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Janaki Venkataraman passes away at 89

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Mrs Janaki Venkataraman, wife of former President R Venkataraman, passed away at a private hospital in the capital this afternoon after a brief illness.


She was 89. She is survived by three daughters - Padma Venkataraman, Vijaya Ramachandran and Lakshmi Venkataraman. Her husband had passed away in January 2009. The funeral will be held here tomorrow, sources said.


Vice-President M Hamid Ansari was amongst those who condoled the death of Mrs Venkataraman.


"I am deeply grieved to learn of the sad demise of Smt. Janaki Venkataraman wife of former President of India, Shri R. Venkataraman. My wife joins me in sending our heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family. We pray to the Almighty to grant them the strength and fortitude to withstand this loss," he said.


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Atul Sobti steps down as CEO and MD of Ranbaxy Laboratories

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Atul Sobti
Atul Sobti

Pharmaceutical major Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited today annunced that Mr Atul Sobti would step down from the positions of CEO and Managing Director of the Company with effect from August 19.

Mr Arun Sawhney, currently Ranbaxy's President, Global Pharmaceutical Business, has been appointed as Managing Director, effective August 20, a press release from the company said.

The company gave no reasons for Mr Sobti's decision to step down. The release said the company's Board of Directors noted its sincere appreciation of Mr. Sobti’s efforts during his tenure as CEO and MD as well as for building upon the strong legacy of Ranbaxy as a premier global company.

"We are extremely grateful for the significant contribution Mr. Sobti has made to Ranbaxy ever since he joined the company," Ranbaxy Chairman Tsutomu Une said.

"Under his leadership as CEO and Managing Director, Ranbaxy has realized various opportunities to repeat the strong operating performance while continuing to manage key challenges." Dr. Une also said,

"We are pleased to appoint Mr. Sawhney as the Managing Director, further advancing the company with the decades of global experience he has in the industry," he said.

Mr. Sawhney, with over three decades of global experience with leading Indian and global pharmaceutical companies, has held the role of President, Global Pharmaceuticals Business, at Ranbaxy, since January 2010, and has been a senior executive at the Company from April 2008.

He is one of the founder members of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) and has been an active member on the committees of the prestigious Indian Drug Manufacturer’s Association and Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association (India).

Arun Sawhney
Arun Sawhney

This is the second major change at the top in Ranbaxy after Mr Malvinder Singh and his brother Shivinder Singh, grandsons of Ranbaxy founder Bhai Mohan Singh, sold their entire 34.8 per cent stake in the pharmaceutical giant to Japanese pharmaceutical giant Daiichi Sankyo in June 2008 for nearly Rs 10,000 crore.

Though Mr Malvinder Singh had no stake in Ranbaxy after the sale, it was decided then that he would continue as CEO for the rest of his five-year term.

But, in May last year, Mr Malvinder Singh, who was Chairman, CEO and Managing Director of the company, stepped down from his positions suddenly and Mr Sobti took over as CEO and MD, while Dr Une was elected as the Chairman of the Board.

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.

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Vinod Kumar new High Commissioner to Fiji

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Mr Vinod Kumar has been appointed as India's next High Commissioner to Fiji, an official press release said here today.


Mr Kumar, at present a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, was expected to take up his assignment shortly, the release added.


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Hemant Kumar Srivastava appointed Addl. Judge of Patna High Court

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The President has appointed Mr Hemant Kumar Srivastava as an additional judge of the Patna High Court.


An official press release said here today that the appointment would be for a period of two years with effect from the date he assumed charge of his office.


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Nitco Ltd. appoints Alok Goel as new CEO

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Alok Goel
Alok Goel

Tile manufacturers Nitco Ltd today announced the appointment of Mr. Alok Goel as its Chief Executive Officer with effect from August 9, 2010.

In this role, Mr. Alok will be responsible for handling the overall operations of the company, a press release from Nitco said.

