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Prafulla Kumar Gupta takes charge as Director (HR), GAIL

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Mr. Prafulla Kumar Gupta has taken charge as Director (Human Resources) of public sector gas major GAIL (India) Limited. 
 
A B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, Mr. Gupta has more than 33 years of experience in the oil and gas sector.
 
Prior to his appointment as Director (HR), he served as Executive Director (Marketing-Petrochemicals) in GAIL.
 
Mr. Gupta joined GAIL in 1985 and has been associated with many prestigious projects of the company, starting from project execution of Hazira – Vijaipur – Jagdishpur pipeline. He also held the position of Managing Director of Mahanagar Gas Limited and Head of Gas Processing Unit, Vaghodia.
 
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Arjun Dhawan appointed Whole Time Director & Group CEO of HCC

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Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today appointed Mr. Arjun Dhawan as its Whole Time Director & Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from April 1, 2017.
 
He will succeed Mr. Rajgopal Nogja, who has decided to step down from the Group CEO’s post to pursue his own interests, a press release from the company said.
 
Mr. Nogja will continue in his present role till March 31, 2017. He will, however, continue to be a Delegate of the Board of Steiner AG, Switzerland, a HCC Group Company on a 20% time commitment basis, it said.
 
“Rajgopal’s leadership has made significant contribution to HCC’s success as the country’s premier infrastructure company during a difficult economic period. We understand and support his decision to step down and wish him well. Rajgopal will remain associated with the HCC Group by continuing to oversee Steiner AG, Switzerland,” said Mr. Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director, HCC.
 
Mr. Dhawan will oversee the HCC Group businesses including HCC Limited, HCC Concessions Limited, Lavasa Corporation Limited, Steiner India and Charosa Wineries Limited. Prior to being appointed to this position, Mr. Dhawan has been the President & CEO of the Infrastructure business since November, 2009.
 
“Arjun is deeply familiar with the company's strategy and leadership team. HCC’s growing order backlog and the receipt of over Rs. 2000 crores of arbitration monies post the cabinet decision has poised HCC for success. We are confident the company will grow and deliver robust performance under his stewardship," Mr. Gulabchand said.
 
Mr. Dhawan holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a BA in Mathematics and Economics from Middlebury College. Prior to starting his career at HCC, Mr. Dhawan acquired global expertise in the area of investment management across various businesses and industries. As Managing Director with Arya Capital Management (Mumbai) and formerly with Trellus Management Company (New York), Mr. Dhawan oversaw material portfolios comprising equity investments and real estate assets. During an earlier stint with Banc of America Securities, he helped build a proprietary investment group focused on distressed strategic assets. As a former investment banker in New York with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Credit Suisse First Boston, Mr. Dhawan has executed large leveraged buyout, high yield, M&A and equity transactions across multiple industries and geographies.
 
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Sanjeevani Kutty given additional charge as Secretary, Inter-State Council Secretariat

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Ms. Sanjeevani Kutty, Secretary (Border Management) in the Ministry of Home Affairs has been assigned the additional charge of the post of Secretary, Inter-State Council Secretariat.
 
Ms. Kutty is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1983 batch (Maharashtra cadre).
 
The arrangement will be with immediate effect and until further orders, an official press release added.
 
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Amulya Kumar Patnaik appointed as Commissioner of Police, Delhi

Amulya Kumar Patnaik appointed as Commissioner of Police, Delhi
Amulya Kumar Patnaik appointed as Commissioner of Police, Delhi
Mr. Amulya Kumar Patnaik, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1985 batch (AGMUT cadre), has been appointed as the new Commissioner of Police of Delhi, an official press release said here today.
 
The appointment would be with effect from the date of actual assumption of the charge, until further orders.
 
Mr. Patnaik succeeds Mr. Alok Kumar Verma, IPS (AGMUT: 1979), who has been appointed as the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
 
Mr. Patnaik is currently the Special Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) in Delhi. Apart from various positions in the Delhi Police, he has also served as SSP (Law and Order), Puducherry and Director General of Police, Mizoram. He is a recipient of the  President’s Police Medal for distinguished service and Police Medal for meritorious service.
 
