Scholar's sucide: University of Hyderabad revokes suspension of four Ph.D. students

As protests continued against the suicide of a Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad last Sunday, the Executive Council of the institution on Thursday decided to revoke the supension orders issued against four other Dalit Ph. D. students who had been expelled along with him.

Rohith Vemula
Rohith Vemula
As protests continued against the suicide of a Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad last Sunday, the Executive Council of the institution today decided to revoke the supension orders issued against four other Dalit Ph. D. students who had been expelled along with him.
At a special meeting here today, the Executive Council, chaired by Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile, decided to end the punishment meted out to the five students vide its resolution at a meeting held on November 27, 2015.
At that meeting, the five students, including deceased research scholar Rohith Vemula, were barred from staying in the university hostels or gather in the administrative building and other common places in groups till the complete their courses and programmes at the institution.
Rohith was one of the persons accused of assaulting a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Rohith, 26, who was staying in a tent set up on the campus and was on a relay hunger strikefor the past few days  with his suspended fellow students, hanged himself in a room in the hostel on Sunday and his death sparked off protests by groups of students not only in the University of Hyderabad but also in places such as Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai.
His fellow students alleged that Rohith had taken the extreme step because of the discrimination against Dalit students following a letter written by Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who hails from Hyderabad, to Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani seeking action against the students for their "anti-national" activities. The Ministry, in turn, forwarded the letter to the University authorities and then followed it up with five letters, seeking an update in the matter.
In a suicide note he left behind in the room where he killed himself, he spoke of, among other things, the social ostracisation that he and his friends faced and the fact that he had not received his stipend of Rs. 25,000 per month for the past seven months.
Ms. Irani denied her Ministry had intervened in the matter and said it was routine for it to follow-up on representations sent by Members of Parliament.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi met Rohith's mother and other members of his family on the university campus on Tuesday and addressed the students and since then other political leaders have also visited the campus, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today.
"Taking into account the extraordinary situation prevailing in the university, and after discussing the issue in detail, the council resolved to terminate the punishment imposed on the students concerned with immediate effect," the Executive Council resolution said.
The council made it clear that the decision was subject to the verdict in the cases in the matter filed in the High Court as well as the complaint filed at the Gachibowli Police Station here in connection with Rohith's suicide.
Separately, Prof Podile issued a fervent appeal to all in the university to contribute to resuming regular class work, research activities and administrative work without further delay. He urged all teachers, students, officers and other staffof the university to rise to the occasion.
"The past three days have been highly disturbing to an otherwise academically peaceful campus with the series of events that occurred. Our university cannot afford to miss out on academic and research work. We all know that it would affect the career of several of our students, including research scholars, who have important deadlines to meet with regard to their work progress," he said.
"The special efforts of the University of Hyderabad Teachers' Association (UHTA) and the SC/ST Teachers' Forum and the suggestions made thereof to resolve the most urgent issue to resume class work have been considered by the Executive Council of the University of Hyderabad at its meeting held this morning. The decision of the Executive Council is put up separately on the website. Several individuals/groups of the teachers have expressed their concern and offered their services to resolve the matter. I profusely thank the UHTA, members of the SC/ST Teachers' Forum and all other individuals who have reached out to resolve the matter.
"Other observations/suggestions from all the teachers will be taken forward using internal mechanisms and within the limits of the university, after the agitation is called off completely and complete peace is restored on the campus. I request the students, faculty and staff to maintain calmness and harmony under the extraordinary circumstance prevailing on the campus and repose faith in the internal mechanisms to resolve the issue," he added.
Earlier in the day, a group of Dalit faculty members of the University of Hyderabad took serious objection to the statement on Rohith's suicide and subsequent developments made by Ms. Irani in Delhi yesterday.
"In response to the Minister's fabricated statements, we the Dalit (SC/ST) faculty and officers will lay down our administrative positions," they said in a statement.
"It is unfortunate that the Minister misrepresented the facts of the case and said that the senior most Dalit professor actually headed the Executive Council sub-committee which took the decision to suspend the students. It was headed by an upper caste Professor Vipin Srivastava and there are no Dalit faculty in the sub-committee of the Executive Council. Incidentally, the Dean Student Welfare who happens to be a Dalit was notionally coopted as an ex-officio member of the sub-committee.
"It is unfortunate that since its inception no Dalit representation has been given in the Executive Council of University of Hyderabad," the statement said.
The statement accused Ms. Irani of misleading the nation by observing that Hostel Wardens had suo motu powers to expel the students.
"It is just a coincidence that the Chief Warden happens to be a Dalit and he only implemented the orders of the higher authorities. 
Such a baseless and misleading statement coming from the Minister of HRD amounts to bringing down the morale of the Dalits holding administrative positions in this university as well as other universities," it said.
The statement said that, by deflecting the issue, Ms. Irani was absolving herself and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya from responsibilit for the death of Rohith.
"We express our solidarity with the students who are protesting against the death of Rohith Vemula and demand the immediate revocation of suspension and removal of all police cases filed against our students," the statement added.

Hyderabad student's suicide: Rahul Gandhi says those responsible must be punished

