Monday, April 30, 2012

China launches two navigation satellites

BEIJING: China on Monday successfully launched two more satellites for its proposed Beidou global navigation and positioning network being built to counter the US Global Position System (GPS).
With the two, China has so far launched 13 satellites to form part of the Beidou system.
The Beidou-2 satellites, launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the south-western province of Sichuan, was boosted by a Long March-3B carrier rocket and has entered the scheduled orbit, the centre said in a statement.
It is the first time China has launched two navigation satellites with one rocket, and the two satellites will help to improve the accuracy of the Beidou, or Compass system, it said.
China will launch three more satellites for the Beidou network this year and a global satellite positioning and navigation system will be completed in 2020 with more than 30 orbiters, it said.
Monday’s mission marked the 160th flight of China’s Long March series of carrier rockets, state-run Xinhua reported.

The Syrian unrest suicide bombing in Damascus


Iran on Saturday condemned a deadly suicide bombing in Damascus, charging that such “terrorist actions” were the work of foreign governments that wanted to arm the Syrian opposition.Iran “condemns terrorist act that resulted in killing and injuring Syrian people and also condemns foreign intervention,” the deputy foreign minister in charge of Arab and African affairs, Hossein Amirabdolahian, said in a statement posted on his ministry’s website.”The parties who back sending weapons to Syria are responsible for killing innocent people. Some parties, by sending weapons and (committing) terrorist actions in this country, are pursuing their own specific goals,” he said. State media said at least 11 people died and 28 were wounded in yesterday’s suicide bombing which hit worshippers leaving a mosque after the main weekly prayers.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two civilians died. Syria is the chief Middle East ally of Iran, which has pledged its support to beleaguered President Bashar al-Assad.The persistent bloodshed has endangered a hard-won truce brokered by international peace envoy Kofi Annan even before the full deployment of a promised 300-strong UN military observer mission.Amirabdolahian stressed in his statement that the solution to the Syrian unrest should be a “solely political one” that incorporates reforms promised by Assad. “Some parties consider themselves above the UN and its special envoy’s plan and are trying to impose their will with hasty actions,” he said, in another swipe at countries that have argued in favour of arming the Syrian opposition.Amirabdolahian did not name them but Iran’s Gulf Arab rivals Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been among the most outspoken champions of arming the rebels, although both governments insist they are not yet doing so. US officials have voiced suspicion that Iran is supplying Assad’s regime with weapons and military advisers, but Tehran has denied
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Nano Mission – Towards Global Knowledge Hub