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Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin passes away

Alexander Kadakin
Alexander Kadakin
Russia's Ambassador in India Alexander Kadakin passed away at a hospital here today after a brief illness. 
 
He was 67.
 
Mr. Kadakin, who spoke Hindi fluently, was the head of the Russian mission in Delhi since 2009.
 
Starting from 1971, Mr. Kadakin's entire career was closely associated with promoting Russian-Indian relations.
 
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Nita Ambani honoured by Metropolitan Museum of Art for her philanthropic efforts

Ms. Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation, receiving the Honoree's trophy for her efforts in Philanthropy from Tom Campbell, CEO & Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York on January 24, 2017.
Ms. Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation, receiving the Honoree's trophy for her efforts in Philanthropy from Tom Campbell, CEO & Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York on January 24, 2017.
Ms. Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation, was honoured by the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York for her expansive philanthropic work in the areas of Education, Sports, Healthcare, Rural Transformation, Urban Renewal, Disaster Response, Women Empowerment and Promotion of the Arts. 
 
She is the first South Asian to receive this distinguished accolade, a press release from the Foundation said.
 
The Met is recognised as one of the most iconic museums in the world. It currently lives in three celebrated sites of the city -- The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters -- housing  over 5,000 years of art from around the world.
 
The release said the Met was most impressed by the diversity and scale of the work carried out by Reliance Foundation, led by Ms. Ambani. 
 
"The direction she gives the Foundation has helped it to focus its work on sustainable urban and rural transformation as well as healthcare, education, grassroots development through sport, and women empowerment. The Foundation’s support of Indian Art and the aim to take it global stems from Ms. Ambani’s personal passion. 
 
"Reliance Foundation has benefited over ten million Indians, touching the lives of individuals across more than 10,500 urban areas and villages," the release said.
 
On the honour bestowed on her by The Met, Ms. Ambani said, “I am delighted and humbled by this honour for our work at Reliance Foundation. It is truly gratifying that our efforts, especially in education, sports, health and rural transformation, are bringing smiles to millions of people. This recognition from a distinguished global institution like The Met is a tribute to our commitment towards sustainable development and social empowerment, and will inspire each one of us at Reliance Foundation to constantly do the best to make the world a better place for the next generation.”
 
Ms. Ambani's work in developing sports in India was recently recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which elected her as its first Indian woman member.  She is currently the only member from India in the IOC.
 
The event, hosted by The Met’s Multicultural Audience Development Initiative, celebrates The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s diverse communities and raises awareness and support for the Audience Development Department. The event is a cornerstone of the Museum’s strategic mission to serve the widest possible audience in a spirit of inclusiveness.
 
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S. Jaishankar, Shaktikanta Das get extensions in tenure

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved a one-year extension in tenure for Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar with effect from January 29 to January 28, 2018.
 
An official press release said the ACC had also approved a three-month extension in tenure for Mr. Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, from March 1 to May 31 this year.
 
Dr. Jaishankar, 62, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1977 batch, was appointed Foreign Secretary on January 28, 2015, a few days before he would have retired from service, replacing Ms. Sujatha Singh, whose tenure was curtailed abruptly. He was given a two-year tenure.
 
He had served as India's Ambassador to the United States and China before that. Prior to that, he had also headed the Americas Division in the Ministry from 2004 to 2007, in which assignment he played a key role in the negotiations for the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement of July 2005.
 
Born on January 9, 1955, Dr. Jaishankar holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil in International Relations and an M.A. in Political Science. 
 
Mr. Das is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1980 batch (Tamil Nadu cadre). He was appointed as Secretary, Economic Affairs on August 29, 2015. Prior to that, he had served as Secretary, Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance.
 
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Delhi Police chief Alok Kumar Verma appointed new CBI Director

Alok Kumar Verma
Alok Kumar Verma
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Mr. Alok Kumar Verma, Commissioner of Police, Delhi, as the new Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
 
His appointment will be for a period of two years from the date of assumption of charge of his office, an official press release said.
 
