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Jayalalithaa acquitted in corruption case, paving way for her return as TN CM

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today acquitted by the Karnataka High Court here in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.
 
The High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Reading out the operative part of the judgement at 11 am in the court, Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state.
 
Today's acquittal means that Ms Jayalithaa, supremo of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), can return as Chief Minister.
 
After she had stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29 last year.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. She was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, a film star-turned-politician, and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The special court had sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
 
Jayalalithaa acquitted by Karnataka HC in corruption case
Celebrations broke out among Ms Jayalalithaa's supporters all across Tamil Nadu as well as outside the high court here, where they had gathered in large numbers.
 
Hundreds of people who had congregated outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai since early morning burst firecrackers, danced and distributed sweets as soon as news of the verdict by Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy ame in.
 
Mr Panneerselvam and many of his Cabinet colleagues also turned up to congratulate her.
 
On October 17 last year, Ms Jayalalithaa had been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the case after the Karnataka High Court had turned down her application.
 
Along with her, the apex court also granted bail to Ms Natarajan, Mr Sudhakaran and Mr Ilavarasi.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Ms Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
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Modi says defence public sector companies have to perform better

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that it would no longer be enough for India to buy defence equipment from abroad and simply assemble them in the country and made it clear that the public sector needed to improve its performance in this sector.

 
Modi inaugurates Aero India-2015, says India reforming defence policies
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it would no longer be enough for India to buy defence equipment from abroad and simply assemble them in the country and made it clear that the public sector needed to improve its performance in this sector.
 
"We have been doing this in the past, without absorbing any technology or developing our own capabilities. In some areas, we are where we were three decades ago," he said in his inaugural address at the 10th edition of Aero India, the international air show here.
 
"Frankly, our public sector needs to do much better than they are doing now. We have to exploit their huge assets and a vast potential. At the same time, we have to make them accountable," he said.
 
Mr Modi said his government was focusing on developing the defence industry with a sense of mission in view of the impact it could have on the creation of jobs directly and in the related sectors and of the possible spin-off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies.
 
"This is why it is at the heart of our Make in India programme," he said.
 
"We are reforming our defence procurement policies and procedures. There would be a clear preference for equipment manufactured in India. Our procurement procedures will ensure simplicity, accountability and speedy decision making," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the government had raised the permitted level of foreign direct investment (FDI) to 49%. This could go higher, if the project brought state-of-the art technology, he said.
 
He also said the government had permitted investments upto 24% by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and there was no longer a need to have a single Indian investor with at least a 51% stake. 
 
"Industrial licensing requirements have been eliminated for a number of items. Where it is needed, the process has been simplified. We are expanding the role of private sector, even for major platforms. Our goal is to provide a level playing field for all. We speak in terms of national capacity, not public sector or private sector," he said.
 
More than 250 Indian companies and more than 300 foreign firms are participating in Aero India. Defence ministers, senior officials and hundreds of business leaders from around the world are attending the event.
 
"This is the largest ever Aero India. This reflects a new level of confidence within our country and global interest in India. To many of you, India is a major business opportunity. 
 
"We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment in the world. That may be music to the ears of some of you here. But, this is one area where we would not like to be Number One!" Mr Modi said.
 
"Our security challenges are well known. Our international responsibilities are evident. We do need to increase our defence preparedness. We do have to modernize our defence forces. 
 
"We have to equip ourselves for the needs of the future, where technology will play a major role. As a nation of one billion people, we also have huge requirements for managing internal security. We are increasingly integrating technology and systems into it.  These opportunities make Aero India an important international event," he said.
 
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Mr Modi said Aero India was not just a trade fair for defence equipment but a mega meeting of one of the largest global supply chains, with the most advanced technology and complex equipment  
 
He said it was a platform to launch India's defence manufacturing sector, stressing that a nation with a strong defence industry would not only be more secure but also reap rich economic benefits. 
 
"It can boost investment, expand manufacturing, support enterprise, raise the technology level and increase economic growth in the country," he said.
 
He said that, in India, the defence industry in the government sector alone employed nearly 200,000 workers and thousands of engineers and scientists. They produce an output of nearly 7 billion dollars annually. It also supports a very large pool of small and medium enterprises. 
 
He said the country's defence industry in private sector wass still small but it already employs thousands of people.
 
"This is despite the fact that nearly 60% of our defence equipment continues to be imported. And, we are spending tens of billions of dollars on acquisitions from abroad. There are studies that show that even a 20 to 25% reduction in imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India. 
 
"If we could raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% to 70% in the next five years, we would double the output in our defence industry. Imagine the impact in terms of jobs created directly and in the related manufacturing and services sector! Think of the spin off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies!" he said.
 
Mr Modi said the offsets system was a crucial instrument to develop and upgrade our defence industry. 
 
"We have introduced significant reforms in our offsets policy. I am acutely aware that it still needs a lot of improvements. We will pursue them in consultation with domestic industry and our foreign partners. I want our offsets policy not as a means to export low-end products, but to acquire state-of-the art technology and skills in core areas of priority," he said.
 
He pointed out that government's support for research and development was essential for defence sector. And, it should also be accompanied by a degree of assurance on purchase. 
 
"We are introducing a scheme to provide up to 80% of funding from the government for development of a prototype in India. And, we are also launching a Technology Development Fund. 
 
"For too long, our research and development has been confined to government laboratories. We must involve our scientists, soldiers, academia, industry and independent experts more closely in research and development," he said.
 
Mr Modi said that, while it had made its export policies clearer, simpler and predictable, the government would also abide by the highest standards of export controls and international responsibility. 
 
"We will expand our exports, but we will ensure that our equipment and technology do not fall into the wrong hands. India's record in this area has been impeccable and it will remain so," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said he was pleased with the positive impact of the government's policies and noted that the Indian private corporations had responded with enthusiasm.
 
"There is new excitement in our small and medium scale sector. Many of the biggest global firms are forming strategic partnerships in India. Some of them have already begun using India as part of their global supply chains or engineering services." he said.
 
He also expressed happiness that the first set of parts from the joint venture set up in September last year by Dynamatic Technologies and its collaborator Boeing, to manufacture critical parts for a Boeing helicopter that is sold globally, was ready for shipment today.
 
"But, we still need to do more. We have to further reform our acquisition and approval processes. We must indicate a clear roadmap of our future needs. 
This must take into account not only new technology trends, but also the nature of future challenges," he said.
 
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Mr Modi said there was need to pay attention to developing supply chains, with emphasis on innovation and bridge the gap between prototype development and quality of production. 
 
"We must develop a financing system suited to the special needs of this industry. It is a market where buyers are mainly governments, the capital investments are large and the risks are high. We must ensure that our tax system does not discriminate against domestic manufacture in comparison to imports," he said.
 
Mr Modi said that, more broadly, the defence industry would succeed more if the manufacturing sector were transformed in India.
 
"We need great infrastructure, sound business climate, clear investment policies, ease of doing business, stable and predictable tax regime, and easy access to inputs. We need a national industry that produces advanced materials, the most sophisticated electronics and the best engineering products. Over the last eight months, we have worked hard to create that environment for you. 
 
"Above all, we need a vast pool of highly skilled and qualified human resources for the defence industry. Our aerospace industry alone would need about 200,000 people in another ten years," he said.
 
He said the government would set up special universities and skill development centres to cater to the defence industry, just as it had done in atomic energy and space. "I have especially invited the State Governments to come here with package of facilities to attract investments in defence manufacturing," he said.
 
"We want to develop an industry is dynamic. It should constantly stay at the cutting edge of the global industry. I am confident that India will emerge as a major global centre for defence industry. We have the basic building blocks for it in India; and, a large nation requirement. We will build an industry that will have room for everyone – public sector, private sector and foreign firms. 
From sellers, foreign firms must turn into strategic partners," he said.
 
