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Rajasthan

IAF's Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft crashes in Rajasthan, pilots bail out safely

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A Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed near a village in Rajasthan's Dausa district today, soon after it took off from an airbase in Gwalior in adjoining Madhya Pradesh.

Both the pilot and the co-pilot managed to bail out safely and were admitted to a hospital in Jaipur with minor injuries, police sources said.
 
The mishap occurred around 1245 hours at a place about 100 km south-west of Jaipur near Baman Baas village, the sources said.
 
Police and district administration officials from Dausa and Sawai Madhopur districts as well as officials of the IAF and the Army rushed to the spot after hearing of the crash.
 
The IAF has ordered an inquiry into the crash, the second involving a Mirage 2000 in less than two weeks. On February 24, another Mirage 2000 had crashed near Bhind in Madhya Pradesh soon after it had got airborne from the same airbase at Gwalior. In that case, too, the pilot had managed to eject safely.
 
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Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant

The 5 MWp Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant which has been commissioned at Rawara village in Phalodi taluka of Rajasthan under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. Read story.

The 5 MWp Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant which has been commissioned at Rawara village in Phalodi taluka of Rajasthan under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.
Read story.The 5 MWp Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant which has been commissioned at Rawara village in Phalodi taluka of Rajasthan under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

5 MWp solar photovoltaic power plant commissioned in Rajasthan

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A 5 MWp solar photovoltaic power plant has been installed at Rawara village in Phalodi taluka of Rajasthan under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.  

The project has been commissioned by Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited (REIL),  a public sector undertaking under the Ministry  of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises.  
 
According to an official press release, the location is ideally suited for taking all the advantages of photovoltaic systems as in Western Rajasthan the solar insulation is very good and number of sunny days is also very high. 
 
The power plant is designed to feed power to 33/132 kV grid sub-station at Bap village, 18 km from the plant site at Rawara.
 
The release said Bap has become a solar hub as projects of about 50 MW solar have been installed around the area based on various technologies.
 
The 5 MWp plant has been developed based on the crystalline technology. REIL will maintain the plant for five years, the release added.
 
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CBI names sacked Rajasthan minister Maderna, Congress MLA Bishnoi in missing nurse case

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today named sacked Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna and Congress MLA Malkhan Singh Bishnoi as the main accused in the second charge sheet filed by it in the case of a missing nurse, who is believed to have been killed.
 
Maderna, Bishnoi and seven others have been charged with murder, conspiracy, abduction and causing disappearance of evidence under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
 
The supplementary charge sheet was filed in the CBI court in Jodhpur against 13 persons in all, who are presently in judicial custody.
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India takes over as chair of Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions

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India today took over as the chair of assembly and governing board of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) at its 12th Assembly in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
 
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Vinod Rai is the new chairman of the 45-nation organization, which is one of the regional groupings of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). Rai takes over the prestigious post from Pakistan.
 
Speaking on the occasion, ASOSAI aims to promote understanding and cooperation among member institutions through exchange of ideas and experiences in the field of public audit. 
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Suzlon signs Rs 600 crore contract with CLP India for 100 MW project in Rajasthan

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Wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy Limited today said it had signed a contract with  for a 100 MW wind power project with CLP India to be set up in Rajasthan and commissioned by January 2013.

A press release from the company said the project comprised 48 units of Suzlon’s latest S97-2.1 MW wind turbines, featuring DFIG technology. 
 
Suzlon will execute the contract under its end-to-end business model. The deal is valued at over Rs. 600 crore (approximately $ 122million), the release said.
 
CLP India is a leading independent power producer (IPP) and has built a portfolio that covers renewable energy, supercritical coal-fired and gas-fired generation, amounting to over 2,715 MW. 

Rajasthan government to constitute Jaisalmer Fort Development Authority

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The Rajasthan government has agreed to set up a Jaisalmer Fort Development Authority to resolve the vexed and inter-connected problems relating to constructions and encroachments within the complex.

This was decided at a meeting held by Union Minister for Culture Kumari Selja with Rajasthan Minister for Culture Bina Kak in Jaipur on January 21 to discuss the concerted efforts required to be made by the state government to address the problems of one of the most celebrated forts of medieval times.
 