Nano Technology is acknowledge-intensive and ‘enabling technology’ which will influence a wide range of products and processes. It will have far-reaching implications for national economy and development. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) launched many initiatives over the period of time and Nano was one of them. DST launched a modest programme called Nano Science and Technology Initiative (NIST) in 2001 in Nano Sciences. The Nano Mission is successor of this programme. The Government approved this as Nano Mission in 2007 with an allocation of Rs 1000/- crore for 5 years. The Nano Mission has been structured in a manner to achieve synergy between the national research efforts of various agencies in this field and launch new programmes in a concerted fashion. Today India has emerged 6th worldwide in terms of scientific publications. An active research community of about 1000 researchers has emerged. Besides, some interesting applications have already come out of the country.
Capacity building of the research is of utmost importance for Nano Mission so that India can emerge as a global knowledge hub. Large number of man power is getting prime attention in research and fundamental aspects of Nano science and training. Nano Mission is also striving for developments of products and processes for national development, especially in the area of national relevance like safe drinking water, materials development, sensors development, drug delivery etc. The objectives of Nano Mission include basic research promotion, infrastructure development, Nano applications and technology development, human resources development and international collaboration.
Basic Research Promotion
Basic research being carried out by individual scientist and /or groups of scientists will be funded. The Centers of excellence pursuing studies leading to fundamental understanding of matter that enables control and manipulation at the Nano scale will be created.
Infrastructure For Research
A chain of shared facility of expensive and sophisticated equipments required for various activities will be established across the country. Investigation on Nano scale require optical tweezer, Nano Indentor, Transmission Electron Microscope, Atomic Force Microscope, Scanning Tunneling Microscope, Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer, Microarray Spotter and Scanner etc.
Nano Applications and Technology Development Programme
To catalyze Nano Application and Technology Development programme leading to products and devices, the Mission proposes to promote application-oriented R&D projects, establish Nano Applications and Technology Development Centers, Nano-Technology Business Incubators etc. The industrial sector is being involved directly or through Public Private Partnership ventures into this Mission.
Human Resources Development
The Mission will focus on providing effective education and training to researchers and professionals in diversified fields so that a genuine interdisciplinary culture for nanoscale science, engineering and technology can emerge. M. A. and M. Sc. programmes will be benefited. National and Overseas post-doctoral fellowships, chairs in universities are other aspects.
International Collaboration
          Academia-industry partnership at the international level is one of the aspect under international collaboration. Besides, exploratory visits of scientists, organization of joint workshop, conferences and research projects, access to sophisticated research facilities abroad etc., are being achieved.
Structure and Activities
Nano Mission is steered by Nano Mission Council. The technical programmes are being guided by two advisory groups namely Nano Science Advisory Group (NSAG) and the Nano Applications and Technology Advisory Group (NATAG). Department of Science & Technology has supported a number of activities in Nano Science and Technology.
           Individual scientists have been supported for R & D projects. Detailed technologies have been developed for the medical purposes. Membrane scaffolds for wound healing using chitin/chitosan gels containing nanoparticles and nanoparticles for ophthalmic drug delivery have been developed by Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad and USV, Mumbai respectively. Around 130 projects have been supported for individual scientists mainly working on fundamental scientific aspects of nanoscale system. Extensive studies on semiconductor nanocrystals have been undertaken in several projects. As semiconductor particles exhibit size-dependent properties like scaling of the energy gap and corresponding change in the optical properties, they are considered as technologically important materials. Several projects have looked into synthesis of important nano materials like CdSe, ZnO etc. Size tunable, organic soluble industrially important CdS, AIN, GaN and InN nanocrystals have been  prepared by employing novel solvo thermal techniques and some soft chemical routes.
The other discovery of flow of various liquids and gases over a mat of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) bundles generate electrical signals. This has several important technological implications. Development of micro fluidic devices will have several applications in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceutical industry, drug delivery, intelligent pneumatic systems, information technology etc.
DST has established an array of sophisticated equipments to enable researchers to work with nanoscale system. Eleven Units/Core Groups on Nano Science  have been sanctioned across the country. They house some of the more sophisticated facility for sharing with other scientists in the region and would help in promoting scientific research on nanoscale system in a decentralized manner. Seven centres for Nano Technology focusing on development of specific applications and a centre for excellence on Computational Materials has also been established. Joint R & D activities are taking place with several countries. DST has also promoted Joint Institution-Industry Linked Projects and some other Public Private Partnership activities for human resource development. (PIB Feature.)
Kalpana Palkhiwala*

Ex- US toxic ship entry in Indian waters challenged in Supreme Court

Ex- US toxic ship entry in Indian waters challenged in Supreme Court

New Delhi 27/4/2012: An application has been filed in Supreme Court in the matter of a hazardous end-of-life vessel named 'Oriental Nicety' (formerly Exxon Valdez, Exxon Mediterranean, Sea River Mediterranean, S/R Mediterranean, Mediterranean, and Dong Fang Ocean) which has been purchased by Best Oasis Company, (a subsidiary of Priya Blue Industries Pvt Ltd) in the Indian waters in the name of dismantling and recycling. The minutes of the court constituted Inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on shipbreaking and a sensitive document that has been filed in the court reveal the repeated security concerns which remain unaddressed.

The hazardous wastes/shipbreaking case Writ Petition (Civil) 657/1995 is coming up for hearing on May 3, 2012.

The following are the prayers in the application.

A relevant sensitive document (that is corroborated by recent minutes of IMC's 14th meeting dated February 2012) is
(i) Direct the Union of India to ensure that no end-of-life ship should be allowed without prior decontamination in the country of export as per this Hon’ble Court’s order dated October 14, 2003,

(ii) Direct the Union of India to send back all hazardous wastes laden end-of-life ships entering/ or have entered the Indian territorial waters without prior informed consent and without prior decontamination keeping in view the environmental principles,
(iii) Direct inquiry by an independent trans-disciplinary investigating agency to ascertain the circumstances of the dead US ship’s arrival in Indian territorial waters, to make concerned officials accountable for their acts of omission and commission and seek a detailed report on more than 1200 ships broken in last 5 years and more than 5924 ships broken since 1982;
(iv) Direct Union of India to ensure compliance with the recommendations of the Hon'ble Court constituted Inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on ship-breaking

