Thursday, January 31, 2013

Neha ends title drought, wins first leg of 2013 Hero WPGT season

Kolkata, January 31: Neha Tripathi managed to keep Smriti Mehra at bay despite a card of five-over 77 on the third and final day of the opening event of the 2013 Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour on Thursday. After a tight error-filled front nine, Neha totaled 226 to finish three clear of Smriti Mehra (76) and five ahead of Vani Kapoor (76).
It was a good start for Neha, who went through 2012 without a win and was ranked fourth in the Hero Order of Merit. Neha’s last win came in the 2011-12 season. Overall it was Neha’s third title on the WGAI Tour, which started in 2009-10.
Smriti, a 16-time winner on WGAI, was second at 229 and Vani ended third at 231. Rani Sonti (76) was fourth at 239 and Ankita Tiwana (79) was fifth.
Neha, who started the day four ahead of Smriti Mehra, parred the first two holes, even as Smriti had a bogey-double bogey start, extending Neha’s lead to seven shots. When Neha double bogeyed the third and Smriti birdied the same, there was a three-shot swing to reduce the lead to four for Neha. Smriti eagled the fourth and Neha birdied it but the gap was now down to three.
Neha gave Smriti a further opportunity as she dropped another double bogey on sixth and a bogey on seventh before picking a birdie on ninth. Smriti parred from fifth to ninth and turned in 36 as compared to Neha’s 39, reducing the lead to just one shot.
Then Smriti lapsed into a series of errors with four bogeys on back nine, while Neha managed to limit the damage with just two bogeys and emerged a winner by three shots.
Vani bogeyed three times in last four holes to drop from a possible second place to third with a card 76. In all Vani had two birdies and six bogeys.
The second leg of the 12-event Tour will be held at Tollygunge Club from February 4 to 7, followed by the third leg in BPGC, Mumbai from February 25 to 28.
The Center for Public IntegrityWeekly Watchdog
January 31, 2013 

Center reports on the money bankrolling big-spending nonprofits
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens Uniteddecision in 2010, nonprofits such as the American Future Fund have played a more prominent role in electoral contests — all while keeping their donors secret. During the 2010 midterm elections, politically active nonprofitsoutspent super PACs by a 3-to-2 margin. The American Future Fund ranked third among “social welfare” nonprofits in spending in the 2012 federal election,according to the Center for Responsive Politics, trailing only the Karl Rove-affiliated Crossroads GPS andAmericans for Prosperity, which is backed by conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. The American Future Fund has raised more than $60 million, with spikes in contributions coming in election years. Much of that money has come from another conservative “social welfare” nonprofit that doesn’t disclose its donors by name — the Arizona-based Center to Protect Patient Rights. The nonprofit has no website and lists its address as a post office box in Phoenix. It was launched in 2009 by Republican operative Sean Noble, who has extensive ties to the vast political network underwritten by the Koch brothers.
 Read More››

From the Primary Source: Major retailer seeks help on K street
The teen- and twentysomething-focused clothier, Urban Outfitters, has hired Abraham & Roetzel LLC, the lobbying firm of former Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., to represent it, according to a new U.S. Senate lobbying registration filing. "Retail" and "federal policy involving economic development and urban development" are the issues on which Abraham & Roetzel will lobby for Urban Outfitters, the filing states. Federal records indicate that this is the first time Urban Outfitters has hired federal-level lobbying representation. In April, the company will be required to disclose how much it paid for the help.

Join The Center’s ‘Primary Source’ reporters Dave Levinthal and Michael Beckel for a discussion on campaign finance in a live chat on Monday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. ET.
 Read More››

IMPACT: More states seek reform after Center’s ‘State Integrity Investigation’
In the 10 months since The Center launched the State Integrity Investigation in collaboration with Global Integrity and PRI/Public Radio International, more than 12 states have proposed new legislation or started a reform campaign. Four more states have passed new measures. The latest actions come from Maine and North Dakota. InMaine, legislation to make it unlawful for state officials to leave their jobs and immediately go to work for industries they regulated – the so-called “revolving door” – is one of several ethics bills expected to be debated this session. And lawmakers in North Dakota have introduced a package of ethics reform bills that would revamp the state’s oversight of its politicians. Dubbed the Sunshine Act, the measures would create an ethics commission to investigate state officials and would tighten campaign finance reporting rules, among other changes.