Union Culture Secretary Jawhar Sircar and RajasthanChief Secretary Salauddin Ahmed also attended the meeting, along with senior representatives of the Ministry, the Archaeological Survey of India, and the Government of Rajasthan. The Chairman of the Nagar Palika of Jaisalmer was also present.

Rushdie's video address at Jaipur Literary Festival cancelled after protests

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Well-known writer Salman Rushdie, who was forced to pull out of the Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF), citing security threats, today could not make his much-anticipated video address to the gathering after Muslim groups staged protests which gave rise to fears of violence.
 
The organisers of JLF met with leaders of the protesters, who told them that "even seeing his face" was an issue, after which they decided to call of the video address, scheduled for 3.45 pm.
 
Sanjay Roy, one of the organisers,announced the cancellation, saying people had entered the venue to disrupt proceedings.
 
“Some organisations have threatened violence. This is unfortunate, but necessary to avoid violence. It is a fairly iditoic situation. We are once again stepping down from the fight for freedom of expression. We have been pushed to the wall again,” he said.

Rushdie slams Rajasthan police for "inventing plot" to keep him away from JLF

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Two days after he pulled out of the Jaipur Literary Festival, citing security threats, well-known writer Salman Rushdie today hit out at the Rajasthan police, saying they had invented a plot to keep him away from the prestigious five-day event that began on Friday.

""Rajasthan police invented plot to keep away Rushdie' I've investigated, & believe that I was indeed lied to. I am outraged and very angry," the author tweeted on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Here's the story. Astonishing. The Hindu : News / National : ‘Rajasthan police invented plot to keep away Rushdie' http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/..., he said, providing a link to a report in The Hindu.
 
"Don't know who gave orders. And yes I guess the same police who want to arrest Hari, Amitava, Jeet and Ruchir. Disgusting," he added.
 
Rushdie was referring to the writers Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi who had read out portions of his banned 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses" at the festival to protest against his absence at the event.
 
After days of speculation about whether he would turn up the festival or not, Rushdie cancelled his plans to attend the event on Friday.
 
The organisers of the festival, now in its fifth year, read out a statement from the Booker Prize winning author, whose proposed visit was opposed by Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband and other Muslim groups angered by alleged blasphemous content "The Satanic Verses".
 
"For several days I have made no public comments on this issue at the request of local authorities hoping that they would put in place arrangements to allow me to come and speak.
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"But I have been informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from Mumbai underworld might be on their way to eliminate me. While I have doubts about these intelligence inputs, it would be irresponsible for me to come to the Festival in such circumstances; irresponsible to my family, to the festival audience, to my fellow writers. I will therefore not travel to Jaipur as planned," Rushdie said in the statement.
 
"I hope, however, to be able to participate by video link, at a time to be announced soon. Believe me, I am sorry to be not there in person," the writer added.
 
"Very sad not to be at jaipur. I was told Bombay mafia don issued weapons to 2 hitmen to 'eliminate' me. Will do video link instead. Damn," Rushdie said later on the micro-blogging site Twitter on the same day.
 
This would have been Rushdie's second visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival, billed as the largest literary festival in Asia-Pacific and the most prestigious celebration of national and international literature to be held in India.
 
Later that evening, Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar, read out portions from the banned "Satanic Verses" at the festival to register their protest after Rushdie was forced to pull out of the event. However, they had to cut short the reading when the organisers asked them not to go ahead. Later, Thayil and Joshi also read out from the book.
 
India was among the first to ban the book, shortly after it was published in 1988.
 
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Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka wins DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

Singapore-based Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka receiving the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012 from  Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan, in Jaipur, on January 21, 2012.
Singapore-based Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka receiving the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012 from Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan, in Jaipur, on January 21, 2012.
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012 was awarded to Singapore-based Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka for his book Chinaman (Random House, India), a novel that explores cricket as a metaphor to uncover a lost life and a lost history.
 
Chinaman skilfully uses sport and the notion of fair play to look at Sri Lanka in a fresh and exciting way.
 
