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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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Former Chief Election Commissioner T. N. Seshan passes away

T N Seshan
T N Seshan
Former Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan, who was known for strict implementation of electoral laws and rules to clean up Indian elections, passed away at his residence here on Sunday following cardiac arrest, family sources said. He was 86.
 
An 1955 cadre Tamil Nadu IAS officer who rose to become Cabinet Secretary, Seshan became the 10th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India after retirement, serving from December 12, 1990 to December 11, 1996.
 
Known for strictly enforcing Model Code of Conduct, Seshan instilled fear in politicians fighting elections by strictly implementing the Model Code of Conduct and other poll-related rules and taking stern action against anyone who tried to flout its provisions.
 
Born on December 15, 1932 in Palakkad district - in what is now Kerala, he did his education up to intermediate level there. He graduated from Madras Christian College in Physics, and then got into the IAS. He later studied at Harvard University from where he got his master's degree in public administration.
 
In 1989 he became the 18th Cabinet Secretary of India, the senior-most position in the Indian civil service hierarchy, and Member, Planning Commission of India, before being appointed the CEC, where he is best remembered as the man who cleaned up elections in India.
 
Seshan's reforms focussed in ending malpractices like "booth-capturing" and bribery of voters, and strict adherence of laws and rules.
 
In one case, polling was suspended in a Madhya Pradesh constituency where a serving Governor campaigned for his son, ultimately leading to his resignation, while in Uttar Pradesh, a minister was forced to quit the dais at a rally as the campaign period had just ended.
 
Seshan was also known for holding regular press conferences, where his one-liners were eagerly awaited.
 
He was conferred the Magsaysay Prize for Public Service in 1996.
 
Seshan also contested the presidential election in 1997 but lost to K.R. Narayanan. He also made a foray into electoral politics in the 1999 elections, contesting on a Congress ticket from Gandhinagar against BJP stalwart L. K. Advani but came runner-up.
 
IANS
 

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Former Chief Election Commissioner T. N. Seshan passes away

T N Seshan
T N Seshan
Former Chief Election Commissioner T. N. Seshan, who was known for ushering in reforms to ensure free and fair polls, passed away at his residence here on Sunday following cardiac arrest, family sources said. He was 87.
 
An IAS officer who rose to become Cabinet Secretary, Seshan became the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India after retirement, serving from December 12, 1990 to December 11, 1996.
 
Known for enforcing the Model Code of Conduct, Seshan took stern action against any politician who tried to flout its provisions.
 
He was conferred the Magsaysay Prize for Public Service in 1996.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Former Maharashtra DGP Arvind Inamdar passes away

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Former Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) and one of the finest Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, Arvind S. Inamdar passed away at a private hospital on Friday morning, official sources said.
 
Known for investigating the sensational Jalgaon sex scandal and human trafficking case, which erupted in July 1994, along with his team comprising IPS officers Deepak Jog and Meeran Borwankar, Inamdar served as the DGP from October 1997 to  January 2000.
 
Inamdar was instrumental in training and guiding the 'encounter specialist' cops who helped rid Mumbai of the mafia strongholds.
 
The last rites shall be performed at the Chandanwadi Crematorium in Marine Lines at 11 a.m. on Friday.
 
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Sahitya Akademi awardee Nabaneeta Dev Sen passes away

Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Sahitya Akademi awardee writer Nabaneeta Dev Sen died at her south Kolkata residence on Thursday after battling cancer, family sources said.
 
Dev Sen, 81, left behind two daughters. She had married in 1959 economist Amartya Sen, who won the Nobel prize in economics 1998.
 
Dev Sen, ailing for some time, was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. Her condition deteriorated and she could not speak for the last few days. The end came at 7.35 p.m.
 
According to her family sources, her last journey will start at 11 a.m. on Friday from her residence Bhalo-basa.
 
A poet, novelist and short story writer, Dev Sen won the Sahitya Akademi award for her book Naba-Nita in 1999, and a year later was honoured with the Padma Shri.
 
