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Lt. Gen. V K Singh to be next Army Chief

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Lt. Gen. V.K. Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC, presently GOC-in-C, Eastern Command has been appointed the next Chief of the Army Staff in the rank of General with effect from the afternoon of March 31, 2010.
Lt. Gen. V.K. Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC, presently GOC-in-C, Eastern Command has been appointed the next Chief of the Army Staff in the rank of General with effect from the afternoon of March 31, 2010.

Lt. Gen. V K Singh, at present the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, has been appointed as the next Chief of the Army Staff in the rank of General with effect from the afternoon of March 31, 2010.

An official announcement said here today that Lt Gen Singh would succeed the present Chief of Army Staff, Gen Deepak Kapoor, who will retire from service on March 31, 2010.

His appointment was decided by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), which met here yesterday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the chair.

Lt. Gen. Singh was commissioned into the Rajput Regiment on June 14, 1970. During his long and distinguished career spanning nearly 40 years, he has served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. He participated in the 1971 operations and the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) operations in Sri Lanka. He is presently serving as the Eastern Army Commander. Prior to that, he commanded a Corps in the Western sector.

Besides being an ‘Honours Graduate’ of the US Army Infantry School, Georgia, in the United States, Lt Gen Singh studied at the Defence Services Staff College, the Army War College and the US Army War College, Carlisle.

He is a recipient of the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) awards. He is also one of the honorary ADCs of the President of India.

Lt General Singh is married to Mrs Bharati and the couple has two daughters. The elder daughter is married to an Army officer while the younger one is working in the corporate sector.

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Vinayak Khanvalkar elected President of ICSI

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Mr Vinayak S. Khanvalkar was elected elected as the President of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) here today.


Mr Khanvalkar is a Fellow Member of ICSI and was earlier the Vice-President of the institute.


Mr Anil Murarka has been elected as the Vice-President of ICSI for the year 2010. A Fellow Member of the Institute, he is presently a practising company secretary based in Kolkata.


The ICSI, under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, is the statutory professional body to develop and regulate the profession of company secretaries in the country. The institute has on its roll over 25,000 Members and 1,50,000 students.


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Amitabh Chaudhry joins HDFC Standard Life as MD & CEO

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HDFC Standard Life today said it had appointed Mr. Amitabh Chaudhry as its new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).


Before taking up his new assignment, Mr Chaudhry was the Managing Director and CEO at Infosys BPO. He also had stints with Bank of America and Credit Lyonnais Securities.


Mr Chaudhry has a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, and a post-graduate diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.


"HDFC Standard Life has focused on building its brand in the market place and is today known for its fair business practices. To continue in its growth path and to achieve its desired vision, the Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Amitabh Chaudhry as the Managing Director & CEO for HDFC Standard Life," Mr. Deepak Parekh, Chairman of HDFC Ltd and Chairman of HDFC Standard Life said.


"I am confident that Amitabh will be able to provide strong leadership and direction to HDFC Standard Life and offer a robust roadmap to make HDFC Standard Life the most obvious choice of all," he added.


HDFC Standard Life, a private life insurance company, is a joint venture between Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC), India’s leading housing finance institution and Standard Life plc, the leading provider of financial services in the United Kingdom.


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Journalist Shiv Kumar Tripathi Niranjan passes away

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Senior journalist Shiv Kumar Tripathi Niranjan, who had served as editor of Qaumi Samachar in the capital, died here today after a heart attack, sources said.


Niranjan had earlier been editor of Din Raat, a Hindi newspaper from Etawah in Uttar Pradesh and also worked as a stringer for Dow Jones Newswires.


Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Ambika Soni expressed grief at Niranjan's sudde demise. She said he had been espousing the cause of small and medium newspapers as also various other issues concerning the welfare of journalists.


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Sanjay Kapoor is new CEO of Bharti Airtel

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Manoj KohliSanjay Kapoor
Manoj Kohli and Sanjay Kapoor of Bharti Airtel

Mr Sanjay Kapoor has been promoted as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of telecom services provider Bharti Airtel (India and South Asia) as part of strategic organisation changes announced by the company today for future growth.

