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Amal Allana re-appointed Chairperson of NSD

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The President has appointed eminent theatre personality Amal Allana as the Chairperson of the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, India's premier theatre training institute, for a second four-year term with immediate effect, an official statement said here today.

Ms Allana, 62, is herself a graduate of the NSD, having passed out in 1968, majoring in direction and winning the Girish Ghosh and Bharat Puruskar Awards.

She went on to study at the Berliner Ensemble, the National Theatre, Weimar and the State Theatre at Dresden.

On her return to India, she set up "The Workshop", a theatre group, along with her husband, Dr Nissar Allana, a stage and lighting designer.

In 1975, Ms Allana was awarded the Homi Bhabha Fellowship for her research in traditional Indian and Japanese theatre. As part of that project, she visited Japan and studied the Noh and Kabuki theatre.

In 1977, she became the head of the Department of Indian Theatre at the Punjab University, Chandigarh.

The following year, she set up "Studio 1" with her husband and the group came up with several memorable productions, including Aadhe Adhure, Hayavadana, Khamosh Adalat Jari Hai, Ashadh Ka Ek Din, King Lear and Begum Barve.

In 1990, she received a Ford Foundation Fellowship to research the contemporary theatre movement. Ms Allana has done over 40 productions so far and also produced some television shows. She has won many awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for Direction in 1998.

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G N Bajpai joins Accelerator Group as Senior Advisor

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The Michigan, United States, based Accelerator Group today announced that former Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman G N Bajpai had joined its advisory board and would actively guide its strategic alliance advisory and health practice areas.

Mr Bajpai had served as Chairman of SEBI from 2002 to 2005. Before that, he was Chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) from September, 2000 to February, 2002. He has also served on the boards of many organisations in India and abroad.

"Mr. Bajpai is an eminent leader and champion of the Indian financial service and insurance industries and has guided several major institutions in India under his impactful leadership," a press release from the Accelerator Group said.

Commenting on Mr. Bajpai’s becoming a Senior Advisor of Accelerator Group’s advisory board, its Managing Director Seema Chaturvedi said, "This is a tremendous honour for our organization to have the guidance from such a luminary. We are extremely excited to have an opportunity to work with Mr. Bajpai to create impactful positive changes in our organization and the industries we serve."

Mr. Bajpai commented that he was "impressed with the entrepreneurial vision, tenacity and energy of Accelerator’s team" and said that he looked forward to creating significant value with the company.

Accelerator Group LLC is an investment banking advisory services firm focused on providing services in the areas of business combinations, mergers and acquisitions and raising growth capital. It also provides customized knowledge services in areas of business intelligence and market research. The firm specializes in the healthcare & pharmaceutical, manufacturing (automotive & aerospace) and food & agriculture industries.

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Malay Mishra concurrently accredited as envoy to Montserrat

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Mr Malay Mishra, presently India's High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, has been concurrently accredited as the country's next High Commissioner to Montserrat.

A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said the appointment would be with residence in Port of Spain.

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Rajeev Motwani, computer scientist at Stanford, dies at 47

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Photo courtesy: Stanford University
Rajeev Motwani, a professor of computer science at Stanford University who was widely respected for his academic research and for his help to start-ups in Silicon Valley, including Google, died last Friday.

He was 47. He is survived by his wife, Asha Jadeja and two daughters, Naitri and Anya.

The funeral will be a private ceremony, but a public memorial service will be held at a later date, a news release on the Stanford University website said.

According to it, Motwani was found in his backyard swimming pool on Friday, where he had apparently drowned. It quoted friends as saying that he did not know how to swim.

Motwani was born in Jammu and grew up in New Delhi. He earned a B.Tech. degree in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and then got his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988.

As a professor at Stanford, he also served as the director of graduate studies for the Computer Science Department and founded the Mining Data at Stanford project (MIDAS).

According to the release, Motwani made fundamental contributions to the foundations of computer science, search and information retrieval, streaming databases and data mining, and robotics. In these areas, he considered questions as philosophical as what makes problems inherently intractable, and as practical as finding similar images.

He wrote two books -- Randomized Algorithms published by Cambridge University Press in 1995, and an undergraduate textbook published by Addison-Wesley in 2001.

Motwani received the Godel Prize, the Okawa Foundation Research Award, the Arthur Sloan Research Fellowship, the National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Kanpur, the Bergmann Memorial Award from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and an IBM Faculty Award.

He served on various industry boards and advisory boards, including Adchemy, Anchor Intelligence, BASES, Baynote, DotEdu Ventures, Flarion, Google, Mimosa Systems, Neopath Networks, Revenue Science, Stanford Student Enterprises Ventures, and Vuclip. He was a charter member of TIE (The IndUS Entrepreneurs) and on the board of BASES (Business Association of Stanford Engineering Students).

Google co-founder and Stanford graduate Sergey Brin paid glowing tributes to Motwani on his blog after hearing of his death:

"It is with great sadness that I write about the passing of my teacher and good friend Professor Rajeev Motwani. But I would rather not dwell on the sorrow of his death and instead celebrate his life.

"Officially, Rajeev was not my advisor, and yet he played just as big a role in my research, education, and professional development. In addition to being a brilliant computer scientist, Rajeev was a very kind and amicable person and his door was always open. No matter what was going on with my life or work, I could always stop by his office for an interesting conversation and a friendly smile.