Mr. Goel is a Mechanical Engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB).

The release said he had experience of more than 28 years in Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain Management, Procurement & Production, Project Management, Construction and also dealing with Government bodies

Before taking up his new assignment, Mr Goel was the CEO of Usha International. He has also served in other organisations such as Tata Motors, ICI, Vam Organic Chemicals Limited and Indo Rama Synthetics Ltd, the release added.

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Pradeep Kumar Misra is new Secretary, Ministry of Steel

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Mr Pradeep Kumar Misra, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1976 batch (Uttar Pradesh cadre), as the Secretary, Ministry of Steel.


Mr Misra, who is at present the Establishment Officer and Special Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training, will succeed Mr Atul Chaturvedi on his retirement on August 31, an official press release added.


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Jayant Dua appointed MD of Birla Sun Life Insurance

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Jayant Dua
Jayant Dua

Mr Jayant Dua has been appointed as the Managing Director of Birla Sun Life Insurance Company Ltd (BSLI), a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd.

A press release from the company said his appointment would be effective July 1, 2010. Prior to this, he was the President and CEO of Aditya Birla Insulators (ABI).

Mr Ajay Srinivasan, Chief Executive – Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group, said, "The life insurance industry completes a decade long journey this year since the entry of the private sector, presenting larger and even more challenging opportunities ahead. Jayant, with his diverse exposure across various facets of business will play a key role in leading Birla Sun Life Insurance towards achieving its goals."

Mr Dua has been associated with the Aditya Birla Group for the last 14 years. He is a chemical engineer from IIT Delhi and has an MBA from IMI, Delhi. He has recently completed the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) from Harvard Business School in the United States.

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Lt Gen Vinod Nayanar takes over as Director General Artillery

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Lt Gen Vinod Nayanar has taken over as Director General of Artillery in the Army, succeeding Lt Gen K R Rao, who superannuated from service on July 31.


Lt Gen Nayanar was till recently the Commandant, School of Artillery. During his career, he has held several command and staff appointments as well as appointment in the counter insurgency environment in Jammu and Kashmir.


While at the Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army), he has held various appointments in Directorate of Financial Planning and Military Secretary Branch, an official press release added.


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R H Khwaja is new Union Tourism Secretary

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Mr R H Khwaja, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1976 batch (Andhra Pradesh cadre), has taken over as the Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism.


Mr Khwaja, earlier Special Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, succeeds Mr Sujit Banerjee, who retired yesterday on superannuation, an official press release added.


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Bharti Infratel appoints Devender Singh Rawat as CEO

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Bharti Infratel, a subsidiary of telecom services major Bharti Airtel and a leading provider of passive telecom infrastructure in India, today announced the appointment of Mr Devender Singh Rawat as its Chief Executive Officer.


Mr Rawat will succeed Mr Pradeep and would report to Mr Akhil Gupta, Managing Director, Bharti Infratel Ltd, a press release from the company said.


According to it, Mr Rawat has over 21 years of experience, of which the first 7 years were with the Indian Air Force. Over the years, he has worked in various capacities in Escotel, Ericsson and, most recently, Huawei as the Executive Director. He has been in the telecom industry for almost 14 years.


As CEO- Bharti Infratel, Mr Rawat will be responsible for putting together and driving a concrete long-term strategy for Bharti Infratel and proactively driving the business augmentation, operations and service excellence. He will also be responsible for key transformation projects like energy saving and deployment of renewable energy saving solutions, Classic IT (CIT) business process automation and state of the art Network Operating Centre (NOC).


Mr Rawat is a graduate in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad.


Bharti Infratel deploys, owns and manages telecom towers and communication structures for various mobile operators across 18 states of India. It has a vast footprint of more 30,000 towers and holds a 42% stake in Indus Towers Ltd - a joint venture between Bharti Infratel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.


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Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Premkumar transferred to Sikkim

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The President has, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transferred Mr Justice P D D Premkumar, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, to the Sikkim High Court.