The illegal traffic of this dead ship must be stopped besides investigating the possibility of fake documents which came to light in the earlier case of Platinum II, a US ship. The Ministry of Environment & Forests has invoked the Precautionary Principle and directed that granting permission for beaching and breaking, purposes of the ship will not be advisable in the case of Platinum II. It may be mentioned that precautionary principle is the basis of UN conventions, such as Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). India is a signatory to these conventions and has ratified them as well. The ex-Exxon Valdez is violating these international laws besides the court's order.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), New Delhi, New Delhi, Phone: +91-11-2651781, Fax: +91-11-26517814, Mb: 9818089660, E-mail:, Web:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Empower people with skills and capabilities

Finance Minister calls for need to empower people with skills and capabilities for continuous and inclusive growth; Releases Logo for 46th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of ADB; India to host the next ADB Annual Meeting in Delhi in May, 2013 The Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that if Asia has to continue growing rapidly, its path of development needs to be inclusive and people need to be empowered with skills and capabilities that will enable them shape their own lives. The Finance Minister said that we believe in sustaining high and inclusive growth in Asia; and to ensure that requires policies and programs designed with a focus on empowerment. The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee was speaking after formally announcing that India will host the next Annual Meeting of Asian Development Bank (ADB) i.e.46th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank on May 2-5, 2013 in New Delhi. He also unveiled on this occasion the special logo titled “Web of Life” created for the said Meeting. This logo for the Annual Meeting of ADB represents the web of life which is based on the tribal motifs of central India which signifies the cycle of life. The logo has been designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Shri R.Gopalan, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Dr Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Adviser, representatives of CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance were also present on the occasion.

The 46th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank is expected to see the visits of official delegations from 67 countries, where the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of different countries usually lead the country delegations. A large gathering of approximately 4000 people including delegates from different countries, economists, investment bankers, corporate leaders, Nobel laureates, Civil Society, media etc. are expected to participate in the event in 2013.

This would be the third time that India would be hosting the Annual Meeting; the first time was in 1990 at Delhi and the second time in 2006 at Hyderabad. The venue for the 2013 Annual Meeting would be India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. Given the size and scope of the event, the Government of India has invited Industry Associations (CII, ASSOCHAM and FICCI) to partner in the organization of the event. This is the first time that such a Public Private Partnership approach has been adopted for an event of this scale in India.

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that ADB has been a valued multilateral partner in India’s journey towards economic development and growth. He said that the theme for the Annual Meeting is “Development through Empowerment”. This theme encompasses issues that are critical for sustaining high and inclusive growth in Asia. This theme reflects the development strategy of India, namely, empowerment backed by legal entitlement and encompasses issues that are critical for sustaining high and inclusive growth in Asia, the Finance Minister added.

Speaking at this special function, the Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that the Annual Meeting of ADB will provide a valuable opportunity for brainstorming and cross fertilization of ideas amongst intellectuals and policy makers from across Asia and the World. He said that India’s association with the ADB dates back to 1966 and is a founder member of this multilateral institution. ADB’s lending operations in India commenced two decades later in 1986, and India has just completed 25 years of partnership with ADB. Shri Mukherjee further said that this will help bring countries of Asia closer to each other and also facilitate the formulation of policies that can lead us towards greater prosperity and well being.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that the rapid growth of emerging market economies in Asia has been a noteworthy feature of the global economy in recent years. Led by China, India and several other Asian countries, this dynamism makes Asia the world’s most vibrant region contributing close to 50 per cent of world growth, the Finance Minister added. He further said that Asian countries have transformed themselves from primarily agricultural and resource based economies to industrial and increasingly services based economies in less than half a century.Shri Mukherjee said that Asia’s high growth over the last several decades has improved lives and lifted millions out of poverty.

Later speaking on behalf of the Industry, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII said that Industry is privileged to be part of this very prestigious event and would extend all support to ensure that the event is commensurate with India’s stature in the world today.

The first ever EU office in Myanmar

European Union opened its office in Myanmar's financial city, Yangon, amid the country's political reforms toward democratization.The first ever EU office in Myanmar will help promote personnel exchanges between the two sides, and support European companies that want to make inroads into the country.

The office was launched only days after the EU decided to suspend all of its sanctions on Myanmar for one year, except for a separate arms embargo. EU members agreed on the suspension on Monday, less than a month after Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party, the National League for Democracy, swept by-elections contesting 45 seats. The sanctions had been in place for over 15 years.

At the opening ceremony on Saturday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton cut the tape together with Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.Ashton told the gathering that she hopes the office will open a new chapter in relations between Myanmar and EU countries.

Ashton, who also held a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi ahead of the ceremony, later told reporters that the EU will support the changes now taking place in Myanmar.