The US $50,000 DSC Prize 2012 was awarded to Karunatilaka at a ceremony attended by eminent literary figures, renowned authors, mediapersons and others at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, one of the biggest literary festivals in the region.
 
The DSC Prize along with a trophy was awarded to Shehan Karunatilaka by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan.
 
Six authors were part of the Shortlist for the DSC Prize 2012 from which the winner was announced. The other shortlisted authors were U.R. Ananthamurthy: Bharathipura (Oxford University Press, India, Translated by Susheela Punitha), Chandrakanta: A Street in Srinagar (Zubaan Books, India, Translated by Manisha Chaudhry), Usha K.R: Monkey-man (Penguin/Penguin India), Tabish Khair: The Thing About Thugs (Fourth Estate/HarperCollins-India), and Kavery Nambisan: The Story that Must Not Be Told (Viking/Penguin India).
 
The DSC Prize was judged by a jury chaired by Ira Pande along with Alastair Niven, Fakrul Alam , Faiza S Khan and Marie Brenner. The Shortlist was announced in October 2011 at the DSC South Asian Literature Festival in UK.
 
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“The jury unanimously chose this year’s winner. While this fact in itself is a historic one for book juries are notorious for spirited battles over lists and winners, let me add that this year’s winner is also important for several other reasons. The winning title is a brilliant narration of all that is both great and sad about South Asia and in that sense it brings a world to the reader that needs to be seen outside this region. No longer are novelists who write of violence, breakdown of communities and the old way of life able to speak the whole truth about our world," Pande said
 
“The speech rhythms of smaller towns and indigent characters, so seldom seen and heard, are brought alive by a writer who handles character and speech with consummate ease. That world has long needed a suitable metaphor and he has discovered it: Cricket. Set in Sri Lanka, as an epic search for a lost player, Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilake is both a portrait of a lost way of life and a glimpse into the future this vast and vivid region is fated to occupy," she said.
 
Chinaman was given the prize for being the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region, published in the last year in English, including translations into English.
 
Manhad Narula, Director DSC Limited and Founder of the DSC Prize, commented on the occasion saying, “Congratulations to Shehan Karunatilaka for a book that represents the best South Asian writing and winning the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012. I thank the jury members who’ve had the difficult task of choosing a winner among several exceptional works submitted this year. Now in its second year running, the DSC Prize has built a strong and engaging platform for the recognition of South Asian writing. We are committed to showcasing the best writing in the region and bringing it to a larger global audience”
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The prize was instituted in January 2010 to celebrate writing that highlights the South Asian region, its people, culture and diaspora. Envisioned as a unique and prestigious award, it recognizes the literary works of authors across the globe writing on South Asia, transcending the origin or ethnicity of the author.
 
The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is one-of-its-kind in the region and aims at recognizing literary work that is redefining the understanding of South Asia across the globe.
 
Last year, the prize was to HM Naqvi for his debut novel Home Boy (HarperCollins India). The DSC Prize is guided by an international Advisory Committee of literary personalities comprising MJ Akbar, Urvashi Butalia, Tina Brown, William Dalrymple, Lord Meghnad Desai, David Godwin, Surina Narula, Senath Walter Perera, Nayantara Sehgal and Michael Worton.
 
As part of its efforts to contribute to social growth and create social infra wealth, DSC Limited has identified the promotion of literature as a key initiative. The company has been the principal sponsor of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival for the last five years. During this period, this event has grown to become the largest literary event of its kind in the region.
 
In order to further strengthen its association with South Asian literature, DSC Limited recently presented the DSC South Asian Literature Festival which was held in London in October 2011 . With growing interest and a robust following of South Asian writing in the UK, this event was a critical step in extending the company’s patronage of literature to a global platform.
 
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Salman Rushdie pulls out of Jaipur Literary Festival for security reasons

Well-known writer Salman Rushdie has cancelled his plans to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival, which got underway in the capital of Rajasthan today, citing security issues and ending days of speculation about whether he would make an appearance at the event or not.

