Friday, September 30, 2011

PM date Sikkim to review post-quake situation

 Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh kept his date with distressed people of the quake hit Sikkim on Thursday.
After taking a personal account of the devastation in the State, Prime Minster announced a package of one thousand crore rupees for the state.

After landing at Bagdogra Thursday morning, Prime Minster immediately took off on an aerial survey of the worst affected areas of Sikkim.

Dr Manmohan Singh met the injured in a Gangtok hospital. He enquired about their condition and wished them quick recovery.

State Governor, Chief Minister and senior civil and military officials will brief the Prime Minister on the extent of damage and relief operations in progress.

Concerned about the people of Sikkim the Prime minister had telephoned State Chief Minister Mr. Pawan Chamling immediately after the earthquake on the 18th of this month.

Dr. Singh had assured him of all help from the Centre for relief and rescue work.


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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finance Ministry note on 2G didn’t reflect my views: Pranab

Finance Ministry note on 2G didn’t reflect my views: Pranab

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has clarified that a note issued by his Ministry on 2G spectrum allocation, did not reflect his views. In a joint press conference with Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi on Thursday evening, Mr. Mukherjee said that the said note was the part of an inter-ministerial background paper which was prepared by a group of officers. It was sent to PMO on 25th March, 2011.

The Finance Minister asserted that apart from the factual background, the paper contains certain inferences and interpretations which do not reflect his views. He said, the policy of the government in 2007-08 was continuation of the policy adopted in October, 2003 and as reiterated by TRAI. Mr. Mukherjee said that a number of stories on 2G spectrum had appeared in the media in January this year. A view was taken that a harmonised note based on facts should be produced for use by various representatives of the government.

Talking to media, Mr. Chidambaram expressed happiness that his colleague cleared the air on the controversy attached to the said note. He said that the matter is now closed.
Earlier, the Home Minister P. Chidambaram and the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee met the Prime Minister at his residence this evening on the issue. Both the leaders had also met the UPA Chairperson and Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi_Media-agencies

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CPI-M Politburo meeting

A crucial meet of the CPI-M would begin in New Delhi on Thursday to review the political situation in the wake of a series of corruption scams and the rising inflationary graph as the top brass would plan the future course of action to rope in non-BJP Opposition parties.The two-day Politburo meeting would debate CPI-M's approach to crucial bills pertaining to Lokpal, food security and land acquisition and finalise the tactics to counter government moves to allow FDI in retail, divest its stake in insurance, banks and PSUs like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and to seek scrapping of the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill.
The leaders would also put their heads together to give finishing touches to the draft of the Political Resolution, the key political document, to be adopted at the 20th Party Congress at Kozhikode in April next year. Efforts to rope in non-BJP Opposition parties on these issues and launch broad-based agitations in the coming months would be discussed, party sources said.CPI-M has been working for "broader unity" among such parties and has launched joint actions with TDP, BJD and INLD, apart from other Left parties, in the recent past.
Left has been upset with another ally AIADMK sending representatives to show solidarity with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during his recent fast.
The threats from terrorism and communalism, besides the impact of BJP leader L K Advani's proposed rath yatra would also be discussed at the Politburo meeting, the sources said.
Senior CPI-M leaders have earlier pointed towards an "understanding" between the ruling Congress and Opposition BJP in Parliament saying the two sides had agreed to the text of a resolution on the price situation, much to the chagrin of other opposition parties.
The resolution, they had said, had neither fixed the responsibility on the government for its failure to check price rise, nor did it seek a rollback of the hikes in the prices of petro products.
On the issue of corruption, CPI-M leaders have been demanding an explanation from the Prime Minister, saying his role in the major scandals was "questionable".
"In both the 2G and KG basin matters, the Prime Minister was fully aware of the developments but did not stop the wrong doings. He has to own up responsibility for presiding over this corrupt regime," they have earlier said.
On the organisational front, the Politburo would debate the draft political resolution. It would later be placed before the Central Committee for approval and then circulated among all party units -- from the grass-roots to the state level, for further debate. It would be approved finally by the Party Congress in April next year.
This crucial document is expected to highlight all major political developments, including the major debacle of the party at the hustings in West Bengal and Kerala, and review the political tactical line the party had adopted since the last Congress at Coimbatore in 2008, the sources said.
The CPI-M leadership has already decided on the state- wise number of delegates to be elected from across the country to attend the Congress, they said.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Joint Press Statement of the Commerce Ministers of India and Pakistan

1. At the invitation of the Commerce Minister of India, Shri Anand Sharma, the Commerce Minister of Pakistan, Makhdoom Mohammad Amin Fahim is visiting India from 26th September to 2nd October, 2011.

2. After more than three and a half decades, this is the first visit by a Pakistan Commerce Minister to India. Accompanying the Minister is a high level official delegation including the Commerce Secretary of Pakistan; and more than fifty business delegates from Pakistan. The composition of this delegation underscores the importance that both sides attach to this visit and the mutual desire for better bilateral trade and commercial relations.

3. The official level discussions were held today (28th September) between the Commerce Ministers and their respective official delegations. Both Ministers noted with satisfaction that India and Pakistan are entering a new phase of full normalization of bilateral trade relations. This augurs well for enhancing mutual trust and understanding.

4. The Ministers agreed to jointly work to more than double bilateral trade within three years, from current levels of 2.7 Billion US dollars per annum to about 6 Billion dollars. This goal shall also be facilitated through the Memorandum of Understanding signed today between the India Trade Promotion Organization and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan. The MoU shall foster better trade promotional activities, for the benefit of business communities of both countries.

5. The Ministers affirmed that fully normalized commercial links between both countries would strengthen the bilateral relationship and build the bridges of friendship, trust and understanding - for mutual benefit of their people and promotion of prosperity in South Asia.

6. The Ministers mandated their Commerce Secretaries to pursue with vigor the task of fully normalizing bilateral trade relations. They agreed that their countries would cooperate for a high ambition of preferential trade relations under the framework of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). They noted with satisfaction the joint and collaborative efforts already being made by India and Pakistan to liberalize trade in goods and services under SAFTA. They agreed that all mutual obligations contracted under SAFTA would be implemented with full sincerity.

