ADVERTISEMENT

Bangalore

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.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

 

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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

 

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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

 

DG, Army Aviation flies light combat helicopter at Aero India

ADVERTISEMENT
Lt. Gen. Kanwal Kumar, the Director General of Army Aviation Corps, flew the indigenously developed light combat helicopter (LCH) at the Aero India 2017 here yesterday.
 
The LCH, developed by public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), will soon be inducted into the Indian Army.
 
An official press release said the LCH is light, manoeuvrable and armed with devastating fire power.  It has the capability to manoeuvre through narrow valleys, mountains and high altitude areas, providing effective support to ground operations.
 
"The LCH, armed with its turret mounted gun, rockets, air to air missiles and air to ground missiles is a potent force multiplier and shall greatly enhance the Indian Army's military capability," the release added.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

11th biennial edition of Aero India 2017 takes off at Bengaluru

ADVERTISEMENT
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the 11th biennial edition of International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition and declared the Aero India 2017 open at Air Force Station, Yelahanka here today.
 
This year's edition of Aero India, for the first time, combines the defence and civil aviation segments into a holistic event with the involvement of the Ministries of Defence and Civil Aviation.
 
Mr. Parrikar said this edition of Aero India would witness the emerging dynamism of defence manufacturing in India, especially the rising role of Indian defence industry. He further stated that the government is committed to creating an enabling environment for a domestic ecosystem of defence manufacturing, the results of which were already visible. 
 
“The defence public sector undertakings are being revitalized and encouraged. Government has also taken several initiatives for ease of doing business for private firms and additional initiatives are underway to support the role of private sector in defence manufacturing," he said.
 
Minister for Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju speaking at the occasion highlighted that India was the fastest growing aviation sector in passenger terms in the world and held tremendous potential to graduate from the present position of being ninth in the world to being the third largest by 2022. 
 
The inaugural address was followed by three Mi-17 helicopters flying past the dais in formation carrying the Indian, the Air Force and the Aero India flags. 
 
The air show will see the first ever public display of Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and the handing over by DRDO of the first indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) aircraft, the Embraer ERJ-145, in the Initial Operational Clearance configuration to the Indian Air Force. 
 
The air show witnessed a flypast by the Make in India formation consisting of HTT-40, Hawk-i, Dornier-228, Su-30MKI and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft. This was followed by the fighters tearing through the skies displaying a host of aerobatic manoeuvres – the Su 30 MKI followed by Sweden’s SAAB Gripen, Tejas LCA, the American F-16 Falcon and the French Rafale. 
 
The Yakovlev aerobatic team, the Skycats, the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team and the Sarang helicopter display team enthralled the spectators with their performance. 
 
Another unique feature of this air show was the 20-minute sortie by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, who flew in the Tejas LCA Trainer during the day. 
 
Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, the three service chiefs, Karnataka Industry Minister R. V. Deshpande, Secretary, Defence Production,  and delegates from several foreign countries were present during the inaugural function.
 
As many as 549 companies are participating in the event and 53 aircraft will be on display.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

ASCI, Hyderabad & Central University, Jammu sign MoU

ADVERTISEMENT
The Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad and the Central University of Jammu have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote collaborative academic, research and capacity-building initiatives for a period of three years.
 
The MoU was signed by yesterday by Mr Kalyan K. Roy, Registrar on behalf of ASCI and Mr. Mohammad Iqbal, Registrar, Central University, Jammu in the presence of Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions Jitendra Singh.
 
Also present on the occasion were ASCI Director General R.H. Khwaja  and Prof. Ashok Aima, Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Jammu.
 
Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training B.P. Sharma, Mr C. Viswanath, Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances and Secretary, Department of Pensions & Pensioners’ Welfare also present.
 
An official press release said the MoU would facilitate joint activities and synergy in areas such as capacity building, evaluation studies, executive education and related areas. These include activities such as design, development and delivery of teaching and training programmes; reciprocal recognition of each other’s degrees, diplomas and certificates.
 
