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Surinder Jakhar created Heavens on Earth: IFFCO MD U S Awasthi

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Jan 20: “It is not important to go to Heaven, but to create Heavens on earth before we leave.”

This is how Dr U S Awasthi described Surinder Kumar Jakhar at a condolence meeting at IFFCO Sadan. Surinder, whom he described as his younger brother, sudden demise left a tremendous void in the cooperative arena.

Dr U S Awasthi paying his homage to Surinder JakharThe condolence meeting was attended by all IFFCO Directors and people from the cooperative sector. Amidst devotional song and nostalgic remembrances, a large gathering paid condolence to the departed soul.

Balram Jakhar, a senior Congress leader and former Governor and father of Surinder Kumar Jakhar, was also present at the meeting.

Chandra Pal Singh, NCUI President and Bijender Singh, NAFED Chairman also participated in the condolence.

ICA Regional Director Dr Chan Ho Choi read a condolence message from President and Vice President of Global ICA on the occasion. Surinder Jakhar was the only director from India on ICA Board.

Floral tributes to Surinder Kumar JakharIFFCO Managing Director Dr U S Awasthi said that IFFCO has lost pillar of strength and void created by Surender Jakhar would be hard to fill up.

Haryana CM expresses grief

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has expressed grief over the demise of IFFCO Chairman Surender Jakhar.

In his condolence message, Hooda recalled his contribution in the field of cooperation. He described it as a personal loss as his family had always shared close relations with the Jakhars.

Iffco condolence meetingIn a separate message, Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda also expressed his condolences to the bereaved family.

Surinder, an eminent leader of the Indian cooperative movement was re-elected as the chairman of world's largest and premier fertilizer cooperative IFFCO in 2009.

He was a graduate from DAV College, Punjab University, Abohar. He was actively involved with the Cooperatives for about three decades.

PrayersDuring his long and illustrious career, he made significant contribution aimed at accelerating the agricultural and rural development.

A widely travelled person, he carried with him rich and varied experience in the field of agriculture and cooperation.

His zeal in solving and improving the financial position of rural people particularly the farmers and augmenting their incremental incomes through cooperatives remained his goal through out his life.

Condolence BookHe kept trying to realize his dream of net-working of cooperatives all over the world to meet their various requirements and needs of people at large for their economic betterment.

Fifty six-year-old Surinder Jakhar, the second of the three sons of Balarm Jakhar, was killed when his pistol went off accidentally while he was cleaning it at his farmhouse in Abohar.

Police said the pistol went off accidentally and there was no foul play.

The family, in a statement to the police, said he was killed in an accidental fire from his pistol at his farmhouse in Maujgarh village.

Survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, Surinder Jakhar was associated with the cooperative movement for nearly three decades.

N C Patel is new IFFCO Chairman

N C Patel with Dr U S AwasthiNEW DELHI, Jan 21: IFFCO Board has elected N C Patel as the new Chairman and Balwinder Singh Nakel as the vice-chairman at the board meeting held here on Friday.

The election was through consensus and was necessitated due to the sudden demise of Surinder Kumar Jakhar, who was Chairman of the world’s largest cooperative for more than a decade.

Patel was vice president in the earlier Board. Hailing form Gujarat he has played a long inning at Cooperatives in general and Iffco in particular. Balwinder Singh has been associated with IFFCO for more than two decades.

All the 27 Board members were present at the meeting and the two were declared elected by the returning officer R D Agrawal.

True Gandhian to the hilt Mr N C Patel has been a prominent cooperative leader from the state of Gujarat. His simple ways and suave mannerism inspire hope that IFFCO will break new frontiers on road to cooperative revolution.

Swiss banker sent to jail for Wiki leak

ZURICH, Jan 21: Police will question former banker Rudolf Elmer over possible fresh breaches of Swiss bank law for giving data to WikiLeaks this week, a day after he was found guilty of violating bank secrecy.

Authorities have 48 hours from Elmer's arrest to decide whether they have grounds to hold him in custody for longer, state prosecutor Peter Pellegrini said on Thursday "Elmer was arrested yesterday and will be questioned by us today," Pellegrini said on Thursday.

Elmer helped bring WikiLeaks to prominence three years ago when he used it to publish secret client details. On Monday he handed over new data to the website, which has annoyed US authorities by releasing thousands of confidential state department cables.

Elmer was taken into custody by police on Wednesday evening, hours after he was convicted of breaching strict banking secrecy by passing on private client data and of threatening employees at his former firm Julius Baer.

A decision on whether to detain Elmer further would depend on whether the state had a case against him and whether there was a risk of him taking flight, Pellegrini said on Thursday.

Elmer was held for a month in 2005 when he was arrested on the charges that led to Wednesday's prosecution — which did not concern WikiLeaks. His wife and daughter live near Zurich.

A source who spoke to Elmer's wife Heidi after his arrest said that she reported that police arrived at their residence in a village outside Zurich with a search warrant and also a warrant for Elmer's arrest. Lucius Blattner , whose firm represented Elmer in Wednesday's proceedings, said that his firm would again represent the former banker in the case of further legal action.

On Wednesday, the court sentenced Elmer to a fine of $7,505, suspended for two years, without giving reasons, which will be presented in a written judgement. The defence will decide whether to appeal within 10 days.