Mr Kapoor is currently the Deputy CEO of the company. He will take over from Mr Manoj Kohli, who is at present the CEO ((India and South Asia) and Joint Managing Director and will now head a new, empowered and dedicated International Business Group as CEO (International) & Joint Managing Director.

The group will be responsible for expanding the company's operations beyond India and South Asia region, the company said in a press release.

It said the changes were aimed at enhancing the company's focus on expanding operations to international markets beyond India and South Asia and further consolidate its leadership position in India. The new organization structure will be effective from April 1, 2010.

According to the release, the International Business Group will comprise a team of seasoned and experienced professionals, including from within the Bharti group, from areas such as Business Development, Networks & IT, SCM, Project and Performance Excellence, Brand and Customer Experience.

Mr Kapoor would have end-to-end responsibility of leading India and South Asia businesses of Bharti Airtel and will drive growth and business synergies in Mobile Services, Telemedia Services, Enterprise Services and DTH, it said.

He will lead Bharti Airtel towards strengthening its position as a benchmark in innovative practices, brand leadership, operational efficiency, customer value and leadership depth, the release said.

"The next phase of our journey is set to be another game changer – requiring superior thrust and focused leadership. We continue to win in the Indian telecom market, which is going through a phase of hyper competition. At the same time, we will be developing comprehensive plans for our journey to cover emerging markets beyond India and the South Asia," Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharti Airtel said.

"Bharti Airtel has one of the finest management teams in the country and a strong leadership pipeline. This new structure will leverage our management depth and build a strong platform for fulfilling our global vision. Manoj and Sanjay, are amongst the finest professionals in telecom industry not just in India but across the world and have contributed immensely to the success of Bharti Airtel. I wish both of them the very best for their new assignments," Mr Mittal added.

Both Mr Kohli and Mr Kapoor will report to Mr Mittal, the release added. Bharti Airtel is part of the Bharti Enterprises group and has operatios in India and Sri Lanka. It had an gregate of over 118 million customers as of end November 2009, including 116.01 million mobile customers.

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Joseph Francis concurrently accredited as envoy to Mauritania

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Mr K Joseph Francis, presently Ambassador of India to Mali, has been concurrently accredited as the country's Ambassador to Mauritania.


A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Francis would have residence in Bamako, Mali.


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Ambani gets medal from the Univ. of Pennsylvania

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Dean Eduardo D Glandt, University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science honouring Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries Ltd., with the Dean's Medal at a ceremony in Mumbai
Dean Eduardo D Glandt, University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science honouring Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries Ltd., with the Dean's Medal at a ceremony in Mumbai

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman & Managing Director Mukesh Ambani was awarded the inaugural Dean's Medal from the University of Pennsyvania's Eduardo Glandt, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science today.

The medal was awarded to Mr Ambani at a function here in recognition of his "visionary leadership" in the application of engineering and technology for the betterment of mankind. .

"The medal is an acknowledgement for Ambani’s ingenuity and initiative to usher in Reliance’s vertical integration journey from textiles into fibers, petrochemicals, petroleum refining and eventually oil and gas exploration and production. Today, Reliance is a global leader in polyester, petrochemicals and refining, including the world’s largest petroleum refinery complex at Jamnagar. His vision of energy security for India was realized through an aggressive exploration program which resulted in the world’s largest gas discovery in the year 2002. The field eventually doubled gas production in India," a press release from the School said.

"Mukesh Ambani embodies what the engineering profession can contribute to a country, as someone who seeks to apply technology for the betterment of society," Mr Glandt said.

Mr Ambani said in his acceptance speech that he would treasure this medal. "It is much more than the recognition of the modest contribution as a chemical engineer from India. It recognizes the collective achievement of the Reliance family and the creativity of over 25,000 engineers in Reliance. I dedicate this Medal to the indomitable spirit of our founder chairman, Dhirubhai Ambani and each and every member of the Reliance family," he said.

Mr Ambani joined RIL, founded by his father Dhirubhai Ambani, in 1981 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mumbai and pursuing a master’s degree at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Among Mr Ambani’s numerous honors are the 2007 US-India Business Council "Global Vision" Award for Leadership; the 2006 "ET Business Leader of the Year" Award by the Economic Times and the first NDTV-Profit "Global Indian Leader Award" in 2006.

