Justice Kakru named Chief Justice of AP High Court

File photo of Justice Nisar Ahmad Kakru LL.B.
File photo of Justice Nisar Ahmad Kakru LL.B.

The President has appointed as Mr Justice Nisar Ahmad Kakru, Judge of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

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

A separate announcement said the President had, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transferred Ms Justice Nirmal Yadav, Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, as a Judge of the Uttarakhand High Court. She has been directed to assume charge of her office on or before February 24.

Mr Justice Ravi Vijaykumar Malimath and Ms Justice Bangalore Venkataramiah Nagarathna, Additional Judges of the Karnataka High Court, have been appointed as Judges of that High Court, in that order of seniority.

The President has also appointed Mr T.Mathivanan, Mr Ardhanariswamy Arumughaswamy and Ms K.B.K.Vasuki to be Additional Judges of the Madras High Court, in that order of seniority, for a period of two years with effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.

Mr Birendra Prasad Verma, and Mr Dinesh Kumar Singh have been appointed as Additional Judges of the Patna High Court, in that order of seniority for a period of two years, the release added.


Carl-Peter Forster named CEO of Tata Motors Group


Automobile major Tata Motors has appointed Mr. Carl-Peter Forster as the Group Chief Executive Officer of the company, with overall responsibility for its operations globally, including Jaguar Land Rover.

Mr. Forster, 55, has 24 years of international experience in the automobile industry. Most recently he was the head of General Motors, Europe, where he looked after Opel/Vauxhall, Saab and the European activities of Chevrolet.

According to a company press release, before joining General Motors in 2001, Mr. Forster had 13 years of experience in BMW where he held various positions including that of Managing Director of BMW South Africa and was also on the Managing Board of BMW responsible for manufacturing.

Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons and Tata Motors, said, "Tata Motors expects that Mr. Forster’s induction will greatly facilitate its ambition towards being a truly international company."


Amarjit Chopra elected President of ICAI

CA Amarjit Chopra.
CA Amarjit Chopra.

Mr Amarjit Chopra was today elected as the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for 2010-11 while Mr G Ramaswamy was chosen as the new Vice-President.

Mr Chopra has more than three decades of standing as a chartered accountant and, during his tenure in the Central Council of the ICAI, he has been the Chairman of the Accounting Standards Board, Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, and Corporate Laws Committee.

He has also been the Chairman of Expert Advisory Committee, Financial Reporting Review Board, Committee on Corporate Governance and Committee on Internal Audit of the Institute.

The ICAI, set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, is the sole regulator of the accountancy profession in India.

It is the second largest professional body of chartered accountants in the world. The number of chartered accounts in the country has grown to 1,61,000 and the student base is 6,20,000-strong.


Eminent economist K N Raj passes away at 85


Renowned economist Kakkadan Nandanath Raj, who had helped draft India's first Five Year Plan and acquired a formidable reputation as an institution builder, died in Thiruvananthapuram today.

He was 85. He is survived by two sons, including journalist Gopal Raj. He had been undergoing treatment for some time for health problems related to old age.

Known as K N Raj, the alumnus of the London School of Economics was just 27 when he was invited by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to help draft the first Five-Year Plan. In later, he was a moving force behind the establishment of the Delhi School of Economics (DSE) and the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram.

In Delhi University, he served as Head of the Department of Economics and later as Vice-Chancellor.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among those who condoled his death. "It is with great sorrow and a profound sense of personal loss that I learnt of the passing away of your father Prof. K.N. Raj," he said in a condolence message.

Dr Singh said he had known Prof Raj for over four decades and described him as a very close friend and a great economist. "His contributions to the science of economics as a teacher, a researcher and an institution builder are immense," he said.

The Prime Minister said Prof Raj had, in his long and illustrious career, served the Government and many institutions with great distinction.

"The work that Prof. Raj and his colleagues did for the United Nations in the early days of the Centre for Development Studies helped shape the contours of what later came to be called the 'Kerala model' of development (the co-existence of low per capita income and very high physical quality of life indicators).  The numerous awards that he received are a testimony to his exceptional talent." he said.

Dr Singh said Prof Raj was also a very fine human being who devoted his life to serving the country and the cause of social justice. "He will be deeply missed by all those whose lives he touched," he added.

Apart from the several awards he received during his career, Prof Raj was honoured by the Government with the Padma Vibhushan in 2000.