As student protests continued in several cities over the alleged suicide of a Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad on Sunday, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi visited the campus on Tuesday and called for the strictest punishment possible for those who had pushed him to take the extreme step.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi with the family of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide on Sunday, at the University of Hyderabad on January 19, 2016.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi with the family of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide on Sunday, at the University of Hyderabad on January 19, 2016.
As student protests continued in different cities for the second day over the alleged suicide of a Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad on Sunday, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi visited the campus today and called for the strictest punishment possible for those who had pushed him to take the extreme step.
"Whoever is responsible for this outcome has to be punished in the strictest manner possible," Mr. Gandhi said in an address to the protesting students of the Central university after meeting the mother and other family members of the deceased student, Rohith Vemula.
He said the idea of a university is that young people from all over the country could come and express whatever was in their hearts.
"This is like a stage. They can come, whether their ideas are interesting, not interesting, smart, not smart, every student must feel that when I go to university, regardless of who I am, how much money I have, what community I come from, what religion I come from, what type of hairstyle I have, what type of shirt I wear, he must feel that this is an institution that I can say whatever I want without punishment, without pain," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said a university was also about knowledge. "And when you try to impose on youngsters like yourselves one idea and you try to tell them that, sorry, only this idea is acceptable, you cause tremendous pain to the passion that that person has. And you would all have felt this," he said.
He said there were students in the university who wanted to express some ideas and the institution, "instead of operating fairly, instead of letting them speak...., has used its power to crush them."
"And the vice-chancellor and the Minister in Delhi, have not acted fairly. What is the result, the result that this youngster who came here to improve this country, who came here to learn, who came here to express himself, was put in so much pain that he had no other option but to kill himself," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said that the 26-year-old student had certainly committed suicide but "the conditions for his suicide have been created by the vice-chancellor and the Minister and the institution."
"And that means that there is no question, absolutely no question, on merits, for the vice-chancellor to remain here," he said.
He aso took strong exception to the fact that the vice-chancellor, Prof. Appa Rao Podile, had not "had the decency and the dignity to meet the mother" of the deceased student. He said this was an insult to the country, the institution and all its students and teachers.
Mr. Gandhi sid he agreed with the students' demand that Rohith's family must be paid financial compensation and provided a job. "This boy was going to give them a future. They have removed this boy. If they have removed this boy, now they must give them the future that he would have given to them," he said.
"There are certain people who are responsible for this boy's death. The vice-chancellor is among them, the Minister is among them, and the people that have applied pressure on this boy for expressing his ideas, his thoughts are among them. Whoever is responsible for this outcome has to be punished in the strictest manner possible," he said.
Mr. Gandhi told the students that they were not alone, because this was happening in every university in India.
He said it was important to create a legislation that guarantes certain minimum rights to all Indian students, maintains the autonomy of the institutions and does not allow the Central government to impose its will on them. He said such a law would give students minimum rights with regard to the freedom of ideas and the expression of those ideas, "regardless of who they are, what caste they are, where they come from, what religion they come from".
"I have come here not as a politician. I have come here as a young person who feels what you are going through. I do not appreciate that so many years after our independence, we do not have the courage to allow every one of our students to express what they believe, to express what they want to say and allow them to say it. And I am going to make sure that we fight for that and that we build an India where every single person, regardless of where he comes from, what social group he comes from, what religion he comes from, he can proudly stand up and say this is what I think, this is what I believe," he said.
Meanwhile, apart from Hyderabad, student groups held protests in places such as Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai against the suicide of the student.
Rohith had committed suicide by hanging himself in a room in one of the hostels on the campus on Sunday. He was among five research scholars who were placed under suspension by the university in August last year. He was one of the persons accused of assaulting a student leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
His fellow students alleged that Rohith had taken the extreme step because of the discrimination against Dalit students following a letter written by Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who hails from Hyderabad, to Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani seeking action against the students for their "anti-national" activities.
Among other things, Rohith was denied access to the hostel, the mess and other facilities. 
Ms. Irani said yesterday the Ministry had appointed a two-member fact-finding committee. She also said the Central government did not intervene in the functioning of the university and had no administrative control over it. She also conveyed her condolences to the family of the dead student.
Mr. Dattatreya denied he had any role in the university's decision to suspend Rohith and the others. He said he had only forwarded a representation from the ABVP to Ms. Irani and was unaware if they Ministry had taken any action on it or not.
Media reports said today that the Ministry of Human Resource Development had sent as many as four letters to the university seeking to know what action had been taken on Mr. Dattatreya's letter. Students and activists today staged a protest outside his home in Hyderabad.
The Trinamool Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party have announced that they would send teams to meet the agitating students.

Exim Bank signs MoU with Andhra Pradesh to facilitate State’s exports

Export-Import Bank of India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Andhra Pradesh for promotion of exports from the State.
The MoU was signed by Exim Bank Chairman and Managing Director Yaduvendra Mathur, and Mr. Shamsher Singh Rawat, Secretary and Commissioner for Industrial Promotion, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
A press release from the bank said it sought to support exporters having operations in Andhra Pradesh in achieving higher exports by facilitation of market linkages through its market advisory services, which will assist in identifying suitable partners. Besides, the bank would help develop skills through capacity building workshops, help the exporters’ participation in select trade fairs and exhibitions, and through research activities.
Exim Bank will also use its strong institutional linkages that it has developed over the years with institutions in advanced markets like the United States, Singapore, Japan, Australia and European Union, and facilitate technology transfer to the technology-seeking enterprises in Andhra Pradesh. 
"With its presence through a Regional Office in Hyderabad, the bank is desirous of further extending funding facilities to exporters from the State so as to provide them opportunity to access the global market," the release added.

Students protest in Delhi, Mumbai over research scholar's suicide in Hyderabad

Students protest in Delhi against Hyderabad research scholar's suicide
Students staged marches today in New Delhi and Mumbai to register their anger over the alleged suicide of a Dalit research scholar of the Central University in Hyderabad on Sunday and around 70 of them were detained by the police in the national capital.
The detentions were made after the protest outside the Ministry of Human Resource Development turned violent as students forced their way past barricades set up by the police.
Police said some policemen, including two officers, suffered injuries in stoning by the students. The police used water cannons to try and disperse the crowd and later picked up several of the protesters and bundled them into waiting buses.
The protests were staged by student organisations affiliated to the Left, including the All India Students Association and the Students Federation of India (SFI).
Rohit Vemula, 26, who was a Ph.D. scholar at the university, committed suicide by hanging himself in a room in one of the hostels on the campus.
He was among five research scholars who were placed under suspension by the university in August last year. He was one of the persons accused of assaulting a student leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
There were protests on the campus of the Hyderabad Central University also, with demonstrators demanding action against Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice-Chancellor of the university.
They alleged that Rohit had taken the extreme step because of the discrimination against the Dalit students following a letter written by Mr. Dattatreya to Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani seeking action against the students for their "anti-national" activities.
Among other things, Rohit was denied access to the hostel, the mess and other facilities. 
Ms. Irani said the Ministry had appointed a two-member fact-finding committee. She said the Central government did not intervene in the functioning of the university and had no administrative control over it. She also conveyed her condolences to the family of the dead student.
Mr. Dattatreya denied he had any role in the university's decision to suspend Rohit and the others. He said he had only forwarded a representation from the ABVP to Ms. Irani and was unaware if they Ministry had taken any action on it or not.
The polit bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said in a statement that, following last year's altercation between the ABVP and members of the Ambedkar Students Association, an inquiry was conducted by the university and the incident appeared to have been settled.
"The newly-appointed Vice Chancellor, allegedly, under pressure from the Minister of the Union Cabinet belonging to Hyderabad and the consequent direction by the Human Resources Development Ministry, had taken this action of suspension from the hostels," it said.
The statement said Rohit and other students were on a hunger strike against this action by the Vice-Chancellor. 
"Under these circumstances, the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) condemns the Vice Chancellor’s motivated decision that led to this suicide  and demands that the Vice Chancellor be booked under the SC Prevention of Atrocities Act immediately. 
"The Central government must conduct a thorough enquiry into this incident in this prestigious Central University that was established by law by the Parliament of India," the statement added.
Congress spokesperson R. P. N. Singh said Rohit had died "under circumstances that were deliberately orchestrated by BJP Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya".
"States like Rajasthan, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh have witnessed gross atrocities on Dalit citizens even as the State and Central Governments have looked away. Indian National Congress notes with concern the fact that an atmosphere is being created by the BJP-RSS against Dalits and backward classes of India," he said.
Mr. Singh said a first information report (FIR) had been registered against Mr. Dattatreya and the letter written by him, prima facie, amounted to abetment of suicide. The party demanded that Mr. Dattatreya should resign with immediate effect, failing which the Prime Minister should sack him.

Krishnapatnam Power Corporation to build thermal power projects worth Rs. 16,680 crore in AP

The Hyderabad-based CVR group-led Krishnapatnam Power Corporation today said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to build 2780 MW capacity of thermal power projects with an estimated investment of Rs. 16,680 crore.
The project, consisting of three 660 MW units and one 800 MW unit, is located in the coastal region at Taminapatnam Mommidi village, close to Krishnapatnam Port in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
A press release from the company said the project was expected to create direct and indirect employment opportunities for approximately 1500 people.
Mr. Chinta Sasidhar – Director, Krishnapatnam Power Corporation said, “The recent agreement has tremendously fortified our commitment and contribution towards the macro scheme of ‘Infrastructure Mission’ of Andhra Pradesh which envisions the creation of world class infrastructure for excellent connectivity and augmenting power generation capacity”.
“With the commissioning of these projects, we expect the huge demand of the state to be dealt actively, apart from creating immense job opportunities,” he added.
The CVR Group has interests in engineering, construction, ports and software development.
Krishnapatnam Power Corporation Ltd. (KPPCL) is the special purpose vehicle (SPV) implementing the coal-fired thermal power project promoted by Navayuga Power Corporation Ltd (NPCL), a part of the Navayuga Group.

