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Probe finds Elphinstone Road railway station stampede was caused by sudden heavy rains

 
A high-level committee set up by the Railways to probe the September 29 stampede on a foot overbridge (FOB) at Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai, which left 23 people dead and more than 35 others injured, has concluded that the tragedy occurred due to sudden heavy rains that led to overcrowding on the bridge.
 
"The committee concluded that the incident occurred due to sudden downpour of heavy rains and accumulation of commuters on FOB and stair case at around 10.00 hrs onwards on that date," it said.
 
The report said the situation got "further aggravated" when one bundle of flowers of a vendor dropped down, followed by someone shouting that "Majha phool padla" (my flowers have fallen).
 
"Some commuters mistook the word 'phool' (flowers) for 'pul' (bridge). This may have possibly triggered panic and led to stampede," the report said.
 
The committee, headed by the Chief Safety Officer, Western Railway, consisted of five Senior Administrative Grade officers (Joint Secretary level).
 
It had issued a public notice inviting members of public having knowledge relating to the incidence and any matter connected therewith and desiring to give evidence. 
 
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"The committee examined all the matters pertaining to the incidence including the evidence from the witnesses, the written statement of injured persons, Railway officials of Elphinstone road station and analysis of footages of all the CCTV cameras installed at the station including those located on the FOB," an official press release said.
 
The committee also recommended certain short-term and long-term measures for Mumbai Suburban stations. It highlighted the fact that the issue of Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) for Elphinstone Road FOB took about 18 months. 
 
The Railway Board has decided to constitute a high-level expert committee to inquire into the reasons for delay in the whole process and suggest ways and means to ensure that such delays can be minimised in future. This committee would be headed by Mr. Pratyush Sinha (former Chief Vigilance Commissioner) and include Mr. Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman CII Economic Affairs Council, and Mr. Subodh Jain, (retired Member Engineering , Railway Board)  as  Members and current Director Safety, Railway Board, Mr. Pankaj Kumar  as Member Secretary.
 
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Veteran actor Anupam Kher appointed as Chairman of FTII, Pune

Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher
Well-known actor Anupam Kher has been appointed as Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, succeeding Mr. Gajendra Chauhan, an official press release said here today.
 
FTII is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and is regarded as a centre of excellence across the world. Films made by FTII’s students have enjoyed excellent receptions in festivals in India and abroad and have won national and international awards. 
 
"I feel deeply humbled & honoured to be apportioned as the Chairman of iconic #FTII. I will perform my duties to the best of my abilities," Mr. Kher said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Mr. Kher, 62, has appeared in more than 500 films and has won many national and international awards during his distinguished career.
 
Earlier he served as the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and was the Director of National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi from 2001 to 2004. He is also an alumnus of NSD (1978 batch).
 
He was honoured by the Government with the Padma Shri in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016 for his contribution to the field of cinema and arts.
 
Apart from films, Mr. Kher has acted in scores of plays. While he has worked mainly in Hindi films, he has appeared in films made in other languages such as Malayalam and Malayalam and also in international films such as the 2002 Golden Globe nominated Bend It Like Beckham, Ang Lee's 2007 Golden Lion-winning Lust, Caution, and David O. Russell's 2013 Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook. He has also hosted several television shows
 
His wife, actress Kirron Kher, is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of the Lok Sabha from Chandigarh.
 
Mr. Kher made his film debut in the Hindi movie Aagman. In 1984 came Saaransh, where the 28-year-old Kher plated a retired middle-aged Maharashtrian man who has lost his son, a performance for which he won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor.
 
He won the Special Jury Award twice in the National Film Awards -- for Daddy in 1989 and for Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara in 2005. He has won the Filmfare Award for Best Comedian five times. 
 
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GST rate structure for petroleum and oil sector

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Offshore works contract services and associated services relating to oil and gas exploration and production in the offshore areas beyond 12 nautical miles shall attract Goods and Service Tax (GST) of 12%, an official press release said here today.
 
The release said this was among the recommendations for GST rate structure for Specified Goods and Services made by the GST Council at its 22nd meeting here on October 6.
 
The recommendations were made to reduce the cascading of taxes arising on account of non-inclusion of petrol, diesel, aviation turbine fuel (ATF), natural gas and crude oil in GST and to incentivise investments in the exploration and production (E&P) sector and downstream sector.
 
Accordingly, transportation of natural gas through pipeline will attract GST of 5% without input tax credits (ITC) or 12% with full ITC.
 
Import of rigs and ancillary goods imported under lease will be exempted from IGST, subject to payment of appropriate IGST on the supply/import of such lease service and fulfilment of other specified conditions.
 
Further, GST rate on bunker fuel is being reduced to 5%, both for foreign going vessels and coastal vessels.
 
Notifications to give effect to the above proposals will be issued shortly, the release added.
 
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Global crude oil price of Indian basket rises to $ 54.79/bbl

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The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, rose to $ 54.79 per barrel (bbl) yesterday from $ 54.24 per bbl on the previous day.
 
In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket increased to Rs. 3576.02 per bbl on 10.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3542.48 per bbl on 9.10.2017, an official press release said.
 
The rupee closed stronger at Rs. 65.27 per US$ on 10.10.2017 as compared to 65.31 per US$ on 9.10.2017, it added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Phulabani region of Odisha

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, shook the Phulabani (Kandhamal) region of Odisha today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 19.8°N and longitude 84.1°E, occurred at 1132 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Kovind presents Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award to Bindeshwar Pathak

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President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academics and Management for the year 2017 to Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak at Rashtrapati Bhavan here yesterday.
 
Sulabh International is a social organisation that has pioneered a sanitation movement across India.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kovind said the occasion revived memories of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. He was an exceptional leader who believed in simple living and gave the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’, he said.
 