Mr Justice Barin Gosh, Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court has been transferred to the Uttarakhand High Court and Mr Justice J S Khehar, Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Karnataka High Court.


An official press release said the judges had been directed to assume charges of their respective offices on or before August 13, 2010.


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Bharti Airtel names Andre Beyers as Chief Marketing Officer for African operations

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Telecom services provider Bharti Airtel today said it had appointed Mr Andre Beyers as the Chief Marketing Officer for its African operations.


The company recently acquired the mobile services operations of Zain in 15 countries across Africa and is working towards introducing its brand "Airtel" in these markets shortly.


A press release from the company said Mr Beyers would report to Mr Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) and Joint Managing Director, Bharti Airtel.


"We are delighted to have Andre on board and believe that his experience will be immensely valuable and contribute to our vision of making Airtel the most loved brand in the daily lives of African people," Mr Kohli said.


"It will be our endeavour to achieve leadership position in all our markets by delivering a superior brand experience backed by world-class service, strong distribution network and innovative products that delight customers. I wish Andre the very best for his new assignment," he said.


Mr Beyers has over 20 years of experience in marketing and brand management, particularly in teh telecom sector. He was associated with Vodacom's marketing and brand efforts for 11 years in Africa, the release added.


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K Kannan appointed Judge of Madras High Court

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The President has appointed Mr Justice K Kannan, an Additional Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, to be a Judge of the Madras High Court.


An official press release said the appointment would be with effect from the date he assumed charge of his office.


The President has also appointed Ms Jaya Roy to be an Additional Judge of the Jharkhand High Court for a period of one year with effect from July 30, 2010, the release added.


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Anita Chaudhary is new Secretary, Land Resources in Ministry of Rural Development

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Ms Anita Chaudhary, presently Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, as Secretary, Department of Land Resources in the Ministry of Rural Development.


An official press release said Ms Chaudhary, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1976 batch (Haryana cadre), will succeed Ms Rita Sinha on her retirement on July 31.


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S Y Quraishi appointed Chief Election Commissioner

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File photo of Dr. S.Y. Quraishi.
File photo of Dr. S.Y. Quraishi.

The President today appointed Mr Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, the senior-most Election Commissioner, as the Chief Election Commissioner in the Election Commission of India.

Mr Qureshi will assume charge of the post with effect from July 30, succeeding Mr Navin B Chawla who will demit office on July 29 on attaining the age of 65, an official announcement from the Ministry of Law and Justice said.

He will have a tenure of just under two years until he attains the age of 65 in July, 2012.

Mr Chawla, who took over as Chief Election on April 21 last year in the middle of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, had a tenure of a little over 15 months.

The President appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. They have a tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.

Like Mr Chawla and many of his predecessors, Mr Quraishi is a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. He belonged to the 1971 batch (Haryana cadre).

Also, like Mr Chawla, he is an alumnus of the St. Stephen's College in Delhi. He is a post-graduate in history and did his Ph.D. in Communications and Social Marketing.

Among the various positions he has held in his career as a bureaucrat are as Director General of the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), Director General, Doordarshan and Director General of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan. He was the first director of the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Develolpment at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu between 1993 and 1997. He also served as Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports before being appointed as an Election Commissioner on June 30, 2006.

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Aladiyan Manickam appointed Ambassador to Finland

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Mr Aladiyan Manickam has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Finland, an official press release said here today.


Mr Manickam is currently posted as Joint Secretary at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs here, it added.


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Subramanyam Vijay Kumar is new Secretary, Mines

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Mr Subramanyam Vijay Kumar as the Secretary, Ministry of Mines to succeed Ms Santha Sheela Nair, who will retire on July 31.


Mr Vijay Kumar is an officer of the 1976 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (Himachal Pradesh cadre). He is at present the Special Secretary, Ministry of Mines.