Switzerland's bank secrecy helped it build a $2-trillion wealth management industry but the laws have come under intense global attack in recent years, with neighbouring Germany buying secret data from informants to track down tax evaders.

UK-India sign agreement on Roads Project

By Deepak Arora

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Kamal Nath addressing at the signing ceremony of the agreement between NHAI & UKTI, in New Delhi on January 18, 2011. NEW DELHI, Jan 18: India and the UK have signed an agreement to boost bilateral cooperation on "speedy" development of road and highway projects. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) signed the agreement on Cooperation for Trade and Investment in the Roads and Highways Sector in India.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Kamal Nath and UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable here on Tuesday.

The objective of the agreement is to maximize cooperation in trade and investment between the two countries. The aim will be to stimulate business activities and to facilitate technical knowledge up gradation between public and private sector enterprises, business organizations and professional institutions of both countries.

The Member (F), NHAI, J.N. Singh and the MD, Sector Group, UKTI, Edward Oakden signing the agreement on co-operation for trade and investment in the roads & highways sector in India, in the presence of the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Kamal Nath and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, United Kingdom, Vince Cable, in New Delhi on January 18, 2011.Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Cable said: “I was very pleased to be able to take forward our cooperation during the meeting with Minister Nath. UK firms with their world-class expertise and capabilities are the partner of choice as India builds its capacities to fuel growth. This agreement will help pave the way.”

Cable, who is leading a delegation of large number of British companies to India, asked the British Companies to take advantage of the good opportunity that the sector offers.

Dr. Cable had also met Kamal Nath today along with UK and Indian companies interested in the roads sector and a delegation from the British India Road Group (BIRG).

Kamal Nath has pro-actively sought international investment for modernising roads in India and building them to an international standard. BIRG was formed to respond to this interest, and there has been sustained engagement from major UK companies in this sector for potential work and collaborations.

Kamal Nath highlighted NHAI’s plans to develop 55000 Km of Highways network in the country.

He said that a formalized detailed arrangement for such cooperation between UKTI and NHAI, the two implementing agencies of both the countries, will present opportunities for development of Trade and Investment in the roads sector to mutual benefit of both the countries.

He called on the British Engineering Consultants to offer Consultancy services in India. The Minister also invited the British Companies to participate in the OMT projects in India which he said will be a big market as maintenance of large number of public funded roads would be bid out on OMT basis.

The agreement has been signed in pursuance of the MOU on Cooperation in the Road Transport and Road Sector signed by India and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on September 27, 2010.

Earlier, Dr Vince Cable arrived in New Delhi today after spending a day in Mumbai, where he met with senior Indian business leaders as well as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

This visit to India is the latest in a series by senior British government ministers, and the first in 2011. Dr. Cable was a part of the Prime Minister Cameron’s Cabinet’s delegation, which in July made India the destination for their first overseas visit since coming to office. This underlines the UK government’s strong and on-going commitment to build an enhanced partnership with India.

On 19 January, Dr Cable will co-chair the annual meeting of JETCO, the UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee, with Union Minister for Commerce Anand Sharma. He will also attend the launch of the British India Infrastructure Group (BIIG) with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and meet Salman Kurshid, Union Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs.

Tearful adieu to Surinder Jakhar

ABHOR, Jan 18: The mortal remains of IFFCO Chairman Surinder Kumar Jakhar, who died of gunshot wounds at his farmhouse here yesterday, were consigned to flames at his native village this afternoon.

Family members, relatives, friends, political leaders and admirers bid a tearful adieu to Surinder, son of Congress veteran and former Madhya Pradesh Governor Balram Jakhar.

The funeral was held at village Panjkosi in Abohar, the native place of the Jakhar family, in Punjab’s Ferozpur district.

The last rites were performed by Surinder Jakhar’s son Sandeep, a youth Congress leader.

Union Minister of State for National Highways Mahadev Singh Khandela, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, PWD Minister of Haryana Randeep Singh Surjewala, Member of Parliament from Ferozepur Sher Singh and 70-odd MLAs from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan were present.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also went to Abohar early in the morning and met former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar and other family members of the deceased to express his condolences.

In Abohar, most of the shops were shut today as a mark of respect to Surinder Jakhar and thousands of locals also attended the cremation.

Earlier, a number of political leaders from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, bureaucrats and people from all walks of life paid their last respects to the IFFCO chairman at his ancestral house.

Fifty six-year-old Surinder Jakhar, the second of the three sons of Balarm Jakhar, was killed yesterday when his pistol went off accidentally while he was cleaning it at his farmhouse in Abohar.

Police said the pistol went off accidentally and there was no foul play.

The family, in a statement to the police, said he was killed in an accidental fire from his pistol at his farmhouse in Maujgarh village.

Survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, Surinder Jakhar was associated with the cooperative movement for nearly three decades.

Goldman Sachs warns against investing in India, China

LONDON, Jan 18: Goldman Sachs, the US investment banking giant, has issued a short-term alert over investing in India and China due to the impact of rising inflation, advising clients to rotate into Wall Street and other bourses as a safer bet over coming months, a media report said on Tuesday.

"We're not as tactically positive on the BRIC as we have been," said Tim Moe, the bank's chief Asia-Pacific strategist, referring to the quartet of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the Daily Telegraph reported.