Mr. Kovind said Dr. Pathak was the most deserving person for an award named after Mr. Shastri as he has contributed immensely in the direction of getting rid of the practice of manual scavenging. The Mayor of New York had declared April 14, 2016 as the ‘Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak International Day’ keeping in mind this contribution made by Dr. Pathak. He also received the Padma Bhushan in 1991. 
 
The President said that Dr. Pathak has contributed to making revolutionary changes in society and has put into practice the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Lal Bahadur Shastri He also complimented the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management for honouring people who have made such valuable contributions. 
 
The award has been instituted by the institute, set up in Delhi in 1995, to honour an Indian who is an exceptionally outstanding and distinguished business leader, management practitioner, public administrator, educator or institution builder for his/her sustained individual contributions and achievements. 
 
Among other things, Dr. Pathak and Sulabh International have developed and implemented, on a pan India scale, a low cost and appropriate toilet technology popularly known as the Sulabh Shauchalaya system. 
 
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President to preside over Conference of Governors in Delhi

File photo of President Ram Nath Kovind
File photo of President Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind will preside over a two-day Conference of Governors at Rashtrapati Bhavan here on October 12-13.
 
This is the 48th such conference to be held in Rashtrapati Bhavan and the first one to be presided over by President Kovind. 
 
An official press release said the theme of the opening session is "New India-2022". India will complete 75 years of independence in 2022. 
 
"New India 2022 requires a number of initiatives in infrastructure to cater to the needs of citizens of the country. Similarly, to build New India 2022, emphasis has to be given on various services viz. access to quality education, training and skill development, healthcare, cleanliness, open-defecation free cities and villages, pollution free environment, safety and security of citizens, etc.," the release said.
 
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the sessions and address the conference, it said.
 
The first session of the conference will start with a presentation by NITI Aayog on the possible elements of New India 2022. Then the Governors will have detailed deliberations on the subjects of Infrastructure for New India 2022 and Public Services for New India 2022 in two groups. In each group, concerned Ministers of the Government of India will be present. 
 
The second session will be on the subjects of ‘Higher Education in States’ and ‘Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to Make Youth Employable’. The Minister of Human Resource Development and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will make presentations covering the vision and roadmap for addressing the issues on the agenda. Governors will also give their remarks and suggestions on ways to achieve the goal along with their experiences from the States. 
 
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In the third session on the second day, Governors will make brief remarks on any special issues pertaining to their respective States/Union Territories. They will also highlight key achievements or initiatives started in Raj Bhavans, which can be adopted or replicated. 
 
In the concluding session, a brief report on the deliberations will be presented by the respective conveners. The deliberations and outcomes of the conference will be used by Governors to sensitise stakeholders in their respective States as well as for working towards New India 2022. 
 
Twenty-seven Governors and three Lt. Governors of States and Union Territories will attend the conference.
 
 Union Ministers of Home Affairs; External Affairs; Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation; Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology; Health & Family Welfare; Agriculture & Farmers Welfare; Human Resource Development; Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship; Railways & Coal; Defence; Minister of State of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Minster of State of Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs and the Vice Chairman and the CEO of NITI Aayog and other senior officials will also participate. The Administrators of UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Daman and Diu as well as of Lakshadweep will participate in the conference as special invitees. 
 
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U.S. Chamber appoints Nisha Desai Biswal as President of U.S.-India Business Council

File photo of Nisha Biswal
File photo of Nisha Biswal
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced that Ms. Nisha Desai Biswal, former Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in the U. S. Department of State from 2013-17, has been appointed President of the U.S.-India Business Council.
 
“We are thrilled to welcome Nisha Biswal to the U.S.-India Business Council and to the U.S. Chamber team,” said Mr. Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber executive vice president and head of International Affairs. “She is a driven, visionary leader who has a strong record of advancing United States business across the growth markets of Asia and throughout India. Under her strong leadership, we’re confident the U.S.-India Business Council will play a critical role growing commercial partnership, investment, and innovation across the world’s oldest and largest democracies.”
 
A press release from USIBC noted that, at the Department of State, Ms. Biswal oversaw the U.S.-India strategic partnership during a period of unprecedented cooperation, including launching the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. 
 
In recognition of her efforts, Ms. Biswal was awarded the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award by the President of India in January 2017. 
 
Ms. Biswal previously served as Assistant Administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She also spent over ten years on Capitol Hill, serving as staff director on the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives. ?
 
Most recently, she was a senior advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, where she helped expand the firm’s India and South Asia practice.
 
“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead the U.S.-India Business Council and to join the leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during a period of historic opportunity for both countries,” said Ms. Biswal.
 
“As one of the most significant and fastest growing markets, India is an important economic partner for the United States. Likewise, Indian companies are investing in ever greater numbers here in the United States. I am proud to be part of an organization which will play such a critical role shaping U.S.-India relations, and I am thrilled at the chance to help our companies deliver a brighter, more prosperous future for the citizens of the United States and India.”
 
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Ms. Biswal has served on the board of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and is a current member of the U.S. Institute of Peace International Advisory Council and the Institute for Sustainable Communities Board of Directors.
 
“UPS applauds Nisha being named as the new president of the U.S.-India Business Council,” said Jim Barber, president of UPS International. “At this critical time, she will bring dynamic leadership and well-established economic expertise to the mission of improving the U.S.-India relationship.”
 
Biswal will join the U.S. Chamber beginning October 23, 2017.
 
Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is the premier business advocacy organization, comprising 350 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi.
 
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.
 
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Sitharaman urges Service chiefs to utilise devolved powers for achieving capabilities

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today urged Service chiefs to fully utilise the devolved powers given to them to achieve capabilities for the armed forces.
 
Speaking at the bi-annual Indian Air Force (IAF) Commanders' Conference here, she said the Air Force, along with the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), should make an assessment about indigenisation under the Make in India programme.
 
Ms. Sitharaman said that the budgetary allocations should not be viewed as a constraint and should be looked at to acquire what is absolutely necessary. She said that the Government is committed to fill the gaps which have arisen due to lack of timely decision making in the last decade.
 