What grade did your state earn?
 Read More››

Shedding light on secret spenders
Last year, the Center for Public Integrity’s investigative work was cited nearly 15,000 times by other media organizations. I expect that number will grow this year. That’s in part because of a new Center project launched this week called Primary Source.

Primary Source will publish daily original reports on all things influence-related: examinations and analyses of primary source documents pertaining to political contributions, spending, lobbying and other forms of special interest influence. Primary Source is part of the Center for Public Integrity's larger Consider the Source project that focuses on developments in the post-Citizens United world of money and politics.

The 2012 campaign may be over, but the money and influence game continues apace. We want to show where that money comes from. For example, Primary Source reported that a brand new conservative group, American for a Strong Defense, just popped up two weeks ago and started buying hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads against the Senate confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin’s PAC (Sarah PAC) still has $1.15 million in the bank and remains a political force, even if its namesake has dropped her Fox TV contract. And there is a new super PAC for Hillary Clinton, a group called "Ready for Hillaryregistered Fridaywith the Federal Election Commission.

These and other influence updates will find their way to Primary Source with an eye on naming those who seek to manipulate public opinion and elected officials for political gain. Please bookmark Primary Source here, subscribe to its RSS feed here, follow daily updates on Twitter at @PublicIand "like" us on Facebook. Also be sure to send in your tips, hints and suggestions

Until next week,

Bill Buzenberg
Executive Director

Connect with us:

The Center for Public Integrity ® 910 17th Street NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | (202) 466-1300
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


South Korea’s designated and incoming president Park Geun-hye and Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi have held their first meeting.Two met in Seoul on Tuesday, one day after the Nobel peace laureate arrived on a five-day visit, her first trip to South Korea.
At the meeting, Park praised Aung San Suu Kyi for her dedication and sacrifice in bringing democracy to her country.
Park expressed her sympathy for the difficulties Aung San Suu Kyi underwent. She said she understands the meaning of giving up personal happiness and living for the sake of the nation.
In response, Aung San Suu Kyi said she hopes the democratic progress in Myanmar will lead to peace and prosperity not only in her country but around the world.
Both Park and Aung San Suu Kyi have become leading political figures in Asia. Both of their fathers met with violent deaths. Aung San Suu Kyi’s father General Aung San was killed by assassins in 1947, while Park’s father was killed by his intelligence chief in 1979.
Park will be inaugurated as South Korea’s first female president on February 25th.
Aung San Suu Kyi was freed in 2010 after spending more than a decade under house arrest. She was elected to Myanmar’s parliament last year as head of the country’s largest opposition party, the National League for Democracy.
The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate will be given a human rights award in the city of Gwangju on Thursday.
She won the award in 2004 but could not receive it as she was under house arrest.NHK inputs

Australia to hold elections Sept. 14

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard declare a national election for September 14th, a surprise move for voters. Gillard announced the election date for both chambers of parliament at a news conference in Canberra on Wednesday.

Governments in Australia traditionally give little more than a month's notice of a national election. A rare for a prime minister to announce the date eight  months in advance.

Gillard said she wanted to set the date to avoid a guessing game, and end political uncertainty.Media agencies

Canon India intensifies marketing plans
Launches a first-of-its kind Out-of-Home initiative in India

New Delhi, January 29, 2013: Canon India Pvt. Ltd., India’s No. 1 complete digital imaging company, today unveiled a first-of-its kindOut-of-Home initiative in India. Proving its reputation as a technology innovator, Canon India went a step further by setting up unique Neon Signs at International Airports in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai.

This is the first such initiative by any Japanese company in India. Designed by advertising giant, Dentsu India, the concept lies in the growing popularity of Neon Signs in the country that surround consumers with unique and ubiquitous visual impact.

Expressing his views on the launch, Mr. Kazutada Kobayashi, President and CEO, Canon India, said, Canon is a powerful brand, both in India and worldwide. Today, we have pioneered the ‘Out of Home Media’ initiative by launching the Canon Neon sign at specific locations in three major cities of India becoming the first Japanese Company to create such a major launch in India. This is part of our growth strategy for 2013 to create a powerful brand recall for our customers. This would be the first strategic step to create a positive image for the Brand as well as the Company. As part of our Vision and Mission, we want people to be proud of associating themselves with the Canon Brand; this initiative would pave the way for creating that association together with our state-of-the-art technology and quality service network.”