"To be frank, we may have held on too long to our overweight position in China last year. We have decided that discretion is the better part of valour and have tactically reduced our weight. Asia is not in the sweet part of the cycle. The longer-term picture of Asia outperforming the US is taking a breather," he said, speaking at a Goldman conference in London.

The cooling ardour for China is significant shift for the bank that coined the term BRIC and has been the cheerleader of the emerging market story over the past decade.

According to the report, India is an even bigger worry, with yawning twin deficits, and overheating visible on all fronts. The nation's central bank warned this week of "surging inflation".

"India's current account deficit is running at a record pace of 4.1% of GDP and it is 100% funded by short-term portfolio flows, which cannot be relied on indefinitely," said Moe, describing Mumbai's bourse as "crowded".

Goldman insists that the longer-term super-boom remains healthy in both the BRIC nations and a broader group of countries, or "N-11", led by South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey and Egypt.

Goldman expects China to rebound strongly in the second half of the year, distancing itself from the ultra-bearish views of those such as hedge fund star Jim Chanos betting that Beijing will prove unable to engineer a soft landing from its property bubble.

The surprise for 2011 will be a torrid recovery in the US, with growth of 3.4% to 3.8%, as the country confounds critics and averts a post-bubble "Lost Decade".

Even Japan will outshine China, pulling out of its deflation trap, with earnings growth of 23 % this year and 22 % in 2012.

Kathy Matsui, Goldman's Tokyo strategist, said Japanese equities may be the best way to play the Pacific growth story since the average price-to-book ratio is 1.0, compared to 1.9 for China and the rest of emerging Asia.

Bizarre gunshot kills IFFCO chairman Surinder Jakhar

S K JakharABOHAR (PUNJAB), Jan 17: Surinder Kumar Jakhar, Chairman of Indian Farmers Fertilizers Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) and son of former Speaker of the Lok Sabha Balram Jakhar, died here on Monday after a bullet hit him in the head when his pistol, which he was cleaning at his farmhouse located at Maujgarh, about 20 km from here, went off accidentally.

He was rushed to the local Civil Hospital where he was declared “brought dead”. The bullet reportedly pierced through Surinder’s left temple and came out from the right. Surinder was one of the three sons of Balram Jakhar.

A police team visited the place of incident at Maujgarh village. Varinder Singh Brar, SP, said a case under Section 174 of the CrPC had been registered at the Khuian Sarwar police station on the statement of Sandeep Kumar, nephew of Surinder Jakhar. Later, a post-mortem examination was conducted by a penal of doctors.

As soon as the news of Surinder Jakhar’s death spread, hundreds of people belonging to all walks of life started assembling at the Civil Hospital.

Sunil Jakhar, MLA, Abohar, and younger brother of Surinder Jakhar, who was away to Ferozepur to attend a party meeting in connection with the preparations for the party’s rally to be held there on January 31, rushed to the local Civil Hospital immediately. He left the hospital after some time.

Various social and trade organisations have decided to keep their business establishments closed on Tuesday as a mark of respect to the departed soul.

Sources said the body of Surinder Jakhar, 56, was taken to his village, Punj Kosi, in the evening. The cremation would take place tomorrow.

Surinder, an eminent leader of the Indian cooperative movement was re-elected as the chairman of world's largest and premier fertilizer cooperative IFFCO in 2009.

He was a graduate from DAV College, Punjab University, Abohar. He was actively involved with the Cooperatives for about three decades.

During his long and illustrious career, he made significant contribution aimed at accelerating the agricultural and rural development. A widely travelled person, he carried with him rich and varied experience in the field of agriculture and cooperation.

His zeal in solving and improving the financial position of rural people particularly the farmers and augmenting their incremental incomes through cooperatives remained his goal through out his life. He kept trying to realize his dream of net-working of cooperatives all over the world to meet their various requirements and needs of people at large for their economic betterment.

Dr Vince Cable visit to strengthen infrastructure ties with India

By Deepak Arora

Dr Vince CableNEW DELHI, Jan 14: The UK’s Secretary of State (Minister) for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable, will begin three-day visit to India beginning January 17. He will be accompanied by a large delegation of British businesses.

The visit aims to identify further opportunities for UK and Indian businesses to work together to realise India’s ambitious goals for economic growth in critical areas such as infrastructure development, and to explore further opportunities for Indian businesses to take advantage of the highly attractive investment climate offered by the UK.

With his Indian counterparts, Dr Cable will also look to take forward opportunities for the UK and India to work together to build a global trade and investment environment that promotes sustained growth and prosperity for all.

During his visit to Mumbai, Dr Cable will call on the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr Prithviraj Chavan and the Chairman of the State Bank of India Mr O P Bhatt. He will meet executives of leading Indian industrial groups including Tata and Essar.

He will deliver a speech on “Globalisation and the Role of Emerging Markets in World Trade” at a function co-hosted by the CII and will attend an event to announce formally the opening of the Indian subsidiary of Smiths Medical International (a FTSE 100 company). Smiths Medical is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of medical devices and equipment.

In Delhi, Dr Cable will co-chair the annual meeting of JETCO, the UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee, with Union Minister for Commerce Mr Anand Sharma. Dr Cable will also attend the launch of the British India Infrastructure Group (BIIG) and hold meetings with Mr Kamal Nath, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister and Mr Salman Kurshid, Union Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs.