"We need their technology, skills, systems integration and manufacturing strength. The nature of industry is such that imports will always be there. In turn, they can use India as part of their global supply chain," he said.
 
He said defence budgets around the world were becoming tighter and India's frugal but sophisticated manufacturing and engineering services sectors could help reduce costs. 
 
"India can also be a base for export to third countries, especially because of India's growing defence partnerships in Asia and beyond. 
 
"A strong Indian defence industry will not only make India more secure. It will also make India more prosperous. 
 
"Aero India can be a catalyst in realizing our goals. That is why I am here today. So, as we look at these wonderful aircraft and enjoy the amazing fly pasts, I also hope we can get some business done. And, sow the seeds of successful new ventures and partnerships – to give our people new opportunities, to make our nations safer, and the world more stable and peaceful," he added.
 
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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

 
10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
 
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
 
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
 
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He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
  
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
 
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
 
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
 
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143
 
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SC grants bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
The Supreme Court today granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who were convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 66, the apex court also granted bail to her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each.
 
The Karnataka High Court had, on October 7, rejected Ms Jayalalithaa's bail application. While doing so, Judge A V Chandrashekhara recalled that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the past that corruption cases should be put on the fast track. He pointed out that the apex court had taken a tough stand in such cases and had described corruption as a "violation of human rights".
 
Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9.
 

 
Jayalalithaa granted interim bail by SC in DA case
The apex court today suspended her sentence and granted her bail after imposing some conditions, including that she would have to submit her paprs for the appeal against her conviction within two months, that is by December 18, and that she would not seek any adjournment of the hearings. 
 
As soon as news of the court's decision to grant her bail came, hundreds of supporters of Ms Jayalalithaa in Chennai and elsewhere broke out into rapturous celebrations.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, who has been held in prison in Bangalore since September 27, is expected to be released on bail later today or tomorrow. She will remain confined to home in Chennai while she is on bail.
 
The court fixed December 18 as the date to satisfy itself if she had complied with its order.
 
Her counsel Fali Nariman assured the court on her behalf that there would be no act of lawlessness by her party's workers in Tamil Nadu. She had sought bail on the grounds that she was suffering from various ailments and that she was a senior citizen and a woman.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly after her conviction and sentence and had to resign as Chief Minister. She is also barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
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The court held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state and emerging as the third largest party in the House.
 
Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are due in 2016 and unless her conviction is overturned by a higher court, Ms Jayalalithaa cannot contest them.
 
After Ms Jayalalithaa stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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1 dead, 14 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station on Thursday morning.

 
Chennai train blasts: 14 injured passengers stable
A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
 
Southern Railway sources said two of the injured had suffered serious grievous injuries while the others had received minor injuries.
 
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters at the scene that the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train arrived on platform number 9.
 
Three coaches of the train -- S3, S4 and S5 -- were affected by the two explosions, the sources said.
 
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said. Media reports said she was an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
 
Sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under seat 70 of coach S4 and seat 30 of coach S5.
 
Mr Mishra said the train was running slightly late and had arrived at the station at 7.05 am instead of its scheduled time of 5.45 am.
 
The injured were rushed immediately to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital near the station.
 
Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passenger, Rs 25,000 for each of those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for each of those with minor injuries.
 
Police officials, accompanied by dog squads and bomb disposal squads, rushed to the scene of the blasts immediately and platform number 9 was cordoned off.
 
The entire train was checked by the police and it later resumed its journey to Guwahati, Assam after the affected coaches were detached and replaced with new coaches.
 
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and it would resume its journey to Guwahati, Assam an hour later after the two affected coaches are detached.
 
The Railways have set up a helpline at Chennai on telephone number 044-25357398 to provide information to relatives of the passengers of the affected train.
 
Operations on other platforms as well as on the nearby suburban section continued to remain normal, Mr Mishra added.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will reach Chennai later today to probe the incident.
 
Security was intensified at Chennai Central railway station after the incidents.
 
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Among the seriously injured passengers, one was identified as Sumantho Devnath (37, Male), while the other was an unidentified male.
 
Those with minor injuries were identified as follows:
 
1. Shaiful Haque – 27 years Male
2. Anjanedu– 29 years Male
3. Vimal Kumar Das – 43 years Male
4. Shagun Kumar Rai– 23 years Male
5. Altaf Khan – 17 years Male
6. Uma – 35 years Female
7. Jitendra Mohanto Deka – 58 years Male
8. Sari – 21 years Male
9. Murali – 27 years Male
10. Bijoy Kumar – 14 years Male
11. Sudanchand Debnath – 64 years Male
12. Surendra Varma– 31 years Male
 
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Dusk-to-dawn tryst with classical music,dance at IIM Bangalore on R-Day eve

Akkarai sisters
Akkarai sisters
The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) will host a dusk-to-dawn extravaganza of classical music and dance from 6 pm on January 25 till the dawn of Republic Day, featuring well-known names in Hindustani classical, Carnatic music and classical dance.
 
Hosted in association with SPICMACAY chapter at IIMB, the event,‘Yamini’, is held every year under the starry skies at the open air amphitheatre at the IIMB campus on Bannerghatta Road here.
 
This year, the event features Padma Shri award winners Pt. Venkatesh Kumar (Hindustani Vocal) and Ustad Shahid Pervez (Sitar), renowned danseuse Sujata Mohapatra (Odissi) and the youth sensations Sikkil Gurucharan (Carnatic Vocal) and the Akkarai Sisters (Carnatic Violin).
 
Entry is open to all. The event details and entry passes are available at www.yamini-iimb.in, or on the Facebook event page: facebook.com/iimb.yamini.
 
Pt. Venkatesh Kumar from Dharwad near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, a place famous for its rich musical tradition, especially Hindustani, has learnt music under the tutelage of the late Puttaraj Gawai, a saint-musician. Having received music training at Gawai’s ashram in Gadag, over the years, he earned national recognition. His robust style and seamless blending of key elements of the Kirana and Gwalior gharanas is also enriched by characteristics of the Patiala school.
 
Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan descends from six generations of sitarists. He is one of the leading exponents of the Etawah Gharana, committed to this most famous of Indian instruments. He was trained by his father and guru, Ustad Aziz Khan.
 
A distinguished practitioner of Odissi, Sujata Mohapatra made her initial foray into the dancing arena in her early childhood. Born into a rich cultural background, she grew up in an artistic environment that delicately nourished her creativity and brought out her innate interest in dance.
 
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Mohapatra, as the disciple and daughter- in-law of the late Guru Padmabibhushan Kelucharan Mohapatra, had received 18 years of rigorous training under the guidance from him. She subsequently did further studies on the dance form and also undertook research work at the Odissi Research Centre, Bhubaneshwar. She is at present Principal of ‘Srjan’ an Odissi dance institution founded by Kelucharan Mohapatra.
 
Sikkil C. Gurucharan, born on June 21,1982 is the grandson of Sikkil Kunjumani, elder of the internationally acclaimed flautists, the Sikkil Sisters. Gurucharan has been under the tutelage of Vaigal S. Gnanaskandan and is currently being mentored by B. Krishnamurthy.
 
Akkarai Sisters, S Subhalakshmi and S Sornalatha, hail from a family with a rich background in Indian classical music. Their grandfather, Suchindram Shri S P Sivasubramanian, was a multifaceted musician renowned as a vocalist, violinist, and composer, and their grandmother R Sornambal was a Harikatha exponent. The sisters are the disciples of their father, Akkarai S Swamynathan, a veteran violinist and founder of the Swara Raga Sudha school of music.
 
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IIM Bangalore launches incubation program for social ventures

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The NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at IIM Bangalore (IIMB) has launched an incubation program for organisations engaged in solving problems affecting urban India in areas such as education, livelihood, health and financial inclusion.
 
The program, ‘NSRCEL Social’, aims to leverage the Centre’s experience to build successful not-for-profit social impact ventures, a press release from IIMB said.
 