7. The Ministers appreciated the progress made and roadmap laid for trade liberalization in the April 2011 meeting of the Commerce Secretaries. They further mandated their respective Commerce Secretaries that when they meet in November, 2011 they shall lay down specific timelines to normalize all trade relationships including dismantling of all non-tariff barriers. Full implementation of SAFTA obligations was also mandated. Commerce Secretaries were also directed to prepare the roadmaps for greater preferential trading arrangements between India and Pakistan. Both Ministers agreed that joint and concerted efforts will be made in all areas to create an enabling environment for trade and to encourage greater engagement between the business communities of both countries. They agreed to further promote greater intra-regional connectivity through road, rail, shipping and air.

8. Ministers noted with satisfaction the comprehensive ground covered in the August 2011 bilateral trade review held in New Delhi. This meeting has been an important milestone in identification of issues impeding trade (in sectors such as cement, textiles, surgical instruments) as perceived by the business communities of both countries. Customs arrangements have also been significantly synchronized and both sides are vigorously addressing issues of infrastructure, to further promote bilateral trade through the land route of Attari-Wagah.

9. The Ministers noted that in the past few months, India and Pakistan have constructively engaged towards a liberalized business visa regime. They expressed that they now expect this matter to be expeditiously concluded before November 2011. The new business visa regime would allow multiple entry and could be for a period up to one year. The Ministers expressed the hope that such a new visa regime would rapidly expand the vistas of bilateral commerce. They emphasized that a more secure regional environment would progressively help both countries to keep liberalizing the visa arrangements for businesspersons.

10. Both Ministers reaffirmed that all decisions taken by them and their respective officers to improve trade relations would be closely monitored to ensure adherence to all agreed timelines. Both sides would maintain frequent contact in this mutual quest for a better trade relationship, underpinned on the principles of sincerity, mutual respect and trust. The Ministers agreed that the bilateral trade liberalization process should be uninterruptible and irreversible. They affirmed that both countries would cooperate and work in close coordination at multilateral forum, such as WTO and SAARC, to support each other, thereby strengthening their economies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone

BlackBerry Curve smartphone launches on Tuesday BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone slim,stylish,is ergonomically designed with a comfortable and easy to use keyboard for fast, accurate typing, and an intuitive optical trackpad for easy, one-handed use.GPS and Wi-Fi support with a 5MP camera with flash and video recording so that memories can be captured and instantly shared on social networks. The microSD/SDHC slot supports up to 32 GB memory cards for additional media storage.
Research In Motion (RIM) today officially launched the new Curve 9360 in India for a price tag of Rs.19990.
BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone features a range of powerful hardware enhancements including an upgraded processor, display and memory. It also comes with built-in support for NFC (Near Field Communications), a new technology that is enabling many exciting capabilities, including the ability to pair with NFC-enabled accessories or read SmartPoster tags with a simple tap of the smartphone."The BlackBerry Curve series has been extremely popular in India and we are excited to launch the all new BlackBerry Curve 9360. This next generation BlackBerry Curve features a stunning new design along with a significant performance upgrade and an unmatched mobile social experience. It provides an ideal upgrade path for our existing Curve customers as well as the millions of feature phone users in the Indian market”, said Ms. Fre nny Bawa, Managing Director, India at Research In Motion.

TRAI clears confusion over SMS limit, exempts certain services

TRAI has exempted various service providers, including the dealers of telecom operators, e-ticketing agencies and social networking sites, from the new limit of one hundred SMSes per day per SIM, which was imposed to block pesky calls and messages.On 5th September, after much delay, Trai had come out with recommendations to stop pesky calls and text messages from 27th September, ordering that no access provider (operators) shall permit the transmission of more than 100 SMSes per day per SIM."Hereby directs all access providers to exclude the following persons from the limit of one hundred SMS per day per SIM -- dealers of the telecom service providers and DTH operators for sending request for electronic recharge on mobile numbers," Trai said in a statement on Tuesday.

The directive from the regulator had come in the wake of concerns raised by telecom lobby COAI on limiting the SMS entitlement per SIM to 100 per day.

Also exempt e-ticketing agencies for responding to e-ticketing request made by its customers, SMSes from social networking sites Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, LinkedIn and GooglePlus to their members in connection to activities relating to their accounts, based on verifiable options; and agencies providing directory services, such as Justdial, Zatse, Callezee, Getit and Askme, Trai added.

Earlier, COAI had asked Trai to reconsider its recommendation to limit the number of SMSes per sim to 100 per day, saying that such a regulation may pose a potential challenge to the "fundamental rights" of an ordinary users.

There are several instances where SMSes are an important mode of communication.

There could be a situation where a customer has exhausted the limit and suddenly some emergency occurs, COAI had said.

Further, this limit will not also be applicable on "blackout days" (festive occasions), when the customer is free to send as many messages he wants.

In the case of post-paid telephone numbers, the access provider shall not permit more than 3,000 SMSes per SIM per month, the Trai recommendations had said.

However, Trai said, "The access provider shall, before excluding the persons, obtain an undertaking from such person that he shall not use the said facility in any manner for sending commercial communications."

Subscribers have the option of choosing to be under the 'Fully Blocked' category which is akin to the 'Do Not Call Registry'.If a user selects the 'Partially Blocked' category, he/she will receive SMSes in categories chosen.For registering under the fully blocked list, a customer has to SMS 'START 0' to 1909.

Pranab, Chidambaram Sonia Gandhi over 2G row

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday held separate meetings with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram, stepping in to defuse the row over the Finance Ministry note on 2G spectrum allocation.Before meeting Sonia after his return from the US, Mukherjee briefed reporters that Chidambaram is a "valuable colleague" and a "pillar of strength."

Chidambaram paced past waiting reporters after meeting Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence without saying a word.This was Chidambaram's first meeting with Gandhi, and is UPA Chairperson, after controversy broke out last week over the note to the Prime Minister's Office(PMO) on the stand taken by him when he was the Finance Minister.Gandhi met Mukherjee soon after her discussions with Chidambaram.Mukherjee said on arrival that he will speak on the controversial 2G spectrum note only after discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other colleagues.He told reporters at the airport that a full-fledged press conference will be held after the Prime Minister returns from his visit to New York on Tuesday.He later told reporters after reaching his North Block office, "If it is needed I will say whatever (I have) to say after Prime Minister comes back and after we have discussions among ourselves."