The organisers of the festival, now in its fifth year, read out a statement from the Booker Prize winning author, whose proposed visit was opposed by Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband and other Muslim groups angered by alleged blasphemous content in his 1988 novel, "The Satanic Verses".
 
With the organisers  of the five-day event insisting that their invitation to him stood, there were concerns expressed about his security in some quarters.

Literature lovers spoilt for choice as Jaipur Literary Festival gets underway

File photo of the stage on the Front Lawns at the Jaipur Literature Festival, 2010.
File photo of the stage on the Front Lawns at the Jaipur Literature Festival, 2010.
"Let’s not obsess over Salman Rushdie."This appeal by the organizers of the Jaipur Literary Festival to the media aptly reflected the chasm between the event and its projection.
 
Billed as the largest literary festival in Asia-Pacific and the most prestigious celebration of national and international literature to be held in India, the five-day event, now in its fifth year, got underway here today.
 
Organizers Sanjoy Roy, William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale sought to drive home that 250 authors were converging amid expectation that peoples’ participation – there’s no entry fee – will be impressive. The numbers partaking of the literary fare over five days, some say, could touch 1,00,000. Journalists though could not help speculating about threatened protests by local Muslim organizations in case Rushdie turns up. What to the organizers is a "side story" is the main fare for media.
 
Go past the "Rushdie angle" and glance at the over two feet by one foot sheet of "menu" on offer. You are spoilt for choice in the friendly ambience of a sprawling haveli that has evolved into a hotel called "Diggi Palace". You may dig into a particular theme or just nibble for "gyan" of various hues. 
 
The five day confluence of authors – with five sessions underway at any point of time – offers varied fare. A sampling: examination of "Holy Wars",  a conversation between Pakistani author and political scientist, Ayesha Jalal with author William Dalrymple; "Imagining India", a conversation with Sunil Khilnani, academic and author, book launches and more.  
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The Lit Fest this year also seeks to be a forum for science writing, said Dalrymple, pointing to the participation of Richard Dawkins, author and evolutionary biologist, and Steven Pinker, an experimental psychologist and author.  The list of participants –which includes academics, authors, film personalities and photographers -- is indeed impressive.
 
There’s a dash of spirituality too in a refreshing perspective.  “We are looking at Granth Sahib as a poetic work,” said Gokhale amid approving nods from those familiar with this holy book of the Sikhs.
 
Today's proceedings begin with a 15-minute rendition from the works of Bhakti poets -- Meearabai, Kabir and Dadu, and end with a musical evening with Sufi singers, the Sabri brothers. 
 
There’s a session titled "Reconstructing Rumi" and another titled "Violent Mystics" featuring Carl Ernst, described as a specialist in Islamic Studies and Sufism and others. You have the famous Deepak Chopra listed to speak on "The Return of the Rishi". 
 
Contemporary South Asia – and beyond, including Myanmar – feature prominently, and, with refreshing angles. If lawyer and politician Kapil Sibal is expected to dwell on the“truth” of politics, Ashok Vajpayee, poet-author-retired civil servant is billed to bare the “truth” of the world of poetry.  
 
General V.K.Singh is listed as a key speaker on "Indian Military History: The Missing Links". Fatima Bhutto of the Bhutto family will speak on Pakistan.
 
The concerns sought to be brought on the table include Obama’s America, future of Palestine as also an engagement with voices from Rajasthan in its cultural idiom be they authors, musicians or school going children.
 
“We are organising interactions between visiting authors and increasing number of schools,” said Roy. 
 
The Jaipur Literary Festival, while having made a niche for itself in South Asia and beyond, seems to be striking roots deeper locally as well.
 
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Miscreants kill four of a family in Jodhpur district

Four members of an extended family, including an aged couple, were killed by armed assailants in a hamlet near Bilara in this district of Rajasthan late last night.
 
According to police sources, the miscreants stormed into Bagh-Ki-Dhani near Bilara and assaulted Ratna Ram Sirvi(80) and his wife Dakha(75) and some other family members with batons and sharp-edged weapons.
 
While the couple and two children died in the attack, a woman was admitted to the hospital.
 