Speaking before his India visit Dr Cable said: “I am delighted to be visiting India again. The British government’s commitment to building an enhanced partnership with India is clear and unwavering. A vibrant and growing economic and commercial relationship lies at the heart of this. I see my trip as an opportunity to underline the high level of ambition we have for 2011”.

A distinguished economist of international repute, Dr Cable has held the Business, Skills & Innovation portfolio in the British Cabinet since the general election in May 2010.

Dr Cable’s visit to India is the latest in a series by senior British government ministers, and the first in 2011. Dr Cable returns just six months after accompanying British Prime Minister David Cameron to Bangalore and Delhi in July 2010. This underlines the UK government’s strong and on-going commitment to build an enhanced partnership with India.

Citibank tried to 'buy-off' scam victim

GURGAON, Jan 5: Sanjeev Aggarwal, a high net worth individual (HNI) whose FIR names Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit in the Rs 300 crore fraud in its Gurgaon branch, today said it was a "systemic failure" and the chief executive cannot escape responsibility.

Aggarwal is the founder of Daksh, a software company (one of the best business process outsourcing companies) that was later sold to IBM.

He told a press conference here that the bank had offered him a "settlement" a few days ago on his loss of Rs 33 crore but they suddenly turned quiet on the offer.

"It is a systemic failure" and the CEO cannot escape from his responsibilities, he said when asked why he named top executives like Pandit and others in the FIR relating to the Rs 300 crore allegedly masterminded by Shivraj Puri, Relationship Manager in the Gurgaon branch.

Aggarwal said said he filed the complaint because the bank had offered him a "settlement" against his Rs 33 crore loss but became silent when he tried to contact them.

Citibank fraud case: FIR against CEO Vikram Pandit

GURGAON, Jan 4: The local police on Tuesday registered an FIR naming Indian-born global CEO of the bank Vikram Pandit and 10 other officials in the Rs 300-crore Citibank fraud case.

The fraud at the bank's Gurgaon branch, involving diversion of depositors money into the stock market, was uncovered last week.

Besides Pandit, the FIR filed by a high networth individual ( HNI) Sanjiv Agarwal with the Gurgaon police also names Citibank chairman William R Rhodes along with other senior officials based in India.

"We got the complaint and immediately registered the FIR (first information report)" Gurgaon police commissioner S S Deswal said.

In the FIR, Agarwal, who is a resident of Gurgaon, alleged criminal breach of trust, falsification of accounts, cheating and criminal conspiracy by the officials of the Citibank.

"All persons named (in FIR)... in collision and conspiracy with each other and other known or unknown persons, (and) have misappropriated large sums of money to the tune of Rs 32.43 crore" Agarwal said in his complaint.

The case has been registered under sections 409, 477A, 420 and 120B of IPC.

The others who have been named in the FIR include Citibank's senior officials CFO John Gerspach and COO Doughlas Peterson (both based in New York).

The others who figure in the FIR are Amit Zarpuri, Ashwini Chaddha, Amrita Farmahan, Rahul Soota, N Rajshekaran, Pramit Jhaveri and Shivraj Puri, the main accused in the fraud case.

ONGC and GAIL agree to reinforce ties in areas of Natural Gas and Petrochemicals

By Deepak Arora

R.S. Sharma, CMD, ONGC and B.C. Tripathi, CMD, GAIL  flanked by Sudhir Vasudeva, Director (Offshore), ONGC and Prabhat Singh, Director (Marketing), GAIL on the occasion of signing of the Gas Cooperation Agreement between GAIL and ONGCNEW DELHI, Jan 3: Beginning the first working day of the year 2011, managements of ONGC and GAIL today reached a landmark understanding for mutual business growth covering natural gas as well as petro-chemicals. This over-arching understanding was documented in the form of various agreements and exchange of letters, which were initialed in the office of GAIL in the presence of the CMDs of both organizations.

Initialing of these agreements was also witnessed by other Board Members and senior functionaries from both organizations as well as from ONGC Petro Additions Limited (OPaL), a joint venture promoted by ONGC.

As regards understanding reached for gas business, both companies would work together for exclusive sale of natural gas produced by ONGC from its various fields to GAIL during next 3 years. This joint initiative will serve as a catalyst for effective monetization of gas from future E&P fields of ONGC, with GAIL providing the infrastructure and marketing tie-up for supply to potential customers.

This integrated effort of ONGC and GAIL shall also increase the availability of firm gas sourcing for infrastructure projects. The two companies also reached an understanding in swapping gas available to both the companies so as to optimise the logistics and costs.

As for OPaL, the agreements initialed today signify GAIL formally agreeing to become a co-promoter of 1.1 MMTPA Ethylene Cracker Petro-chemical complex, under implementation in Dahej SEZ area, at a capital investment of Rs.19,535 crore.

An understanding has also been reached for marketing of a portion of petrochemical products of OPaL by GAIL. GAIL and ONGC would also explore the possibility of setting up a downstream unit using Butadiene, a by-product of OPaL, to GAIL for manufacture of value-added products.

Commenting on the occasion, R. S. Sharma, CMD, ONGC observed that mutual negotiations on these agreements have been going on for quite some time and the agreements initialed today shall create a definitive road-map for business growth by both the entities and shall also reinforce mutual cooperation by two oil PSU giants.