Former Sikkim Governor V. Rama Rao passes away

V. Rama Rao
V. Rama Rao
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Sikkim Governor V. Rama Rao passed away at a hospital here today after a prolonged illness. 
He was 80. He is survived by wife Vasantha Kumari and a son, V Srinivas.
Mr. Rama Rao had served as Governor of Sikkim from October 25, 2002 to October 24, 2007.
Born on December 12, 1935, he started his political career in 1956 when he joined the Jana Sangh, the precursor of the BJP, and went on to become a senior leader of the BJP.
A lawyer by profession, he had practised law at the Andhra Pradesh High Court and was also involved in the trade union movement.
He was elected to the Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Council from Hyderabad Graduates' Constituency for four consecutive terms in 1966, 1972, 1978 and 1984. He served as the party's floor leader in the council during his last term.
He served as the president of the state unit of the BJP between 1993 and 2001 and later as a national vice-president of the party.
President Pranab Mukherjee condoled the passing away of Mr. Rama Rao, saying he had served the nation in different capacities during his public life.
"He worked for the welfare of the State of Andhra Pradesh and its people, including as a Member of the Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Council for four consecutive terms from 1966 - 1990.   The nation will always remember him for his contributions and pursuit of excellence in public life," he added.

SpiceJet introduces new flights to Dubai from Jaipur, Hyderabad

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today announced the launch of new flights to Dubai from Jaipur and Hyderabad from February 16.
With these, the airline will connect ten Indian cities with Dubai everyday, a press release from the company said.
The airline is offering an introductory one-way offer of Rs. 6499 (all-inclusive) between Jaipur and Dubai. The Hyderabad-Dubai fares start at Rs. 7999 (all-inclusive) while the Dubai-Hyderabad fares are available at Rs. 7199 (all-inclusive) on a first-come-first-served basis.
SpiceJet is the first airline to operate a direct flight on the Jaipur-Dubai route. It will fly five times a week on this route.
Ms. Shilpa Bhatia, Senior VP Commercial, SpiceJet, said, “We see huge potential, especially from non-metro cities such as Jaipur, waiting to be unlocked and over the years we have also witnessed a resurgence in demand on the Hyderabad-Dubai route from business and leisure travellers alike. Dubai is a key market in increasing our footprint across the Middle East and with these flight launches we aim to provide our customers with better and more convenient travel options.”
The airline will deploy its Boeing 737- 800 aircraft on these routes, the release added.

SABIC, CIPET expand collaboration for skill development CSR programme in plastics processing

SABIC, the Saudi Arabia-headquartered chemical company, has announced the expansion of its skill development corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme aimed at developing capacity in the plastics processing industry in India.
The programme, run in collaboration with the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET), under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, trained 50 youth from less privileged backgrounds in Chennai in its first phase and is now aimed at training 90 more from Hyderabad and Ahmedabad in the next phase.
This collaboration is a part of SABIC’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitment to create lasting value across the economic, social, human and environmental dimensions, a press release from the company said.
The programme entails a six month residential skill development course including a full scholarship that covers course fee, boarding and lodging costs. The students were selected through a comprehensive screening process undertaken independently by CIPET. Based on a special curriculum developed by CIPET with inputs from SABIC, students in CIPET, Hyderabad will be trained on plastics extrusion while students in CIPET, Ahmedabad will be trained to operate Injection Moulding Machines. 
Upon successful completion of the course, the students will be certified by CIPET and SABIC. These students will be equipped with skills to gain employment in various plastics processing hubs, the release said.
Speaking at the launch of the programme here yesterday, Janardhanan Ramanujalu, Vice President, SABIC South Asia & ANZ, said, “We are delighted to take our partnership with CIPET to the next level with the second phase of this skill development programme. After the overwhelming success of the first phase of the programme in Chennai, in which all graduates received employment offers, we look forward to enabling such high-potential youth in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad to access similar opportunities in the industry."
"Given the potential of the plastics processing industry in India, we believe that this programme will add more skilled frontline workers to the industry and contribute to Government of India’s vision of making India a global manufacturing hub," he said.
Dr. Pradeep Upadhyaya, Professor and Head, High Learning Centres, CIPET Ahmedabad said, “As the leading academic and research institute in the field of plastics, CIPET conducts programmes to equip people with skills that are in line with the latest requirements in the plastics industry. We believe that the success of such programmes rests heavily on collaboration with industry leaders such as SABIC, which help bring in industry orientation to the curriculum and greatly benefit students. We are confident that the skills acquired by the participants of this programme will help them capitalize on the opportunities presented by the growth in the plastics processing industry.”
The release said that, in alignment with SABIC’s global CSR policy, SABIC in India focuses its CSR efforts on the promotion of education, with special attention to less-privileged children and youth. Other SABIC CSR activities in the area of education include reconstruction of schools in Bengaluru and Vadodara and an eye-care campaign targeting 50,000 less-privileged students in government schools in Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurgaon and Vadodara, to facilitate their education and empowering underprivileged women by undertaking skill development programme to develop useful articles using plastic waste, teaching children responsible ways to dispose plastic waste. 

Kerala artist’s unorthodox ways regale crowd at Krishnakriti fest in Hyderabad

Kerala sculptor Valsan Koorma Kollery used wisecracks and simple tips on broad aesthetics about painting to entertain students as much as educate them at the Krishnakriti Festival of Arts and Culture here.
The sexagenarian, known for his jovially rebellious approach to almost everything around, gave a brief introductory lecture ahead of choosing a 13-year-old girl as his muse for a charcoal sketch that won loud appreciation from 100-odd young enthusiasts who gathered at Centre for Cultural Resources and Training in Madhapur.
“Take all your shyness away. Inhibition is what blocks creativity. Just sketch or paint or whatever. It may be bad art, but then there is no short cut to excelling oneself in any field,” he said during a 75-minute workshop on Friday evening as part of the January 7-10 Krishnakriti 2016 featuring a range of cultural events.
North Malabar-born Valsan, 62, who joined Government College of Fine Arts in Chennai way back in 1971, said one could be initiated into art at any age.
“You can start it even after retirement from your job. It can be a very good second nursery,” he said, minutes before randomly asking a girl from the crowd to pose for a portrait. “Well, a small work is also a big work,” he added.
Valsan, who misses no chance to ridicule set notions and methodical training in art, said it is the blind who often sense art better than those with eyesight.
“Years ago, I brought visually-challenged people to an art exhibition of mine in Madras University. In a 3,000-square feet area, they stood in rapt attention, feeling each of the 35 artworks in their own way,” he said.
Valsan, from Patiam in Kannur district, had completed his advanced art studies at ENSBA, Paris and M S University of Baroda.
Open-mindedness is what is essential to art and relevant to any area of culture. “For instance, you need no music to dance. You can dance to the colour around, to the fall of the rains, to an inspiring object you come across....”
While sketching on paper the picture of 13-year-old K. Bhavya Manasa, he leisurely asked the class-8 student of Jubilee Hill Public School to store small little artworks one does on and off.
“You know why? When you feel like crying sometimes—as well all do—just go back and take a look at them. It can make you happy, isn’t it?”
As he sketched,  Valsan said “I can trace the face of your mother, grandma and great-grandmother if you give me time.”  He finally presented it to the gathering deliberately holding the paper upside down.
Arti Nagpal, a housewife who occasionally paints, told Valsan that his workshop had now inspired her to return to her habit of sketching.
“Suddenly, I realise I miss it a lot,” she said, clicking a selfie with the guest artist—the only one to figure in both editions of Kochi-Muziris Biennale (held in 2012 and ’14) by far.
Bengali Priyanka Das, who is doing masters in fine arts from University of Hyderabad, simultaneously sketched Valsan and showed her work to the artist. An appreciative Valsan drew another sketch of his on the left page of the book in return.
Later, at an interaction with art scholar Dhritabrata Bhattacharjya Tato, Valsan spoke about his mid-career shift from bronze to stone as the medium of sculpting.
“We can make any place beautiful with right use of art,” he said, sharing his experience of building butterfly parks off Thrissur town and close to Nilambur forests in Kerala.
The artist also had his second tryst at India’s only biennale—in Kochi, where he virtually churned out a quiet island of creative space that retained the site’s rustic greenery, thus tacitly asking the new-age visitor to return to nature.