Earlier, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, welcomed Ms. Sitharaman and Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre and introduced the IAF Commanders to them.
 
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa briefed Ms. Sitharaman on the current status of the IAF and the efforts that have been made in the recent past. 
 
The Chief of the Air Staff, while addressing the commanders, emphasised the need for continuous effort and training to maintain IAF's cutting edge. He also reiterated the IAF’s role as the first responder in most contingencies and thus the need to sustain the ongoing process of capability enhancement making use of the Government’s thrust on Make in India initiative.
 
An official press release said the three-day conference will have discussions on various subjects that would decide the future trajectory of the IAF, which includes operations, maintenance issues and various administrative initiatives that will be taken to enhance the working environment of the IAF keeping in focus IAF's core principle of 'People First, Mission Always'. 
 
In consonance with Government of India's ‘Digital India’ initiative, two mobile Apps for Air Force Cellular Network (AFCEL) phones called Medwatch and Afchat will be released during the conference. Various other initiatives like Online Testing & Evaluation and Online Entrance Examination to further the initiative will be covered. The new look Air Force Central Accounts Office (AFCAO) website with enhanced features will also be launched. A book titled 'Aero India- Ascent through the ages' is also scheduled to be released during the conference.
 
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Modi to attend inauguration of birth centenary celebration of Nanaji Deshmukh on Wednesday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the inauguration of the birth centenary celebration of Nanaji Deshmukh, social activist and a prominent leader of the erstwhile Jana Sangh, the precursor to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), here tomorrow.
 
Mr. Modi will visit an exhibition on the theme "Technology and Rural Life." The exhibition showcases over a hundred good practices and applications. He will interact with rural innovators, an official press release said.
 
The Prime Minister will offer floral tributes to Nanaji Deshmukh and Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan. He will release a commemorative postage stamp on Nanaji Deshmukh. He will launch a portal for coordination and monitoring of development works at the district level. He will also launch the Gram Samvad App which will carry information on the progress of rural development works at the Gram Panchayat level. It has been designed on the theme - soochna se sashaktikaran - Empowerment through Information. He will inaugurate a Plant Phenomics Facility of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).
 
Mr. Modi will address a gathering of people drawn from Self Help Groups, Panchayats, water conservation innovators, and beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the release added.
 
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Delhi Metro says commuters can get up to 20% discount with its smart cards during off-peak hours

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The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) today said commuters can get up to 20 percent discount on journeys made on its network during off-peak hours using its smart cards.
 
"The Delhi Metro smart card used for multiple journeys in the Metro network is now more economical for Metro commuters, despite the revision of Metro fares in weekdays (Mon-Sat). A smart card normally carries 10% discount on every journey made however; an additional 10% discount is available with the implementation of revised fares during off-peak hours, thereby, increasing the total discount to 20% on every journey made during these hours," 
 
"This 20% discount on smart cards is of great benefit to all passengers, who step out for their miscellaneous works, which normally are not restricted to rigid timings like office, school etc., thus, enabling them to plan their journey in the most economical time zones," the release said.
 
According to it, DMRC has now defined peak hour as the time when a passenger enters into the system, meaning a majority of students, office goers and so on, who are smart card holders, can also avail the 20% discount as it is very likely that they are entering into the Metro system within the time zones of off peak hours to reach their destinations on time, which falls during peak hours. 
 
The time zones of off peak hours (non-peak) defined by DMRC are from start of revenue services to before 8 am, between 12 noon and before 5 pm, and from 9 pm till close of revenue services.
 
"This window of almost 11 hours provided as non-peak hours by DMRC shows that by using smart cards, all categories of passengers are benefitted significantly if the journeys are planned judiciously and it also encourages senior citizens and other non-time bound passengers to use the Metro during non-peak hours for their own comfort and economic travel vis a vis token or peak hour Metro users," the release said.
 
Besides this, Metro is also providing discounted fares in the range of 20 to 50% on Sundays and national holidays. 
 
"This overall concept of discounted fares have been introduced for for staggering the rush during the peak hours while implementing revised fares and to encourage all segments of Metro commuters to plan and travel in the most judicious manner thereby reaping the benefits of discounted fares and also making the travel more comfortable due to spreading out of commuters evenly at all hours of the day. Presently, 70% of Metro commuters are smart card users," the release added.
 
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Indian Railways, Germany to carry out study for increasing speed on Chennai-Kazipet corridor

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German Railways will carry out a feasibility study for increasing the speed of passenger trains to 200 kmph on 50:50 cost sharing basis with the Indian Railways on the existing Chennai-Kazipet corridor.
 
An official press release said a Joint Declaration of Intent was signed between Ministry of Railways and Germany in this regard here today in the persence of Railway Board Chariman Ashwani Lohani.
 
The current Joint Declaration of Intent is intended to deepen the cooperation, more specifically towards the achievement in the priority area of Semi High Speed (SHS) Rail: the upgrading of current passenger services to SHS up to 200 kmph on the Chennai-Kazipet corridor (643 km).
 
The project will consist of three phases to be carried out over a 22-month period as follows:
 
?       Phase 1: Definition of three demand-based upgrade scenarios for the corridor
?       Phase 2: Selection of the preferred upgrade scenario for SHS on the corridor, based on analysis of respective operations and economic-financial impact.
?       Phase 3: For preferred scenario, reference design and technical tender document:
 
        1. Development of reference design for technical solution on preferred  upgrade scenario.
        2. Procurement concept for construction works and railway systems.
        3. Concept and requirements for construction phasing under railway  operations.
        4.  Preparation of technical tender documents for preferred scenario usable for design & build tendering.
        5.  Development of recommendations on the implications for a larger SHS program for India.
        6.    Possible financing options for the implementation of the corridor.
 
The release said the cost of the feasibility study will be shared 50:50 by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India and Government of Germany. The final terms and conditions of carrying out of the feasibility study shall be completed through signing a separate agreement.
 
