After the Rs 1-lakh Nano, Tata Motors is now embarking on another path-defining move to come out with electric and hybrid vehicles in both passenger, including its flagship Indica, and commercial segments. According to industry sources, the company is working on blended fuel, partial and complete hybrids, electric vehicles and hydrogenpowered vehicles, some of which could be commercial ly produced by 2011.

Union rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has advised the state governments to ensure conducive environment for the effective implementation of Centrally-sponsored rural employment schemes, like National Rural Employ ment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

In a decision that will affect the status of over 100 acres of land in north Mumbai suburbs, the Bombay high court on Monday upheld Maharashtra government's action of declaring a swathe of private lan

Over one lakh tonnes of uranium reserves have been found across 10 states in the country, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.

With the precision of a director's cut, Mrs Gandhi has swung her attention to farmers whose lands have been acquired by the government or private companies for big-ticket infrastructure projects suc

A slew of India's premier scientific bodies have been slammed by the CAG for their inability to meet deadlines and for wasteful expenditure.

Parts of north Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch here on Sunday afternoon received mild tremors with people in Saurashtra rushing out of their homes.

Union finance minister's Rs 60,000-crore loan waiver in the Union Budget proposals has won kudos for the government and has to some extent queered the pitch for the Opposition on this score. But a lot more needs to be done if the Congress-led UPA government has to regain the confidence of farmers. Bank loan is just one minor part of the problem and concerns only those farmers who take loans from banks. There are millions of farmers who take loans from moneylenders and commission agents at usurious prices. Maybe the government could issue an ordinance to stop payment on these loans, because in most cases the interest amount is more than double the actual loan. Even in the case of the farmers whose loans with banks have been waived, fresh trouble will begin next season. The crux of the problem which any farmer from Hoshiarpur to Wardha or Warangal will tell you, is remunerative price. Unless he gets remunerative prices, he will be in debt to the banks again. And what about corruption? A farmer from Hoshiarpur, for instance, if he wants to buy a tractor which costs say Rs 5-6 lakhs, has to pledge his four acres of land in addition to the ten per cent interest he pays on the loan. When he pledges his land he has to deal with the patwari and senior revenue officials. He has to bribe them to get his work done. Then he has to look for a middleman and pay him to negotiate to get his loan from the bank and finally at the bank he has to grease the palms of officials sanctioning the loans. On Rs 4 lakhs he pays over Rs 4,000 as bribe, and this is the minimum. The other important issue is cost of production. The government gives the farmer what it calls his cost of production. Perhaps the bureaucrats use their own parameters to arrive at the cost of production, but the farmer needs to survive. The businessman, for instance, adds his profits and perks to the cost of the items he produces. Shouldn't the farmer get a reasonable profit? He and his family work 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year on their farm. In Maharashtra, farmers wait all night for power to run his pumps. And yet his cost of production does not take all this into account. This bias against the farmer must be removed.

Add value to your agricultural produce if you want to survive in the globalised market. Countries with inefficient agro-industries are likely to be left behind those with modern and efficient agroindustries. While high-income countries add, on an average, $180 of value by processing one tonne of agricultural products, developing countries generate only $40 of value per tonne. This is the starting theme of a global conference to be held in India in April. India will host the first global conference on agro-industries, to be held in New Delhi from April 8 to April 11. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the forum along with director-general of UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) director-general, Kandeh K. Yumkella and Inter national Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), president, Lennart Bage on April 9. The conference is jointly organised by the FAO, the UNIDO and the IFAD, in close collaboration with the government of India. The Global Agro-Industries Forum will promote the importance of agro-industries for economic development and poverty reduction. Around 500 senior representatives from the agro-industry, governments, technical and financing institutions, civil society and United Nations agencies will discuss the potential of agro-industries and the challenges they are facing. Increasing the market opportunities, particularly for smallscale producers in rural areas, by improving their production, processing and marketing capabilities, will be one of the main issues of the conference. Delivering better products at lower prices could be beneficial for poor consumers and could also create employment opportunities. The Forum will also encourage dialogue between the private and public sector in order to foster partnerships for developing competitive agroindustries. Rapid globalisation, market liberalisation, and urbanisation have created new opportunities for countries to trade agricultural and food products. However, they have also created challenges and increased risks.

DISHY DUDE LEONARDO DICAPRIO TALKS ABOUT HIS LOVE FOR MOTHER EARTH AND HIS SEARCH FOR A WOMAN WHO WILL SUPPORT HIS PASSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES. ADAM STONE Gentlemen prefer blondes, some guys are big on brunettes, but not Leonardo DiCaprio. The girl, who will finally end the Titanic star's wild bachelor days will most definitely be green. Whether that lucky girl will be Israeli model Bar Rafaeli remains to be seen as the pair have only just rekindled their romance with a passionate start to 2008 following a falling out.