Buddhist festival “The Inner Path” by ICCR at Azad Bhawan from April 27 to May 1 in its opening day has very lukewarm response both from the organizers and people at large.The gallery created has no attendant and videos run without audience and those presents loitered here and there without any guide to inform about the run of the programmers.Film show the only attraction had film lovers but the interaction without translators put the ineterst at low ebb. Buddhist festival lined up with series of events including dance, documentary, photographs, paintings and sculptures talks and panel discussions by professors and scholars about Tibetan Buddhism, Nalanda tradition in five days event. NETPAC and Devki Foundation together to host the first International Buddhist Festival 'The Inner Path'.

Exhibition:The Greatest Journey of Ideas: Spread of Buddhism – a select range of photographs of Buddhist Art in 19 countries, by art historian-filmmaker- photographer Benoy K Behl.  This is a preview of an exhibition before it opens in London, Washington and Tokyo from May 2012 onwards.

Twenty features, documentaries and shorts will be screened. These come from Bhutan, Argentina, Korea, Sri Lanka, China and Japan and speak of the manifold aspects of Buddhism and of great Buddhist iconic figures. Renowned directors and film personalities from these countries will be present.

Philosophic Discourse
On each festival day, at 5 pm, a Buddhist scholar/practitioner will deliver a talk on different traditions of Buddhist philosophy

Saturday: 28 April: Tibetan Buddhism and the Nalanda Tradition by Geshe Dorji Damdul, Director, Tibet House, New Delhi.

Sunday: 29 April: Bodhidharma and Zen Buddhism by Prof. Lokesh Chandra, International Academy of Indian Culture, New Delhi

Monday: 30 April: Mindfulness in everyday life by Dharmacharya Shantum Seth, Ahimsa Trust

Tuesday: 1 May: The Three Yanas by Venerable Sumati Sasana, Spiritual Programme Coordinator, Tushita Centre, New Delhi

Panel Discussions
Monday 30 April and Tuesday 1 May from 2 to 4 pm there will be panel discussions on Boddhisatvas, organized and conducted by Prof. Shashi Bala, scholar and author of several books on Buddhism. The term, Boddhisatva raises many questions and misconceptions. These sessions will give a chance to those who wish to understand and absorb the meaning and symbolism behind Bodhisattvas.
NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) is an international organization with its Secretariat in Sri Lanka and Aruna Vasudev is its Founder-President. NETPAC-India has been actively promoting Asian cinema in India over many years. In 2010 it organized in Delhi the 20th anniversary of the founding of Netpac International with a major conference, Asian film festival, performances from five countries, and exhibitions. In 1995 it organized screenings of a package of Asian films on Buddhist themes, also at Azad Bhavan.

Devki Foundation is a registered Trust of Award-winning Film Producer Suresh Jindal some of whose films include Basu Chatterji’s Rajnigandha, Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khilari, Attenborough’s Gandhi, Mani Kaul’s Naukar Ki Kameej, etc. He has just finished the shooting of Vara, the new film by Khyentse Norbu (who made The Cup & Travellers & Magicians), as Executive Producer. The Trust is involved in supporting Buddhist schools and Dharma Centres, and sponsored other events.

The festival has been conceptualized by Aruna Vasudev, President, NETPAC and is being held in partnership with Suresh Jindal, Chairman, Devki Foundation.

For more details please email:

"It was presumed that Independent India will emerge as a strong nation fully integrated,wedded to secularism and democratic values.It was believed that India with a rich heritage will make its valuable contribution for establishing respect for human values: equality and peace being the essence of democracy and secularism,but such pious hopes were belied by recent trends in our social life is crux," said  Sardar Daya Singh  during his media briefing today at Gandhi peace Foundation New Delhi who has just completed his peace journey at Varanasi bank of Ganga river,journey  initiated on 15 April 2012 from bank of Vaini Nadi River at Sultanpur Lodhi in Punajb..

Haq-e-Aman Yatra, cosmopolitan peace march to promote the religious tolerance,create an environment to resolve the communal conflicts through dialogue, reached New Delhi Sunday. Peace journey includes representatives of various Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Gandhian organisations, commenced their yatra from Kali Bein at Sultanpur Lodhi from where Guru Nanak Dev started his First Udasi.