In 2008, Mr. Ambani was elected Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry and of the Board of Governors of the National Council of Applied Economic Research. He is also Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a member of the Indo-US CEOs Forum, the International Advisory Board of Citigroup, the International Advisory Board of the National Board of Kuwait, and the Advisory Council for Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, among other appointments.

The University of Pennsylvania is a world leader in higher education, drawing 10,000 undergraduates from around the world and more than 11,000 additional students enrolled in Penn’s 12 graduate and professional schools.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science at Penn is one of the oldest in the United States, established in 1852 as a School of Mines, Arts and Manufactures. It has since grown into a centre of excellence in the creation of technology, leading to the first general-purpose digital computer, ENIAC, making Penn the birthplace of the digital revolution.

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Premal Udani takes over as AEPC chairman

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Mr Premal Udani has taken over the new chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).

He succeeds Mr Rakesh Vaid, whose two-year term has ended and who is now President of the Garment Exporters Association.

Mr Udani has been a member of AEPC’s executive committee since 1986. He has also been part of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India and the Federation of Hoisery Manufacturers Association for many years.

"AEPC has today become multi-functional and multi-dimensional," he said. "Apart from our traditional markets of the United States and the European Union, the council is actively engaged in assisting exporters to diversify exports to markets like the ASEAN region, Latin America and East European countries."

He has been on the committee of Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the past five years and was part of the committee of Indian Merchant Chambers till 2006.

Mr Udani, chairman of the Mumbai-based Kaytee Corporation, has also been associated with Tirupur and is founding member of the India Knit Fair Association. He joined the family business of textiles and yarn trading after completing his masters in business administration in the United States during 1980.

AEPC’s executive committee also elected Mr Praveen Nayyar as vice-chairman of the eastern region, Mr H.K.L. Magu as vice-chairman of the northern region and Mr Rajendra Hinduja as vice-chairman of the southern region.

Mr Nayyar was elected as the senior vice-chairman. The council also elected Mr Ashok Rajani as chairman of the export promotion sub-committee and Mr Nayyar as chairman of the finance and budget sub-committee.

The AEPC is a body of 8,000 small, medium and large garment exporters. Apart from its core activity of export promotion and assisting the government in complex trade negotiations, the council is involved in training of workers and management students through its Apparel Training and Design Centres and initiatives of the Institute of Apparel Management.

A press release from APEC said it planned to launch initiatives to improve productivity of factories and also impart guidance in matter of compliance.

India exports apparel worth $ 11 billion annually and ranks as the fifth largest worldwide.

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Anuj Kacker to be COO - Retail of Aptech

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Learning solutions provider Aptech Limited today said Mr Anuj Kacker would be the Chief Operating Officer (COO)-Retail of the company.

All business unit heads of retail brands will be reporting to Mr Kacker for domestic business, a press release from Aptech said.

Prior to this, Mr Kacker was the Global Head, Arena Animation & Senior Vice President, Aptech Limited and also acted as global head for the major brands of Aptech including Aptech Computer Education and Aptech Worldwide.

"Mr Kacker has continuously helped power the company’s rapid growth worldwide in over 35 countries - developing the business in geographically diverse countries (starting from Fiji in the east to Latin America in the west) and culturally as diverse as India, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia or Nigeria," the release said.

"Over the years, we have launched various retails brands, which have made a mark in the domestic market. It is now time to bring about cost and operational synergy across all these brands. Hence, Anuj will take over the responsibility of COO – Retail. Over the past 6 years, Anuj has demonstrated good understanding of the education business in India and at the global level" Mr. Ninad Karpe, MD & CEO, Aptech Limited said.

An Electronics Engineer from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and a management graduate from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kolkata, Mr Kacker has over 23 years of experience in industries like Pharmaceuticals, Paints and Consumer Durables. Besides Aptech, his experience includes tenures in multinationals like ICI as well as brands like Akai and Jenson and Nicholson.

