Thursday, March 31, 2011

Budgetary control lax in Bihar, finds CAG-Mar 31, 2011

Budgetary control lax in Bihar, finds CAG

Faizan Ahmad, TNN | Mar 31, 2011, 11.04pm IST

PATNA: Budgetary control over various government departments in Bihar leaves much to be desired, if the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of the state's finances for the financial year 2009-10 is to be believed.

According to its report tabled in the assembly recently, as many as 26 departments surrendered their entire allocated amount during the year; some others – home department for instance – surrendered more money than what they had actually not utilized; some couldn't spend the allocation but didn't surrender the money.

The CAG has also noted with concern a 'rush of expenditure' in last month of the fiscal.

For renovation of primary and middle school buildings and for providing sports facilities to the children of these schools, a sum of Rs 66.84 crore was provided to the HRD department during 2009-10. The department surrendered the entire amount!

There are altogether 26 departments which surrendered the entire allocated amount totalling Rs 522.15 crore for 69 schemes during that fiscal.

The disaster management department decided to surrender Rs 252.56 crore, meant for relief to the victims of natural calamities, on the last day of the financial year. However, its plea was not accepted by the finance department due to delayed submission of surrender papers. As a result, the amount lapsed.

There are some other departments which surrendered more money than what they had actually not utilized. For example, the home department could not utilize Rs 242.72 crore, but it surrendered Rs 251.25 crore, an excess of Rs 8.53 crore.

On the other hand, there are departments which didn't surrender the unspent amount. For instance, the art and culture department did not utilize Rs 11.13 crore, but it failed to surrender the money.

The CAG has advised the state government to strengthen its budgetary controls to avoid such deficiencies in financial management. It also expressed concern over 'rush of expenditure' in the last month of the fiscal.

Commenting on the report's findings, chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday, "The CAG brings to the notice of the government the irregularities or drawbacks and the government acts on its reports." He said the government comes to know about the violation of financial rules and budget manual through the audit report. "We honour the CAG's critical comments and will try to bring reforms in financial management," he added.

The CAG has remarked, "Departments should submit realistic budget estimates, keeping in view relevant factors like trends in economy, actual requirement of funds, expenditure during the last three years, besides others."

This comment came in the backdrop of the fact that at least 45 departments surrendered a sum of Rs 3,673.56 crore out of total provision of Rs 5,500.46 crore, which is a clear indication that the departments made unrealistic demands and ultimately failed to utilize the funds. For the central rural water supply programme, a grant of Rs 657 crore was provided but the PHED could utilize only Rs 293 crore and surrendered Rs 364 crore.

The CAG detected that there were 25 grants and appropriations in which Rs 5,861 crore had not been utilized, but Rs 3,182 crore was not surrendered by the departments concerned. Also, in 43 cases Rs 6,063 crore of unutilized money was surrendered on the last two working days of March, 2010.

"Audit scrutiny revealed instances where the amount surrendered was in excess of actual savings, indicating lack of or inadequate budgetary control," said the report. It said as against the non-utilized amount of Rs 462 crore in eight cases, the total amount surrendered was Rs 483 crore, resulting in excess surrender of Rs 21 crore.
The CAG suggested strengthening budgetary control in all the departments by close monitoring of expenditure. It said that anticipated savings should be surrendered in time and excess expenditure over grants should be regularized as required under the Constitution.

Bikaner - The City of Joy Happiness and Religions पच्चीस साल पुरानी यादें हुई ताजा

पच्चीस साल पुरानी यादें हुई ताजा

बीकानेर। सरदार पटेल मेडिकल कॉलेज पूरा परिसर दुल्हन की तरह सजा था। मेहमानों की अगवानी की जा रही थी।
अवसर था कॉलेज के बैच मीट का। समारोह में आए 23वीं बैच के 80 साथी साफे पहने एक-दूसरे से गले मिलकर यादें ताजा कर रहे थे। चिकित्सक अपनी पत्नी और बच्चों को कक्षा कक्ष व हॉस्टल के उन कमरों को दिखा रहे थे जहां उन्होंने पढ़ाई की। कई ने भाव वभोर हो कर कॉलेज की चौखट चूमी। चिकित्सक गुरूओं के पैर छुए।कुशल क्षेम पूछी। कॉलेज के प्रेक्षागृह में मुख्य समारोह के दौरान हंसी-मजाक का माहौल चलता रहा। तालियां और सीटियों की आवाजें सुनाई दे रही थी।
बैच मीट समारोह के मुख्य अतिथि इंडियन कौंसिल ऑफ मेडिकल रिसर्च के प्रबंध निदेशक डॉ. वी.एम. खटोच ने कहा कि अनुसंधान के मामले में बीकानेर का मेडिकल कॉलेज अव्वल है। कॉलेज की तरफ से अनुसंधान का कोई भी प्रस्ताव भेजा जाएगा तो उसको प्राथमिकता के साथ मंजूर किया जाएगा। उन्होंने कहा कि इस प्रकार के कार्यक्रमों से साथियों को मिलने का मौका मिलता है। आपसी स्नेह और भी मजबूत होता है।
विशिष्ट अतिथि राजस्थान स्वास्थ्य विश्वविद्यालय के कुलपति व मेडिकल कॉलेज के प्राचार्य डॉ. राजा बाबू पंवार ने कहा कि बीकानेर में दानदाताओं के सहयोग पी.बी.एम. अस्पताल का निरंतर विकास हो रहा है। अतिरिक्त प्राचार्य डॉ. के.सी. नायक ने कहा कि आज यहां के विद्यार्थी देश-विदेश में मरीजों की सेवा कर कॉलेज का नाम रोशन कर रहे हैं। अस्पताल अधीक्षक डॉ. विनोद बिहाणी ने स्वागत भाषण दिया। आयोजन समिति के सचिव डॉ. ताराचंद सैनी ने बैच मीट का ब्यौरा प्रस्तुत किया। डॉ. सुकुमार कश्यप ने धन्यवाद ज्ञापित किया। डॉ. के.सी. माथुर ने आयोजन के उद्देश्यों पर प्रकाश डाला। इस मौके पर पचास गुरूजनों का सम्मान किया गया।