The March 25 note of the Finance Ministry suggested that the 2G scam could have been averted had Chidambaram when he held the Finance portfolio insisted that the 2G spectrum be auctioned. The note to the Prime Minister's Office(PMO) was submitted to the Supreme Court yesterday.Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid downplayed the row over the Finance ministry note, saying there is no scope for any worry in the document and that inferences drawn out of it were "not correct".Khurshid further said the note was not worth keeping the media "preoccupied" the for a long time.Media briefing, party spokesperson Rashid Alvi did an apparent balancing act saying neither Chidambaram nor Mukherjee has done anything wrong.

DLF Masters 2011 to feature a stellar line-up

Total purse of Rs. 95 lakh-Defending Champion Ashok Kumar and top Indian stars Randhawa, Bhullar, Chowrasia, Rai, Lahiri, to feature in the stellar line-up
Professionals & amateurs team up for the team championship on the weekend:
Gurgaon, September 27, 2011: The AIRCEL Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and the DLF Group have announced the DLF Masters 2011. The tournament boasts a handsome prize purse of Rs. 95 lakh and will be played at the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurgaon, from September 28th – October 1st, 2011.
The cream of Indian professional golf will descend at the DLF Golf & Country Club to participate in one of the marquee events on the Indian golf calendar. The big names participating include the likes of Jyoti Randhawa (2007 & 2008 champion), SSP Chowrasia, Gaganjeet Bhullar (2009 champion), Ashok Kumar (defending champion), Himmat Singh Rai, Anirban Lahiri, Mukesh Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Feroz Ali Mollah, Chiragh Kumar, Shankar Das, Rashid Khan, Manav Jaini, Mandeo Singh Pathania, Gaurav Ghei, Shamim Khan, Raju Ali Mollah, Digvijay Singh and Harmeet Kahlon, to name a few.
Mr. Aakash Ohri, Director, DLF Golf Resorts Ltd., said, “With our continuous support of professional golf vis-à-vis at the DLF Masters, we reaffirm our commitment to the growth of golf in our country. We will continue to sponsor golf events and create world class golf infrastructure, thereby giving our players facilities to practice and train at par with the world.”

Mr. Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said, “We are delighted to be back at one of India’s premier championship venues for the fifth edition of the DLF Masters. The competition at the Rs. 9.5 million event is expected to be intense as the top four players on the Rolex Rankings will represent PGTI at the USD 6 million Barclays Singapore Open to be played in November 2011. We extend our sincere thanks to the DLF Group for being a major pillar of strength for Indian professional golf and we look forward to an exciting week of golf.”
The tournament’s unique format is another added attraction. Professionals team up with amateurs to compete for the team championship on the last two days. Each team comprises of two professionals and one amateur and the team score is calculated by taking into account the two best scores out of three on a hole-by-hole basis. This format gives the amateurs a taste of the fiercely competitive nature of professional golf.
The esteemed DLF Golf & Country Club, which boasts of India’s premier world class designer golf course, plays host to the event. This course, designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer, enjoys the distinction of having been adjudged the best course in the Indian sub-continent. It features world class fairways and fast and true greens.

About PGTI:
Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognized official body of professional golf in India. PGTI’s objective is to promote professional golf in the country as well as give players an opportunity to be involved in decision making for all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI’s governing body comprises of leading Indian golf professionals such as Jyoti Randhawa, Shiv Kapur, SSP Chowrasia, Digvijay Singh, Uttam Singh Mundy, Amritinder Singh and Ranjit Singh. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

Predsient to Inaugurate 7th ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption

Predsient to Inaugurate 7th ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific

Initiative to Discuss Building Multi-Disciplinary Framework to Combat Corruption

The 7th Regional Anti-corruption Initiative of the ADB/OECD for Asia and the Pacific will be held in New Delhi from September 28 & 29, 2011. The Conference is aimed at building multi-disciplinary frameworks to combat corruption. President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil will inaugurate the Conference in the presence of MoS for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pension and PMO Shri V. Naraynasamy, experts from 28 member countries and economies of ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption initiative and delegates/ eminent personalities including CVC, CIC from India. The Conference will also have experts from all the relevant disciplines – representing international organizations, leading enterprises and businesses associations, civil society, and multilateral and donor organizations.

The need for multidisciplinary frameworks for combating corruption is also reflected in prevailing international standards, such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and other OECD instruments. These instruments address the problem from every angle – prevention in the public and private sectors, detection and law enforcement. The ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific, and the Government of India, have organized this conference to help governments, businesses and citizens in Asia-Pacific find holistic approaches to the corruption problem.

This Conference will provide a forum on establishing and implementing in Asia-Pacific some of the main features of an effective multidisciplinary anti-corruption framework: 1) international cooperation in multijurisdictional corruption investigations; 2) measures to prevent and detect corruption in public procurement; 3) corporate compliance, internal controls and ethics measures to fight corruption; and 4) strong citizen contributions to these frameworks. Additional smaller breakout sessions will delve further into more specialized areas of interest, Additional smaller breakout sessions will delve further into more specialized areas of interest, such as effective international information-sharing in investigations; public procurement in high risk sectors; features of an effective corporate compliance programme; and strengthening citizens’ participation to increase integrity and transparency in government.

Corruption is a multifaceted problem - a multi-headed hydra - which requires to be attacked through multi-pronged strategies. This calls for the creation of multi-disciplinary frameworks. The need for such multidisciplinary frameworks for combating corruption is also reflected in prevailing international standards, such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, etc. These instruments seek to address the problem from every angle, i.e., -

(a) prevention in the public as well as private sectors;

(b) detection though control mechanisms, audits, complaint mechanisms and institutional investigations; and

(c) law enforcement, through prosecutions and penalties.

The Government of India and the ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific are organising the Regional Conference as a platform to decide upon holistic approaches which would enhance coordination of efforts of all players involved in the fight against corruption and reduce jurisdictional conflicts amongst them.

This Conference is designed for policy makers, legislators, compliance practitioners, and civil society and private sector representatives seeking holistic solutions to corruption in Asia-Pacific. Individuals interested in attending should contact the Government of India or the Secretariat of the ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific to request an invitation.

It is pertinent to note that in 2009, consequent to G-20 action, of which India is an active partner, tax haven countries and secret jurisdictions like Switzerland, gave a commitment to end bank secrecy and to enter into effective Tax Information Exchange Agreements with every country. Consequently, India has been able to negotiate a number of new Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with focus countries like Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Monaco, etc. Government of India has also signed an amendment to the tax treaty with Switzerland and the Swiss Parliament has accorded its approval to the treaty recently, which allows India to obtain banking information from Switzerland in specific cases for the period starting from 1st April, 2011.

