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Delhi

Centre to make available 19.15 lakh tonnes of sugar for November

The Central Government has decided to make available 19.15 lakh tonnes of sugar for November, which it says would be sufficient to meet the internal demand for the commodity during the month.

The quantity includes levy sugar of 2.14 lakh tonnes and non-levy sugar of 17.01 lakh tonnes, an official press release said.

The non-levy sugar quota includes normal quota of 17 lakh tonnes and 0.01 lakh tonnes out of white/refined sugar processed out of imported raw sugar during September, it said.

Sugar factories will have to sell/deliver and dispatch the entire non-levy quantity released for the month of November, 2011 only within the validity period of the release order upto 30.11.2011, the release added.

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CBI files corruption cases against CMD of Northern Coalfields, others

 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had registered three separate cases against the Chairman and Managing Director of Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL), Singrauli, and others for alleged corrupt practices in the matter of award of tenders and supply orders for mining equipment and accessories.
 
The others against whom the cases have been filed are the DeputyChief Engineer, NCL, Amlohri Project and the Deputy Chief Engineer, NCL, Jayant Project and three others.
 
A proprietor of a Singrauli-based private firm had been named in all the three cases, a CBI press release said.

Cabinet approves restructuring of Geological Survey of India

 

The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal for restructuring of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) aimed at enhancing its capacity to address emerging challenges, especially in augmenting resource base, both for essential and strategic minerals. 
 
An official press release said the Cabinet also approved the "right sizing" of the strength of GSI by filling up of posts over a 10-year-period to achieve full recommended strength.
 
It also approved the constitution of Geophysics, Chemistry and Engineering S&T Streams as Organized Services as as to bring them at par with the geology stream, the release said.

Cabinet okays National Optical Fiber Network for broadband connectivity of panchayats

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The Union Cabinet today approved a scheme for creation of a National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) for providing broadband connectivity to village panchayats around the country.
 
An official press release said the objective of the scheme is to extend the existing optical fiber network which is available up to district / block headquarters' level to the Gram Panchayat level initially by utilizing the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). 
 
The cost of this initial phase of the NOFN scheme is likely to be about Rs.20,000 crore. A similar amount of investment is likely to be made by the private sector complementing the NOFN infrastructure while providing services to individual users. 

CCEA approves MSP for Rabi crops of 2011-12 season

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today approved the minimum support price (MSP) for Rabi crops of 2011-12 season to be marketed in 2012-13, including Rs 1285 per quintal for wheat, up Rs 165 per quintal over last year's level.
 
An official press release said the MSP of barley had been raised by Rs.200 per quintal and fixed at Rs.980 per quintal. 
 
The MSP of gram and masur (lentils) has been fixed at Rs.2800 per quintal each, marking an increase of Rs.700 per quintal and Rs.550 per quintal, respectively, over their last year’s MSPs. 
 
The MSPs of rapeseed/mustard and safflower have been increased by Rs.650 per quintal and Rs.700 per quintal, respectively, over the last year’s MSPs and have been fixed at Rs.2500 per quintal each. 
 
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President, VP, PM greet people on Diwali

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President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President M Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today greeted people on the occasion of Diwali, the festival of lights, that will be celebrated tomorrow.

"On the festive occasion of Diwali, I express my greetings and best wishes to all my fellow citizens.

"May the festival of lights dispel darkness and gloom and bring joy, happiness and prosperity to the people of our country," Ms Patil said in her message.

Mr Ansari said Deepawali signified the victory of good over evil and strengthens people's resolve to follow true ethical values in their lives.

"May the noble ideals of the festival usher in peace, prosperity and happiness in our lives," he said.

Dr Singh said the festival of lights was a harbinger of peace, joy and prosperity.

"It celebrates the victory of good over evil, and the spreading of the light of learning. It is a national festival in which all communities rejoice in amity and friendship and celebrate the solidarity of the nation.

"May this Deepawali bring peace and prosperity to all the people of our nation and to the world at large," the Prime Minister added.

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Krishna to visit Tokyo for 5th India-Japan Strategic Dialogue

External Affairs Minister will pay an official visit to Japan from October 28-30 at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba.

The two Foreign Ministers will co-chair the 5th annual India – Japan Strategic Dialogue. They will review all aspects of the bilateral Strategic & Global Partnership and discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest, an official statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said here today.

Mr Krishna will also call on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the statement added.

