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Sharad Kumar reappointed as DG, National Investigation Agency

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has reappointed Mr. Sharad Kumar as Director General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) for a period of one year with effect from November 1, 2016 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
 
Mr. Kumar, a retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1979 batch, had been appointed to the position in July 2013.
 
Last year, Mr. Kumar, who had superannuated from service in between, was appointed on "re-employment on contract basis" for a period of one year beyond the date of his superannuation on October 31, 2015.
 
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Sunil Bharti Mittal elected GSMA Chairman

Sunil Bharti Mittal
Sunil Bharti Mittal
Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman, Bharti Enterprises, has been elected as Chairman of GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, for the two-year period from January 2017 through December 2018.
 
He is the first Indian to chair the prestigious telecom industry Board, which unites nearly 800 perators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. 
 
As GSMA Chairman, Mr. Mittal will oversee the strategic direction of the organisation, a press release from Bharti Airtel said here today.
 
Bharti Airtel was the host of the inaugural GSMA Mobile 360 – India event in New Delhi this week, as well as a meeting of the GSMA Board.
 
Mr. Mittal had also led a GSMA Board delegation to a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here yesterday afternoon. In a broad-ranging discussion, the meeting highlighted the pivotal role of mobile in delivering the government's Digital India vision of broadband as a utility for every citizen, bringing digital and financial inclusion to every corner of the country.
 
The GSMA also elected the new members of the 26-member Board and re-elected Mari-Noëlle Jego-Laveissiere, Executive Vice President, Innovation, Orange Group as Deputy Chair for the two-year period.
 
“I am delighted to be elected as Chairman of the GSMA, and look forward to working closely with the rest of the Board, the GSMA leadership team and our entire membership to address the critical issues facing our industry and our customers. In a relatively brief period of time, mobile has had a transformational impact on individuals, businesses, industries and societies, contributing significantly to local economies and improving the lives of billions around the world. I am excited about what the next chapter holds for us, as we work to connect everyone and everything to a better future," Mr. Mittal said.
 
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“In my new global role, I am excited to support the ongoing mobile broadband revolution in India to boost the Government’s Digital India Program and its vision of broadband access for all," he added.
 
Mr. Mittal is also currently chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). He already serves on the Boards and Councils of several reputed international bodies and think-tanks like the World Economic Forum (WEF), Telecom Board of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Broadband Commission, Harvard University’s Global Advisory Council - Board of Dean’s Advisors at HBS, International Advisory Panel of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Prime Minister of Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council. He is also a Trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and on the Board of Qatar Foundation Endowment.
 
The GSMA Board has 26 members, including 25 operator representatives from the world’s largest operator groups as well as smaller, independent operators with global representation. The GSMA’s Director General Mats Granryd also serves on the GSMA Board. 
 
GSMA Chairman Jon Fredrik Baksaas will step down from the Board at the end of 2016, after holding this position for the past three years. Mr. Baksaas was elected as a member of the GSMA Board in 2008.
 
“With nearly 4.8 billion individuals around the world subscribing to mobile services, it is the most pervasive and fast-growing platform of users ever built. It is now accessible to billions in both developing and developed markets, providing life-enhancing services and enabling new socio-economic opportunities for all,” commented Mr. Baksaas. “The mobile industry is at the very heart of the world’s digital transformation, driving efforts to make the world a better place, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It has been a true privilege to serve on the GSMA Board for eight years, the last three as Chair. I wish the new Board and Chair, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, the very best of luck as the GSMA focuses on extending global platform capabilities, such as GSMA Mobile Connect, to billions of users around the globe.”
 
GSM or Groupe Speciale Mobile defines the GSM standard as the internationally accepted digital cellular telephony standard.
 
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Ajay M. Gondane appointed as High Commissioner to Australia

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Dr. Ajay M. Gondane (IFS: 1985), Additional Secretary (Political) 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 Dr. Gondane was expected to take up the assignment shortly.
 
Dr. Gondane has previously served as High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea and as Deputy Consul General of India in New York.
 