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Vijay Kelkar joins board of directors of TCS

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IT services, business solutions and outsourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has announced that it has appointed former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar and Tata Sons finance director Ishaat Hussain to the board of directors of the company with effect from January 5, 2010.

With the addition of these two new directors, the total board strength of the company has increased to 12 directors, including six independent directors, including Mr Kelkar, a press release from TCS said.

Mr Kelkar holds a doctorate in development economics from the University of California at Berkeley. He was Chairman of the 13th Finance Commission, which submitted its report to the President recently. He has also served the Government as Adviser to the Minister of Finance and Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

He also served on several government task forces including as chairman of Implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. He represented the Government of India on global forums as an executive director at the International Monetary Fund; and as director at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Mr Hussain joined the board of Tata Sons as an executive director on July 1, 1999, prior to which he served as executive director, finance at Tata Steel for almost ten years. He is also the chairman of Voltas and Tata Sky and serves on the boards of several Tata group enterprises including Tata Steel, Tata Industries, Tata Teleservices and Titan Industries. He is also a public interest director of the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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R Gopalan takes over as Secretary, Financial Services

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Mr R Gopalan, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1976 batch (Tamil Nadu cadre) has assumed charge as Secretary, Financial Services in the Ministry of Finance.


Prior to this, he was serving as Special Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He has also served as Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.


An official press release said Mr Gopalan has participated actively in ministerial meetings at Doha, Cancun and Hong Kong, and assisted the Commerce Minister at the G-6, G-20 and G-110 meetings. He has also participated in inter-governmental negotiation meetings in the areas of agriculture, services and environmental goods, and led the Indian delegation at the WTO.

Mr Gopalan has served as Director General Anti-Dumping and Anti-Subsidy Investigation; Director on the Boards of Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation Ltd./State Trading Corporation; Chairman & Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation. He has also held various positions in the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Mr Gopalan has a Master’s degree in Economics from Boston University as well as in Public Administration and Management from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, the release added.


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Bakshi elected President of International Federation of Company Secretaries

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Mr Keyoor Bakshi has been elected as the President of the International Federation of Company Secretaries (IFCS) for the year 2010 at its sixth Assembly Meeting in Tanzania.

Mr Bakshi is the immediate past president of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and a member of its Central Council.

IFCS was established in 2004 with the objective of development and promotion of the profession of Company Secretaries, best Company Secretarial Practices and professional administration at global level, an official press release added.

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Conservationist "Billy" Arjan Singh passes away

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Billy Arjan Singh. Photo courtesy Anshuman Atroley.
Billy Arjan Singh. Photo courtesy Anshuman Atroley.

Well-known conservationist "Billy" Arjan Singh, a living legend whom many regarded as the godfather of the "Save the Tiger" campaign in India, died last night at Pallia in Uttar Pradesh of problems related to old age. He was 92.

The end came at a hospital in Pallia near the famed Dudhwa National Park, where he had lived for more than five decades.

Sources in the Dudhwa National Park told NetIndian over the telephone from Pallia that the funeral would be held tomorrow.

Born in Gorakhpur on August 15, 1917, Billy had worked for more than five decades to save and protect India's endangered tigers. He was instrumental in establishing the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in 1988. He had christened the corner of Dudhwa that he made his home as "Tiger Haven".

Billy used to be a hunter but gave up shooting in 1960 and actively campaigned against sport hunting after that. His efforts to return a tigress, Tara, to the wild in Dudhwa created a controversy that isolated him from fellow-conservationists for many years.

In 2006, the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan and in February, 2005, he was presented the J Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Award, a global honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution to international conservation. He had authored several popular books on wildlife.

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Achal Kumar Joti is new Chief Secretary in Gujarat

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Achal Kumar Joti
Achal Kumar Joti

Mr Achal Kumar Joti has taken over as the new Chief Secretary of the Gujarat Government.

Mr Joti, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1975 batch, was the Additional Chief Secretary, General Administration Department (Personnel).

He has succeeded Mr D Rajagopalan, who retired yesterday after a six-month extension in his term. Mr Joti, 56, is due to retire in 2013.

Among other assignments in a long career, Mr Joti has served as Managing Director of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) and as Chairman of the Kandla Port Trust. He has also worked as Secretary in the Industry, Revenue and Water Supply Departments, a state government press release added.