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Hurt by air fares row, trustee of Kiran Bedi's NGO quits

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Anil Bal, one of the founder members of activist Kiran Bedi's NGO, today quit from the trust, saying that the air fares controversy involving her had tarnished his image.

In a statement issued here, Bal, travel agent and a founder member of India Vision Foundation(IVF), said Ms Bedi's defensive attitude over the inflated air fares issue had left a wrong impression on people about him.

"In view of what has happened which unnecessarily tarnished my reputation, I have decided to resign as the trustee of IVF with immediate effect and have also requested IVF to engage another travel agent for their travel needs," Mr Bal said.

Cabinet okays recommendations of Wage Boards for newspaper, news agency employees

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The Union Cabinet today approved the final recommendations of the Wage Boards for Working Journalists and Non-journalist Employees of Newspaper Establishments and News Agencies.

An official press release said the Cabinet approved the recommendations along with certain corrections and rectifications carried out under Section 12(1) of the Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (conditions of Service) & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955.

The Government had earlier constituted the two Wage Boards in May 2007. The Chairman of the Wage Boards, Justice G.R. Majithia, submitted the final report to the Government on December 31, 2010.

The recommendations contained in Chapter XIX and XX of the final report will be published in the Gazette of India for implementation by the newspaper establishments and news agencies, the released.

The revised rates of wages will come into force with effect from 1st July, 2010 and other allowances like transport allowance, house rent allowance, hardship allowance shall be effective from the date of notification of the awards in the Gazette.

More than 40,000 newspaper employees in the country will be benefited by this decision, the release added.

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Cabinet nod for Regional Centre for Biotechnology under UNESCO auspices

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The Union Cabinet today approved the enactment of the requisite legislation for establishment of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The decision takes into account the fact that modern biotechnology has been recognised globally as a rapidly advancing science wherein molecular techniques and process are employed to develop health care solutions for human and animal sector, for agriculture and environment technologies.

The proposed Centre will engage students in research by integrating science, engineering and medicine with a view to create high quality human resource in disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas, an official press release said.

US Mission issues over 490,000 non-immigrant visas during year ended Sep 30

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United States missions in India issued more than 490,000 non-immigrant visas during the year ended September 30, an increase of 4.3 per cent in the fiscal year ended September 30, 2010.

A press release from the US Embassy in New Delhi said that, responding to the booming growth in Indian visa applications, in recent years the US Mission to India, which includes the Embassy here and Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, has greatly expanded its consular staffing, infrastructure, and outreach.

According to it, consular staffing has increased 60% in the past five years.

It said applicants may now choose to have their visa interview in languages including Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Tamil, and Telugu.

The release said the Mission has recently invested more than $100 million in updating and expanding its consular facilities. The Consulate General Hyderabad opened in 2009 and in the very near future, the new consulate facilities in Mumbai will open their doors.

Visa applicants from any location in India may visit the US Embassy’s website  or e-mail the Mission at infousdelhi@vfshelpline.com for free and accurate visa information direct from the source, the release added.

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Hazare blames "gang of four" for allegations against Team Anna

Social activist Anna Hazare today defended former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi, a key member of his team that is campaigning for an anti-corruption Lokpal in the country, against allegations of "air travel corruption" and blamed a "gang of four" in the ruling establishment for this kind of "character assassination".

"Who are these people? Those are the very same people who are not in favor of Janlokpal Bill," the 74-year-old Gandhian wrote in his blog.

He noted that Ms Bedi, who has been accused of inflating air travel bills submitted to organisations which invite her for lectures and other events, had made it clear that the Government could conduct an inquiry by one of its agencies to establish whether she had used the money for her own benefit.

Court reserves order on Kanimozhi's bail plea until Nov 3

The Special CBI Judge O P Saini today reserved its order on DMK Rajya Sabha member K Kanimozhi's bail application in the 2G spectrum allocation case till November 3, dashing hopes she and her parents had entertained about her being able to spend Diwali with her family.

Along with Ms Kanimozhi, the judge also reserved orders on the applications for bail filed by other accused in the case such as Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Films founder Karim Morani, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables CEOs Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal.

Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the court that it did not wish to oppose the bail plea of Ms Kanimozhi, Mr Kumar, Mr Morani, Mr Balwa and Mr Agarwal.

The agency, however, opposed the bail application of D B Realty promoter Shahid Balwa and former Communications Minister A Raja's R K Chandolia.