It has invited applications for the first batch of change makers from registered not-for-profit organisations, which are between one and three years old.
 
The application process is open till January 31. Details can be seen here.
 
’NSRCEL Social’, in collaboration with Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), involves high profile mentors from diverse fields (angel investors, software professionals, chartered accountants, NGO founders, and so on.). Its advisory committee comprises established non-profit and business leaders from areas such as investment banking, IT, advertising and social sectors and IIMB faculty.
 
The program aims to address the lack of an effective support system for early-stage non-profit organisations in areas of funding, legal advisory services and operations. It will nurture select early-stage organisations over the next two years, helping them become world-class non-profits that deliver impact with the help of a growing pool of philanthropic and CSR funds invested in them.
 
NSRCEL has been the hub of entrepreneurial activity at IIM Bangalore since 2002. It has been incubating, supporting and seeding commercial ventures in collaboration with IIM faculty, the student and alumni community, and the larger venture ecosystem outside. The centre has touched the lives of more tan 15000 entrepreneurs over the years, actively incubating 67 ventures that have created over 4500 jobs and cumulatively stand at a billion dollar valuation in 2016.
 
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Nisha Biswal, Priti Patel among 30 honoured with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards 2017

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British Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel and United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal are among those who were honoured with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards 2017 here yesterday.
 
The awards were announced at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention held here and presented by President Pranab Mukherjee during the valedictory session.
 
Among the other awardees were non-resident Indian (NRI) businessmen Vasudev Shroff of Dubai and the India Social and Cultural Centre, Abu Dhabi, both in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for community service.
 
The following is the list of awardees:
 
1.  Dr. Gorur Krishna Harinath, Australia - Community Service
2.  Mr. Rajasekharan Pillai Valavoor Kizhakkathil, Bahrain - Business
3.  Antwerp Indian Association, Belgium - Community Service
4.  Mr. Nazeer Ahamed Mohamed Zackiriah, Brunei - Community Service
5.  Mr. Mukund Bhikhubhai Purohit, Canada - Business
6.  Mr. Nalinkumar Sumanlal Kothari, Djibouti - Community Service
7.  Mr. Vinod Chandra Patel, Fiji - Social Service
8.  Mr. Raghunath Marie Antonin Manet, France - Arts & Culture
9.  Dr. Lael Anson E. Best, Israel - Medical Science
10. Dr. Sandip Kumar Tagore, Japan - Arts & Culture
11. Mr. Ariful Islam, Libya - Community Service
12. Dr. Muniandy Thambirajah, Malaysia - Education and Community Service
13. Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Mauritius - Public Service
14. Mr. Antonio Luis Santos da Costa, Portugal - Public Service
15. Dr. Raghavan Seetharaman, Qatar - Business Management
16. Ms. Zeenat Musarrat Jafri, Saudi Arabia - Education
17. Singapore Indian Association, Singapore - Community Service
18. Dr. Carani Balaraman Sanjeevi, Sweden - Medicine
19. Mr. Susheel Kumar Saraff, Thailand - Business
20. Mr. Winston Chandarbhan Dookeran, Trinidad & Tobago - Public Service
21. Mr. Vasudev Shamdas Shroff, United Arab Emirates -Community Service
22. India Social and Cultural Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Philanthropy and Community Service
23. Ms. Priti Patel, United Kingdom - Public Service
24. Ms. Neena Gill, United Kingdom - Public Service
25. Mr. Hari Babu Bindal, USA - Environmental Engineering
26. Dr. Bharat Haridas Barai, USA - Community Service
27. Ms. Nisha Desai Biswal, USA - Public Affairs
28. Dr. Mahesh Mehta, USA - Community Service
29. Mr. Ramesh Shah, USA - Community Service
30. Dr. Sampatkumar Shidramapa Shivangi, USA - 
Community Leadership
 
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The PBD conventions have been held every  year since 2003 and have been honouring overseas Indians and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) since the first edition. Last year, the Government decided to hold the event once every two years and, accordingly, the number of awards has been doubled to 30.
 
The Jury-cum-Awards Committee can also make upto six suo motu  nominations for persons from the fields in which the awards are to be conferred. This year, the jury also considered overseas Indians'  contribution for achievements in philanthropic investments and charitable work in India and for contribution towards India’s development.
 
Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari was the chairman of the Jury-cum-Awards Committee for Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards (PBSA) and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj its vice-chairman.
 
Other members of the committee included Mr. Swapan Dasgupta, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha; Principal Secretary to Prime Minister; Dr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary; Mr. Rajeev Mehrishi, Home Secretary; Mr. Satish Chandra, former Ambassador of India to the USA; Ms. Indra Noooyi, CEO, Pepsico; Mr. Yusuf Ali M.A. Managing Director, Lulu Group of Industries, UAE; Mr. Shyam Parande, Secretary, Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad; and Mr. Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, Secretary (OIA & CPV), Ministry of External Affairs, who was the Member Secretary.
 
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Mukherjee urges diaspora to remain foremost emissaries of unfolding Indian story

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President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed the hope that the Indian diaspora spread across the world would remain foremost emissaries of the unfolding Indian story.
 
Delivering the valedictory address at the 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) Convention, the President also gave away the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards.
 
As people exposed to the best of western technology and yet having their civilizational moorings in the ageless and eternal ethos of India, they are doubly blessed, he said.
 
The synergy of the west and the east that they represent provides them with a unique position and opportunity that involves sharing knowledge between their home land and their adopted countries, he  said.
 
While they showcase India to their host countries, they also bring along the cultural heritage of their adopted lands to India. Mr Mukherjee said, to his mind, nothing could exemplify the belief of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’ (the world is one family) more than this.
 
“As we continue to strive successfully in achieving our due and deserving place amongst the comity of nations, our ancient strengths in the realm of the sublime and the subtle should continue to remain in focus.
 
“Attention should be paid to the need for skill upgradation of temporary migrants going abroad in search of employment. Establishing linkages between the Government of India’s skilling programmes and the skill gap that exists amongst the migrant workforce will go a long way in enhancing their employability as well as earnings,” he added.
 
Referring to temporary migrants in the Gulf region and South East Asia for employment as low-skilled and semi-skilled labour, he noted that their remittances are the largest by any diaspora, at 12% of the total global remittances, amounting to $69 billion in 2015.
 
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“Many of them are likely to return to India, but while they live abroad, all of them are vulnerable in many ways owing to the fact that they do not enjoy the privileges of citizenship in their host country.
 
“This is especially true of people working in areas of strife and conflict, with their security and physical well being on the line. In this regard, it is with satisfaction that I note the role played by their mother country in assuaging their concerns.
 
“In swift and coordinated operations involving multiple Ministries and organizations, we have been able to bring back thousands of fellow countrymen from strife-torn nations,” the President said.
 
He congratulated External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh for the initiatives.
 
The President also flagged the concerns of women and girls in India marrying into NRI families. He said even as the government and its agencies deal with this issue, the concerns of this particular section can be most effectively addressed by the local community organisations.
 
He called upon Indian Community Organisations abroad to continue to complement the government’s efforts in this regard.
 
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IIMs announce results of Common Admission Test (CAT) 2016

A pergola at IIM Bangalore.
A pergola at IIM Bangalore.
The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) today announced the results of their Common Admission Test (CAT) 2016 conducted on December 4, 2016.
 
Candidates can see the results here after entering their usernames and passwords.
 
A press release from IIM Bangalore, which conducted the test this year, said 20 candidates had scored overall 100 percentile in the examination -- all male and engineers.
 
Prof. Rajendra K Bandi, Convener, CAT 2016, said: “However, in the sectionals, many non-engineers and female candidates have scored 100 percentile.”
 
As many as 2,32,434 registrations were made for CAT 2016, a seven-year-high, as compared to 2,18,664 registrations in 2015.
 