It also envisages exchange of teaching staff and students/participants for knowledge and experience-sharing and new learning; policy advocacy and research studies; sharing of academic materials, literature, publications etc; and knowledge events such as conferences, seminars, workshops etc.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Inequality is the number one risk: Vice-President Ansari

ADVERTISEMENT
Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari has  termed inequality as the number one risk because it is associated with a rise in populism and threatens the cohesiveness of countries.
 
Delivering the inaugural address at the first edition of the Huddle, a three-day conclave organised by The Hindu newspaper here yesterday, Mr Ansari said that to enjoy the ‘freedom of,’ there is a requirement first for certain ‘freedom from’.
 
To survive with dignity, humans require both ‘freedom from want’ and ‘freedom from fear’, he added.
 
In advance of the world’s financial and economic elite going to Davos for their annual meeting, the World Economic Forum publishes its Global Risks Report, Mr Ansari said.
 
“The 2017 edition highlights some risks facing the global system and places the issue of income inequality as the number one risk because it is associated with a rise in populism and threatens the cohesiveness of countries. It describes the present as ‘a febrile time for the world.’
 
“Four earlier annual editions of the Report had similarly identified rising inequality among the top four global risks. It is therefore not surprising that reducing inequality is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.
  
The Vice-President said that the improving living standards, in segments, have perhaps masked a dramatic concentration of income and wealth over the last 30 years.
 
The richest 1% in India owned nearly 60% of the country’s total wealth, with the top 20% commanding 80%. The bottom half of Indians by contrast, collectively own only 2% of the national wealth, he added.
 
The Vice-President said that rising inequality can lead to conflict, both at social and at national level and the growing threat of left extremism, which has been repeatedly acknowledged as the gravest security threat to the Indian state, has its roots in economic deprivation and inequality in access to resources.
 
The time has come to move the development discourse of inequality beyond the current discussion of outcomes and opportunities. The concepts of justice and fairness are tied to the idea of equity in development, he added.
 
Mr Ansari said that to view rising inequity as merely an inconvenient truth in the saga of India’s shining future would therefore be a folly.  Without equality, there is unlikely to be much of a future, let alone a shining one.
 
In conclusion, the Vice President raised some uncomfortable questions about inequity, failure of trickle-down growth, environmental damage, conflicts, intolerance and improving investments in public goods.
 
 NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

11th edition of Aero India to be held in Bengaluru from February 14-18

ADVERTISEMENT
A total of 549 companies -- 270 of them from India and 279 from abroad -- are participating in the 11th biennial edition of the International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition – Aero India 2017 -- that will be held at the Air Force Station at Yelahanka here from February 14-18.
 
The air show, which began in 1996, has carved a niche for itself as a premium aerospace and aviation exhibition in the international arena and has become one of the most sought after exhibitions in the Asian region in terms of participation from across the globe. 
 
The event is being organized and conducted by the Defence Exhibition Organisation (DEO).
 
According to an official press release, the total area of the show has grown from 24,403 sqm to 27,678 sqm this year. The gross area has also increased from 2,50,000 sqm to 2,60,000 sqm.
 
As many as 72 aircraft will participate in the show this year. Besides, there will be aerobatic teams, including the Indian Air Force Sarang Team, the Indian Air Force Surya Kiran Team, the Scandinavian Air Show Team from Sweden and the Evolvkos Aerobatic Team from the United Kingdom.
 
The release said that about two lakh business visitors are expected to attend the show.
 
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati will chair a CEOs' Conclave organized by the Andhra Pradesh government on Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Opportunities in the state on February 14. 
 
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Union Ministers Y.S. Chowdary and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal B. S. Dhanoa, Defence Secretary G. Mohan Kumar, Defence Production Secretary A K Gupta and Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu are also expected to attend the event.
 
Industry bodies such as CII, FICCI and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry have also organised various events on the Make in India theme on February 15.
 
