala is the only airline privately owned by a state government. It is the third airline launched in India since 2014.


By November, Air Kerala will be transporting passengers and will serve domestic routes. Over time, the airline would serve international flights to Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC).

Most Keral residents live in GCC, with 90% living in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Keralites abroad return about $11.6 billion in remittances yearly, being the backbone of the state’s economy.

However, professional charges and office expenses, according to Air Kerala’s balance sheet in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, had garnered losses to the company pre-operation.

Meanwhile, talks about the airline’s start flight in November are now at the government level, according to an AKIS representative.

Due to the high traffic between GCC and Kerala, analysts speculate it to be lucrative for airline businesses. Private individuals and foreign airlines may also buy a stake in Air Kerala’s operations while the state government retains only 26% of the company.

With the shutdown of the five-years/ twenty airplanes rule for airline industries under the Modi Government, Air Kerala will be handling international flights as soon as possible after its launch.

India Asks France to Pave The Way For Railway Projects

Delhi had asked Paris to allow French investors to help execute Railway projects and cooperation for the development of safety, customer service of the high-speed train service. According to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, the Rail Sector could benefit from French investor’s support and the French’s expertise in developing the Indo-French Rail.


“There are multiple areas in rail sector where we can work together and in those areas we can hope for co-operation between France and India.

“Let’s find solutions and prepare completely actionable areas supported by corporate entities and set up shops here… then we can always work together to make it happen.”

The Railway Minister’s statements is the series of efforts Delhi is doing to woo French investors and companies to remove the inhibitions that doing business with India is a great challenge. He added that once Indian companies start working on such, they would realise that doing business with India is not as difficult as it seems to be.

“Solution to every problem is possible. We can work together. But for that you must come here first. You can have seminars and go back to France then nothing will happen. You have to come here to stay and make sure we work together,” Prabhu said.


India On High Alert With Increased Ebola Screening at Airports

India’s Airports have tightened security after the breakout of Ebola in West Africa over the last two months with heightened surveillance and additional medical examinations included with travel history investigation.

The Indian government has screened 21,799 people but none of them have become positively infected by the disease. Meanwhile 1,200 foreign travellers have suspected Ebola cases and 485 passengers remain in quarantine in a Delhi facility.

Most of these passengers came from Ebola-infected countries, namely Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea, Congo and Senegal. They have also reported symptoms of suspected Ebola including fever, fatigue sore throat, muscle ache, nausea and headache.

According to Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan “The health ministry is providing technical and material support to states for preparing health facilities with dedicated isolation wards, enabling them to provide diagnosis, treatment and care, and infection control under proper guidelines.”

The World Health Organisation had declared the Africa Ebola outbreak an international public health emergency last August, with over 8,400 infected and half of the number dead from the virus.

According to Kolkata Airport Health Officer Dr. PC Mondal, 150 passengers have been screened at the airport and they are following central government guidelines religiously, with special counters used for individuals coming from Ebola-affected countries.


Flood Hampers Indian Rescue Effort Operations and Communications

Commanding Officer for the Indian National Disaster Response team said “the lack of communication is a major setback because the Commanding Officer could not communicate with his own team.” He said this in light of the collapse of the communication systems due to the flood, stopping rescue efforts and medical workers indefinitely.

The severe flooding in Northern India, leaving Srinagar, Kashmir with hundreds of people dead and 70% of the population completely affected by the floods.

Bharat Sancher Nigam, a telecoms service provider, said that restoring communication for India will be difficult because their equipment and power supplies are drowned in the flood. BSN Executive Director M.C. Chaube said that it will take time to restore the network as the flood needs to subside before they can assess the damage and provide restoration efforts.

The flood’s death toll is currently above 150 casualties. In Pakistan, the death toll had increased to 231. Punjab hs 156 due to heavy rains in floods. Around 2,100 villages needed to evacuate their homes, swimming in more than six feet level of water.

Militant Group Lashkar-e-Taiba had also given rescue efforts using its own boats and ambulances. Meanwhile, they accuse the Indian government for causing the flood to become more severe.

India’s social networks have flooded with missing person searches as relatives have been torn apart by the storm.


Donald Trump Plans Investing on Mumbai

Business Giant Donald Trump plans to have “substantial investments” in the Indian property and hotel sectors in India. According to real-estate Tycoon Donald Trump, Mumbai’s realty prices are very low compared to western standards. He also trusts that Indian Prime Minister Marendra Modi’s new government will definitely boost growth and infrastructure in the country.

Trump said that “I do see India as a great place to invest, and I think the election made that even better.”

The tycoon had recently entered a licensing pact with Lodha to build a Trump Tower in Mumbai. The Trump Tower is a luxury residential tower that offers its residents indoor Jacuzzi tubs and concierge services with a quality the Trump Tower is well-known.

It will be the first Indian investment of Donald trump.

Trump Towers in South Korea, Turkey and Dubai, as well as development projects for local hotels and luxury resorts, is part of the portfolio of Trump’s Trump Organisation.

The Indian government had received Trump with a warm welcome with having a market listing of real estate investment trusts. The trusts should help developers access cheaper sources of funding, especially those taking interest in increasing the prices for India’s properties.

Despite the announcement of his agreement, Trump did not detail his other plans of investing in India.


Indian Budget 2014: Crucial, Hopeful, Industrial

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first budget may need to focus on the industrial side of the country. Economists are seeing that industrial manufacturing for export goods and infrastructure improvement are the key factors that would help India rise up using the proposed budget.

Economists said that 15% of India’s GDP comes from manufacturing. However, the slow economic recovery is further inflamed with the rising cost of living, given that India continuously imports more than it exports. The trade gap had lowered the country’s currency value.

The new budget is expected to aid route development that will accelerate the growth of large-scale manufacturing, and making lax the foreign investment rules for Indian firms. The limit of ownership is restricting the entry of other foreign companies and investors, given that 26% is the only stake given for foreign investors.

Route development is also part of the infrastructure development that economists expect to see in the budget. Indian roads are still problematic and daily electricity interruptions make business difficult for local and foreign businesses. Modernising India will need trillions of pounds, but investor confidence could rise with this improvement.

Modi is also expected to straighten out the tax issues in the country, which had driven away many foreign investors. The new government said that it would respect existing tax laws, but it would definitely work on improving the tax laws for businesses. Many businesses complain that the taxes disallow them to optimise their operating costs due to heavy restrictions and red tape.