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INDIA-WEST - January 1, 2010 - B3

Business/Finance

Tata Group Launches Low-Cost Water Purifier


MUMBAI CAP) India's Tata Group launched a low cost water purifier Dec. 7 that the company hopes will help save the lives of millions of people who die each year of waterbome diseases. The purifier is the latest in a string of Tata initiatives, such as the ultra-che^ Nano car and affordable Tata apartments, targeting a pre\iously-oveHooked lower-income rural market. "The whole group has been ftred with the view of how can we create products which were earlier not within reach of the vast number of people through innovation and technology, not just stripping down the value of the product," T^ita chairman Ratan Tata said. The 19-Iiter Tata Swach meets U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, and doesn't require running water, electricity, or boiling, executives said. The Swach was also described as being less expensive than boing water or bottled water. The unit will sell two versions of the container at Rs. 749 and Rs. 999, respectively. The filter itself will sell for Rs. 299 and will purify 3000 liters a year. Tata's Swach will compete with Hindustan Unilever's Pureit fger, which sells for Rs. 2,000 and purifies 1,500 liters of water a year. Hindustan Unilever says it sold more than 3 million Pureit filters for the fiscal year ending March 2009, with sales of Rs. 1.9 billion rupees. Approximately 1.2 billion peopie globally don't have access to safe water, according to a 2006 UNDP report. Almost 80 percent of diseases in developing countries are associated with water, causing some 3 million eariy deaths, according to a 2009 UNESCO report. UNICEF has estimated that 380,000 children die each year from diarrhea in India alone. The Swach uses paddy husk ash, bound with microscopic particles of silver, as a matrix to kill the bacteria that cause 80 percent of waterbome disease, according to Tata executives, who said that future versions will neutralize chemicals like arsenic and fluoride. Initial production will be 1 million imits a year from a Tata plant in Haldia, West Bengal, with a planned increase to 3 million units annually within five years. Executives said they plan to invest Rs. 1 billion in the project over the next 5 years, and eventually export the filter to Africa

The new Tata Swach being unveiled at a Thta event in Mumhai Dec. 7. (Getty Images)

USITC Says India's Tariffs Impede U.S. Farm Exports


Washington (PTI) U.S. farmers and food manufacturers lose millions of dollars each year in lost sales to India due to high tariffs and non-tariff measures, according to a new U.S. International Trade Comnssion report. Tbe 282-page report "India: Effects of Tariffs and Non Tariff Measures on U.S. Agricultural Exports," was requested by tbe U.S. Senate Finance Committee. "Indian WTO (World Trade Organization) bound tariff rates on agricuitural products, averaging 114 percent, are among the highest in the world," the study said. "Tbe majority of rates are between 50 and 150 percent, much higher than the average bound rates for otber migor developing coimtries such as Brazil and China" Noting that though average farm tariffs have declined significantly from 113 percent in 1991, prior to hidian economic liberalization, to about 34 percent in 2007, USITC said that, despite tbe size of the Indian market, marketing and distribution inefficiencies caused by government interventions, quality controi and inadequate infrastructure make the Indian market less attractive for U.S, fariTi producers. The report provides an overview of Indian agricultural production; India's imports and consumption from 2003-08; tariffs and nontariff measures; food marketing and distribution systems; and government norms relating to the agricultural market, including FDI and intellectual property rights policies.

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