The test was conducted in two sessions on December 4 in 138 cities across the country, and as many as 1.95 lakh candidates took the test.
 
Online registration for the examination commenced on August 8, 2016 and ended on September 27.
 
 
This morning, candidates were informed individually by text messages about the results and their overall percentile even as the results were posted on the CAT website (www.iimact.ac.in).
 
“The untiring support of the CAT Committee, comprising admissions chairpersons of IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode and IIM Lucknow, and the tremendous hard work by the CAT 2016 Secretariat at IIM Bangalore played a big role in enabling us to declare the results on schedule,” Prof. Bandi said.
 
On a related note, he added that IIM Bangalore will announce its shortlist for personal interviews on its website (www.iimb.ernet.in)  later today.
 
The CAT is a pre-requisite for admission to the flagship post-graduate programmes (PGP) in management of the IIMs. Several other institutions also use the CAT scorecard to decide their admissions.
 
The test is conducted for admission to IIMs Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Bodh Gaya, Calcutta, Indore, Jammu, Kashipur, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Nagpur, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Sambalpur, Shillong, Sirmaur, Tiruchirappalli, Udaipur and Visakhapatnam.
 
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Modi says welfare of Indians abroad top priority for govt.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that, irrespective of their background and profession, the welfare of all Indians abroad was his government's top priority and, for this, it was strengthening the entire eco-system of its administrative arrangements.

 
Modi thanks overseas Indian community for supporting demonetisation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that, irrespective of their background and profession, the welfare of all Indians abroad was his government's top priority and, for this, it was strengthening the entire eco-system of its administrative arrangements.
 
"Whether it is on loss of their passports, need for legal advice, medical assistance, shelter, or even transportation of mortal remains to India, I have directed all Indian embassies to be proactive to address problems of Indian nationals abroad," he said in his inaugural address at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention here.
 
Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who traces his roots to Goa, is the chief guest at the convention, a global gathering of the Indian diaspora, while Suriname Vice-President Michael Ashwin Adhin is also attending the event.
 
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah were also present at the inaugural session.
 
"Our response to the needs of the Indian nationals overseas is defined by accessibility, sensitivity, speed and promptness. 24 by 7 help-lines by Indian Embassies; ‘Open House’ meetings with Indian nationals; consular camps; twitter seva for passport services; and use of social media platforms for immediate access; are some of the measures that we have put in place to convey a clear message that we are there for you when you need us," Mr. Modi said.
 
He said the security of Indian nationals abroad was of utmost importance to the government.
 
"In situations of distress faced by Indian nationals, we have reached out to ensure their safety, rescue and repatriation. 
Our External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj ji, has particularly been proactive and prompt in reaching out to distressed Indians abroad using social media," he said.
 
He recalled that, under Operation ‘Sankat Mochan’ in July 2016, India had evacuated over one hundred and fifty Indian nationals from South Sudan within 48 hours.
 
"For those workers who seek economic opportunities abroad, our effort is to provide maximum facilitation and ensure least inconvenience," he said, adding that the Government had streamlined its systems and taken several measures to safeguard emigration of Indian workers.
 
Mr. Modi said there are over 30 million Overseas Indians living abroad. Their hard-work, discipline, law-abiding and peace loving nature are role models for other immigrant communities abroad, he said.
 
"For my government and for me personally, engagement with the overseas Indian community has been a key area of priority. I have met and spoken to hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters during my travels abroad – in USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, UAE, Qatar, Singapore, Fiji, China, Japan, South Korea, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Malaysia as a result of our sustained and systematic outreach, there is new energy, keen desire and strong drive among Indian Diaspora to connect more extensively and deeply with India’s social and economic transformation," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that the remittance of close to $ 69 billion annually by overseas Indians made an invaluable contribution to the Indian economy.
 
He said non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) had made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields.
 
"Among them, there are politicians of stature, scientists of repute, outstanding doctors, brilliant educationists, economists, musicians, famous philanthropists, journalists, bankers, engineers and lawyers. And, sorry, did I mention our well known Information Technology professionals?
 
"Tomorrow, 30 overseas Indians will receive from the President, the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards, which recognize contributions made by them in various fields, both in India and abroad," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said about six lakh emigrants had been granted Emigration Clearance online for overseas employment through registered recruitment agents. Online registration of foreign employers on e-Migrate portal had been made mandatory, he said.
 
"And, the grievances, complaints and petitions of the Indian migrant workers continue to be addressed online through e-Migrate and MADAD platforms. We are also taking strict action against illegal recruitment agents in India. Prosecution sanctions by CBI or State Police against illegal agents; and increase in the amount of Bank Guarantee deposited by the recruiting agents from Rs.20 lakhs to Rs.50 lakhs; are some of the steps in this direction. 
 
"To ensure that the migrating Indian workers enjoy better economic opportunities, we will shortly launch a skill development program - the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana - targeted at Indian youth who seek overseas employment," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said India had a special bond with the Indian Diaspora living in the girmitiya countries – who are deeply and emotionally attached with their place of origin. 
 
"We are aware of difficulties faced by Persons of Indian Origin from these countries in obtaining an OCI Card if they moved abroad four or five generations ago. We acknowledge their concerns and have made efforts to address these issues. 
 
"I am glad to announce that starting with Mauritius, we are working to put in place new procedures and documentation requirements so that the descendants of Girmitiyas from this country could become eligible for OCI Cards.
 
"We remain committed to addressing similar difficulties of PIOs in Fiji, Reunion Islands, Suriname, Guyana and other Caribbean States. Like my request at the last Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, I would again encourage all PIO Card holders to convert their PIO Cards to OCI Cards," hesaid.
 
He announced that the deadline for such conversion had been extended from 31 December 2016, until June 30, 2017 without any penalty.
 
"From first of January this year, beginning with airports in Delhi and Bengaluru, we have also set up special counters at immigration points in our airports for OCI Card holders," he said.
 
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Mr. Modi noted that, today, there were about 7 lakh Indian students pursuing academic programmes abroad.
 
He said the Department of Science and Technology was launching Visiting Adjunct Joint Research Faculty or VAJRA scheme which enables NRIs and overseas scientific community to participate and contribute to research and development in India. Under the scheme an overseas Indian can work for one to three months in an institution in India on "good terms".
 
"It is my firm belief that connect between India and overseas Indians should be sustained and enriching for both," Mr. Modi said, recalling that, to meet this goal, in October last year, he had inaugurated the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi, which is dedicated to the overseas Indian community.
 
"We want it to become a symbol of the global migration experiences, struggles, achievements and aspirations of the Indian Diaspora. I am confident that the Kendra will become another important platform for crystallizing ongoing efforts of the government to redefine its engagement with the overseas Indian community," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said that, to provide youth of Indian origin an opportunity to visit their motherland and reconnect with their Indian roots, culture, and heritage, the Government had  expanded the Government’s Know India Programme, under which, for the first time, six groups of young overseas Indians are visiting India this year. 
 
"I am very happy to know that 160 of these young overseas Indians are here today to participate in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. A special welcome to the young Pravasis – I hope that on returning to your respective countries, you will remain connected with us, wherever you are, and visit India again and again.
 
"Last year, the first edition of the online quiz for young overseas Indians called Bharat ko Jaano saw participation of more than 5000 young NRIs and PIOs. In the second edition this year, I hope to see the participation of at least fifty thousand young overseas Indians," he said.
 
"Will you please help me in this mission? Will you please help me in this mission? Are you ready to work with me? Then why we can stop at fifty thousand," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said investments by PIOs on non-repatriation basis; and by companies, trusts and partnerships owned by them, are now deemed to be domestic investment at par with investments made by resident Indians.
 
"There are some amongst you who would like to contribute in business and investments. Others may feel more comfortable supporting through contributions made to Swachh Bharat, Namami Gange and others. Some others may feel motivated to spare their valuable time and effort in volunteering in India, helping the under-privileged or contributing to capacity building programs in various sectors. 
 