The immensely talented Dev Sen, known for her life force, wit and humour in both personal life and creations, wore multiple feathers in her cap -- she was a brilliant student, internationally-acclaimed academician, linguist, polyglot, thinker, liberal, curious globe trotter, mesmerising speaker, and one who fearlessly expressed herself on issues affecting the society and the polity.
 
Born on January 13, 1938 to the poet-couple Narendra Dev and Radharani Devi, Dev Sen graduated from Presidency College and obtained her M.A. degree from Jadavpur University, before proceeding to Harvard University to do Masters. She completed her PhD from Indiana University and did her post-doctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley and Newnham College, Cambridge University.
 
Dev Sen joined the comparative literature department of Jadavpur University and retired as a professor in 2002.
 
Away from the Indian shores, she delivered the Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture series on epic poetry at Oxford University in 1996-97 and held the Maytag Chair of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Colorado College in 1988-89.
 
Her first collection of Bengali poems 'Pratham Pratyay' was published in 1959. She has to her credit close to 100 books across literary genre -- Bengali poetry, short stories, plays, novels, literary criticism, essays, travelogues, humour and translations.
 
She also delved into children's literature, churning out popular and engrossing fairy tales and adventure stories, with girls as protagonist.
 
She researched for years and analysed "Ramkatha" from Sita's viewpoint. "Chandrabati Ramayan" is one of her notable works.
 
Widely feted for her genius and literary contributions, Dev Sen won the Mahadevi Verma award in 1992 and the Kamal Kumari National Award in 2004.
 
Condoling her death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, Dev Sen's death was an irreparable loss to the literary world.
 
Speaking from the USA, Amartya Sen paid tributes to her. "She was an extraordinary talent, writer, thinker and researcher, with great humane feelings. Her absence will be felt," he said.
 
IANS

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Two women scientists among six winners of Infosys Prize 2019

Manjula Reddy
Manjula Reddy
Two women -- Manjula Reddy of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB, Hyderabad and Sunita Sarawagi of the Indian  Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay -- are among the six scientists chosen for the prestigious Infosys Prize 2019.
 
The prize is given annually by the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) in six categories -- Engineering and Computer Sciences, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.
 
Reddy, Chief Scientist, CCMB, was chosen for the Infosys Prize 2019 for Life Sciences  for her groundbreaking discoveries concerning the structure of cell walls in bacteria. 
 
"Dr. Reddy and her colleagues have revealed critical steps of cell wall growth that are fundamental for understanding bacterial biology.  This work could potentially help in creating a new class of antibiotics to combat antibiotic-resistant microbes," a press release from the Foundation said.
 
The Infosys Prize 2019 for Engineering and Computer Science has gone to Sarawagi, Institute Chair Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Bombay for her research in databases, data mining, machine learning and natural language processing, and for important applications of these research techniques. 
 
Sunita Sarawagi
Sunita Sarawagi
"The prize recognizes her pioneering work in developing information extraction techniques for unstructured data. Prof. Sarawagi’s work has practical applications in helping clean up unstructured data like addresses on the web and in repositories which then helps in more efficient handling of queries," the release said.
 
The prize for Humanities has been awarded to Manu V. Devadevan, Assistant Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi for his original and wide-ranging work on pre-modern South India.
"He critically reinterprets much of the conventional wisdom about the cultural, religious and social history of the Deccan and South India. Dr. Devadevan's primary research interests include political and economic processes in pre-modern South India, literary practices in South India and the study of ancient inscriptions from the region," the release said.
 
The Infosys Prize 2019 for Mathematical Sciences is awarded to Siddhartha Mishra, Professor, Department of Mathematics, ETH Zürich, for his outstanding contributions to Applied Mathematics, particularly for designing numerical tools for solving problems in the real world. Prof. Mishra's work has been used in climate models, in astrophysics, aerodynamics, and plasma physics. He has produced codes for complicated realistic problems such as tsunamis generated by rock slides, and waves in the solar atmosphere.
 