S C Sinha named as DG of NIA


Mr S C Sinha, currently a Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has been appointed as the new Director General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1975 batch (Haryana cadre), Mr Sinha will succeed Mr R V Raju whose tenure as the first head of the NIA came to an end on January 31.

The Union Government set up the NIA after the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai to investigate and prosecute offences affecting the sovereignty, integrity and security of India.

The agency is aimed at speeding up investigations into terrorist attacks and other major crimes with inter-state ramifications.


Amrohi concurrently accredited as envoy to Swaziland


Dr Ashok Kumar Amrohi, India's High Commissioner to Mozambique, has been concurrently accredited as the country's High Commissioner to Swaziland with residence in Maputo.

An External Affairs Ministry statement said Mr Yogendra Kumar, presently Ambassador to Phillipines, had been concurrently accredited as the country's Ambassador to Palau with residence in Manila.


Justice Prasad appointed as Supreme Court Judge

File photo of Mr. Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad.
File photo of Mr. Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad.

The President has appointed Mr Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

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

Mr Justice Prasad, 60, is a graduate in Science and Law and had practised as an advocate in civil, Constitutional, criminal and service matters at Patna High Court. He was appointed as a Judge of the Patna High Court on November 8, 1994. He was transferred to Madhya Pradesh High Court on November 21, 1994 and transferred back to Patna High Court on September 10, 2001. He took oath as Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court on March 20, 2009.


Jayakar Jerome appointed Ambassador to Slovenia


Mr Jayakar Jerome, a retired officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Slovenia in succession to Mr V S Seshadri.

In a separate announcement, the Ministry of External Affairs has appointed Mr Satbir Singh, Deputy Chief of the Indian mission in Moscow, as the country's next Ambassador to Mongolia. He will succeed Mr Yogeshwar Verma.

Mr Jerome had served as the Commissioner of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and later as Secretary to then Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna, who is now the External Affairs Minister.

Mr Jerome is credited with resurrecting the BDA during his tenure as its head and for taking up several infrastructure projects in Bangalore. He retired from the IAS in 2006.


Prof Phunchok Stobdan named Ambassador to Kyrgzstan

Prof. Phunchok Stobdan
Prof. Phunchok Stobdan

Prof Phunchok Stobdan, an expert on Central Asia, among other areas, has been appointed as India's next Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, the Ministry of External Affairs said today.

A statement from the Ministry said Prof Stobdan, a senior fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) here, would succeed Mr J S Pande. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.

In a separate announcement, the Ministry said Mr Devendra Nath Srivastava would be the country's next Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo. He will succeed Mr H V S Manral.

Prof Stobdan is regarded as an expert on issues concerning national and international security with specific focus on Asian affairs covering Central Asia and Inner Asia, including Xinjiang, Tibet, Myanmar and the Himalayan region. He has written extensively on security-related subjects in professional journals on strategic affairs, books and newspapers in India and abroad.

Between 1999 and 2002, he had served as Director of the Indian Cultural Centre at the Embassy of India in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He has also worked as Joint Director in the National Security Council and between October 2006 and November 2007 as Director of the Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies at the University of Jammu.


Ranjit Rae named Ambassador to Vietnam


Mr Ranjit Rae, currently Indian Ambassador to Hungary, has been appointed as the country's next Ambassador to Vietnam.

An official announcement by the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Rae, who will succeed Mr L T Muana, is expected to take up his assignment shortly.


Shivaji Rakshit takes over as Secretary, Railway Board


Mr Shivaji Rakshit, an officer of the Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS), has taken over as Secretary, Railway Board, New Delhi, an official press release said here today.

Prior to this appointment, he was the Financial Adviser & Chief Accounts Officer (FA&CAO), South Eastern Railway from 2008 onwards.

After completing his post-graduation, Mr Rakshit joined the IRAS in 1975. Apart from holding various positions on Indian Railways, Mr Rakshit has served in the Chittaranjan Locomotive Works and Metro Railway, Kolkata. He was posted as Executive Director/F(S), Executive Director/Accounts in the Railway Board between 2004 and 2007 and FA&CAO(Con), Northern Railway in 2007-08.

Mr Rakshit succeeds Mr K B L Mittal, who was removed from his post rather suddenly yesterday evening and is still awaiting his next posting. No reasons were given for the decision.


Syntel names Prashant Ranade as CEO & President


IT services and Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO) firm Syntel today announced that its Board of Directors had appointed Mr Prashant Ranade as CEO and President with immediate effect.

