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Irani sets 13-point agenda for IIMs to use their expertise to meet national goals

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Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani today set a 13-point agenda for the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as part of an effort to use their management expertise in various areas, including national development goals.
 
Addressing a conclave of the Chairpersons and Directors of 13 IIMs at IIM Bangalore, Ms Irani urged them to come up with strategies for making the country both manpower ready and teacher ready.
 
She said that, along with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and the Central Universities, the IIMs should create a mechanism for a global talent pool of eminent persons, who could then contribute their expertise not only to IIMs but to other institutions in the country as well. 
 
She said the IIMs needed to create a knowledge consortium, based on efforts by IIM Ahmedabad, by bringing together various institutions so as to make possible ideas like credit transfer and twinning programmes. 
 
An official press release said the interaction focused on issues related to national development goals, admission process in IIMs, review of the institutes, National Ranking Framework for the management institutions, ICT and other pedagogical innovations and initiatives to scale up research in IIMs, especially the socially relevant research as also to have greater impact on national policy implementation. 
 
Ms Irani asked the IIMs to develop a special programme for students of the North-Eastern states on the lines of a similar programme developed by IITs, called Ishan Vikas. 
 
She said the IIMs needed to work with local industries and local communities with a view to enhance their management capacity. She also asked IIMs to contribute their management expertise to such national projects as development of Smart Cities and Green Cities.
 
Ms Irani also asked IIMs to develop a framework for ranking management institutions with a view to rank institutions world over as per priorities of the developing countries as also help domestic institutions pursue academic excellence to achieve the goalposts set by the National Ranking Framework. 
 
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UMumba to face Jaipur in final of inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi

Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Hosts UMumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers will clash in the final of the inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League after beating Bengaluru Bulls and Patna Pirates, respectively, in the semi-finals here tonight.
 
While Jaipur stormed into the final by trouncing Patna Pirates 38-18 in the completely one-sided first semi-final, UMumbai managed to get past Bengaluru 27-23 in the second semi-final.
 
U Mumba led through most of the match, with the Bulls managing to get ahead for a few minutes in the first half but surrendering the advantage soon after when their skipper was sent packing by all-rounder Rishank Devadiga.
 
The ouster, which provided the much needed breakthrough for the Mumbai boys, was followed up with Rajesh Mondal’s exit and two points as Rishank escaped Bengaluru’s four-man defence. 
 
Even Ajay Thakur’s heroics could not help the Bulls as they gifted Mumbai the first LONA points of the match in the 12th minute. With a seven-point lead and an insatiable hunger for points, U Mumba scored their thirteenth point, leaving Bengaluru high and dry towards the end of the first half. With seconds to go for the break, Mumbai’s best raider and the top raider amongst the finalists, Anup Kumar did what he did best, taking the score to 15-9 by half-time.
 
The second half began with Rishank walking out, reducing the Mumbai team to three. Despite the stacking odds towards an all out, Bengaluru’s star raider Ajay was captured by Anup Kumar and Mohit Chillar in the 34th minute, allowing them a chance at redemption. 
 
Mohit’s brilliance as a defender shone through as he executed the perfect tackles against Manjit and Ajay Thakur. 
 
Mumbai’s best defender Surender Nada also joined the party by single-handedly sending the Bull’s captain back. Re-introduced for the second time in the 33rd minute, Mumbai’s Pawan Kumar failed yet again, reducing the Orange brigade to four. After denying Bengaluru Bulls LONA points for a long time, Mumbai gave in, conceding their first LONA in the 37th minute. Though it offered two vital points to Bengaluru, it was a little too late as the Bulls were tamed 27-23.
 
Earlier, Jaipur established themselves as the stronger team within the first 15 minutes of the first semi-final and went on to dominate the proceedings for the rest of the match.
 
Both teams began cautiously before Patna began the fireworks when their best raider Ravi Dalal scored an outstanding three-point raid, sending back Rajesh Narwal, Navneet Gautam and Prashant Chavan of the Panthers.
 
The league got its first chance to use a TV referral, as a turbo-charged Maninder Singh slammed into Rakesh Kumar, knocking them both clear out of the lobby. The referees gave both teams points.
 
Moments later, a brave attempt from Sandeep Narwal failed against Jaipur’s impenetrable defence and Patna was left a four-man army by the seventh minute. 
 
After tying at five, Jasvir Singh clawed down Patna’s defence, earning a crucial one-point lead. The lone man standing, Rakesh Kumar, revived his team but gave away the first LONA points of the night, with a hope of a better, stronger comeback. 
 
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Nursing an injury, Rakesh was ousted by an easy tackle from the Panthers immediately after. With an escalating lead and a diminishing team, Patna’s inability to handle pressure showed as Maninder reduced them to two men, prompting Patna’s second all-out in the 17th minute. The Pirates were able to derive some satisfaction before halftime by taking out the juggernaut Maninder Singh, but with the first-half clearly dominated by Jaipur, the score was 20-7 at the break.
 
As the second half began, Patna was denied yet another chance to come back as, one by one, Rakesh, Ravi and Sandeep were sent back, the latter tackled just a few centimetres away from the centre line. As the Panthers continued to race ahead, their lead extended to twenty points as Ravi failed against the strong defence of the Panthers, granting them their third LONA. 
 
With seven minutes to go and a lot of ground to cover, Rakesh’s lack of form put his team on the back foot again, setting them back by 11 points. Playing his first game, Bashimov was able to gain a point which did not help much as Patna conceded their fourth LONA, giving Jaipur an unassailable lead. 
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Bengaluru Bulls snatch 27-26 win over Telugu Titans

A scene from the match between Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 26, 2014.
A scene from the match between Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 26, 2014.
Hosts Bengaluru Bulls snatched a 27-26 victory over Telugu Titans in the final moments of their match in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League here tonight.
 
In a must-win game for both sides, Titans were cautious in their approach throughout the match but Bengaluru maintained calm in the crucial dying seconds to record a famous win.
 
The Visakhapatnam team got off to a good start as Sukesh Hegde sent the Bulls’ captain Manjeet Chillar back to the dugout. His teammates Rajaguru and Gopu then captured Ajay Thakur, making way for their second point of the night. 
 