G Mugesh
G Mugesh
Anand Pandian
Anand Pandian
The prize for Physical Sciences has been given to G. Mugesh, Professor, Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru for his seminal work in the chemical synthesis of small molecules and nanomaterials for biomedical applications.
 
"His work has contributed to the understanding of the role of trace elements, selenium and iodine, in thyroid hormone activation and metabolism, and this research has led to major medical advances," the release said.
 
Anand Pandian, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, has been chosen for the  Infosys Prize 2019 for Social Sciences for his imaginative work on ethics, selfhood and the creative process. 
 
"Prof. Pandian's research encompasses several themes such as cinema, public culture, ecology, nature and the theory and methods of anthropology.  His writing pushes the boundaries of how anthropologists render into words the worlds they encounter. His work breaks new ground," the release said.
 
The prize for each category comprises a pure gold medal, a citation and a prize purse of USD 100,000 (or its equivalent in Rupees) this year.
Manu V Devadevan
Manu V Devadevan
Siddhartha Mishra
Siddhartha Mishra
 
A panel of accomplished jurors comprising renowned scholars and professors shortlisted the winners of Infosys Prize 2019 from 196 nominations. 
 
"With a history of awarding some of the best talent, who have earned prestigious international honours like Fields Medal and the Nobel Memorial Prize more recently, the ISF believes that this year’s winners too will leave an indelible impression in their domains.  The Infosys Prize not only recognizes these outstanding researchers and celebrates their achievements, but in doing so, creates role models who will encourage young minds to explore science as a career option," the release said.
 
S. D. Shibulal, Co-founder, Infosys Limited and President of the Infosys Science Foundation, said, “The Infosys Prize continues to recognize exemplary work in scientific research and enquiry. Many Infosys Prize laureates have gone on to contribute significantly in key areas like healthcare, genetics, climate science, astronomy and poverty alleviation, amongst other things. Their work has immediate implications for the human race and the planet. We hope it catalyzes social development.”  
 
Elaborating on the importance of fundamental research at the event, N. R. Narayana Murthy, Founder – Infosys, Trustee – Infosys Science Foundation, said, “We should start helping our youngsters pursue fundamental research enthusiastically. They should be encouraged and equipped to become contributors to solving huge problems that confront us every day. I want India to be a place where discovery and invention happen every month.”
 
The Infosys Science Foundation is a not-for-profit trust set up in 2009. 
 
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Arcil appoints Aswini Sahoo as Chief Investment Officer

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Arcil, India's pioneer asset reconstruction company, today announced the appointment of Aswini Sahoo as its Chief Investment Officer. 
 
Sahoo will be responsible for boosting asset acquisition at Arcil, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said Sahoo has nearly two decades of experience in Infrastructure Finance, International Stressed Assets, Special Situation Funds and expertise in investment across capital structure of Indian corporates. 
 
Prior to joining Arcil, he was Senior Vice-President in the role of Investment Director with Edelweiss Special Opportunities Fund. Prior to that he has worked at various leadership roles at Samena Capital, Srei Alternative Investment, Clearwater Capital and Vedanta Resources. He started his career working for eminent brands like ICICI Bank and ABB India.
 
Sahoo holds BE (Mech) degree from NIT (then REC), Rourkela, where he topped his class and PGDBM from IIM, Bangalore. At Arcil, he will report into Vinayak Bahuguna, CEO & Managing Director, Arcil.
 
"We are pleased to welcome Aswini as our CIO. Aswini brings comprehensive expertise in alternate asset investing and entrepreneurial ecosystem to the management team. I am confident he will make substantial impact in our evolution as a value-added asset reconstruction company," Bahuguna said.
 
In March 2019, Avenue Capital joined Arcil as its new Sponsor Shareholder. The US based, $10 billion Distressed Debt and Credit investor acquired 25.03% shareholding from existing shareholders as on date.
 
Founded in 2002, ARCIL currently manages an AUM of Rs. 12,000 crore in non-performing loans. With presence in nine Indian cities and a team strength of 230, Arcil ranks among the largest players in the Indian NPL sector, serving the Corporate, SME and Consumer/Retail segments. Its shareholders include Avenue Capital, SBI, IDBI, PNB, ICICI and several other leading domestic and international investors including GIC.
 