A press release issued by Syntel said Mr Ranade had more than 30 years of leadership experience in large global corporations coupled with deep domain knowledge in healthcare and life sciences, high-tech engineering and manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics automation.

He has been a member of Syntel's Board of Directors since June 2007 and formerly served as President and CEO of Siemens Logistics & Assembly Systems, Inc.

"Prashant is uniquely qualified for this role, based on his professional background and his knowledge of the Company," Syntel Chairman Bharat Desai said.

"I am confident that his global perspective, along with a strong focus on operational excellence and value creation will enable Syntel to make the leap to the next level," he said.

"I am honored to accept this opportunity to lead Syntel," Mr Ranade said. "Syntel has a strong track record of delivering innovative solutions over the past three decades, and I look forward to building on this foundation to continue helping our clients win in the marketplace."

Syntel's former President and CEO, Keshav Murugesh, has resigned from the company to pursue other opportunities.

"Over the last eight years, Keshav has been instrumental in driving Syntel's growth and evolution into a truly world class organization," Mr Desai said. "I would like to thank Keshav for his immense contribution to Syntel, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."


Deepak Parekh gets ICAEW's Outstanding Achievement Award

Deepak Parekh.
Deepak Parekh.

Mr Deepak S Parekh, Chairman of HDFC Limited, the housing finance major, has become the first international recipient of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ (ICAEW) Outstanding Achievement Award.

Mr. Parekh received the ICAEW’s accolade for 2010 in recognition of his outstanding contribution over many years to the finance and accountancy profession.

"During a long and distinguished career, this has included his work on the Government of India's Investment Commission, membership of various other Committees set up by the Government of India, his Chairmanship of HDFC Limited and his non executive Director roles in other significant entities," a press release from ICAEW said.

Sir Michael Lickiss, Chairman of the Selection Committee, said that Mr Parekh's achievements and the breadth and depth of his influence on the financial sector and business in general in India were phenomenal.

"Wherever business acumen, experience, insight and intelligence are required, his name is guaranteed to appear at the top of the list. It is a privilege to be able to recognise the contribution he has made to the international accountancy profession as the first international recipient of the outstanding achievement award," he said.

In accepting his award from the ICAEW, Mr. Parekh said: “It  is  an absolute honour. I am overwhelmed and delighted to be the first international  recipient  of  this  prestigious  award.  I have always been
passionate  about  finance & accountancy and nothing can be more gratifying than  receiving  my  maiden  award  in  this  field from my alma mater, the Institute  of  Chartered  Accountants  in  England  & Wales. I owe my solid foundation in this complex subject to the training and guidance provided by the  Institute.  I have perhaps been able to contribute in some measure due to  the  unrelenting  support of my peers and colleagues and recognition of this is indeed reassuring.”

Mr Parekh joined HDFC in a senior management position in 1978, was inducted as a full-time director of the Corporation in 1985 and was appointed Chairman in 1993.

The award will be presented at the ICAEW Annual Dinner at Chartered Accountants' Hall in London on 2 March 2010.

Martin Hagen, President of the ICAEW, commented: "I extend my warmest congratulations to Deepak Parekh for winning the Institute's most prestigious award. It is a reflection of the truly global reach of the ICAEW with over 15,000 of our members living and working outside the UK. I hope that the news of Mr. Parekh's recognition will encourage more young aspiring accountants based around the world to seriously consider training for the ACA, one of the few truly global chartered accountancy
qualifications available today."

After attending St Xavier's College in Mumbai for a B.Com. degree from the University of Bombay, Mr Parekh obtained his Chartered Accountancy qualification in England.

He began his career with Ernst & Young Management Consultancy Services in New York. After returning to India, he worked with Grindlays Bank and also Chase Manhattan Bank as its assistant representative for South Asia before joining HDFC Ltd in 1978.

Besides the HDFC Group Companies, Mr. Parekh is on the board of several leading corporations across diverse sectors. He is the Non-Executive Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, Infrastructure Development
Finance Company (IDFC), Lafarge India and Siemens India Ltd. He is also on the Indian boards of Castrol BP India, Hindustan Unilever, Mahindra & Mahindra, Indian Hotels Company Limited and international boards of SingTel (Singapore) and WNS (USA).

Apart from all these, he figures on several Government advisory committees and task forces, thanks to his reputation as a trouble-shooter. Recently, for instance, he named as one of the Government- appointed Independent Directors of the fraud-hit IT company Satyam Computer Services in January 2009.


