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Spirits & revenue soar in Andhra

The bubbly is flowing thick in Andhra Pradesh and it is the government that appears to be enjoying the party.

The authorities have handed out licences for more bars and liquor shops in the state as part of a larger plan to boost revenues and raise cash for its populist schemes.

Permits for 10 liquor shop permits and two bars are being issued for a population of 10,000 in villages. The outlets will get cash incentives if they boost sales and consumption.

The revenue targets from liquor have been scaled up each year, from Rs 3,848 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 5,953 crore in 2006-07. In 2007-08, the Y.S.R. Reddy regime raised the bar to Rs 12,000 crore and appears poised to surpass the goal — Rs 4,800 crore was mopped up in five months.

sked about the secret behind the surge, an official of the excise department said: “Simple. The government has promoted all excise staff and promised them double promotions with cash incentives if they achieve higher targets.”

Marry-and-register push

Delhi, like many in the world, believes marriages are made in heaven but wants them to be blessed by the registrar, too.

The state government, following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter, has crafted a law that allows those who don't register marriages to be fined and jailed.

“The state cabinet has cleared the draft of the Delhi registration of marriages bill, which will be introduced in the Assembly soon,” chief minister Sheila Dikshit said.

The jail terms could go up to a year, she said, adding a registrar general of marriages will be set up to ensure compliance with the law. The move will help fight child marriages and polygamy, besides fortifying women’s rights to maintenance, custody of children and inheritance.

Skin deep in fortune hunt

A Delhi-based skin care major will offer the largest portfolio of male cosmetics in India, from skin care and facials to creams and lotions for virtually every part of the body.

Nature Essence will launch 25 such products by this month, executive director Saurabh Nanda said recently.

Men aren’t the only target, though. The company is also coming up with a pre-teen “kit”, consisting of a range of cosmetics for children between nine and 12. “There is no section of the market that we plan to leave,” Nanda said.

The men’s care section will include Gold kits, consisting of creams and lotions with gold extract. Gold, Nanda said, improves facial glow. The company is also launching colour cosmetics — the range will be called Colour Essence — focusing on bridal and marriage make-up.

Nature Essence, a 10-year-old company, exports its products to 16 countries, the bulk of it to West Asia and the Gulf.

Pop-a-pill guide

After banks, airlines and mobile services, a call-centre to help people understand and use medicines the right way.

Professionals at the 24X7 centre, the first of its kind in the country, answer queries instantly. They get back to the caller if the information sought can’t be offered immediately. The aim is to spread knowledge on the issue.

“There is very little awareness about the use drugs in the country. Information, including dosage and possible side effects, will be available at this centre,” said K. S. Gnanasekaran, the deputy director of the state drugs control department which set up the centre last month.

Mumbai: If you love wildlife photography, the NCPA’s Piramal Art Gallery might be the place to be from January 23 to 31. The exhibition, featuring the work of six photographers, has been organised in collaboration with Jindal Photo. Time: 11am to 7pm. Call 022/66223737 and 22029483 for details.

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