Mr. Verma is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1979 batch of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.
 
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Lt. Gen. Sarath Chand takes over as Vice-Chief of Army Staff

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Lieutenant General Sarath Chand took over as Vice-Chief of Army Staff and paid homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti here today.
 
Before taking over as Vice-Chief of Army Staff, the General Officer was commanding South Western Command of the Indian Army.
 
The General Officer was commissioned into the Garhwal Rifles in June 1979. During a career spanning over 38 years, he has served in all operational theatres and has participated in many active combat leadership roles at every stage of command. 
 
The early operational service of the General includes the command of a company in the Kargil Sector of Ladakh and in active operations during Operation Pawan as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF)in Sri Lanka.
 
He commanded a battalion in Operation Rhino and Operation Falcon, an Infantry Brigade in the deserts and a Counter Insurgency Force deployed in the Kashmir Valley and thereafter commanded a strategically important 4 Corps. He has also held a number of important staff as well as instructional appointments during his career. The General Officer has served at the United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNOSOM-II). 
 
The General Officer in his capacity as Vice-Chief will head the General Staff Branch at the Army Headquarters and will provide crucial support to the Army Chief in discharge of his duties. He will be responsible for ensuring the operational effectiveness of the Army by directly overseeing the functioning of the military operations, intelligence and logistics directorates. He will coordinate and facilitate decision making on critical issues involving multiple stakeholders within and outside the Army, an official press release added.
 
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Ausaf Sayeed appointed as High Commissioner to Seychelles

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Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, presently Consul General of India in Chicago, United States of America, has been appointed as the country's next High Commissioner to Seychelles.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Dr. Sayeed, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1989 batch, was expected to take up his new assignment shortly.
 
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Veteran actor Om Puri passes away after cardiac arrest

Om Puri
Om Puri
Veteran actor Om Puri, one of the most versatile and intense artistes in Indian cinema, passed away at his residence here in the early hours of today after suffering a massive cardiac arrest.
 
He was 66.
 
The actor's friends, who reached his residence after hearing the news, said he appeared to have suffered a heart attack this morning. 
 
According to various sources, Puri had returned home last evening after a shoot. This morning, his driver raised an alarm when he got no response after repeatedly ringing the door bell. The actor was found dead when the door was forced open, they said.
 
Born on October 18, 1950, at Ambala in Haryana to a Punjabi family, Puri had earned an enviable reputation with his work, first in art cinema and later in mainstream commercial Indian, British, Hollywood and Pakistani films as well as in independent films.
 
Puri graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune and was also an alumnus of the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, from where he passed out in 1973 and had the well-known actor Naseeruddin Shah as a co-student.
 
He made his film debut in 1976 in Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal, based on the play of the same name by Vijay Tendulkar.
 
Puri was one of the leading lights, along with Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil, in the so-called "art films" of those years such as Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992).
 
He won critical acclaim for his performances in films such as Aakrosh (1980), Disco Dancer (1982) and Ardh Satya. He got the National Award for Best Actor for Ardh Satya for his role as a police inspector.
 
He also acted in movies such as Maachis in 1996, Gupt (1997) and Dhoop (2003).
 
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In 1999, he acted in Kannada movie AK 47 and also in British comedy East is East, in which he played a first generation Pakistani immigrant in the north of England, struggling to come to terms with his far more westernised children.
 
He had a cameo in Richard Attenborough's highly-acclaimed film Gandhi (1982).
 
By the mid-1990s, Puri began appearing in character roles in mainstream Hindi cinema, which won him a following among the masses. He also appeared in British films such as My son the Fanatic (1997) and The Parole Officer (2001).
 
In Hollywood, he appeared in films such as City of Joy (1992) with Patrick Swayze; Wolf (1994) with Jack Nicholson; and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) with Val Kilmer. In 2007, he appeared as General Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson's War, which starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.
 