Popular Malayalam actor Cochin Haneefa passes away

Malayalam film actor Cochin Haneefa.
Malayalam film actor Cochin Haneefa.

Popular Malayalam film actor and director Cochin Haneefa passed away at a private hospital in Chennai this afternoon after a prolonged illness, sources close to him said.

He was 58. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, who are twins.

The sources said Haneefa, who was being treated for liver and kidney ailments for the past few months, died around 1530 hours.

Earlier in the day, some television channels had reported Haneefa had passed away, when he was still struggling for his life, but a few hours later he breathed his last.

The sources said Haneefa's body would be kept at his residence at Saligramam in Chennai today and taken to his home town, Kochi in Kerala tomorrow for the funeral.

Haneefa was born on April 22, 1951 as Salim Ahmed Ghouse. He had a degree in Botany. He became known as Cochin Haneefa after he joined Cochin Kalabhavan, a theatre group. The name Haneefa came from a character he essayed in a play while with the group.

He made his debut in films with a role in Ashtavakran in 1979 and went on to act in about 300 Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi films. Though he has acted as a villain in some movies, it was as a comedian that he made a mark and won the hearts of fans. His mere presence on the screeen was enough to send the audience into splits of laughter. As a director, he is known for the melodrama, Valtsalyam, made in 1993. He was also an accomplished script writer.

Haneefa was last seen in Siddique's Bodyguard, starring Dileep. Madrasapattinam will be his last Tamil release. Some of the biggest hits featuring him include "Meesha Madhavan" and "Kireedam".

Haneefa directed seven Malayalam films - Bheesmacharya (1994), Valtsalyam (1993), Veena Meettiya Vilangukal (1990) Aankiliyude Tharattu (1987) Oru Sindoora Pottinte Ormaykku (1987) Moonnu Masangalkku Munpu (1986) Oru Sandesam Koodi (1985) and six Tamil movies - Pasa Paravaigal (1988) Padatha Theneekkal (1988) Pasa Mazhai (1989) Pagalil Pournami (1990) Pillai Pasam (1991) Vasaliley Oru Vennila (1991).

The Malayalam film industry has lost eminent director Lohithadas and popular actors Murali and Rajan P Dev in recent months.


 Photo Courtesy: Anees Kodiyathur at ml.wikipedia

Malayalam actor Cochin Haneefa passes away


Well-known Malayalam film actor and director Cochin Haneefa passed away at a private hospital in Chennai this afternoon after a prolonged illness, sources close to him said.

He was 58. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, who are twins.

The sources said Haneefa, who was being treated for liver cancer for the past few months, died around 1500 hours.

Haneefa was born on April 22, 1951 as Salim Ahmed Ghouse. He had a degree in Botany. He became known as Cochin Haneefa after he joined Cochin Kalabhavan, a theatre group. The name Haneefa came from a character he essayed in a play while with the group.

He made his debut in films with a role in Ashtavakran in 1979 and went to act in about 300 Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi films. Though he has acted as a villain in some movies, it was as a comedian that he made a mark and won the hearts of fans. His mere presence on the screeen was enough to send the audience into laughter. As a director, he is known for the melodrama, Valtsalyam, 1993.


Vikram Srivastava named DG of CRPF


Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Vikram Srivastava was today appointed as the Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Mr Srivastava is from the 1973 batch of the IPS and belongs to the Uttar Pradesh cadre. Prior to this appointment, he was serving as the Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

His place in the ITBP will be taken by Mr R K Bhatia, an IPS officer of the 1974 batch, also from the UP cadre, an official press release said.

Incidentally, Mr Srivastava is the younger brother of Mr Raman Srivastava, the Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF).

This is the first time that two brothers are at the helm of two of the country's premier para-military forces.


Lt Gen G M Nair is new Military Secretary


Lt Gen G M Nair assumed charge as Military Secretary at Army Headquarters here today, succeeding Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash, who is facing disciplinary action for his alleged role in the Sukhna land case in West Bengal.

Lt Gen Nair, 58, studied at the Sainik School at Kazhakootam in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He joined the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla and was commissioned into 1/11 Gorkha Rifles (BATALIK) in 1972 after completion of training at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

The General Officer has been in active service in several operational areas. He commanded 1/11 Gorkha Rifles in Counter Insurgency Operations in Assam and Manipur, Infantry Brigade in the Western Sector during Operation Parakram, the 39 Mountain Division in Operation Rakshak in Jammu & Kashmir and was General Officer Commanding (GOC) 9 Corps prior to assuming his present charge.