Back on full-charge mode, Bengaluru Bulls sent out Vizag’s best raiders Rahul Chaudhari, Deepak Niwas Hooda and Sukesh Hegde, one after the other. Crumbling under pressure, Titans conceded their first LONA points, allowing Bengaluru a six-point lead in the 11th minute. 
 
With a strong defence easing Bengauru’s challenge, Rahul and Deepak were tackled easily and sent back, leaving the yellow army in a spot of bother. The Bulls’ defence continued to dominate for the rest of the first half, saving Bengaluru from one of Rahul’s signature multi-point raid by stopping him just centimetres short of the centre line.  
 
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The Telugu Titans started the second half with a lot of ground to make up. Having been decimated by the Bulls tackles, the score stood at Bengaluru 17, Vizag 10. A successful raid by Sukesh Hegde followed by a tackle by Ajay left Bengaluru with only two players remaining, a perfect scenario for Rahul. 
 
Stepping across the centre line, it took him only seconds to tag one Bull out and escape the grip of another, giving Vizag 4 points, an all-out and bringing them only one point behind. 
 
Soon, the teams were level at 17-17 and they remained tied until the final minute. At one moment, Sukesh was able to tilt the scales towards Telugu, scoring an amazing 3 touch raid against the Bulls. But this was immediately countered by Ajay, scoring a 2 touch raid and once again tying the scores. 
 
Chillar seemed content with this tie, wasting a number of his raids by strolling the centre line. This continued until only seconds remained in the match, but Vizag saw their dreams come crashing down as Sukesh went too deep into the Bull’s territory, and as the Bulls piled on top of the lone Titan, the match decisively went to Bengaluru. 
 
Vizag can still nurse some hopes in the tournament. With Bengaluru winning by only one point, the damage to Vizag’s Score Differential is marginal, and a loss by more than 9 points for Bengaluru tomorrow would bring Vizag back into the reckoning.
 
But it is unlikely that their rivals Jaipur, the leaders in the league table, would go out for a big win and risk injuries just days before the semi-finals.
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Patna Pirates enter last four with 33-31 win over Bengaluru Bulls

Sandeep Narwal's wonder raid which snatched the match away from the Bengaluru Bulls and took Patna Pirates into the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 25, 2014.
Sandeep Narwal's wonder raid which snatched the match away from the Bengaluru Bulls and took Patna Pirates into the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 25, 2014.
Sandeep Narwal was the hero as Patna Pirates qualified for the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League by beating Bengaluru Bulls 33-31 in front of their home crowd in a thrilling encounter here tonight.
 
Bengaluru Bills will now take on the Telugu Titans in tomorrow's game and both teams need nothing less than a victory to book their tickets to Mumbai for the play-offs.
 
The match was a keenly fought affair, especially in the first 35 minutes of play. The tone was set when, right at the start, a lightning raid from Ajay Thakur gave the edge to Bengaluru, taking out Ravi Dalal.
 
Narwal led the counterstrike, pulling himself out of the Bulls' grip. Ajay Thakur was not so lucky, and found himself sandwiched in between the full weight of Pirate defensive power. Trading blows, keeping the scores orbiting around dead equal, the two teams gave it everything they had. 
 
A masterful raid by Bengaluru left the Pirates with only Mandeep Kumar, who made his team proud by scoring a 2 touch do-or-die raid, giving Patna 3 points and 2 additional players.
 
Together, they were able to bring down Ajay in his following raid. But the Bulls’ assault was relentless, and the Patna Pirates were once again reduced to Mandeep. His second do-or-die ended in failure, giving Bengaluru an all-out at the 15th minute. This victory brought the Bulls the confidence they needed to briefly surge ahead, and with multiple A-grade raids and a halting tackle of Narwal brought the halftime score to 18 – 13.
 
The beginning of the second half witnessed a similar pace to the beginning of the first. The Pirates, despite two whisker-close raids from Ravi and an artful wraparound tackle of Thakur, were unable to close the gap. But a 2 touch raid from Dalal changed everything. 
 
Narwal took this as a challenge to his raiding excellence, and followed this with an absolutely astounding 3 touch raid that brought the Pirates ahead with a score of 26 – 25.
 
It took only another minute to bring Bengaluru down to their skipper, and Manjit’s raid was met with the same vicious kabaddi competency, giving Patna Pirates their first all out. It was all they would need. The final two minutes would yield no fruit for the Bulls, and as Narwal ran out the clock in the last 30 seconds, the Bengaluru team saw the writing on the wall. 
 
Finishing his raid with a somewhat ostentatious but absolutely warranted cartwheel (perhaps a tribute to his incapacitated captain), Narwal won the match, and secured Patna a place in Mumbai.
 
It will now be a fight for the fourth spot in the semi-finals between the Titans and the Bulls tomorrow.
 
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Renowned Kannada writer U R Ananthamurthy passes away

U R Ananthamurthy
U R Ananthamurthy
Renowned Kannada writer and Jnanpith Award winner U R Ananthamurthy passed away in a private hospital here this evening after a prolonged illness.
 
He was 81. He is survived by his wife Esther, son Sharat and daughter Anuradha.
 
Sources at the Manipal Hospital said Ananthamurthy was admitted there two weeks ago for treatment of renal problems. He had been under dialysis for some years and had developed cardiac and respiratory complications when he was hospitalised.
 
His condition deteriorated over the past two days with renal complications and the end came around 6.30 pm today after he suffered a cardiac arrest, they said.
 
Ananthamurthy was outspoken on many issues and found himself at the centre of a controversy when he said before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that he would leave the country if Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi won the polls and became the Prime Minister.
 
Later, he changed his stand and explained that he was emotionally overwhelmed when he had made the statement.
 
Mr Modi was among those who condoled the passing away of the writer. "Shri U R Ananthamurthy's demise is a loss to Kannada literature. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace," he said.
 
Udupi Rajagopalacharya Ananthamurthy was born on December 21, 1932 in melige in Shimoga district of Karnataka. He began schooling in a traditional Sanskrit school in Doorvasapura and went on to study in Tirthahalli and Mysore. He comlpleted his M.A. in English from the University of Mysore and went to England on a Commonwealth Scholarship, where he earned a doctorate from the University of Birmingham in 1966.
 