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Air Marshal B Suresh takes over as AOC-in-C of Western Air Command

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Air Marshal B Suresh took over as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of Western Air Command, Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday.
 
The Air Marshal is a highly decorated officer having been awarded the Presidential awards of Param Vishisht Seva Medal in 2019, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2005 and Vayu Sena Medal in 2001.
 
He was appointed as an Aide de Camp to the President of India on February 1, 2019. He has donned a military uniform for 47 years; having joined the Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun in 1972.
 
An alumnus of the NDA, he was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on  December 13, 1980. He is a 'Sword of Honour' awardee from the Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment, a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and a post-graduate from Cranfield University, Shrivenham, United Kingdom.
 
He is a highly experienced fighter pilot and has flown almost all fighter aircraft and helicopters of the IAF. 
 
He has done three tenures at TACDE with the last being as the Commandant of the Establishment during which time the 'Beyond Visual Range' Air-to-Air Missile tactics were developed.
 
He is widely acclaimed as a strategist and tactician of repute within Air Force circles and as the Exercise Director, he is credited with having been the mastermind behind IAF's superlative performance during Exercise Cope India 2004 - the first international bilateral exercise with the United States Air Force held after a gap of nearly 40 years.
 
He was again nominated as the 'Exercise Director' for the first ever bilateral exercise with the 'Republic of Singapore Air Force' - Ex SINDEX 2004 - where once again IAF excelled.
 
The role played by the Air Officer in elevating IAF's status internationally was recognized by awarding him the presidential award of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and he thus became one of the youngest recipients of this Presidential Award as a Group Captain.
 
During his illustrious career, the Air Marshal has held a number of coveted command and staff appointments. He commanded a fighter squadron which specialized in maritime air strikes and was deployed along the Western border during the Kargil war.
 
Thereafter, he was a flying inspector with the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) – the agency that checks all units and bases for their war readiness. He also commanded 'Tactics and Combat Development Establishment' (TACDE), as a Group Captain. He was then appointed as the Director Operations (Joint Planning) to look after Tri-service cooperation.
 
The officer has commanded one of the largest air bases of the IAF in the western sector as an Air Commodore. He was also the Air Assistant to the Chief of Air Staff. As an Air Vice Marshal, he held the important appointment of Assistant Chief of Air Staff [Operations (Air Defence)] for nearly four years, wherein he was also the Air Force member of the Tri-service Joint Operations Committee (JOCOM).
 
After being promoted to the rank of Air Marshal in 2014, he was appointed as the Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of Western Air Command.
 
He has also served as Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel (AOP) at Air Headquarters.
 
Before taking over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command, he was appointed as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command with effect from  August 1, 2018.
 
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Air Marshal Amit Dev assumes charge as Air Officer in Charge Personnel

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Air Marshal Amit Dev took over as Air Officer In Charge Personnel, Air Headquarters here on Friday.
 
The Air Marshal graduated from National Defence Academy in December 1981 and was commissioned in the flying branch of Indian Air Force (IAF) on December 29, 1982, as a fighter pilot.
 
In a distinguished career spanning nearly 37 years, the Air Officer has flown a wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft in the inventory of IAF. He has a flying experience of more than 2500 hours, including operational flying on MiG- 21 and MiG-27 fighter aircraft.
 
During his career, the Air Officer has held numerous important appointments. He was Commanding Officer of a frontline fighter squadron and later on became the Station Commander of the Air Defence Direction Centre.
 
He was Air Officer Commanding of an operational fighter base and Advance HQ, South Western Air Command. As an Air Vice Marshal, he held the appointment of Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Inspection) at Air Headquarters Vayu Bhawan.
 
Prior to taking over as the Air Officer In Charge Personnel, he held the appointment of Director General Air (Operations) at Air HQ wherein he was responsible for the Operations of the IAF.
 