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Ausuf Sayeed appointed Ambassador to Yemen

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Dr Ausuf Sayeed has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Yemen, an official press release said here today.


Dr Sayeed is currently posted as a Joint Secretary at the Headquarter of the Ministry of External Affairs here.


In a separate announcement, the Ministry said Mr Ashok Sajjanhar, at present the Indian Ambassador in Kazakhstan, had been appointed as the country's next Ambassador to Sweden.


Meanwhile, Mr Virendra Gupta, the High Commissioner to South Africa, has been concurrently accredited as the High Commissioner of India to Lesotho with residence in Pretoria.


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Ashok Kumar Balyan is new MD & CEO of Petronet LNG Ltd

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Dr Ashok Kumar Balyan, who was the Director In-charge-HR, Business Development and Joint Ventures in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has joined Petronet LNG, India's largest importer of LNG, as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.


Dr Balyan, who has an M. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi and a Ph.D. from Germany, has more than three and a half decades of experience in the field of exploration, production operations, project management, business development and human resource functions in ONGC.


A press release from Petronet said Dr Balyan joined ONGC in 1976 and served it across India in key positions. It said he had been instrumental in catalyzing various HR interventions besides guiding business development initiatives in downstream, petrochemical, power and alternate energy sources and expanding the frontiers in synergy with inherent strength of the company.


Petronet was established in 1998 for setting up import and re-gasification terminals in the country. The company is promoted by ONGC and three other public sector companies - Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., GAIL (India) Ltd. and Indian Corporation Ltd., as a joint venture company.


In 2004, the company commissioned its Dahej LNG Terminal with an original name plate capacity of 5 MMTPA. In 2006, the company embarked upon the expansion plan from 5 MMTPA to 10 MMTPA, which was completed in 2009.


Petronet has commenced work on its second LNG receiving terminal at Kochi, Kerala, the construction of which is progressing as per schedule. The mechanical completion of the Kochi Project is expected in first quarter of 2012.

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Praveen Verma appointed India's first Ambassador to Guatemala

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Mr Praveen Verma, currently Ambassador of India to Yemen, has been appointed as the country's first Ambassador to Guatemala.


An oficial press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said here today that Mr Verma was expected to take up his assignment shortly.


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Balwinder Singh joins as Special Director, CBI

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Balwinder Singh
Balwinder Singh

Mr Balwinder Singh, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1976 batch (Andhra Pradesh cadre) has been appointed as Special Director in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Prior to his elevation, he was holding the post of Additional Director in CBI and looking after the Economic Offences and Bank Securities & Frauds Division, in addition to anti-corruption work in South and Western India.

A CBI press release said Mr Singh had served in the CBI earlier from 1990 to 2000. In Andhra Pradesh, he had served as Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad. He was also Additional Secretary in the Central Vigilance Commission, New Delhi.

Mr Singh has done an M. Phil. in Public Administration from Punjab University. He was decorated with the Police Medal for Meritorious Services in 1992 and the President\'s Police Medal for Distinguished Services in 1998, the release added.

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Pankaj Desai is new MD of Kotak Life Insurance

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Mr. Pankaj Desai has taken over as the Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Limited (Kotak Life Insurance).


Mr Desai, who was Executive Director of the company since 2006, has succeeded Mr. Gaurang Shah who has moved to the parent Kotak Mahindra Group as the head of its Domestic and International Asset Management and Life Insurance businesses.


A chartered accountant, Mr Desai has been part of the Kotak Mahindra Group in varying capacities for over a decade. He joined Kotak Life Insurance in 2006 in the capacity of Executive Director.



In that assignment, he was responsible for Sales, Training, Distribution and Channel Marketing functions of the company.


"My focus would be to build on the strong business franchise and goodwill we have created over the last ten years," Mr Desai said.


"We will work towards sustained value creation and efficient use of capital. Special emphasis will be placed on bettering the customer proposition, further cost reduction and better cost management, factors which in the past have stood us in good stead," he said.