Ms Kanimozhi's father, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, and her mother were camping in the capital in the hope that their daughter would be able to come out on bail today. She has been in judicial custody in Delhi's Tihar Jail for more than five months now.

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Delhi Metro to curtail services on Diwali, run more trains on Bhai Duj

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The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) today said that the last train service on October 26 will start at 8 pm from terminal stations of all its six lines on account of Diwali festival.

These stations are Dilshad Garden, Rithala, Jahangir Puri, Huda City Centre, Noida City Centre, Dwarka Sector-21, Yamuna Bank, Vaishali, Inderlok, Mundka, Central Secretariat and Badarpur.

Metro train services will run as usual for rest of the day on Diwali from 06:00 am onwards.

On October 28, which is Bhai Duj, in view of the expected rise in the number of commuters, the Metro trains will be run at peak-hour frequency from 8 AM to 8.30 PM.

More than 15 trains which are normally withdrawn from lines during off peak hours (12:30 PM to 4:30 PM) will be kept in service, performing over 200 extra trips, making a total of about 2700 trips on that day, a DMRC press release said.

The release said the DMRC would also deploy more Customer Facilitation Agents to help and guide commuters on October 28 at busy Metro stations and will also operate additional ticket counters, if required, to handle the increased load on the ticketing system

Metro train services on Bhai Duj will be available from 6.00 AM to 11.00 PM as usual, the release added.

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Amar Singh granted bail in cash-for-vote scam

File photo of Amar Singh.
File photo of Amar Singh.

The Delhi High Court today granted bail to Rajya Sabha member and expelled Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh in the 2008 cash-for-vote case on the surety and the personal bonds of Rs 50 lakh each.

Justice Suresh Kait granted bail after going though the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) medical report on his critical health condition.

Significantly, it is a regular bail which means that Mr Singh for all practical purposes will stay out of jail throughout the hearing of the case in the court.

He has also been asked to submit his passport to the court and not to try to influence any of the witnesses in the case.

The Delhi police submitted the AIIMS report last week. The MP's condition was reported as critical and in need of constant monitoring.

The 55-year-old leader was arrested on September 6 for his alleged involvement in an attempt to bribe MPs ahead of the July 2008 trust vote in Parliament.

He was charge sheeted under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 120 B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

On July 22, 2008, Bharatiya Janata Party MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste, Mahavir Bhagora and Ashok Argal waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha ahead of the trust vote, alleging pecuniary considerations to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.

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Court hearing on Swamy's plea against Chidambaram deferred till Nov 8

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A CBI Special court today deferred hearing on the petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking to make Union Home Minister P Chidambaram a co-accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case to November 8.

CBI Special Judge O P Saini said Swamy has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking inquiry against Mr Chidambaram and the court should wait for the verdict of the apex court, he said.

The Supreme Court is monitoring the CBI investigation in the 2G scam and the case is being tried by the CBI Special court.

The CBI and Centre have left the matter at the discretion of the trial court.

Mr Swamy had argued in the apex court that "Mr Chidambaram deserved to be questioned as he did not act rigorously enough as the Finance Minister in 2008 to ensure that valuable spectrum was sold at fair prices to companies."

Justice Saini framed charges against all the 17 accused, including former Communications Minister A Raja and DMK Rajya Sabha member K Kanimozhi in the case on Saturday.

The judge, after hearing the matter, deferred further proceedings in the matter till November 8.

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Indians in Turkey reported to be safe after Sunday's earthquake

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All Indians in Turkey are reportedly safe after yesterday's devastating earthquake that rocked parts of that country and caused widespread losses of lives and property.

"As per information available with the Embassy of India in Ankara, Indian nationals are reportedly safe," a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The Embassy has also set up a help line with the following numbers: + 90 530 4403216 (during office hours) or + 90 5303142200 (outside office hours).

The mission can also be contacted on the e-mail address: dcm@indembassy.org.tr

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War of words over funds between Agnivesh, Team Anna

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Social activist Swami Agnivesh today questioned the use of funds donated by the public to Team Anna and alleged that money was deposited in the trust run by one of its members, Arvind Kejriwal, from which the names of major team members were missing.

Swami Agnivesh, who had alleged yesterday that Kejriwal had siphoned off Rs 70-80 lakh donated by people to India Against Corruption (IAC), headed by Gandhian Anna Hazare, by diverting it to a trust run by him, said Anna Hazare does not have his name in the Public Cause Research Foundation(PCRF) run by Mr Kejriwal. 
 