Briefing the media Saradar Daya Singh said,"Our main aim of the yatra was peace for the nation and to inculcate the feeling of brotherhood and integrating the society at large.Further he added most of the people of India about 90% are good citizen who wants to live in harmony but the rest of people created disharmony amongst the society for their personnel motives." On the question raised by media,"Do the society makes model leader or the leader makes the model society." Sardar Daya Singh replied both must work together to bring balance in the society for the welfare of the people.Radha Bhatt who also participated in the journey remarked that we must create good social activists bank of good people for our leadership at all levels.
Sardar Daya Singh also appealed to the governance community  not to continue in one post for more than 2-3 terms for MP,Ministers and Prime Ministers as is prevalent practice in other countries to strengthen the democratic institutions.

  Foundation Stone of New Campus of India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) to be laid on Monday Election Commission of India is hosting the Third Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC Countries here from 30 April to 2 May, 2012. The Conference brings together the Chief Election Commissioners and senior election officials of the region on a common platform to share experience of best practices in election administration and management. The Conference will build on the initiatives and exchanges discussed at the previous Conferences. Discussions will also focus on the final shape of the Forum of SAARC Election Management Bodies, which has been approved in principle at the last Conference held in Islamabad. The conference will be inaugurated by Dr S Y Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India.

Some of the important topics to be discussed are: Empowerment of Election Management Bodies; Inclusive elections (gender issues, marginalized sections, minorities etc.), Voters Education, Controlling Money Power in Elections, Technology for cost-effective elections etc.

The idea of holding such Conferences took concrete shape at the 37th Session of the Standing Committee of SAARC, held at Thimphu, in April, 2010. Bangladesh hosted the first Conference in May 2010, where initial discussions on creating a Forum of SAARC EMBs were also held.

The second Conference was held in Islamabad by the Election Commission of Pakistan. It focussed on experience sharing, and also discussed the draft charter of the proposed Forum. It adopted a resolution to establish the Forum. A number of initiatives on mutual exchanges and training activities were discussed, and bilateral arrangements were tied up between member Commissions. During the Conference, Chief Election Commissioner of India offered to host the 3rd Conference in New Delhi, which was accepted.

Election Commission of India works in close collaboration with the Election Management Bodies of South Asian Countries. In the recent weeks officials for the Election Commission of Afghanistan, Maldives and Bhutan received training at the India International Institute of Democracy and Election management IIIDEM.

Laying the Foundation Stone of the IIIDEM new Campus in Dwarka

Coinciding with the SAARC Heads of EMBs conference, Foundation Stone of new campus of India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) will be laid by Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India, on Monday, at Dwarka, New Delhi in the presence of Election Commissioners Shri V. S. Sampath and Shri H.S. Brahma and Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC countries. They include Mr.Fazel Ahmad Manawi, Chairman, Independent Election Commission, Afghanistan, Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, Chief Election Commissioner, Bangladesh, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, Chief Election Commissioner, Bhutan, Mr. Neel Kantha Upreti, Chief Election Commissioner, Nepal, Mr.Ibrahim Waheed, Commissioner, Election Commission, Maldives, Mr. Justice (R ) Muhammad R. Essani, Member, Election Commission Pakistan and Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya, Commissioner of Elections, Sri Lanka. Shri Tejendra Khanna, Hon. Lt. Governor of Delhi will be the Chief Guest at the event.

ECI plans to develop IIIDEM as an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension of participatory democracy and election management. Presently, IIIDEM operates from the premises of the election Commission of India in New Delhi.

The funds to the tune of Rs 48 crores have been approved for 2011-12 and 2012-13 for construction of the new campus.

At present, training courses of IIIDEM are being conducted in the interim premises of this Institute at Election Commission of India. IIIDEM, since its launch in June 2011 has hosted 32 courses for more than 500 election officials and other stakeholders in all aspects of Election management. Training courses are already lined up at IIIDEM in the coming weeks for the upcoming Summary Revision and General Elections in some of the states.

Besides the national training programmes, IIIDEM has also conducted five courses for Kenyan, Maldivian, Bhutanese and Afghanistan election officials and Nigerian Election Commissioners. There are requests for such courses from Nepal and Fiji. Over the ten months of its existence, IIIDEM has become a hub for national and international training courses, seminars and workshops. Standard training modules for international participants have already been developed by a renowned team of Indian and International experts.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

ADB to lift ban of aid to Myanmar

ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda spoke to Japanese reporters in Manila on Friday.
Kuroda said his bank wants to help Myanmar, as democratic reforms there are moving ahead and the international community is beginning to support such moves.The head of the Asian Development Bank says it will resume aid to Myanmar, ending a 25-year-old ban.