Expressing his views, Dr. Alok Bharadwaj, Executive Vice President, Canon India said, “As part of the company’s commitment to India and its growth, we, at Canon India, are delighted to launch the Neon signs at prominent international airports in India today. An example of innovation and digital expertise, the Neon signs will help Canon stand out as a company which drives innovation in every aspect of its business – be it product or marketing. Initiatives like these also help improve the brand awareness and are an assurance of the long term commitments.”

In 2012, the company rolled out a new marketing campaign by roping in young Bollywood actress, Anushka Sharma, as the brand ambassador for Canon’s cameras. After it’s highly successful and innovative ‘What Makes Us Click’ campaign, Canon is determined to extend its marketing initiatives to reach out to a niche target audience and retain the exuberance, energy and appearance of the brand. In the past decade, Canon has undertaken several pioneering advertising and marketing campaigns with renowned brand ambassadors from the field of sports and Bollywood.

Canon Hong Kong was also recognized for delivering the first revolving neon sign in Asia and LED lighting wall as part of the Symphony of Light Show in Hong Kong.

About Canon Inc.
Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leader in the fields of professional and consumer imaging equipment and information systems. Canon’s extensive range of products includes copying machines, inkjet and laser printers, cameras, video equipment, medical equipment and semiconductor-manufacturing equipment. Originally established in 1937 as Precision Optical Industry, Co., Ltd., a camera manufacturer, Canon has successfully diversified and globalized to become a worldwide industry leader in professional and consumer imaging systems and solutions. With over 200,000 employees worldwide, Canon has manufacturing and marketing subsidiaries in Japan, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania; and a global R&D network with companies based in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. Canon’s consolidated net sales for fiscal 2011 (ended December 31, 2011) totalled $45.6 billion (at an exchange rate of 78=US$1). Visit the Canon Inc. website at:

About Canon India
Canon India targets a growth of Rs. 1850 crore in 2012 which is 21% growth over last year. Canon focuses on multiple market segments of consumer, SME, B2B, Government & Commercial. Canon’s product portfolio extends over a vast variety such as copier MFDs, fax-machines, printers, scanners, All-in-ones, digital cameras, DSLR, Cinematic imaging products,  camcorders, cable ID printers and card printers.
Canon India Pvt. Ltd. is a 100% subsidiary of Canon Singapore Pvt. Ltd., a world leader in imaging technologies. Set up in 1997, Canon India markets over 140 comprehensive range of sophisticated contemporary digital imaging. The company today has offices in 10 cities, warehouses in 13 cities across India and employs over 1100 people. Canon has approximately 400 primary channel partners, 14 National Retail Chain partners, and over 6000 secondary retail points. Canon has over 93 own retail stores called the Canon Image Square across 48 cities in the country.  Canon’s service reach extends to over 2800 towns with over 200 service engineers, 7 Canon owned service centers and 37 Canon Care Centers.

For Further information, please contact:                                             
Vani Khurana/ Divya Sibal / Divij Krishna
Corporate Voice | Weber Shandwick
+91-9810947602/ +91-9818259257 / +91-9654776017

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

LG Electronics India launched new Power Cut EverCool refrigerators

LG Electronics India launched new Power Cut EverCool refrigerators the ability to retain cooling for up to seven hours without electricity plus retains freezing for two additional hours. Soon Kwon, LG’s MD, said the PCE technology is the outcome of two years of collaborative research by the company’s teams in India and South Korea. The main research finding was that Indian weather conditions, coupled with erratic power supply, caused heavy damage to (and wastage of) food at households.