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Rear Admiral Vennam Srinivas takes over as Flag Officer Submarines

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Rear Admiral Vennam Srinivas assumed the duties of Flag Officer Submarines in the Indian Navy from Rear Admiral Sanjay Mahindru here yesterday.
 
Rear Adm Srinivas was commissioned on July 1, 1987 and has served 25 years in the Submarine Arm. He has commanded two conventional submarines and a destroyer prior to assuming command of the nuclear submarine INS Chakra.
 
While serving ashore, the officer commanded the Navy’s submarine training establishment and has been the Principal Director at Naval Headquarters.
 
He is an alumnus of the prestigious College of Naval Warfare and has also completed the Staff Course in Defence Services Staff College at Wellington, an official press release added.
 
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D. Bala Venkatesh Varma appointed as India's Ambassador to Spain

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Mr. D. Bala Venkatesh Varma, India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, has been appointed as the country's next Ambassador to Spain.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Mr. Varma, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1988 batch, was expected to take up the assignment shortly.
 
Mr. Varma, 57, has an M. A. and an M. Phil. in International Relations (Disarmament Studies). 
 
Before taking charge as Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament (COD) in Geneva in October 2013, Mr. Varma had served as the Counsellor and later as the Minister in the Permanent Mission of India to the COD and then as the Joint Secretary (Disarmament & International Security Affairs) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
 
He has also served in the Indian Missions in Moscow and Tashkent and as Director in the Prime Minister's Office (2004-07).
 
He was the first recipient of the S. K. Singh Award for Excellence in Indian Foreign Service, in 2010.
 
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Vice-Admiral S. N. Ghormade takes over as DG, Naval Operations

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Vice-Admiral S. N. Ghormade assumed the charge of Director General Naval Operations at the Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy) here yesterday.
 
The Flag Officer was commissioned into the Indian Navy on January 1, 1984. He is a graduate of National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, Pune. He attended United States Naval Staff College at Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island and the Naval War College, Mumbai.
 
In addition to a specialisation in Navigation and Direction within the Navy, the Admiral holds an M. Phil. in Defence and Strategic Studies from University of Mumbai, M.Sc. Defence and Strategic Studies from University of Madras and Master's degree in Personnel Management from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (University of Pune).
 
During his career spanning over 32 years, his operational appointments include commands of the Guided Missile Frigate INS Brahmaputra, Submarine Rescue Vessel INS Nireekshak and Minesweeper INS Allepey and second in command of Guided Missile Frigate INS Ganga.
 
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His important staff appointments ashore include Principal Director of Personnel, Director Naval Plans and Joint Director Naval Plans at Naval Headquarters (as separate assignments), Director (Military Affairs) at the Ministry of External Affairs, Local Work Up Team (West), Instructor at Navigation Direction School and National Defence Academy.
 
Upon promotion to the Flag Rank in 2012, the Flag officer has held the appointments of Assistant Chief of Personnel (Human Resources Development) and Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area. Prior taking over as DGNO he was the Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra Naval Area.
 
The officer is the recipient of the Nau Sena Medal in 2007 from the President of India and Commendation by Chief of Naval Staff in 2000.
 
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Navdeep Singh Suri appointed as Ambassador to UAE

Navdeep Singh Suri
Navdeep Singh Suri
Mr. Navdeep Singh Suri, presently the High Commissioner of India to Australia, has been appointed as the country's next Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Mr. Suri, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1983 batch, was expected to take up the assignment shortly.
 
Before being posted as the High Commissioner to Australia, Mr. Suri had served as India's Ambassador to Egypt.
 
He has also worked as the Consul General of India in Johannesburg, South Africa and in Indian missions in Damascus, Washington, Dar es Salaam and London.  He has also headed the West Africa and Public Diplomacy divisions at the MEA headquarters here.
 
Mr. Suri has learnt Arabic and French, has a Masters degree in Economics and has written on India’s Africa policy, on Public Diplomacy and on the IT outsourcing industry. His English translations of his grandfather Nanak Singh’s classic Punjabi novels have been published by Penguin as ‘The Watchmaker’ and by Harper Collins as ‘A Life Incomplete’.
 