Ananthamurthy began teaching in the English department of the University of Mysore in 1970 and served as the Vice-Chancellor of the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, Kerala from 1987 to 1991.
 
He served as the Chairman of the National Book Trust of India in 1992 and was elected as president of the Sahitya Akademi in the following year. He served as a visiting professor in many Indian and foreign universities, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and the University of Iowa in the United States.
 
He served twice as the Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune and was the first Chancellor of the Central University of Karnatka.
 
Ananthamurthy is best known for his novels such as Samskara, Bharathipura, Avasthe, Bhava and Divya and a play, Avahane. His works have been translated in several Indian and European languages and won several important literary prizes. He has written several short stories also. Many of his works have been made into movies.
 
A staunch critic of the BJP who grew up as a "Gandhian socialist", he had contested unsuccessfuly for the Lok Sabha in the 2004 elections.
 
The Government had honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1998. He had won the Jnanpith Award in 1994.
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Jaipur Pink Panthers beat Bengaluru Bulls 36-31 to top table

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Jaipur Pink Panthers capitalized on the advantage of a vociferous home crowd to get the better of Bengaluru Bulls in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League at the Sawai Man Singh Indoor Stadium here tonight.
 
After a series of entertaining matches in the beautifu port city of Visakhapatnam, the league moved to the historic city of Jaipur today.
 
Both teams were looking for a win, Bengaluru after a draw in their last match and Jaipur after a drubbing.
 
After going tooth and nail in the first half, Jaipur clearly dominated the second, getting the better of the Bulls taking the final score to 36-31 in their favour. With this win Jaipur Pink Panthers also claimed the top spot in the league table.
 
The match began with a bitter news for Bengaluru, who had to play without their best raider Ajay Thakur. However, they did not let that stop their charge as Jaipur was left with two men by the second minute. 
 
But Jasvir Singh had his own plans for the Bulls as he mauled two Bengaluru defenders soon after. 
 
Rajesh Mondal, with a brilliant raid, took down Jasvir Singh, leaving Jaipur in a spot of bother yet again. By the eighth minute, Jaipur’s problem escalated as they conceded their firs LONA points. 
 
Mondal, in an unstoppable mood, ousted Rohit Rana, his fourth victim up till the twelfth minute. But Panthers’ Rajesh Narwal decided to stop the charging Bulls by bringing down three of their players including captain Manjit Chillar. 
 
Following it up in the very next minute, Jasvir Singh did his bit by ousting two Bengaluru players. A closely fought round, the scores at half-time were 17-20 in favour of the visitors.
 
The second half saw a three-man Bengaluru army taking down the smiling Jasvir Singh. Rejuvenated by the crowd’s thunderous cheers, Jaipur earned their first LONA points as they overthrew the lone standing Bull Gurpreet Singh. By the 26th minute both the teams were tied with a score of 24. 
 
Earning his seventh raid point Rajesh Narwal got rid of the Bengaluru skipper, and another Pink Panther Maninder followed it up by getting two points off his raid. 
 
As Bulls’ Pramod Singh left the field of play, Bengaluru was yet again a one man army and consequently they conceded their second set of LONA points. 
 
With the pressure mounting on them, Bengaluru captain Manjit Chillar got into an argument with the referee and was suspended from the match. Soon after, Jaipur started their home run on a winning note and prevailed by five points.
 
The win has taken Abhishek Bachchan’s team to 40 points; two ahead of U Mumba who they face tomorrow in what will be a thrilling encounter.
 
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Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft on track, no correction manoeuvre in August

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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said that its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft Mangalyaan would not need the trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM) planned for August on its 300-day journey to the Red Planet.
 
"MOM is closely following its trajectory and the mission managers have just ruled out the need for a Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM), originally planned for August 2014," a post on ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission Facebook page said.
 
"Which means MOM needs only three out of four TCMs originally planned for the entire heliocentric journey," it added.
 
On July 3, the spacecraft had crossed the three-fourths mark of the 690 million km journey to Mars.
 
The spacecraft, which is India's first inter-planetary probe, was launched onboard ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, on the east coast of the country.
 
On December 1, ISRO scientists had successfully conducted the Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre, setting it on course for Mars through a helio-centric trajectory.
 
Soon after the spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a TCM was performed successfully on December 11. As the spacecraft was on its designated trajectory, the TCM planned for April was not considered essential and the next one was carried out on June 11 by firing its 22 Newton thrusters for a duration of 16 seconds.
 
The Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre will be performed on September 24, 2014, ISRO has said.
 
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Bangalore: Two gym instructors arrested in case of rape of six-year-old schoolchild

 
Two gym instructors arrested for allegedly raping 6-year-old
The Bangalore police today said they had arrested two gymnastics instructors in connection with the recent rape of a six-year-old student of a school and, in a major turnaround, also made it clear that the skating instructor held earlier as the prime suspect was not involved in the crime.
 
Police Commissioner M N Reddy told reporters that the skating instructor, who had been arrested earlier on the basis of circumstantial evidence, was found to have not been near the scene of the crime when it happened.
 
At that time, police had said that they had found child pornography video clips on his computer and mobile telephone.
 
The girl was said to have been assaulted on July 2 but the incident came to light only on July 14 after a complaint was lodged with the police.
 
The incident had led to widespread protests against the school for the manner in which it had handled the matter and calling for tighter security measures in schools.
 
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Infosys reports 21.6% rise in net profit in Q1, says employee attrition rates worrisome

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Software services exporter Infosys Limited today reported a 21.6 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) increase in net profit at Rs 2,886 crore in the first quarter (Q1) ended June 30 this year.
 
The company said in a press release here today that the quarter-on-quarter growth in net profit in Q1 was 3.5 per cent.
 
The revenues for the quarter were Rs 12,770 crore for a YoY growth of 13.3 per cent and QoQ growth of 0.8 per cent.
 
The company, which recently appointed Dr Vishal Sikka, former member of the Executive Board of enterprise software maker SAP, as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) with effect from August 1, said FY15 revenues were expected to grow between 7% and 9% in US dollar terms and between 5.6% and 7.6% in rupee terms.
 