"Even Justice Santosh Hegde does not have his name in the trust. So, the main members of the team were not part of the trust and the old trust where Kejriwal and his members were part... the money was deposited in their name," Swami Agnivesh alleged. 
 
Dismissing the allegations made by Swami Agnivesh, Team Anna said Swami Agnivesh may be levelling such accusations "out of anger". 
 
Team Anna said after a special audit, all details regarding their accounts will be put on the website of PCRF by this month-end. 
 
Former police officer Kiran Bedi, a key member of Team Anna, who is facing allegations of overcharging institutions on travel bills, alleged that there was a "pattern to defame" members of Team Anna and said, "hang some of us if that helps". 
 
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Bhutan's Royal Couple in Delhi

"Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck being welcomed by the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora, on his arrival, in New Delhi on October 23, 2011.

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck being welcomed by the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora, on his arrival, in New Delhi on October 23, 2011.
Read story.Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck being welcomed by the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora, on his arrival, in New Delhi on October 23, 2011.

India-Nepal Joint Press Statement

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting his Nepalese counterpart Baburam Bhattarai, in New Delhi on October 21, 2011
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting his Nepalese counterpart Baburam Bhattarai, in New Delhi on October 21, 2011" title="Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting his Nepalese counterpart Baburam Bhattarai, in New Delhi on October 21, 2011

Following is the text of the Joint Press Statement issued today by India and Nepal on the visit of Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to India:

The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Nepal, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai accompanied by his spouse, Hon. Ms. Hisila Yami paid an official visit to India from October 20-23, 2011 at the invitation of Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India. The Prime Minister of Nepal was accompanied by Hon. Mr. Narayan Kaji Shrestha "Prakash", Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Mr. Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta, Minister for Information and Communications, Hon. Mr. Hridayesh Tripathi, Minister for Physical Planning and Works, Hon. Mr. Rajendra Mahato, Minister for Health and Population, Hon. Mr. Barsha Man Pun, Minister for Finance, Hon. Mr. Mahendra Prasad Yadav, Minister for Irrigation, Hon. Mr. Anil Kumar Jha, Minister for Industry, Hon. Mr. Deependra Bahadur Chhetri, Vice-Chairman, National Planning Commission, Hon. Mr. Hari Roka, Member, Legislature-Parliament, Hon. Mr. Om Prakash Yadav, Member, Legislature-Parliament and senior officials of the Government of Nepal.

2. The Prime Minister of Nepal called on the President and the Vice-President of India. Shri S.M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of Finance, Shri P. Chidambaram, Minister of Home Affairs, Shri A. K. Antony, Minister of Defence, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition and other Indian dignitaries called on the Prime Minister of Nepal.

3. The Prime Minister of Nepal had a meeting with the Prime Minister of India followed by delegation-level talks. During the talks, the two Prime Ministers reviewed the state of bilateral relations and exchanged views on ways and means to further expand and consolidate the close, multi-faceted relations between the two countries. The talks were held in an atmosphere of utmost cordiality and warmth. The Prime Minister of India and Smt. Gursharan Kaur hosted a dinner in honour of the Prime Minister of Nepal and Mrs. Hisila Yami.

4. The Prime Minister of Nepal elucidated on the peace process and constitution drafting. He appreciated and expressed thanks to the Government and the people of India for their support and expressed hope to receive India’s goodwill and understanding for Nepal's peace process and continued cooperation for its socio-economic development. The Prime Minister of Nepal also highlighted his ongoing efforts for consensus building on the peace process of Nepal. The Prime Minister of India expressed full support for efforts to build consensus on the peace process and constitution drafting to pave way for Nepal's transition to an inclusive, multiparty democracy in Nepal.

5. The two Prime Ministers directed that all the bilateral institutional mechanisms be revitalized and convened regularly. They directed early meetings of the Joint Ministerial Commission on Water Resources and Home Secretaries.

6. The Nepalese side assured that the Government of Nepal would take further measures for creating and promoting an investor-friendly and enabling business environment to encourage Indian public and private sector investments in Nepal. The two Prime Ministers directed the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) of Commerce Secretaries to convene at the earliest with a view to identifying ways and means of further strengthening mutually beneficial trade and investment ties between the two countries and look into all trade and transit related issues, including trade imbalance, remaining issues of Trade Treaty, Nepal's request for waiver of 4% additional customs duty, issue of fixation of additional one-time lock by Indian customs between Kolkata/Haldia Port and Nepal and operationalisation of Vishakhapatnam port for Nepal’s trade. With regard to the issue of Duty Refund Procedure (DRP) under the new Treaty of Trade, the Indian side assured that the necessary notification in this regard is expected to be issued shortly.