"When my interest turned to data mining, Rajeev helped to coordinate a regular meeting group on the subject. Even though I was just one of hundreds of graduate students in the department, he always made the time and effort to help. Later, when Larry and I began to work together on the research that would lead to Google, Rajeev was there to support us and guide us through challenges, both technical and organizational.

"Eventually, as Google emerged from Stanford, Rajeev remained a friend and advisor as he has with many people and startups since. Of all the faculty at Stanford, it is with Rajeev that I have stayed the closest and I will miss him dearly. Yet his legacy and personality lives on in the students, projects, and companies he has touched. Today, whenever you use a piece of technology, there is a good chance a little bit of Rajeev Motwani is behind it."

The release said Motwani's work has had a wide impact on algorithms, the sets of instructions that computers follow to solve a specific problem, such as finding the best results to a search on Google.

Some databases—the entire content of the Internet would be an example—are so large that they become too unwieldy to search effectively. But Motwani realized that an algorithm that cleverly searched only a random subset of the data could get the job done.

Thus he became famous for his "randomized algorithms." But he was equally known in Silicon Valley as a savvy angel investor who helped startups across Silicon Valley.

"It's hard to know what to say when something this unexpected and tragic occurs," said Jim Plummer, the dean of the School of Engineering. "Rajeev was a major contributor to our Computer Science Department. His teaching, his research, and his connections to Silicon Valley were all important, but he will be remembered most for the personal friendships he had with students, faculty colleagues and staff in the department. We will all miss him tremendously."

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Valluri is president of Ingersoll Rand India operations

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Ingersoll Rand, the $ 13 billion industrial technology company, has appointed Mr Venkatesh Valluri as the President of its Indian operations.

Mr. Valluri will represent the India management board as its Chairman. He will also join the board of its publicly traded company, Ingersoll Rand India Limited as the non-executive chairman, the company said in a statement.

Mr. Venkatesh Valluri was associated with the measurement technology leader Agilent Technologies as its President & Country Manager for over five years where he successfully established a strong foot print for its business operations. Prior to Agilent, he held various leadership roles at GE (General Electric) in India and overseas.

Mr. Herb Henkel, Chairman, Ingersoll Rand, said, " We are pleased to have Venkatesh Valluri as President of Ingersoll Rand International India Limited. In this critical role, Venkatesh will lead the development of the vision and strategic direction of Ingersoll Rand in India. He also will be accountable for driving the growth and profitability of the region."

Mr. Valluri added, "The positive impact these technologies can have in the growth of the core Infrastructure capabilities of the country can be significant".

Mr. Valluri holds a B.Tech degree in Electronics and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA).

Ingersoll Rand has manufacturing operations in the North and the Western parts of India and a global Design and Development center at Bangalore. It has recently acquired Trane Systems. It provides products, services and solutions to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings, transport and protect food and perishables, secure homes and commercial properties, and enhance industrial productivity and efficiency.

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Dipak Jain to step down Sep 1 as Kellogg School dean

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Dipak JainProfessor Dipak C Jain, who has been dean of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management for the last eight years, has decided to step down on September 1 and return to the school's faculty.

The school's Provost, Mr Daniel I. Linzer, announced that Prof Jain would resign, effective September 1 and return to the Kellogg faculty following a year’s leave of absence.

An interim dean will be appointed soon and Northwestern will begin a national search for Prof Jain’s replacement, Mr Linzer was quoted as saying in an announcement on the school's website.

"I have been both honored and fortunate to have been able to serve as dean of this wonderful school," Prof Jain said. "Over the past eight years as dean, it has been my pleasure to work alongside wonderful colleagues whose dedication to Kellogg has made my job a joy. I truly appreciate the support, guidance and assistance that I have received from Kellogg faculty, staff, students and alumni during my tenure as dean."

Mr Jain, 51, took over as Kellogg's dean eight years ago after five years as an associate dean. He joined Kellogg in 1986 as an assistant professor. Since 1994 he has been the Sandy and Morton Goldman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and professor of marketing.

A prolific scholar who is also a recognized researcher and teacher, Prof Jain has written numerous articles in leading academic journals. He also has served as an editor for the marketing area of Management Science and the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics and on the editorial board of the Journal of Marketing Research, the statement said.

"President Bienen and I appreciate Dipak’s leadership of Kellogg and his contributions to the University," Linzer said. "Under his guidance and that of former Dean Donald Jacobs, Kellogg has become the pre-eminent business school in the country. As we move through this transition period and select a new dean, I’m confident that it will continue to hold that position."

Kellogg has acquired the reputation of being one of the best graduate business programmes in the world and attracts some of the brightest students from around the globe. Apart from its flagship MBA programme, the school also offers executive education programmes.

In his letter to students announcing his decision to step down, Prof Jain said he felt it was best for him now to devote more time to his family and his scholarly pursuits. "To that end, I will rejoin the Marketing Department full time and, more broadly, continue to explore how I can contribute enduring value to management education," he said.

"As I reflect on my tenure — the equivalent of two presidential terms — I am pleased to say that my colleagues and I have strengthened the global Kellogg brand and expanded the Kellogg Alumni Network, in addition to instituting many academic innovations and enhancements," he said.

