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Renowned journalist Vinod Mehta passes away

Renowned journalist Vinod Mehta, who was the founder-editor-in-chief of Outlook magazine, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here on Sunday morning after a prolonged illness.
Vinod Mehta
Vinod Mehta
Renowned journalist Vinod Mehta, who was the founder-editor-in-chief of Outlook magazine, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here this morning after a prolonged illness.
 
He was 72.
 
"Outlook Group announces with deep sadness the demise of its founder Editor-in-Chief and editorial chairman, Vinod Mehta, in New Delhi, today," the magazine said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
AIIMS spokesperson Amit Gupta said Mr Mehta had been transferred to the hospital a week ago from Fortis Hospital for treatment of acute chest infection.
 
He had developed septicemia and was on a ventilator at AIIMS for the past week. He died of multiple organ failure this morning, Dr Gupta said.
 
Mr Mehta began his journalistic career as the editor of Debonair magazine and later edited other publications such as the Sunday Observer, Indian Post, The Independent and The Pioneer before joining Outlook. He was editor-in-chief of Outlook until February 2012 after which he served as the Editorial Chairman of the magazine.
 
He has also written several books such as his memoirs Lucknow Boy and biographies of film actress Meena Kumari and Indira Gandhi's son Sanjay Gandhi.
 
Born on May 31, 1942 in Rawalpindi in West Punjab of undivided India, his family moved to India when he was three. He grew up in the syncretic culture of Lucknow, having attended La Martinere school and the university there. 
 
He tried his hand at a variety of jobs before taking up an offer to edit Debonair magazine in 1974. Over the years, he became one of India's most influential and respected editors. He was till recently a regular on many television debates.
 
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Microsoft CEO's father Yugandhar passes away

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Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who served in the Prime Minister's Office and the Planning Commission, breathed his last at his residence in Banjara Hills here, family sources said.
 
An IAS officer of the 1962 batch, Yugandhar held many key positions both in undivided Andhra Pradesh and at the Centre. Known for his clean record, he was instrumental in implementation of many schemes designed for the poor and marginalized sections of the society.
 
He was the top bureaucrat in the Rural Development Ministry when P. V. Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister.
 
Yugandar, who is remembered by his contemporaries as an upright officer with strong left leaning, was a Planning Commission member during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-I government (2004-09).
 
The IAS official was also credited with pushing through guidelines which would institutionalise money flow for watershed development direct to districts from the Central government, bypassing states.
 
Yugandhar also served as Director of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration from 1988 to 1993.
 
Known for simplicity, Yugandar performed his son's marriage with his IAS batchmate K. R. Venugopal's daughter Anupama in a simple manner. He did not even invite then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao for the marriage.
 
When his son became Microsoft CEO in 2014, Yugandar and his family members sought to avoid media attention, saying they wished for privacy.
 
Yugandhar, who hailed from Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, did not forget his roots and worked for the development of his village Bukkapuram.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao expressed his condolences over the demise of Yugandhar. Rao said Yugandhar was a sincere, honest officer who was known for his simplicity.
 
The Chief Minister also recalled the services rendered by Yugandhar. He conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family, especially Yugandhar's son.
 
IANS
 

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P K Mishra appointed as Principal Secretary to Prime Minister

P K Mishra
P K Mishra
Pramod Kumar Mishra has been appointed as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and assumed charge of his new position today.
 
He has succeeded Nripendra Misra, who had served in the position since May 2014, when Modi took office as Prime Minister for the first time.
 
He had been re-appointed to the position in May 2019 when Modi began his second five-year term as Prime Minister but had expressed a wish to step down on August 30. The Prime Minister had requested him to continue in office for two weeks.
 
An official press release said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) had also appointed former Cabinet Secretary as Principal Adviser to the Prime Minister. Sinha had been appointed as Officer on Special Duty in the Prime Minister's Office on August 30 after the end of his tenure as Cabinet Secretary.
 
The release said the two appointments would be co-terminous with the term of the Prime Minister or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
 
Mishra, a retired IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, had served as Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister in Modi's first term and had been re-appointed to the position in May 2019.
 
He has varied work experience in the management of programmes relating to agriculture, disaster management, power sector, infrastructure financing, and regulatory issues and has an outstanding career profile comprising research, publications, policy formulation and programme/project management. He has vast experience in policy making and administration and has handled major assignments such as Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation,  Government of India; Chairman, State Electricity Regulatory Commission and in the area of Disaster management. 
 