Rajendra Srivastava takes over as new Dean of ISB

Rajendra Srivastava
Rajendra Srivastava
Professor Rajendra Srivastava has taken charge as the new Dean of the Indian School of Business (ISB) here with effect from January 1.
He has succeeded Prof. Ajit Rangnekar, who served as Dean of the school since January 2009 and retired on December 31, 2015. 
Prof. Srivastava, who is the fifth Dean of ISB, is also the Full Professor of Business in Marketing and the Novartis Chair Professor of Marketing Strategy and Innovation.
Prior to joining ISB, he was the Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and LKC Distinguished Chair Professor of Marketing Strategy and International Business at the Singapore Management University (SMU).
A press release from ISB, which also has a campus at Mohali, said Prof. Srivastava's experience as an academic and administrator spanned over 30 years and North America, Europe and Asia. He has held distinguished research chairs and senior management positions at the University of Texas at Austin and Emory University in Atlanta in the past. 
An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, he holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Rhode Island.
“Professor Rajendra Srivastava’s appointment as the new Dean of ISB marks a significant step towards ISB’s mission of consolidating and strengthening its position as a world-class business school. I wish him success with the confidence that ISB will achieve new heights of success in the years to come," Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman of the ISB Board said.
"I also take this opportunity to thank Ajit Rangnekar for his contributions to ISB over the last decade, first as the Deputy Dean and then as the Dean. Under his guidance, the school made great progress to become one of the most sought after global business schools," he said.
Prof. Srivastava said, "It is indeed with a sense of immense anticipation and confidence that I take up this very prestigious role as Dean of the Indian School of Business (ISB). ISB has made a mark for itself as a premier B-school in a short span. It has the advantage of having the best of insights from India and Asia that are valued the world over and is in a position of advantage to place itself as a leading Indian B-School in Asia and the world. I look forward to a fruitful association with ISB that will also give me a sense of purpose and fulfilment.”
Outgoing Dean Rangnekar said, “It has been a great personal and professional privilege to have been associated with this wonderful institution. We have been ranked consistently among the top global B-schools; we are the first in India to be globally top ranked for research, first to get the AACSB accreditation in South Asia, and the first to innovate with industry specific institutes to address issues of national importance. I am delighted that ISB will be led by a renowned academician and an able administrator like Raj Srivastava. I am sure he will take ISB to even greater heights.”
Professor Srivastava’s research interests are in the area of Marketing and Brand Strategy, the release added.

Infosys says its Hyderabad campus to meet 100% electricity needs from renewables

IT services major Infosys Ltd has launched a solar PV power plant of 6.6 MW capacity at its Pocharam campus near here in Telangana.
Combined with the existing 0.6 MW rooftop solar plant, this will make the Infosys campus at Pocharam one of the first corporate campuses in India that will be run completely by renewable energy, a press release from the company said.
The plant, with a total capacity of 7.2 MW, has been successfully synchronized with the grid and is expected to generate 12 million kWh per annum. This initiative is expected to reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by 9,200 tons, it said.
Currently, the company has installed 12 MW solar power plants (onsite) across its campuses and another 3 MW is expected to be completed within the next two months.
“Our company's commitment to our broader purpose and to our communities, has always brought us great pride. The Infosys founders set this standard from the beginning, and we see this in the contributions of our employees to their communities and in times of crisis, such as the recent Chennai floods; we see this in the work of the Infosys Foundations; and we see this perhaps most clearly in our work in our facilities. Our team, led by Ramadas Kamath, continues to set new standards in our commitments to reduce electricity consumption. Our beautiful Hyderabad campus is another great example of this commitment," Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys said.
According to the release, this year Infosys became the first Indian company to join the global RE100 campaign. By the end of fiscal 2015, the company reduced its per capita consumption of electricity by 46%. About 30% of its energy requirements are now being met through renewable sources.
The company has 14 LEED Platinum rated buildings and four buildings with the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment ( GRIHA) 5 star rating, making it a total of about 5.3 million sq.ft  of buildings having the highest level of green certification
Mr. Ramadas Kamath, Executive Vice President and Head - Infrastructure, Facilities, Administration, Security and Sustainability, Infosys, said, “Companies have a responsibility to the communities in which they are present and sustainable development and climate change are issues that businesses need to get actively involved in. We hope other companies will emulate us, aligning to the goals committed by India at COP21, Paris, with an overall objective of creating a sustainable future.”
The Infosys IT SEZ at Pocharam is a 450-acre campus. The Phase-1 of this campus has a built-up area of 30 lakh sq. ft. with 16,000 seats, software development blocks, residential training facilities, food courts, recreational facilities, multi-level car park, water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant, and utility blocks.
"The campus has been recognized globally as one of the greenest campuses with world-class innovation in sustainability. The campus was the first to adopt radiant cooling technology in India. Several other features of the campus such as the high performance façade, naturally-lit office spaces, efficient water management with smart metering, super-efficient chiller plants, lakes for rainwater harvesting, and a biogas plant for waste treatment have been exemplary for the industry. The building Energy Performance Index (EPI) of 75 kWh/sq. m per annum is among the lowest in the industry globally and is a benchmark for others to achieve," it said.