B. C. Tripathi, CMD, GAIL stated on the occasion that GAIL and ONGC have had a very long and symbiotic association and today’s development will certainly strengthen this business synergy for the mutual advantage for both the companies which will help promote long term energy security in the country.

The agreements initialed today are expected to be formalized into definitive agreements immediately after approvals of respective Boards.

SAHSPL lures Indian consumers this New Year; Ties-up with Dosa Hut

MUMBAI, Jan 3: South Asian Hospitality Services Pvt. Ltd. (SAHSPL) one of India’s largest Restaurant Management Company, today announced the tie-up with Dosa Hut – specialists in South Indian cuisine. For SAHSPL, quality is always a priority. All brands under their portfolio (Subway, Nirula’s, Moti Mahal and Rajdhani Thali) they tie-up with provide the customers with the highest quality, freshest ingredients and Dosa Hut surely fit the bill.

Dosa Hut is well known for its authentic style of idlis and dosas at an affordable price. It currently has outlets in Pune and Mumbai. Upbeat on India at the moment, with this tie-up Dosa Hut wishes to increase penetration in the Indian market by expanding to other metros across India.

Commenting on the tie-up, Mr. Pradeep Sehgal, CEO, SAHSPL said, “SAHSPL has always been associated with the finest food brands in India whether it is Nirula’s, Subway, Moti Mahal or Rajdhani thali. Keeping in mind the changing taste and life style of the Indian consumer, we keep innovating by bringing fresh ideas and brands to market. South Indian cuisine is in demand across the country and by bringing Dosa Hut to the north region, we intend to cater to more palettes.

Commenting on this, Mr. Shashank Rao, Owner, Dosa Hut said, “Through SAHSPL’s expertise, we intend to strengthen our foothold in this industry and take this brand to North of India. We are confident that our tie-up with the SAHSPL will help the brand Dosa Hut grow manifold and increase in popularity.”

With this tie-up, SAHSPL is also the exclusive franchise holder for Dosa Hut in Northern India.

Iffco Managing Director Dr U S Awasthi receiving honours from President of India Pratibha PatilIndian Prez honours Dr. U S Awasthi

NEW DELHI, Jan 1, 2011: Iffco Managing Director, Dr. U. S. Awasthi, was felicitated by the President of India, Mrs Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, for his outstanding contribution in the field of Art & Culture here at Vigyan Bhawan.

The falicitation was organised by Roots 2 Roots, All India Progressive Writers Association on the occasion of centenary celebrations of Faiz, a well known poet & auther.

India, Russia to aim at $20 b trade

NEW DELHI, Dec 20: Stressing on the need to diversify and expand the trade basket, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday said it was possible to achieve the $20-billion trade target between India and Russia by 2015 provided all stakeholders put concerted efforts for it.

Addressing the plenary session of “Prospects of Russian-Indian trade and investment relations development'' of 4th India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investments here, Mr. Sharma said the target of $20-billion trade turnover between the two nations by 2015 was achievable. “Let us work together for a renewed thrust on bilateral trade and investment,'' he remarked.

Mr. Sharma focussed on the need to expand the trade basket to include value-added items in areas of applied technologies, information technology, telecommunications, automobile components, gems and jewellery and energy. “There are ample opportunities for investment in two countries and both of us have to exploit in our mutual benefit,'' he stated.

The session was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Economic Development and Trade Elvira Nabiullina and DIPP Secretary R. P. Singh. The event was organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Mr. Sharma said the Indian and Russian economies had natural areas of synergy and India was ready to share its experience and expertise in setting up information technology parks.

“We need to focus the possibilities of cooperation in the IT sector as the scope is immense. Now it is up to the business communities to seize the initiative,'' he said.

Referring to infrastructure, Mr. Sharma said India's quest for new facilities in power, transportation, urban development and communication had truly taken off. “India will be spending $1.7 trillion in the next seven years to meet its infrastructure requirements. The government has instituted friendly policies for inviting FDI in these sectors and has addressed many areas to promote public private partnership as a plank of infrastructure development. Both countries should make available to each other the investment regulations and ways of doing business,'' he said.

Set up commission to check corruption: Assocham to Govt

Dilip ModiNEW DELHI, Dec 13: Industry body Assocham on Monday suggested setting up an integrity and ethics commission on the lines of the Planning Commission and the Election Commission to check corruption in the country.

"... (Assocham) proposes an integrity and ethics commission," newly elected Assocham President Dilip Modi told reporters in New Delhi, adding corruption is worse than cancer as it destroys the confidence of people.

The suggestions for such a commission comes at a time when top industry players are hurling allegations against each other and Parliament's winter session was washed out due to a stand-off between the government and Opposition over the spectrum row.

The Assocham chief also said most of the corruption is emanating from the requirement of the funds for the election.

"We are planning to submit a proposal (to government) that elections, may it be central or state, should be funded by the Centre because election funding is the main source of corruption in our country," Modi said.

The chamber has appointed an expert committee to develop code of ethics to be signed and adopted by corporate India.

On the country's economic performance, Modi said the GDP is likely expand by over 9 per cent this fiscal.

The government has revised its GDP growth forecast to 8.75 per cent.

The economy has shown recovery from the impact of global financial crisis that hit in 2008 and India's GDP has grown at 8.9 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal.