The Chennai-Gudur Jn-Nellore-Tenali Jn-Vijayawada Jn-Warangal-Kazipet Jn corridor is 643 km long (135 km in Southern Railway and 508 km in South Central Railway) and the entire corridor is electrified. Three Railway Divisions are involved – Chennai (135 km), Vijayawada (311 km) and Secunderabad (197 km).
 
The maximum sectional speed on the corridor is 110 kmph in Southern Railway and 120 kmph for South Central Railway. There are 216 (Southern Railway-68 & South Central Railway-148) level crossings on the corridor and all are manned. There are 1979 bridges (Southern Railway-514 & South Central Railway-1465) on this corridor.
 
There is only one direct train from Kazipet to Chennai -- Train No. 12760/Charminar SF Express taking 11 hours 20 minutes with 13 stoppages at an average speed of 57 kmph.
 
A majority of the trains are from Warangal to Chennai (638 km) and the fastest train is Train no. 12433/12434 Rajdhani Express taking 8 hours 29 minutes with average speed of 75.3 kmph with one stoppage at Vijayawada. There are 108 stations enroute.
 
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Counselling can be of great help in alcohol deaddiction

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Alcohol abuse contributes to illness and premature deaths in a big way. It is also associated with several socioeconomic consequences such loss of earnings and domestic violence.
 
Over the years, several measures have been launched to overcome the problem including imposition of ban on alcohol sale and setting up of de-addiction centres to help the drinkers to give up their habits.
 
A group of researchers drawn from several national and international institutions has now found that it is possible to address the issue in a significantly effective manner at low costs. They have found that lot of benefit can be derived by merely equipping public health workers with different counseling techniques.
 
The study was conducted at 10 public primary health care centres in Goa. A total of 377 heavy drinkers in the age group of 18 to 65 years were enrolled. They were randomized into two groups -- one receiving just the routine care and the other who also received counselling for two months. Their alcohol use was measured after 12 months.
 
In the group that received counselling, as much as 68 per cent of the men were found to have reduced their consumption to the safe level, as against 40 cent in the case of the group that received only the routine care. The counselling programme was also not too intense. It consisted of just one to three sessions.
 
The counsellors were also just non-specialist health workers. They had no prior professional training or qualification in the field of mental health. However, they were given rigorous training on various aspects of counselling and they gave advice on how to deal with craving and motivated patients to quit drinking.
 
Speaking to India Science Wire, Vikram Patel, professor at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine of the Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts in USA, who was the corresponding author for the study, said, “given the great social and health harms associated with heavy drinking in India, and the effectiveness of this relatively brief and cheap treatment to reduce drinking levels, the government needs to scale up this treatment by training primary care health workers across the country”.
 
Besides Dr. Patel, the study team included Abhijit Nadkarni, Helen A Weiss, Benedict Weobong, David McDaid, Daisy R Singla, A-La Park, Bhargav Bhat, Basavaraj Katti, Jim McCambridge, Pratima Murthy, Michael King, G Terence Wilson, Betty Kirkwood, Christopher G Fairburn, and Richard Velleman.
 
National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru and Sangath, a NGO in Goa participated in the study. They collaborated with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford, University of Bath, University of York, University College London,and London School of Economics and Political Science in United Kingdom, University of Toronto in Canada, Rutgers University in New Jersey, and Harvard Medical School in United States of America. The Indian Council of Medical Research gave the ethical approval for conducting the trial.
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister (EAC-PM) to hold its first meeting tomorrow

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The first meeting of the newly constituted Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) will be held at NITI Aayog here tomorrow.
 
The council, headed by NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy, includes Mr. Ratan P. Watal, Principal Adviser NITI Aayog as Member-Secretary and Dr. Surjit Bhalla, Dr. Rathin Roy and Dr. Ashima Goyal as part time Members.
 
"With the constitution of the council, the Government has set up a unique independent institutional mechanism. This is mandated to analyze all critical issues, economic or otherwise referred to it by the Prime Minister and advising him thereon. It is also required to address issues of macro-economic importance and presenting views thereon," an official press release said.
 
In accordance with this mandate, the council held a brainstorming session with stakeholders at NITI Aayog yesterday in the run-up to its first meeting.
 
"The council will address all issues of emergent importance, will engage with a broad spectrum of stakeholders and formulate advice accordingly," the release added.
 
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Global crude oil price of Indian basket falls to $ 55.24/bbl

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The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, fell to $ 54.24 per barrel (bbl) yesterday from $ 55.27 per bbl on the previous publishing day of October 6.
 
In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket decreased to Rs. 3542.48 per bbl on 9.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3605.01 per bbl on 6.10.2017, an official press release said.
 
The rupee closed weaker at Rs. 65.31 per US$ on 9.10.2017 as compared to 65.23 per US$ on 6.10.2017, the release added.
 
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Kovind presents 2017 Vayoshreshtha Samman to senior citizens

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President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Vayoshreshtha Samman to several senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their services towards the cause of elderly persons at a function here yesterday.
 
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot presided over the function.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that there is a healthy tradition of respecting and taking care of elders in the country. He said that, according to the last census, the population of senior citizens in the country was approximately 10.5 crore, which was about 8.5% of the total population. 
 
He said the average life expectancy has increased in recent decades due to improvement in health services and other reasons. It is estimated that by the year 2050, the number of senior citizens will be approximately 19% of the country's total population.
 
Mr. Kovind said that he was happy to note that the Government of India had taken several steps for the welfare of elderly persons. These include the National Programme for Healthcare of the Elderly wherein specialised services will be provided for their treatment. Under the National Health Insurance Scheme implemented with the help of State Governments, additional health insurance is being provided.
 
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, as the nodal ministry for the cause of senior citizens, has been celebrating the International Day of Older Persons since 2005 by conferring Vayoshreshtha Sammans to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their services towards the cause of elderly persons, especially indigent senior citizens. In 2013, the Vayoshreshtha Samman was upgraded as a “National Award”.
 