"The Kellogg brand is unique and sharp, as indicated by the top quality of our student applicants and the recruiters who look to us for the best graduates. In fact, in 2008 nearly 250 widely varied companies recruited on campus here — a testament to our school’s academic diversity. This balanced strength across all areas has become a Kellogg hallmark and is an attractive quality that has helped our faculty recruitment and retention, both of which have been outstanding. Others continue to recognize our achievements, including mainstream rankings that consistently place Kellogg among the world’s top management schools.

"Also, in terms of our global brand reputation, our recent Centennial celebrations held around the world have shown that our efforts to promote a new kind of leadership education are being well received. Our graduates and others say that our mission of creating leaders who are successful and who make significant contributions to the world is one that they find very appealing. I know this enthusiasm is evident inside Kellogg, too, among you and your student peers, who display a real passion for putting your talents to work in meaningful ways," Prof Jain added.

Prof Jain earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics in 1976 and his master's degree in mathematical statistics in 1978 from the Guwahati University in India. He taught at Guwahati for five years before pursuing his Ph.D. in marketing at the University of Texas, Dallas. Prof Jain has also been a visiting professor of marketing since 1989 at the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

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Lt Gen K R Rao takes over as DG Artillery

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Lieutenant General K R Rao has assumed the office of Director General Artillery in the Indian Army, an official statement said today.

Lt Gen Rao was commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery on December 20, 1970. He is an alumnus of Sainik School, Korukonda and National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. He has qualified on the prestigious Long Gunnery Staff Course, Defence Services Staff Course, Long Defence Management Course and attended the National Defence College. He has also completed his post graduation in M.Sc (Defence Studies) from Annamalai University and Masters in Management Science from Osmania University.

In a career spanning over 38 years, he has held many coveted command and staff assignments. He commanded an Artillery Regiment in the J&K, an Armoured Artillery Brigade and an Artillery Division. In staff assignments, he was Staff Captain of an Artillery Brigade, Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade, Colonel General Staff of a Mountain Division, Deputy Commander of an Infantry Brigade, Deputy Military Secretary in the Army Headquarters, Military Assistant to the Vice Chief of Army Staff, Additional Director General of Personnel Services. On instructional front, he was Colonel Instructor in the Tactical Wing of School of Artillery. Prior to his present position, Lt Gen Rao was Director General Manpower Planning and Personnel.

He carries with him vast experience of all terrains of the Indian Army from Siachen to the deserts. He has the rare distinction of having served in all the Strike Corps of the Indian Army as Deputy Commander of an Infantry Brigade, Commander Artillery Brigade and General Officer Commanding, Artillery Division. He has also taken part in the 1971 War at Kargil and in Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, the statement added.

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Lt Gen Lamba is Chief of Staff, HQ Army Training Command

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Lieutenant General Arvinder Singh Lamba, General Officer Commanding, Sudarshan Chakra Corps, has taken over as Chief of Staff, HQ Army Training Command.

The General was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in June 1971 and is a recipient of the coveted Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.

He has vast experience of conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations, having participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan war and served on almost all fronts including Nagaland and Manipur and in Sri Lanka with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF).

The General is a graduate of Defence Services Staff Course, Higher Command and RCDS at the Royal College of Defence Studies in United Kingdom. He has held numerous important appointments at all levels including in the Army Headquarters.

The General Officer has been an instructor at important Army Training Establishments such as the Indian Military Academy and the Defence Services Staff College.

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Air Marshal Browne is new AOC-in-C, Western Air Command

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Air Marshal N A K Browne took over as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Western Air Command, the largest and the senior-most operational command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) today.

Commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF June 24, 1972, he has varied operational experience and has flown aircraft that include Hunter, all variants of MiG-21s, Jaguar and SU-30MKI.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he is a Fighter Combat Leader who has also served as an instructor at the Tactics and Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) and Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington.

Air Marshal Browne has trained with the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom on Jaguar aircraft and commanded a Jaguar Squadron subsequently. A graduate of Air Command and Staff College, USA, he has held many appointments that include Joint Director at Air War Strategy Cell at Air Headquarters, Chief Operations Officer and Air Officer Commanding of the SU-30 Base, Air-I at Western Air Command and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters. He was also responsible for establishing the Indian Defence Wing in Tel Aviv, Israel in April 1997 where he served as the Defence Attaché till July 2000.

The Air Officer was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal in March, 2007, and was appointed the Deputy Chief of Air Staff responsible for the IAF’s major modernization programmes.

Air Marshal Browne is a recipient of the Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) and the Vayu Sena Medal (VM).

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Lt Gen Naresh Kumar Parmar takes over as DGAFMS

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Lt Gen Naresh Kumar Parmar today assumed the office of Director General Armed Forces Medical Services.

A graduate of the MGM Medical College, Indore, he was commissioned into the Army Medical Corps on July 11, 1970. He did his Diploma in Hospital Administration from Pune University in 1980 and Masters in Hospital Administration from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 1989.