Mr Shah sad the life insurance industry in India was undergoing rapid changes influenced by the dynamic economic environment, pro-active regulation, increasing competition and increasingly financially literate and discerning customers.


"Pankaj played a stellar role in ensuring that Kotak Life attained profitability in the last year and enhancing profits this year. His demonstrated business acumen combined with his in depth understanding of the sector and his pulse on the future makes him best suited to steer the company to greater heights," he added.


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Barclays Shared Services names Sameer Chadha as new CEO

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Barclays Shared Services (BSS), a 100% subsidiary of Barclays Bank, today announced the appointment of Mr Sameer Chadha, currently Chief Operating Officer, as the company's Chief Executive Officer.


Mr Chadha replaces Mr Paul Riley, the incumbent chief executive who moves to another role within the Barclays Group, a press release from the bank said.


BSS, now in its third year of operation has two offices in Noida and one in Chennai, it said.


"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Sameer as the next Chief Executive of BSS, India," Mr Jim Milby, Global Operations Officer, Global Retail Banking, Barclays, said,


"Sameer has been with the company since its initial phases and is ideally positioned to continue the good work and build on the foundation created by Paul and take BSS to the next level of growth," he said.


According to the release, Mr Chadha joined BSS in April 2008 as the COO. He has close to twenty years of experience, predominantly in financial services and worked with Lehman Brothers before joining BSS in its initial stages.


Mr Chadha is a Chartered Accountant and has a Bachelors of Commerce degree from Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), University of Delhi.


"I am both honored and excited to be chosen to lead the company. I have enjoyed my journey to date alongside, Paul and the management team. We have built a great organization and I look forward to build on the strong foundation," Mr Chadha said.


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Naresh Kumar elected for fourth term as president of Petrotech Society

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Naresh Kumar
Naresh Kumar

Mr. Naresh Kumar, Managing Director, Jindal Drilling & Industries Ltd, has been re-elected as the President of Petrotech Society for the fourth consecutive term.

Petrotech Society is a non-profit organization whose members include major oil industry players such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum, Cairn India, Larsen & Toubro, Engineers India Ltd, GAIL, Oil India Limited and British Gas.

"India is the third largest consumer of oil in the Asia-Pacific region, lagging only behind China and Japan. However, in production, out of the total 3.14 million sq. km. of India's sedimentary area, only a small part of the total area has been extensively explored so far. It is imperative that more efforts are put on oil exploration. Petrotech Society is committed to further education and awareness in India's oil industry to help the country achieve energy independence," Mr Kumar said.

A mechanical engineer by background, Mr. Kumar has over 27 years of experience in the oil industry. Under his leadership, Jindal Drilling and Industries Ltd has emerged as one of the largest Indian private operators of jack-up rigs in India.

Mr. Kumar is the first and only Asian to be nominated as a member of the Executive Committee of Houston-based apex body, International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) in 2010.

He has been a member of the Planning Group on Restructuring of the Oil Industry ('R' Group) constituted by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

Petrotech Society organises one of Asia's biggest biennial oil and gas conferences under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The event attracts delegates from over 45 countries and has an average delegate participation of more than 4000 high-profile industry professionals from across the globe, including oil ministers from various countries.

The 9th International Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition, Petrotech 2010, is due to be held here later this year from October 31-November 3. It will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and will have as its theme, "Global Energy Equilibrium".

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Rakesh Singh appointed Addl. Secretary, Financial Services

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Mr Rakesh Singh as the Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services in the Ministry of Finance against the newly created post.


Mr Singh, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1978 batch (Punjab cadre), is at present the Additional Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.


An official press release said the ACC had also approved the appointment of Mr G Mohan Kumar, IAS, Orissa cadre, 1979 batch, as Additional Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources.


Mr Kumar, who is currently in his cadre, will succeed Mr S Manoharan, who has retired, the release added.


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