Puri also appeared in Hindi television serials such as Kakkaji Kaheen (1988) as a paan-chewing 'Kakkaji', which was a parody on politicians, and Mr. Yogi (1989) as a suave 'sutradhaar' who enjoys pulling the protagonist's leg. These two serials underlined the actor's abilities as a comedian.
 
He received critical acclaim for his performance in Govind Nihalani's television film Tamas (1987) based on a Hindi novel of the same name. 
 
He played comic roles in Hindi films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro which attained a cult status, followed by Chachi 420 (1997), Hera Pheri (2000), Chor Machaye Shor (2002) and Malamaal Weekly (2006).
 
In recent years, he appeared in Hindi films such as Singh Is Kinng, Mere Baap Pehle Aap and Billu. He was seen in the role of Mohammad Ali Kasuri in Road to Sangam (2009). In 2010, he appeared in The Hangman. In 2011 he was in the Indian action movie Don 2.
 
In 2014, he appeared opposite Helen Mirren in the comedy-drama The Hundred-Foot Journey.
 
Puri married Seema Kapoor in 1991 but they separated some months later. In 1993, he married Nandita Puri, with whom he had a son. The couple separated in 2013.
 
The Government honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1990. 
 
He had won the National Award for Best Actor for Arohan in 1982 and the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Aakrosh in 1981, for Ghayal in 1990, Maachis in 1997, gupta in 1998 and Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha in 1999.
 
He was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
 
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Justice J S Khehar sworn in as Chief Justice of India

 
Justice J S Khehar sworn in as new Chief Justice of India
Mr. Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar was sworn in as the Chief Justice of India at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan here today. 
 
He made and subscribed to the oath of office before President Pranab Mukherjee.
 
Mr. Justice Khehar, 64, who assumed office as a Judge of the Supreme Court on September 13, 2011, is due to retire on August 28, 2017.
 
Born on August 28, 1952, he graduated in science from Government College, Chandigarh in 1974. He was awarded the LL.B degree by the Panjab University, Chandigarh in 1977 and LL.M. in 1979. He was awarded the gold medal for standing first in the university in LL.M. examination.
 
He was enrolled as an advocate in 1979 and practised mainly in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh High Court, Shimla and the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi.
 
Mr. Justice Khehar was appointed as Additional Advocate General, Punjab, in January 1992, and then as Senior Standing Counsel, Union Territory, Chandigarh. He was designated as Senior Advocate in February, 1995. He remained standing counsel for Universities of the area, corporate bodies and a large number of companies and cooperative organizations.
 
He appeared as counsel for Mr. M. Krishnaswamy, M.P. (from the Arani constituency in Tamil Nadu), in the defence of Mr. Justice V. Ramaswami, then Judge of the Supreme Court of India, before the Judges Inquiry Committee (comprising Mr. Justice P.B. Sawant, then Judge Supreme Court of India; Chief Justice P.D. Desai of the Bombay High Court; and Mr. Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India) constituted to investigate the grounds on which the removal of Justice V. Ramaswami was sought.
 
Mr. Justice Khehar was elevated to the Bench of High Court of Punjab and Haryana, at Chandigarh, on February 8, 1999. He was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court twice, with effect from August 2, 2008, and again, with effect from November 17, 2009.
 
He was elevated as Chief Justice of the High Court of Uttarakhand, at Nainital, on November 29, 2009 and thereafter he was transferred as Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka, where he assumed his office on August 8, 2010.
 
By a notification dated May 20, 2010 the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha appointed Mr. Justice Khehar as a member of the Judges Inquiry Committee for investigating the grounds on which the removal of Mr. Justice P.D. Dinakaran, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, had been sought.
 
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Global crude oil price of Indian basket rises to $ 54.88/bbl

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The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, rose to $ 54.88 per barrel (bbl) yesterday from $ 54.41 per bbl on the previous day.
 
In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket increased to Rs. 3736.33 per bbl on 03.01.2017 as compared to Rs. 3701.40 per bbl on 02.01.2017, an official press release said.
 