As Secretary Agriculture & Cooperation, he was actively involved in path-breaking national initiatives such as the National Agriculture Development Programme (RKVY) and the National Food Security Mission (NFSM).  
 
As Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister during 2014-19, Mishra is credited with  introducing innovation and transformative changes in human resource management, particularly appointments to senior positions.
 
His international experience includes research and academic work for over four years at the Institute of Development Studies (UK), negotiation and execution of ADB and World Bank projects, member of the Governing Board of the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and participation as expert/resource person in several international conferences.
 
Recently, he was conferred with the United Nations Sasakawa Award 2019, the most prestigious international award in disaster management. 
 
Mishra has a Ph.D in Economics/Development Studies from the University of Sussex, M.A. in Development Economics at the University of Sussex as also M.A. in Economics with a first class at the Delhi School of Economics and  B.A. Hons. (Economics) with a first class and distinction in other subjects from G.M. College (Sambalpur University) in 1970. 
 
 
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Top lawyer, former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani passes away

Veteran criminal lawyer and former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani passed away on Sunday at his residence here, confirmed advocate Ashish Dixit. He was 96.
Ram Jethmalani (File photo: IANS) 
Ram Jethmalani (File photo: IANS) 
Veteran criminal lawyer and former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani passed away on Sunday at his residence here, confirmed advocate Ashish Dixit. He was 96.
 
He was undergoing treatment for age-related problems. A full-time nurse was employed to take care of Jethmalani at his 2, Akbar Road residence.
 
Jethmalani's health deteriorated over the last two weeks. He was bedridden for a week and had lost a lot of weight, sources close to the family told IANS.
 
Politicians and senior lawyers were among those who have visited the Jethmalani residence following the death a little before 8 a.m.
 
People who visited his residence since morning were Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP chief Amit Shah, besides former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
 
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, RJD leaders Manoj Jha, Premchandra Gupta, former Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph besides senior advovocate Gopal Subramanium, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior advocate Soli Sorabji and Siddharth Luthra also paid their last respects.
 
The cremation will be held at 4.30 p.m. at the Lodhi Road crematorium.
 
Jethmalani is survived by his son, Mahesh Jethmalani and his US-based daughter. His other daughther died earlier.
 
He had also served as the Minister of Urban Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government. In 2010, he was elected as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
 
Born on September 14, 1923 in Sindh province Pakistan, Jethmalani completed his L.L.M. from the S.C. Shahani Law College, Karachi.
 
He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977. He took charge as Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs in October 1999 until July 2000 in the Vajpayee.
 
A noted criminal lawyer, Jethmalani has been part of legendary cases including the famous multi-crore 2G allocation case.
 
He had appeared for Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, convicted for the assassination of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict V. Sriharan alias Murugan; Harshad Mehta in the stock market scam; underworld don Haji Mastan in smuggling cases; and had argued for senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani in the Hawala case.
 
Jethmalani has also written various books including the "Conflict of Laws", "Justice: Soviet Style" and "Big Egos and Small Men".
 
Specialist in Criminal and Constitutional Law, he was also a part-time professor in Government Law College (Mumbai), Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and Wayne State University in the US.
 
He also was made Chairman of the Bar Council of India in 1970 and member of International Bar Association in 1966.
 

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Kerala braveheart conferred Neerja Bhanot Award

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A young braveheart from Kerala, Sifiya Haneef, was conferred with the Neerja Bhanot Award in a solemn ceremony here on Saturday.
 
The award was presented to her by Wendy Sue Knecht, who also worked with the Pan American World Airways in the '80s and had trained Neerja Bhanot in 1986. Knecht specially came here from Los Angeles for the award function. The award consists of Rs 1.50 lakh, a citation and a trophy.
 
The award was instituted in 1990 in memory of Neerja Bhanot, who saved hundreds of lives while sacrificing her own when a Pan Am flight from Mumbai to New York was hijacked at the Karachi airport on September 5, 1986.
 
A specially constituted jury comprising three Rotarians -- Sneh Popli, Manjit Kaur and Anu Dhingra -- selected Sifiya for the honour after she met the criteria laid down by the Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust, which stipulates that the awardee has to be an Indian woman who when faced with social injustice, overcomes it with guts and grit.
 
Akhil Bhanot, managing trustee at Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust, said: "Sifiya got married when she was 16 and her studies were stopped. Unfortunately, her husband died when she was 20. She had two children by then. Sifiya wished to continue her studies, but did not get any support. Not willing to give up, she took on a part-time job and resumed her studies.
 
"After a lot of struggle and realising that life was very tough not only for her, but also for other widows as well, she started spending her salary on helping widows."
 