The company had liquid assets including cash and cash equivalents, available-for-sale financial assets, certificates of deposits and government bonds worth Rs 29,748 crore as on June 30, 2014 as compared to Rs 30,251 crore at the end of the previos quarter.
 
Infosys and its subsiiaries added 61 clients and 11,506 employees (gross) during the quarter. As on June 30, they had 161,284 employees.
 
“We continue to enjoy the confidence of our clients by demonstrating superior execution capability and value realization.” said Mr S. D. Shibulal, CEO and Managing Director of the company. 
 
“As I transition the CEO mantle to Vishal, I am confident that he will leverage this strong foundation to take Infosys to greater heights. I wish him the very best," he said.
 
“We saw positive trends in our large deal wins during the quarter. We believe that this momentum will hold us in good stead as we focus on increasing volumes.” Mr U. B. Pravin Rao, COO of Infosys, said. 
 
“Employee attrition rates are worrisome and we are implementing various initiatives to retain good talent," he said.
 
“We improved operational performance as a result of our cost optimization initiatives and a focus on increasing productivity and utilization. This partially offset the impact of compensation increases for our employees this quarter.” said Mr Rajiv Bansal, CFO. “It will help us invest in areas that will accelerate growth.”
 
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India's Mars orbiter spacecraft completes 75 % of its journey to Red Planet

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Mangalyaan, India's Mars orbiter mission (MOM) spacecraft, has completed 75 per cent of its historic 300-day journey to the Red Planet, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
 
A post on ISRO's Facebook page said on Thursday that the spacecraft had covered 510 million km of the total 680 million km distance on its heliocentric arc towards Mars.
 
"With this, three-fourth of the journey has been completed. MOM and her payloads are in good health," it said.
 
The spacecraft, which is India's first inter-planetary probe, was launched onboard its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, on the east coast of the country.
 
On December 1, scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had successfully conducted the Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre, setting it on course for Mars through a helio-centric trajectory.
 
Soon after the spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM) was performed successfully on December 11.
 
As the spacecraft was on its designated trajectory, the TCM plannd for April was not considered essential and the next one was carried out last month.
 
The Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre would be performed on September 24, 2014.
 
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Air Marshal Ramesh Rai takes over as AOC-in-C of Training Command, IAF

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Air Marshal Ramesh Rai took over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Training Command at Bangalore yesterday.
 
He was commissioned in the fighter stream on December 29, 1976. He has over 4500 hours of flying to his credit and has commanded a Jaguar Squadron. He is an experimental test pilot, flying instructor and recipient of the Majithia trophy and Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) trophy for standing first in pilots course and ‘best in flying’. 
 
He has held important command and staff appointments including Joint Director Air War Strategy Cell (AWSC), Director Air Staff Requirements at Air HQ and as the Defence Attaché at the Embassy of India in Tel Aviv, Israel. 
 
Air Marshal Rai has commanded the Advance HQ at Kolkata and Air Force Station, Bidar. The Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs) were inducted during his tenure at Air Force Station Bidar. He has held various important staff and instructional appointments including as Senior Air and Administration Staff Officer of Maintenance Command, and as the Chief Instructor (Air) at Defence Services Staff College(DSSC), Wellington prior to his elevation to the rank of Air Marshal on June 1, 2012. He served as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of Central Air Command before taking over as AOC-in-C, Training Command. 
 
He was awarded the Vayusena Medal(VM) by the President on 26 January, 1999. 
 
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PSLV-C23 to put French earth observation satellite Spot-7 in orbit on June 30

PSLV-C23. Image Courtesy: ISRO
PSLV-C23. Image Courtesy: ISRO
India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23) will be launched on January 30 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota with the 714 kg French earth observation satellite Spot-7 as its main payload.
 
The vehicle is scheduled to lift off at 0949 hours IST on June 30, a press release from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said today.
 
PSLV-C23 will also be carrying the 14 kg Aisat of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) & NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada, each weighing 15 kg, and the 7 kg Velox-1 of Singapore as co-passengers.  
 
These five satellites will be launched under commercial arrangements that Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, has entered with the respective foreign agencies.
 
All the five satellites have been integrated with PSLV-C23 and the final phase of checks is progressing. The Mission Readiness Review (MRR) Committee and the Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) will meet on June 27 to review the progress of prelaunch activities.  After the clearance from LAB, the 49-hour countdown for the mission will commence at 0849 hours IST on June 28, the release added.
 
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1 killed, 9 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

 
1 dead, 9 injured in twin blasts on train at Chennai Central station
One woman was killed and nine others suffered injuries in twin blasts that occurred in two coaches of the Bangalore-Guwahati Express after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
 
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters on the spot that two of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while the others had minor injuries.
 
He said the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train had arrived on platform number 9.
 
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati, 22, who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said.
 
Official sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under the seats.
 
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 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 those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for 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.
 
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and the train would continue its journey after about an hour 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 said.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will arrive here later today to probe the incident, sources added.
 
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Arun Chandavarkar appointed as CEO & Jt. MD of Biocon

Dr Arun Chandavarkar
Dr Arun Chandavarkar
Biotechnology major Biocon Ltd today announced the appointment of Dr Arun Chandavarkar as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Joint Managing Director as well as his induction on to its Board.
 
Dr. Chandavarkar has been the Chief Operating Officer of Biocon since 2006. He joined the company as General Manager – Operations in 1990. 
 
Under his leadership, Biocon has established expertise in diverse technology platforms spanning microbial fermentation, cell culture, chemical synthesis and purification to develop a wide range of products from specialty enzymes to active pharmaceutical ingredients to recombinant therapeutic proteins. 
 
“I am extremely happy to have Arun join the Board of Directors and take on the mantle of CEO & Joint MD," Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman & Managing Director, Biocon, said.
 
"Arun has been a core member of the leadership team at Biocon and has worked very closely with me over the last 24 years. He has played a pivotal role in the evolution of Biocon and I am confident that, in his new role, he will build immense value for Biocon and its stakeholders.”
 
Dr. Chandavarkar said, “I am delighted and honoured to join the Board of Biocon. These are exciting times and I look forward to steering the Company to the next level.”
 