Delhi Darts buoyed by Rahil Gangjee, Edfors and Scott Barr
New Delhi, January 28: Delhi Darts will be buoyed by the resurgence of Rahil Gangjee, who will lead their challenge in the Pearls Golf Premier League, which tees off at the Aamby Valley Golf Course from February 8. The three-day event will be preceded by a star-studded Pro-Am.
Gangjee, who returned from Hua Hin, Thailand, where he regained his Asian Tour card at the Asian Tour Qualifying School, is excited about the new concept of a Golf Premier League.
“It is totally new in golf and to have such an event on the lines of the successful IPL in cricket is great. I am looking forward to the event, where our team Delhi Darts will include the flamboyant and long-hitting Johan Edfors, Scott Barr of Australia and the hugely talented Ajeetesh Sandhu, who won his maiden pro title late last year,” said Gangjee.
He added, “We have Ajai Gupta as our coach and that should help even more. He is also my coach, so I expect to benefit a lot from there.
Gangjee, opens his season at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge, following which he will proceed to Aamby valley for the path-breaking event.
Gangjee spent the last two years playing in the United States on the Web,com Tour, where he missed keeping his card this year. He said “I am hoping events like Pearls GPL and then a spate of Asian Tour events in India will help me find my rhythm again and get back to higher Tours. I was runner-up at Kensville last year and am looking at improving on that this time.”
The eight-team Pearls GPL will 32 leading players representing various teams for a prize pool of $ 400,000. The players were picked at the auction held in Mumbai earlier this month.
The field will include five Major winners, who between them have six Majors. The Major champions who will assemble at Aamby Valley will include Angel Cabrera, the 2007 US Open winner and 2009 Masters Champion, Darren Clarke, the 2011 British Open winner, Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA winner, Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA winner and Michael Campbell, the 2005 US Open winner.
The eight teams and the players are as follows:
Shubhkamna Eagles: Anirban Lahiri, Daniel Chopra (Sweden), Michael Campbell (New Zealand), Shamim Khan
Delhi Darts:  Rahil Gangjee, Scott Barr (Australia), Johan Edfors (Sweden), Ajeetesh Sandhu,
Maharashtra 59’ers:  Shiv Kapur, Scott Hend (Australia), Angel Cabrera (Argentina), Ashok Kumar
Punjab Lancers: Gaganjeet Bhullar, Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), Shaun Micheel (US), Rashid Khan
Gujarat Underdawgs: Digvijay Singh, Jarmo Sandelin (Sweden), David Howell (England), Gaurav Ghei
Uttarakhand Lions: Shankar Das, Chapchai Nirat (Thailand), Darren Clarke (N Ireland), Mukesh Kumar
Colombo 6’s: Chiragh Kumar, Jason Knutzon (Australia), Simon Dyson (England), Mithun Perera (Sri Lanka)
Tamilnadu Pullees:
Himmat Rai, Siddikur (Bangladesh), Rich Beem (US), Harendra Gupta

Kolkata all set for the season opener Hero RCGC Women’s Pro Golf Championship 2013

Smriti Mehra and Vani Kapoor all set to revive the OOM rivalry; Sharmila Nicollet withdraws due to injury while Nalini Siwach bids farewell to professional Golf

Kolkata, January 28, 2013: Royal Calcutta Golf Club will play the perfect host to the season opening leg of the Hero Women’s Professional Golf tour 2013. The club that boasts of a rich history will host the Rs. 4,00,000 Hero RCGC Women’s Pro Golf Championship 2013 from the 29th to the 31st of January 2013.The HeroWomen’s Professional Golf Tour 2013 will spread amongst 12 legs with a total of INR 60,00,000 as prize money.

This tournament will also see the revival of the stiff competition between Veteran golfer and 2012 OOM leader Smriti Mehra (Rs. 8,62,750) and the young and dynamic golfer Vani Kapoor (Rs. 8, 13, 500) who impressed the whole country by her fiery performance as a professional in her rookie season last year. Golf lovers from the City of Joy will be rooting for local girl Neha Tripathi who finished fourth in the 2012 Hero OOM with a total earning of Rs. 4,79,000.

Bangalore Golfer Sharmila Nicollet who retained her LET card for the 2013 season after a superb performance at Morocco in the LET Q School last year will miss the first leg of the Hero RCGC Women’s Pro Golf Championship 2013 as she withdrew due to injury yesterday. Ranked third in the 2012 Hero OOM, Delhi golfer Nalini Singh Siwach bid farewell to professional golf due to personal reasons and will not been see on the circuit this year onwards, while the tour has a new addition from Kenya, Bhavi Shah who will be the Rookie Player on the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour 2013.