Mukherjee presents copy of book on Rashtrapati Nilayam to Governor Narasimhan

President Pranab Mukherjee presented a copy of a book on  Rashtrapati Nilayam, Secunderabad to Mr. E S L Narasimhan, Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh at Secunderabad here yesterday.
Ms. Anuradha Naik, conservation architect from Hyderabad,who has authored the chapters on Bolarum and the Rashtrapati Nilayam in the book, was also present on the occasion.
The book titled ‘The Presidential Retreats of India’, which features the Rashtrapati Nilayam and The Retreat at Mashobra, Shimla, was commissioned by the President’s Secretariat and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). It has been published by Publications Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and will be available soon for public in its outlets. 
The book was formally released here by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on December 11, the birthday of the President. 
The book has been edited by eminent author Gillian Wright, who has also contributed a chapter on life in the Rashtrapati Nilayam. 
Award winning photographer Andre Jeanpierre Fanthome has taken the photographs.
The chapters on Rashtrapati Nilayam are titled “The Supreme Commander’s Southern Retreat: Bolarum”, “Of Presidents, Residents and their Residence: The Story of the Rashtrapati Nilayam” and “The Southern Sojourn”.
According to an official press release, some of the important findings contained in the book are:
·     The Residency House, Bolarum was constructed in 1833. Until then, the British Residency in Koti, which was constructed in 1803, was the principal home of the Resident. The one in Bolarum was built so the Resident could remain closer to his troops and away from the Nizam’s court and the bazaars.
·     The location of the Residency House was carefully chosen. It is protected by the Secunderabad cantonment to the south and the Bolarum cantonment to the north.
·     Despite the tensions that existed between the British and the Nizam during the entire 19th century, the Resident and the ruler lived side by side as neighbours at Bolarum.
·     Although colonial in appearance, the building was constructed using local materials and labour provided by the Nizam’s Government.
·     A quotation for the electrification of the Residency House given in 1914 has been discovered which provides the original layout of the building and organization of rooms. The arrangement of rooms is distinctive of the British colonial style of architecture, indicating that although the building was built and supervised by local masons and contractors, it was designed by a British engineer.
·     Another element of colonial design was the separation of the kitchen from the main house. At the Residency House, the two are connected by a vaulted tunnel with submarine-like skylights, creating a fantastic and quirky route for a wholly domestic purpose.
·     The simplicity of the bungalow’s exterior was made up for by the grandeur of its interiors. Remarkably, lying unseen for a century or more, records still survive that make it possible to reconstruct a detailed picture of how the Residency House would have looked.
·     The Residents’ wives aspired to standards nothing short of the Nizam’s.In a letter to Sir Faridoon Jung, following the electrification of the Residency and the replacement of lamps, Lady Violet Pinhey wrote, “…the present lighting are those old chandeliers, very fine in themselves but, not having candles now in their empty brackets, look very ugly. I want them made with lamps like H.H. has at King Kothi”.
·     In the last decade leading up to Independence, the Resident gave up the use of the Hyderabad Residency altogether and moved to Bolarum due to the activity at the cantonment during the Second World War.
·     Research has revealed that the first mention of troops in this area comes from November 1782. Bolarum itself first became a military base when the Russell Brigade was formed in 1812. It is not correct that Bolarum was an extension of Secunderabad and developed in the mid 19th century.
·     Bolarum was always a small military cantonment, and was given the epithet, Chinna Lashkar or small encampment (chinna meaning small in Telugu), by the locals. Permanent construction in Bolarum began in 1841 (unlike Secunderabad where it began after 1860).
·     The most prominent of the houses in Bolarum were the Residency, the house of his First Assistant to the Resident, and the houses of the Nizam and Salar Jung. The Holy Trinity Church in Bolarum dating from 1846 was constructed on land donated by the Nizam, the cost of construction being borne by Queen Victoria. Nearly a century and a half later, Queen Elizabeth II visited the church with her husband Prince Phillip.
·     From records in the British Library, it has been possible to trace the visits of Viceroys to the Bolarum Residency. For example, in 1884 Lord Ripon stayed here when he came to formally invest the young Nizam Mahboob Ali Khan with administrative powers.  In 1919, after the First World War in which over 74,000 Indian soldiers laid down their lives, Lord Chelmsford held a reception here for British and Indian officers, and in 1944, in a crucial period of in modern India’s history, Lord Wavell chose to meet the Resident one-to-one as they played a round of golf on the neighbouring and historic course.
·     In 1947, the Residency House was transferred to the Nizam’s government, along with the Hyderabad Residency and other political buildings that were used by the British.
·     There were several proposals for the use of the Residency House in the eventful year between August 1947 and September 1948. The Department of Health of the Nizam’s government wished to make it a tuberculosis sanatorium and the Director of Education to use it as a public school that would have both Princes as students.
·     KM Munshi, India’s Agent General (5thJanuary – 21st September 1948) used it briefly as his residence on the recommendation of Lord Mountbatten from the 5th to the 15th of January 1949.
·     Following the merger of Hyderabad State with the Indian Union, the Military Governor, General J.N. Chaudhari, used it as his official residence. He entertained and met members of Hyderabad society at the Residency House.
·     The first chief minister of Hyderabad State, M K Vellodi (1949-1952) was sworn-in on the 1st of December 1949 in the grounds of the Residency House and used the building as his Secretariat.
·     In 1955, a decision was taken by the Government of India to make the Residency House the President’s “permanent seasonal residence in the south” and to rename the estate “Rashtrapati Nilayam.”
·     Interestingly, the suite of rooms in the east wing originally occupied by the Resident is today allocated to the President’s staff. The western suite of rooms that comprised the ballroom and rooms for guests of the Resident are today the President of India’s private rooms.
·     The focus of the Residency House has shifted from the inside to the outside. Beautifully maintained gardens and orchards now welcome visitors each winter, much to the delight of the Hyderabadi citizen. The magnificent granite boulders and grand old Tamarind, Mango, Banyan, Neem and Frangipani trees continue to charm each guest. Groves of mango, pomegranate, guava, custard-apple and coconut have been planted. A herbal garden and the Nakshatra garden, designed to represent the nine constellations, are meaningful additions to the landscape of the Nilayam.
·     The Presidents of India have placed importance on the Nilayam as a potent symbol of national integration as well as base to tour the south. The President’s visits to the Nilayam have come to be called the ‘Southern Sojourn’. 

Army chief reviews Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy

Gen Dalbir Singh, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), reviewed the Combined Graduate Parade of the air warriors at Air Force Academy, Dundigul, Hyderabad, today. 
As many as 209 Flight Cadets passed out as Flying Officers including 60 women Officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The COAS conferred the ‘President’s Commission’ to the graduating Flight Cadets who have successfully completed their Basic and Professional training. 
Flying Officer Lavpreet Sharma from the Flying branch was awarded President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in Overall Merit in Pilot Course. Flying Officer Aabhas Sharma and Flying Officer Nagesh R Tripathi were presented ‘President’s Plaque’ for being first in overall merit in Navigation and Ground Duty branches, respectively. 
The occasion was witnessed by the family members, friends and well wishers of passing-out cadets and senior serving and retired officers from the three services. 
The Reviewing Officer was received at the venue by Air Marshal SRK Nair, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) Training Command and Air Marshal GP Singh, Commandant Air Force Academy. He was accorded a ceremonial salute by the parade followed by march past. 
The Flight Cadets were awarded their ‘stripes’ (Air Force rank) by the COAS, the AOC-in-C Training Command and Commandant Air Force Academy. They were then administered the ‘oath’ by the Commandant of the Academy.
Gen Dalbir Singh gave away various awards to the Flying Officers who had excelled in training.
Later, addressing the parade, he complimented the newly commissioned Flying Officers for the high standard of parade. He emphasized that as military leaders, they had to choose "harder right than easier wrong". 
He said that an officer had to win the trust of men he commanded and broaden the horizon of his or her vision by interacting with every member of all branches and also from other arms. 
He reminded them that it was the noble duty of every combatant to uphold the age-old military tradition of "Nation first , always and every time". 
At the end, the 'Surya Kirans', the IAF's Aerobatic Team, presented a low level aerobatics show which left the entire audience spellbound. 