The comments follow decisions by the US and European nations to partially lift or suspend sanctions against Myanmar. Japan's government has also decided to resume yen loans to the country and cancel its debts to Japan.Kuroda said the ADB would first resume technological aid and help with human resources.

But he said the bank will not supply new loans until Myanmar's unpaid debts of 490-million dollars to the ADB are settled.Kuroda further revealed that the ADB will raise 12-billion dollars for the Asian Development Fund in the coming 4 years to help poor countries -- the largest ever amount.

Policy on Phone Banking

Policy on Phone Banking The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued the guidelines for Mobile Banking transaction in October, 2008 which permit banks to provide mobile banking transactions. The guidelines also permit banks to extend this facility through their business correspondents. Complaints/ grievances arising out of mobile banking facility are also covered under the Banking Ombudsman Scheme of RBI. The mobile banking guidelines were further relaxed in May, 2011 to permit mobile banking transactions without end to end encryption upto Rs. 5000/- and in December, 2011 to remove the transaction limit of Rs. 50,000/- per customer per day.

The RBI has framed separate policy for curbing the cases of misuse of credit cards. This includes the requirement of additional factor of authentication for online transactions/ interactive voice response (IVR) transaction, online alerts to the customers for all types of card transaction at all channels irrespective of the amount, mandatory pin validation after every successive transaction at ATMs.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Finance, Shri Namo Narain Meena in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Friday, April 27, 2012

7th National Quality Conclave of Quality Council of India on

“Improving Quality of Public Services- the Role of Public and Private Sectors”

Unique initiative by QCI for Quality Evaluation and Recognition of Gram Panchayats results in prestigious Quality tag for 10 Gram Panchayats from the state of Karnataka.

New Delhi, 27th April 2012 – The 7th National Quality Conclave, organized by Quality Council of India, (QCI), India’s apex  accreditation & quality promotion body, functioning under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, was formally inaugurated today by Shri Shri Subodh Kant Sahay, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Government of India, in the presence of Shri Arun Maira, Chairman, Quality Council of India and Member, Planning Commission,  Dr Giridhar J Gyani , Secretary General Quality Council of India and other distinguished dignitaries,at Hotel Le Meridien , New Delhi .

The theme of "Improving Quality of Public Services: The Role of Public and Private Sectors" has been designed to discuss a range of issues connected with redefining and reshaping our public services which is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the country today. The agenda included quality issues in healthcare, education, infrastructure, public administration and the manufacturing. It covered topics such as governance, leadership, citizen and community engagement, design and delivery, measurement of performance amongst others, with specific emphasis on how private sector can partner with government leading to synergetic effect for National Well Being.

One of the main objectives for Quality Council of India has been to take quality at grass root level so that common man is benefitted. Most recent initiative of empowering of rural population through quality evaluation of Gram Panchayat would probably be rated on high pedestal in time to come. It is matter of great pride that pilot project launched in state of Karnataka has been a huge success and the conclave honored 10-best Gram Panchayats from the state of Karnataka during the inaugural session.

The panchayats were evaluated on the basis of 55 objective elements.  Amongst other things, it covered the area of schools, girl child, mother care, primary health, institutional deliveries, gender sensitivity, SC and ST representation, Gram Panchayat proceedings, accounting, planning, revenue generation, transparency, drinking water, hygiene, toilets, drainage system, old age and widow pensions, village electrification, road and modern communication, environment protection, tax collection and arrears collection etc. QCI is planning to spread Quality Evaluation and Recognition of Gram Panchayats all across the country.( List Enclosed)

On this occasion   Dr Giridhar J Gyani Secretray General, Quality Council of India
Observed “After our success in taking Quality to the grass roots level through healthcare, education and public services, our goal from now onwards will be to orient our future generation right from the primary school level towards quality. Yes, a few schools arc doing so in bits and pieces, QCI will endeavor to design the curriculum in stages from the primary, secondary and higher education and will take it up with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the state boards and universities. Efforts will be to introduce these tools through integration within the existing curriculum.”

 At the  7th National Quality Conclave  nine schools received  NABET   Accreditation certificates including  6 Kendriya  Vidyalaya.  NABET accreditation certificates were handed over to the principals of respective schools.  Mumbai was on the top of the list with three NABET accredited schools, Asmita Sanchalit, Jamanadhar Agrawal Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Jogeshwari, Asmita Sanchalit, Ramgopal  Kedia Prathamik  Vidyalaya Jogeshwari and Hiranandani Foundation School, Thane.