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Talmiz Ahmad is next Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

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Mr Talmiz Ahmad, at present India's Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been named as the country's next Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Ahmad, who will succeed Mr M O H Farook, was expected to take up his assignment shortly, a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said.

This will be Mr Ahmad's second stint as Ambassador to the kingdom, having served as Ambassador in Riyadh from January, 2000 to July, 2003. He has also been India's Ambassador to Oman and Deputy High Commissioner in Pretoria, South Africa.

Mr Ahmad, who joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1974, has served as the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs and headed the Gulf and Haj Divisions. He has worked in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas as Additional Secretary for International Cooperation and as Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA). He took over as Ambassador to the UAE in August, 2007.

In his early years in the IFS, Mr Ahmad has served in Indian missions in Kuwait, Baghdad, Sana'a and Jeddah as well as in London and New York.

Mr Ahmad writes and lectures regularly on Political Islam, the politics of the Middle East and energy security. His book, "Reform in the Arab World: External Influences and Regional Debates" was published in July 2005.

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Vijaya Latha Reddy apointed Secretary, MEA

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Ms Vijaya Latha Reddy, who was until recently the Indian Ambassador to Thailand, has been appointed as Secretary at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs.


Ms Reddy, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1975 batch, will succeed Mr N Ravi, who retired from service today.


In other decisions taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Ms Bhupinder Prasad (IAS, UT:76), at present Special Secretary, in the Department of Law and Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, has been made Secretary in the same department.


Mr R Gopalan (IAS, TN:76), presently Special Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, will be Secretary in the same Department after the post of Additional Secretary held earlier by Mr G C Chaturvedi has been upgraded to its original level of Secretary.


Mr Chaturvedi (IAS, UP:77) will continue as Additional Secretary in the Department of Financial Services until further orders, an official press release added.


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Kannada actor Vishnuvardhan passes away

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Vishnuvardhan
Vishnuvardhan

Leading Kannada film actor Vishnuvardhan died in the early hours of today after a massive heart attack at the Vikram Hospital in Mysore, sources said.

They said he had complained of pain in the chest last night and was taken to hospital, where he breathed his last around 0230 hours this morning.

He was 59. He is survived by his wife Bharati, an actress, and two daughters, Keerthi and Chandana.

Thousands of people gathered outside the actor's residence in Bangalore's Jayanagar area on hearing about his death. Later, his body was kept at the National College grounds in the city to enable people to pay their last respects.

Born on September 18, 1950 as Sampath Kumar to the late H L Narayan Rao, a well-known artiste and script writer for movies, and the late Kamakshamma, Vishnuvardhan did his primary schooling at Mysore's Gopalswamy School and later studied at the Kannada Madari School and the National College in Bangalore.

In his 37 years in the Kannada film industry, Vishnuvardhan, popularly kown as Sahasasimha, had acted in nearly 200 films and created for himself a very loyal fan following.

He started his career with the National Award winning film "Vamshavruksha" made by Girish Karnad. He adopted his screen name Vishnuvardhan at the suggestion of Puttana Kanagal, who directed "Nagarahaavu", in which he played a lead role for the first time and became a star overnight. Over the years, he built a reputation as a very versatile, talented and stylish actor, who was at home in all kinds of roles -- romantic, action, comedy and family drama.

He had won as many as seven state awards and five Filmfare awards for his roles in various movies.

Vishnuvardhan also sang in some of his films and had recorded devotional songs for albums.

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Vivek Sahai takes over as Member Traffic, Railway Board

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Mr Vivek Sahai, who was until now the General Manager of Northern Railway, has taken over as Member Traffic, Railway Board and ex-officio Secretary to the Government of India.


He succeeds Mr Shri Prakash, who has been appointed as Chairman of the Standing High Power Committee on Infrastructure Planning, Business Development and Projects in the Ministry of Railways.


Mr Sahai will continue to look after the duties of the post of General Manager, Northern Railway, in addition to his own for three months or until further orders, an official press release said.