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7. The two sides directed the relevant officials to hold comprehensive review of the Rail Services Agreement at the earliest to enhance cooperation in the field of railways and explore movement of additional stream of wagons to/from Birgunj ICD in Nepal. The two sides agreed to expeditiously complete procedural requirements for operationalisation of rail transit facility through Rohanpur-Singhabad and transit between Vishakhapatnam and Nepal.

8. In response to Nepal's request for increase in the quantum of electricity export to 200 MW to cope with the power deficit during the dry season, the Indian side conveyed readiness to supply maximum electricity possible on existing transmission lines and suggested that technical experts of the two countries should meet to explore the options available for enhancing electricity trade between India and Nepal. With reference to the draft MOU on cross-border interconnection for electric power trade, the Indian side conveyed that it would expeditiously examine the draft.

9. The two sides reiterated that the open border between Nepal and India has greatly facilitated exchanges among the peoples of both countries, and that it is equally important to manage the border effectively and efficiently to control cross-border criminal activities. The two sides discussed security concerns related to the open border between the two countries. The Nepalese side assured that it would not allow its territory to be used for any activity against India and the Indian side also gave the same assurance to the Nepalese side.

10. The two Prime Ministers committed to extend all necessary support to facilitate expeditious completion of construction of roads, rail links and the Integrated Check Posts in the India-Nepal border areas.

11. The Nepalese side requested the Government of India to allow three additional inbound air routes from Janakpur, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj in view of increased air traffic to and from Nepal and for facilitating international air service from the regional airports of Nepal in cost effective manner. The Indian side proposed a meeting of the civil aviation authorities of Nepal and India to discuss and address various issues in this sector.

12. The Prime Minister of Nepal requested the Prime Minister of India for India's assistance in implementing priority development projects in Nepal. The Indian side indicated willingness to favorably consider priority development projects in various sectors as requested by Nepal and suggested that these may be reviewed and considered in detail at a meeting of the Joint Commission at the earliest.

13. The Prime Minister of India offered to increase the ITEC slots for Nepal to 200 every year.

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14. In presence of the two Prime Ministers, the Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investments, Agreement for dollar credit line of US$ 250 million between Government of Nepal and Export-Import Bank of India and Memorandum of Understanding regarding Indian grant assistance of ` 1.875 crore for the goitre control programme in Nepal were signed.

15. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction that the two sides have considered and reached agreement on the text of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and committed to sign the DTAA at the earliest possible on completion of the respective legal procedures.

16. The two sides expressed concern at the human suffering and loss of lives and property caused by floods and inundation at the border areas during the monsoon and agreed to strengthen coordination and consultation to deal with the problem. They agreed that the Joint Ministerial Commission and Joint Commission on Water Resources should convene at the earliest and discuss the current pressing issues and identify the measures for immediate correction.

17. The two sides agreed to further promote exchange of Parliamentarians.

18. The two sides proposed establishment of an Eminent Persons Group to look into the totality of India-Nepal relations and suggest measures to further expand and consolidate the close, multi-faceted relations between the two countries. The modalities of the proposed Group would be worked out through mutual consultation at the earliest.

19. Both sides noted that the multi faceted and deep rooted relationships between the two countries needed further consolidation and expansion in a forward looking manner to better reflect the current realities.

It was in this broader context that the two Prime Ministers agreed to review, adjust and update the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship and other agreements, while giving due recognition to the special features of the bilateral relationship. A High-Level Committee at the level of Foreign Secretaries will be set up for this purpose.

20. The Prime Minister of Nepal addressed a business luncheon meeting jointly organised by ASSOCHAM, CII and FICCI and attended a programme at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

21. The Prime Minister of Nepal also visited Dehradun and visited the State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarkhand in Haridwar. The Hon’ble Governor of Uttarkhand hosted a lunch in honour of the Prime Minister.

22. The Prime Minister of Nepal renewed the invitation to the Prime Minister of India to pay an official visit to Nepal at an early date. The Prime Minister of India accepted it with pleasure. The dates of the visit will be decided through diplomatic channels.