Dr. Chandavarkar has a B. Tech from IIT, Bombay and earned his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA.
 
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Diageo launches tender offer for upto 26% of United Spirits Ltd

Key brands of United Spirits Ltd
Key brands of United Spirits Ltd
Diageo, one of the world's top drinks businesses, today launched a tender offer to the public shareholders of the Vijay Mallya-led United Spirits Limited (USL) to acquire upto 37,785,214 shares in USL, which represents 26% of USL's fully diluted issued share capital as of today.
 
A press release from the company said the tender offer would be at a price of Rs 3,030 per share and the total consideration for the increased stake (assuming take-up in full at the announced price) will be Rs 1144.89 crore (approximately £1,132,458,720). 
 
Diageo has launched the offer through Relay B.V., its wholly-owned indirect subsidiary which currently holds 28.78% of the issued share capital of USL, acquired for a total investment of Rs 65,742,163,642 (£726,550,972). 
 
On completion of the offer (assuming full take-up), Relay will hold 54.78% of USL’s issued share capital and will have paid approximately Rs  180,231,362,062 (£1,859,009,692) for its total shareholding in USL.
 
"In the event the Tender Offer is subscribed in full, the total consideration payable at the announced price for Diageo’s increased stake will represent a 38x multiple of USL’s EBITDA on a consolidated basis for the year ended 31 March 2013 and Diageo's total investment, of INR 180,231,362,062  (£1,859,009,692), in USL is expected to be EP positive in FY2022, the 7th full financial year after completion (assuming a 12 % WACC) and EPS accretive in the year ended 30 June 2016," the release said.
 
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USL is the leading spirits producer in India. On a consolidated basis, in the financial year ended 31 March 2013, USL earned net revenue of Rs 105,980 million (£1,048.3 million) from operations, EBITDA of Rs 13,548 million (£134.0 million) and losses after tax of Rs 1,050 million (£10.4 million). USL had Rs 163,849 million (£1,621 million) of total assets on a consolidated basis as at 31 March 2013.
 
The offer will be governed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations 2011 and applicable law. 
 
The offer price represents a premium of 22.5% to the price at which Diageo last acquired USL shares on 31 January 2014; and 20.0% to the 60 day VWAP for USL (SEBI regulatory floor price).
 
Diageo will fund the consideration payable under the offer through existing cash resources and debt.
 
The release said the offer is not subject to any condition regarding levels of acceptance.  
 
Diageo had, in November 2012, announced that it had reached agreements under which it would acquire 27.4 per cent stake in USL at a consideration of Rs 1440 per share and a total consideration of Rs 57,254 million (approximately £ 660 million). It had also announced that it would launch a tender offer to acquire, at a price of Rs 1440 per share, a maximum of 37,785,214 shares, which equates to 26% of the enlarged share capital of USL.
 
The sale was expected to help Mr Mallya clear USL's debt and also revive his beleaguered airline, Kingfisher.
 
The company said today it had completed the acquisition of 21,767,749 shares (14.98%) in USL at a price of INR 1440 per share and for total consideration of RS 31.3 billion (£342 million), including 10,141,437 shares (6.98%) from UBHL, which is now the subject of a court case.
 
Separately, Diageo continues to pursue completion of the acquisition of an additional 3,459,090 USL shares (representing approximately 2.38% of the share capital of USL) under the SPA from the USL Benefit Trust. 
 
"Currently certain lenders to USL are refusing to release security that they hold over those shares notwithstanding that they have been repaid in full. USL is taking steps, including proceedings before the High Court, to expedite the release of the security. As previously disclosed, if it is not ultimately possible to complete the acquisition in relation to these shares, they would instead continue to be held by the USL Benefit Trust subject to an undertaking that the trustees would only vote the shares at the direction of USL," it added.
 
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Infosys reports 25% YoY growth in Q4 of FY 2014

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Infosys Ltd, India's second largest software services exporter, today reported a net profit of Rs 2,992 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 for a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 25 per cent that beat market expectations on the back of higher volumes.
 
Announcing its consolidated results for the year and quarter ended March 31, 2014, it said net profit for the year was Rs 10,648 crore for a YoY growth of 13 per cent.
 
A press release from the company said revenues were Rs 50,133 crore for the year for a YoY growth of 24.2%.
 
Revenues were Rs12,875 crore for the quarter, for a YoY growth of 23.2 per cent.
 
The company also forecast revenue growth of 7-9 per cent for the financial year ending March 2015, against the market expectations of a guidance of around 6-8 per cent.
 
The release said the company's liquid assets including cash and cash equivalents, available-for-sale financial assets, certificates of deposits and government bonds were Rs 30,251 crore as on March 31, 2014 versus `27,440 crore as on December 31, 2013 and Rs 23,958 crore as on March 31, 2013.
 
The Board of Directors recommended a final dividend of Rs 43 per share for fiscal 2014. The Register and Share Transfer Books of the Company will be closed from May 31, 2014 to June 14, 2014 (both days inclusive).
 
The company’s current policy is to pay dividends up to 30% of post-tax profits. The Board has decided to increase the dividend pay-out ratio to up to 40% of post-tax profits effective fiscal 2014, the release said.
 
Infosys and its subsidiaries added 50 clients during the quarter and 238 during the year. There was a gross addition of 10,997 employees during the quarter and 39,985 during the year by Infosys and its subsidiaries. The company and its subsidiaries had 160,405 employees as on March 31 this year.
 
“I am pleased that we have been able to double our growth rate for the full year compared to last year, though performance in the last quarter of FY 14 has been disappointing.” said Mr S. D. Shibulal, CEO and Managing Director. 
 
“We have guided for a revenue growth of 7%-9% next year and remain firmly focused on building the growth momentum by making all the necessary investments in our business.”
 
“Our cash and cash equivalents crossed Rs 30,000 crore during the quarter. We have increased the dividend payout ratio to up to 40% of post-tax profits effective FY 14 to enhance returns for our shareholders," Mr Rajiv Bansal, Chief Financial Officer, added.
 