"We welcome all your efforts that seek to strengthen India’s partnership with the overseas Indian community. I also invite you to visit the exhibition in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention which gives you a glimpse of some of the flagship programs that we have been implementing and see how you can partner with us," he said.
 
Mr. Modi also spoke about the steps taken by his Government against corruption and black money. "Black money and corruption slowly destroys our politics, our country, society and administration. It is unfortunate that some political worshippers of black money have been trying to portray our efforts as anti-people," he said.
 
He thanked overseas Indians for the support they had extended to his efforts and policies against black money and corruption.
 
"Finally, I would like to say that as Indians, we have a common heritage that brings us all together. And, no matter where we may be around the globe, it is in that common bond that we are strong," he said.
 
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Portugal PM Antonio Costa to be chief guest for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

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Dr. António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to be the chief guest at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention to be held from 7 to 9 January, 2017 at Bengaluru in Karnataka. 
 
He will participate in the inaugural session of the PBD Convention on 8 January and address the delegates, a press release from the Ministry of External Afairs said.
 
Mr. Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin (36), Vice-President of Suriname will be the special guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held on 7 January, 2017 in Bengaluru. He will address the young overseas Indian delegates at the inaugural session of the Youth PBD, the release added.
 
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Infosys reports 6.1% rise in net profit in Q2, cuts revenue guidance to 8-9%

IT services major Infosys Limited on Friday reported a 6.1% year-on-year increase in its net profit to Rs. 3606 crore in the second quarter of 2016-17 ended September 30, but cut its revenue guidance for the full year for the second time this year to 8.0%-9.0%.

IT services major Infosys Limited today reported a 6.1 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase in its net profit to Rs. 3606 crore in the second quarter (Q2) of 2016-17 ended September 30, 2016 but cut  its revenue guidance for the full year for the second time this year to 8.0%-9.0%.
 
“Considering our performance in the first half of the year and the near-term uncertain business outlook, we are revising our revenue guidance.” Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys, said while announcing the company's financial results for the quarter.
 
The company said its revenues were Rs. 17,310 crore for the quarter for a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth of 3.1% and YoY growth of 10.7%. Earnings per share (EPS) were Rs. 15.77 for the quarter.
 
Liquid assets including cash and cash equivalents and investments were Rs. 35,640 crore as on September 30, 2016 as compared to Rs. 33,212 crore as on June 30, 2016 and Rs. 32,099 crore as on September 30, 2015.
 
The Board of Directors declared an interim dividend of Rs. 11 per share. The record date for interim dividend is October 24, 2016 and the payment will be made on October 26, 2016.
 
“We focused on strong execution in Q2 with our core IT services business showing good progress on the strength of our innovation and operational initiatives. While we continue to navigate an uncertain external environment, we remain focused on executing our strategy and increasing momentum of our software plus services model. Considering our performance in the first half of the year and the near-term uncertain business outlook, we are revising our revenue guidance,” Dr. Sikka said.
 
“Longer-term, I believe it’s increasingly clear that our industry’s future lies in evolving from a cost-based, people-only model, to one in which people are amplified by software and AI, and are freed to innovate in areas that are strategic to our clients’ future. And in this all-important transformation, I am glad to see us make continued progress," he said.
 
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“We had well-rounded growth during the quarter in our market segments. Our delivery and support teams executed well on their plans for resource management during the quarter, leading to an uptick in utilization," said U B Pravin Rao, COO. “I am also pleased that the changes we made to employee engagement, policies and rewarding high performers continue to help retain our high quality workforce.”
 
“Our margins expanded during the quarter on the back of further improvement in operational efficiency," said M.D. Ranganath, CFO. “Operating cash flows for the quarter were healthy and we effectively navigated a volatile currency environment through prudent hedging.”
 
The company said its revenues are expected to grow 8.0% - 9.0% in constant currency, which translates to 9.2% - 10.2% in INR terms based on March 31st rates, 11.2% - 12.2% based on June 30th rates and 10.9% - 11.9% based on September 30th rates. At the beginning of the year, the company had said that it expected its dollar revenues to rise between 11.5% and 13.5%, but revised its guidance to between 10.5% and 12.0% in July this year at the end of the first quarter.
 
The company said that, in Q2, it deepened existing client relationships in core services, won large traditional deals, and focused on driving automation and grassroots innovation into every aspect of its service offerings through Infosys Mana and its Zero Distance initiative.
 
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Renowned Kerala-born painter Yusuf Arakkal passes away

Yusuf Arakkal
Yusuf Arakkal
Renowned figurative artist Yusuf Arakkal, whose paintings showed a rare sensitivity to his social environment and the loss of human dignity, passed away here this morning after a brief illness.
 
He was 71. He is survived by his wife Sara Arakkal and son Shibu Arakkal.
 
Born at Chavakkad in Kerala in 1945, Arakkal lost both his parents as a child. His early life had every conceivable comfort, except for parental love.
 
He always wanted to be an artist, and enrolled in the Karnakata Chitrakala Parishat in Bangalore to get a formal education and he ended up making the city his home. 
 
"There is an anguished being, disturbed and in distress somewhere deep inside me. A human being who yearns for a meaningful existence. It is the human presence that arouses my attention and stirs my creative inner space. I have been committed through my work, seeking a definition of human situations," he once said of himself and his work.
 
Starting out with abstracts, he moved to figuration and also dabbled in sculpture and poetry. 
 
Arakkal was also known for his philanthropy and the encouragement he provided to young artists through the Sara Arakkal Gallery he set up here in his wife's name. He was a prominent figure on the cultural scene in the city.
 
Apart from taking a diploma in painting in 1973 from the Chitrakala Parishat College of Art, he studied graphic print making at the National Academy Community Studios, Garhi in Delhi.
A figurative oil on canvas by Yusuf Arakkal
A figurative oil on canvas by Yusuf Arakkal
He did scores of solo shows and several group shows in India, including in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Calicut, Cochin, Trichur, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi and several group. He also held shows abroad in France, Nepal Singapore, United States, England, Hong Kong, United Arab Emrates, Cuba, Mexico, Japan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Korea, Canada and Russia.
 
Over the years, he won several awards, including a National Award in 1983. He won the Karnataka Lalit Kala Academy Award, the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award and the Florence International Biennale Gold Medal.
 
His works are in many private and institutional collections all over the world, including the British Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
 
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Cauvery issue: Siddaramaiah urges PM to call meeting of CMs

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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to convene a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the States concerned to resolve the impasse on the Cauvery waters issue.
 
Mr. Siddaramaiah's letter of Friday came on a day when a state-wide "bandh", called by pro-Kannada groups, crippled normal life in Karnataka, days after the Supreme Court directed the State Government to release water from the Cauvery to Tamil Nadu.
 
The Chief Minister told Mr. Modi in his letter that the release of the waters as per the Supreme Court order had created more unrest and disquiet in the state.
 
"The unrest, if continued, will not only have a serious impact on the economy of the State, particularly the IT economy which brins enormous revenue and foreign exchange to the country, but will also impact the livelihood of the common man adversely in the large parts of the State," he said.
 
Mr. Siddaramaiah said that, at an all-party meeting held on September 6 to elicit the views of political parties, the view of the leaders of Mr. Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the State was that the order of the Supreme Court of India ought not to be implmented.
 
"However, as constitutional Chief Executive of the State I have taken it upon myself to obey the orders of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and the waters are being released as per the order which has created more unrest and disquiet in the State," he said.
 
He said the issue had given rise to "extreme unrest" in the Cauvery basin, especially in Bangalore city with protests against the interim order of the court for the daily release of 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water at the inter-State border, Biligundulu.
 
Mr. Siddaramaiah said the release, if continued, would completely deprive drinking water not only to the residents of Bangalore city but also to the farmers of the Cauvery basin andwater for the only crop they grow.
 