New Delhi
October 23, 2011

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Bhutan's King Jigme, Queen Jetsun arrive on state visit to India

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck being welcomed by the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora, on his arrival, in New Delhi on October 23, 2011.
Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck being welcomed by the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora, on his arrival, in New Delhi on October 23, 2011.
Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuk arrived here today on a nine-day state visit to India.
 
This is the royal couple's first visit abroad after their wedding on October 13 and the King's fourth visit to India since his coronation in November 2008. 
 
They were received at the Indira Gandhi International Terminal Airport here by Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and other senior officials.
 
King Jigme will be accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow morning. Later, he will lay a wreath at Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.
 
Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur and the Foreign Secretary will call on him later before the King arrives at Hyderabad House for a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
 
Vice-President M Hamid Ansari, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon are amongst those slated to call on King Jigme tomorrow.
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King Jigme and Queen Jetsun will meet President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow evening.
 
On Tuesday, Chief of Army Staff Gen V K Singh will call on him. Later, the royal couple will meet ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence.
 
On Thursday, the royal couple will leave for Jaipur and then also visit Jodhpur and Udaipur in Rajasthan.
 
King Jigme had earlier paid a state visit to India in December 2009; visited Kolkata as the chief guest of the convocation ceremony of the Kolkata University in October 2010; and visited New Delhi as the guest of honour at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the National Defence College, of which he is an alumnus, also in October 2010. 
 
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Karunanidhi calls on Sonia Gandhi in Delhi

DMK supremo and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi being welcomed by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her residence, in New Delhi on October 22, 2011. UNI PHOTO
DMK supremo and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi being welcomed by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her residence, in New Delhi on October 22, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence here today.
 
The meeting, the first after the DMK-Congress combine suffered a massive defeat in the April 13 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, lasted about half an hour.
 
As soon as Mr Karunanidhi reached 10 Janpath, Ms Gandhi came out of her residence to receive the DMK patriarch and accepted a bouquet of flowers from him.
 
The DMK chief also enquired about the health condition of the Congress President, who recently underwent a surgery in the US. 
 
Mr Karunanidhi was accompanied by his wife and DMK Rajya Sabha member K Kanimozhi's mother Rajathi Ammal and DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu. 
 
The 2G issue pertaining to Ms Kanimozhi, who has been arrested and is in judicial custody in the case, could have also figured during the meeting with Ms Gandhi.
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The meeting between Mr Karunanidhi and Ms Gandhi coincided with a Special CBI Court framing charges against all the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case, including Ms Kanimozhi and former Communications Minster and DMK Lok Sabha member A Raja.
 
The duo were also charged under Sec 409 of the IPC for criminal breach of trust. 
 
The bail pleas of Ms Kanimozhi and other accused are likely to be taken up for hearing on Monday. 
 
Mr Karunanidhi was expected to meet Ms Kanimozhi later in the day and stay here till her bail plea was heard on October 24. 
 
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CBI court frames charges against 17 accused in 2G scam case

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A CBI Special court today framed charges against all 17 accused arrested in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation case, including former Communications Minister A Raja and DMK MP K Kanimozhi.
 
In this matter, 17 accused, including Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, the Minister's former private secretary R K Chandolia, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group's (ADAG) executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Tipara and Hari Nair, Unitech's MD Sanjay Chandra, DB Realty promoter Shahid Balwa, DB Realty MD Vinod Goenka, DMK-run Kalaignar TV's MD Sharad Kumar, Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Rajeev Agarwal and Ashish Balwa, Cineyug chairman Karim Morani, Reliance Telecom, Unitech Ltd and Swan Telecom, were charged by the CBI.
 
The CBI has charged Raja with cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery. Besides these, Raja, Behura and Chandolia are charged with misuse of official position punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act in which provisions for maxaimum punishment are up to life term.
 
Kanimozhi, a DMK Rajya Sabha member and daughter of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, has been charged with accepting bribe, abetting a public servant for receiving illegal gratification and criminal breach of public trust.
 
The court charged Vinod Goenka, Shahid Balwa, Sanjay Chandra and Gautam Doshi among others with abetment to cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and abeting a public servant in criminal breach of trust.
 
The court also charged the three companies namely Reliance Telecommunications, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) and Swan Telecom under the provisions of criminal conspiracy, forgery and cheating of IPC and sections 13(2) r/w, 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
 
CBI Special Judge O P Saini on October 14 had reserved the order on framing of charges and today after hearing the argument, pronounced the order to frame the charges against all the accused person and adjourned the matter till November 11 to begin the trial.
 
