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RBI Governor hints at interest rate cuts

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Washington: RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has hinted at cutting interest rates for a fourth time. He admitted that the continuous slow economic growth has become a central problem world over.

“We’ll look at the data as it comes in and take a further view. We have not said we are finished,” he said in an interview with CNBC television in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he’s attending an economic symposium.

After cutting its repo rate by 75 basis points this year, the RBI kept the rate on hold at its last policy review, saying it wanted to monitor inflation and wait for lenders to further lower their lending rates.

The RBI, Rajan said, has reached an agreement with the government on a new monetary policy committee that largely meets the goal of transitioning from a system where the governor alone is responsible for decisions in order to insulate it from outside pressure, he said.

The agreement on the new rate setting panel was different from a proposal circulated in July that would allow the government to appoint the majority of members.

“There’s an agreement with the government, which is not that plan,” Rajan said. He didn’t give more details.

The committee would replace the current rate-setting system once the RBI Act of 1934 is amended in parliament.

Having a committee would make it easier for individuals to resist pressure and ensure that “monetary policy doesn’t change overnight” if one person drops out, Rajan said.

“We also need a transition path from where we are now to that committee,” he said. “It can’t be that overnight the committee takes over and nobody understands what the views of the committee are.”

Rajan said that he sees a “mood of optimism” in India’s economy and that the nation is relatively insulated from a slowdown in China.

He called for lawmakers to overcome their differences to implement a goods and services tax, which he said, would be “one of the most important changes in India”.

He also said a proposed bankruptcy code would also be “extremely important“.

“If we can get a good bankruptcy code, we can start issuing long-term bonds, which is absolutely necessary to finance infrastructure, finance all the big things the government plans,” Rajan said.

He also cautioned the US federal reserve on going ahead with a rate hike, especially at a time when world economic growth is stalling which has led to massive volatility in currency, equity and commodity markets.

“My position over time has been don’t do it when the world is in turmoil,” Rajan told CNBC. “It’s a long anticipated event, it has to happen sometime…everybody knows it has to happen..but pick your time.”

Earlier on Friday Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer told CNBC that it was too early to tell whether volatility in the market made it more or less compelling to raise rates at the central bank’s mid-September policy meeting.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

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Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

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Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)