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Amrit Lugun concurrently accredited as Ambassador to Eritrea

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Mr. Amrit Lugun (lFS: 1989), presently Ambassador of India to Sudan, has been concurrently accredited as the country's Ambassador to Eritrea.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said that Mr. Lugun, who would have residence in Khartoum(Sudan), would take up his assignment shortly.
 
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Businesswoman, philanthropist Parmeshwar Godrej passes away

Parmeshwar Godrej
Parmeshwar Godrej
Well-known businesswoman and philanthropist Parmeshar Godrej, wife of industrialist Adi Godrej, passed away at the Breach Candy Hospital here last night.
 
She was 70.
 
According to various sources, Ms. Godrej had been suffering from a lung disease for some years and was receiving medical treatment for it. She contracted an infection some days ago and was admitted to the hospital, where she breathed her last late on Monday night.
 
Ms. Godrej was a non-executive director of Godrej Properties Limited and also served as a director of Indian Hotels and Health Resorts Private Limited, as well as Gates Foundation - Avahan, The Gere Foundation, Cine Blitz Publications and The Palace School, Jaipur. 
 
She also served as a Member of India Advisory Board of The American India Foundation.
 
Ms. Godrej was also known for her work combating AIDS in India through the Heroes Project, launched in 2004 with renowned Hollywood actor Richard Gere. She was also associated with various projects related to women's and children's health.
 
Ms. Godrej was also very active on the Mumbai's social scene and was known as one of its most gracious and generous hosts.
 
Before getting married to Adi Godrej, Parmeshwar Godrej was one of the first air hostesses for national carrier Air India.
 
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Cohort Study Centre inaugurated at AIIMS, Delhi

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The AIIMS Cohort Study Centre, inaugurated here yesterday, aims to create awareness about healthy ageing and assess the general and brain health among the elderly population.
 
Launching the project, Mr C.K. Mishra, Secretary (Health & Family Welfare) stated that the study would go a long way in preventing many diseases and will have a generational impact.
 
The study will provide valuable data on the health needs of the country and will have landmark impact on the kind of work All India Institute of Sciences (AIIMS) is performing.
 
“The importance of the study derives from the increasing portion of elderly population in the country. It is urgent and imperative that preventive strategies based on the sound epidemiologic evidence are devised and implemented,” he added.
 
The AIIMS Cohort Study is unique and probably one of its kind combining conventional and novel risk factors, genomics and neuroimaging to determine protective and risk factors for stroke and cognitive decline.  It is unique also in a way that the AIIMS is going to people, rather than people coming to the hospital, he said.
 
By creating awareness about healthy aging and making assessment of their general and brain health, the study provides an opportunity for people to prevent disease and promote their health. By carrying out repeated general and brain health assessment through MRI and memory testing and genetic testing, the study will throw light on novel protective and predictive factors. The knowledge and understanding thus gained will help the people to prevent stroke and cognitive decline.
 
The focus of the study is to determine genetic, lifestyle and socio-economic factors that are protective or risk factors for the occurrence of stroke, heart attack or cognitive decline in persons aged 50 years and above. 
 
Dr. Kameshwar Prasad, Head of Neurology, is the Principal Investigator of the study. The study is supported by the Department of Bio-Technology, with contributions from the Erasmus University, Netherlands.
 
India has made outstanding gains in terms of increase in life-expectancy. As a result, the country's older population will increase dramatically over the next four decades. Population above 60 years age is estimated to increase from 100 million in 2011 to 323 million in 2050.
 
This demographic transition is set to increase disease burden due to various non-communicable diseases. Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, cerebro vascular diseases are likely to top the list of causes of disease burden.
 
Also present at the function were Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Prof. M C Misra, Director, AIIMS, and Mr. Jelle Nijdam, Counsellor for Science, Technology & Innovation, Embassy of The Netherlands along with faculty and seniors officers from the AIIMS.
 
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Sushil Chandra appointed as Chairperson of CBDT

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Mr. Sushil Chandra, IRS (IT: 1980), Member, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) as the new Chairperson, CBDT.
 
Mr. Chandra will succeed Ms.Rani Singh Nair, IRS (IT:1979), who is superannuating on October 31 this year.
 