Sifiya started a Facebook page called 'Chithal' where she wrote about the issues facing widows.
 
She also met a lot of sick mothers, kids, elderly people and cancer patients, among others. She would update her page on the problems these people were facing and get public support to solve their issues.
 
Today, she is helping more than 300 families by providing them shelters, constructing toilets in colonies, distributing medicines and giving them pension, Bhanot said.
 
An emotional Knecht said: "Though a lifetime has passed, Neerja's generosity, her humanity and her sacrifice will never be forgotten."
 
"By fighting for justice, Neerja proved that you can re-write your story from being called a 'victim' to a 'hero'. The message that Neerja imparted upon the world was 'do the right thing, come what may'. This is what all of us must do. I too have been inspired to follow Neerja's path," she added.
 
IANS

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B. Bala Bhaskar appointed as Ambassador to Norway

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B  Bala Bhaskar, currently Joint Secretary, West Asia and North Africa (WANA) Division in  the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here, has been appointed as the country's next Ambassador to Norway.
 
A press release from MEA said Bala Bhaskar, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1993 batch, was expected to take up his new assignment shortly.
 
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Sahitya Akademi awardee novelist Kiran Nagarkar passes away

Kiran Nagarkar
Kiran Nagarkar
Acclaimed English-Marathi journalist and writer Kiran Nagarkar died here on Thursday after a brief illness, family sources said. He was 77.
 
He had been admitted for treatment of brain haemorrhage to a private hospital where he breathed his last.
 
Born in a middle-class Maharashtrian family, he was educated in Pune and Mumbai.
 
Nagarkar's first Marathi novel was "Saat Sakkam Treychalis", (1974) which was later translated in English as "Seven Sixes are Forty".
 
Then followed "Cuckold" (1997) which won him the 2001 Sahitya Akademi award and catapulted him among the most respected modern post-independence Indian writers in Englsih.
 
His other works include "God's Little Soldier" (2006), "Ravan and Eddie" (2004) and its two sequels - "The Extras" (2012) and "Rest in Peace" (2015), and that year only, "Bedtime Stories" and then, "Jasoda" (2018). His most recent work was "The Arsonist" (2019).
 
IANS

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Nripendra Misra to leave PMO in two weeks

Nripendra Misra (File photo: IANS)
Nripendra Misra (File photo: IANS)
Nripendra Misra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's key aide for five years, is on his way out of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) after expressing his desire to step down. However, Modi has requested Misra to continue for another two weeks.
 
The 1967-batch retired IAS officer is presently the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.
 
Misra was inducted in Team Modi when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in 2014 following a landslide victory. He continued to be in Modi's core team after the NDA returned to power with an even bigger majority in 2019.
 
Such is his proximity to Modi that the Prime Minister himself took to Twitter to announce Misra's decision and praised his work. 
 
"After serving the PMO assiduously and diligently for over five years and making an indelible contribution to India's growth trajectory, Shri Nripendra Misra Ji will be embarking on a new phase of his life. My best wishes to him for his future endeavours," Modi tweeted.
 
"Shri Nripendra Misra is among the most outstanding officers, who has a great grasp of public policy and administration. When I was new in Delhi in 2014, he taught me a lot and his guidance remains extremely valuable," read another of his tweets.
 
IANS

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PM's Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra wants to quit

Nripendra Misra (File photo: IANS)
Nripendra Misra (File photo: IANS)
Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday expressed his wish to be relieved from his office. Modi has asked him to continue for another two weeks.
 
The Prime Minister also appointed P. K. Sinha as Officer on Special Duty in the Prime Minister's Office.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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CBDT Chairman P C Mody re-appointed for a year

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Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman P C Mody has been re-appointed to the position for a year with effect from September 1.
 
"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved re-appointment of Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) as Chairman, CBDT upon his superannuation on 31.08.2019, for a period of one year with effect from 01.09.2019 to 31.08.2020 or until further orders, whichever is earlier," a notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Wednesday said.
 
IANS adds:
 
The move is aimed at ensuring continuity at the top post so that policy measures initiated are not affected.
 
A 1981-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, Mody had taken charge of the top job in February succeeding Sushil Chandra, who had bveen given three extensions before being appointed Election Commissioner ahead of the last general elections.
 
Mody will continue in his role at a time when the government is taking a flurry of measures to make the tax administration assessee-friendly by simplifying rules and cutting down on litigation. The report of the Task Force on Direct Tax Code has also been submitted and is currently being vetted by the government.
 