"However, the present storage in the Mettur reservoir in Tamil Nadu and the North-east rainfall received in Tamil Nadu would be more than sufficient to meet the requirement of water for the Samba rice crop just being or still to be sown by the farmers in Tamil Nadu," he said.
 
"By this communication I earnestly request you not only as Prime Minister, but as Head of the entire Federal system, to call a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the States (forthwith on a few hours' notice) to resolve the impasse. I invite attention to a precedent of December 1995 where under similar circumstances of deficit flows the Hon'ble Supreme Court by order dated 28th December 1995 requested the Prime Minister to resolve the issue of implementatin of the order of the Supreme Court, which was then duly done to the satisfaction of all parties," the letter added.
 
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BRICS Wellness Workshop to be held in Bangalore on September 10-11

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The BRICS Wellness Workshop will be held in Bangalore on September 10-11 aims to promote cooperation in traditional medicines.
 
The Ministry of AYUSH, in collaboration with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), is organizing the workshop.
 
Simultaneously, the Ministry is also organizing a four-day Arogya Fair, a comprehensive Health and Wellness Fair showcasing strengths of Traditional Systems/Wellness sector in India as well as other BRICS partner countries from September 10-13.
 
Secretary-level officers and traditional medicine/wellness experts from the BRICS countries will participate in the BRICS Wellness Workshop.
 
Briefing mediapersons here yesterday, Secretary, AYUSH, Ajit M. Sharan said traditional medicine has assumed an important role in contemporary community health care due to its health promotive, disease preventive, curative, rehabilitative and rejuvenation properties.
 
The workshop has been organized to promote partnerships with BRICS nations, for knowledge sharing and pushing forward AYUSH initiatives in these countries which will further help in globalization of AYUSH, he explained.
 
Highlighting the growing importance of AYUSH in BRICS countries, Mr Ajit Sharan said that many of these countries have already taken steps in this direction. China has set up college of yoga while ayurveda is gaining popularity in Russia.
 
The workshop will have sessions related to Traditional Systems of Medicine, Trade and Economy, Wellness and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Wellness indicators for BRICS, Wellness and Tourism, among others.
 
It will also include a session on WHO strategy for Traditional Medicine. The Arogya fair to be organized simultaneously at Palace Grounds, will provide a good exposure for manufacturers/importers of Traditional Medicines/Raw Materials to have first hand experience of Indian Traditional Medicinal products/manufacturing facilities. At the same time they will have the opportunity to showcase their products and services.
 
Prior to the two-day workshop, site visits to traditional medicine institute/facilities for the delegates from the BRICS countries will be organized to provide on site exposure to the delegates. Yoga workshops and ayurveda consultations with experts will also be organised for interested delegates from September 9-12.
 
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Wipro wins IT contract from Norway’s largest railway company NSB

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IT services major Wipro Ltd. today said it had won a three-year strategic IT contract from NSB Group, one of Norway´s largest transportation groups. 
 
Headquartered in Oslo, NSB has extensive passenger transportation operations by way of the rail and bus, freight by rail, property management and development and train maintenance segments, a press release from the company said.
 
As part of the agreement, Wipro will implement its Boundaryless Datacenter (BLDC) and LiVE Workspace solutions and utilize its next-generation delivery framework ServiceNXT to deliver services which will help NSB variablise their IT operations.
 
The release said the proposed government-backed reforms in the Norwegian railway sector are expected to provide a fillip to the efficiency of the railways. The Wipro-enabled back-bone of IT infrastructure services will enable NSB to achieve greater flexibility, scalability, cost efficiency and offer an enhanced end-user experience. It will also help the company become more future-ready and competitive, in keeping with the spirit of the reforms, it said.
 
Trude Østby Dahl, CIO, NSB Group said, “This engagement is strategic to our business continuity operations and we believe that Wipro is the best partner for us. With our Data Center and End User Support enabled by Wipro, we can drive cost reduction and efficiencies, and most importantly, bring about joint innovations to serve our customers better.”
 
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Carl-Henrik Hallström, Head of the Nordic Region, Wipro Limited said, "In order to keep pace with changes on the market, rising customer expectations and emerging technologies, enterprises must reinvent their traditional IT infrastructure and data center service capabilities. We are confident that Wipro's ServiceNXT framework offering will enable NSB to optimize, automate and manage its IT in an agile manner. Furthermore, this engagement reiterates our continued focus and investments in Norway and the Nordic region.”
 
“We are delighted to partner with NSB in an engagement that will have a significant positive impact on the Norwegian transportation sector and the customer experience of millions of passengers.  This is a prestigious engagement for us and we look forward to leveraging our transportation sector domain expertise, coupled with our deep infrastructure services capability and technology know-how,” said Srini Pallia, President - Consumer Business, Wipro Limited.
 
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President urges law students to battle for people’s rights and welfare

President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the 24th annual convocation of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, on August 28, 2016.
President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the 24th annual convocation of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, on August 28, 2016.
President Pranab Mukherjee today said the legal fraternity, especially law students, must be in the vanguard of the battle for the rights and welfare of the people.
 
Addressing the 24th Annual Convocation of National Law School of India University (NLSIU) here, he said universities like NLSIU must “take the lead in meeting contemporary challenges and ensure that our civilizational values of love for motherland, performance of duty, compassion for all, tolerance, pluralism, respect for women, honesty in life, self-restraint in conduct, responsibility in action and discipline are fully entrenched in young minds.”
 
For this purpose, students should read, learn and formulate views on national issues. A democracy cannot be healthy without informed participation and it is not enough to merely vote periodically.
 
The first Law School of its kind in the country, NLSIU was created in 1986 to reform legal education and establish a centre of excellence for legal education and research in India. It has consistently been No. 1 in most surveys conducted of Law Schools in India, he noted. 
 
Its students, alumni and faculty have already established for themselves an excellent reputation in the country and abroad for their knowledge, intellect, character and leaderships skills, the President noted. 
 
Pointing out that legal education has undergone a paradigm shift in the last two decades, Mr Mukherjee said NLSIU must bridge the gap between the theoretical concepts and practical application.  It must ignite inquiry and spirit of asking questions on all issues.
 
India has one of the finest constitutions in the world.  Its driving principle is a compact between state and citizen, a powerful public-private partnership nourished by justice, liberty and equality, the President said. 
 
“The Constitution represented a second liberation, this time from the stranglehold of traditional inequality in gender, caste, community along with other fetters that had chained us for too long.
 
“I urge all of you students of law to study our Constitution well.  Understand our political system, its institutions and processes as established by the Constitution and law. Analyse the choices that were made to build the country into what it is today. Recognize that intelligent choices will need to be made for enabling this country reach her maximum potential. Participate in making these choices and don’t just be a bystander,” he added.
 
Lawyers are given a special status in this country because society recognizes the special functions that they perform. Lawyers have a duty to fight injustice wherever it exists. Supreme Court of India has through public interest litigation provided a powerful instrument in the hands of the common people which strengthened democracy, the President added.
 
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ISRO conducts flight test of Scramjet engine technology demonstrator

Indian Space Research Organisation on Sunday successfully conducted the first experimental mission of its scramjet engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

 
ISRO conducts flight test of Scramjet engine technology demonstrator
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today successfully conducted the first experimental mission of its scramjet engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota.
 
After a smooth countdown of 12 hours, the solid rocket booster carrying the scramjet engines lifted off at 0600 hrs IST.  
 
The important flight events such as burn out of booster rocket stage, ignition of second stage solid rocket, functioning of Scramjet engines for 5 seconds followed by burn out of the second stage took place exactly as planned, a press release from ISRO said.
 
After a flight of about 300 seconds, the vehicle touched down in the Bay of Bengal, approximately 320 km from Sriharikota. The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from the ground stations at Sriharikota.
 