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Renowned Kerala-born painter Yusuf Arakkal passes away

Yusuf Arakkal
Yusuf Arakkal
Renowned figurative artist Yusuf Arakkal, whose paintings showed a rare sensitivity to his social environment and the loss of human dignity, passed away here this morning after a brief illness.
 
He was 71. He is survived by his wife Sara Arakkal and son Shibu Arakkal.
 
Born at Chavakkad in Kerala in 1945, Arakkal lost both his parents as a child. His early life had every conceivable comfort, except for parental love.
 
He always wanted to be an artist, and enrolled in the Karnakata Chitrakala Parishat in Bangalore to get a formal education and he ended up making the city his home. 
 
"There is an anguished being, disturbed and in distress somewhere deep inside me. A human being who yearns for a meaningful existence. It is the human presence that arouses my attention and stirs my creative inner space. I have been committed through my work, seeking a definition of human situations," he once said of himself and his work.
 
Starting out with abstracts, he moved to figuration and also dabbled in sculpture and poetry. 
 
Arakkal was also known for his philanthropy and the encouragement he provided to young artists through the Sara Arakkal Gallery he set up here in his wife's name. He was a prominent figure on the cultural scene in the city.
 
Apart from taking a diploma in painting in 1973 from the Chitrakala Parishat College of Art, he studied graphic print making at the National Academy Community Studios, Garhi in Delhi.
A figurative oil on canvas by Yusuf Arakkal
A figurative oil on canvas by Yusuf Arakkal
He did scores of solo shows and several group shows in India, including in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Calicut, Cochin, Trichur, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi and several group. He also held shows abroad in France, Nepal Singapore, United States, England, Hong Kong, United Arab Emrates, Cuba, Mexico, Japan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Korea, Canada and Russia.
 
Over the years, he won several awards, including a National Award in 1983. He won the Karnataka Lalit Kala Academy Award, the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award and the Florence International Biennale Gold Medal.
 
His works are in many private and institutional collections all over the world, including the British Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
 
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M Sathiyavathy is new Secretary of Labour and Employment

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Ms. M Sathiyavathy has assumed office as Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India on September 30 on superannuation of Mr. Shankar Agarwal. 
 
Ms. Sathiyavathy is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1982 batch (AGMUT cadre).
 
Prior to this posting, she served as the first woman Director General of Civil Aviation from 05.01.2015 to 01.08.2016 and then she was appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Ministry of Labour & Employment from 01.08.2016.
 
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Ravindra Sudhalkar appointed CEO of Reliance Home Finance

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The Board of Directors of Reliance Home Finance Limited (RHFL), a 100 per cent subsidiary of Reliance Capital Limited, has announced the appointment of Mr. Ravindra Sudhalkar as the CEO of the company.
 
RHFL provides a wide range of loan solutions like home loans, loan against property, construction finance, flexi LAP and affordable housing. 
 
The company reported assets under management (including securitized portfolio) of Rs. 8,259 crore ($ 1.2 billion), as of June 30, 2016, and has an aggressive growth plan to be amongst the top five housing finance companies by 2020.
 
“I am happy to announce the appointment of Mr. Ravindra Sudhalkar as the CEO of our fast-growing housing finance business with immediate effect. Focus on housing finance forms an important part of Reliance Capital's growth strategy and we will continue to aggressively expand this portfolio under the leadership of Mr. Sudhalkar," said Mr. Sam Ghosh, ED and Group CEO, Reliance Capital.
 
“India’s mortgage penetration is very low, placing RHFL in a unique to position to aggressively expand its business in a short span of time. I would like to thank the Board for giving me the opportunity to lead this business, as its CEO, on this growth journey," said Mr. Sudhalkar.
 
Mr. Sudhalkar, 48, joins RHFL from Kotak Mahindra Bank where he spent eight years and served as Senior Executive Vice President & Head – Secured Assets. Prior to this, he has worked across various companies including ICICI Bank.
 
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Ashish Vohra named CEO of Reliance Nippon Life Insurance

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The Board of Directors of Reliance Nippon Life Insurance (RNLI), a part of Reliance Capital, has announced the appointment of Mr. Ashish Vohra as the new CEO of the company.
 