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India's first woman DGP passes away in Mumbai

Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya (File photo: IANS)
Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya (File photo: IANS)
Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, who created history as India's first woman Director General of Police (DGP), has died here after a brief illness, officials said here on Tuesday. She was 72.
 
Bhattacharya, who died on Monday night, had been hospitalized in Mumbai for over five months.
 
Also a former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member, she is survived by her husband and two daughters. and her last rites will be performed here later Tuesday.
 
The second woman IPS officer in the country after Kiran Bedi, Bhattacharya was a 1973 batch officer and created a record when she became the DGP, Uttarakhand in 2004 - the first female police officer in India to attain the position.
 
A native of Amritsar, Bhattacharya was keenly interested in joining the police force and went all out to achieve her ambition.
 
During her tenure as DGP of Uttarakhand, she supported the downtrodden, combated bias against women and implemented the policy of female home guards manning traffic.
 
After her retirement in October 2007, she took the political plunge and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls unsuccessfully as an AAP candidate from Haridwar.
 
Her life and struggles as a policewoman were brought in vivid details in a tele-serial, "Udaan" made by her younger sister Kavita Chaudhary, in which Bhattacharya made a guest appearance.
 
The Uttarakhand Police on Tuesday condoled Bhattacharya's death and also recalled her great contributions during her tenure as DGP.
 
In a statement, the IPS Association (IPSA) mourned the demise of "one of our icons, the first lady DGP and the second lady IPS officer of India".
 
"An officer with sterling qualities of head and heart, she had an illustrious career, adorned with many first and awards," the IPSA said.
 
AAP President and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also condoled the death, saying in a tweet: "Saddened to know about the passing away of the country's first woman DGP Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya. She remained active in public life after her retirement and wanted to serve the country till her very last. Will miss her."
 
During her 33-year-long police career, she was awarded the President's Police Medal in 1997, served with the CISF and represented India at an InterPol meet in Mexico in 2004.
 
IANS
 

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Ajay Kumar Bhalla appointed as new Home Secretary

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Ajay Kumar Bhalla, IAS (AM:1984), as the new Home Secretary.
 
He will succeed Rajiv Gauba IAS (JH:1982), who has been appointed as Officer on Special Duty in the Cabinet Secretariat prior to taking over as the next Cabinet Secretary on August 30.
 
Bhalla, who was earlier Secretary, Ministry of Power, had been appointed on July 24 as Officer on Special Duty in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
 
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Rajiv Gauba appointed as new Cabinet Secretary

Rajiv Gauba
Rajiv Gauba
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba was today appointed as the new Cabinet Secretary with a tenure of two years from August 30, 2019.
 
Gauba, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1982 batch (Jharkhand cadre), will succeed Pradeep Kumar Sinha, IAS (UP: 1977), who had been given a three-month extension in service beyond June 13, 2019.
 
Sinha had assumed charge as Cabinet Secretary on June 13, 2015 for a two-year term.  In 2017, he was given extension for a period of one year beyond June 12, 2017. Last year, he was given another one-year extension in service till June 12 this year.
 
"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Shri Rajiv Gauba, IAS (JH:1982) as Cabinet Secretary with a tenure of two years from 30.08.2019 or until further orders, whichever is earlier. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has also approved the appointment of Shri Rajiv Gauba, IAS (JH:1982) as Officer on Special Duty in the Cabinet Secretariat from the date of his assumption of charge till he takes over as Cabinet Secretary," an official press release said here tonight.
 
The release also said that Ajay Kumar, IAS (KL:85), Secretary, Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence as Secretary, Department of Defence, Ministry of Defence vice Sanjay Mitra, IAS (WB:82) upon completion of his term.
 
Brij Kumar Agarwal, IAS (HP:85), presently in the cadre, has been appointed as Secretary to the Lokpal in the rank and pay of Secretary to the Government of India.
 
Subash Chandra, IAS (KN:86), Special Secretary, Department of Defence, Ministry of Defence has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence vice Ajay Kumar.
 
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Former Madhya Pradesh CM Babulal Gaur passes away

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Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Babulal Gaur died early on Wednesday at a hospital here following a prolonged illness. He was 89.
 
He was admitted to the hospital after his blood pressure dropped.
 
"Shri Babulal Gaurji served people for decades. From Jana Sangh days, he worked constantly to strengthen our party. As Minister and CM of Madhya Pradesh he undertook many efforts to transform the state. 
 
"Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Former UP Congress MLA Akhilesh Singh passes away

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Former Congress MLA Akhilesh Singh passed away on Tuesday morning at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) in Lucknow.
 