Kendriya Vidyalaya who  received NABET accreditation were Kendriya Vidyalaya O.L.F.Raipur, Dehradun, Principal, Mr. Mukesh Kumar ,Kendriya Vidyalaya, OCF, Sector-29 B,Chandigarh, Principa, Mr. Mr. P.C. Sharma, Kendriya Vidyalaya Gandhi Nagar, Jammu, Principal, Mrs.Chitra Mishra,Kendriya Vidyalaya No.1 Uppa,Hyderabad, Principal, Mr. G.Rama Rao,Kendriya Vidyalaya Hebbal, Bangalore, Principal, Mrs.Grace C.D, Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 2,Nausenabaugh, Vishakhapatnam, Principal, Mr. Seetha Ramaiah Meda .

NABET Commendation Certificates were also handed over to Government of Bihar  – State Council of Education, Research & Training (SCERT ),Government of Sikkim .-  Ministry of HRD- Department of Education, Government of Assam  Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhijan (RMSA) and to Ms. Janet Brown ,Chief Executive Officer, SQA.

Last but not the least the prestigious DL Shah National Quality Awards were handed over to winners from Manufacturing, General Service (Other then IT / Healthcare), IT / BPO, Hospitals / Healthcare and Financial sectors.  Applications were received under three categories, Category A consisted of  PSU / Government enterprises, Category B included Large Enterprises and Small and Medium Enterprises came under Category C  . Under each category one National Award and one Commendation award was given away.

The objective of the two day Conclave was to provide a forum for sharing new ideas, deliberating
on issues, challenges and the road ahead that would attempt to change the quality of life of
the average Indian. The Conclave was addressed by many distinguished speakers of national and international repute.
About Quality Council of India
Quality Council of India (QCI) was set up jointly by the Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations i.e. Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (Cll) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), to establish and operate national accreditation structure and promote quality through National Quality Campaign.

The activities of are guided by vision and mission statements which are appended below;

To be among the world's leading national apex quality facilitation, accreditation and surveillance organizations, to continuously improve the climate, systems, processes and skills for total quality.
To help India achieve and sustain total quality and reliability, in all areas of life, work, environment, products and services, at individual, organizational, community and societal levels.

For Further information please contact
Avik Mitra
Adviser National Board Of Quality Promotion.
Quality Council of India
Institution of Engineers Building 2nd Floor, 2 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg,
New Delhi 110 002

Media Contact
Sagarneel Dutta
Media Adviser
Quality Council of India

Jaswant Singh:On Bofors”a saga of continuing corruption”