RNLI is one of the leading non-bank promoted, private sector life 
insurance companies in the country. Nippon Life Insurance, one of the largest life insurance companies in the world, is a strategic partner in Reliance Nippon Life Insurance with a 49 per cent stake.
 
“The Board is delighted to appoint Mr Ashish Vohra as the new CEO of Reliance Nippon Life Insurance," a press release from the company said.
 
"Ashish brings with him vast experience across multiple domains in the life insurance business. He has strong leadership skills and proven track record of delivering high business performance,  channel profitability and 13-month persistency.
 
"We believe, under his leadership, Reliance Nippon Life Insurance will accelerate its pace of growth and profitability and rank amongst the top three insurance companies in next few years,", Mr. Sam Ghosh, ED and Group CEO, Reliance Capital, said.
 
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“I am happy to be part of such a respected and admired Group and thank the Board for giving me the opportunity to lead Reliance Nippon Life Insurance as its CEO. The life insurance sector in India offers phenomenal growth potential, especially with a low insurance penetration in the country. I look forward to working with the team, and our partners, to grow this business by offering innovative and superior products to our customers and creating significant value for our stakeholders," Mr. Vohra said.
 
Mr. Vohra has joined RNLI from Max Life Insurance where he spent eight years and served as Senior Director and Chief Distribution Officer.
 
Mr. Vohra, a Mechanical Engineer from IIT BHU and an MBA from IIM Bangalore, brings with him over 25 years of experience from working with companies including Max Life Insurance, Fullerton India Credit, Citibank and Eicher Motors Ltd.
 
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R. Subramania Kumar appointed as Executive Director, Indian Overseas Bank

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The Government has appointed Mr. R. Subramania Kumar, Executive Director, Indian Bank as Executive Director, Indian Overseas Bank.
 
An official press release said the appointment would be upto January 21, 2019 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
 
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Prakash Mishra appointed DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved for appointment of Mr. Prakash Mishra, retired officer of the 1977 batch of the Indian Police Service (IPS) (Odisha cadre), as the new Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards.
 
Mr. Mishra had retired as the Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in February this year.
 
The appointment is for a period of two years from the date of assumption of the charge or until further orders, whichever is earlier, an official press release added.
 
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Yashvardhan Sinha appointed as High Commissioner to UK

Yashvardhan Sinha
Yashvardhan Sinha
Mr. Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, has been appointed as the country's next High Commissioner to the United Kindom.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Mr. Sinha, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1981 batch, was expected to take up his assignment shortly.
 
He will succeed Mr. Navtej Sarna, who has been named as the new Ambassador of India to the United States.
 
Mr. Sinha, who has been the Indian envoy in Sri Lanka since June 2013, has, during a career spanning more than 35 years, handled several assignments at the MEA here and in Indian missions in  South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, South America and the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations headquarters in New York. He holds the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.  
 
Before being posted to Sri Lanka, he was the Additional Secretary heading the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division in the MEA.
 
He was Ambassador of India to Venezuela from January 2007 to August 2009 and Consul General of India in Dubai from August 2003 to December 2006. Earlier, he served as Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi (UAE) from March 2002 to July 2003. He has also worked in different capacities at Indian Embassies in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Italy.
 
He served at the Indian High Commission in Pakistan from 1995 to 1998 and at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, New York from 1998 to 2002.
 
After completing his post graduation in History from Delhi University, he joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1981. He was a member of the Secretariat of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, held in New Delhi in 1983 and the CHOGM Summit held the same year. He has a diploma in Arabic from the American University, Cairo.
 
He is married to Girija, and they have two sons: Ambuj and Vinayak.
 