With this flight, critical technologies such as ignition of air breathing engines at supersonic speed, holding the flame at supersonic speed, air intake mechanism and fuel injection systems have been successfully demonstrated, the release said.
 
The Scramjet engine designed by ISRO uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen from the atmospheric air as the oxidiser.
 
Today’s test was the maiden short duration experimental test of ISRO’s Scramjet engine with a hypersonic flight at Mach 6. 
 
ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), which is an advanced sounding rocket, was the solid rocket booster used for today’s test of Scramjet engines at supersonic conditions.  ATV carrying Scramjet engines weighed 3277 kg at lift-off.
 
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ATV is a two stage spin stabilised launcher with identical solid motors (based on Rohini RH560 sounding rocket) as the first as well as the second stage (booster and sustainer). The twin Scramjet engines were mounted on the back of the second stage. Once the second stage reached the desired conditions for engine “Start-up”, necessary actions were initiated to ignite the Scramjet engines and they functioned for about 5 seconds. Today’s ATV flight operations were based on a pre-programmed sequence, the release said.
 
Some of the technological challenges handled by ISRO during the development of Scramjet engine include the design and development of hypersonic engine air intake, the supersonic combustor, development of materials withstanding very high temperatures, computational tools to simulate hypersonic flow, ensuring performance and operability of the engine across a wide range of flight speeds, proper thermal management and ground testing of the engines.
 
India is the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of Scramjet engine. 
 
"The successful technology demonstration of air-breathing Scramjet engines in flight by ISRO today is a modest yet important milestone in its endeavour to design and develop advanced air breathing engines including engines for ISRO’s future space transportation system," the release added.
 
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Mukherjee to visit Bihar, Karnataka from August 26-28

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President Pranab Mukherjee will visit Bihar and Karnataka from August 26-28, an official press release said here today.
 
On August 27, the President will address the first convocation of Nalanda University and lay the foundation stone of its campus at Rajgir, Nalanda, Bihar. 
 
He will also attend a function to commemorate the serving of two billion meals of the Akshaya Patra Foundation in Bangalore, Karnataka on the same day. 
 
On August 28, the President will address the 24th annual convocation of National Law School of India University, Bangalore before returning to New Delhi. 
 
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Columbia Asia receives $101 million investment from Mitsui

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Healthcare major Columbia Asia today said it was receiving $ 101 million in investment from Mitsui & Co. Ltd. of Japan, one of the world's largest trading companies.
 
A part of the Seattle-based Columbia Pacific Management, Columbia Asia has 27 hospitals and one clinic in India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
 
The hospitals are built with an innovative business model focused on serving Asia’s rapidly growing middle class with modern and efficient multispecialty hospitals located close to where patients live and work, a press release from the company said.
 
Tokyo-based Mitsui & Co., already a major healthcare investor in Asia, said it saw tremendous growth potential in the Columbia Asia platform, which is the only healthcare provider in Asia to operate hospitals in so many countries under a single brand.
 
It is also one of the few large, multinational providers in Asia to build the vast majority of its hospitals itself.
 
“Columbia Asia has proven over more than 20 years that it can enter new markets across various countries and develop international, high-quality hospitals that meet the needs of the emerging middle class,” said Mr. Koji Nagatomi, Managing Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Healthcare & Service Business Unit, of Mitsui & Co., Ltd.  “The company has also established a firm presence in countries where healthcare spending and insurance coverage are going up at a very rapid pace, which positions the firm well in coming decades.”    
 
The release said Columbia Asia would use the proceeds from the Mitsui investment to continue to expand its network of hospitals across Asia, including several current development projects.  In addition, the company will open its first facility in Africa next month, a multi-specialty clinic in Nairobi, Kenya under a new brand, Columbia Africa.
 
Since opening its first hospital in Malaysia in 1996, Columbia Asia has focused on providing high-quality, affordable, standardized care in hospitals built on a single design, it said.
 
The company currently has 10,000 employees serving more than 2.5 million patients a year, with 2,200 beds across 27 hospitals and one clinic.
 
As part of its investment, Mitsui will gain two seats on the Columbia Asia Board of Directors and play a role in company operations.  
 
Mitsui is also using the investment to expand its hospitals business as the core of its healthcare strategy and will look to form partnerships between Columbia Asia and some of the other healthcare companies in which Mitsui is an investor. These include IHH Healthcare Berhad, the largest healthcare company in Asia; MIMS Group, which provides drug information to about 2 million healthcare professionals in Asia-Oceania; and DaVita Care Pte. Ltd., the Asian operating company for the largest dialysis operator in the United States.
 
“We are thrilled to partner with Mitsui and share in its expertise in not just healthcare operations across Asia but its vast business operations in 65 countries on multiple continents,” said Nate McLemore, Managing Director of Columbia Asia’s parent company, Columbia Pacific Management. “Mitsui is one of the most sophisticated and respected investors in the world, and we are proud that the company is part of Columbia Asia going forward.”  
 
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Biocon launches Insulin Glargine in Japan

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Biopharmaceuticals major Biocon Limited said that its partner Fujifilm Phama Co. Ltd. (FFP) had launched its Insulin Glargine in Japan today, close on the heels of receiving approval for the product from the Japanese regulator last quarter.
 
Insulin Glargine BS Injection Kit (FFP) has been developed and manufactured by Biocon, and is being commercialized by FFP in Japan, a press release from the company said.
 
The product is a ready-to-use, prefilled disposable pen with 3 ml of 100IU Insulin Glargine. It will provide a high quality, yet affordable, world-class long-acting biosimilar basal Insulin Glargine for patients of diabetes in Japan, it said.
 
The release said there were 7.2 million people with diabetes in Japan in 2015, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
 
The company through its partner aims to capture a significant share of the Japanese Glargine market of $ 144 million, which is the second largest market outside of North America & Europe and is largely dominated by disposable pens. 
 
Biocon Chairperson & Managing Director, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said: “The launch of our biosimilar Insulin Glargine in Japan by our partner, furthers our mission to provide affordable access to high quality biopharmaceuticals for chronic diseases. We believe with Fujifilm Pharma’s commercial network, we will enable access to this world-class, prefilled disposable pen for better diabetes management for patients in Japan.” 
 
Biocon is recognized as Asia’s largest insulins producer and has been committed to affordable diabetes management through rh-Insulin (Insugen) and Insulin Glargine (Basalog) in India and several emerging markets, the release said.
 
The company currently has marketing approvals in over 60 countries for rh-Insulin and in over 20 countries for Insulin Glargine. It is also developing Insulin Glargine for the developed markets outside of Japan in collaboration with Mylan, the release added.
 
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Snowman Logistics to set up new facility at Krishnapatnam

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Logistics services provider Snowman Logistics Limited (SLL) today said it was setting up a new facility at the Gateway Distriparks Logistics Park at Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh which will have a capacity of 3,500 pallets of temperature controlled and dry warehousing. 
 
This facility can be further scaled up to 10,000 pallets in a phased manner within the next two years, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said the facility would come up at a location seven kilometres from Krishnapatnam port, which currently services the requirements of Southern and Central Andhra Pradesh such as the newly developed Sri City industrial region, Eastern Karnataka, Northern Tamil Nadu and Eastern Maharashtra. 
 
Furthermore, combined with its existing Chennai, Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam facilities, Snowman will be in a position to fully cater to both Tamil Nadu and Andhra markets as its locations are close to each market and near all the major ports in the area - Krishnapatnam, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai, Kattupalli and Ennore, it said.
 
"This will place Snowman with the Gateway Distriparks CFS in a unique position to be able to offer a bundled solution to the EXIM trade through the CFS and temperature controlled storage and distribution facilities," it said.
 
The facility is scheduled to become operational by March 2017 and will cater to the export-import trade, including sea-food, meat, dairy products, pharmaceutical products, fruits and fruit pulp. 
 