A business-to-business meeting area has been created and is being offered to Indian business and industry free of cost. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Kerala are setting up exclusive SEZ pavilions for attracting investment.
 
Ministers of Defence, service chiefs and heads of department from various countries have confirmed their participation, it said.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Health Ministry launches single vaccine for measles, rubella

ADVERTISEMENT
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in the country at a function here today as part of which a single vaccine will be introduced for dual protection against the two diseas under the Universal Immunisation Programme.
 
An official press release said the campaign against the two diseases would start form five States and Union Territories -- Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Goa and Lakshadweep -- covering nearly 3.6 crore target children. 
 
Following the campaign, Measles-Rubella vaccine will be introduced in routine immunization, replacing the currently given two doses of measles vaccine, at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age, it said.
 
The initiative was launched in the presence Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation Sadananda Gowda, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Chemicals & Fertilizers Ananth Kumar and Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Faggan Singh Kulaste.
 
Dr Sharanaprakash Rudrappa Patil, Minister of Medical Education, Karnataka, Mr. K.R. Ramesh Kumar, State Health Minister, Karnataka and well-known Kannada actor Ramesh Arvind were also present on the occasion.
 
The dignitaries also launched the communication material on the campaign to help raise awareness about the initiative. 
 
Mr. Kulaste stated the Government was committed to eradicating measles and rubella from the country. “We have taken this as an achievable target. This shall be taken up in a mission mode and rolled out in partnership with States , NGOs and development partners such as WHO, UNICEF, Gates Foundation, Lions Club, IPA, IMA, etc. In the nationwide campaign, the Ministry will reach out to and cover 41 crore children in the age group of 9 months – 15 years,” he said.
 
He urged parents, caregivers, community leaders, teachers, anganwaadi workers and other frontline health workers to become an active part of the campaign. 
 
The release said the MR campaign would target around 41 crore children across the country, the largest ever in any campaign. All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years will be given a single shot of MR vaccination irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination status or measles/rubella disease status. 
 
The vaccine will be provided free-of-cost across the states from session sites at schools as well as health facilities and outreach session sites. Measles vaccine is currently provided under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). However, rubella vaccine will be a new addition. After the completion of the campaign, MR vaccine will be introduced in routine immunization and will replace measles vaccine, given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age of child. 
 
Measles is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and brain infection. Globally, in 2015, measles killed an estimated 1, 34,200 children—mostly under-5 years. In India, it killed an estimated 49,200 children, the release said.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Rubella is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general. 
 
In 2010, an estimated 1,03,000 children were born with CRS (congenital rubella syndrome) globally, of which around 47,000 children, i.e. 46% were in South-East Asia Region. Through implementation of rubella vaccination strategies the incidence of rubella has been substantially reduced in many countries. Although coverage for measles (MCV-1) vaccination is high, the country population immunity is insufficient to stop ongoing MR transmission as evident form surveillance data. Through this campaign, it is aimed to rapidly build up immunity in the susceptible cohort, thereby decreasing the disease burden in the country. 
 
The measles disease burden was brought down by introduction of second dose of measles vaccine in 2010. For this introduction, supplementary immunization Activity (SIA) was conducted in 14 states (2010-13) with less than equal to 80% measles coverage. The remaining states introduced measles second dose directly in routine immunization.
 
"However, those gain need to be supplemented, and in order to further reduce the burden, country is going to carry out the Measles-Rubella campaign," the release said.
 
"Measles immunization directly contributes to the reduction of under-five child mortality, and with combination of rubella vaccine, will control rubella and prevent CRS in country population. Given the wide target group of the vaccination campaign, schools and educational institutions will play a critical role, and will require partnership from multiple stakeholders at all levels," it added.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

BCIC says Union Budget is "growth-focused" with emphasis on core sectors

ADVERTISEMENT
The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) today said  the Union Budget for 2017-18, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament earlier in the day, was "growth-focused".
 