Vayoshreshtha Samman is given in thirteen categories. This year, the Ministry  honoured 22 awardees under 11 categories.
 
The following are the awardees:
 
INDIVIDUALS
 
1.  Centenarian:  Mr. Chemanchery Kunhiraman Nair, Kozhikode, Kerala
2.  Centenarian:  Mrs. Mrs. Arvinda Vishnukant Dave  "Akshat", Vadodara, Gujarat
3.  Centenarian: Mr. Thanga Darlong Kailashahar, Unakoti Tripura
4.  Centenarian: Late Mr. Kishan Chand Garg (Posthumous), Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Received by Dr. V.K. Garg on behalf of his late father       
5. Iconic Mother: Mrs. Kaushalya Joshi, Jalandhar, Punjab
6. Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Parvatidevi Patil, Gulbarga, Karnataka
7.  Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Mahadeorao Jyotiramji Meshram, Nagpur, Maharashtra
8. Creative Art: Mr. Yumnam Rajendra Singh, Imphal, Manipur
9. Creative Art: Mr. B.Shankara Rao, Bangalore, Karnataka
10. Creative Art: Mr. S. Thippeswamy, Mysuru, Karnataka
11. Creative Art: Mrs. Mangal Ramchandra Bansode, Satara, Karawadi, Maharashtra
12. Creative Art: Dr. Dolly Das, Dibrugarh, Assam
13. Sports and Adventure: Mr. G.S. Sandhu, Patiala, Punjab
14. Sports and Adventure: Mr. Yogendra Vaidya, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 
15. Sports and Adventure: Mrs. Manorama M. Kulkarni, Kolhapur, Maharshtra
16. Courage and Bravery: Dr. Aabha Verma, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh
17. Courage and Bravery: Mr. Shambu Nath Khajuria, Poonch, Jammu & Kashmir
 
INSTITUTIONS
 
18.  Best Institution for providing Services to Senior Citizens and Awareness Generation: Varishth Nagrik Kesari Club, Delhi. Received by Ms. Kiran Chopra, Chairperson, Delhi
19.  Best District Panchayat  in providing Services and Facilities to Senior Citizens: Ujjain (O/o Zila Panchayat). Received by Mr. Sandeep G.R., CEO, Zila Panchayat, Ujjain, MP
20.  Best Urban Local Body in providing Services and Facilities to Senior Citizens: Nagar Palika, Nagda. Received by Mr. Bhavishaya Kumar Khobraghade, Chief Municipal Officer, Municipal Council, Nagda, Madhya Pradesh.
21.  Best State in implementing the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act. 2007 and providing Services and Facilities to Senior Citizens: State of Kerala. Received by Mr. Biju Prabhakar, Secretary, Department of Social Justice, Government Secretariat, Trivandrum, Kerala
22. Best Public Sector Organisation in promoting the well being and welfare of Senior Citizens: Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. Received by CMD and General Manager (HR), BHEL.
 
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L&T emerges as lowest bidder for EESL's tender for smart metres

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has emerged as the lowest bidder of the tender issued by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) to procure 50 Lakh smart metres with a price of Rs. 2722 per single phase smart metre.
 
The company has been selected through an international competitive bidding. The price quoted by it is 40-50% lower than the current market rates, an official press release said.
 
The metres will be installed over a period of three years in a phased manner in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Haryana.
 
The tender floated by EESL, a company under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power, Government of India (GoI), is the world’s largest single smart metre procurement. As many as 14 leading manufacturers from around the world participated in the tender.
 
The release said 40 lakh smart metres would be deployed in UP and 10 lakh in Haryana. 
 
Smart metres are a part of the overall Advanced Metering Infrastructure Solutions (AMI) aimed at better demand response designed to reduce energy consumption during peak hours. The overall AMI solution will also have a system integrator who will be responsible for meter installation, data storage on cloud, preparing dashboards, and so on. The bids for the system integrator will open on October 31, 2017, it said.
 
The metres are being procured for implementation of smart grid projects in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh since these states grapple with huge AT&C losses, with the latest figures for both states being 28.42% and 34.36%, respectively. The smart metres will help these states in not only significantly reducing their AT&C losses by way of increased billing efficiency, but will completely change the way in which electrical energy is presently being consumed and paid for by the consumers, the release said. 
 
"Installation of these smart metres along with its associated communication and IT infrastructure will enable the discoms to obtain real time energy consumption data of each consumer for subsequent analysis," it said.
 
According to the release, the smart metres procured by EESL use GPRS technology to allow two-way communication between the discom and consumers. Once installed, an energy supplier can read a metre via the mobile phone network. Householders can also receive a digital display which helps them to access how much power they are consuming – and its cost – in real time. 
 
"Smart metres enable one to see the consumption pattern and the cost. This means one can adapt the energy use and cut down on waste to provide financial savings to consumers. They further provide an accurate and real-time information about the energy use, enabling one to take informed decisions about their energy behaviour," it said.
 
EESL is procuring the smart meters and services of the system integrator with 100% investment and the utilities will make zero-investment. The repayment to EESL will be through savings resulting from enhanced billing efficiency, avoided metre reading costs, and so on. It is said that the average cost of meter reading is Rs. 40 per metre, which will be completely avoided, the release added.
 
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Modi meets oil and gas CEOs, underlines need for comprehensive energy policy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with global oil and gas CEOs and experts from across the world in New Delhi on Monday and agreed with them on the need for a comprehensive energy policy, saying that the status of the sector in India is highly uneven.

 
Modi interacts with global oil, gas CEOs, experts
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with global oil and gas CEOs and experts from across the world here today and agreed with them on the need for a comprehensive energy policy, saying that the status of the sector in India is highly uneven.
 
He also stressed the need to develop energy infrastructure and access to energy in Eastern India. He flagged the potential of biomass energy and also invited participation and joint ventures in coal gasification. He welcomed all possibilities for innovation and research in the oil and gas sector. 
 