Among various staff, instructional and foreign assignments held by him, he has been Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade during Operation Pawan, Military Observer (UNTAG, Namibia) and Instructor as a Brigadier in Higher Command Wing, Army War College, Mhow.

An official press release said Lt Gen Nair has attended the Defence Service Staff College Course, Senior Command and Higher Command Courses in India and has attended US Army War College Course in Carlisle. He has a Masters in Defence Studies from Madras University, M Phil in Defence and Management Studies from DAVV, Indore and MS in Strategic Studies from US Army War College, the release added.


Former ONGC Chairman Subir Raha passes away


Former Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Chairman and Managing Director Subir Raha, who transformed the public sector giant into one of India's most valuable companies, passed here today after a brief illness, sources in the company said.

Mr Raha, who was suffering from cancer of the lungs, died at a hospital in the capital, the sources said. He was 62.

He had taken over as Chairman and Managing Director of ONGC in May 2001 and continued in the position till May 2006. Before that, he was the Director (Human Resources, Information Technology and Business Development) of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), where he had begun his career as a Management Trainee.

A graduate in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from the Jadavpur University, Mr Raha had also taken a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Leeds.

After his stint at ONGC, Mr Raha set up Team Raha Ideation, a consulting firm based on strategic advisory services.

During his tenure as CMD of ONGC, the company's market capitalisation increased more than ten times and it became the country's top firm in terms of net worth.

He was also concurrently the chairman of ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), the wholly-woned subsidiary of ONGC. He was also responsible for the turnaround of Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL).

Mr Raha transformed ONGC from a mainly exploration and production company into an integratede energy major on a global scale and led it into aggressive exploration, especially in deep waters off India, and achieved increased production from depleted fields.

During 1996-98, Mr Raha had served in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on deputation as head of the Oil Coordination Committee (OCC).

Despite transforming ONGC into a global player and turning it into one of India's most profitable companies, Mr Raha's five-year contract was not renewed by the Government in 2006, though he had about two years to go for retirement.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora and his deputy Jitin Prasada have condoled the death of Mr Raha.


Air Marshal J Neri is IAF's new Head of Maintenance


Air Marshal Joseph Neri takes over as the new Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance (AOM).
Air Marshal Joseph Neri takes over as the new Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance (AOM).

Air Marshal Joseph Neri will take over as the new Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance (AOM), tomorrow at Air Headquarters.

The AOM is responsible for the Maintenance Management of all weapon systems and equipment of the Indian Air Force (IAF). He was formerly the Director General of Aircraft at Air Headquarters.

Air Marshal Neri is an Electronic Engineering graduate from College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai. He was commissioned in the IAF on July 8, 1974.

The Air Marshal held various field and staff appointments including Senior Technical Officer of Tactical and combat Development Establishment (TACDE), Chief Engineering Officer of a major fighter base, Commanding Officer of a Signal Unit and Staff appointments as Director Training and Principal Director Operations-Information Technology and Networking besides Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Maintenance Planning).

As Senior Maintenance Staff Officer (SMSO) while at South Western Air Command, he was responsible for the operational preparedness of the IAF Fleet in the sector. He closely steered the maintenance activities of the nascent Sukhoi-30 fleet to overcome teething problems during his tenure there.

For his distinguished service, Air Marshal was conferred the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) on January 26, 1999 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) on January 26, 2010 by the President of India.


Congress leader Ram Nivas Mirdha passes away

Ram Niwas Mirdha
Ram Niwas Mirdha

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Ram Nivas Mirdha passed away at a hospital here today after a brief illness.

He was 85. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.

Mr Mirdha, a former Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, had been admitted to the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here on January 21 for treatment of a kidney ailment. The end came around 1245 today after he suffered multi-organ failure, sources said.

Born on August 24, 1924, Mr Mirdha completed his M.A. and LL.B. degrees from the Allahabad and Lucknow Universities. He started his political career as a member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly in 1953 and went on to serve as a Minister in the State Government and later as the Speaker of the State Assembly from 1957-67.

He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1967 and was Union Minister of State for Home from June, 1970-October 1974. Later, he served as Minister of State for Defence Production and Minister of State for Supply and Rehabilitation.