In a statement, the industry body said the Budget would boost macroeconomics of the country despite serious crises in the global economy and political uncertainties, with specific emphasis on the development of core sectors especially infrastructure, agriculture and rural sectors for the next two years.
 
The hallmark of the Finance Minister’s presentation was a promise of containing the fiscal deficit for FY17-18 to 3.2 percent of the GDP and targeting to further prune it to 3 percent in the next two years without compromising on the spending on development schemes, it said.
 
Mr. Thyagu Valliappa, President, BCIC said: “The Budget has a slew of policy-oriented announcements and targets set for infrastructure, manufacturing, digital India, public sector, social sector, finance and corporate and income tax reforms, agriculture sector and investment on education, skill development which we believe will spur overall economic growth as it clearly sets the right tone for the next the two years”. 
 
He said that the Budget is focused on “efficiency and transparency in the long term ultimately aiming at improving and spurring the economy under the prevalent difficult challenging financial space due to demonetisation and de-globalisation effect.”
 
Mr. Valliappa said: “The huge capex push to inter-city, metro railway, road connectivity and development of Tier-II airports will radically improve the mobility of masses.” He also said: “Labour reforms are yet another important announcement in this budget. We need to see how the implementation is effected to bring in reforms in this critical sector. The focus on skill development and emphasis on college education is also a welcome measure.”
 
Welcoming the Budget, Mr. K R Sekar, Chairman, State Taxes Committee, BCIC and Partner, Global Business Tax, Deloitte said: “We expected corporate tax cut for the big companies, but that has not come through despite the Government promising to reduce it to 25 percent in the next two years. However, reduction in the rate of tax for SMEs from existing 30 to 25 percent is the most welcome measure. This significant change is made to provide the necessary boost to the MSME sector. If MSMEs are able to source lower credit it will provide the necessary impetus to job creation which is very crucial at this point of time.”
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Mr. Sekar further added: “The abolition of FIPB is a step in the right direction and given the current state of Indian economy it sends all the right signals to overseas investors.”
 
Further he added: “The Finance Minister's announcement to confiscate assets of loan evaders is a very encouraging feature as this will radically reduce NPAs which is eating into government exchequer. Similar is the announcement of cleaning up of political funding. Both these are path-breaking and will radically enhance brand equity of India not only with the domestic but also overseas investors.”
 
In conclusion, BCIC feels that the Budget tries to provide a stable, predictable and consistent policy framework to facilitate long-term investment decisions. The Finance Minister has done a balancing act by focusing his attention on all sectors without overtly hurting or appeasing any individual section of the Society and all the policy initiatives seamlessly integrate with the proposed GST rollout post June 2017.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Wipro partners with, invests in Tradeshift to increase digitalization across Source-to-Pay Processes

ADVERTISEMENT
IT services major Wipro Limited has announced a strategic partnership with Tradeshift, the fastest growing business commerce platform, to offer cloud-based Source-to-Pay (S2P) Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) solution.
 
A press release from the company said here yesterday that the partnership aimed to help customers accelerate digitalization and automation in their procurement, finance and accounting functions. 
 
Headquartered in San Francisco, Tradeshift offers a business commerce platform to digitally connect companies through cloud-based, collaborative accounts payable and procurement automation.
 
The release said the agreement combines the capabilities of Tradeshift’s platform with Wipro’s integrated S2P services. Wipro’s S2P solutions enable enterprises to achieve efficiencies across the procurement value chain. By adding Tradeshift’s capabilities in product database, e-invoicing, procurement automation, mobility-enabled access, and global supplier risk management, Wipro will be able to standardize and continually expand its business process as a service (BPaaS) offerings, it said.
 
In turn, businesses can automate processes, connect stakeholders and help customers collect and analyse data around all of their transactions, covering invoices, purchase orders and payments.
 