Mr. Modi indicated that as India moves towards a cleaner and more fuel-efficient economy he also wants its benefits to expand horizontally to all sections of the society, and in particular to the poorest. 
 
The meeting was attended by, among others, CEOs and top officials from Rosneft, BP, Reliance, Saudi Aramco, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Vedanta, Wood MacKenzie, IHS Markit, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Xcoal, ONGC, IndianOil, GAIL, Petronet LNG, Oil India, HPCL, Delonex Energy, NIPFP, International Gas Union, World Bank, and International Energy Agency.
 
Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and R.K. Singh, and senior officials from NITI Aayog, Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Petroleum Ministry and Finance Ministry were also present. 
 
The meeting was coordinated by the NITI Aayog. In their brief opening remarks, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, and Mr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman NITI Aayog gave an overview of the work done in this sector. They also emphasized the expected growth in energy demand in India, and the significant progress made in electrification and LPG expansion. 
 
In a presentation NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant outlined the recent developments and challenges in the oil and gas sector in India. 
 
An official press release said various participants appreciated the progress and reforms made in India in the last three years. 
 
"Participants appreciated the pace and drive with which Prime Minister Modi has brought about reform in the energy sector. Subjects such as the need for a unified energy policy, contract frameworks and arrangements, requirement of seismic data sets, encouragement for biofuels, improving gas supply, setting up of a gas hub, and regulatory issues came up for discussion. Many participants strongly recommended the inclusion of gas and electricity in the GST framework," it said.
 
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia highlighted the recent decisions of the GST Council regarding the oil and gas sector. 
 
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Thanking the participants for sharing their views, the Prime Minister said that many suggestions received in the last meeting in 2016 had helped policy making. He also said that scope for reform in many areas still exists. The Prime Minister appreciated the suggestions made by the participants. 
 
The Prime Minister thanked all participants for sharing holistic suggestions, keeping in mind India's unique potential and requirements in the oil and gas sector, instead of merely confining themselves to the concerns of their respective organisations. 
 
He observed that the suggestions made today covered policy, administrative as well as regulatory issues. 
 
Mr. Modi thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Russian oil giant Rosneft for their commitments and support to the energy sector in India. He appreciated the 2030 vision document of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Warmly recalling his visit to Saudi Arabia, he said many progressive decisions are being taken there in the energy sector. He looked forward to various opportunities for cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia in the near future. 
 
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Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius holds talks with Sushma Swaraj

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External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had a meeting here today with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius at which they discussed various aspects of bilateral ties as well as important regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
 
Mr. Linkevicius had arrived here yesterday on a four-day visit, accompanied by senior officials of his Ministry. He had last visited India in November 2013.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said the visit marks the celebration of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Lithuania. 
 
India’s economic ties with Lithuania have strengthened with an Indian investment in plastic sector in Lithuania’s Special Economic Zone and the growing awareness about the prospects in agriculture sector. An MoU on Agriculture and Allied Sectors was signed in 2016. 
 
Lithuania has a rich tradition of studying Indology and there are many common words between Lithuanian and Sanskrit languagues. 
 
The release said the discussions between the two Ministers focused on building closer cooperation in the areas of trade & investment, agriculture, culture, tourism, and so on.
 
During the visit, the two Ministers signed the Treaty on Extradition between India and Lithuania and the Protocol amending and supplementing the agreement between India and Lithuania relating to Air Services. 
 
Mr. Linkevicius presented to Ms. Swaraj Sanskrit-Lithuanian Mala, a dictionary of 108 common Sanskrit and Lithuanian words.
 
Mr. Linkevicius called on Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu today.
 
He will visit Mumbai on October 10-11, when he will have an interaction with the business community.
 
Mr. Linkevicius and Minister of State for External Affairs M. J. Akbar will attend the Lithuania National Symphony Orchestra concert being organized in Mumbai tomorrow to mark the centenary of the Republic of Lithuania.
 
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IMD warns of heavy rainfall in East India during next 24 hours

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) today warned that heavy rainfall was likely at some places in East India during the next 24 hours under the influence of a deep depression over Gangetic West Bengal.
 
A press release, issued by the IMD at 1400 hours, said that the latest observations by Doppler Weather Radar, Kolkata and satellite imageries indicated that the deep depression had moved west-northwestwards with a speed of about 9 kmph in the past six hours.
 
It lay centred at 1130 hrs IST of today over Gangetic West Bengal near latitude 22.5º N and longitude 88.3 ºE, close to Kolkata. 
 
"The system is very likely to continue to move slowly west-northwestwards during next 24 hours and move northwards thereafter," it said.
 
The release said heavy rainfall was was likely over Gangetic West Bengal during the next 24 hours, with very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places. Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall was likely in the area during the subsequent 24 hours.
 
The release said rainfall was very likely at most places over north Odisha and Jharkhand during the next 48 hours, with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall during the subsequent 24 hours. 
 
It said rainfall was very likely at many places over Chhattisgarh and south Odisha on October 10 and over Bihar on October 10 and 11, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.
 
The release said squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail along and off north Odisha and West Bengal coasts during the next 24 hours. Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail over Gangetic West Bengal and 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph very likely over adjoining areas of Odisha and Jharkhand during the next 24 hours.
 
The sea of state is very likely to be rough to very rough along and off north Odisha and West Bengal coasts during the next 24 hours, the release said and advised fishermen along and off north Odisha and West Bengal coasts not to venture into the sea during the next 24 hours.
 
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Global crude oil price of Indian basket rises to $ 55.27/bbl

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The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, rose to $ 55.27 per barrel (bbl) on October 6 from $ 55.23 per bbl on the previous day.
 
In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket increased to Rs. 3605.01 per bbl on 6.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3599.47 per bbl on 5.10.2017, an official press release said.
 
The rupee closed weaker at Rs. 65.23 per US$ on 6.10.2017 as compared to 65.18 per US$ on 5.10.2017, it added.
 