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Infosys says search commenced for Shibulal's successor as CEO & MD

S. D. Shibulal
S. D> Shibulal
IT services major Infosys today said that it had begun a search for a successor to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) S. D. Shibulal.
 
A press release from the company said the Nominations Committee of the company’s Board of Directors had commenced the search.
 
Mr. Shibulal, one of the seven founders of Infosys, had expressed his desire to retire as the CEO and MD of the company and as a member of its Board of Directors either on the date of the last board meeting before his superannuation - January 9, 2015 or when his successor is ready to assume office, whichever date is earlier, the release said.
 
The Nominations Committee will shortlist and evaluate an internal slate of candidates with the assistance of Development Dimensions International (DDI), a company specializing in corporate executive evaluations, it said.
 
The Board has also appointed Egon Zehnder, an executive search firm, to assist the Nominations Committee in identifying an external slate of candidates, the release added.
 
Mr. Shibulal has a Master's degree in Physics from the University of Kerala and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Boston.
 
Prior to becoming CEO & MD, he had served as Chief Operating Officer of Infosys from June 22, 2007 to August 20, 2011. 
 
He has also held other senior leadership roles including Head of Worldwide Sales and Customer Delivery, Worldwide Head of Customer Delivery, Head of Infosys Manufacturing and Distribution, and Internet Consulting Practice.
 
As a co-founder of the company, he was instrumental in the development of the Infosys Global Delivery Model, which helped set the stage for the company’s evolution into a leading provider of multinational business consulting and IT services.
 
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As CEO, he has focused on strengthening strategic partnerships with clients, increasing client relevance and evolving the company’s business model towards achieving the company’s aspirations of becoming the next-generation global consulting and IT services corporation.
 
He is a Trustee of the Infosys Science Foundation, a not-for-profit trust, set up by Infosys and some Members of its Board to spread the culture of science mainly through the Infosys Prize, an annual award across six scientific categories.
 
In June last year, Mr N R Narayana Murthy, the company's founder and former Chairman, returned from retirement as Executive Chairman of Infosys for a period of five years.
 
His son, Dr Rohan Murty, has been inducted into his team as his executive assistant, a position that will be co-terminus with Mr Murthy's tenure.
 
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Mars Orbiter crosses half-way mark on journey to Red Planet

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Mangalyaan, India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, crossed the half-way mark on its epic 300-day journey to the Red Planet at 9.50 am today along the designated helio-centric trajectory.
 
The spacecraft, which is India's first inter-planetary probe, was launched onboard its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, on the east coast of the country.
 
On December 1, scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had successfully conducted the Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre, setting it on course for Mars through a helio-centric trajectory.
 
Soon after the spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM) was performed successfully on December 11.
 
An ISRO press release said today that its scientists have been continuously monitoring the spacecraft using its Deep Space Network complemented by that of NASA-JPL. 
 
"As the spacecraft is on its designated trajectory, the TCM planned for April 2014 is not considered essential. If required, the next TCM is planned to be carried out in June 2014," it said.
 
According to it, Mangalyaan and its five scientific instruments are in good health. Periodic tests are being done on the different levels of autonomy built into the spacecraft for managing contingencies.
 
At present, the radio distance between the spacecraft and Earth is 39 million kilometre. A signal from Earth to the spacecraft and back to Earth takes 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Soon, the High Gain Antenna of the spacecraft will be put in service for handling communications with the ground stations.
 
The Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre would be performed on September 24, 2014, the release added.
 
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Legendary cinematographer V K Murthy passes away at 90

File photo of V. K. Murthy.
File photo of V. K. Murthy.
Legendary cinematographer V K Murthy, who provided Indian cinema audiences with some of the most memorable and breathtaking visual treats in the black-and-white era and shot all of filmmaker Guru Dutt's films, passed away at his residence here today.
 
He was 91. He is survived by a daughter. His funeral took place here this afternoon.
 
Murthy was conferred with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2008, given by the Government of India for outstanding contributions to the Indian film industry. He was the first cinematographer to given that honour, named after Dada Saheb Phalke, a pioneer of the Indian film industry and who was himself a cinematographer.
 
Mr Murthy was credited with breaking new grounds, ushering in modern and highly sophisticated techniques and bringing in rich visual artistry into Indian cinema.
 
He shot India's first cinemascope movie "Kagaz ke Phool" and is best remembered as the cinematographer for all of film-maker Guru Dutt's films. 
 
He was also one of the pioneers of colour cinematography in India. His picturisation of the title song of "Chaudhvin ka Chand" had left cinegoers mesmerised.
 
Mr Murthy, who started his career in cinema as a violinist, won the Filmfare Awards for movies such as "Kagaz ke Phool" and "Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam".
 
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Other films for which he wielded the camera include "Baazi", "Jaal", "Pyasa", "12 o'clock" and "Ziddi". He also partnered for "Pakeezah" and "Razia Sultan".
 
In a career spanning four decades, he also worked for Shyam Benegal's television series "Bharat Ek Khoj" and "Hoova Hannu" in Kannada. He was an inspirationfor a whole generation of cinematographers.
 
Born on November 26, 1923 in Mysore, Mr Murthy earned his Diploma in Cinematography from S J Polytechnic, Bangalore in its very first batch 1943-46. As a student, he took part in India’s freedom struggle, was jailed in 1943 and was a recipient of freedom fighter’s pension. 
 
After nearly five decades in Mumbai, the ace cinematographer moved to Bangalore, where he spent his last years. He was a recipient of the IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award at Amsterdam in 2005. 
 
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Bangalore airport handles 12.86 million passengers in 2013-14

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The Kempegowda International Airport at Bangalore reorded a 12.7 growth  - the highest since May 2008 -- in air traffic movements (ATM) at 118,575 in 2013-14 and handled 7.3 per cent more passengers at 12.86 million as compared to the previous year.
 
A press release from Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) said the aircraft had witnessed an average of 325 ATMs per day. It handled 10.23 million domestic and 2.63 million international passengers during the year.
 
The airlines witnessed average daily passenger numbers of 35,259 travellers, with seat load factors of 69% for domestic and 75% for international flights, respectively.
 
The release said new domestic routes to and from Bangalore included Imphal, Agatti, Surat, Mysore, Puducherry, Guwahati, Belgaum, Tuticorin, Indore and Dehradun. 
 