“Our partnership with Wipro will enable customers to easily capitalize on the value of the Tradeshift business commerce platform and the innovative solutions we can bring to the market together,” said Christian Lanng, CEO and Co-founder of Tradeshift. “Wipro’s global scale and procurement services expertise will amplify the benefits gained from an agile supply chain enabled by a single, digital connection between customers and their entire supply bases, including both process efficiencies and process transformation. We are very pleased to note that this partnership has already delivered two new joint enterprise clients.”
 
Nagendra P Bandaru, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Business Process Services, Wipro Limited said, “With transformation as the prime objective, enterprises are ready to adopt the next generation of process automation services, accelerating the digitization of business processes. Joining forces with an innovative company such as Tradeshift will provide our customers access to their global, cloud-based supply chain platform. Our combined BPaaS utility will allow customers to automate their supply chains and will usher in greater accuracy and superior efficiencies at a remarkable pace.”
 
Along with the partnership agreement, Wipro Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Wipro Limited, has made an investment in Tradeshift to strengthen the partnership and further develop Tradeshift’s innovative applications, trade financing solutions, platform and business-to-business marketplace ecosystem, the release added.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Biocon wins MYR 300 million contract for insulin from Malaysia

ADVERTISEMENT
Biopharmaceuticals major Biocon Limited today said that Malaysia's Ministry of Health had awarded a three-year contract, valued at MYR 300 million, to its subsidiary, Biocon Sdn. Bhd. for supplying recombinant human insulin (rh-Insulin) formulations manufactured at its facility in Johor, Malaysia. 
 
Biocon’s rh-Insulin is Malaysia’s first locally manufactured biosimilar biologic product approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (NPRA), Malaysia, for commercial sales in the country. 
 
This marks the commercialization milestone of Biocon’s first overseas facility in Malaysia, a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, Biocon Sdn. Bhd. has been awarded a MYR 300 million (approximately Rs. 460 crore) contract to be serviced over a period of three years for supplying rh-Insulin cartridges and re-usable insulin pens under the Malaysian government’s Off-Take Agreement (OTA) initiative, which seeks to encourage local manufacturing of new pharmaceutical products thus lowering the country’s reliance on imports and also enhancing the exports potential. 
 
The contract is extendable for additional two years subject to approval by the Government of Malaysia.
 
Biocon will distribute insulins and insulin delivery devices through CCM Pharmaceuticals, a leading local pharmaceutical player which has an extensive supply chain network to service primary healthcare clinics and hospitals across Malaysia. 
 
"Biocon is extremely proud to enable the government expand access to affordable insulin therapy for people with diabetes in Malaysia," the release said.
 
Biocon Chairperson & Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said: “We are pleased to support the Ministry of Health of Malaysia in providing high quality, affordable, rh-insulin for people with diabetes in Malaysia. It is a matter of pride that this is a ‘Made in Malaysia’ insulin product manufactured by Biocon Sdn. Bhd. at the BioXcell Biotech Park in Nusajaya, Johor. We expect our Malaysian facility to cater to the growing needs for affordable insulins across the globe.”
 
The release said rapid urbanization, changing lifestyles and sub-optimal dietary habits were leading to a high incidence of diabetes in Malaysia, with over 3.3 million people currently diagnosed with diabetes.
 
The Malaysian government spends nearly USD566 per year on every diabetic and with the number of people with diabetes projected to cross over 4.5 million by 2020, it will impact the government’s healthcare expenditure significantly, it said, citing various reports.
 
The release said locally manufactured affordable rh-Insulin had the potential to reduce the diabetes treatment cost burden and increase the access to insulin therapy for diabetes patients in Malaysia.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"Biocon’s state-of-the-art facility with 800,000 sq. ft. built-up area has been set up with an investment of MYR 1.1 billion and complies with the highest standards of global regulatory requirements. Through high quality, affordable insulin and insulin analogs manufactured at this facility, Biocon will strengthen Malaysia’s position as an emerging global biotechnology destination. Rh-Insulin is the first product from Biocon’s Malaysian facility approved by NPRA, which certified Biocon’s facility first in 2015," it said.
 