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Oil giant Saudi Aramco opens office in Delhi

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Oil giant Saudi Aramco opened Aramco Asia India's new office in Delhi yesterday, marking a significant milestone in its international portfolio expansion.
 
The office was inaugurated jointly by Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Saudi Aramco President & CEO Amin H. Nasser. Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to India Saud Alsati, senior Indian government officials and oil industry executives were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
“For Saudi Aramco of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India represents much more than a valued customer or even a major supplier of services and materials. Today, India is an investment priority,” said Mr. Nasser.
 
“We are here to meet India’s future energy demands by offering a strong relationship involving secure and reliable supply of energy feedstock to fuel India’s dynamic growth. And India has the necessary human capital and expertise that can help us grow from strength to strength," he said.
 
Mr. Pradhan said: “Today is a historic day for us with Aramco’s growing presence marking a new chapter in the relationship between Saudi Arabia and India. Aramco is a key partner for Indian refiners and there’s great potential to take our partnership to a higher level beyond the supply of crude oil, refined products and LPG to new areas of R&D, engineering and technology. In return, India can offer (competitive) cost and capacity advantages.”
 
Mr. Nasser said the company's presence in Delhi demonstrated its readiness to play a role in India's economic growth and development, which is expected to be the fastest in the next decade, on top of the company’s existing role as a leading oil supplier to India for many years.
 
“As reliable suppliers of oil and LPG for decades we are committed to providing those additional supplies that India will need,” he said.
 
A press release from the company said the Delhi office will play a major role in  attracting more Indian manufacturers and investors to participate in the company’s In-Kingdom Total Value Addition, or IKTVA program. It will also strive towards qualifying more vendors in commodities which Saudi Aramco requires for its projects and operations as well as strengthening R&D collaboration with Indian expertise and continuing the momentum of supply for the country’s oil and related products demand. India imports 81% of its oil need from abroad.
 
Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier of crude to India after Iraq and it accounts for about 19% of the country's crude oil imports and also 29% of LPG imports. During 2016-17, India imported about 39.5 MMT of crude from Saudi Arabia. 
 
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Amit Shah's son Jay says will sue The Wire for Rs. 100 crore for defamation

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah, an Ahmedabad-based businessman, today said he had decided to file a Rs. 100 crore defamation suit against news website The Wire for allegedly defaming him in an article carried by it.

File photo of Jay Shah with his father and BJP President Amit Shah.
File photo of Jay Shah with his father and BJP President Amit Shah.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah, an Ahmedabad-based businessman, today said he had decided to file a Rs. 100 crore defamation suit against news website The Wire for allegedly defaming him in an article carried by it.
 
"Since the website has proceeded in making an absolutely false imputation in a highly slanted article, thereby damaging my reputation, I have decided to prosecute the Author, Editor(s) and the Owner(s) of the aforesaid news website for criminal defamation and sue them for an amount of Rs. 100 crore," the younger Mr. Shah said in a statement.
 
"Both the actions will be filed at Ahmedabad, where I stay, carry on my business and where the cause of action has arisen," he said.
 
"If anyone else republish/rebroadcast the imputations made in the said article, whether directly or indirectly, such person or entity will also be guilty of the very same criminal and/or civil liability," he said.
 
Union Minister Piyush Goyal also addressed a press conference here today to strongly defend Mr. Shah and deny all allegations of wrongdoing made in the article. He said Mr. Shah would launch civil and criminal proceedings against the website and sue them for Rs. 100 crore in damages.
 
The article, titled "The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah", published on the website this morning, alleged that, as per filings made by it with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), the turnover of Mr. Shah's firm had zoomed by over 16,000 times within a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in May 2014 and after Mr. Amit Shah took over as the president of the ruling party.
 
"It is a totally malicious and defamatory article. Jay carries out a fully legitimate and lawful business on commercial lines which are reflected in income tax (filings) and transactions in banks," Mr. Goyal said.
 
Mr. Shah said in his statement that the article made "false, derogatory and defamatory imputation against me by creating in the minds of right-thinking people an impression that my businesses owes its 'success' to my father Amitbhai Shah's political position."
 
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"My businesses are fully legitimate and conducted in a lawful manner on commercial lines, which is reflected in my tax records, and are through banking transactions. I had taken loan either from NBFC or Non-funded Credit Facilities from Cooperative Bank on purely commercial terms strictly in accordance with law. I have repaid the loans by cheque on commercial rate of interest and within the time stipulated. I have mortgaged my family property with the cooperative bank to get the credit facilities," he said.
 
"My lawyer has given details of all my legitimate transactions to the author of the website and all questions posed by her were answered with details since I had nothing to hide," he said.
 
The article, written by Ms. Rohini Singh, quoted the balance sheets and annual reports of Mr. Shah's company, Temple Enterprises Private Limited, obtained from the RoC, to say that, from a profit of Rs. 18,728 on revenues of Rs. 50,000 in 2014-15, its turnover had jumped to Rs. 80.5 crore in 2015-16. The report said the company had received an unsecured loan of Rs. 15.78 crore from a financial services firm.
 
The report went on to say that, one year later, in October 2016, Mr. Shah's company stopped its business activities, declaring in its director's report that its net worth had "full eroded" because of the loss of Rs. 1.4 crore it posed that year and its losses of earlier years.
 
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Jaitley to pay week-long visit to US for World Bank, IMF annual meetings

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Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will leave here tomorrow on a week-long visit to the United States during which he will attend the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
 
Apart from Mr. Jaitley, the Indian official delegation to the World Bank and IMF meetings will include Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urijit Patel; Mr. Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance; Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian; Mr. Dinesh Sharma, Special Secretary, DEA.
 
Mr. Jaitley will reach New York on October 9 and will have a meeting with investors in partnership with Bank of America and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). Thereafter, Mr. Jaitley will participate in a Roundtable Meeting of CEOs of USIBC-CII. 
 
