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Can nutrition experts be independent if they get $25,000 per annum from Nestle?

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NEW DELHI: The question of conflict of interest among academics who serve on various boards or councils of private corporations is in focus yet again with Nestle admitting that it does offer to pay members of its Creating Shared Value (CSV) Council $25,000 per annum. This has also raised question about the effectiveness of the conflict of interest policy of the medical journal Lancet, given that two of the lead authors of its series on Maternal and Child Nutrition were members of Nestle’s Creating Shared Value Advisory Committee. Neither of them declared any conflict of interest to the journal.

The two lead authors of the Lancet series who are also members of Nestle’s CSV council are Dr Robert E Black of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Dr Venkatesh Mannar, former president of Micronutrient Initiative. Neither Prof Black nor Dr Mannar responded to emails asking if they accepted remuneration given by Nestle or opted not to take it.

Nestle’s Public Affairs Manager, Marie Chantal Messier in response to a letter from Mike Brady of Baby Milk Action said that Nestle’s CSV council charter stipulated that “if so desired, Council members may receive compensation for time spent devoted to the Council at a rate of CHF 25,000 per annum, assuming participation in a minimum of one meeting per year”. However, Messier’s letter added that some council members donated their fee to a deserving organization of their choice, and others opted to forgo the fee. Baby Milk Action is a non-profit which works within a global network to strengthen independent, transparent and effective controls on the marketing of the baby feeding industry.

Rema Nagarajan, TNN |

Indian Business News

COCA-COLA BOTTLERS TO INVEST RS510 CR IN HARYANA

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Coca-Cola bottling firms Kandhari Beverages and Enrich Agro Food Products on Tuesday said they will invest Rs510 crore in Haryana to add new manufacturing lines. The authorised franchise bottlers of Coca-Cola India, inked a pact with the State Government to expand their manufacturing infrastructure.

“A fresh, combined infusion of Rs510 crore will create an additional direct employment for 325 people,” both the companies said in a joint statement. As a part of the pact, Kandhari Beverages will invest Rs300 crore to set up multiple high speed manufacturing lines for juice, energy and sparkling drinks at Saha in Ambala and will be completed by 2018.

Enrich Agro Food Products will invest Rs165 crore to set up a new manufacturing line for beverages in Rohtak by 2018 and also invest Rs45 crore in a packaging unit for Coca-Cola.

Kandhari Beverages Pvt Ltd Executive Director Bikram Kandhari said: “This investment which will be utilised to enhance infrastructure in our bottling facilities and setting-up new manufacturing lines.”

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Indian Business News

Uber to Invest Rs. 120 Crores in India

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Taxi-hailing app Uber on Tuesday signed a pact with the Haryana Government, wherein it will invest Rs120 crore in technology based ride-sharing services. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed at the Happening Haryana Global Investors Summit 2016.

Under the agreement, Uber will invest in technology based ride-sharing services, which includes peer-to-peer transportation using private vehicles where the driver is reasonably compensated for expenses, tolls and other related costs.

Uber said this new form of reliable and convenient urban mobility will help create a real alternative to car ownership. Uber will also collaborate with the Government in creating smarter cities in Haryana.

“Haryana has been a leader in promoting information technology and we are excited to launch private vehicle ride-sharing to promote urban mobility, prevent pollution and reduce the time spent in traffic in our cities,” Vijayendra Kumar, Secretary IT, Haryana said in a statement.

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Indian Business News

FM Arun Jaitley rolls back Budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawal – Big win for salaried class!

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FM Arun Jaitley rolls back Budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawal - Big win for salaried class!

New Delhi: In what will bring cheers to millions of salaried class individuals in the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday rolled back the controversial budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawals.

Taking the first opportunity available, he made a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha in which he also announced withdrawal of imposing monetary limit for contribution of employers to provident and superannuation fund of Rs 1.5 lakh for taking tax benefit.

He however stated that 40 percent exemption given to National Pension Scheme (NPS) subscriber at the time of withdrawal remains.

“In view of representations received, the government would like to do a comprehensive review of this proposal and therefore I withdraw the proposal,” Jaitley added.

Clarifying government’s stand on EPF in Lok Sabha, Jaitley said, “The main argument is that employees should have choice of where to invest. Our intention was to encourage more and more employees join the national pension scheme”.

Jaitley in his Budget for 2016-17 had proposed that 60 percent of the withdrawal on contribution to employee PF made after April 1 this year will be subject to tax. This would apply to superannuation funds and recognised provident funds including EPF.

This was criticised by all employees unions as well as political parties.

The proposal would not have impacted 3.26 crore EPFO subscribers drawing statutory wage of upto Rs 15,000 per month. Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has a total subscriber base of 3.7 crore.

(With Agency Inputs)

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