Mr Sahai is an Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer of the 1973 batch and has held several key posts on the Railways. These include General Manager, North Central Railway, Additional Member Traffic, Railway Board, Chief Operations Manager, Western Railway, and Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai, Central Railway. He has also served as Executive Director, Railway Board, Chief Operations Manager, Konkan Railway Corporation and Additional General Manager, Western Railway.


He has a post-graduate degree in Physics from Allahabad University and has been trained in US Rail Roads and SNCF (French Railways) under a UNDP project in 1989. He has also participated in an advanced leadership programme at Stern Business School, New York, in 2007.


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RIL Director R Ravimohan passes away

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Mr R Ravimohan, Executive Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and former Chairman of Crisil Limited, passed away here late on Monday evening after a cardiac arrest, sources in the company said.

He was 52. He is survived by his wife, Madhuralakshmi, a daughter and a son. The funeral was scheduled for later today, the sources said.

Mr Ravimohan, who also served as Managing Director and Region Head of Standard and Poor's for South and South-East Asia, was appointed as a wholetime Diretor, designated as Executive Director, of RIL with effect from September 1 this year.

"We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Ravimohan. He was a keen supporter of Reliance Industries and a very dear friend," RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said.

Mr Ravimohan was a chemical engineer and had completed the Advanced Management Programme from the Harvard Business School.

He was credited with building Crisil into the largest rating, financial and business research and advisory service company in India. He was closely involved with the modernization of Indian financial system and pioneered the era of electronic stock markets in the country. He was involved in critical policy assignments, including being a member of the Primary Market Advisory Committee of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Technical Advisory Committee and Financial Stability and Stern Test Assessment Committee of Reserve Bank of India and Raghuram Rajan Committee on Financial Sector Reforms.

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Prof C N R Rao to get Hoffman International Medal

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Eminent scientist Professor C N R Rao, one of the world's foremost solid state and materials chemists, has become the first Indian to be chosen for the prestigious August-Wilhelm von Hoffmann medal for his outstanding contributions in Chemistry by the German Chemical Society.

This is the highest international medal in Chemistry awarded once in two or three years, an official press release said. Previous winners of the award include Nobel Laureates and leaders in chemical research.

The medal will be presented to Prof. Rao at the European Chemical Congress in Nurnberg on August 29, 2010, the release added.

Prof. Rao,75, is presently working as chairman of Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

Among other positions, Prof Rao is currently a National Research Professor, the Linus Pauling Research Professor and the honorary President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore.

Prof Rao was appointed chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in January, 2005. He had held the position earlier during 1985-89.

He took his B.Sc. degree from Mysore University and M.Sc. from Banaras Hindu University before completing his Ph.D. from the Purdue University in the United States.

Among other institutions, he has taught at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, Purdue, Oxford and Cambridge. He was the director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, from 1984-94.

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Van De Vijver is new President and CEO of Reliance E&P DMCC

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Petroleum and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today announced the appointment of Mr Walter Van De Vivjer as President and CEO of Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC.


Mr Van De Vivjer, who has decades of global expertise and leadership in the exploration & production (E&P) business, will be responsible for overseeing the operations of RIL's current portfolio of international assets.


A press release from RIL said he would also focus on developing the company's E&P portfolio in North America and other high potential countries globally.


Mr Van De Vivjer will succeed Mr Atul Chandra, who will work with the Chairman's office as Senior Adviser on international business opportunities, the release said.


According to the release, Mr Van De Vivjer has been associated with RIL as an Adviser over the last three years.


He is the former Group Managing Director of Shell and has also been the Chief Executive Officer of Shell's Global E&P Business. He joined Shell in 1979 and, during the 25 years with the company, has gained extensive technical and managerial experience in both the upstream and downstream oil industries in various countries including the Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States of America, Qatar and Oman. He has also served as CEO and co-founder of Delta Hydrocarbons B.V>


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Air India Executive Director T R Ramachandran passes away

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Mr T R Ramachandran, Executive Director-Industrial Relations, of national carrier Air India passed away here early this morning following a heart attack.


He was 55. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. His body will be cremated in Chennai tomorrow, Air India sources said.