Mukherjee urges Armed Forces to make constant efforts to upgrade technology

President Pranab Mukherjee today said that the Armed Forces must make constant efforts to upgrade technology so as to maintain an edge in military capability over potential opponents.
"The history of warfare bears testimony to the decisive role of technology on the outcome of military conflicts," he said in his address at the convocation of the Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME) at Secunderabad  here today.
Complimenting all the graduating officers of the 96th Degree Engineering and 24th Technical Entry Scheme courses, he told them that Armed Forces and technology had been strategic partners, in developing and enhancing the defence capability of the nation.
"As young technocrats, it will be your responsibility to adapt the latest developments in the field of technology for use by the defence forces by accelerating the pace of military innovation. The nation will look upon you to define and modify the way defence forces operate, by using technological advances to provide a comparative edge over our adversaries," he said.
Mr. Mukherjee told the young officers that they lived in an era where the pace of technology transition was so fast, that even as he spoke, new concepts were being introduced, established paradigms were being re-defined and research was opening new vistas. 
"The change being driven by pathbreaking research is both exhilarating and mesmerising. Your challenge would be to harness the latest defence technologies and ensure that the Indian Army benefits from these," he said.
He said the MCEME was a truly unique institution, one which empowers the human resource of the Corps of EME with the highest levels of skills in Technology Management, imbibes best practices of present day engineering and also undertakes applied research for development of military systems. 
"The canvas of training at MCEME is both wide and varied, ranging from basic training for Jawans to Bachelors of Technology and Masters of Technology Courses for the Officers," he said.
He said he was very pleased to learn that the blueprints of training at the college had kept pace with both the security environment and technology advancements. The Faculty of Guided Weapon Systems & Associated Technology is a testimony to the foresight of the defence forces in aligning technology with their avowed objective of defending the nation, he said.
"Knowledge, which is the ultimate power, is emerging as the currency of the world in the present century. Your knowledge and enthusiasm will lead you to creative ideas and innovations, which will impact and improve the existing methods and systems. Your passion to accept and overcome challenges would empower you to achieve both national and organisational goals," he said.
"As young technocrats, you must remember that the Indian Army has been the torch bearer of many non-military innovations. I am very happy to note that both the graduating courses have undertaken projects involving state-of-the-art technologies, ranging from Biometrics to Solar Power. The wide variety of projects will find use both in civil society as well as military fields. Military Technology has benefitted civil society immensely and its spin-offs have contributed significantly to nation building.  
"I was extremely happy to know that on Army Day this year, the Prime Minister gave awards for excellence to eight projects of Indian Army, of which four were from MCEME. I am certain that all of you will continue this legacy and your tryst with technology shall continue," he said.
Mr. Mukherjee urged the young officers to set for themselves a befitting goal and having done so, utilise their technical competence, skills and hardwork to realise it. 

Additional Judges appointed to Telangana & AP, Kerala and Jharkhand High Courts

The President has appointed Mr. Asapu Ramalingeswara Rao to be an Additional Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, for a period of three months with effect from December 21.
Nine others -- Mr. Bulusu Siva Sankara Rao, Mr. Mandhata Seetharama Murti, Mr. Saripella Ravi Kumar, Mr. Upmaka Durga Prasad Rao, Mr. Talluri Sunil Chowdary, Mr. Mallavolu Satyanarayana Murthy, Mr. Misrilal Sunil Kishore Jaiswal,  Mr. Ambati Shankar Narayana, and Ms. Anis -- have been appointed as Additional Judges of the same High Court for a period of three months with effect from January 23, 2016.
An official press release said that Mr. Dama Seshadri Naidu had been appointed as an Additional Judge of the Kerala High Court, for a period of three months with effect from December 21.
Mr. Amitav Kumar Gupta has been appointed as an Additional Judhe in Jharkhand High Court for a period of three onths with effect from December 18, the release added.

Cabinet nod for National Resource Facility for Bio-medical Research in Hyderabad

The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal of the Department of Health Research in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for setting up of a National Resource Facility for Bio-medical Research (NARF) at Genome Valley in Hyderabad by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). 
The estimated project cost is Rs. 338.58 crore and the resource centre is expected to be functional by 2018-19, an official press release said.
The institution will be the first of its kind for quality laboratory animals for basic and applied biomedical research in the country. 
The release said the centre would be developed as a world-class facility for breeding and housing of animals such as primates, cabines and other specialized models such as transgenic and knockout rodents required for testing of various R&D products. 
The facility will create, develop and provide access to a range of laboratory animals and related technological resources for advancement of biomedical research in the country, mainly to facilitate research in medical colleges, research and academic institutions, universities and biotech/bio-pharma companies. 
The facility will also provide training facilities for personnel in the specialized areas in the field of biomedical research. 
The State Government has allotted 102.69 acres of land at Genome Valley, Hyderabad, free of cost, to the ICMR for establishment of the facility.

Three-year-old girl dies after getting stuck in school elevator in Hyderabad

Three-year-old girl dies after getting head stuck in Hyderabad school lift
A three-year-old girl died after suffering serious injuries when she got stuck in the door of the elevator of her school building here this morning.
The girl, Syed Xanaib, was a kindergarten student at the Sri Chaitanya School at Dilkushnagar here.
She was part of a group of students being taken by a teacher from the ground floor to the third floor around 9 am when she tripped and her leg slipped through the grilled door of the lift. The lift started moving suddenly and she suffered severe head injuries. 
She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead, sources said.
The police have registered a case in the matter and have detained three people for questioning, including the principal of the school, the teacher and an official of the education department.
A crowd of angry parents and residents of the locality gathered outside the school and staged protests against the school management.
Police officials said they would conduct a full probe into all aspects of the case, including whether the school had all the necessary permissions, and asserted that stern action would be taken if anyone is found guilty of any lapses.

19th International Children's Film Festival of India begins in Hyderabad

Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore inaugurated the 19th International Children's Film Festival of India (ICFFI) at Shilpa Kala Vedika here yesterday and said the city could become the permanent venue for the event.
Mr. Rathore said India was a land of creativity and storytelling, and felt the talent of its gifted children should be exhibited to the world. He urged children to make short films with their mobile telephones and upload them on the internet to showcase their talent to the world.
Information & Broadcasting Secretary Sunil Arora said the Children's Film Society of India (CFSI) was set up soon after independence to harness the medim of cinema for the cause of childen.
He said around 1200 entries had been received for the 19th edition of ICFFI. He said such festivals would give opportunities to children to learn filmmaking. He said the Little Directors section started in the previous edition of the festival had become international. He said 200 entries were received for this section from seven countries and 70 films had been selected for screening.
The French film ‘Ernest et Celestine’ which won the Golden Elephant Award in the 18th edition of ICFFI was also nominated for an Oscar award, he said.
He wished that many more movies, premiered in this edition of ICFFI, should also get similar recognition. 
CFSI Chairman Mukesh Khanna said it was a matter of pride that so many child artistes and delegates from different countries were attending the festival.
Well-known actresses Tabu, Kareena Kapoor and Karishma Kapoor were amongst those present at the opening ceremony, which saw the staging of several cultural performances.