A five-term legislator, he had been battling cancer for the past few years.
 
His daughter, Aditi Singh, now represents Congress from the Sadar seat.
 
Akhilesh Singh was a popular leader in Rae Bareli and won his seat even as an independent after he left Congress.
 
Though he was known for his criminal antecedents, with several FIRs registered against him, yet in his constituency he was like the proverbial Robin Hood.
 
Sources said that the body will be taken to his village Lalupur in Rae Bareli where the cremation will be done later in the day.
 
IANS
 

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Ex-Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra passes away

Jagannath Mishra (File photo: IANS)
Jagannath Mishra (File photo: IANS)
Former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra died on Monday following cardiac arrest, his family said. He was 82.
 
Nitish Mishra, son of the three-time Chief Minister, told IANS: "He passed away around 9.45 a.m. following cardiac arrest."
 
He said his father had been ill for some time.
 
Mishra had been suffering from cancer and other ailments and was receiving treatment at a Delhi hospital.
 
Once a powerful figure for the Congress in Bihar politics, Mishra first became Chief Minister in 1975 and then returned to office in 1980 and 1989.
 
IANS

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Airtel appoints Rajesh Tapadia as CEO of Nxtra Data

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Telecom services provider Bharti Airtel today said it had appointed Rajesh Tapadia as Chief Executive Officer of its data centre and cloud business -- Nxtra Data.
 
Airtel is the largest player in India’s B2B connectivity space with over 3000 global/large enterprises and over 500,000 SMEs as customers, a press release from the company said.
 
Nxtra Data, a subsidiary of Airtel, is a leading player in the data centre and cloud services segment. It offers data centre services, managed services and cloud services to top Indian and global enterprises, start-ups, SMEs and governments. It operates 10 large data centres along with 120 plus edge data centres located strategically across India and is building four new large data centres, the release said.
 
The data centre and cloud services market in India is witnessing tremendous growth driven by the rapid digitization of enterprises and uptake of digital services such as content and social media by customers. 
 
"The segment is slated to grow to a $ 4 billion-plus market by 2022 and Airtel with its integrated services portfolio and deep, secure networks is uniquely positioned to leverage this opportunity," the release said.
 
Commenting on the appointment Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia), said: “Digital India is transforming the economy and opening up exciting new opportunities to serve customers. The data centre and cloud segment is an important pillar in our strategy to address enterprise customers’ evolving needs. We have already undertaken some very ambitious projects in this area and our ambition is to leverage our strengths to gain disproportionate share in this space. I am confident that Rajesh with his stellar track record will add immense value to our plans. I welcome him to Airtel and wish him all the very best.”
 
Tapadia brings with him a rich experience of over 24 years with organisations like Netmagic Solutions, Trimax, Global Cloud Xchange, Genpact and Reliance Infocomm. In his most recent role in Netmagic Solutions as Chief Service Officer and Executive Director on the Board, he managed data centre operations across multiple cities, running mission-critical infrastructure for global customers. He has driven key initiatives on cybersecurity, multi-cloud and global managed services and also led the setting up of many prominent data centres in the country.
 
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Paytm promotes CFO Madhur Deora as President

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Gearing up for the next phase of growth in consumer Internet and financial services, digital payments player Paytm on Monday announced the promotion of its Chief Financial Officer Madhur Deora as the company's President.
 
Prior to joining Paytm in October 2016, Deora served as Managing Director in Citigroup's investment banking business.
 
"We have grown over 20x in the last three years by creating a payments-led lifestyle and financial services app in our country," Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm, said in a statement.
 
"As we expand our business, we are promoting Deora to the role of President who has been a key partner in this success," Sharma added.
 
Paytm recently announced that within a year of the launch of its "Loan EMI, Credit Card Bill, and Insurance premium" payment use-case, it has captured 70 per cent market share among all mobile payment apps for BFSI payments.
 
The company has been rapidly onboarding partners from the insurance and banking sector to become a single platform for such payments.
 
It has tied up with more than 30 major insurance companies and more than 45 finance companies.
 
"I am excited about our next phase of growth in consumer Internet and financial services," said Deora.
 
Paytm is the single largest platform for banks, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) payments.
 
It registered over 50 million transactions within a year of its launch. This has encouraged millions of users to make digital payments instead of submitting cheques or visiting the bank branch.
 
IANS
 

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Rajesh Kumar Srivastava takes charge as ONGC Director (Exploration)

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Rajesh Kumar Srivastava has taken charge as the new Director (Exploration) of energy major Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited here with effect from August 2.
 