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O. P. Singh appointed as Director General, CISF

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Mr. O. P. Singh, IPS (UP:83)  presently working as Director General (DG), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) (Additional Director General level), has been appointed as the new Director General, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
 
The appointment will be effective from the date of joining the post and upto the date of his superannuation, that is upto 31.01.2020, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
 
An official press release said Mr. Sudhir Pratap Singh, IPS (RJ:83), presently working as ADG, CRPF has been appointed as Director General, National Security Guard (NSG) from the date of joining the post and up to the date of this superannuation i.e. up to 31.01.2018 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
 
Mr. R. K. Pachnanda, IPS (WB:83) presently working as ADG, CISF, has been appointed to the post of DG, NDRF from the date of joining the post and up to the date of his superannuation i.e. up to 31.01.2018 or until further orders whichever is earlier.
 
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has also cancelled the appointment order of Mr. P.C. Thakur, IPS (GJ:79) as Director General, Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards, the release added.
 
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Taranjit Sandhu appointed as High Commissioner to Sri Lanka

Taranjit Singh Sandhu
Taranjit Singh Sandhu
Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India in Washington and currently the charge d'affaires, has been appointed as the country's next High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Mr. Sandhu, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1988 batch, was expected to take up the assignment shortly.
 
Mr. Sandhu, 53, assumed charge as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India in Washington D.C. on July 29, 2013. Prior to this, he was Consul General of India in Frankfurt from September 2011 to July 2013.
 
He also served as Joint Secretary (United Nations) and later as Joint Secretary (Administration) heading the Human Resource Department Division of MEA till August 2011. 
 
An alumnus of the St Stephen's College in Delhi, Mr Sandhu had, in his early years in the IFS, served in the former Soviet Union and later as Head of Political and Administration in the Indian Embassy in Ukraine.
 
Mr. Sandhu served as Officer on Special Duty (Press Relations), Ministry of External Affairs from 1994 to March 1997.
 
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In April 1997, Mr. Sandhu joined Embassy of India, Washington, as First Secretary (Political) responsible for liaison with the US Congress. 
 
He served as Counsellor (Political) in the High Commission of India, Colombo from December 2000 to September 2004. He also served as Director (BSM) from September 2004 to July 2005 looking after Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar in Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.
 
In July 2005, Mr. Sandhu joined the Permanent Mission of India to United Nations, New York, where he was India’s delegate to UN Committee on Peacekeeping; UN Committee on Information; UN Committee on Decolonization and Fourth Committee of UN General Assembly.
 
Born on 23 January 1963, Mr. Sandhu graduated with History Honors from St. Stephens' College, Delhi and later did Masters in International Relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
 
Mr. Sandhu is married to Mrs. Reenat Sandhu, who is Minister (Commerce) at the Embassy of India, Washington DC. They have two children.
 
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Navtej Sarna appointed as Ambassador to United States

Navtej Sarna
Navtej Sarna
Mr. Navtej Sarna, the High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, was today appointed as the country's next Ambassador to the United States.
 
Mr. Sarna, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1980 batch, is expected to take up the assignment shortly, a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
 
Mr. Sarna, 58, had been appointed as the High Commissioner in London in November last year. Before that, he had served as Secretary (West) in the MEA.
 
A well-known author and columnist, Mr. Sarna had earlier served as Joint Secretary (External Publicity) and official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs between October 2002 and September 2008 in the longest stint for anyone so far in that key position.
 
He was later posted to Israel as the Ambassador of India before returning to MEA headquarters here. 
 
He has also served in the Indian missions in Moscow, Warsaw, Thimphu, Geneva, Tehran and Washington.
 
His books include "We Weren't Lovers Like That", a novel; "The Exile": a novel based on the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh; and "The Book of Nanak", a work of non-fiction.
 
He has been contributing regularly to journals and newspapers in India and abroad including The Times Literary Supplement, The Hindu, India Today, Outlook and so on. 
 
Born on December 2, 1957, Mr. Sarna has degrees in Commerce and Law from the University of Delhi and a diploma in journalism. He is married to Dr. Avina Sarna and they have a son and a daughter.
 
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World Bank names Junaid Ahmad as new Country Director for India

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Mr. Junaid Ahmad has taken over as the World Bank’s new Country Director for India, replacing Mr. Onno Ruhl who completed his four-year term.
 
Mr. Ahmad, a Bangladeshi national, was formerly the Chief of Staff to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. 
 