ISB launches Healthcare Management Programme with Max Institute

The Indian School of Business (ISB), with campuses in Mohali and Hyderabad, is all set to launch a Healthcare Management Programme (HMP) to groom doctors and healthcare professionals to deliver excellence in healthcare management and to enable them to move into leadership positions in the near future and drive the growth of the sector.
The one year part-time programme, which will commence in January 2016, has been designed and developed by the Max Institute of Healthcare Management and the Centre for Executive Education at the ISB, a press release from ISB said.
Analjit Singh, Founder, Max India Group and Founder Supporter, Mohali campus of ISB, said, “There is a serious paucity of well-trained quality healthcare management professionals in India. The impressive increase in investment and capacity of the private healthcare industry in India in the last few years, accentuates this shortage .Further, as we deal with lives and care of our patients, the finesse required in management deserves specialised training .Management, Science and Art have to all come together."
"This one year programme is a step to remove this glaring inadequacy in India’s healthcare set up. I often draw a parallel with the hospitality industry. India has had a remarkable success in supplying the best quality hospitality talent, not only in India but internationally as well .This has been possible because the quality and number of hotel management and training institutes. The best ones being backed by top hotel chains. I hope that the ISB one year programme can replicate success in a similar way for the healthcare industry," he said.
Announcing the programme, Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, ISB, said, “The healthcare sector in India has reacted to numerous challenges in the sector with some very positive responses, including new delivery models, innovative business practices and investments in niche areas. A major consequence has been the professionalisation of the sector, thus creating a huge demand for management professionals. Consistent with our vision of grooming future leaders for India and the world, ISB’s Healthcare Management Programme will address this need by creating future leaders and visionaries in the healthcare sector.”
According to the release, the HMP has been designed in close collaboration with the healthcare sector, practicing professionals and academia. 
An Academic Advisory Council, comprising eminent faculty from across the world, provides academic oversight and an Industry Advisory Council that includes senior leaders from organisations like Max Healthcare Global Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, Care Hospitals, and Narayana Netralaya brings in the industry perspective.
Mr. Pradeep Singh, CEO Mohali campus and Deputy Dean, ISB, said, “Considering the specialised nature of the sector and the fast pace of its growth, it is expected that future leaders will come from within the healthcare industry and allied sectors. A cadre of middle-management professionals needs to be groomed into leadership positions and drive the growth of this sector. The Healthcare Management Programme has been created to cater to this need in a structured learning format.”
The HMP is designed as a rigorous and challenging 12-month, part-time programme, providing students the opportunity to study as they work.
HMP will be delivered in a blended learning format comprising classroom and technology aided learning that minimises disruption at work and encourages personal pursuits. The programme will be taught by a combination of globally renowned faculty from ISB and other premier educational and capacity-building institutions from across the world.
Participants have the option to bring in a live project from their own organisations or can bid for projects from other organisations.
The course is meant for doctors who are looking to pursue a career in hospital management; professionals from healthcare delivery and allied sector organisations such as Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, Diagnostics, Clinical Research and Medical Insurance; and entrepreneurs and management consultants who wish to expand their operations and also get an in depth understanding of the sector, the release added.

DRDO Missile Complex in Hyderabad to be named after former President Kalam

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will rename the country’s prestigious Missile Complex in Hyderabad as “Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex” after the former President, who was also one of the country's top missile scientists.

File photo of A P J Abdul Kalam.
File photo of A P J Abdul Kalam.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will rename the country’s prestigious Missile Complex in Hyderabad as “Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex” after the former President, who was also one of the country's top missile scientists.
The event will take place at Research Centre Imarat (RCI) tomorrow on the occasion of the 84th birth anniversary of Dr Kalam, known popularly as the “Missile Man”.
Dr. Kalam had joined the Missile Complex of the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) in 1982 and was a part of it for nearly two decades. 
The Missile Complex comprises Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) which is considered to be the brain child of Dr Kalam. 
As founder Director, Dr. Kalam conceived and steered RCI as a generator of critical missile technologies. 
An official press release said Mr. Parrikar would also inaugurate two advanced research and development facilities of RCI -- Outdoor RCS Test Facility “ORANGE”, at Dundigal and Kautilya Advanced Research Centre at RCI, Hyderabad. 
Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Director, RCI along with other Distinguished Scientists, Lab Directors, Project Directors, senior officials and staff of DRDO will be present during the event, the release added.
Dr. Kalam had died in a hospital in Shillong, Meghalaya on July 27 this year after collapsing while delivering a lecture to students and faculty members of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Shillong.
Born on October 15, 1931 at Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam had served as the eleventh President of India from July 25, 2002 to July 25, 2007.

First 908E Air-to-Air Refuelling pod structures assembled by Tata Advanced Systems ready for delivery

Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) has said that the first product from its new relationship with Cobham Mission Systems (CMS) to build Air-to-Air Refuelling Structures was ready for delivery from its facility here.
TASL was selected by Cobham Mission Equipment in May 2014, as a strategic partner for the manufacture and assembly of Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) pod and centreline structures. 
"Today marks the official handover ceremony of the first two 908E pod structures assembled by TASL and destined for use on the Airbus A400M," a press release from TASL said here yesterday.
The ceremony, attended by Cobham Mission Systems and TASL leadership, included a contingent from the British High Commission in India, and represented a significant milestone in the relationship between CMS and TASL, reinforcing the further strategic intent for the partnership, it said.
TASL is also currently working on 905E, 808E and 912E AAR products for the Airbus A330, Airbus A400M and Embraer KC-390 tanker programmes, due for delivery to Wimborne before the end of 2015, the release added.
TASL was set up in 2007 as a vehicle to extend the Tata group's business operations to the national security and defence sector. It  is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons.