He further said, in future, India is going to face seven key imperatives like multiple risk in arranging funding, shortfall in skilled manpower, poor infrastructure and increasing trade imbalance.

Assocham would be working in areas like human resource, education, technology, small and medium enterprises, foreign inflows and rural development, he said.

Oman, India identify areas for investment

MUSCAT, Dec 11: Top-level officials of Oman and India are expected to sign an agreement to approve a report on nine areas of cooperation for direct investment and technology transfer between the two countries, according to an Indian Embassy official.

Mohammed bin Al Zubair, adviser to His Majesty the Sultan on economic planning affairs, and India's Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia will sign the pact on Monday, when the Indian official meets Zubair. This report will be submitted to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh later, said Indian Ambassador to the Sultanate Anil Wadhwa.

Apart from $100 million investment fund, the sectors identified for mutual cooperation include education, information technology, vocational training, food processing and hospitality.

Zubair and Ahluwalia have been assigned with a special task to set up a committee to prepare a report on mutual cooperation between the two friendly countries, after the Indian prime minister visited Oman in November 2008, Wadhwa noted.

From Indian side, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) helped prepare the 62-page report, while Ernst and Young supported the initiative from Oman's side.

The bilateral trade and investment between Oman and India have been surging in recent years, thanks to high-level meetings of senior ministers and other government officials of both the countries.

The two-way trade between the two countries is expected to touch $2.5 billion this year from $2 billion for 2009, according to official statistics. Over 100 Indian companies operate in Oman, while over 30 Omani companies are present in India. There has been a growing interest among Omani companies to invest in India in recent years. For instance, Oman Oil Company last year acquired 24 per cent stake in the 6-million-tonnes refinery set up by Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd.

Further, Oman is one of the first countries to form a joint investment fund with India, which helps both countries to guarantee investment capital for identified projects. Although the initial corpus of the joint investment fund is $100 million, this could go up to $1.5 billion later. The State General Reserve Fund of Oman and State Bank of India are the partners who contributed the corpus money.

Oman and India have huge potential for strengthening cooperation in food processing and fertiliser industries. Oman recently agreed in principle to inject huge funds for reviving a few Indian fertiliser plants that are closed down. Oman Oil Company, the investment arm of the government, will inject around $3 billion for reviving sick fertiliser plants. This follows the recent visit of India's Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to Oman.

KRIBHCO bags Gold Trophy

NEW DELHI, Dec 3: KRIBHCO has won the Gold Trophy in National Essay Competition at 52nd National Convention of IIIE and National Seminar on “Pillars of Prosperity :Energy Economy Environment”. Kribhco has won the trophy in the “Category 1- Organisation” for its essay written by Devjit Singh, CM(F&A), KRIBHCO/ Company Secretary, KRIL.

The essay highlighted the steps taken by KRIBHCO in the field of energy and
environment conservation.

Cdr. B.M. Bhandarkar, Chairman, IIIE, presented the trophy and certificate at the
valedictory function of the National Convention and National Seminar at Bhilai.

Krishak Bharati Cooperative Limited (KRIBHCO) is a premier national level
Multi-State Cooperative Society. KRIBHCO is engaged in the manufacture and
marketing of urea, bio-fertilisers, seeds and organic fertilizer. KRIBHCO is also
providing useful services to the farming community through various promotional,
educational and development activities throughout India.

The Indian Institution of Industrial Engineering (IIIE), a non-profit organisation
and a registered Society founded in 1957 for propagating the profession of
Industrial Engineering in India invited entries to participate in National Essay
Competition 2010 on the topic “Energy, Economy & Environment”.

India, Arab League trade may reach $240 bn by 2014: CII

NEW DELHI, Nov 24: The two-way commerce between India and the 22 League of Arab Nations is expected to reach $240 billion by 2014 on account of increasing cooperation in areas like infrastructure and real estate, a report said.

"India and the Arab Nations will soon become major trading partners, exhibiting significant improvement in two-way trade and is expected to reach $120 billion by 2010–11 and $240 billion by 2014," industry body CII today said in its report.

It said that there is a huge potential for both the sides to cooperate in areas like oil and gas, chemicals, real estate, infrastructure and food processing.

The report - "India & League of Arab States- Exploring New Horizons" - also explores new horizons of collaboration to harness investment and trade between India and the countries in the Arab region.

Investments from the region into India have been on a continuous upswing, especially in sectors such as telecom and infrastructure, the report added.

"Security, defence and education are new areas of interest which will forge the relationship ahead," Ambassador of Kuwait to India Sami Mohammad Al-Sulaiman said.

The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 and its members include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and United Arab Emirates.

Indian farmers give lecture at Harvard

BOSTON, Nov 24: While high-level agricultural cooperation between India and the United States has focused on bringing advanced technologies to India, the flow of knowledge is sometimes reversed at the grassroots level and in academic circles.

This week two Indian farmers from Jalgaon district in the state of Maharashtra travelled to Boston, where they told a rapt audience at Harvard University’s prestigious Business School about how they had used drip irrigation to dramatically increase their farm yields.

Hemchandra Patil (40) and Rajendra Patil (50) said that at the invitation of Harvard Business School they had travelled to the U.S. to explain how, over ten years, a unique system of drip irrigation farming techniques had helped them expand their farm holdings from between two and 12 acres to nearly 40 acres.