The assailants later sped away in the family's car, leaving behind their unregistered motorcycle.
 
A search has been launched to nab the culprits, the sources added.
 
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PM hails Rajasthan government's performance

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today hailed financial management attained by the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan and its performance in achieving goals of the 11th Five Year plan.
 
Addressing a formal meeting of the state Council of Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries at the Raj Bhavan here, Singh said, "Rajasthan is one of the leading states to achieve financial parameters and the targets of the 11th Five Year plan."
 
Despite the peculiar geographical and natural conditions, Rajasthan has made remarkable progress in infrastructure development, health services, road development and commendable works in energy and social sector, he stated.
 
The state has also made good progress in bringing the minorities into the mainstream, he added.

Overseas Indians discuss FDI in retail, governance issues with PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a meeting with the Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indian, at Jaipur, Rajasthan on January 8, 2012.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a meeting with the Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indian, at Jaipur, Rajasthan on January 8, 2012.
Members of the Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians today highlighted issues related to foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and governance and how India could play a more pro-active role in the discourse on globalisation.
 
At a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here, the members also raised issues concerning higher education, particularly faculty development, engaging second and third generation overseas Indians.
 
They said that, on balance, the tenor of reports about India in the international media showed that the global community maintained a healthy respect for India because of India's strong fundamentals.
 
The members thanked the Prime Minister for allowing a free exchange of views on matters concerning overseas Indians and appreciated the fact that many of the suggestions made previously by them had been implemented, such as merging of OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) and PIO (Peoples of Indian Origin) cards and facilitating voting rights for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) while certain other issues are under implementation.
 
Singh thanked the members for their constructive suggestions. He said that, with the slowdown in the United States and Europe, the growth centers may have to shift to the Asia-Pacific.
 
He was confident that despite many constraints India would return to a sustained high annual growth path of 9-10 per cent in the medium term.
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The Prime Minister assured them that the Government would reflect on all the suggestions made by the Council members, and engage proactively on all of them.
 
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), an annual gathering of NRIs and PIOs from across the world, which Singh inaugurated earlier in the morning.
 
Others present on the occasion included Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed and senior secretaries to the Government of India.
 
Members of the council who attended the meeting included Lord Karan F. Bilimoria, Swadesh Chatterjee, Ela Gandhi, Lord Khalid Hameed, Renu Khator, Kishore Mahbubani, L.N. Mittal, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Sam Pitroda, Ajit Singh, Neville Joseph Roach, Srinivasa SR Varadhan and Yusuffali M.A.
 
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PM: India likely to grow by 7% this year, sustain 9-10% growth in medium term

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that on Sunday that, despite an adverse international environment, the Indian economy was expected to grow by about 7% this financial year and hoped to bring back the rhythm of its growth processes to sustain an annual growth rate of 9-10% in the medium term.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar lighting the lamp on the 10th Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas at Birla auditorium in Jaipur on January 8, 2012. UNI PHOTO
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar lighting the lamp on the 10th Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas at Birla auditorium in Jaipur on January 8, 2012. UNI PHOTO

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that, despite an adverse international environment, the Indian economy was expected to grow by about 7 per cent this financial year and hoped to bring back the rhythm of its growth processes to sustain an annual growth rate of 9-10 per cent in the medium term.

"Our country is also going through difficult times. Nonetheless, our economic fundamentals are strong and our constitutional processes are robust. We are up to the task of meeting these challenges we face as a nation," he said in his inaugural address at the 10th Pravasi  Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Jaipur today.
 
More than 1300 delegates from 54 countries are attending this year's PBD, a high-profile annual convention of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
 
The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad Bissessar is the Chief Guest at the event, which is also being attended by eight Ministers of Indian origin from various countries, 10 Central Ministers and an equal number of Chief Ministers and other Ministers from State Governments.
 
Singh said India's domestic savings rate, which currently stands at 33-35 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), would greatly facilitate the realization of its growth objectives. He said the Government's efforts to battle inflation were producing results and there had been an improvement in the situation. 
 
He said the Government had attempted sincerely to address the rising expectations of the people with regard to governance and delivery of public services. 
 