From 1977-80, Mr Mirdha was Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha before serving as Minister for Water Resources and as Minister for External Affairs briefly in latter half of 1984. He also held the portfolios of Communication and Textiles.

He was elected as a member of the 10th Lok Sabha from Barmer in Rajasthan and was Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) that inquired into the irregularities in Securities and Banking Transactions in 1992.

Mr Mirdha was also associated with cultural activities in a big way and was Chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi for two terms from 1976-1980 and from 1990-95. At the time of his passing away, he was Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

He also worked as co-Chairman of the Indo-US Sub-Commission on Culture and Education, as a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO and as President of the Indian Heritage Society.

Mr Mirdha was also involved with sports and was Deputy Chairman of the Special Organising Committee for the 9th Asian Games. He was also President of the Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI). He was also a trustee of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among those who condoled the demise of the senior Congress leader, describing him as an able and experienced political leader who made rich contributions in different areas of public life.

"Mr Mirdha was one of the senior most leaders of the Congress Party. In a political career spanning nearly six decades, Mr Mirdha served both his home State of Rajasthan as well as the country with great distinction," Dr Singh said in a message to Mr Mirdha's son Harender Mirdha.

"In Mr Mirdha’s demise, the country has lost an able and experienced political leader who made rich contributions in different areas of public life. I convey my deepest condolences and sympathies to his immediate family and to his many friends, well wishers and admirers," the Prime Minister added.


Sundareshan named Petroleum Secretary


The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Mr S Sundareshan as the Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Mr Sundareshan is currently an Additional Secretary in the Ministry. An officer of the 1976 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Kerala cadre, he would succeed Mr R S Pandey, who is retiring on January 31, an official press release added.


Bhagwat Singh Bishnoi concurrently accredited to Djibouti


Mr Bhagwat Singh Bishnoi, at present India's Ambassador to Ethiopia, has been concurrently accredited as the country's next Ambassador to Djibouti.

An announcement by the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Bishnoi would have residence in Addis Ababa.


Alkazi, Zohra Sehgal, Ramakrishnan chosen for Padma Vibhushan

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Renowed theatre director Ebrahim Alkazi, 98-year-old stage and film actress Zohra Sehgal and scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry, are among the six people honoured with the Padma Vibhushan awards on the eve of Republic Day today.

The others chosen for the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian honour, are "mridangam" artiste Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, Apollo Hospitals chairman Prathap Chandra Reddy anf former Reserve Bank of India Governor Yaga Venugopal Reddy.

The President has also approved 43 Padma Bhushan and 81 Padma Shri awards today. The 130 awardees include 13 who are foreigners, non-resident Indians or persons of Indian origin and 17 women.

The awards will be conferred by the President at a function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan sometime around March or April.

Oscar Award-winning music director A R Rahman, South Indian film music composer Illaiyaraaja, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, painter Akbar Padamsee, classical vocalist Pandit Chhannulal Mishra, Kathak dancer Kumudini Lakhia and dancer, actress and social activist Mallika Sarabhai are amongst those selected for the Padma Bhushan.

Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan

Those chosen for the Padma Bhushan also include former Cabinet Secretary B K Chaturvedi, who is a member of the Planning Commission, "sarangi" player Ustad Sultan Khan, ace Kerala percussionist Kuzhur Narayanan Marar and United States-based journalist Fareed Zakari.

Prof Madhusudhan Amilal Dhaky, historian and researcher of ancient and medieval Indian art and architecture, abstract painter Ram Kumar, Carnatic vocalist Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, 96-year-old musician, writer and social worker Pandit Puttaraj Gavai and former bureaucrat Moosa Raza have also been honoured with the Padma Bhushan.

Marathi music director Shrinivas Vinayak Khale, former bureaucrat and Goa University vice-chancellor P R Dubhashi, former bureaucrat Anil Bordia, who chose to specialise in education, historian Bipan Chandra, educationists G P Chopra and Prof Mohammad Amin, Sanskrit scholar Satya Vrat Shastri and noted physician Belle Monappa Hegde, former vice-chancellor of the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, were also chosen for the Padma Bhushan.

Zohra Sehgal
Zohra Sehgal

Prof Tan Chung, an authority on Sino-Indian relations and who taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University in the capital for many years, Ayruvedic physician and philanthropist E.T. Narayanan Mooss, ophthalmic surgeon Noshir M. Shroff, economist and Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen, New York-based hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal and Stanford University's Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj, who has made outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of multiple input multiple output wireless communication, were among the others on the Padma Bhushan list.