“We had a very successful season last year, where both experienced hands like Smriti and young blood Vani and Nalini put up a great show making it a very exciting season. However we are really disappointed with Nalini Singh Siwach's retirement news from Women's professional golf. This is a real set back to the tour where we miss out on an extremely talented golfer right at the beginning of the 2013 season. Nalini was an extremely hardworking player whose potential had not yet been realized.  However we are happy to have Bhavi Shah from Kenya as our rookie player this season and we hope the trend of high level competitive golf continues this year as well and we see more youngsters coming into fray. Women’s golf has seen considerable growth over past few years and we at WGAI are confident to keep the upward momentum going”, said Mrs Champika Sayal, Secretary General, WGAI.

Along with Smriti Mehra, Vani Kapoor and Neha Tripathi other golfers who would be seen on field today onwards are Ankita Tiwana, Pallavi Jain, Priya Puri, Rani Sonti, Vandana Agarwal and Bhavi Shah.


IAAPI all set to host 13th Amusement Expo in Pragati Maidan

Mega leisure-entertainment industry event to showcase the best & the latest

 New Delhi, 28th January, 2013: Amusement parks and Family Entertainment Centres (FEC) are a sunrise sector in India. There are 100 amusement parks and the same number of FECⳠin India and the number is likely to increase more than five times in the next decade.

Keeping in sync with the growth dynamics of this sector, Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI) a 260 member association is hosting its 13th Amusement Expo in DelhiⳠPragati Maidan from January 29th to 31st.

IAAPI is an apex, non-profitable organization established in January, 1999. Their members comprise of amusement park operators, manufacturers, importers, traders, suppliers, distributors and other affiliated sectors of the amusement and leisure industry.

“Our members vary from manufacturers to operators and suppliers of amusement related equipment. We also assist new entrants in sourcing technical knowhow in setting up their own amusement parks,⒠says Yogesh Dange, 1st Vice President IAAPI.

There is need to tap foreign visitors who at present comprise only 2 to 3 per cent of visitors of these parks in India. Compared to this around 59 per cent foreign visitors visit amusement parks in countries like US, Singapore and Australia.

A sure way of increasing footfalls in these parks is through publicity both done by the private sector and also through the government.

“Over a decade back when Anant Kumar was the tourism minister, he had said that there was a need to introduce information about amusement parks in their tourism brochures,⒠says Santokh Chawla, President IAAPI.

Entertainment tax levied on some of these parks acts as a deterrent in growth of business, this should be rationalized. Some states in a bid to give a boost to this segment have exempted these parks from paying entertainment tax.

“IndiaⳊfirst amusement park was Appu Ghar in Delhi which was set up during the Asian Games in 1982 in Pragati Maidan. Since it was the only of its kind, people visiting Delhi would make it a point to visit this place. Now with technological advancement the amusement parks are much more sophisticated and of international standards across the country. As a result there is a steady increase in the number of visitors in these parks,⒠says Ajay Sarin, Chairman Trade Show.

The cost of investment in an amusement park ranges from Rs 3 crore to over Rs 40 crore. The break-even period varies from 2 years to 5 years. The highest earnings come from tickets, followed by food and beverage sales and the last is merchandising.

IAAPI had commissioned Ernst and Young to conduct a study on this segment. According to the report, the amusement industry in India is worth over Rs 2,750 crore at present and is expected to reach Rs 5,400 crore by 2020.

The study further points out,“apart from providing entertainment, the growth of parks will act as a stimulus for the development of ancillary industries by building a social infrastructure within suburban and rural areas where these parks are generally located. Amusement parks are also known to create opportunities and generate employment in related sectors including raw material and equipment manufacturers, suppliers, transporters etc.Ⓖ/span>

“The upcoming Expo is expected to give a boost to this sector in India which is growing at a rate of 15 to 20 per cent. The Expo will have participants from across the globe including countries like Argentina, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, UAE, UK and USA. Out of the total 120 exhibitors there are 30 international equipment manufacturers taking part in the Expo,⒠says Dange.

This Expo will primarily be a B2B event wherein visitors would include architects, builders, developers, consultants, engineering firms, hoteliers, government officials, park operators and resort owners.