The Conference will be preceded by the Steering Group Meeting of the ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific. The Steering Group will discuss and adopt the Initiative’s Strategy and Work Programme 2012-2014, and agree on the initiative’s specific activities for 2012. Discuss progress on the Thematic Review on Corporate Compliance, Internal Controls, Ethics Measures, and the Tax Deductibility of Bribes and hear reports on specific developments in the anti-corruption field by Steering and Advisory Group members and observes. It will also discuss and adopt the revised Country Reporting Template.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rahul Gandhi to visit J&K from 26th Sep

AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi will arrive in Jammu on 26th September for a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to give a fillip to the membership drive of Youth Congress in the state.

"Rahul Gandhi will arrive on September 26 for a two-day visit of Jammu and Kashmir for giving fillip to membership drive of Youth Congress," Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) President Saif-ud-din Soz said.

Soz said Gandhi will arrive in Jammu on 26th September and will take part in various programmes of the Youth Congress in connection with the membership drive.

The next day Rahul Gandhi will visit Jammu where he will take part in similar programmes, he said.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

6.5 ton NASA satellite to-crash lands, in Pacific

A 6.5 ton defunct satellite hurtling uncontrolled towards Earth  likely plunged into a remote section the Pacific Ocean off the western US coast, American space agency NASA said. Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) crossed over portions of Indian Ocean and Africa before splashing down sometime between 11:23 pm (local time) Friday and 1:09 am on Saturday, NASA officials said. NASA said all debris from the research satellite, the biggest piece of US space junk to fall uncontrolled in 32 years, appears to have dropped in a remote section of the Pacific Ocean well "away from the western-coast of the US," but the precise spot may never be pinpointed";Nick Johnson, chief scientist for orbital debris at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, told reporters the fiery trajectory of the 13,000-pound satellite ended as it crossed eastward over portions of the Indian Ocean and Africa for the final time.It then most likely disintegrated and scattered debris over a roughly 500-mile stretch across the northern portion of the Pacific.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

G4 cuntries to work together to bring reforms in Security Council

 Prime Minister's address to the UN General Assembly on Saturday, India and three other members of G-4 countries have pledged to work together to bring about urgent reforms in the UN Security Council. Briefing reporters after a Ministerial meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said, G-4 countries called for enlarging the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories.

The other countries in the group are Brazil, Germany and Japan. Mr Mathai said, the Ministers of the grouping welcomed the decision by the General Assembly to continue the process of inter-governmental negotiations for reforms. The meeting was attended by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Foreign ministers of the three other countries in the grouping.

China came in support of reforms in the Security Council. Talking to our correspondent Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechie said that Beijing wants developing nations to play a bigger role in the Security Council. When asked about China’s support to India’s candidature in the Security Council, he said India is a big country and china will talk to them.

Champions League 2011Champions League 2011

Warriors of South Africa clinched a thrilling last-ball victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Champions League 2011 Twenty20 opening encounter at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Friday.>Chasing 173 for a victory, Warriors reached the target in the last ball, with Wayne Parnell scoring the required two runs, thus securing a three wicket victory over the hosts.
Ashwell Prince gave a good start to the South African team, scoring 74 from 55 balls, including six fours and three sixes. Captain Johan Botha also chipped in with a useful 42 from just 24 balls, giving a clear chance for the team to overhaul Bangalore’s competitive target.

Maharashtra Boys; Chhattisgarh Girls win 2011 Sub Jr. National Basketball Championship

Basketball fans in Lucknow were given a visual treat on Friday evening as the best under-14 teams from around India clashed in the Finals of the 38th Sub-Junior National Basketball Championship for Boys & Girls in the city’s RDSO court. Eight days of exciting hoops action ended in fitting manner as the boys’ final saw Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra fight neck-no-neck in a classic final, which was finally won by Maharashtra. The Girls’ championship was a repeat of last year’s final between Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, and for the seventh consecutive year, it was Chhattisgarh who emerged as Sub Jr champions.
Basketball fans couldn’t have asked for a better final than the face-off between Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh Boys, two teams with contrasting but effective styles. The teams stayed close throughout: Andhra Pradesh using taking advantage of their length and speed, while Maharashtra relied on their skill and passing. AP had a slim, one point lead at the end of the half, but couldn’t extend on the advantage: neither side was able to go over more than four point of their opponent for the majority of the game.
With the game reaching its last moments, Maharashtra had overturned the score and had a three point lead in the fourth quarter, thanks to their talented guards who penetrated and passed very well all night. AP made some crucial mistakes in the end, and Maharashtra’s Zaid Shaikh pulled out big, level-headed plays to give his side a 61-58 win and the National championship.
“We had practiced very hard for this championship, and came ready to dominate,” said Shaikh, “We had beaten AP in a blowout early in this championship, so we had to be wary of their backlash tonight. Luckily, we were able to play well in the end and win – our team’s strength was our great combination.”
M. Siva Durga of AP led all scorers in the final with 16 points.
The girls’ final was a repeat of last year’s final between Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. Chhattisgarh Girls have been an unstoppable force in the Sub-Junior level, and win another big victory on Friday, won their 10th championship in 11 years. Chhattisgarh, who have been the best team in the competition, were in no mood for a slip-up in the final, as they started strong and refused to slow down against their opponents. Saving their best defensive performance for the finale, Chhattisgarh outscored Karnataka 36-7 in a devastating first half.
Chhattisgarh’s defense focused around stopping Karnataka’s Lopamudra, who had been the best individual player in the girls’ section in the tournament. With Lopa on check, Chhattisgarh were able to cruise in the second half and celebrate their seventh consecutive Sub-Junior national title with a 64-21 victory. Riya Verma led Chhattisgarh in the final with 23 points.
“We are a strong team because we are very united,” said P. Divya, the captain of the Chhattisgarh side, “We were prepared for this team because we had defeated them in the final last year, and in this year’s tournament, we knew that our team was too strong for any opponent.”
Earlier on Friday, the 3rd/4th place games were held: In the boys’ game, Punjab overcame a slow start against Chhattisgarh to make a strong comeback and win 70-47. Punjab were led by Guksewala (21 points) and Abhi (16). For Chhattisgarh, Mithun, who had scored 46 points in a loss to AP in the semi-final only the previous night, led the scoring charge of his team with 18 points in the 3rd/4th place playoff.
In the girls’ game, Maharashtra played a strong second quarter to overturn the score against Kerala and then race to a 48-37 win to clinch third place. Maharashtra were led by Veera who had 16 points.
Mr. V Ramachandran, the Director-General of RDSO, was the chief guest at the final and handed out the prize-winners trophies. “I was very glad to see the talent on display here and wish to see many of these players representing India one day,” said Ramachandran, “My best wishes go out to all those who took part in this championship. I would also like to thank the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), the Uttar Pradesh Basketball Association (UPBA), and RDSO for conducting this big event.
For the first time in the Sub-Junior nationals, individual prizes were given for the Most Promising Players of the tournament. With the award, the individual players were also given a cash prize of Rs. 5000 each. The awards were given to:
Boys: M. Shiva Durga (Andhra Pradesh)
Girls: Riya Verma (Chhattisgarh)