The rupee closed weaker at Rs. 68.09 per US$ on 03.01.2017 as compared to Rs. 68.02 per US$ on 02.01.2017, it added.
 
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David R. Syiemlieh to perform duties of Chairman, UPSC

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The President has appointed Prof. David R. Syiemlieh, Member, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), to perform the duties of the post of Chairman, UPSC with effect from the forenoon of January 4.
 
An official press release said the appointment would be till further orders or till the completion of his term as Member on January 21, 2018, whichever is earlier.
 
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Rajiv Jain appointed as new IB chief, A. K. Dhasmana to head R&AW

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Mr. Rajiv Jain, Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), has been appointed as the new Director of IB.
 
An official press release said that the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) had also approved the appointment of Mr. A. K. Dhasmana, Special Secretary, Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), as Secretary, R&AW.
 
Theappointments are for a period of two years fromthe date of assumption of charge or until further orders, whichever is earlier, by granting extension in service under provisions of FR 56.
 
 
Mr. Jain is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1980 batch (Jharkhand cadre) while Mr. Dhasmana belongs to the 1981 batch of IPS (Madhya Pradesh cadre).
 
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Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa appointed as next Chief of Air Staff

Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa
Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa
The Government has decided to appoint Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Vice-Chief of Air Staff, as the next Chief of Air Staff with effect from the afternoon of December 31, an official announcement said here today.
 
He will succeed Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who has been serving as Chief of Air Staff since December 31, 2013.
 
Air Marshal Dhanoa had taken over as the Vice-Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) on June 1, 2015.
 
He was commissioned in the Indian Air Force (IAF) in June 1978 as a fighter pilot. He is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. 
 
Air Marshal Dhanoa is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has flown various types of fighter aircraft in his distinguished career. During the Kargil Operations, he commanded a fighter squadron and himself flew numerous night strike missions in the mountainous terrain. 
 
He has the distinction of having held a number of the important operational appointments including Station Commander of a fighter base and leader of an Indian Military Training Team abroad He has also served as Chief Instructor (Air) at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters and Senior Air Staff Officer of two operational Commands. Prior to being appointed as Vice-Chief of the Air Staff, the Air Marshal was the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the South Western Air Command. 
 
In recognition for his meritorious services, he was awarded Yudh Seva Medal (YSM), Vayusena Medal (VM) in 1999, and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) in 2015 by the President.
 
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Asha Ram Sihag to hold additional charge as Chairman, National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the assignment of additional charge of the post of Chairman, National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention to Mr. Asha Ram Sihag, IAS (HP:1983), Secretary, Coordination & Public Grievance.
 
An official press release said that the appointment woud be with immediate effect and until further orders.
 
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Veteran journalist Dilip Padgaonkar passes away in Pune

Dilip Padgaonkar
Dilip Padgonkar
Well-known journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, former Editor of The Times of India, passed away here today after a brief illness.
 
He was 72.
 
Doctors at the Ruby Hall Clinic said he had been admitted to the hospital on November 18 after suffering a heart attack. Later, he suffered multi-organ failure and his kidneys had stopped functioning, and he had undergone multiple dialysis during this period.
 
He was on ventilator support throughout his stay in hospital and breathed his last a little after noon today, they said.
 
Born in Pune in 1944, Mr. Padgaoonkar had studied at the St. Vincent High School and Fergusson College here before he pursued a doctorate at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He also obtained a diploma from the French Institute of Higher Cinematographic Studiesin Paris.
 
In October 1968, he started working for The Times of India as its Paris corresponent. In 1973, he returned to India and served the newspaper as an assistant editor in Mumbai and Delhi.
 
In 1978 he joined UNESCO as its Asia-Pacific Information Officer in Bangkok. Two years later he was promoted as Deputy Director of Unesco’s Office of Public Information at its headquarters in Paris.
 
He returned to India again in the 1980s and resumed working for The Times of India and was appointed its Editor in 1988, a position he held for six years.
 
Later, he also had a brief stint as the Editor of the Gulf Today in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
 
In October 2010, Mr. Padgaonkar was named as one of the three interlocutors for holding sustained dialogue with all sections of the people in Jammu and Kashmir to understand their problems and chart a course for the future.
 