A partner to the Patils in this success story was one of the early pioneers of drip irrigation in India – a company called Jain Irrigation Systems. Dilip Kulkarni, President of the agro foods division at Jain Irrigation, said that while drip irrigation had been relatively rare in India prior to 1985, the company’s founder, Bhavarlal Jain, played a key role in adapting drip irrigation techniques used in large-scale farms in the U.S. to the small farming conditions found commonly in India.

The key technology adaptations involved entailed modification of the drip irrigation system to suit the low-water-pressure conditions in India and also recalibration of the equipment to distribute water across smaller farm holdings.

Mr. Hemchandra Patil said that the efficient use of water that drip irrigation implied had helped him increase his earnings per acre, for example for onion cultivation, from around 10,000 rupees to 40,000 rupees or more.

He added that Jain Irrigation Systems had been instrumental in this process, not only by giving him access to the drip irrigation equipment but also by holding regular technical seminars, usually conducted by an agronomist, on appropriate cultivation methods. The Jain Hi-Tech Agricultural Institute at Jalgaon was the forum for these training seminars, he said.

In response to a question on why drip irrigation was not more popular and the less efficient technique of flood irrigation was widespread, for example, in states like Tamil Nadu, Mr. Kulkarni said that there were several reasons for this.

First, he explained, many farmers held the “wrong idea [that] more water means more paddy.” This was especially prevalent in South Indian states where rice, a crop that is relatively intensive in its use of water, is widely cultivated.

Further, Mr. Kulkarni noted, the cost of drip irrigation could sometimes be prohibitive, especially for small farmers, as it averaged about 25,000 rupees per acre.

However combined with a 50 per cent subsidy from the state government, Jain Irrigation had also evolved a system of providing the drip irrigation system upfront to the farmer and helping the farmer obtain a bank loan for the remainder through a tripartite agreement involving the farmer, the bank and Jain Irrigation itself.

The success of the system, which has also focussed on contract farming and market-access solutions, has not gone unnoticed.

Even before the farmers’ Harvard presentation the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation recognised the transformative potential of the system in giving it the IFC’s Inclusive Business Leadership Award, a rare honour.

IFFCO is exciting adventure of building new India: Dr Karan Singh

By Deepak Arora

Iffco Nehru Memorial lectureNEW DELHI, Nov 19: Internationally renowned scholar and statesman, Dr Karan Singh, has said “Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru was a unique personality of the 20th Century. He was an ardent freedom fighter, a competent administrator, a planner, a visionary thinker, an author and a world statesman.”

Delivering the 23rd Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial IFFCO lecture here, Dr Karan Singh focused upon the multiple dimensions of Pt Nehru and his remarkable mind and contributions made to Free India and for Free India.

IFFCO Chairman Surinder Kumar Jakhar welcoming Dr Karan Singh. Aslo seen in the picture is Iffco Managing Director Dr U S Awasthi. The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (Iffco) lecture was graced by who’s who of the cooperative sector in India.

He also remarked on the role of Pt. Nehru in emerging as a new youthful face of the Congress and contribution in Indian Freedom struggle, his remarkable role in leading the new India after freedom, formation of new constitution, development of science and technology in free India.

Quoting the golden words of Pt Nehru, Dr Karan Singh said “IFFCO is an exciting adventure of building the new India”.

He stressed that it was now time for IFFCO to move into the field of solar power also in order to rejuvenate the Indian soil and become self sufficient in sustainable energy. He mentioned IFFCO as a synergy between the cooperative movement and agricultural transformation towards alleviating hunger and poverty.

IFFCO Managing Director Dr U S Awasthi welcoming Dr Karan Singh for the 23rd Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial IFFCO lecture in Delhi on November 19, 2010.He applauded IFFCO’s contribution in green revolution, food self-sufficiency and Indian fertiliser industry.

Addressing the jam-packed NCUI Auditorium here, IFFCO Chairman Surinder Kumar Jakhar said that the cooperatives can play an extremely useful role in various sectors like fertilizers, dairy farming and agri-processed industries which will add value to the farmer and supply of other inputs and services to farmers.

He added that it was time to think about rejuvenate the Indian soil as over the years crop productivity has reached its plateau despite increase in nutrient usage mainly due to the fact that there is an imbalance between nutrients addition versus removal, resulting in widespread multi-nutrient deficiency.

He also mentioned that IFFCO being farmers own cooperative has taken initiative on this front under a soil rejuvenation campaign, named as “Save the Soil Campaign / BHOOMI BACHAO ABHIYAN” with an objective to make farmers aware of the various deficiencies of nutrients in their soil and the need to apply adequate nutrients.

Iffco Nehru Memorial lectureHe urged the farmers for making Cooperative movement more widespread and more effective. He assured them that being their own Society IFFCO shall continue to serve them and strengthen cooperative movement.

Mr Jakhar felt proud of the fact that IFFCO is the only organization from India to be a member of International Cooperative Alliance (ICA).

Referring to proposed amendment to Multi State Cooperative Act, Mr Jakhar said that IFFCO lends its full support to the amendments.

IFFCO Managing Director, Dr U S Awasthi, said that we do produce chemical fertilizer but our focus remains to be farmers. Referring to Save the Soil campaign, he said that it has led to growth multiplication of three times for the farmers.