The list also included Dr. Panniyampilly Krishna Warrier, Kerala, Dr. Ramakant Madanmohan Panda, Maharashtra, Dr Satya Paul Agarwal (all medicine), Sailesh Kumar Bandoyopadhyay, West Bengal (public affairs), Prof Bikash Chandra Sinha, West Bengal, Jagdish Chandra Kapur, Delhi (both science and engineering), Dr Balagangadharanatha Swamiji, Karnataka, and Eknath Rao alias Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, Maharashtra (both social work).

Capt C P Krishnan Nair, Chairman of the Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts, Dr Kushal P Singh, chairman of the DLF Group, former Hindustan Unilever CEO Manvinder Singh Banga, now President Foods, Home & Personal Care in Unilever, former ICICI Bank Chairman Narayanan Vaghul and Vardhaman Group Chairman S P Oswal also figure in the list of Padma Bhushan awardees.

The list of Padma Shri awardees includes Bollywood actors Rekha, Saif Ali Khan, Oscar-award winning sound engineer and designer Resul Pookutty, hockey player Ignace Tirkey, race driver Narain Karthikeyan, cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar, who coached among others Sachin Tendulkar, badminton star Saina Nehwal, boxer Vijender Singh, who won a bronze at the Olympics, and cricketer Virendra Sehwag.

The others chosen for the Padma Shri are:

Gulam Mohammed Mir, Public Service, Jammu and Kashmir

Arjun Prajapati, Art, Rajasthan

Arundhati Nag, Art, Karnataka

Carmel Berkson, Art, Maharashtra

Ustad F. Wasifuddin Dagar, Art, Delhi

Gul Bardhan, Art, Madhya Pradesh

Haobam Ongbi Ngangbi Devi, Art, Manipur

Hari Uppal, Art, Bihar

K. Raghavan, Art, Kerala

Guru Mayadhar Raut, Art, Delhi

Mukund Lath, Art, Rajasthan

Nemai Ghosh, Art, West Bengal

Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi, Art, Orissa

Rajkumar Achouba Singh, Art, Manipur

Ram Dayal Munda, Art, Jharkhand

Shobha Raju,Art, Andhra Pradesh

Sumitra Guha, Art, Delhi

Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, Art, West Bengal

D.R. Karthikeyan, Civil Service, Delhi

Ranjit Bhargava, Environment Protection, Uttarakhand

Arun Sarma, Literature and Education, Assam

Arvind Kumar, Literature and Education, Maharashtra

Bertha Gyndykes Dkhar, Literature and Education, Meghalaya

Govind Chandra Pande, Literature and Education, Madhya Pradesh

Hamidi Kashmiri, Literature and Education, Jammu and Kashmir

Hermann Kulke, Literature and Education, Germany

Janaki Ballav Shastri, Literature and Education, Bihar

Jitendra Udhampuri, Literature and Education, Jammu and Kashmir

Lal Bahadur Singh Chauhan, Literature and Education, Uttar Pradesh

Lalzuia Colney, Literature and Education, Mizoram

Maria Aurora Couto, Literature and Education, Goa

Rajalakshmi Parthasarathy alias Y.G. Parthasarathy, Literature and Education, Tamil Nadu