Biocon is recognized as Asia's largest insulins producer and has been committed to affordable diabetes management through rh-Insulin (Insugen, Insulin Glargine (Basalog) and insulin delivery devices in India and several emerging markets, the release said. 
 
Biocon is the largest Indian Insulins company and has been the first company from India to introduce biosimilar Insulin Glargine in Japan in 2016. It has received regulatory approvals for rh-Insulin in over 60 emerging markets and is providing the product in many of these markets through its local partners. The Company had earlier announced the regulatory filing with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for biosimilar Insulin Glargine validated at the Malaysian facility.
 
Biocon is one of the first Indian companies to join hands with the Malaysian Government to generate value for Biocon and the Malaysian biotechnology sector. The world-class integrated insulins facility, at the Bio-Xcell biotech park in Iskandar, Johor, was selected as an Entry Point Project (EPP) under Malaysia’s Healthcare National Key Economic Area (NKEA) initiative. 
 
"The facility draws a majority of its over 500-strong workforce from the local talent pool. It thus provides Malaysia’s biotechnology graduates and scientists a unique opportunity to make a critical contribution to global healthcare. The commercialization of Biocon’s facility will contribute towards Malaysia’s emergence as a global biotechnology hub," the release added.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

Wipro announces retirement of TK Kurien on January 31

ADVERTISEMENT
IT services major Wipro Limited today announced that Mr. T. K. Kurien, Executive Vice-Chairman & Member of its Board, will retire on January 31, 2017 after completing a distinguished career with the company.
 
 “TK has been an integral part of the organization’s leadership for years. He has played a vital role in building and scaling many of Wipro’s successful businesses besides spearheading our transformation into a future ready organization," Wipro Limited Chairman Azim Premji said.
 
"TK has long been a powerful voice in championing and espousing the cause of the industry in various fora around the world. I thank him and his family for his immense contribution to Wipro and wish him the very best for the next phase of his life and career," he said.
 
The company had announced the elevation of Mr. Kurien as Executive Vice-Chairman and the appointment of Abidali Z Neemuchwala as the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director a year ago.
 
“TK and Abid have worked together over the past 12 months to complete a smooth and effective transition. In the past year, TK and Abid have charted out a new technology roadmap and further deepened our client relationships besides scaling our big bets in automation, artificial intelligence and digital,” Mr. Premji said. "This seamless transition has allowed TK to advance his retirement from the previously planned date by two months."
 
“I consider myself deeply honoured and privileged to have been a part of this organisation. Together, we launched and led businesses to global recognition. We have grown manifold and are today a partner of choice for several marquee names around the world. I thank my colleagues and other stakeholders for their support over the years,” said Mr. Kurien.
 
“It has been my privilege and honor to work closely with TK, an exceptional leader gifted with a sharp intellect and an uncanny ability to sense technology trends well ahead of time. His abiding interest in history and deep understanding of finance gives him a rare perspective beyond the technology landscape. I wish him the very best,” said Mr. Neemuchwala.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

Arts thrive only when people pay: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

ADVERTISEMENT
Acclaimed film director, screenwriter and producer Adoor Gopalakrishnan today said only when people pay to enjoy the arts can artistes thrive.
 
Airing his views at a panel discussion on ‘Creative Approaches to Sustainability’ at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) here, Gopalakrishnan raised questions on the impact of technology on the arts, the role of an artiste in society and the need for people, and not just the state, to nurture art.
 
“Why must we only depend on government patronage? In our country, arts and culture are given last priority – they come after sports in every budget! So it is important to educate people on their responsibility to provide sustenance to the performing arts be it ‘Koodiyattam’ or ‘Kathakali,” he said.
 
Sanjna Kapoor, director of Junoon, the travelling theatre company, building on the theme of sustenance, spoke of the crying need for professional management in the field of the arts.
 