He has held important appointments of Training Officer at Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, Commanding Officer of Field Hospital at Hunder (Siachen), Professor & Head of Department of Hospital Administration, AFMC Pune, Deputy Director General Medical Services (Personnel) in Directorate General of Medical Services (Army), Commandant, Command Hospital (Eastern Command), Major General (Medical), Eastern Command, Additional Director General Armed Forces Medical Services, New Delhi And DGMS(Army).

An alumni of the National Defence College, he was awarded the Vir Chakra for act of gallantry during the India-Pakistan War of 1971. He was awarded the Vishist Seva Medal in 2004 and the Ati Vishist Seva Medal in 2008, an official statement added.

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PM condoles death of Kamala Das

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed grief over the demise of well-known writer and poetess Kamala Das, who passed away in a hospital in Pune, Maharashtra, this morning.

In his condolence message, Dr Singh said Kamala Das's poems focussing on womanhood and feminism gained her recognition as one of the most noted of modern Indian poets.

Her books of poems including ‘The Descendants’ and ‘Only the Soul Knows How to Sing’ were widely read and admired for their human sensitivity. Ms. Das's achievements extended well beyond her verses of poetry. She made a mark in painting, fiction, and as a syndicated columnist. Her columns touched on everything from women's issues and child care to politics, the Prime Minister said.

Dr. Singh expressed his sincere condolences to the bereaved members of Ms.Kamala Das’s family and thousands of her readers and admirers.

The 75-year-old writer, also known as Madhavikutty, had been admitted to the hospital in mid-April for treatment of a respiratory ailment. She is survived by three sons, one of whom is well-known journalist M D Nalapat.

Kamala Das, who wrote in both Malayalam and English and won many literary awards, had attracted controversy throughout with her unorthodox views as well as her frank writings on matters related to sexuality. She embraced Islam about a decade ago and took the name Kamala Suraiya. She made an unsuccessful attempt to get elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984. Her autobiography, My Story, published when she was 42 was extremely popular and was translated into several languages.

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Surgeon Vice Admiral VK Saxena to be DGMS (Navy)

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Surgeon Vice Admiral Vinod Kumar Saxena will take over as the Director General Medical Services (Navy) here tomorrow, an official statement said today.

He graduated from the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Ajmer and did M.S. (Gen Surgery) from Mumbai University. He was commissioned into the Army Medical Corps in the rank of Surgeon Sub Lieutenant, on October 28, 1971. He subsequently completed his super specialisation in uro surgery and is today, a renowned uro surgeon with some 250 renal transplants to his credit.

Before taking over the reins of the Medical Branch of the Indian Navy, the Admiral has served as the Director General Hospital Services (Armed Forces) and Director General (Org & Pers) in the Office of the Director General of the Armed Forces Medical Services. He has Commanded INHS Asvini, the premier hospital of the Indian Navy. He was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) in 1997 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) in 2007 for distinguished service of an exceptional order.

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Air Chief Marshal Naik takes over as new Chief of Air Staff

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Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik today took over as the 19th Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major, whose tenure ended today.
The Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik PVSM VSM ADC took over as the new ‘Chief of the Air Staff ‘(CAS) from Air Chief Marshal FH Major PVSM AVSM SC VM ADC, today.
The Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik PVSM VSM ADC took over as the new ‘Chief of the Air Staff ‘(CAS) from Air Chief Marshal FH Major PVSM AVSM SC VM ADC, today.

The "change of guard" ceremony held in Air Headquarters was attended by all the Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief of the seven Commands of the IAF and Principal Staff Officers at the Air Headquarters.

The new Air Chief reviewed a ceremonial guard of honour presented to him by a contingent of air warriors in the foyer of the Vayu Bhavan before assuming charge. Later he addressed all the Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief.

Meanwhile the outgoing Air Chief, ACM Major was also given a ceremonial send-off from Air Headquarters. Air Warriors at the IAF Headquarters buildings at RK Puram and Vayu Bhavan in New Delhi lined-up in the corridors of their respective buildings and bade him good-bye even as he greeted each one of them before bidding adieu.

ACM Naik was born on July 22, 1949 at Nagpur and was commissioned into the IAF on June 21, 1969 as a fighter pilot. He is an alumnus of Sainik School, Satara and the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla in Maharashtra.

During his long and distinguished service, spanning nearly 40 years, he has served in a variety of "Command Staff" and "Instructional" appointments. He has over 3000 hours of flying to his credit. The Air Chief also took part in the 1971 war. Before taking over as CAS, he was the IAF Vice-Chief. He has also served as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Allahabad-based, Central Air Command.

Besides being a fellow of the National Defence College, New Delhi, College of Defence Management, Secunderabad and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has attended a variety of courses like Flying Instructor’s Course, Jungle & Snow Survival Course and Junior Commander’s Course.

ACM Naik has been decorated with Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) and Vishist Seva Medal (VSM). He is also one of the Honorary Aides-de-Camp (ADC) to the President, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of India.

Tomorrow, Air Marshal P K Barbora, who handed over the command of the largest operational command of the IAF today, will take over as the Vice Chief of Air Staff.

Air Marshal Barbora had held the command of Eastern Air Command at Shillong before assuming charge as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command on January 1 last year.

With a focus on sharpening the operational potential ofthe command, his tenure as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of this frontline command had been an eventful one with many achievements to boast of, such as reactivation of Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs), increased night operations, increased interaction with affiliated Army Commands of North, Western and South Western Army and achievement of zero flying accident rate for the year 2008-09, a Defence Ministry statement added.