He is an alumnus of Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment, Defence Services Staff College, College of Air Warfare and National Defence College. He holds a Masters in Defence Studies from Madras University and an M Phil degree from Osmania and Madras University.
 
In recognition of his distinguished service, the Air Marshal was awarded ‘Vishisht Seva Medal’ by the president of India in 2010 and ‘Ati Vishisht Seva Medal’ in 2019.
 
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Lt Gen Anup Banerji takes charge as DG, AFMS

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Lt Gen Anup Banerji assumed office as Director-General, Armed Forces Medical Services (DG AFMS) here on Friday.
 
An alumnus of the prestigious Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, the General Officer is reputed to be an outstanding cardiologist and an exceptional administrator.
 
An official press release said he  has held various important clinical and staff positions during his illustrious career in AFMS. These include Head of the Department of Medicine and Cardiology at MH CTC Pune and Army Hospital R&R, Consultant (Medicine and Cardiology) at CH (EC), MG (Med) MG & G Area, Comdt AMC Centre and College Lucknow and DGMS (Navy).
 
Lt Gen Banerji was awarded the Sena Medal for his distinguished service in 1986. He was appointed President’s Honorary Surgeon (PHS) on January 27, 2019. He served as the DGMS (Army) prior to the present appointment.
 
Lt Gen Banerji assured that he will continue the good work of his predecessors and bring in more synergy in healthcare delivery of AFMS with special emphasis on Combat Medical Support. A positive thrust would be provided to Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) for enhanced clientele satisfaction.
 
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Veteran CPI leader, former MP Gurudas Dasgupta passes away

Gurudas Dasgupta (File photo: IANS)
Gurudas Dasgupta (File photo: IANS)
Veteran communist leader and trade unionist Gurudas Dasgupta, considered a very capable parliamentarian, died at his south Kolkata residence on Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.
 
Dasgupta, deputy general secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), passed away at 6 a.m., family sources said.
 
"He was admitted to Tata Medical Centre, where he was on ventilation also for some time. On Monday he was released from the hospital and brought home," Dasgupta's grand daughter and party state secretary, Swapan Banerjee told IANS.
 
Dasgupta, a three-term Rajya Sabha member, was also elected to the Lok Sabha twice --from Panskura in 2004 and Ghatal in 2009.
 
He began his long parliamentary career following his election to the Upper House of Parliament in 1985, and made his mark with his erudition, fearless abd articulate oratory, speaking out with a crusader's zeal against corruption, capitalism and what he always termed as the "neo-imperialist policies".
 
He was twice re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1988 and 1994.
 
Dasgupta lost the bye-eleciton to the Panskura constituency in West Bengal in 2000, but won the seat in the general elections four years later as a Left Front-backed candidate.
 
Dasgupta was one of those parliamentarians who repeatedly highlighted the Bofors scandal that came into the public domain in the late 1980s during the prime ministerial stint of Rajiv Gandhi. He also served on the joint parliamentary committees formed to probe the securities scam and the 2G spectrum scandal.
 
One of the tallest leaders of the Indian trade union movement, Dasgupta served the All India Trade Union Congress in various capacities including as its general secretary and vice-president.
 
"He was one of those leaders who successfully brought all trade unions under a common platform in the interest of the workers. The strong joint trade union movements that we see nowadays is the result of that effort," said Banerjee.
 
Born on November 3, 1936, in Barishal (now in Bangladesh) of undivided Bengal, Dasgupta was baptished into politics through the student movement, and served as the president and general secretary of the undivided Bengal Provincial Students' Federation between 1958 and 1960.
 
He was detained under Defence of India Rules in 1965 and went underground on several occasions during the Congress rule in West Bengal.
 
He visited various countries including Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, South Africa, the UK and erstwhile Soviet Union.
 
Condoling his death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Dasgupta will be remembered for his contribution to the nation as a Parliamentarian and trade union leader.
 
Dasgupta is survived by his wife, a daughter and a grand daughter.
 