"The Right to Information Act has proved to be a powerful instrument of bringing in transparency in governance. I am confident that some of the other legislations on these issues, which are now on the national agenda, will make a similar impact in the years ahead," he said.
 
Noting that the theme for this year's PBD is “Global Indian - Inclusive Growth", Singh said Indian civilization and society had always been inclusive in character.He said that it was only natural that the country's political and economic processes had also to be "inclusive" in their orientation and in their outcome. 
 
Singh said that, over the past years, Indian democracy had deepened and gained in strength and vitality as more and more people from the disadvantaged sections of society had secured their rightful place in its economic and political processes. 
 
"We wish to unleash the vast human potential of the many millions, who for one reason or another, have been on the margins of our society in the past. Our government is committed to doing so by providing security of education, nutrition and health to every Indian so that he or she is empowered to live a life of dignity and well being. We are also committed to the pursuit of a development strategy which will protect our environment and the essential life-support systems of our planet," he said.
 
The Prime Minister was full of praise for Persad-Bissessar, who created history by becoming the first woman Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
 
"She distinguished herself in her earlier careers in education and law. Subsequently, she responded to the call of public service and proved what a person of talent, dedication and commitment can achieve anywhere in this world," he said.
 
'In welcoming Prime Minister Madam Kamla Persad Bissessar today we also seek to honour the large Indian diaspora in the Caribbean. We are proud of their achievements. Their journey, often in very difficult circumstances, to those far-away lands began many, many years ago, but their links with India remain strong and deep. Our shared passion for cricket is well known. Which Indian sports fan does not know the names of cricketing legends like Brian Lara or Sonny Ramadhin," he said.
 
Singh pointed out that this year's PBD marked the 10th anniversary of the event first held in 2003. He said this decade had been marked by a visible accretion in the influence and impact of the global Indian across the world. There had been a steady growth in their numbers, levels of prosperity and their skills, he said.
 
He said the Government and people of India recognized and greatly valued the important role being played by Indian communities living abroad. 
 
"We believe that the Indian diaspora has much more to contribute to the building of modern India. We propose to facilitate, encourage and promote this engagement. Over the past year we have taken a number of steps towards this end," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that, pursuant to the law that was enacted to enable NRIs to vote in national elections, the Government had issued notifications for registration of overseas Indians under the Representation of People Act, 1950. This constituted the first major step to enable Indians resident abroad to participate in the country's election processes. 
 
He said that, in the last session of Parliament, the Government had introduced a Bill intended to merge and streamline the People of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizen of India schemes by amending the Citizenship Act. 
 
He said this would rectify some of the anomalies in the schemes and provide for an Overseas Indian Card which will be given to foreign spouses of such card holders as well. 
 
He said a large number of workers from Rajasthan were emigrating abroad and the Government had accordingly established an office of the Protector of Emigrants in Jaipur.
 
"I am told that the Government of Rajasthan proposes to build a Pravasi Bharatiya Bhawan in Jaipur. This Bhawan will house the offices of not only the Protector of Emigrants but also a Migrant Resource Centre to provide on-site help to overseas Indians and emigrating workers," he said.
 
Singh said the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was implementing the e-migrate project that will provide end-to-end computerized solutions for all processes in the emigration system. The system will link all key stakeholders on a common platform which will be used by workers, offices of the protector of emigrants, recruitment agencies, immigration officials, employers and the Indian missions abroad. 
 
He said the scope of the country's Labour Mobility Partnership Agreements was being expanded to cover not only skilled workers but also students, academics and professionals. Such Human Resource Mobility Partnership agreements are being negotiated with The Netherlands, France, Australia and the European Union, he said.
 
He said the Government had decided to introduce and sponsor a new Pension and Life Insurance Fund for overseas Indian workers. The scheme will encourage, enable and assist overseas workers to voluntarily save for their return and resettlement and old age. It will also provide a low-cost life insurance cover against natural death. "This scheme fulfills a long pending demand of our workers abroad," he said.
 