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PM calls for reversal of negativism so that India remains a rising economy

Stating that the current slowdown in the economy was a short-term phenomenon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday called for a reversal of the mood of negativism that seems to have gripped the country so that India retained its place among rising economies.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 56th meeting of National Development Council, in New Delhi on October 22, 2011. The Union Ministers  Kapil Sibal,  P. Chidambaram,  Pranab Mukherjee,  Kamal Nath,  Sharad Pawar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashwani Kumar, the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and the Member-Secretary, Planning Commission Sudha Pillai are also seen.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 56th meeting of National Development Council, in New Delhi on October 22, 2011. The Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, P. Chidambaram, Pranab Mukherjee, Kamal Nath, Sharad Pawar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashwani Kumar, the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and the Member-Secretary, Planning Commission Sudha Pillai are also seen.

 

Stating that the current slowdown in the economy should be seen as a short-term phenomenon, reflecting highly unsettled conditions in the global economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called for a reversal of the mood of negativism that seems to have gripped the country so that India retained its place among rising economies.
 
"Growth rates are being revised downwards in all countries for the current year," he said at the 56th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC), the country's highest policy-making body.
 
The meeting was called to consider the Approach Paper to the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), which has proposed a growth target of 9 per cent per year for the period.
 
Dr Singh recalled that a distinguished business leader had said that in India "the business better than the mood" and pointed out that investment was, after all, a reflection of the "animal spirits" of enterprise.
 
"As we in government seek to create the foundations for higher investment, higher employment and growth, we must be particularly mindful of the impact of our policies and politics on public and private investor sentiment," he said.
 
Dr Singh dwelt at considerable length on the complex issue of interaction between politics and development policies. "Managing this interaction effectively is crucial if India is to achieve her full development potential," he said.
 
"Our democracy, our civil society and our free Press, all face a revolution of rising expectations. This is to some extent caused by the visible success achieved in some areas, which has made people realise what is possible and therefore, they demand a fair share of benefits in terms of the new opportunities created. The fact that we are a functioning democracy, in which vast numbers of our people participate and have a voice, magnifies the phenomenon," he said.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with Dy. Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and state Planning and Development Minister N N Yadav at the 56th meeting of National Development Council held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on October 22, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with Dy. Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and state Planning and Development Minister N N Yadav at the 56th meeting of National Development Council held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on October 22, 2011. UNI PHOTO
The Prime Minister said India should be proud of the way its democracy forces the government to address these problems, but pointed out that this tidal wave of rising expectations puts tremendous pressure on the country's institutions.
 
"Since democracy is a politically competitive process, political parties naturally give voice to the demands of the people. But development also requires time and patience for policies to have an impact. It also requires cooperation," he said.
 
Dr Singh said elected governments could deliver only if, once elections are over and a government is formed, the political process works to allow governments to function in a manner where the needs of long term development do not become hostage to short term concerns. 
 
"What this means is that Parliamentary parties have to strike a difficult balance between maintaining adversarial political positions on many issues, while also cooperating to advance a shared longer term national agenda. This balance is not easy to strike," he said.
 
He said that, at times like these, it was of vital importance that each of the democratic institutions – the Executive, the Judiciary, the Parliament and State Legislatures, the various constitutional and regulatory authorities, understood what their due role was, and played that due role in a constructive manner.
 
"It is our collective responsibility to reverse the mood of negativism today. The future is what we make of it. Nothing is ordained or pre-determined. India can rise, but India can also falter. We live in a world of rising and faltering economies. We can either become victims of negativism, criticising ourselves all the way, or work together to put ourselves firmly in the group of rising economies. Both optimism and pessimism have an infectious quality," he said.
 
The Chief Minister of Kerala,  Oommen Chandy with the Chief Minister of Gujarat,  Narendra Modi, at the 56th meeting of National Development Council, in New Delhi on October 22, 2011.
The Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy with the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, at the 56th meeting of National Development Council, in New Delhi on October 22, 2011.
"I am confident that we can overcome the challenges we confront. But, I also realise that to do so we must first understand the enormity of the change underway globally and the challenge this poses for us. I urge you, Honourable Chief Ministers, to work together with the Central government to help accelerate the pace of growth and improve the quality of development of our people. Let us dedicate ourselves to implementing the 12th Plan in this spirit of nation building. 
 