IANS
 

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Veteran CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta dead

Gurudas Dasgupta (File photo: IANS)
Gurudas Dasgupta (File photo: IANS)
Veteran Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and trade unionist Gurudas Dasgupta, considered a very capable parliamentarian, died here on Thursday following a long battle with cancer. He was 82.
 
The Left leader passed away at around 6 a.m., family sources said.
 
Dasgupta was a three-term Rajya Sabha member. He was also elected to the Lok Sabha twice in 2004 and 2009.
 
Condoling his death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Dasgupta will be remembered for his contribution to the nation as a Parliamentarian and trade union leader.
 
IANS

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Justice Bobde to be next Chief Justice, President signs warrant

Justice S A Bobde
Justice S A Bobde
Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde will be the next Chief Justice of India as President Ram Nath Kovind paved his way after signing a warrant on Tuesday appointing him to the position.
 
Justice Bobde will be sworn in as Chief Justice on November 18 and will hold the post for around 18 months.
 
Present Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had, on October 18, recommended second senior-most judge Justice Bobde as his successor.
 
Justice Gogoi was the 46th Chief Justice of India, who took the charge on October 3, 2018 and will demit office on November 17.
 
Justice Bobde was part of the five-judge constitution bench which heard the  longest-running Ayodhya land dispute case and in which the judgement is still awaited.
 
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Sukhbir Singh Sandhu takes over as Chairman, NHAI

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Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1988 batch (Uttarakhand cadre), took over as the Chairman of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) here today.
 
Sandhu has done his MBBS from Government Medical College, Amritsar and Master’s in History from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He is also a law graduate.
 
He has held important positions in the Central Government and the Government of Uttarakhand, Government of Uttar Pradesh and Government of Punjab.
 
Prior to his current assignment, he was Additional Secretary in the Department of Higher Education, Government of India, where he looked after Technical Education.
 
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J. P. S. Chawla appointed as Controller General of Accounts

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J. P. S. Chawla, an officer of the 1985 batch of the Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS), has been appointed as the new Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance with effect from October 15 on a regular basis.
 
However, Chawla had been officiating as the CGA with effect from September 1.
 
Chawla is a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in mechanical engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi. He worked for four years with the public sector Engineers India Limited (EIL) prior to joining the Civil Services. 
 
During his 34-year career he has held various cadre posts at different levels in a number of Ministries/Departments with Prasar Bharti, Urban Development, Civil Aviation & Tourism and Agriculture to name a few. He has also served on deputation with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and served as Director (Finance) in the Indraprastha Power Generation Company Limited (IPGCL) and Pragati Power Limited (PPL).
 
Prior to assuming the charge of CGA, Chawla served as Principal Chief Controller of Accounts, Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC).
 
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Pradeep Kumar takes charge as Member (Signal & Telecom), Railway Board

Pradeep Kumar
Pradeep Kumar
Pradeep Kumar has taken over as Member (Signal & Telecom), Railway Board and ex-officio Secretary to Government of India on October 11.
 
Prior to this, Pradeep Kumar worked as Director-General, National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR). He is an officer of Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineer (IRSSE) of the 1981 batch.
 
Pradeep Kumar is Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics & Communication) and Master of Engineering (Communication Systems) from University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee) and Master of Business Administration (Marketing & Finance) from Southern Cross University, New South Wales, Australia.
 
He joined Northern Railway in 1983.  Over the years, he has held several important executive and managerial positions on Indian Railways. He has served on Northern Railway, South Eastern Railway, South Central Railway, West Central Railway, Railway Electrification, Railway Board and RailTel Corporation of India Limited, New Delhi, besides serving as DG/NAIR, Vadodara.
 
Some of the important assignments during his service include Additional General Manager, West Central Railway, Jabalpur, Chief Safety Officer, South Eastern Railway, Kolkata, Divisional Railway Manager, South Central Railway, Vijayawada, Executive Director (Signal Project) & Director (Telecommunication), Railway Board, New Delhi, General Manager (Business Development) and Executive Director in RailTel Corporation of India Limited (RailTel), New Delhi.
 
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Anumula Gitesh Sarma appointed as next High Commissioner of India to Australia

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Anumula Gitesh Sarma, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Australia.
 