He has succeeded A K Dwivedi, who superannuated from service on July 31, a press release from ONGC said.
 
A post-graduate from Lucknow University, with a Master's degree in Engineering Geology from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, Srivastava joined ONGC as exploration geologist in 1984 in the geologically comple Krishna Godavari Basin.
 
At IRS, Ahmedabad he was considered as one of the best hands in the trade of reservoir modelling for preparation of field development plans, simulation studies for production forecasts and techno-Economic evaluation of prospects. He is credited to have introduced art/science of geo-cellular modeling in ONGC, Neelam being the first full field fine scale geo-cellular model for dynamic modelling for redevelopment.
 
During his tenure at E&D Directorate, he was closely associated with the exploration and development activities of Assam and Assam-Arakan Basin, MBA Basin and Krishna-Godavari & Cauvery basins.
 
He was one of the important members during formulation of ‘Hydrocarbon vision-2030 for North East India’ prepared by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG). He has also evaluated several exploration & development blocks of Egypt and Sudan.
 
Speaking after assuming office, Srivastava shared his views in regard to future potential for improvement in Exploration and Development to realize the goals set by ONGC. He emphasized the need to focus on play-based exploration as the way forward to further energy search by bringing in new areas under the ambit of exploration.
 
He said that priorities for exploration fraternity would be to open up the new plays, consolidate the successes for early monetization, acquisition of new acreages including NSP covered areas, besides working for field growth opportunities.
 
Taking a leaf from ONGC 2.0 concept recently advocated by his predecessor, Srivastava called for a unified effort from all quarters to march towards a better tomorrow and a sustainable growth of the organization. He earnestly hopes from all the stakeholders for convergence in realizing the goal of the company.
 
With over 35 years of experience, Srivastava is an expert in up-stream hydrocarbon exploration from well site operations (on-land & offshore), development geology, seismic data interpretation to monitoring and planning of exploration.
 
Srivastava was honored with the National Mineral Award in 2009, the release added.
 
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Ashutosh Karnatak assumes charge as Chairman & Managing Director, GAIL

Ashutosh Karnatak
Ashutosh Karnatak
Ashutosh Karnatak assumed charge as Chairman & Managing Director of public sector natural gas major GAIL (India) Limited here on Thursday.
 
Karnatak has a rich experience of more than 37 years in the hydrocarbon sector and has been serving as Director (Projects) of GAIL since March, 2014.
 
Karnatak has a degree in electrical engineering from HBTI, Kanpur and a post-graduate degree from IIT, Delhi. He is also a Fellow Doctorate of UPES, Dehradun, a press release from GAIL said.
 
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Journalist Ravish Kumar among five chosen for 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award

Ravish Kumar
Ravish Kumar
Well-known Indian journalist Ravish Kumar of NDTV is among the five individuals chosen for the prestigious 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award, widely regarded as Asia's highest honour, an announcement in Manila said today.
 
Ravish Kumar has been recognized for “his unfaltering commitment to a professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards; his moral courage in standing up for truth, integrity, and independence; and his principled belief that it is in giving full and respectful voice to the voiceless, in speaking truth bravely yet soberly to power, that journalism fulfills its noblest aims to advance democracy.”
 
The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) in Manila said the other awardees this year are King Jong-ki from South Korea; Ko Swe Win from Myanmar;  Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand; and  Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from the Philippines.  
 
The citation for Ravish Kumar said India, the world's largest democracy, had seen the space for an independent and responsible Indian press shrink over the past years.  
 
"The factors behind this  are many: a changing media landscape because of new information technologies, the increased marketization of news and opinions, growing government control, and, most worrisome, the rise of popular authoritarianism and religious, ethnic, and nationalist fundamentalisms with their consequent divisiveness, intolerance, and susceptibilities to violence.
 
"An important voice against these threats is television journalist Ravish Kumar.  Raised in Jitwarpur village in Hindi-speaking Bihar, northeast India, Ravish pursued his early interest in history and public affairs through postgraduate studies in history from Delhi University. In 1996, he joined New Delhi Television Network (NDTV), one of India’s leading TV networks and worked his way up from being a field reporter. After NDTV launched its 24-hour Hindi-language news channel — NDTV India — targeting the country’s 422 million native speakers of Hindi, he was given his own daily show, Prime Time. Today, as NDTV India’s senior executive editor, Ravish is one of India’s most influential TV journalists.
 