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Ravi Kant made non-executive Vice-Chairman of Tata Motors

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Ravi KantAuto major Tata Motors today announced that Mr Ravi Kant, the Managing Director of Tata Motors, will retire from his executive position on June 1 on reaching the retirement age of 65 years as per the company's policy.

The Board of Directors of the company has decided to retain Mr Kant on the Board as the non-executive Vice-Chairman of the company, a statement said.

The Board has also decided to elevate Mr Prakash M Telang, the current Executive Director (Commercial Vehicles), as the Managing Director – India operations, effective June 2, the statement added.

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Yasho Rajya Lakshmi passes away

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Mrs Yasho Rajya Lakshmi, wife of former Union Minister Karan Singh, passed away here on Sunday night after a prolonged illness, sources close to the family said.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh offering his condolences to Dr. Karan Singh on the demise of his wife, today.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh offering his condolences to Dr. Karan Singh on the demise of his wife, today.

She was 71. Her cremation at the Nigambodh Ghat was attended by a large number of people, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.

President Patil was among those who mourned her death and expressed condolences to Dr Karan Singh and his family.

Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several Cabinet Ministers visited Dr Karan Singh's residence to offer condolences.

Mrs Yasho Rajya Lakshmi was married to Dr Karan Singh 60 years ago when both of them were teenagers. She travelled around the world with him to places where his assignments took him, including the United States, where he was posted as the Ambassador of India.

She was a social worker in her own right having for many years been Chairperson of the Jammu & Kashmir State Social Welfare Board when Dr Karan Singh was Sadr-i-Riyasat. In this capacity she undertook several important activities in various parts of the State, including the setting up of work centres, crèches and other social welfare projects. The J&K branch of the All India Women’s Conference was set up by her in 1956, and she also developed the Ladies Club of Srinagar and Jammu, which undertook a series of social and community welfare programmes. During the 1962 and 1965 Wars she was active in relief work both in Srinagar and in Jammu.

After they moved to Delhi she founded the Delhi Society for the Welfare of the Mentally Handicapped Children. In fact the building that has been constructed for the Society is named ‘Yasho Bhavan. This Institution caters to over 300 mentally retarded children and includes a sheltered workshop, a vocational training centre, a diagnostic clinic for evolution of such disadvantaged children and several other rehabilitation facilities. It is now acknowledged as one of the finest institutions of its kind in the country.

Mrs Yasho Rajya Lakshmi was the grand-daughter of Maharaja Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, the last Rana Prime Minister of Nepal from the Rana Dynasty of the Himalayan nation.

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Malvinder Singh quits as Ranbaxy chief

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Ranbaxy headquarters in Gurgaon. (Inset) Malvinder Singh, who stepped down as CEO and Managing Director at Ranbaxy.

Mr Malvinder Mohan Singh, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of pharmaceutical major Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited, has stepped down from his positions with immediate effect, a statement from the company and Daiichi Sankyo Co of Japan said today.

Mr Atul Sobti, currently Chief Operating Officer of Ranbaxy, has been appointed as the new CEO and Managing Director, it said.

Dr Tsutomu Une, non-executive Director of Ranbaxy, has been elected as Chairman of the Board, the statement said, adding that the decisions were taken at the meeting of the company's Board of Directors today.

"We very much appreciate the efforts of the Singh family, which grew Ranbaxy from a small, local Indian company to the large multi-national company it has become today. We especially acknowledge the contributions of Mr. Singh. His strategic vision and passion for the pharmaceutical industry will be missed in Ranbaxy's operations. We wish him continued success as he pursues his many other business interests," Mr. Takashi Shoda, a director of Ranbaxy and the CEO of Daiichi Sankyo, which owns 63.92% of Ranbaxy's outstanding shares, said.

“I am pleased that Mr. Sobti has been appointed as CEO and Managing Director, providing continuity at the senior management level,” he added.

"It was a difficult decision to separate from Ranbaxy," said Mr. Singh, "but it was the right time for me to do so. I leave with complete confidence that the initial transition phase that followed Daiichi Sankyo's acquisition of majority shareholding interest in Ranbaxy has been completed successfully; and that the Company's excellent team of management colleagues are well-positioned to take full advantage of the Company's growth opportunities.”

Mr. Sobti has held the role of Chief Operating Officer at Ranbaxy since January 2007 and has been a senior executive at the Company from October 2005.

Dr. Une is currently a Non-Executive Director of Ranbaxy, a post he has held since December 2008, and is Senior Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Daiichi Sankyo.

Mr Malvinder Singh and his brother Shivinder Singh, grandsons of Ranbaxy founder Bhai Mohan Singh, had sold their entire 34.8 per cent stake in the pharmaceutical giant to Daiichi Sankyo in June last year for nearly Rs 10,000 crore.

Though Mr Malvinder Singh had no stake in Ranbaxy, it was decided that he would continue as CEO for the rest of his five-year term. He had defended his decision to sell by saying that it had become necessary for the company's advancement. The brothers were also apparently keen on pursuing their other business interests, which include Fortis.