Additionally, low-cost carrier SpiceJet started international operations to Bangkok in October. 
 
New connectivity includes Air Costa which started domestic operations to Vijayawada and Jaipur. 
 
In a major initiative, BIAL partnered with Karnataka State Road Transportation Corporation (KSRTC) to start the ‘Flybus’ service from Bangalore to Mysore to develop the intermodal connectivity of the airport.
 
"The growth in traffic is a sign for us that this is an airport of choice for domestic and international travellers. Our focus will be to continue providing our passengers and airlines a seamless and unparalleled travel experience at this airport. This trend also reaffirms our commitment of making Bangalore a gateway to South India," BIAL Managing Director G V Sanjay Reddy said.
 
Cargo volumes handled at the airport grew by 7% as compared to 2012-13 to reach a total volume of 242,426 metric tonnes (MT) in 2013-14.  
 
The airport inaugurated dedicated cargo bays to serve freighter aircrafts and further improve the air cargo supply chain. The new cargo bays include six dedicated wide body freighter stands with seamless access to the cargo terminal. All the cargo stands are equipped with fuel hydrants and integrated leak detection system. 
 
The airport caters to Pharmaceuticals, Perishables (fruits and vegetables), Electronics, Engineering, Machineries, Automobile, Valuables, Textiles, Readymade Garments (RMG) and so on with origin across South India, addressing trade needs from South Asia, Asia, China, Europe, United States, Canada, Oceania and the Middle East. 
 
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David Blei chosen for 2013 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in Computing Sciences

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David Blei, an associate professor at Princeton University, has been chosen for the 2013 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences.
 
He gets the awardd for initiating an approach to analyzing large collections of data using innovative statistical methods, known as “topic modeling,” that make it possible to organize and summarize digital archives at a scale that would be impossible by human annotation. 
 
"His work is scalable to collections of billions of documents. It has inspired new research programs across multiple disciplines, with applications for email archives, natural language processing, information retrieval, computational biology, social networks, and robotics as well as computational social sciences and digital humanities," a press release from Infosys said.
 
The award recognizes the finest recent innovations by young scientists and system developers in the computing field.
 
An endowment from the Infosys Foundation provides financial support for the $175,000 annual award. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) will present the award at its annual awards banquet on June 21 in San Francisco.
 
ACM President Vint Cerf said that Blei’s contributions provided a basic framework for an entire generation of researchers to develop statistical modeling approaches.
 
“His topic modeling algorithms go beyond the search and links approach to information retrieval. In an era of explosive data on the Internet, he saw the advantage of discovering the latent themes that underlie documents, and identifying how each document exhibits these themes. In fact, he changed the way machine learning researchers think about modeling text and other objects in the digital realm.”
 
Infosys CEO and Managing Director S D Shibulal said, “The innovative topic modeling method that David Blei has used to analyze data goes to show the capability in executing what was an unthinkable and mammoth task till a few years back. With ever-growing data generation, there is a simultaneous need to archive and interpret this data. Blei’s groundbreaking method has not only made this a simple task but will also help increase productivity significantly.”
 
The release said Blei led the research that resulted in the simplest topic model, known as LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation). 
 
"This statistical model provides a powerful tool for discovering and exploiting the hidden “topics” or semantic themes in the data. It is scalable to collections of billions of documents with thousands of themes, and applies equally well to images and biological sequences. Blei’s approach is based on a Bayesian framework (a mathematical method based on probability) that exploits hidden variables to draw out the latent thematic structure in the data. LDA has been characterized as the single most important method for analyzing large collections of data. He continues to expand the scope of topic modeling with powerful methods for simultaneously analyzing documents and user behavior," it said
 
In a landmark 2003 paper detailing the development of LDA, Blei and his co-authors Michael Jordan and Andrew Ng laid out their method for discovering patterns of word use and connection documents that exhibit similar patterns. The paper, Latent Dirichlet Allocation, has been frequently cited by the growing population of researchers in the topic modeling area.
 
Blei has written extensively on topic modeling and his pursuit of new statistical tools for discovering and exploiting the hidden patterns that pervade modern, real-world data sets. 
 
He will join Columbia University in the fall of 2014 as a Professor of Statistics and Computer Science. He will also be a member of Columbia's Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 1981 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its Construction Division had won new housing orders worth Rs 1981 crore in March.
 
A press release from the company said the orders included one for a major residential project in Bangalore from one of south India's leading property developers which is also the company’s biggest residential order in this financial year. 
 
The scope of work involves civil, structural, MEP and finishing for 24 towers and 271 villas, the release said.
 
The towers will comprise two basements plus ground floor with levels varying from 18 floors to 29 floors. 
 
The project is scheduled to complete in 42 months, it said.
 
Another order has been received from a customer for construction of a
residential township in Gujarat. The project involves turnkey construction of 134 housing units. The construction includes civil, structural, MEP, finishes and other associated works. 
 
 “One of our key focus areas has been the growing potential in the residential sector and by winning these prestigious orders we have made significant inroads into this space,” said Mr. S. N. Subrahmanyan, Member of L&T's Board and Senior Executive Vice President (Infrastructure and Construction). 
 
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BJP inducts controversial Pramod Muthalik, reverses decision in five hours

Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik being welcomed into the BJP by senior party leaders in Bangalore on March 23, 2014
Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik being welcomed into the BJP by senior party leaders in Bangalore on March 23, 2014
In a major embarrassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its Karnataka unit admitted Mr Pramod Muthalik, the controversial chief of the Sri Ram Sene, into the party and then reversed its decision within five hours after the move attracted flak from across the country.
 
Former Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar, BJP state unit president Prahlad Joshi and former Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa were amongst those who welcomed Mr Muthalik into the party this afternoon.
 
Mr Muthalik told journalists that he had joined the BJP to help Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi become the Prime Minister of the country and to strengthen development and national security.
 
Mr Muthalik and his organisation were said to be responsible for the infamous incident on January 24, 2009 when a pub in Mangalore was attacked in the night and women inside were beaten up as part of its moral policing agenda. 
 
