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Malayalam actor Cochin Haneefa passes away

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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.


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Vikram Srivastava named DG of CRPF

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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.


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Lt Gen G M Nair is new Military Secretary

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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.


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Former ONGC Chairman Subir Raha passes away

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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.

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

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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.


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Congress leader Ram Nivas Mirdha passes away

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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.

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Sundareshan named Petroleum Secretary

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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.


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Bhagwat Singh Bishnoi concurrently accredited to Djibouti

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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.


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Alkazi, Zohra Sehgal, Ramakrishnan chosen for Padma Vibhushan

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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

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Veteran socialist leader Janeshwar Mishra passes away

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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.

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B K Sinha named new Secretary, Rural Development

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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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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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