"We are acutely conscious of the safety and security of Indians living abroad, particularly in regions characterized by instability," he said.
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He said there were over six million Indians living in the Gulf and West Asia. "We need to be alert to the unfolding developments in this part of the world. We have conveyed to the countries of the region that we have a stake in the peace and stability of this region, and that we expect that they would appropriately look after the interests of Indian communities in their countries," he said.
 
He recalled that, following the upheaval in Libya last year, the Government had undertaken  Operation Safe Homecoming to evacuate more than 16,000 people from the strife-torn areas through special flights, passenger and naval vessels. Similar evacuations were carried out in Egypt and Yemen on a lower scale. "We stand ready to extend such help elsewhere should the need arise," he said.
 
Singh said that, last year, the Government had constituted an inter-Ministerial Committee under the Cabinet Secretary to make recommendations on issues relating to repatriation, relief and rehabilitation of Indian nationals affected by recent developments in West Asia. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has prepared an Action Plan to implement its recommendations. 
 
"The world is passing through a difficult phase. Many of you are experiencing first-hand the impact of the global economic slowdown. Employment opportunities have declined, there is greater protectionism and attitudes towards migration have also hardened. There is growing social intolerance even in more open societies," he said.
 
"We in India speak in different languages and follow different faiths. But Indian culture has a tradition of assimilating and accommodating diverse traditions, customs, beliefs and peoples. That is what makes Indian society, Indian civilization endure and flourish," he said.
 
Singh said the "global Indian" is a symbol of the diversity of India. "Your individual prosperity and personal achievement are a symbol of what a diverse people like us can achieve," he said.
 
"Many of your forefathers were forcibly taken away from India as labourers; some migrated in distress. Yet, today, the People of Indian Origin are welcomed around the world for the values they represent – values of hard work, values of excellence and enterprise and respect for their communities, their families and their neighbours. 
 
"I welcome each one of you to India because I want each one of you to inspire our people with your creative example," he added.
 
President Pratibha Patil will deliver the valedictory address at the three-day event tomorrow and confer the prestigous Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards.
 
PBD-2012 is being held in partnership with the Government of Rajasthan with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as the institutional partner. 
 
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Dubai-based Issac John named chairperson of GOPIO's Media Council

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The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International, an organisation of overseas Indians, has appointed Dubai-based Indian journalist Issac John Pattaniparampil as chairperson of its Global Media Council.
 
Ashok Ramsaran, president of the New York-based non-partisan, non-sectarian organisation, said the selection of Issac to head the Media Council was based primarily on his many years of service to the Indian community in the Middle East and his contribution as a prominent journalist.
 
"The Executive Council of GOPIO International in unanimously approving Issac’s  appointment  has also  considered  his vast experience and knowledge in serving in the larger Indian and multi-ethnic community as well as his commitment and interest in GOPIO and its objectives," Ramsaran said.

Missing nurse case: CBI, CFSL search in canal to find remains

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Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) today undertook a search in the Rajiv Gandhi canal of Jalauda village where the remains of missing nurse Bhanwari Devi are believed to have been dumped after burning her body at a nearby place.

According to CBI and police sources, around three dozen divers were engaged in the search in the canal and have reportedly found some objects like two country-made pistols, some piece of bone which might be part of a skull, a chunari (saree) and a bat.
 
However, neither the investigators have so far confirmed about the findings during the search nor it has so far been ascertained whether the finds ere related to the nurse's case.
 
Meanwhile, the CBI has also taken Kailash Jakhar and Om Prakash to Jalauda for verification of spot where the body of the woman was reportedly burnt.
 
Bhanwari Devi, an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), has been missing since September 1. She is believed to have been abducted and later murdered.
 
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1300 delegates from 54 countries to attend Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jaipur

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), the high-profile annual convention of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) that will be held in Jaipur from January 7-9.
 
The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad Bissessar, will be the Chief Guest at the event that will be attended by more than 1300 delegates from 54 countries.
 
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told a press conference here today that eight Ministers of Indian origin from various countries, 10 Central Ministers and an equal number of Chief Ministers and other Ministers from State Governments were expected to participate in the conference.
 