Final Scores
Boys: Maharashtra (Shaikh Zaid 13, Astekar Aditya 12, Shaikh Mearaj 11, Shaikh Hammd 11) bt. Andhra Pradesh (M.Siva Durga 16, B.Neeraj Kumar 11, P.Durga Prasad 10) 61-58 (18-15, 13-17, 14-10, 16-16)
Girls: Chhattisgarh (Riya Verma 23, P.Divya 12) bt. Karnataka 64-21 (23-6, 13-1, 7-2, 21-12)

3rd/4th Place Matches
Boys: Punjab (Guksewala 21, Abhi 16, Sukhder 13) bt. Chhattisgarh (Mithun 18, Hitesh 12) 70-47 (10-15, 15-9, 19-9, 26-14)
Girls: Maharashtra (Veera 16) bt. Kerala (Aleena 14) 48-37 (10-12, 12-4, 12-10, 14-11)

Finals Standings
1.       Maharashtra
2.       Andhra Pradesh
3.       Punjab
1.       Chhattisgarh
2.       Karnataka
3.       Maharashtra

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saina sails to quarters of Japan Open

Saina Nehwal emerged as the lone survivor for India at the Japan Open, defeating Mingtian Fu of Singapore in straight-games to reach the quarterfinals of the women's singles competition at Tokyo on Thursday.
Fourth seed Saina took 33 minutes to beat Mingtian 21-17 21-16. She will take on Juan GU of Singapore on Friday.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist P Kashyap played his heart out before going down 15-21 21-6 18-21 to sixth seed Jin Chen in the men's singles match which lasted for one hour and six minutes.
Ajay Jayaram, who stunned World number seven Tien Minh Nguyen on Wednesday, also became a second round casualty after losing 20-22 16-21 to Indonesian Simon Santoso in a 42-minute battle.Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also failed to get past seventh seeded Jung Eun Ha and Min Jung Kim in the women's doubles event. The Indian duo lost 9-21 21-18 22-24 to the Korean pair in 49 minutes.
The Indian mixed doubles pair of Jwala and V Diju also lost their second round battle 15-21 10-21 against fifth seeded pair of Hung Ling Chen and Wen Hsing Cheng in just 24 minutes.
The 21-year-old Saina, however, kept India's tricolour fluttering at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.In the first game, Saina opened up a narrow 9-5 lead and though Mingtian caught up with her at 14-all, the Indian was able to held her fort to get ahead.
In the second game, Mingtian dominated the initial proceedings and had her nose ahead at 6-4 but Saina drew parity at 13-all and then broke off at 15-15 with six straight points to seal her place in the quarterfinals

Japan typhoon Roke-kills 10

A powerful typhoon that barrelled through Japan and threatened the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant killed at least 10 people including a woman aged 101, officials and reports said today.Typhoon Roke, which churned across the main island of Honshu and through the already disaster-ravaged northeast, caused flooding and triggered landslides in an echo of a vicious storm earlier in the month that killed around 100 people.
But it did not cause any further damage to the battered nuclear power plant, as had been feared, its operators said, after workers had scrambled to secure the facility to prevent more radiation from seeping out.
Public broadcaster NHK and Jiji Press news agency put the death toll at 10, with five missing and hundreds of people injured.
Police and rescuers recovered at least four bodies today morning, including a 65-year-old woman who was buried when a mudslide engulfed her house in Iwate prefecture, officials said.
Two people, including the 101-year-old, were found dead in Shizuoka prefecture, where the typhoon made landfall on Wednesday, an official said.
In Sendai, the largest city in the northeastern region that was battered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that led to the atomic crisis, two sewerage workers went missing, a city official told the news agency.
"We are aware that one body was recovered this morning but have not confirmed it belongs to one of the missing workers," he said.
Local police and rescuers recovered another body from a river in central Aichi prefecture and they were investigating whether the death was typhoon related, an official said.
A series of strong typhoons have hit Japan, which is still recovering from the massive quake and tsunami that left around 20,000 people dead or missing.
Roke was located 250 kilometres (155 miles) east-northeast of Nemuro, on the eastern tip of the northern Hokkaido island, as of 0440 GMT, moving away from Japan, the meteorological agency said.
It is expected to weaken into an extratropical cyclone later in the day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tiger’ Pataudi.demise is a great loss to Indian Cricket.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, one of the greatest cricket captains India
has produced, died in New Delhi on Thursday after battling with a lung
infection which was diagnosed about three months back. He was 70. "He
passed away around 6.30 pm. His condition had deteriorated since
Wednesday. He was suffering from interstitial lung disease
(interstitial pneumonitis) which worsens rapidly inspite of the best
treatment available," Dr S P Byotra, Department of medicine in x-
small;">Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, where Pataudi was admitted, said.

Pataudi was admitted to the hospital last month. After investigations,
he was found to be suffering from interstitial lung disease, a
condition in which the passage of oxygen to the two lungs is less than

"He was unable to maintain his oxygen level in spite of maximal
treatment. He continued to remain in the ICU for nearly a month. He
had this disease which had been static since the last three months and
worsened very acutely over the last four weeks.

"The possibility of lung transplant was discussed very early as soon
as his condition worsened but he was not a suitable candidate for it,"
the doctor said.