Iffco Nehru Memorial lectureFollowing Panditji’s vision, Dr Awasthi said IFFCO was trying to make cooperative as one’s way of life. Rural communication, insurance and dairy are some of the means through which we are trying to realize Panditji’s dream, he added.

Massages from the President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Agriculture Minister Shard Pawar were read out on the occasion. They all wished great success to IFFCO.

IFFCO also announced the Sahakarita Ratna and Sahakarita Bandhu awards to Mahendra Shastri and O P Agrawal respectively for their contributions in the field of cooperative movement.

Iffco Nehru Memorial lectureMr Mahendra Shahstri is a leading cooperator who is associated with Indian cooperative movement from the last 50 years. He is an ardent educationist, creative writer and poet and also a social reformer from Rajasthan State. His selfless Service to cooperatives and Society makes him a valuable asset to the Society.

Mr O.P.Agrawal is a dedicated cooperator, an eminent environmentalist and a visionary leader from Chhattisgarh state. His efforts in empowering backward classes and improving their livelihoods through farm forestry and agriculture development are commendable.

While at the outset, IFFCO Joint Managing Director Rakesh Kapoor gave a brief introduction of Dr Karan Singh, the Chief of PR Department Ghanshayam Das proposed a vote of thanks at the conclusion of the event.

Pranab inaugurates Canara Bank's 105 Branches, 105 ATMs to Mark 105 Years of Service to India

Report and Pix by Deepak Arora

Pranab Mukherjee at the Canara Bank's Founders DayNEW DELHI, Nov 19: To celebrate its Founder’s Day to 105 years of its service to the nation, Canara Bank opened 105 new branches and 105 new ATMs in the country.

To mark the momentous occasion, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also formally launched 1,00,000 general credit cards, 50,000 smart cards and 10 Financial literacy cum credit counseling centers (FLCC).

With the opening of new branches and new ATMs, the bank’s domestic network has expanded to 3,162 branches and ATM network to 2,117. These are spread across 21 States. Out of 105 branches opened on Friday, majority are in semi-urban and rural areas, the bank said.

Commending the steps initiated by Canara Bank to enhance financial inclusion, Mukherjee said the bank has been significantly contributing to step up the pace of socio-economic development in a big way, closely following the vision of the bank’s founder and founding principles formulated over a century ago.

Pranab Mukherjee at the Canara Bank's Founders Day“I congratulate the bank for these initiatives for financial inclusion,” he said while addressing the dignitaries, senior officials, staff and customers of Canara Bank on the bank’s Founders’ Day celebrations here on Friday.

Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena, Financial Services Secretary R. Gopalan, Canara Bank Chairman and Managing Director S. Raman and other eminent persons attended the function.

“It is important that financial inclusion, which is core to the government's policy agenda, is carried forward in a cost-effective manner. The government is in favour of cost-effective technology solutions, implicit and explicit incentives and commitment to increase financial penetration of affordable banking services, particularly in the rural and unorganised sectors,” said the Finance Minister.

Canara Bank Chairman and Managing Director S Raman indicated that in the next two to three years, the bank proposes to add 1,000 new branches and another 2,000 ATMs to its countrywide network.

Canara Bank's Founders Day functionMukherjee asked banks to focus and reach out to the weaker sections of society as a high economic growth without according benefits to the poor would not achieve the national goal of inclusive growth.

The Finance Minister said the banking sector should expand its reach and thereby help in inclusive growth as high gross domestic product (GDP) numbers without alleviating the plight of the poor would remain just a statistical number.

He stressed that without turning complacent on achieving the 8.5 per cent growth as expected for the current year, the ways would have to be found to overcome the hurdles in the way of double digit growth.

“We cannot remain satisfied with this growth (8.5 per cent expected this fiscal). We shall have to cross the barrier of double digit growth,” he said.

Canara Bank's Founders Day functionIndia’s economic growth bounced back to 8.8 per cent in the first quarter of this fiscal after shrinking considerably following the impact of the global economic crisis in 2008.

Turning to the challenge of developing world-class infrastructure, Mukherjee pointed out that there would be an estimated gap of 30 per cent in the $1 trillion investment pegged for infrastructure during the XII Plan (2012-17). “We have to breach that gap,” he said.

For better coordination among regulators in this regard, the Finance Minister said the Ministry had decided to establish the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) and a discussion paper had been circulated in coordination with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Canara Bank's Founders Day function“Another important legislation which we are going to have for which we have set up a committee is the Financial Legislative Reforms Commission (FLRC),” he said.

The objective was to update various financial sector related legislation, so that it could be in tune with the prevailing condition, he said.

Pranab Mukherjee also said that had the government received additional funds from sale of 2G spectrum, it would have spent the amount on social sector schemes. “If I would have got that money, I would have spent it in social response (social sector schemes).”

Canara Bank's Founders Day function Canara Bank's Founders Day function
Canara Bank's Founders Day function Canara Bank's Founders Day function
Canara Bank's Founders Day function Canara Bank's Founders Day function


According to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Parliament, the exchequer has lost an estimated 1.76 lakh crore on account of undervaluation in sale of 2G spectrum.

Mukherjee said the report of the CAG is being examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and necessary action would be taken after that. “Till now the CAG report is being examined by the PAC. Further evidences will be called for (by the PAC) and then the final conclusion could be arrived at,” he said.



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