"The world is watching India with great interest. I also believe it is watching us with great good will. The world has a stake in India’s success because a peaceful prosperous democratic India is a stabilising force in the world. Let us therefore embark on the Twelfth Five Year Plan journey with ambition tempered with humility and confidence, combined with determination. Let us show the world that democratic India is capable of building a prosperous, inclusive, secular and plural nation on the path of sustainable growth. The world has a great stake in the success of this Indian model of development," he said.
 
Dr Singh said that the Approach Paper to the 12th Plan outlined the challenges that the country faced in achieving its goal of rapid, inclusive and sustainable growth over the next five years.
 
He said the world was going through a major realignment of economic power. Industrialised countries are slowing down, emerging market economies are gaining weight and regionally, Asia is gaining weight, he said.
 
"As an emerging market economy in Asia, we stand to gain on both counts. Our policies in the 12th Five Year Plan must, therefore, be shaped to take full advantage of these emerging possibilities," he said.
 
Dr Singh said much of the growth process was now driven by actors outside the direct control of the government, including farmers, entrepreneurs and the private corporate sector, all of whom respond to market forces.
 
"This, however, does not mean that government has no role to play in the development process. It has a very large role and I would distinguish four areas in this context," he said.
 
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"First, government must provide a policy environment in which the creative spirit of our farmers and entrepreneurs is given full support and encouragement. This includes an environment of macro-economic stability, efficient functioning markets which ensure competitive discipline on private sector producers, a sound financial system for allocating financial resources, good governance with transparency and effective enforcement of the rule of law. 
 
"Second, the government has a very big role to play in developing the infrastructure needed in both rural and urban areas to support broad and inclusive growth. 
 
"Third, the government must have special programmes for livelihood support for the poor and vulnerable, aimed at directly increasing their income earning capabilities and at mainstreaming them in the overall growth process. 
 
"Fourth, government must ensure that every citizen must have access to essential public services of acceptable quality in health, education, skill development, provision of safe drinking water and sanitation. Without such services, effective inclusion is simply not possible," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that, as the country entered the 12th Plan, both the Central and State Governments should review what they were doing in each of these areas, and strengthen wherever necessary.
 
He said it was relevant to ask whether the growth target of 9 per cent per year was feasible, given the economy is currently slowing down.
 
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"In setting targets for the Twelfth Plan we must look at longer term potential, assuming that the immediate short term problems will be overcome. I have absolutely no doubt that our country’s longer term prospects are very good," he said.
 
He noted that, in the past two decades, different political parties, ruling in different times in different States, and also in the Centre, had pushed in the same general direction to ensure that his prediction in 1991 about India's emergence as a major economic power in the world was now a widely accepted reality.
 
Dr Singh said that, in the seven years since the UPA government headed by him first came to power in 2004, the economy had grown at an average rate of 8.5%. 
 
"India is now regarded one of the fastest growing emerging markets. What is particularly encouraging is that many states, including some that grew relatively slowly in earlier years, have shown an acceleration in growth performance. I congratulate the Chief Ministers of all these States. If each of our States adopts the ‘national best practice’, if not ‘global best practice’, our nation as a whole will benefit enormously," he said.
 
Dr Singh said that growth had never been the sole objective and the Government's aim had always been inclusive growth which ensures a broad spread of benefits to all sections of the population, particularly the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the Other Backward Castes and other marginalised groups and also protects the environment. 
 
"A criticism often advanced is that while we have delivered high growth, we have not done nearly as well on inclusiveness. I believe there is some truth in this criticism, in the sense that we should have done better. However, it is not true to say that progress on this front has not been significant," he said.
 
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Rs 10 lakh reward for Delhi HC blast suspects

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the September 7 Delhi High Court blast, today declared three terrorists - Junaid Akram (19), Shakir Hussain Sheikh (26) and Amir (25) - of Hizbul Mujahideen as wanted in connection with the case. 
 
The NIA has declared a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for any information leading to their arrest.
 
The agency had earlier arrested Wasim Akram Malik, Aamir Abbas Dev and a juvenile for allegedly sending e-mails to media houses claiming responsibility for the blast on behalf of banned terror group Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI). 
 
They have been booked under various provisions of the IPC, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substances Act, dealing with conspiracy, murder, attempt to kill, causing hurt and using explosives.
 
Malik was today remanded by a city court to NIA custody for three more days on the agency's plea that he needs to be further interrogated for nabbing a few more of his accomplices. 
 
A powerful bomb exploded outside the Delhi High Court killing 15 people and wounding more than 70.
 
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