Ramaranjan Mukherji, Literature and Education, West Bengal

Ranganathan Parthasarathy, Literature and Education, Tamil Nadu

Fr. Romuald D’Souza, Literature and Education, Goa

Sadiq - Ur - Rahman Kidwai, Literature and Education, Delhi

Sheldon Pollock, Literature and Education, United States

Surendra Dubey, Literature and Education, Chhattisgarh

Anil Kumar Bhalla, Medicine, Delhi

Arvinder Singh Soin, Medicine, Uttar Pradesh

B. Ramana Rao, Medicine, Karnataka

Jalakantapuram Ramaswamy Krishnamoorthy, Medicine, Tamil Nadu

K.K. Aggarwal, Medicine, Delhi

Kodaganur S. Gopinath, Medicine, Karnataka

Laxmi Chand Gupta, Medicine, Delhi

Philip Augustine, Medicine, Kerala

Rabindra Narain Singh, Medicine, Bihar

Vikas Mahatme, Medicine, Maharashtra

Dr. Rafael Iruzubieta Fernandez, Public Affairs, Spain

M.R. Satyanarayana Rao, Science and Engineering, Karnataka

Palpu Pushpangadan Science and Engineering, Kerala

Ponisseril Somasundaran, Science and Engineering, United States

Pucadyil Ittoop John, Science and Engineering, Gujarat

Vijay Prasad Dimri, Science and Engineering, Andhra Pradesh

Vijaylakshmi Ravindranath, Science and Engineering, Karnataka

Anu Aga, Social Work, Maharashtra

Ayekpam Tomba Meetei, Social Work, Manipur

Deep Joshi, Social Work, Delhi

J.R. Gangaramani, Social Work, United Arab Emirates

Kranti Shah, Social Work, Maharashtra

Kurian John Melamparambil, Social Work, Kerala

Baba Sewa Singh, Social Work, Punjab

Sudha Kaul, Social Work, West Bengal

Sudhir M. Parikh, Social Work, United States

Alluri Venkata Satyanarayana Raju, Trade and Industry, Andhra Pradesh

B. Raveendran Pillai, Trade and Industry, Bahrain

Deepak Puri, Trade and Industry, Delhi

Irshad Mirza, Trade and Industry, Uttar Pradesh

Kapil Mohan, Trade and Industry, Himachal Pradesh

Karsanbhai Khodidas Patel, Trade and Industry, Gujarat

T.N. Manoharan, Trade and Industry, Tamil Nadu

Venu Srinivasan, Trade and Industry, Tamil Nadu


Veteran socialist leader Janeshwar Mishra passes away


Veteran socialist leader and former Union Minister Janeshwar Mishra, who served under six different Prime Ministers in a long and illustrious political career, died after a cardiac arrest in Allahabad today.

He was 77. He is survived by his two daughters. His wife Gangotri Devi had pre-deceased him.

Mr Mishra, a Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha member, was unwell for some and passed away at a hospital in Allahabad where he was admitted last night after complaining of chest pain.

Known as "Chotey Lohia" for his long-time association with the socialist movement in the country and for being a follower of the socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia, Mr Mishra had led the Samajwadi Party's agitation against price rise and corruption in Allahabad three days ago despite his poor health.

Born on August 5, 1933 at Shubhanathahi village of Ballia district in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Mishra had his schooling at Ballia and later took a B.A. and an LL.B. degree from the Allahabad University.

He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1969-70 and was re-elected in 1971 and 1977.

He served as Minister of State for Petroleum, Chemicals and Fertilisers, Energy and Shipping & Transport during 1977-80 under then Prime Ministers Morarji Desai and Charan Singh. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989 and became a Minister of State with independent charge for Communications and later handled the Railways Ministry in the government during 1989-91 under then Prime Ministers V P Singh and Chandrasekhar.

Mr Mishra was elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 1994 and served as Minister for Water Resources and later Petroleum and Natural Gas in the United Front governments headed by Mr H D Deve Gowda and Mr Inder Kumar Gujral. He was re-elected to the Upper House in 2000 and 2006.

Vice-President M Hamid Ansari condoled the demise of Mr Mishra who, he said, had a glorious record of service to the country, especially to Uttar Pradesh.

"He gave a new direction to socialist thought at the national and state level and he shall always be remembered for his dedication, sense of public service and honesty," he said.

In her condolence message, Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee said Mr Mishra was a true socialist who worked against the prevalent social evils and inequalities. She said he would be remembered for his contribution towards the progress of society and for his stint as Railway Minister.


B K Sinha named new Secretary, Rural Development


The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Mr B K Sinha, the Director General of the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad, as the next Secretary, Department of Rural Development in the Ministry of Rural Development.

Mr Sinha, an officer of the 1975 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (Bihar cadre), will succeed Ms Rita Sharma, who will retire on January 31.

Mr Mathew C Kunnamkal, IAS (Kerala cadre, 1976) , at present Special Secretary & Financial Adviser, Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals in the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers, will succeed Mr Sinha at NIRD in the rank and pay of Secretary, an official press release said.

Mr Sunil Mitra, IAS (West Bengal cadre, 1975), presently Secretary, Department of Disinvestment, Ministry of Finance, has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance in place of Mr P.V. Bhide, retiring on January 31.

Mr Sumit Bose, an IAS officer of the 1976 batch (Madhya Pradesh cadre), who is at present the Secretary of the 13th Finance Commission, will succeed Mr Mitra in the Department of Disinvestment, the release added.


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