IAAPI will also organize training programmes and conferences during the course of the three days of the Expo.

“The amusement industry has huge potential and we have seen only increase in the footfalls over last couple of years which indicates that more number of people are looking for wholesome family entertainment destinations and amusement parks provide that opportunity where a family can spend quality time together,⒠says Dange.

For further information contact

Yeshi Seli, Head, Wular Media Strategy Consultants (M) 9811153128༯span>,༯span>

Vipin Labroo (M) 9873981975༯span>

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tourism Minister to Visit Spain
Union Minister for Tourism Shri K Chiranjeevi will be on an official visit to Spain from 29 January to February 3.

During his visit the Minister will inaugurate India Tourism Pavilion in FITUR and will hold discussions with Spanish Tourism Minister Mr. Jose Manuel Soria Lopez on cooperation in the tourism sector.

On the sidelines of this visit Shri Chiranjeevi will be meeting Mr. Artur Mas, President of Catalonia province. On 31st January, Tourism Minister will be meeting Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO.

India and Spain share similarities in their tourism products with both the countries being looked upon as cultural destinations. Both the conutries endeavour to develop common approaches to address new and emerging challenges in tourism sector.

In 2009, India signed an MoU with Spain in the field of tourism, which provides a roadmap for cooperation in a number of tourism related areas. India is also exploring the possibility of hosting 1st Joint working group meeting on tourism cooperation between India and Spain at a mutually agreeable date and venue.
Anand Sharma Launches eBiz Portal
Portal to Provide Secure one Stop Shop for all Investment and Business Related Information and Services 24X7
The Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma launched an eBiz portal at the CII Partnership Summit in Agra today. The portal is India’s Government-to-Business (G2B) portal developed by Infosys in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model. “This Mission Mode Project will mark a paradigm shift in the Government’s approach to providing Government-to-Business (G2B) services for India’s investor and business communities,” said Shri Sharma while launching the portal.

In order to enable businesses and investors to save time and costs and in order to improve the business environment in the country, an online single window was conceptualised in the form of the eBiz Mission Mode Project under the National eGovernance Plan. Shri Sharma said that the “project aims to create a business and investor friendly ecosystem in India by making all business and investment related regulatory services across Central, State and local governments available on a single portal, thereby obviating the need for an investor or a business to visit multiple offices or a plethora of websites.”

Shri Sharma further said that the core value of the transformational project lies in a shift in the Governments’ service delivery approach from being department-centric to customer-centric. “eBiz will create a 24x7 facility for information and services and will also offer joined-up services where a single application submitted by a customer, for a number of permissions, clearances, approvals and registrations, will be routed automatically across multiple governmental agencies in a logical manner.” “An inbuilt payment gateway will also add value by allowing all payments to be collected at one point and then apportioned, split and routed to the respective heads of account of Central / State / Para-statal agencies along with generation of challans and MIS reports. This payment gateway is the first of its kind designed in India and can become a universal payment gateway for all eGovernance applications,” added Shri Sharma.

The Department of Industrial Promotion & Policy, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, is the Nodal Government Agency responsible for the implementation of the eBiz Project. Infosys Technologies Ltd. has been selected as the Concessionaire/ Project Implementation Partner and is responsible for the design, development, implementation and maintenance of the eBiz Solution.

Shri Sharma said that the government is “firmly committed to wide-ranging initiatives aimed at fostering the business environment in the country in a holistic manner. Our approach includes leveraging technology to bring transparency, improve efficiency and promote convenience. eBiz is an important step in this direction and we are pleased to work in partnership with Infosys on this project, which we hope will become a benchmark for successful Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the country.”

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Saurabh Chandra, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry observed that “the eBiz Project is the first of its kind ever implemented in the country. It marks the highest level of maturity in web-based eGovernance applications as it strives to achieve horizontal integration across various verticals of Central government, State governments and Para-statal agencies”.