Armed with fresh details in the 25-year-old Bofors scandal, an aggressive Opposition on Thursday disrupted Parliament, alleging “cover up” and demanding a new probe by a judicial commission. Opposition members, particularly those from BJP and Left, raked up the issue in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, saying the Bofors chapter was not closed yet, leading to clashes with ruling members and affecting pre-lunch sittings severely.
In the Lok Sabha, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh raised the issue, saying it was “a saga of continuing corruption” and a “thorn” which needed to be removed.
He demanded setting up of a judicial commission to probe the issue even as he admitted to failure of the NDA government, in which he was External Affairs Minister, to get accused Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi extradited to India.
Without naming Rajiv Gandhi, who had faced the allegations of pay-offs in the 155 MM gun deal in 1986, Singh said the Congress would be “feeling the absence” of the late Prime Minister and a “promising” individual in the polity was lost.
As UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi watched, Singh said the party should get into the causes of the mistake because of which it paid a heavy political price.
CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia also demanded reopening of the case, institution of an independent inquiry and extradition of Quattrocchi.
In the Rajya Sabha, which saw three adjournments, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley alleged that “there were repeated efforts to cover up” the scandal but refrained from naming any party or individual.
“There were repeated efforts to cover up. The pace of investigation varied with the colour of the political government in power…we gave a whole burial to the case,” Jaitley said.
“….the fact is clear. Somebody got the contract and somebody got the kickback….this man (Quattrocchi) is so powerful. Entire Indian state appeared so helpless….this is a textbook illustration of fraud,” Jaitley said.
Congress members countered the allegations in both the Houses leading to clashes.
“The correct weapon was acquired, it was acquired in a wrong manner …. You (Congress) have paid, we have paid. The nation continues to pay,” said Jaswant Singh.
“Till you don’t remove this thorn, poison will continue to spread. … Whatever is happening in the defence sector today is because of this episode. It is a saga of continuing corruption. In matters of corruption, there is no closure,” he said.
Admitting that the NDA had failed to get Quattrocchi extradited after his arrest in Malaysia, Singh said, “Many will say why did you not do it. You have failed, we have failed. But don’t consider our failure as your success.”
Observing that it gave him “no delight” to raise this issue, he said, “25 years have passed but the storm of Bofors refuses to subside and the guns continue to blaze.”
Reminding Congress about the political cost, he said, the reason behind Congress being reduced from its “historic” victory of 404 seats in Lok Sabha in 1984 to 114 in the next elections was Bofors pay-offs deal.
Singh posed a series of questions on the matter and asked why the Indian investigating teams which went to Sweden did not meet their Swedish counterparts probing the matter.
He claimed that Quattrocchi was “permitted through government connivance to escape from Delhi”.
He sought to know why “political” donations were paid to the account of AE Services, a company owned by the Italian businessman. “How can it (donations) be political in nature when it went to a businessman. We all know he worked for Snam Progetti and what happened in it. We must know what his political purpose was,” he said.
As Mani Shankar Aiyar (Cong) rose to counter Jaitley, Opposition members shouted him into silence asking why he is being allowed to speak when only leaders of parties in the House have been permitted to raise the matter.
Noting that Jaitley has bemoaned the fact that unsuccessful efforts were being made to unearth the truth, Aiyar said, “The reason why we could not unearth the truth is because the pursuit of truth began with a series of untruths.”
Through a point of order, Najma Heptulla (BJP) demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is Leader of the Rajya Sabha, should be present if the House wanted a discussion.
Naresh Agrawal (SP) also protested against allowing Aiyar to speak on the issue saying this amounted to partiality and demanded everybody should be given opportunity to speak.
He said there was a need to introspect “where we had gone wrong” and “what is the capacity of Indian state and all agencies of our in pursuit of truth to find out where we have gone wrong.
Joining the issue, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the issue of Bofors has “plagued” the country for more than two decades.
“It has deeply impacted the country…the issue is of probity…even today there is a big question mark on defence deals. The whistleblower has formally said something. Government must investigate it properly,” he said.
Earlier, when the Rajya Sabha met for the day, BJP and AIADMK members displayed copies of a newspaper interview given by former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom where he said Rajiv Gandhi did nothing to prevent the cover-up to protect Quattrocchi, who is alleged to have received pay-offs in the deal.
“Quattrocchi ko kis ney bachaya (Who saved Quattrocchi),” the Opposition members chanted.
Every time BJP members shouted “Who saved Quattrocchi”, ruling Congress members joined the chorus shouting “BJP ney bachaya (BJP saved him)”.
Aiyar said Jaitely was the Additional Solicitor General who had done paper work in the Bofors investigation case.
Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) said very serious questions have been raised by the former Swiss police chief while his party members continued shouting slogans.
The uproar led to two adjournments in Question Hour.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

President Obama is hitting the campaign trail.

on April 26, 2012


Obama - Biden Naresh – Big news: In 10 days, President Obama is hitting the campaign trail.
On Saturday, May 5th, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama are holding the first two public rallies of the campaign in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia. He’ll speak about how far we’ve come, and lay out the very real stakes in this election: Are we going to continue to move forward, rebuilding an economy that’s meant to last, with a growing middle class and more Americans getting a fair shot? Or are we going to go back to the same failed policies that crashed our economy and left too many folks struggling to catch up? That’s the choice.
These kinds of events are one of the hallmarks of this organization. Millions of people first came to know and support candidate Barack Obama in 2007 and 2008 when they met him at rallies and town halls in their communities. We’re now entering the general election of his final campaign — this day should be something pretty special.
The President would like two supporters from across the country and their guests to meet him backstage before he goes on at the first rally. Supporters like you are the core of this campaign — so we’re opening this up to anyone willing to sign up.
Right now, by signing up to receive important campaign updates on your phone, you will be automatically entered to join the President backstage.
What we’re looking at right now is essentially the start of a general election. We’ve all but got our opponent. This is what we’ve been building for since we launched this campaign last April — and we’re ready to go.
I can tell you the President can’t wait to get out there.
You really can’t lose on this one: As part of our mobile community, you’ll be sure to hear about events near you, when the President will be in your area, and other campaign news.
And signing up right now just might land you the chance to meet President Obama backstage before he starts firing folks up.
Want to be there with him? Sign up for text updates — and be automatically entered for you and a guest to meet him backstage:
Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America
P.S. — Even if you can’t be there, you’ll still be able see the first rally for yourself. We’ll be streaming the event live on our site. Stay tuned for more information about that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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