A global pharma innovator, Daiichi Sankyo was established in 2005 through the merger of two leading Japanese pharmaceutical companies. A central focus of Daiichi Sankyo's research and development are thrombotic disorders, malignant neoplasm, diabetes mellitus, and autoimmune disorders. Equally important to the company are hypertension, hyperlipidemia or atherosclerosis and bacterial infections.

Ranbaxy, India's largest pharmaceutical company, is an integrated, research based, international pharmaceutical company producing a wide range of quality, affordable generic medicines. It is now a subsidiary of Daiichi Sankyo.
Image: Ranbaxy headquarters in Gurgaon. (Inset) Malvinder Singh, who stepped down today as Ranbaxy's CEO and Managing Director
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Air Marshal P K Barbora new VCAS

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Vice Air Chief of Staff P K BarboraAir Marshal PK Barbora, presently Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, has been appointed as the new Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS), an official press release said.

He will take charge of his new assignment on June 1, the release said.

Air Marshal NAK Browne, presently Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (DCAS) at Air Headquarters, will take over as the new Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command from June 1.

In other major appointments that also come into effect from June 1, Air Marshal NV Tyagi, presently Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO), South Western Air Command (SWAC) will replace Air Marshal Browne as the new DCAS.

Air Marshal DC Kumaria, Director General Air (Operations) at Air Headquarters, will replace Air Marshal Tyagi as the new SASO at SWAC in Gandhinagar. Air Vice Marshal AK Gogoi on promotion will take over as the new Director General Air (Operations) at Air Headquarters in his place, the release added.

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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw gets Nikkei Asia Prize

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Kiran Mazumdar ShawMs Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon Limited has been honoured with the Nikkei Asia Prize 2009 for Regional Growth.

The awards are given by Japan's prestigious business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) annually to individuals or institutions from Asia Pacific region in recognition of outstanding achievements that improve the quality of life in Asia.

In addition to Ms. Shaw's Regional Growth category, prizes are given in the categories of Culture and Science, Technology & Innovation.

Lauding her role as the head of India's leading biotechnology enterprise, Biocon, Ms. Shaw was nominated by the prize committee for her pioneering work in the field of biotechnology in India, by establishing a business model that believes in innovation and intellectual excellence, her achievements as a first generation entrepreneur and her status as an icon of entrepreneurship in India.

Under her stewardship, Biocon has evolved from its inception in 1978 as an industrial enzymes company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical enterprise encompassing a range of products and services with a research focus on diabetes, oncology and auto-immune disease.

Established in 1996 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of Nikkei Inc.'s founding, the prizes serve to promote mutual understanding among Asian nations and to help people around the world deepen their understanding of Asia. Candidates nominated for the award include scholars, business executives and journalists.

Among the prominent past winners of the Nikkei Asia Prize are Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Professor Mohammed Yunus, Managing Director, Grameen Bank, Bangladesh and Infosys co-founder and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy.

The award will be formally conferred on Ms. Shaw at the ceremony for the 14th Nikkei Asia Prizes in Tokyo, Japan on May 20, a Biocon press release added.

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Former Navy Chief S M Nanda passes away

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Admiral S M NandaFormer Chief of Naval Staff Admiral S M Nanda died here last night after a prolonged illness, an official statement said here today.

Mr Nanda, 93, was admitted to a hospital here yesterday morning with complaints of fever and breathlessness. The end came around 11 pm last night, sources said.

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta expressed deep condolences at the demise of Admiral Nanda, describing him as one of the greatest stalwarts of the Indian Navy.

"In his passing, the nation has lost a hero and a visionary leader, who contributed significantly to the growth of the modern Indian Navy. He will always be remembered in the most glowing terms for his leadership of the Indian Navy during the Indo-Pak Conflict of 1971, in which the Indian Navy carved its name in golden letters in the annals of history by its sterling offensive actions.

"Admiral Nanda remained in constant touch with the Navy even in his twilight years and continued to be a source of inspiration and support to the Naval community. His demise is a great loss to the Navy and the Nation," Admiral Mehta added.

Adm. Nanda, who was honoured in 1972 with the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian honour, was cremated at the Delhi Cantonment with full military honours.

Adm. Nanda was the Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy from February 28, 1970 until February 28, 1973.

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Arvind Jadhav takes over as CMD of Air India

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Arvind JadhavMr  Arvind  Jadhav, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1978 batch (Karnataka cadre)  today  assumed  charge  as  the new Chairman and Managing Director of National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL), which runs national carrier Air India.

NACIL was established in 2007 to facilitate the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, both state-owned national carriers.

Mr Jadhav   was   earlier   Principal  Secretary,  Infrastructure  Development Department, Government of Karnataka.

Born  on June 5, 1956, Mr Jadhav did his post-graduation in Geography after graduating  from  Kanpur University. He did his MBA in Strategic Management from  the University of Curtin, Perth, Australia, where he was awarded Gold Medals for being the 'Best All-round Student' and for attaining distinction in  'Strategic  Management'. Mr Jadhav also holds post-graduate diplomas in International  Trade  from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and Export Promotion from the Italian Institute of Foreign Trade, Rome.

Among  the  various  positions  held  by  him  are: Commissioner,   Karnataka  Housing  Board;  Secretary,  Energy  Department; Managing  Director,  Mysore Minerals Limited and Commissioner, Commerce and Industries  Department.

