The aim is to foster a spirit of competition among cities to improve cleanliness and sanitation

75 cities to be ranked on cleanliness

Says the actual poverty is much higher than suggested by the multilateral lender, adding there is lack of scientific basis in computing the poverty line

India banned imports on account of avian influenza, which WTO called 'unscientific'

Recommendations based on Dev panel; report, changes effective April 1

The rural development ministry will soon come out with a new base and revised index for determining wages under its flagship rural job guarantee scheme, according to an official. The move will address the concerns of at least a dozen states where NREGA wages are lower than the notified minimum wages for agricultural labourers.

Local producers have alleged dumping of cheap solar equipment from US, China, Malaysia and Taiwan

India might impose anti-dumping duty on four major importers of solar cells and modules in the country after listening to the grievances of domestic manufacturers.

Finding itself on weak wicket, New Delhi will try to settle a complaint Washington filed in WTO challenging India’s policy on procuring equipments for its National Solar Mission.

Hit by slackening demand amid economic slowdown and high interest rates, the real estate sector has asked for infrastructure status for the housing sector in the Budget for 2013-14, which would help it avail of tax benefits and easier flow of credit. The housing ministry has said at least low-cost housing should get this status.

The National Real Estate Development Council (Naredco) said the sector should get infrastructure status and rental housing should be made more attractive to address the shortage of houses.

Gurgaon scores down from previous year but still on top

Noida has replaced Mumbai as the second-best realty destination this year, according to an analyst report. Gurgaon-Manesar retained the top slot. The rankings by real estate data firm Qubrex are based on eight parameters—supply and demand, likely price appreciation in three years, emerging connectivity, potential growth in economic activity, nationally reputed builders, infrastructure, land acquisition risk, etc.

The policy will include increasing the floor space index & easing of density norms

An affordable housing policy is in the works to attract developers and to meet the shortage of around 25 million houses in the country. The Union Budget had announced access to external commercial borrowing (ECB) for affordable housing but the industry wasn't excited due to low margins in this category. Now, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (Mhupa) is in the process of framing an affordable housing policy, expected to be finalised in two months.

External lenders may not find low-income or affordable housing attractive, due to the low profit margins and high risk

A proposal has been mooted for all external commercial borrowing (ECB) for affordable housing to be routed through the National Housing Bank (NHB), mooted by the latter. Many in the real estate sector are sceptical about the practicality of the Budget proposal on ECB for this segment.