<
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div>Snowman’s current capacity is 98,500 pallets which will go up to 103,000 pallets once the Cochin warehouse, currently under construction, is operational in the next quarter. With the addition of the Krishnapatnam  facility, Snowman's total capacity will reach 106,500 pallets in this financial year, the release said.
 
SLL is the largest integrated temperature controlled logistics service provider in India with a pan India footprint. It provides warehousing, distribution, transportation and value added services and it currently has a warehousing capacity of 98,500 pallets (with temperature ranging from ambient to chilled and frozen i.e. +20 °C to -25 °C). The capacity was built over a period of eight years starting from 2006 when Gateway Distriparks Limited became the largest shareholder in the company. 
 
Gateway Distriparks Limited hold about 40% stake in the company and other major shareholders include Mitsubishi Corporation, IFC and Norwest Venture Partners.
 
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Centre okays measures for conservation of lakes in Bengaluru

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The Central Government today approved a series of measures for the abatement of pollution and for the conservation and preservation of lakes in Bengaluru. 
 
The decision was taken at a meeting jointly chaired by Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers Ananth Kumar and Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar here, an official press release said.
 
Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Javadekar said that it had been decided to initiate 24x7 online monitoring of all sewage treatment plants (STPs)as well as lake water quality by concerned authorities in Bengaluru. 
 
He said that the corporate sector was also being involved in the effort to conserve and preserve the lakes in Bengaluru. He also said that the progress would be monitored every six months. 
 
Mr. Ananth Kumar said that bio-development of lakes of Bengaluru would be undertaken and they would be restored in a bio-diverse manner in public-private partnership mode. 
 
According to an official press release, some of the other actions that have been agreed upon include: 
 
All residential group housing projects/apartments with more than 20 units and total built-up area of 2000 sq.mtr. to install STP. 
Re-use of treated sewage for various purposes and dual piping system to be prescribed in apartments/commercial establishments for re-use of treated sewage. 
Regular monitoring of STPs to be carried out by State Pollution Control Board. 
Retrofitting of existing STPs to meet the revised effluent norms. 
Proper management of plastic waste to ensure that it is not dumped in the lakes. 
Madivala lake to be developed as a biodiversity park on the lines of Yamuna Biodiversity Park under the guidance of Karnataka Knowledge Commission. 
Lake Wardens to be appointed for involvement of public in lake conservation. 
CSR funds to be tapped for conserving and developing lakes. 
 
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The release said that discharge of untreated sewage into the lakes is a major cause of their degradation. Against present sewage generation of around 1320 mld (million litres per day), installed treatment capacity is 721 mld (with quantity of sewage treated in these STPs being only 600 mld). 
 
To bridge the gap between sewage generation and treatment, the Bengaluru Water Supply & Sewerage Board expects to complete 336 mld STP capacity (which is under construction) by December 2018, 515 mld STP capacity by December 2019 and 189 mld STP capacity by December 2020. 
 
Thus, by the end of 2020, STP capacity totalling 1761 mld and its related sewerage system is likely to be available for treating the entire sewage generated in the city, it said.
 
Projects totalling Rs.887.97 crore relating to sewerage system and STPs in Bengaluru have been approved/initiated under AMRUT programme of Ministry of Urban Development. Apart from other benefits, these projects will help in rejuvenating lakes in Bengaluru by reducing the pollution load being discharged into them, it said.
 
Today’s meeting was a follow-up of the earlier meeting held by Mr. Javadekar in Bengaluru on October 19 last year for preparing a concrete plan for revival of lakes in the city. 
 
Karnataka Minister of Forest, Environment & Ecology Ramnath Rai attended the meeting, along with senior officials from the State Government, the release added.
 
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Columbia Asia Hospitals, Bangalore Traffic Police launch Good Samaritan Awards

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Columbia Asia Hospitals and Bangalore Traffic Police have launched the Good Samaritan Award to encourage people who have helped accident victims get medical attention and saved their lives.
 
"India sees at least one death due to road traffic accident (RTA) every four minutes. Many precious lives can be saved if RTA victims can be given medical attention in time," a press release from Columbia Asia Hospitals said.
 
Mr. R Hitendra, Additional Commissioner of Police, said, “It is a good initiative to recognize the Good Samaritans who have helped people during accidents. These people inspire millions. Moreover events like this will motivate many more people to come forward and extend a helping hand to accident victims.”
 
"Now, we have a law in place to help people who save lives in RTAs. Going forward, these Good Samaritans would not have to bear any civil or criminal liability for helping accident victims," he said.
 
According to the release, last year, 740 people lost their lives to road accidents and another 714 people incurred serious injuries  in Bangalore alone. 
 
"This year is no better. Within the first four months, already 248 victims have fallen prey to accidents and lost their lives. That apart, 237 people have suffered injuries from accidents. With more people falling prey to RTA with every passing year, it is high time that people come forward to help the accident victims get medical attention at the earliest," it said.
 
Highlighting the importance of receiving medical attention within the golden hour for any accident victim, Dr. Nanda Kumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia Hospitals, India, said, “It has been established that 50% of fatalities from road traffic accidents can be avoided through intervention during the golden hour, as chances of survival are high with medical aid within this time. However, the fear of getting involved in a police investigation and being subjected to rigorous legal procedures often stops bystanders from helping road traffic accident victims. Now, the Good Samaritan guidelines are encouraging people to come forward and help the victims without any fear of being subjected to any criminal or civil liability.”  
 
Stressing on the importance of knowing Basic Life Support (BLS) techniques, Dr. Jairam, added, “BLS goes a long way in saving lives during emergency situations. The steps that we take while attending an emergency can have a deep-rooted impact in saving the life of a patient. Considering the road traffic accidents and other medical emergencies, ideally every citizen should be trained in BLS.”
 
Dr Sunil Rao, Vice President, Operations (South), Columbia Asia Hospitals, India, said, “Caught amidst busy traffic, how many of us would make an attempt to help the road traffic accident victim, get him the required medical attention, and try to save his life? Mostly, as passers-by, we will halt for a minute to glare at the situation before driving by to our destinations. However in Columbia Asia Hospital, we have got several cases, where life of RTA victims were saved due to timely intervention of a Good Samaritan.”
 
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“Columbia Asia has been actively promoting the cause for Good Samaritans for the last one year by reaching out to the community. The hospitals in Bangalore have trained over 1000 people in BLS techniques across communities including traffic police, teachers, students, journalists and corporates in the past six months. BLS training is also being imparted by other Columbia Asia Hospitals in cities including Mysore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Patiala,” said Dr. Rao
 
"To encourage many more such Good Samaritans, we at Columbia Asia Hospitals, conceptualized the Good Samaritan Awards. We will be having our first ever Good Samaritan Awards in a month’s time. Going forward, every year, we will be awarding Good Samaritans who have played a vital role in saving life of any accident victim," he added.  
 
“Good Samaritans can nominate themselves, or can be nominated by their friends and family, neighbors and colleagues for this award. One can log on to www.goodsamaritanindia.com to submit their details for nomination. Also people can approach the help desks of any of the Columbia Asia Hospitals to submit entries. The last date for submitting entries will be July 15 2016," Mr. Vinay Kaul, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Columbia Asia Hospitals, India, said.
 
Ernst & Young is the knowledge partner for this initiative. Based on the framework created by them, a panel of elite judges will vet each of the entries and give scores. The candidate with the combined maximum points will be the winner. There are 15 awards to be won in the Individual and organization categories and the winners will be felicitated at the Good Samaritan Awards ceremony to be held in Bangalore in August.
 
The Columbia Asia Group is owned by more than 150 private equity companies, fund management organizations and individual investors. The group currently operates eleven facilities in India and has presence in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Kolkata, Mysore, Patiala and Pune. The company also operates hospitals in Malaysia (11), Vietnam (3), and Indonesia (3). The Indian management operations are managed from its office in Bangalore.
 
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