"His more important distinction, however, comes from the kind of journalism he represents.  In a media environment threatened by an interventionist state, toxic with jingoist partisans, trolls and purveyors of 'fake news', and where the competition for market ratings has put the premium on 'media personalities', 'tabloidization', and audience-pandering sensationalism, Ravish has been most vocal on insisting that the professional values of sober, balanced, fact-based reporting be upheld in practice.  His Prime Time program on NDTV India takes up current social issues; does serious background research; and presents issues in well-rounded discussions that can run up to twenty or more episodes.  The program deals with real-life, under-reported problems of ordinary people — from the lives of manual scavengers and rickshaw-pullers to the plight of government employees and displaced farmers, to underfunded state schools and the inefficient railway system.  Ravish interacts easily with the poor, travels extensively, and uses social media to stay in touch with his audience, generating from them the stories for his program.  Striving for a people-based journalism, he calls his newsroom 'the people’s newsroom'.
 
"Ravish is not above engaging in some theatrics himself  if he feels it effective, as in an innovative show he did in 2016 to dramatize how debased the discourse had become on TV news programs.  The show opens with Ravish coming on screen to talk to the viewers about how TV news programs had descended into a 'dark world' of angry, strident voices.  The screen then goes dark and, for the next hour, there is nothing but a cacophonous audio of sound bites from actual TV programs, venomous threats, hysterical rants, the sounds of a mob baying for the blood of enemies. For Ravish, it is always about the message, dispassionately delivered.
 
"As an anchor, Ravish is sober, incisive, and well-informed.  He does not dominate his guests but affords them the chance to express themselves.  He does not balk, however, at calling the highest officials to account or criticizing media and the state of public discourse in the country; for this reason, he has been harassed and threatened by rabid partisans of one kind or another. Through all the perils and aggravations, Ravish has remained consistent in his effort to preserve and widen the space for a critical, socially responsible media.  Keeping faith with a journalism that puts service to the people at its center, Ravish sums up what he believes a journalist is in the most basic terms: 'If you have become the voice of the people, you are a journalist.'"
 
Among the other awardees this year, Kim Jong-ki has been recognized for "“his quiet courage in transforming private grief into a mission to protect Korea’s youth from the scourge of bullying and violence, his unstinting dedication to the goal of instilling among the young the values of self-esteem, tolerance, and mutual respect, and his effectively mobilizing all sectors of the country in a nationwide drive that has transformed both policy and behaviors towards building a gentler, non-violent society.”
 
 Ko Swe Win, who has been chosen for the Emergent Leadership award, is being recognized for “his undaunted commitment to practice independent, ethical, and socially engaged journalism in Myanmar; his incorruptible sense of justice and unflinching pursuit of the truth in crucial but under-reported issues; and his resolute insistence that it is in the quality and force of media’s truth-telling that we can convincingly protect human rights in the world.”
 
Angkhana Neelapaijit has been chosen for “her unwavering courage in seeking justice for her husband and many other victims of violence and conflict in southern Thailand; her systematic, unflagging work to reform a flawed and unfair legal system, and the shining proof she is that the humblest ordinary person can achieve national impact in deterring human rights abuses.”
 
Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab, from the Philippines has been given the award “his compositions and performances that have defined and inspired  Filipino popular music across generations; his indomitable, undeterred confidence to selflessly seek, mentor,  and promote young Filipino musical genius for the global stage; and his showing us all that music can indeed instill pride and joy, and unify people across the many barriers that divide them.”
 
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine president after whom the award is named, and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late Filipino leader.
 
“The Magsaysay awardees of 2019,” says RMAF President Carmencita Abella, “all reflect courage undaunted, in their commitment to build solutions to vital and complex issues in their societies.  Theirs is a moral courage that is unfazed d by repressive systems, or social divisions, or institutional resistance, or deep cultural prejudice, or even by the burdens of building the capacities of others.  Embracing the challenges of their respective advocacies, these leaders take bold, creative, and empowering actions that engage others to do likewise.  Perhaps the most powerful impact of their leadership can be seen in the heightened moral courage they have inspired among  the many whose lives they have touched.”
 
She adds, “Their approaches are all deeply anchored on a respect for human dignity, and a faith in the power of collective endeavor.   We draw much hope from the 2019 Magsaysay awardees, and have much to celebrate about their accomplishments and greatness of spirit.”
 
The five 2019 Magsaysay awardees join the community of 330 other Magsaysay laureates who have received Asia’s highest honor and premier prize to date.  This year’s Magsaysay Award winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President, and a cash prize. They will be formally conferred the Magsaysay Award during formal Presentation Ceremonies to be held on September 9 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila.
 