Considered a liberal, Mr. Padgaonkar spoke and wrote extensively against communalism, terrorism and related issues. He was equally involved with the arts and wrote on cinema, among other topics, including a book on Italian filmmaker Roberto Rosselini.
 
"Mr. Dileep Padgaonkar was a leading public thinker whose contribution to journalism will always be remembered. Pained by his demise. RIP," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
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Renowned Carnatic vocalist M. Balamuralikrishna passes away

Dr M Balamuralikrishna
Dr M Balamuralikrishna
Legendary Carnatic vocalist M. Balamuralikrishna passed away at his residence here today after a brief illness.
 
He was 86. He is survived by his wife, three sons and three daughters
 
Family sources said he had been unwell for the past few days.
 
Born on July 6, 1930 in Sankaraguptam in Andhra Pradesh to musician parents Suryakanthamma and Pattabhiramayya, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna started singing at the age of six and was considered a child prodigy. He learnt both Carnatic and Hindustani vocal music and played musical instruments like the viola, the violin and the mridangam.  At the age of 16, he had composed songs in all the 72 Melakartha ragas, considered the very foundation of Indian music.
 
He was a fifth generation descendant in the Guru Shishya Parampara of saint composer Shri Thyagaraja.
 
During a long and illustrious career, he had also composed music for and acted in some movies, including Bhakta Prahlada. He has 400 compositions to his credit including Varnams, Krithis, Havalis, Devotional songs and Thillanas.
 
Dr. Balamuralikrishna also did a comparative study of ragas in film music and classical music and presented it on Doordarshan. One of the first producers in All India Radio, he is also known for pioneering early morning broadcasting called ‘Bhakthi Ranjani’. 
 
Dr. Balamuralikrishna made sustained efforts which were responsible for the resurrection of ragas which were not in vogue like Narthaki and Sunadavinodini, besides creating new ragas like Lavangi, Mahathi, Manorama, Murali, Omkari, Prathimadhyamavathi, Rohini, Saravashree, Sumukham, Sushma, Ganapathi, Siddhi and Pushkara Godvari.
 
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He is also credited with innovating Tala systems. He has also presented Rabindra Sangeeth for preservation for future by All India Radio.
 
He performed with renowned vocalists and instrumentalists of North Indian classical music and helped in bringing about an understanding of national integration through music.
 
He was the first principal of Government Music College, Vijayawada besides having sung in various languages including Tamil, Oriya, Marathi, Telegu, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and French. 
 
He was the state musician of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and Asthana Vidwan of Sringeri Peetam and Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam. He was the member, Expert Advisory Committee, Music Academy, Executive Committee Member, Kalakshetra Foundation, ICCR and Central Sangeet Natak Academy.
 
Regarded as one of the best exponents of Carnatic classical music, who became a legend in his lifetime, Balamuralikrishna had a road named after him by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation.
 
He was the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Kalidas Samman Award by the Government of Madhya Pradesh. The Government honoured him with the Padma Vibhushan in 1991. He also won the National Awards for Best Playback Singer and Best Music Diector.
 
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Pankaj Patel elected President of FICCI for 2017

Pankaj Patel
Pankaj Patel
Mr. Pankaj R. Patel, Chairman and Managing Director of Zydus Cadila - Cadila Healthcare Ltd., has been elected President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) for the year 2017. 
 
Zydus Cadila is a global pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of healthcare therapies in over 50 countries worldwide.
 
The group has 1200 researchers across 19 sites converging to look at differentiated medicines for the future. From APIs to vaccines, biosimilars and niche technologies, the company looks at different ideas and concepts to bridge unmet healthcare needs.
 
Mr. Patel is actively involved in various educational institutions and is on the advisory committees and academic councils of several educational institutions such as Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, IISER, Kolkata, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, The Ahmedabad University and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. 
 