A press release from MEA said Sarma, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1986 batch, was expected to take up the assignment shortly.
 
Sarma, who has completed his B. A. (Hons.) and M. A. in Political Science from the University of Delhi, has served as Ambassador of India to Uzbekistan and High Commissioner of India in Fiji.
 
Earlier, he worked as Under Secretary (Europe East) and Director (Central Asia) and in the Indian missions in Russia, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. He has been Ambassador of India to Uzbekistan and High Commissioner of India in Fiji.
 
Sarma also served as the Officer on Special Duty (IT Enabled Services) in the Information Technology Department of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, India. He was also Joint Secretary (External Relations) in the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. He was Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs until October 2018 when he was appointed as Secretary (West).
 
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Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora assumes charge as Vice-Chief of Air Staff

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Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora took over as Vice-Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force (IAF) here on Monday.
 
The Air Marshal was commissioned in the IAF as a fighter pilot in December 1981. He has rich and diverse experience of accident-free operational flying which includes MiG 21, MiG 29 and other aircraft in the IAF inventory, including helicopters, an official press release said.
 
He is a graduate of Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment, Defence Service Staff College and National Defence College. He holds a Master of Science in Defence Studies and Master of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies.
 
The Air Officer has commanded a MiG 21 Sqn in the South Western sector and was later Commander of Air Defence Direction Centre in the same sector. He went on to command a premier MiG 29 Base and as an Air Vice-Marshal he was Air Defence Commander at Headquarters Western Air Command and Eastern Air Command.
 
As an Air Marshal, he has held the appointments of Director General (Inspection and Safety) and Director-General Air (Operations) at Air HQ. Before taking over as Vice-Chief of the Air Staff, he was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Air Command.
 
He has been a Directing Staff at Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment and a Flying Inspector in the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection. He was Defence Attaché in the Embassy of India, Bangkok, Thailand from 2006 to 2009.
 
For his distinguished service, Air Marshal Arora was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal by the President on January 26, 2011. He was appointed as Honorary Air Force ADC to the President.
 
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Surjit Bhalla appointed as Executive Director (India) in IMF

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Economist Surjit S. Bhalla has been appointed as the Executive Director (India) at the International Monetary Fund.
 
A notification from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) had approved the appointment.
 
It said the appointmentwould be for a period of three years from the date of assumption of the charge of the post or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
 
Bhalla had been appointed as a part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) in September 2017 but resigned from the position in December 2018.
 
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Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria takes over as Chief of the Air Staff

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Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria took over as the 26th Chief of the Air Staff at a ceremony held at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) here today.
 
He has succeeded Air Chief Marshal  B S Dhanoa, who has retired from the Indian Air Force (IAF).
 
“I feel honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading one of the finest Air Forces in the world. I draw immense strength from exceptional achievements and remarkable leadership shown by my illustrious predecessors who built the Indian Air Force," Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said.
 
"I convey my sincere gratitude to Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa for his vision, untiring efforts and extraordinary leadership in bringing glory to the IAF and the nation.  The focus of the IAF shall be to rapidly operationalise newly inducted platforms and equipment as well as to ensure earliest and complete integration of these capabilities in IAF’s operational plans.  There shall be an impetus on modernisation through the acquisition of crucial technologies and critical capabilities with increased reliance on indigenous design and development. We shall proactively promote indigenisation for the sustenance of all existing fleets and equipment.” 
 
He also laid stress on the importance of training as well the safety of the aircraft and other warfighting equipment.  
 
An alumnus of the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA), he graduated from the Air Force Academy with the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’ and was commissioned in the fighter stream of IAF on 15 June 1980.
 
He has over 4270 hours of experience on 27 types of fighters as well as transport aircraft and holds the unique distinction of being an Experimental Test Pilot, a Cat 'A' Qualified Flying Instructor and a Pilot Attack Instructor. He completed his Masters in Defence Studies from Command and Staff College, Bangladesh.
 