In making the appointment, Mr. Kim said, “I’m very pleased to announce Junaid Ahmad as World Bank’s new Country Director for India. India’s recent growth and development has been one of the most significant achievements of our time. With historic changes unfolding and new opportunities emerging, Junaid will bring to this key position strategic leadership along with considerable experience of working in both India and South Asia to support this transformation.” 
 
Ms. Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice-President for South Asia added: “Junaid’s strong experience in the critical areas of water, urbanization, and social development will ensure that the Bank’s future strategy for India is formulated and implemented in line with the country’s own development goals.”  
 
An economist by training, Mr. Ahmad brings with him broad development experience.  After joining the World Bank in 1991 as a Young Professional, he worked on infrastructure development in Africa and Eastern Europe. He has since held several management positions, leading the Bank’s program in diverse regions including Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in India and South Asia.
 
Based in New Delhi between 2000 and 2005, Mr. Ahmad played a leading role across a number of sectors, both in India and the region. He led the Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program for South Asia before being appointed to head its social development portfolio. Following this, he steered the Bank’s broader urban development program in India and South Asia.  During this period, Mr. Ahmad worked in the areas of infrastructure finance, dealing with the challenges of urbanization and city management, delivering services in federal systems, as well as on issues concerning local government reforms. 
 
Prior to joining the President’s office, Mr. Ahmad was a Senior Director at the World Bank, where he led the Bank’s global engagement in the water sector. He was one of the first to be selected to this post through a global competition. Mr. Ahmad moved to this position after holding charge of sustainable development for the Bank’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, where his work covered a broad array of sectors, ranging from agriculture, to the environment, to infrastructure. 
 
Mr. Ahmad holds a PhD in Applied Economics from Stanford University, a Master's in Public Administration from Harvard University, and a BA in Economics from Brown University. 
 
India is the World Bank Group’s largest client. The Bank’s India portfolio includes lending of $2.8 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and $1.0 billion from the International Development Association (IDA). As of June 2016, the Bank’s net commitments to the country stood at $27 billion (IBRD $16 billion, IDA $11 billion) across 95 projects, a press release from the World Bank added.
 
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Alka Sirohi to perform duties of UPSC Chairman

Alka Sirohi
Alka Sirohi
The President has appointed Ms. Alka Sirohi, Member, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to perform the duties of the post of its Chairman with effect from September 21.
 
The appointment is till further orders or till completion of her term as Member on January 3, 2017, whichever is earlier, an official press release said.
 
The post of Chairman, UPSC will fall vacant on September 20, consequent upon demitting of office by Mr. Deepak Gupta on attaining 65 years of age.
 
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Sanjay Srivastava given additional charge of post of Chairperson, NACWC

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Mr. Sanjay Kumar Srivastava, Secretary (Coordination), Cabinet Secretariat, has been given additional charge of the post of Chairperson, National Authority for Chemicals Weapons Convention.
 
The arrangement is for a period of three months or till appointment of a regular incumbent to the post or till further orders, whichever is the earliest, an official press release said.
 
Mr. Srivastava is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1980 batch (UT cadre).
 
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J. Satyanarayana appointed as part-time Chairman of UIDAI

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Minister for Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. J. Satyanarayana as the part-time Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
 
Mr. Satyanarayana is a retired officer of the 1977 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) (Andhra Pradesh cadre).
 
The Minister also administered the oath to Mr. Rajesh Jain and Dr. Anand Deshpande who have been appointed as part-time members of UIDAI. 
 
An official press release said Mr. Satyanarayana has close to four decades of experience in varied areas of governance and served as the Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology from 2012 to 2014 before superannuation. He has been instrumental in training the political leaders and policy makers on the concepts and principles of e-Governance. 
 
Mr. Jain, founder and Managing Director of netCORE Solutions, is an established entrepreneur in the IT space. An electrical engineer from IIT Bombay, he has been part of many technology ventures and is a well-known figure in the technology industry and a sought-after speaker at national and international forums. 
 
Dr. Deshpande, founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Persistent Systems, is a B. Tech. (Hons.) in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA. He has been the driving force in growing Persistent Systems from its inception in 1990 to the publicly-traded global company it is today. 
 
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