He is the Executive Chairman, Vice President and Trustee of the Gujarat Cancer Society and Chairman of the Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute, a Regional Cancer Centre and one of the largest cancer centres of India, reaching out to the needy and underprivileged cancer patients.
 
Mr. Patel will take over from Mr. Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman of Ambuja Neotia Group, during the FICCI annual general meeting to be held on December 16-17 in New Delhi.
 
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Former J&K, Assam Governor Lt. Gen. S. K. Sinha passes away

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Lt. Gen. S. K. Sinha (retired), who had served as Governor of Assam and Jammu & Kashmir, passed away here today. He was 90.
 
Lt. Gen. Sinha had also served as India's Ambassador to Nepal in the early 1990s.
 
Born in 1926, Lt Gen Sinha graduated with Honours from Patna University in 1942 at the age of 17. He joined the Army soon thereafter passing out as the Best Cadet from the Officers Training School, Belgaum. He saw combat during the Second World War in Burma and Indonesia and after Independence in Kashmir.
 
The General commanded battalion of 5 Gorkha Rifles in Ladakh, a brigade in Manipur, a Mountain Division in Assam, Infantry Division in Jammu,  a Corps and a field Army in the Western Theatre. He also had the distinction of serving as Adjutant General and Vice-Chief of Army Staff.
 
During his varied career, Lt Gen Sinha, in 1949 was appointed Secretary of the Indian delegation for delineation of the Cease Fire Line in Kashmir. In 1972 he led the Indian delegation to Italy for a conference on application of human rights to warfare. In recognition of his service he was awarded Param Vishist Sewa Medal in 1973.
 
Appreciative of his work as India's envoy, the then Prime Minister of Nepal had said, "General Sinha was as much India's Ambassador to Nepal as Nepal's Ambassador to India". 
 
A prolific writer, he authored five books including one on Jammu and Kashmir Operation of 1947-48 and his autobiography, "A Soldier Recalls".
 
Gen Dalbir Singh, the Chief of the Army Staff, and serving and retired army personnel will pay homage to the ‘soldier statesman’ at Brar Square, New Delhi tomorrow, an official press release added.
 
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Lt Gen Satish Dua takes over as Chief of Integrated Defence Staff

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Lt. Gen. Satish Dua has taken over as Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC).
 
Lt. Gen. Dua, who assumed charge on October 31, paid homage to the martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate here today. He was also accorded a tri-services guard of honour at the lawns of South Block.
 
Lt. Gen. Dua was commissioned in December 1979 into 8 JAK LI (Siachen), (called the “Bravest of Brave”), a Unit of the Indian Army which is presently the Ceremonial Battalion in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
 
A Counter Terrorism specialist, the general officer commanded his Battalion and Brigade in active Local Conflict/Counter Terrorism (LC/CT) environment in Jammu and Kashmir. He raised a new counter terrorism formation of Assam Rifles (IGAR East) in the North East. He was also the Indian Defence Attache to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
 
Before assuming the office of CISC, Gen. Dua was commanding the Chinar Corps in Kashmir for over one year, during which the "surgical strikes" were launched and the biggest agitational protests were effectively controlled by the Indian Army, an official press release added.
 
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Sushil Chandra takes over as the Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes

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Mr. Sushil Chandra, an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer of the 1980 batch, took over as the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
 
He has succeeded Ms. Rani A. Nair, who superannuated from service yesterday.
 
Mr. Chandra has been Member (Investigation) in CBDT since December, 2015. During his career in the Income Tax Department, he has handled many prestigious assignments like the Principal Chief Commissioner & Director General of Income Tax at Ahmedabad, Commissioner of Income Tax (Central) & Director of Income Tax (Investigation) at Mumbai,  among others. 
 
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Actress Gautami announces split from mega star Kamal Haasan

Gautami
Gautami
Actress Gautami has announced that she has split from mega star Kamal Haasan after nearly 13 years of living together.
 
Announcing the decision on her blog and on Twitter, Ms. Gautami, 48, said the decision was made because she had a responsibility to her child to be the best mother she could be. 
 