He was being treated by a by a team of pulmonologists and critical
care specialists here.

Vice President Condoles Death of Former Indian Cricket Captain Mansur
Ali Khan Pataudi

The Vice President Shri M. Hamid Ansari has condoled the death of
former Indian Captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi . In his condolence
message , the Vice President said :

“I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of Shri Mansur Ali
Khan Pataudi, eminent cricketer and sportsperson.

Shri Pataudi’s contributions to the game of cricket throughout his
life as a player, captain, coach and analyst need no elaboration. He
embodied the quintessential gentleman of the game of cricket and
promoted the game with all effort. His absence from the game of
cricket and public life is a terrible loss.

My wife joins me in sending our heartfelt condolences to the members
of the bereaved family and the wide circle of his admirers and
friends. We pray to the Almighty to grant them strength and fortitude
to withstand this tragedy. “

Union Agriculture  Food Processing Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar, has
expressed shock and grief at the demise of former Indian cricket
captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. In his condolence message, he has

"I am deeply saddened to know about the sad demise of ‘Tiger’ Pataudi.
A very fine cricketer Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi became the youngest
captain of the Indian Team at the age of 21 only. He was a great
batsman, fielder and an outstanding captain and who led his team with
great courage despite damaged vision in his right eye.

"A legend in his life time, Pataudi was always eager to take up any
challenge and assignments for the betterment of Cricket in India. He
was greatly respected by his peer group and an inspiration to the
generation that followed.

"His passing away is a great loss to Indian Cricket."

Pataudi, regarded as one of the finest Indian captains, played 46
Tests for the country, scoring 2793 runs for an average of 34.91 with
an unbeaten 203 being his highest score. In all, he smashed six
centuries and 16 fifties in his career.

Press conference Dr Oetker India _Sagar31News_2243


New Delhi, September 21: A high quality Indian challenge will once again take on the best of Asia in the Hero Indian Open, one of the most prestigious events on the Asian Tour, starting here from October 13 to 16, 2011.

The 48th edition of India’s oldest-running sporting event comes at a time when Indian golf is at its strongest. With four young champions on three different international Tours, Indian golf has been on a high this year.
All four, including S.S.P. Chowrasia, the current leader on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, will be teeing up at the historic Delhi Golf Club (DGC) in the richest full-field event on the Asian Tour carrying a prize purse of US$1.25 million. The other Indian winners this season are Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai.
Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., said: “Indian golf today reflects the India story – young, talented and confident to take on the world. In many ways, we at Hero also reflect the same spirit. We are a young company with a Brand New Identity – ready to spread our wings across the globe. And therefore, it gives me immense pleasure to see a very strong Indian line-up at the Hero Indian Open 2011. Our players are today a force to be reckoned with in the international golfing greens, and their success abroad has helped golf fast becoming one of the most popular sports in the country. Like in the previous years, the Hero Indian Open 2011 brings together the best of golfing talents from around the world, thereby providing a platform to further popularize the game in India.”
Rohit Amin, President of the Indian Golf Union, said: “The Hero Indian Open Golf Championship is the flagship event of Indian golf. The national Open in any country evokes a great deal of excitement, not only because of the high quality of the field, but also because of the importance attached to the national title. I have, time and again heard India’s top players say that the Indian Open is like a Major to them, and who doesn’t want to be called the best golfer in the country.
“With the tournament dating back to 1964 and this being the oldest running annual international sports event in the country, it gives me and the IGU immense pride to see the Indian Open having grown to such a stature, The Indian Golf Union is grateful to Hero MotoCorp for their continued support in sponsoring the event,” added AminExecutive Chairman of the Asian Tour, Kyi Hla Han, said: "The Hero Indian Open is truly an important championship on the Asian Tour Schedule and this is reflected by the participation of all the top players from the Asian Tour. With the Order of Merit race again set to be a closely fought contest, this will add another exciting dimension to the tournament.
"I would like to express our fullest appreciation to Hero MotoCorp for its commitment and support of the game in India and across Asia.”
Yannick Colaco, COO, Nimbus Sport said: “Our investments in golf are part of our long term commitment towards developing the commercial value of sport in India and across Asia. The Hero Indian Open is one of the most prestigious golf events in Asia and we are privileged to begin our journey in the sport with Hero as a partner.”
The Delhi Golf Club has hosted the Indian Open the most number of times and the course, located in the heart of the Indian capital is a challenging one, requiring the players to think and keep it straight.
Indian golfers, considered very strong on the Asian Tour, start as favourites as they have won three of the four international events held at home this year.
Chowrasia, who won his second co-sanctioned event, the Avantha Masters, this season, will have for company the youth brigade of Indian golf, Bhullar, Lahiri and Rai. Chowrasia has finished second in the Indian Open twice, in 1999 and 2006.
Bhullar, who has two Asian Tour titles, added a European Challenge Tour title in India in January this year, while Anirban won the Panasonic Open (India) and Himmat grabbed the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic earlier this month. Looking to follow in their footsteps are Manav Jaini, who has finished in top-four in his last three Asian Tour events at the DGC, and Sujjan Singh, who is 12th in the top-10 of Asian Tour Order of Merit currently.
Randhawa, who is now concentrating on the Asian Tour, has endured a tough season and will relish a return to the Delhi Golf Club, where he has been very successful in the past. Two of his three Indian Open titles have come at the DGC.
Bhullar, 23, the new face of Indian golf, has produced results, which mark him as the man for the future. Lahiri and Himmat, both 24, have also shown great promise and with their maiden Asian Tour titles in the bag, they are on the way to greater heights.
The defending champion Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, whose two wins on the Asian Tour have both come at the DGC, is not going to let go of this chance. He won the title in an exciting battle last year and had earlier won the SAIL Open at the same venue.
Also expected to contend and be in the thick of action is Thaworn Wiratchant, who has 12 Asian Tour titles against his name and is looking to catch fellow Thai, Thongchai Jaidee, who holds the record of 13.
Molinari will make his debut in the Hero Indian Open on the back of a successful 2010 campaign where he won twice to force his way into the Ryder Cup team which Europe won. With his brother Francesco, he also made golf history for Italy by winning the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China for the first time. He then claimed victory in the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan in the following week.
One of India’s eternal golfing heroes, Ali Sher’s Indian Open win in 1991 was the first by an Indian professional in the event. This year Indian golf and Ali Sher celebrate the 20th anniversary of India’s first international win by a professional. In the two decades since, Indians have won more than 50 titles on Asian, European, Japan and US Tours.