“Although there is a rich variety of the arts in India, we are not doing anything to value them or make them flourish. When we urbanize, if we don’t think of spaces for the arts, it is going to be detrimental to the health of the country. Our role as artistes is to claim our spaces, explore terrifying and new areas and shout out our needs,” she said.
 
On the subject of technology, while Adoor, ever the minimalist, observed that technology often diminishes palpability but can be harnessed by better technique, Sanjna chose the middle ground, suggesting that technology can help the artiste if used well.
 
“The arts should not be static; they should evolve and adapt. Opportunities, be it from technology or from the corporate world, need to be grabbed and managed well,” she added.
 
Responding to the role of an artiste in society, Odissi, Chau and Manipuri danseuse Sharon Lowen said an artiste must be a risk taker. “Creativity is the opportunity to keep exploring and learning, and to keep taking risks.” 
 
Indian classical dancer and choreographer Alarmel Valli spoke about the process of creating art. “Art becomes a cliché when the artiste becomes too secure. Vibrant tradition can fall prey to straitjackets. As artistes, we need to understand traditions, practice and internalise them and come up with something new. We should take the ‘then and there’ and make it our ‘here and now’,” she explained.
 
Award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter Vipin Vijay struck a different note when he confessed that contemporary artistes need to speak their mind more often.
 
Actor, director and screenwriter Pawan Kumar, whose films ‘Lucia’ and ‘U-turn’, have seen commercial and critical success said, “As a film maker, I see myself more as an artisan and less as an artiste.”
 
He spoke of sustenance in the context of his own creative journey from dropping out of engineering college to staging plays in an almost-empty theatre to enjoying box office success.
 
“Rewards and marketing are important for sustainability in the arts. As an artiste, I want people to listen to me. To have an audience is vital for sustainability. It is all about finding the right balance between making money and getting work acclaimed critically. Managerial competence and finance are also important for good art to thrive,” he explained.
 
The workshop, led by Prof. A. Damodaran, the IPR Chair at IIMB, brought together film directors, leading performing artistes and thought leaders for a day of stimulating discussions on how innovative creative organizations can make a transformative difference.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Earlier in the day, while welcoming participants to the round table, Prof. Damodaran said the forum was not a lit fest or a film fest, but a platform to explore whether simple can be beautiful, in the context of minimalism.
 
IIMB’s Dean Faculty Prof. Ishwar Murthy pointed out that IIMB strives to create a platform for exchange of ideas. “You can plant seeds of thought here today and things will happen. You can create the dots in a way that we all connect them,” he said.
 
The day’s other highlights included the screening of the 70-minute film, ‘A Door to Adoor: Images/ Reflections’, by well-known filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli on imagery in Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s films.
 
“There’s a huge difference between both our styles of film making. I use imagery to embellish my offerings, he uses imagery to heighten the minimalistic effect in his films,” said Kasaravalli.
 
Divided into five segments – all named after the master’s works – Kasarvalli’s film explored the use of minimalism in Adoor’s films through his choice of music, lighting and imagery.
 
This was followed by a masterclass on ‘Spinning Creative Ventures: The Junoon Saga’ by Sanjna Kapoor. There was a mesmerizing Kathakali performance by Margi, an organization dedicated to the revival of ‘Kathakali’ and ‘Koodiyattam’, through the Gurukula system of training.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

IIM Bangalore launches incubation program for social ventures

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

Nisha Biswal, Priti Patel among 30 honoured with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards 2017

ADVERTISEMENT
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
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

Mukherjee urges diaspora to remain foremost emissaries of unfolding Indian story

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
“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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

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.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 

Portugal PM Antonio Costa to be chief guest for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
“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.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
Syndicate content
© Copyright 2012 NetIndian. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of NetIndian content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of NetIndian Media Corporation. Write to info[AT]netindian[DOT]in for permission to use content. Read detailed Terms of Use.