Condolence meetings were held in the airline's offices in Mumbai and Delhi today. Mr Ramachandran's body was kept at the Delhi airport to enable his colleagues to pay their respects before it was flown to Chennai.


Mr Ramachandran joined the erstwhile Indian Airlines in 1978 as a Personnel Officer and rose to the position of Executive Director.


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Vineet Nayyar apppointed Chairman of Satyam

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Mahindra Satyam, formerly Satyam Computer Services, today announced that Mr Vineet Nayyar had been appointed as the Chairman of its Board and Mr M Damodaran and Mr Gautam S. Kaji had been appointed as additional directors.


With this, the size of the Board has increased to eight directors, comprising four independent directors, including two nominee directors of the Government of India, two non-executive and two whole-time directors.


Mr Nayyar, 70, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, is the Executive Vice-Chairman of Tech Mahindra, which now has a controlling stake in Satyam. Apart from various postings in the Government, he worked with the World Bank for over ten years.


He was the founding Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the public sector Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL). He has served as Managing Director of HCL Corporation Litd and as the Vice-Chairman of HCL Technologies. He was also a co-founder and CEO of HCL Perot Systems.


Mr Damodaran, also a former IAS officer, has served as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), CMD of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) and Chairman of Unit Trust of India (UTI).


Mr Kaji is the former Managing Director for operations of the World Bank with responsibility for Africa, East Asia and the Pacific and South Asia. He also led the World Bank's finance and private sector development programs and served as chair of the World Bank's operations committee, which reviews all projects put forward for World Bank support. Prior to this he worked in a commercial bank. He is currently Chairman of Centennial Group, a Washington based Policy and Strategic advisory firm and their non-profit initiative The Emerging Markets Forum.


Following these appointments, the Board has also appointed Mr. Damodaran and Mr. Gautam S Kaji as members of the Audit Committee, a press release from Satyam said.


The Board also appointed Deloitte Haskins & Sells as Mahindra Satyam’s statutory auditors.


Satyam suffered a major setback when its founder and then Chairman B Ramalinga Raju disclosed on January 7 this year that the company's profits had been overstated for years and that about $ 1 billion of cash and bank balances on its books did not exist. He and some of his close associates are now under investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation in what is India's biggest case of corporate fraud.


Following the sensational disclosure, the Government appointed a Board of Directors to look after the affairs of the company. In a strategic sale that was conducted in April, Venturbay Consultants Private Limited, a subsidiary controlled by outsourcer Tech Mahindra Limited, a part of the Mahindra Group, paid Rs 1756 crore to acquire 31 per cent of Satyam.


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R C Misra is Secretary Admn. Reforms, Public Grievances & Pensions

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Mr R C Misra has been appointed as Secretary in the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances and Department of Pensions & Pensioners Welfare.

Mr Mishra, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1976 batch (Orissa cadre), is at present Special Secretary and Financial Adviser, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. He will succeed Ms Rajni Razdan, an official press release added.

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Kaushik Basu joins as Chief Economic Adviser in Finance Ministry

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Well-known economist Kaushik Basu today joined as Chief Economic Adviser, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.


Dr Basu, 57, was Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Department of Economics at Cornell University in the United States. He was also Director of the Centre for Analytic Economics at Cornell.


After doing BA (Hons.) in Economics in 1972 from St. Stephen’s College in, Delhi University, Dr. Basu completed M.Sc. and then Ph.D in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Dr. Basu was honoured with the Padma Bhushan by the Government in 2008. He was awarded the National Mahalanobis Memorial Medal in 1989. He has been a Fellow of the Econometric Society since 1991.


During a long and distinguished teaching career, Dr Basu has served as a Reader at the Delhi School of Economics (DSE) from 1978-85 as as Professor of Economics at DSE from 1985-94. He has also been a Visiting Professor at several well-known institutions, including Princeton, LSE, Harvard, MIT and Stockholm University.


He began his assignment as Professor of Economics at Cornell in 1994.


Dr Basu has been on the editorial boards of several journals and associated with several professional organisations. He has also served on many committees. He has written and edited several books. He has authored scores of papers and popular essays. Apart from this, he wrote a monthly column for BBC News Online and a fortnightly column for the Hindustan Times.


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