Ravi said the theme of PBD-2012 was “Global Indian-Inclusive Growth”.

Bhanwari Devi case: key suspect nabbed in Pune

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today arrested Bishna Ram, a key suspect in the case of a missing nurse, Bhanwari Devi in Rajasthan, from Pune
 
According to sources in the agency, the suspect is believed to have disposed of the body of the controversial auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), who has been missing since September 1.
 
Bishna Ram was on the run for many days and spotted and caught in the Maharashtra town.
 
Bishna Ram's close aide Kailash Jakhar was handed over to the agency by the police here this morning.
 
Kailash is believed to have been associated in the crime with Bishna and others. Kailash's vehicle was said to have been used in transporting Bhanwari after her "abduction" from Bilara.
 
It is believed that Kailash also knew the place in a village in Osian region where they had disposed of the nurse's body.
 
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Govt doctors in Rajasthan call off strike

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The 11-day-old strike by CAS/Medical Officers in Rajasthan was called off here late last night.  

The announcement to end the strike was made by the spokesperson of the agitating doctors' association, Dr Nasreen Bharati, after holding talks with government representatives facilitated by Energy and DIPR Minister Jitendra Singh here midnight tonight.
 
Prior to this, the state Government this evening revoked the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act(RESMA) in respect to the strike and ordered the release of doctors who were jailed in connection with the stir.
 
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Five killed in road accident in Rajasthan

 

Five youths were killed in a road accident due to dense fog in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan today.
 
According to police, the youths were killed when their jeep collided with a truck and three other vehicles in fog near Sewar on the Bharatpur-Agra road.
 
Poor visibility because of fog also halted road and rail traffic at many places in the state, reports received here said.
 
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CBI registers bribery cases against senior MES officers in Sriganganagar

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered two separate cases of bribery against a Garrison Engineer (an officer of the rank of Major) and a Commander Works Engineer (CWE) of the Military Engineer Services (MES) at Sriganganagar in Rajasthan.
 
A press release from the CBI said the two officers had allegedly demanded and accepted bribes for clearing of bills from contractors.
 
On the basis of complaints, the CBI, after due verification, laid traps and caught the Garrison Engineer and the CWE while allegedly demanding and accepting bribes of Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively, from the complainants.
 
According to the release, during searches at the premises of the CWE, cash worth about Rs 57.84 lakh, jewellery worth Rs 7 lakh, savings certificates of Rs 2.50 lakh and documents of a flat in Jaipur were recovered. The search at the residence of the Garrison Enginer revealed some bank accounts, which are being scrutinised. Further investigations are continuing, the release added.
 
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Rajasthan doctors' strike: 12 senior officials dismissed

The Rajasthan government has dismissed two Chief Medical and Health Officers (CMHOs) and 10 Principal Medical Officers (PMOs) for joining the ongoing strike by the state government doctors.
 
The dismissal of Dr Yudhvir Rathore, Acting CMHO Pali, Dr Dulli Chand, CMHO, Jalore and 10 PMOs in different districts, was ordered at the high-level meeting held here late last night under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to review the situation arising out of the five-day-old strike.
 
Health Minister A A Khan, Minister of State for Health Rajkumar Sharma, Chief Secretary S Ahmad and other high officials attended the meeting.
 
Meanwhile, amid alternative arrangements with the help from the Army, BSF, ESI and private doctors/hospitals, medical services in government hospitals remained affected due to the strike.
 
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Rajasthan: 25 hurt in trailer-school bus collision near Jaipur

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At least 25 people, including 20 schoolchildren, were injured when their bus was hit by a trailer near Gopalpura bypass here late last night, police said.
 
The group of over 40 children of the DPS School were returning from a nearby resort around 2245 hrs when their bus was hit from the rear by the speeding trailer.
 
The collision was so powerful that huge pipes loaded in the trailer pierced through the bus from the backside. Rescuers, onlookers and Metro Rail project site workers had to work hard to extricate the injured.
 
The injured - 20 children, three teachers, bus driver and the conductor - were rushed to hospital where four had to be shifted to the ICU ward. 
 
The trailer driver fled after accident.
 
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