"It is heartbreaking for me to have to say today that I and Mr. Haasan are no longer together. After almost 13 years together, it has been one of the most devastating decisions that I have ever had to make in my life," she said.
 
"It is never easy for anyone in a committed relationship to realise that their paths have irreversibly diverged and that the only choices in front of them are to either compromise with their dreams for life or to accept the truth of their solitude and move ahead. It has taken me a very long time, a couple of years at the very least, to accept this heartbreaking truth and come to this decision," she said.
 
The actress said it was not her intention to seek sympathy or assign blame.
 
"I have understood through my life that change is inevitable and human nature will define that change for each individual. Not all of these changes might be what we expect or anticipate but that does not, in any way, negate the very real impact of these diverging priorities in a relationship. This decision to set forth on my own at this stage in my life is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions any woman will ever have to make but it is a necessary one for me. For I am a mother first and foremost and I have a responsibility to my child to be the best mother that I can be. And to do that, it is essential that I am at peace within myself," she said.
 
Ms. Gautami said it was no secret that she had always been a fan of Mr. Haasan's since before she came to the film industry and that she continued to admire and cheer on his monumental talent and achievements.
 
"I have stood by him through all his challenges and they have been precious moments for me. I have also learned a great deal from working with him as costume designer on his films and I’m proud that I was able to do justice to his creative vision in those films. Along with all of his accomplishments to date, I know that there is much more to come from him for his audience and I look forward to applauding those successes.
 
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"I would like to say that I am sharing this monumental happening in my life because I have always lived my life in your midst, with dignity and grace to the best of my ability at all times, and all of you have been a part of my life’s journey in so many ways. I have received so much of love and support from you through the past 29 years and I would like to thank you for the many ways in which you kept me going through the darkest and most painful times in my life," she added.
 
Born as Gautami Tadimalla in Andhra Pradesh, the actress has appeared in several films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi. She is also a television actress and host and has designed costumes for many films.
 
Gautami was married to businessman Sandeep Bhatia in 1998 with whom she has a daughter Subbalakshmi born in 1999. The couple were divorced in 1999.  She met Kamal Haasan on the sets of Apporva Sagodharangal in 1989 and have been close friends since then.
 
Kamal Haasan was married earlier to dancer Vani Ganpathy and actress Sarika. He was divorced from Ms. Ganapathy in 1988 and from Ms. Sarika in 2004.
 
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Vice-Admiral G S Pabby assumes charge as Chief of Material, Indian Navy

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Vice-Admiral G S Pabby assumed charge as the Chief of Material, of the Indian Navy here today.
 
The Admiral is a graduate with Honours in Mechanical Engineering and MTech in Systems and Controls from IIT Mumbai.
 
During his career spanning over three and a half decades, the Admiral has served onboard a wide range of front line ships including Russian Petya class of ships, Russian Kashin class Destroyers and indigenously designed and built Delhi Class Destroyers.
 
He has done a variety of challenging jobs in the Naval Dockyard Mumbai, covering almost all facets of complex engineering functions related to major refits and upgrades of ship board equipment and systems. He has also been associated with planning and creation of new infrastructure in the Dockyard.
 
On promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral in December 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Staff Officer (Technical) at Headquarters, Western Naval Command and later moved to Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam. 
 
The Admiral was later appointed as Director General Naval Projects at Mumbai, where he oversaw the construction of the new dry dock, which would be the largest Naval dry dock. In recognition of his distinguished services, the Admiral has been awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. 
 
The Flag Officer has been the Controller Warship Production and Acquisition prior to taking over his current appointment.
 
As a Principal Staff Officer and the senior most Technical Officer in the Indian Navy, the Admiral would be in charge of all aspects related to selection, induction and maintenance of all types of equipment and weapon systems for ships and submarines. Creation of major marine and technical infrastructure and all logistics management functions of the Indian Navy would also fall within the purview of the Admiral, an official press release said.
 
He relieves Vice Admiral AV Subhedar, who is relinquishing active service on completion of an illustrious Naval career spanning over close to four decades, the release added.
 
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