During  his  tenure  at  the  Centre, he was Joint Secretary,  Ministry  of Power, where he was responsible for reforms in the power  sector.  He  has  also  served  as  Central  Vigilance  Officer, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL).

The government had appointed Mr Jadhav to head Air India on May 1 after the airline's chairman and managing director, Mr Raghu Menon, also an IAS officer, was removed suddenly.

The government gave no reasons for the removal of Mr Menon, also an IAS officer, but media reports suggested that it was unhappy with him over the slow pace of the process of merger and integration between Air India and Indian Airlines.

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Infosys inducts K V Kamath to its Board of Directors

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Information technology services major Infosys Technologies Limited has announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Mr. K. V. Kamath, non-executive Chairman of ICICI Bank, as an additional director to the Infosys Board.

The Nominations Committee of the Board had earlier recommended Mr. Kamath’s induction, the company said in a press release yesterday.

Mr. Kamath will serve as an additional director till the annual general meeting (AGM) of the company, to be held on June 20, when his appointment as a non-executive director will be recommended for the approval of the members. With his induction, the Infosys Board will have 16 directors.

Welcoming Mr. Kamath to Infosys’ Board of Directors, Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor, said, "Mr. K. V. Kamath is an outstanding corporate leader. His success in creating a grand vision for ICICI Bank and implementing that vision is a rare example of excellent leadership that is at par with the best in the corporate world internationally. His contribution to the Infosys Board will be significant. I welcome him and look forward to working with him to make this company even more successful."

Mr. Kundapur Vaman Kamath has a degree in mechanical engineering as well as one in management studies from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He started his career in 1971 at ICICI, an Indian financial institution that founded ICICI Bank and merged with it in 2002.

In 1988, he moved to the Asian Development Bank and spent several years in South-east Asia before returning to ICICI as its Managing Director and CEO in 1996. Under his leadership, the ICICI Group transformed itself into a diversified, technology-driven financial services group that has leadership positions across banking, insurance and asset management in India, and an international presence.

He retired as Managing Director and CEO last and took up his present position as non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of ICICI Bank.

Mr. Kamath was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours, in 2008. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NDTV Profit Business Leadership Awards 2008; was named ‘Businessman of the Year’ by Forbes Asia and The Economic Times ‘Business Leader of the Year' in 2007; Business Standard’s ‘Banker of the Year' and CNBC-TV18's ‘Outstanding Business Leader of the Year’ in 2006; Business India's 'Businessman of the Year’ in 2005; and CNBC's 'Asian Business Leader of the Year' in 2001. He has been given an honorary Ph.D. by the Banaras Hindu University.

Mr. Kamath was the president of the Confederation of Indian Industry for the year 2008-09.

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Malay Mishra concurrently accredited to Dominica

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Mr Malay Mishra, the Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, has been concurrently accredited as the country's next High Commissioner to the Commonwealth of Dominica.

An official statement said the appointment would be with residence in Port of Spain.

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Cornell's Kleinberg chosen for ACM-Infosys Award

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Jon KleinbergThe Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) today announced that Prof. Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University had been chosen for the 2008 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences for his contributions to improving web search techniques that allow billions of web users worldwide to find relevant and credible information on the ever-evolving Internet.

Kleinberg, 37, developed models that document how information is organized on the Web, how it spreads through large social networks, and how these networks are structured to create the small world phenomenon known as "six degrees of separation."

Kleinberg’s use of mathematical models to illuminate search and social networking tools that underpin today’s social structure has created interest in computing from people not formerly drawn to this field.

The ACM-Infosys Foundation Award, established in August 2007, recognizes personal contributions by young scientists and system developers to a contemporary innovation that exemplifies the greatest recent achievements in the computing field. Financial support for the $150,000 award is provided by an endowment from the Infosys Foundation.

"Professor Kleinberg’s achievements mark him as a founder and leader of social network analysis in computer science," said Dame Wendy Hall, President of ACM.

"With his innovative models and algorithms, he has broadened the scope of computer science to extend its influence to the burgeoning world of the Web and the social connections it enables. We are fortunate to have the benefit of his profound insights into the link between computer network structure and information that has transformed the way information is retrieved and shared online."

Kleinberg was cited for his work on the use of link analysis, a search technique that ranks the absolute number as well as the most relevant, trusted sources of pages linked to a Web search query. Using this approach, Kleinberg authored an influential algorithm that rates Web pages for their links to other pages (known as hubs) as well as the links they receive (known as authorities). This Hubs and Authorities algorithm along with Google’s PageRank algorithm appeared at a time when Web search techniques were based on keyword indexing. Together, this work revealed a basic relationship between network structure and information that fundamentally changed the direction of research and commercial activity on the Web.

Now in its second year, the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award recognizes young researchers who are currently making sizeable contributions to their fields and furthering computer science innovation. The goal is to identify scientifically sound breakthrough research with potentially broad implications, and encourage the recipients to further their research.

"We are especially proud to honor Jon Kleinberg whose research in the relationship between networks and data has led to a revolution in the way all of us seek, retrieve and share information around the globe," S. Gopalakrishnan, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys Technologies, said.