Sagar31News-Press conference modernization of Indian Railways

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Press conference Dr Oetker India _Sagar31News

Dr. Oetker Launches Vitalis, India’s First 100% Crunchy Muesli

New Delhi, September 21st, 2011: Dr. Oetker, one of the most trusted purveyors-of European cuisine, with international presence in more than 50 countries, has-recently launched Germany’s No.1 Muesli Brand, “Vitalis” in 4 Crunchy variants
- Raisins Honey, Chocolate Granola, Honey and Cornflakes & Oats, directly
imported from Germany. Vitalis Muesli is attractively packaged and priced at INR
189/- for 375g and has a shelf life of 13 months. It is available in select leading
retail chains, local and neighborhood stores of 7 key metros namely Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata,Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Dr. Oetker Vitalis Muesli was launched by renowned Bollywood actor Giselli Monteiro along with Mr. Oliver Mirza,Managing Director, Dr. Oetker India, at a lively breakfast session in Delhi, today. Launching the range, Giselli
Monteiro said, “In the beginning of my career, I have worked across Europe and especially Germany. Given this,there is nothing better I love than starting my day with a bowl of this crunchy, yummy muesli. Also, due to my
hectic work schedule, muesli comes handy as a convenient and healthy breakfast option. I am delighted that Dr.Oetker Vitalis Muesli from Germany is now available here in India and I can look forward to “complete breakfast
Speaking at the launch of Vitalis Muesli, Mr. Oliver Mirza, Managing Director, Dr. Oetker India said, “The Indian-breakfast market has evolved considerably in the past few years. In today’s fast paced urban lifestyle, consumers
seek convenience, taste as well as nourishing goodness from their breakfast. Hence, traditional breakfast options-are slowly moving towards the weekend menu. With lives getting hectic day by day, in particularly in the morning
people are short on time and energy. As breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, today it is_expected to be convenient, yet healthy and tasty. We aim to bridge this gap today, ensuring the breakfast-remains exciting, full of nutrition and keeps them energized throughout the day.”
Mr. Mirza further added, “With the launch of Vitalis Muesli we are confident that we will be able to further-reinforce our brand positioning as one of the most trusted purveyors of European cuisine. In Europe we have built
this sub-category of 100% Crunchy Muesli over years and have been able to garner a huge piemaking us the_market leaders with a share of 22.1%*. Vitalis has gained No. 1 position in several European countries like
Germany, Austria, Croatia and Romania in the crunchy muesli sub category. In India, we are convinced we will
create a new category of 100% Crunchy Muesli, driven by new consumer baseand facilitate the breakfast cereal
market growth. The success of Vitalis will certainly provide the impetus to launch our other international
products in the years to come.”
Initially, muesli was developed around 1900 by the physician, Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his
hospital, where a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables was an essential part of therapy. Muesli in its modern
form became popular and commercialized in European countries in the late 60s, leading to the invention of
Vitalis Crunchy Muesli by Dr. Oetker in 1984, which had the goodness of nutrition and the pleasure of crunch.
Dr.Oetker Vitalis Muesli is made in and directly imported from Germany. It has a perfect balance of wholegrain,
protein, iron and vitamins, which makes for a nourishing breakfast. The 100% crunchiness of Vitalis is a result of a

Rajasthan Boys, Karnataka Girls win in close,

Rajasthan Boys, Karnataka Girls win in close, exciting games
Having had a mixed tournament so far, last year’s champions Rajasthan finally got an impressive win in a close game against Madhya Pradesh on the fifth day of the Sub-Junior National Basketball Championship for Boys & Girls in Lucknow on Tuesday. In another crucial clash of the southern superpowers on the day, the Sub-Jr Nationals girls team from Karnataka outlasted Kerala in an exciting match-up.
After a strong start, Rajasthan seemed to be poised to blow the game out against Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday. Trailing by seven at halftime, MP made an important adjustment at the start of the third quarter and made it a 1 point game, 34-33, before the start of the fourth. In the high scoring final period, Rajasthan turned to their leading man Mohit (18 points) who led the way for a clear victory for his side, 55-47.
Two girls’ teams, who are close to equal in talent, came face to face when Karnataka faced Kerala. The game lived up to the billing, as Karnataka led by just one point at the end of the first quarter, but soon, they began to slowly extend their lead. Lopamudra, who has been one of the most consistent scorers in the girls’ division at the championship, led with 19 points, as Kerala failed to close the gap and lost the game, 46-35.
Kerala boys had a better outing, as they faced the team from Delhi. It was another unpredictable face-off, as Kerala led by eight in the first quarter, but Delhi made a comeback, and by the end of the 3rd quarter, were just one point behind. But Kerala stepped up on the gear in the fourth quarter behind Sudarsan (16 points) and sped away to a 56-43 win.

Final Scores
Rajasthan (Mohit 18, Aakash 14, Satyam 12) bt. Madhya Pradesh (Rajendra 14, Durgesh 14) 55-47 (16-7, 12-14, 6-12, 21-14)
Kerala (Sudarsan 16, Shibin 11) bt. Delhi (Kamaljot 11, Lokesh 11, Abhishek 10) 56-43 (17-9, 6-10, 13-16, 20-8)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Press Conference_Sagar31News_Joshi-On-2G

Aircel PGTI announces Aircel PGTI Players Championship presented by The Willingdon Sports Club

Mumbai, September 19, 2011: The Aircel Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) has announced the Aircel PGTI Players Championship presented by The Willingdon Sports Club, scheduled to be held at The Willingdon Sports Club, Mumbai, from 20-23 September, 2011. This event boasts a prize money of Rs. 4 million. The Pro-Am event will be played on September 24th.

The last edition of the tournament witnessed Kolkata’s Raju Ali Mollah record his first win on the Aircel PGTI. The field at this year’s tournament will feature some of India’s top professionals, including Ashok Kumar, Mukesh Kumar, Chiragh Kumar, defending champion Raju Ali Mollah, Anura Rohana, Shamim Khan, Shankar Das, Sanjay Kumar, Mandeo Singh Pathania, Vijay Kumar, Gaurav Ghei, Rashid Khan and Harmeet Kahlon, to name a few.