The first phase of the project, which was being launched today, provides an interactive tool that helps investors assess the Licenses and Permits requirements while setting up and operating a business in India. The License & Permit Information wizard will provide authentic information 24X7 to investors and businesses by providing answers to questions in an interview style format

Over 50 groups wrtie to MoEF

Over 50 groups individual and groups from all over have written to the Union Minister of state of Environment and Forests Smt Jayanthi Natarajan, Secertary MoEF and members of the Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects, urging them to reject the Environment Clearance for the 775 MW Luhri hydropower project on Sutlej river in Himachal Pradesh. The letter has been endorsed by over 50 individuals and groups from 15 states all over India, including prominent organisations like the Kalpavriksh, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad, Bharat Jan Andolan, National Alliance of People's Movements, All India Forum of Forest People, People's Science Institute, Save Rivers Campaign of Uttarakhand, Matu Jan Sangathan, River Research Centre, River Basin Organisation, People's Union of Democratic Rights, Socialist Party, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, Nature Conservation Foundation and ATREE. The letter has been endorsed by two of the former secretaries of Govt of India, a former ambassador, well known columnist, environmentalists, among others. 

The Luhri project will have the world's longest tunnel (38.14 km), bypassing last 50 km stretch of flowing Sutlej river, in addition to submerging 6.8 km of the river in the reservoir. This is the last stretch of the mighty Sutlej river that is still flowing, in an otherwise over developed river basin. Forgetting its own norms the Expert Appraisal Committee on RVP did not even note that there is zero distance of flowing river between upstream Rampur and Luhri upstream of the project. Similarly there is zero distance of flowing river between downstream Kol dam and Lurhi project, downstream of the project. This is against the recommendation of at least 5 km of flowing river between any two projects by the Himachal High Court appointed committee headed by former additional Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh Avay Shukla. Even the EAC has been following the norm of 1 km between two projects, which is highly inadequate, but the EAC has not followed it in this case, the letter says. 

The letter notes that the overdeveloped Sutlej river basin does not have any credible cumulative impact assessment including carrying capacity of the basin from various aspects. Without such an assessment, it is not even possible to know if the large number of projects in the basin are viable or sustainable, as even directed by the Supreme Court in its 2006 order. The project has seen violations of several norms from the stage when it applied for the Terms of Reference in 2007 to when the Expert Appraisal Committee recommended clearance to the project in Nov 2012, the letter highlights. 

Another letter, endorsed by the same groups, on similar lines have been sent to the EAC, asking it to reconsider its decision on the project. The Environment Impact Assessment of the project has been so shoddy that even the EAC noted it is meeting that the EIA is inadequate and the EIA consultant has submitted poor quality material. The letter notes that in spite of this and even as the public hearings of the report had seen numerous violations and the government officials have been manipulating processes to bring pressure on the gram sabhas to give their consent for the project, the EAC recommended clearance to the project without resolving the issues raised by the EAC. This is completely against people, environment and legal norms and the EAC should immediately review the decision and reject the environment clearance to the project. 

The letter and the annexures send to the MoEF and EAC are attached. 

Himanshu Thakkar 
Naresh --

The President did something big last week.

He proposed a set of major reforms to help protect our children and our communities by curbing gun violence, and he's already announced 23 executive actions that will go a long way in helping keep our kids safe.

This is an important start -- but I have no illusions about what needs to be done and how difficult it will be.

Every step we intend to take will preserve the tradition of responsible gun ownership in our country and uphold the Second Amendment. And while we'll never end gun violence entirely, if we can save the life of even one child, then we have a responsibility to act.

This action includes not only what we can do, but what Congress can do. To make a real and lasting difference, they must act soon. 

The President has called on Congress to act on four specific legislative measures: closing background check loopholes, banning military-style assault weapons and limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines, making our schools safer, and increasing access to mental health services.

Read more about the President's plan to reduce gun violence, and make sure you forward this to friends and family.

The President asked me to work with law enforcement, teachers, parents, sportsmen, Democrats, Republicans, faith leaders, mental health experts, and other organizations and individuals to come up with a set of concrete policy proposals. The plan he put forth is the product of those conversations and recommendations.

Right now, President Obama is counting on you.

Each one of us needs to speak up and demand action. It doesn't matter whether you live in a big city or a small town like Newtown, Connecticut. When our fellow Americans are victims of senseless violence, we all pull together as one American family.

Let's get this done, folks.

Whether the action we take saves one life or 1,000, it matters.

Thank you,


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