According to a press release, the small-world experiment of social psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960s inspired Kleinberg to think about how social networks might be structured to enable people to find each other. Milgram’s groundbreaking experiments had examined the average path length for social networks of people in the U.S., suggesting a small-world phenomenon in human society that is often associated with the phrase "six degrees of separation."

Kleinberg developed a model to predict an optimal way in which social connections could be distributed for the network to guide messages between distant pairs of people. This model was validated by subsequent research on large social-networking sites, revealing how virtual connections tend to link people who are close in geographic and other dimensions. Kleinberg’s work has had a direct effect on the design of peer-to-peer systems and on Web crawling techniques that methodically browse the Web and index downloaded pages to provide faster searches.

As the Web grew, Kleinberg observed that it was developing a "time axis" – a dimension that reflected both a vast virtual library as well as a rapidly evolving repository of information. To determine how different topics and ideas evolve, Kleinberg created search techniques that track words and phrases that "burst" or jump in frequency over time, revealing when different topics are active. His current research on meme-tracking and the news cycle employs a version of this approach, using words and phrases as quotes appearing in news articles and blog posts. This process automated efforts to spread ideas through word of mouth. Among its varied impacts is the ability to know how different stories compete for news coverage each day, and how certain stories persist while others fade quickly.

Kleinberg, dubbed the "Rebel King" by students at Cornell who noted that it was an anagram of his last name, has become a leader in both established areas of computer science and in the emerging areas of networks and information science. His undergraduate course at Cornell on Networks, co-taught with economist David Easley, illuminates the central role of computational ideas in modern society. Topics include how opinions, fads, and political movements spread through society; the robustness and fragility of food webs and financial markets; and the technology, economics, and politics of Web information and online communities.

A highly successful class that is being adopted by other institutions in the U.S. and abroad, the Networks course drew 350 students representing 30 disciplines this semester, and has helped to redefine educational programs in the Information Sciences worldwide. A book based on this course is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2010 by Cambridge University Press. Kleinberg is also the co-author with Eva Tardos of Algorithm Design, which is based on an undergraduate course he teaches. At both the graduate and undergraduate levels, he has also built a reputation as an engaging teacher with a creative ability to explain complex ideas in a clear and lucid manner.

In 2005, Kleinberg was named a MacArthur Fellow. He was awarded the Nevanlinna Mathematics Prize in 2006, and in 2008, he was named one of the "20 best brains under 40" by Discover Magazine. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Kleinberg received an A.B. in computer science and mathematics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Since 1996, he has been a professor of computer science at Cornell as well as a visiting scientist at IBM’s Almaden Research Center.

ACM will present the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award at the annual ACM Awards Banquet on June 27, 2008, in San Diego, California.

ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges.

Established in 1996, the Infosys Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Infosys Technologies Ltd. and has the sole objective of fulfilling the social responsibility of the company by creating opportunities and working toward a more equitable society.

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Actor Feroz Khan passes away

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Well-known Bollywood producer, director and actor Feroz Khan died here late last night after a year-long battle with cancer, sources said.

He was 69. He is survived by his actor son Fardeen Khan and daughter Laila. The funeral was planned for later today in Bangalore, the sources said.

The actor had been diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago and was being treated in a Mumbai hospital.

Feroz Khan produced, directed and acted in several successful Hindi movies such as Dharmatma, Qurbani and Jaanbaaz. He was recently seen in the hit film Welcome which also starred Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Nana Patekar.

He made his Hindi film debut in Didi (1960) and got noticed with Oonche Log, in which his heroine was the Malayalam actress K R Vijaya.

Feroz Khan was born on September 25, 1939, in Bangalore to Sadiq Ali Khan Tanoli, who was a Pathan and Fatima, who hailed from Iran.

Of his three brothers, Sanjay Khan is a well-known actor in his own right, while the other two, Sameer Khan and Akbar Khan, have also dabbled in films.

In his early years in Bollywood, Feroz Khan ended up playing second lead in many movies and acting in low-budget thrillers opposite starlets. After Oonche Log won his some attention, he went on to do Aarzoo. He won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor in Aadmi aur Insan in 1969. In the early 70s, he appeared in a film, Mela, with his brother Sanjay.

In 2000, Filmfare gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award. He got the Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008.

In 1975, he turned producer with Dharmatma, the first Indian film to be shot in Afghanistan. He went on to make Qurbani in 1980, which was the biggest hit of his career.

Some of the other films directed by him included Jaanbaaz, Dayavan and Yalghaar. With Prem Aggan, he launched his son Fardeen's career in 1998.

He had some time ago announced his plans to remake Qurbani.

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Raghupathy takes over as Chairman of SSC

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Mr N K Raghupathy, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has taken over as Chairman of the Staff Selection Commission.

Before taking over his new assignment, he was the Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

Mr Raghupathy has also held various senior positions in the Central Government and in the Government of West Bengal, an official press release said.

The Staff Selection Commission was set up in 1975 and was initially known as the Subordinate Services Commission. It makes recruitment to Group B (Non-Gazetted) and non-technical Group C non-gazetted posts in the Ministries, Departments, attached and subordinate offices of the government of India, as well as the offices of the Comptroller and Auditor General and its Accountant-General offices, the Election Commission and the Central Vigilance Commission.

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