During his illustrious career, spanning almost four decades, the Air Chief Marshal has held a number of significant field and staff appointments which include command of a front line Jaguar Squadron, Command of a premier Air Force Station in South-Western sector, Commanding Officer of Flight Test Squadron at Aircraft & System Testing Establishment and Chief Test Pilot as well as Project Director of National Flight Test Centre on Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. He was extensively involved in the initial prototype flight testing on the LCA. He has tenanted the appointments of Air Attaché Moscow, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Projects), Commandant National Defence Academy, Senior Air Staff Officer at Central Air Command, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Training Command. 
 
Prior to taking over as the Chief of the Air Staff, he held the appointment of Vice-Chief of the Air Staff.
 
In recognition of his meritorious service the Air Chief Marshal has been awarded the Vayu Sena Medal(VM) in 2002, Ati Vishist Seva Medal(AVSM) in 2013 and Param Vishist Seva Medal(PVSM) in 2018. He was appointed as the Honorary Air Force ADC to the President of India on 1 January 2019.
 
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Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat takes over as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee

General Bipin Rawat
General Bipin Rawat
Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat received the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) baton from outgoing Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, at a brief ceremony here on Friday.
 
The outgoing Chairman, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa has been at the forefront of all issues related to the three Services.
 
The Air Chief Marshal was appointed as Chairman, COSC on May 31, 2019. Under his stewardship, the Services progressed jointmanship and integration on a number of fronts in synchronisation with the motto ‘Victory through Jointness'.
 
Gen Rawat, in his career spanning 41 years, has had an illustrious military profile with vast operational and staff exposure. As the Chief of Army Staff, he has been a member of COSC since January 2017.
 
During his tenure in COSC, the Committee has deliberated on a number of diverse issues ranging from operations, training and administration, with an aim to enhance jointmanship and integration.
 
Gen Rawat, with his foresight and professional acumen has contributed immensely to the committee with his non-partisan views on critical issues, an official press release said.
 
As the next Chairman COSC, Gen Rawat is focused to operationalise the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), enhance Tri-Service integration, stimulate simultaneous growth of the Services, rapid operationalisation and synchronisation of modern warfighting capabilities to ensure that the Armed Forces are well-aligned to the future, the release added.
 
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John Thomas takes over as General Manager of Southern Railway

John Thomas
John Thomas
John Thomas, an Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE) officer of the 1982 batch, took over as the new General Manager of Southern Railway here today.
 
Prior to this assignment, John was posted as Additional General Manager of South Central Railway at Secunderabad.
 
John completed his graduation (B.Sc.) in Electrical Engineering with Honours at Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and started his career in the Indian Railways in 1984.
 
In more than three decades of service, he has held several important assignments in Central Railway, South Central Railway and Southern Railway.
 
Amongst the important assignments he has held are: Additional Divisional Railway Manager,  Chennai Division, Chief Electrical Traction Engineer, Chief Electrical Loco Engineer and Chief Safety Officer in Southern Railway; Divisional Railway Manager, Solapur Division, Central Railway;  Chief Electrical Engineer,  South Central Railway and Chief Project Manager, Railway Electrification, Chennai.
 
During his stint as Additional General Manager, South Central Railway, he initiated various innovative measures towards handling issues concerning public grievances and review of zonal performance on critical aspects as safety, security, punctuality, operational efficiency and business. He was also instrumental in handling the massive relief measures undertaken by South Central Railway to render succour to victims of floods in Kerala in 2018, intensively coordinating the entire operations from all over the Zone. 
 
Prior to this, as Chief Electrical Engineer of South Central Railway, he led the zone to achieve national-level recognition in energy conservation, enabling the zone to earn a record nine National Energy Conservation Awards for 2016 from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power, and Government of India. He has also been instrumental in initiating efforts towards better work efficiency and boosting workforce morale among the loco running staff of the Zone.
 
John has travelled widely for training and study programmes abroad that include training in design of power converters for 3-phase ABB locos at Turgi& Zurich, Oerlikon and Switzerland, a press release from Southern Railway added.
 
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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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