Mr. Pradip Patel, Captain, The Willingdon Sports Club, said, “We are delighted to play host to the top professionals in the country during the Aircel PGTI Players Championship. Golf aficionados in Mumbai look forward to four days of high-quality golf. On behalf of The Willingdon Sports Club I wish the participants all the best.”

Mr. Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said, “It is always great to be back at The Willingdon Sports Club for a PGTI event. The strong support and partnership approach of the WSC is helping promote professional golf in Mumbai, and we thank the management and the members for hosting us and look forward to some exciting golf this week.

Founded in 1917, The Willingdon Sports Club is home to a small but very picturesque course. The Willingdon, though an extremely short course, is a pleasant golfing experience. It has narrow fairways and large trees. There are two par-5s on the course, seven par-4s and as many as nine par-3s.

About PGTI:
Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognized official body of professional golf in India. PGTI’s objective is to promote professional golf in the country as well as give players an opportunity to be involved in decision making for all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI’s governing body comprises of leading Indian golf professionals such as Jyoti Randhawa, Shiv Kapur, SSP Chowrasia, Digvijay Singh, Uttam Singh Mundy, Amritinder Singh and Ranjit Singh. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Land Bill will act as a drag on industry RAJIV KUMAR

Land Bill will act as a drag on industry
Ownership, valuation and transfer of land are complex issues, especially for countries like India, characterised by high population densities. Land has been occupied over millennia and owned within the family or community, and its transfer often evokes high emotions.
Acquisition of land should not be a major issue in India where millions of hectares are lying uncultivated and unused; yet, the reality is that the issue has become highly politicised.
Against this background, the draft Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill just released by the Ministry of Rural Development, is welcome as it tries to bring clarity to the issue and clears the path for direct transactions between the buyers and sellers of land, hitherto practically ruled out for large transfers of land required for putting up manufacturing plants or constructing infrastructure capacities.
We, in FICCI, have for sometime suggested minimal intervention by the government in land transactions to de-politicise the issue. It makes for transparency and allows open price discovery. The Land Acquisition Bill will actually help this process significantly, if it lays down a clear and simple procedure for change in land use.
The Bill should make it mandatory to announce the change in land use in advance of any acquisition by either a private buyer or the government, as that will allow the price to move towards the real market price and minimise covert transactions.
Without such a provision, the present suggestion of valuing all rural land at four times the 'market price' and urban land at two times, may well make price discovery even more difficult than at present. Using the 'value of last sale' as the basis for determining the price of acquisition without announcing the change in land use may make it even more difficult of a market determined price of land to emerge in the country.
We must recognise that only a well functioning land market will help to bring maximum possible transparency and economic rationality in determining the real price of land — a critical factor of production. India's cultural and historical traits combined with land ceiling laws and tax-exempt nature of agriculture has meant the absence of an organised land market.
An organised land market is necessary not only for industrialisation and urbanisation, but for modernising agriculture, too. Therefore, an important criteria for determining the efficacy of the draft land acquisition Bill recently put forward by the Ministry of Rural Development should be whether or not it facilitates land price determination and its transfer in open market transactions. I am afraid, on this important economic criteria the draft Bill may not pass muster.
Moreover, the proposed Bill stipulates that the market value of land could be determined by the Collector which leads one to ask why an independent, impartial body — for example the Gram Sabha or Panchayat — would not be a better arbiter for the price of land. The government, as a result of the new Bill, would exit from its role of “real estate broker”; it should now exit from its role of prime determinant of fair value as well.
Making the new legislation effective on a retrospective basis is generally a bad idea. It creates too many uncertainties and can open a Pandora's box of litigation. It is a universally accepted fact that businesses hate uncertainty and to disrupt in this manner their assumptions and the revenue model on which they have based their business expansion would appear counterproductive.
The R&R package is far too complicated and complex. Its provision, for example, of the seller to be compensated for the next 20 years, could make life very difficult for any buyer.
The requirement of paying 20 per cent of capital gains to the original owner for 10 years may sound eminently reasonable on paper, but will be nearly impossible to implement. The stipulation that all the R&R provisions apply to private buyers in case they are purchasing more than 100 acres of land will make future expansion of manufacturing capacities terribly difficult.
The clause pertaining to “multi-crop” land will effectively render about 55 million hectares or 40 per cent of arable land beyond the scope of acquisition, thereby precluding the development of much-needed infrastructure. Yet, few will deny that infrastructure bottlenecks are impeding the economy.
This issue needs to be re-examined, since most of this land falls in the most densely populated regions of the country and provision for “eminent domain” needs to be retained for all parts of the country. The provision permitting acquisition of only 5 per cent of multi-crop land in any district could militate against a farmer's fundamental right to divest his land and move on to other locations, vocations and enterprise.
How can the Indian economy continue to grow unless it industrialises? How can the country's largely young population get employed unless manufacturing contributes considerably more to the economy? Will services sector growth suffice to absorb the 13 million entrants to the workforce every year for the next decade? I am afraid not.
Manufacturing will have to expand and increase its share in the GDP. To enable this, a less stringent and more flexible approach to land acquisition is perhaps needed.
(The author is the Secretary-General, FICCI. .)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

India, UK signs agreement for greater cooperation in Defence R and D

India, UK signs agreement for greater cooperation in Defence research and development

India and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement for greater co-operation in the field of Defence research and development. According to an official release in New Delhi, the agreement was signed in London by DRDO chief V K Saraswat and British Chief Scientific Adviser Mark Welland on Friday.

This will facilitate making the best use of research and technology development capabilities of both countries through joint projects, collaborative research and industry and academic participation. It marks an important milestone in the technical collaboration between the two countries and a number of projects are being planned to begin in the coming months.

SC seeks center’s response on nomads’ quota

SC seeks center’s response on nomads’ quota
Supreme Court has sought the Center’s response on a petition seeking quota benefits to nearly 15 crore de-notified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes said to be living in penury and social neglect.

A bench of justices J M Panchal and H L Gokhale issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice, National Commission for Backward Classes, Ministry of Tribal Welfare and the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India on the petition by Mohan Dhansing Chavhan, a member of the tribe.

Besides seeking reservation benefits, the petition also seeks census enumeration of de-notified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.

Competitiveness, climate, security Finn’s priorities Ministry of Finance release Finnish road map of EU presidency. Finland is set ...