A former convener of the Bajrang Dal, he has a host of cases pending against him.
 
Mr Muthalik had some days ago announced his plans to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Dharwad, where Mr Joshi is the BJP candidate.
 
The induction attracted strong criticism from the Congress as well as from women's rights groups.
 
Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni wondered how the BJP could justify such a move when its leaders talked about women's empowerment.
 
She said the way the BJP was "picking up anyone" to join the party only proved her party's contention that there was no pro-Modi wave in the country as claimed by the BJP.
 
"Women across the country should take a decisive call on this," she added. "They should register a protest vote," she said, urging people to take a stand against people who had failed to uphold their dignity.
 
The induction also caused disquiet in a section of the BJP, with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar openly calling upon the partys central leadership to cancel Mr Muthalik's membership immediately.
 
By late evening, the central leadership of the party had come to the conclusion that Mr Muthalik's admission was untenable and that it would prove to be disastrous for it in the context of the coming elections.
 
Later, the Karnataka BJP unit announced that it had set aside the decision because the central leadership of the party had disapproved of it.
 
They said the decision was taken at the level of the state leadership, because it was competent to do so and it did not necessarily have to go to the central leadership.
 
"Now that the central leadership has disapproved of the decision, we have set it aside," they said.
 
They said their only aim was to prevent the division of the anti-Congress votes in the state. They also said they saw no problem with admitting Mr Muthalik in that he had expressed his desire to disband his controversial outfit and join the BJP and work within its framework.
 
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Controversial Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik joins BJP

Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik being welcomed into the BJP by senior party leaders in Bangalore on March 23, 2014
Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik being welcomed into the BJP by senior party leaders in Bangalore on March 23, 2014
Mr Pramod Muthalik, the controversial chief of the Sri Ram Sene in Karnataka, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of senior leaders of the state unit of the party here today.
 
Former Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar, BJP state unit president Prahlad Joshi and former Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa were amongst those who welcomed Mr Muthalik into the party.
 
Mr Muthalik told journalists that he had joined the BJP to help Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi become the Prime Minister of the country and to strengthen development and national security.
 
Mr Muthalik and his organisation were said to be responsible for the infamous incident on January 24, 2009 when a pub in Mangalore was attacked in the night and women inside were beaten up as part of its moral policing agenda. 
 
A former convener of the Bajrang Dal, he has a host of cases pending against him.
 
Mr Muthalik had some days ago announced his plans to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Dharwad, where Mr Joshi is the BJP candidate. His induction into the party is seen as a strategy to prevent the division of votes in north Karnataka, where he has considerable influence.
 
The induction attracted strong criticism from the Congress as well as from women's rights groups.
 
Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni wondered how the BJP could justify such a move when its leaders talked about women's empowerment.
 
She said the way the BJP was "picking up anyone" to join the party only proved her party's contention that there was no pro-Modi wave in the country as claimed by the BJP.
 
"Women across the country should take a decisive call on this," she added. "They should register a protest vote," she said, urging people to take a stand against people who had failed to uphold their dignity.
 
The induction has also caused disquiet in a section of the BJP, with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar openly calling upon the partys central leadership to cancel Mr Muthalik's membership immediately.
 
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Kejriwal says ready to face Modi in Varanasi, will decide at rally on March 23

Karnataka people are fed up with both Congress, BJP: Kejriwal
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal said today that he was prepared to contest against Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
 
"The party has asked me to fight against Modi," he told a rally in Bangalore today.
 
"I am not here for a win or loss. I will go to Varanasi on March 23. If the people ask me to, I will fight," he said, indicating that the party would conduct a referendum of sorts in this regard.
 
"I am prepared for this challenge. The decision will be taken at the March 23 rally in Varanasi," he said. 
 
He said that if Mr Modi was really all that confident about his popularity, he should contest from only one constituency.
 
Earlier in the day, some hours before the rally, Mr Kejriwal, who resigned as the Chief Minister of Delhi last month after just 49 days in office, said on microblogging site Twitter: "“Many people asking me - will i contest against Modi ji? I will talk on this issue in today's rally at Bangalore."
 
The BJP had announced late last night that Mr Modi would be its candidate from Varanasi, a move that is calculated to emphasise that the Gujarat Chief Minister's appeal goes beyond his own state.
 
To accommodate Mr Modi in Varanasi, the BJP had to shift veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi, the sitting MP from there, to Kanpur.
 
Mr Kejriwal has been saying for the past few weeks that he would contest the Lok Sabha elections against Mr Modi if he stood from outside Gujarat.
 
Mr Kejriwal, a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, had defeated three-time Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the December 8 elections to the Delhi Legislative Assembly while leading his party to a stunning performance on its electoral debut, winning 28 seats in the December 4, 2013 elections to the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
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Mr Kejriwal hit out at the BJP in his speech today, ridiculing the party for re-admitting former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and Badava Shramika Raitha (BSR)Congress MLA B S Sriramulu into the party while claiming to be against corruption.
 
He accused the Congress also of roping in corrupt leaders and said that left the voters in Karnataka with hardly any choice.
 
He said that, during his travels around India, people told him they want to remove the Congress because they attribute all the ills of the country to the rottenness in the system.
 
"AAP is here to give the country an option and an alternative politics which is corruption free," he said.
 
"People were unhappy with the BJP in Karnataka, so they chose the Congress, but what difference did it make," he asked.
 
He said that he had visited Gujarat to see for himself the development and governance claims made by Mr Modi and was shocked to find that nothing moved in the Government without paying bribes.
 
He talked about the various alleged scams during the Congress rule at the Centre.
 
Mr Modi said that when he asked people in different stats if they had visited Gujarat and seen for themselves the veracity of Mr Modi's development claims, they said they had seen it in the media.
 
"The media kept saying there has been development in Gujarat. So went to see for myself to learn about it. But I was shocked," he said, reeling out figures to contest Mr Modi's claims.
 
"By voting for the BJP instead of the Congress, our lives will not change, only the faces will change," he said.
 
Accusing both parties of indulging in crony capitalism, he said they took land from the poor at low prices and gave it to industrialists.
 
He accused Mr Modi of openly indulging in white lies and the media of portraying all this as the truth.
 
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