On October 10, Mr. Jaitley will deliver a lecture on "FDI: Achievements and Challenges" at Columbia University . In the evening, he will leave for Boston. 
 
On October 11, he will participate in the Roundtable Investment Meet being organised in Boston in collaboration with NIIF, USISPF and FICCI on the subject of "Indian Economy - The Road Ahead". Later in the evening, he will deliver a lecture on India's Tax Reforms at Harvard University. 
 
On the morning of Thursday, the Finance Minister will leave for Washington D.C. to participate in the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), among other engagements.
 
During his three-day stay in Washington, Mr. Jaitley will hold a bilateral meeting with the US Commerce Secretary. He will also participate in an interactive seminar organised by FICCI on the subject of "India Opportunity Conference".
 
He will also attend the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Working Dinner on October 12.
 
On Friday, Mr. Jaitley will participate in the Annual Meetings Plenary, G-20 Finance Ministers (FMs) and Central Bank Governors (CBGs)’ Meeting and Development Committee Luncheon Meeting among others. Later, he will participate in the Finance Ministers’ Meeting with Multilateral Development Banks. 
 
Mr. Jaitley is also likely to hold separate bilateral meetings with the Italian Minister for Economy and Finance and the Iranian Minister for Economy and Finance.
 
In the evening of that day, the Minister will participate in an event hosted by US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) on the theme "Indian Economy: Prospects and Challenges". Thereafter, he will attend a dinner hosted in his honour by Indian Ambassador in Washington Navtej Sarna.
 
On Saturday, Mr. Jaitley will participate in the IMFC Restricted Breakfast Session followed by the IMF Governors’ Photo Session. Later, he will participate in the IMFC Plenary. 
 
In the afternoon, the Finance Minister will host a lunch for The Constituency Members consisting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Later, he  will participate in the 96th Meeting of the Development Committee Plenary. 
 
On Sunday, Mr. Jaitley will fly back home and is scheduled to be back in the  national capital on October 16.
 
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New dynamic façade lighting of North, South Blocks to offer visual treat round the year

Come Wednesday next, the famous Central Vista of the national capital will not be the same any more with the launch of a new dynamic facade lighting that will be on show from 7.00 pm to 5.00 am all through the year with full capacity prime time lighting from 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm every day.
 
The present famed special lighting on eight select days in a year and a few hours every night of façade lighting of the icononic North and South Block buildings, a visual treat over the years,  will move from being static to dynamic, offering an entirely a new further enhanced aesthetic experience, an official press release said.
 
The new dynamic façade lighting over an area of 21,450 sq.mtrs has the potential to present an amazing 16 million colour combinations, displaying a wide range of patterns and themes during the night time with colours changing every few seconds, it said.
 
Installed by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), an attached organization of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, the new dynamic façade lighting of the two famed buildings will be switched on by Mr. Mahipal Singh, the senior most support staff (Multi Tasking Staff) of the Ministry of Home, housed in the North Block on Wednesday next at 6.30 am. 
 
The new lighting will be on show from 7.00 pm to 5.00 am all through the year with full capacity prime time lighting from 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm. With inherent dimming facility, the electrical load will be 25% during 7.00-7.30 pm and 10.00 pm to 5.00 am while the load will be 50% during the remainder of the night.
 
The entire network of new dynamic lighting using the state of the art RGB LED technology with 40 kms of unified power and data cabling has central computerized control with automated selection of colour combinations, with selection of timing, dimming and switching on and off facility, individual and combined control of light fittings etc through Ethernet based controller.
 
It is capable of providing both volume and focus lighting to highlight the architectural features of the historical buildings, a fine blend of the traditional Indian and British architectue, further enhancing the grandeur, treating the visitors to a new feast of colours. The frontal façade, loggia, central dome, flag posts etc., will be highlighted by the new lighting using narrow, medium and wide degree beam angles as required. The light fittings have external lenses to enable change of beam angles as per site requirement. It has an inherent capability and versatility for choosing different colour themes and schemes on special occasions.
 
The new dynamic façade lighting has a multitude of advantages over the present conventional special lighting on show on special occasions like the Independence Day and the Republic Day and some national festivals and façade lighting. The new lights and fixtures are more durable, cost effective, energy efficient and environment friendly. The present lighting covers an area of 16,750 sq.mtrs.
 
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The annual saving on account of new lighting of 21,450 sq.mtres of façade area in respect of replacement, maintenance and operation cost will be Rs.86.40 lakhs.  The life of the new LED light fittings is over one lakh burning hours, coming to about 25 years as against only 10,000 burning hours for the existing fittings. Energy consumption by the present limited conventional lighting using LED, Metal Halide and Sodium Vapour light fittings is Rs. 17.00 lakhs per year, double that of the extended year round new dynamic lighting with an energy consumption of only Rs. 8.40 lakhs per year.
 
All new light fittings are dust, vermin and moisture proof with outdoor weather protection of the highest order (IP-66) with robust design. It also conforms to the most stringent international regulatory framework of environmental and technical parameters (RoHS, UL and CE). It will not have any effect on the sand stone structures of the North and South Block buildings.
 
Care has been taken to protect the heritage character of these famed buildings. All light fittings are outdoor and placed either on the ground in front lawns or on roof top.
 
"CPWD, that has put in extensive efforts towards conceptualization, designing and execution, informed the Ministry that the initial investment of Rs. 15.40 crore for the new lighting will be recovered in just 6 to 7 years and thereafter the system becoming virtually free of cost as against the costs being incurred every year now," it said.
 
"Under the present lighting system, fifty thousand three watt LED bulbs in strings nailed on the walls of the iconic buildings are being used for special lighting on eight occasions in a year besides 170 lamps of 400 MW/250 MW Metal Halide and Sodium Vapour for façade lighting and 72 LED lights for security lighting. The new dynamic lighting system with 800 fittings will do away with all of these," the release added.
 
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