Employability: Soft skills are the need of the hour

Employment is a serious concern in India. The last decade, however, has seen an increase in the number of industries like the IT Services, ITeS, Retail, Travel, Transport, Financial Services, Hospitality, Beauty and Health care. This has brought a positive change creating more employment opportunities. 
For a competitive edge companies are basing their initiatives on customer or client expectations. Companies look for a blend of innovative solutions and the ‘transactional’ services they provide. People today are better informed of the market and the options available.  Their expectations need to be met and the responsibility lies with each individual at every point of interaction within the company.  
There was a time when the BPO sector was thriving in India. Today, we see a saturation of sorts taking place. One important aspect that has led to this is the lack of quality in the service. I remember a BPO employee stating “End of the day the customer wants the problem solved.” Well, it’s not only that but importantly how the problem was solved. One could speak about the quality based on several parameters however, today they speak in terms of only one that comprises all.  ‘Soft skills’- The need of the hour. 
The talent acquisition team faces the burden of hiring people who are competent of positively interacting within the corporate culture. With several students passing out of various institutions, the recruitment team has one statement to make, “It’s difficult to find a suitable candidate”.  This merely indicates that we have a shortage of individuals who are employable. The growth in the number of students waiting to be employed versus those who could be employed, requires urgent attention.  
Educational institutions are beginning to realize that along with the academic qualification (the hard skills), students need to learn skills that ensure their employability. They need to understand this better and work towards being extremely professional. These are the ‘soft skills’ a term we hear more often now a days. 
Soft skills are distinct from the hard skills and is recognized as the key to bridge the talent gap we face in India today. It is an essential to interact with the clients and to work in a collaborative manner within the team. This reflects on the work quality and 
productivity. Soft skills are more to do with who we are than what we know. It depends on the attitude.
The hard skills may be the foundation to a successful career. However, they need to be cemented with soft skills.
Soft skills include an individual’s ability to communicate effectively, to be time efficient, to have appropriate interpersonal skills, to be able to analyze situations beyond the technical aspect and to problem solve accordingly, to be able to lead and work in a team and so on. 
In this context an apt statement would be ‘To change history one needs to know history’. To be able to improve on one’s soft skills one needs to know what it means. 
People often use the terms soft skills and communication skills inappropriately. Communication skills include using the right words, speaking in the right tone, using the right gestures with confidence, understanding the situation, and who the receiver 
is, etc.. To improve on communication skills one needs to improve the language and be a good listener. Remember! Using words that entirely contradict the intention leads to unforeseen situations. These situations should be tactfully dealt with. It is a skill that needs to be learnt and practiced. 
This is where training and facilitation play a vital role. The ability of a trainer or a facilitator depends on whether they are driven by passion. They need to ensure effective delivery through role plays, case studies and other interactive methodologies with both groups as well as individuals. 
Change is imperative. We need to understand this and be willing to change. This would lead to a better tomorrow resulting in an improvement in the employable quotient. It means bringing about a change in the existing scenario and thus looking at the larger picture, contributing to the society.
Anita Peter
Anita Peter
Anita Peter is the Founder & Managing Director of Persona Script, a soft skills and leadership development training company. A motivator and facilitator, she supports, promotes and conducts motivational programs for women who have taken a sabbatical from work. Her strength has been her ability to connect with the audience. She won the Kerala state level competition for artistic and figure roller skating. She is a Mohiniattam performer and teacher. She has acted in two Malayalam films, several Malayalam and Tamil television serials and in plays. She has compered shows and programmes and modelled for several print ads and television commercials for popular brands. She was among the top 10 finalists of the Haier Gladrags Mrs India 2011.

Previous articles by Anita Peter

YuppTV launches entertainment channels Colors, Rishtey in Middle East

YuppTV, an internet TV provider of South Asian content, today said it had launched Indian entertainment channels Colours and Rishtey for viewers in the Middle East.
“The launch of Colors and Rishtey on YuppTV is another strong step in providing premium content to the Middle East viewers," Mr. Sachin Gokhale, Vice President- Business Head – Middle East & Africa and Head of Sales & Marketing, APAC at IndiaCast, said.
"Our partnership with YuppTV gives us an infinitely wider reach with the App being available on multiple internet supported devices in this region thereby enabling the viewers to watch their favorite programs at their own convenience. With this collaboration our commitment to deliver high quality entertainment to viewers in Middle East strengthens further," he said.
Mr. Uday Reddy, CEO of YuppTV said, “Keeping up with the high demand for Indian content in Middle East, we are pleased to bring popular channels Colors and Rishtey to television and internet consumers in this region. With the addition of these leading channels to our repertoire, we continue the trend of growth and expansion. This launch, we trust, will be the source of much pleasure to viewers and subscribers in the Middle East region.”
Colors is Viacom18’s flagship brand in the Hindi entertainment space in India. Showcasing content that varies from Reality, Drama, Events, Format Shows, Award Functions and Movies, Colors has consistently been amongst the top rated channels since its inception, a press release from YuppTV said.
Some of its shows include Bigg Boss, Khatron Ke Khiladi – Darr Ka Blockbuster Returns, Comedy Nights With Kapil, The Anupam Kher Show – Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, Ud?nn, Shastri Sisters, Sasural Simar Ka, Meri Aashiqui Tum Se Hi, Balika Vadhu - Kacchi Umar Ke Pakke Rishtey, Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat, Uttaran, Code Red and Swaragini.
Rishtey is a variety general entertainment channel customized and programmed for international audience, catering to the varied needs of the viewers in different markets. Rishtey offers a wide array of programs including Indian, Pakistani and Turkish dramas, kids animation, historical & mythological series and Bollywood movies.
IndiaCast is a multi-platform Content Asset Monetization entity, jointly owned by TV18 and Viacom18. 
IndiaCast mandate includes Domestic Distribution, Placement Services, International Channel Distribution & Advertising Sales, New Media (digital) distribution and Content Syndication for all the group company channels and content. Internationally, IndiaCast has a portfolio of over 10 channels that are viewed in over 80 countries as linear services. IndiaCast also syndicates content in over 135 countries in 25+ languages. IndiaCast also offers Indian feature films (both Bollywood and Regional) on digital platforms in India and overseas markets. 
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Two dead, seven injured as Secunderabad-Mumbai Duronto Express derails near Gulbarga

Two passengers died and seven others suffered injuries when nine coaches of the 12220 Secunderabad-Mumbai Duronto Express derailed near Gulbarga in Karnataka in the early hours of Saturday, official sources said.

Two dead , seven injured as Secunderabad-Mumbai Duronto Express derails near Gulbarga
Two passengers died and seven others suffered injuries when nine coaches of the 12220 Secunderabad-Mumbai Duronto Express derailed near Gulbarga in Karnataka in the early hours of today, official sources said.
A press release from the Central Railway said the mishap occurred at around 0215 hours at Martur station in the Solapur Division of the Central Railway.
The injured were rushed to a hospital in Gulbarga, the release said.
The two deceased passengers were identified by the authorities as Ms Jyoti, 46, and Ms Lata, 28, both of whom were travelling from Hyderabad to Pune.
The derailed coaches were B-7, B-8, B-9, Pantry Car, H-1, A-1, A-2, A-3 and Generator Car, the release said.
As a result of the mishap, both the up and down lines on the Wadi-Gulbarga section were blocked for some hours, disrupting the movement of trains.
Relief trains from Solapur, Daund and Wadi have been rushed to the scene of the accident. Senior railway officers have also reached the site and are overseeing the restoration work. District administration officials, police and other emergency personnel also rushed to the spot.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were also despatched to the scene of the accident, sources said.
The down line was restored for rail traffic at 0540 hours and seven coaches of the train with passengers left the site at 0630 hours.
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers: 
Gulbarga 0847-2255066 / 2255067
Secunderabad 040-27700968
Solapur 0217-2313331
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai 022-22694040
Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Mumbai 022-25280005
Kalyan 0251-2311499

SpiceJet introduces direct flights from Varanasi to Mumbai, Hyderabad

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today anounced new flights in its schedule from October 15, including services on the Varanasi-Mumbai and Varanasi-Hyderabad-Bengaluru routes.
A press release from the airline said it had also introduced daily flights between Agartala and Chennai via Kolkata.
It has also increased frequencies on its daily flights between Hyderabad and Bengaluru, Delhi and Agartala (second flight added), Delhi and Kolkata (third flight added), Agartala and Kolkata (second flight added), Kolkata and Chennai (second flight added), Hyderabad and Mumbai (third flight added), and Hyderabad and Bengaluru (third flight added).  
SpiceJet will deploy two new aircraft to operate the new flights, the release said.
Shilpa Bhatia, Sr. VP and Head of Sales and Distribution, SpiceJet, said, “These new flights and frequencies signal the continuing rebound of SpiceJet. We offer the lowest fares and fly the fullest aircraft in India, connecting more cities and bringing air travel to more Indians than ever before.”
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