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Subir Gokarn, India's ED at IMF and former RBI Dy. Governor, passes away

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Subir Gokarn, the Executive Director for India at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), passed away in  the United States on Tuesday after a brief illness.
 
He was 59. He is survived by his wife Jyotsna Bapat and a daughter, Kanak Gokarn.
 
Born on October 3, 1959, Gokarn had an illustrious career spanning over three decades. A noted economist, he joined the IMF Executive Board as ED (India) in December 2015 and was to complete his term in October this year.
 
Prior to joining the IMF, Gokarn was the Director of Research at the Brookings India in New Delhi. He was one of the youngest to serve as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. He also worked with Standard and Poor's, National Council of Applied Economic Research and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.
 
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while paying her last respects, recalled his intellect and articulation of India’s concerns at the IMF. 
 
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Former Andhra minister and Congress leader Mukesh Goud dies

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Former Andhra Pradesh minister and Telangana Congress leader Mukesh Goud died on Monday following prolonged illness. He was 60.
 
Goud, who served as minister in the cabinets of Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Kiran Kumar Reddy in undivided Andhra Pradesh, was battling cancer. He was admitted to a private hospital on Sunday after his condition turned critical.
 
A three-time member of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, Goud is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
 
With Goud's death, the Congress lost the second leader in as many days. The news of his death came when Congress leaders were busy in the cremation of former Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.
 
A backward class leader from Hyderabad, Goud began his political career as a corporator. He was first elected to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Maharjgunj constituency in the city in 1989 and was re-elected in 2004. After the delimitation of constituencies in 2009, he was elected from Goshamahal constituency.
 
Goud lost the elections from Goshamahal in 2014 and 2018.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao expressed his condolences on the demise of Goud and recalled his services as a Minister and as an MLA. Rao conveyed his condolences to the members of the bereaved family.
 
State Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and other party leaders also condoled Goud's death.
 
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Meghalaya Speaker dies, 3 days mourning announced

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Meghalaya Assembly Speaker and former Chief Minister Donkupar Roy passed away on Sunday at the Medanta hospital in Gurugram after multi-organ failure, a party leader said. He was 64.
 
The economist-turned-politician, who was an acute diabetic, was flown in an air ambulance to New Delhi on July 18, his close aide said.
 
The body of Roy, who was President of United Democratic Party (UDP), a key partner in the National People's Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, will be flown back to the state on Monday morning for his last rites.
 
The Meghalaya government has declared three days of state mourning and a state holiday on the day of funeral as mark of respect to Roy, a seven-time legislator.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Governor Tathagata Roy, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, and Meghalaya's Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma have condoled the sudden demise of Roy.
 
"Passionate about Meghalaya's progress, he served the state with great diligence and helped transform many lives. Condolences to his family and supporters," Modi said in a tweet.
 
Roy was first elected to the Meghalaya Assembly from Shella constituency, bordering Bangladesh, as an Independent MLA on 1988 with the ardent support of the then Alliance Reconstruction of Meghalaya State, a political body of the influential Khasi Students' Union.
 
He was first appointed as Minister in the B. B. Lyngdoh ministry and then served in various capacities in the state.
 
After a fractured mandate in the 2008 Assembly elections, Roy was sworn in as Chief Minister on March 19, 2018 but his government was dismissed exactly one year later and the state put under President's Rule.
 
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Former Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy passes away at 77

S Jaipal Reddy (File photo: IANS)
S Jaipal Reddy (File photo: IANS)
Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy died after a brief illness in Hyderabad in the early hours of Sunday, his family said. He was 77.
 
Reddy breathed his last around 1.30 a.m. at a private hospital in Hyderabad, where he was admitted recently and was diagnosed with pneumonia. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.
 
Born in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana, Reddy was elected to the Lok Sabha for five terms and was also a member of the Rajya Sabha for two terms.
 
He began his political career in his student days at Osmania University. Protesting the imposition of emergency, he quit Congress to join the Janata Party and later became its general secretary. He contested unsuccessfully against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from Medak Lok Sabha constituency in 1980.
 
Reddy served as Minister for Information and Broadcasting in the I. K. Gujral government. He also served as a minister in UPA-I and UPA-II government and held portfolios like urban development and culture, petroleum and natural gas, science and technology and earth sciences.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has condoled the death of Reddy. In his condolence message conveyed to the members of the bereaved family, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief recollected the services rendered by Reddy as a Union Minister and as a good parliamentarian. 
 
IANS
 

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