Bikaner-Delhi train flagged off-Mar 31, 2011

Bikaner-Delhi train flagged off

TNN, Mar 31, 2011, 06.19am IST

BIKANER: Chief minister Ashok Gehlot flagged off the much-awaited Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Bikaner Express broad-guage train from the Bikaner railway station and distributed free plots to 134 families of the Bhaat community under a housing scheme during his daylong visit here on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion of flagging of the train, Gehlot said work to connect Bikaner by air will start very soon. He also said his government has given importance to railways as it plays an important role in the lives of every person.

Gujarat’s ‘Godmother’ Santokben Jadeja dies at 65-1/4/11

Gujarat’s ‘Godmother’ Santokben Jadeja dies at 65

Santokben Jadeja, who rose to notoriety with her underworld gang in the 1980s and even inspired a Bollywood movie, died of cardiac arrest at her residence in hometown Porbandar on Thursday. She was 65.

Santokben started her gang in Porbandar, seeking revenge for the murder of her husband Sharman Munjha, a mill worker. Slowly her gang and its terror expanded as she extended control over illegal limestone, mining and transport businesses in the area.

Her gang faced more than 100 cases as it fought with other local gangs for control of limestone mines and transport business. She also faced a case under TADA.

“Though the family had shifted to Rajkot over a decade ago, they used to regularly visit their Porbandar home. She had recently come to Porabandar,” said a member close to the Jadeja family.

She and her three sons — Kandhal, Karan and Kana — only two months back were acquitted in the Keshu Odedara murder case, which was the last murder case the family faced.

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Santokben’s life inspired the Shabana Azmi-starrer Godmother in 1999, which also got the actor a National Award. She is also a former Independent MLA from Kutiyana constituency.

Put "ancient animosities" behind, and work for a "permanent reconciliation" and "cooperative solutionsays PM at dinner meet with Gilani-March 31, 2011

Put "ancient animosities" behind, says PM at dinner meet with Gilani

Press Trust Of India

Mohali, March 31, 2011

Buoyed by his cricket diplomacy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that India and Pakistan should put their "ancient animosities" behind them and work for a "permanent reconciliation" and "cooperative solutions" to their problems. Speaking at a dinner he hosted for his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf R
aza Gilani last night on the margins of India-Pakistan World Cup cricket semi final match here, Singh said the two neighbouring countries "should be working together to find cooperative solutions and need permanent reconciliation to live together in dignity and honour".

"We should put our ancient animosities behind us to attend to the problems of our nations," he said.

Singh later said that "the beautiful game of cricket" has been a "uniting factor" in bringing together the two prime ministers.

"Cricket", the Prime Minister told a TV channel, "has been a uniting factor. It has brought our two PMs together and I daresay that’s a very good beginning".

Singh said that "whatever be the differences between our two countries, we have to find ways to resolve them".

"Gilani-sahab and I have had extensive discussions on all outstanding issues and we have reaffirmed our resolve that there are difficulties in the way but we will make every honest effort to overcome those difficulties.

"And the message from Mohali is that the people of India and Pakistan want to live in peace and amity and that the two PMs have committed their governments to work in that direction," he said.

Singh said he was "very grateful" to Gilani for "having accepted my invitation to join me in watching this beautiful game of cricket".

Gilani on his part termed his talks with Singh as "positive" and said they discussed all the core issues between the two countries.

"Talks were positive. We discussed all the core issues between the two countries," Gilani told the Pakistan media in a brief chat after his dinner meeting.

PM says considering legislative, administrative steps to tackle corruptionto combat the menace of black money and rein in corruption

PM says considering legislative, administrative steps to tackle corruption

New Delhi, March 31, 2011

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairing a meeting of the PM's Council on Trade and Industry in New Delhi on March 31, 2011.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the Government was committed to improving the quality of governance and was considering all measures, including legislative and administrative, to tackle corruption and improve transparency.

"Comprehensive steps have been taken to strengthen the intelligence and implementing institutions to combat the menace of black money and rein in corruption," he told the Council on Trade and Industry which met here this evening.

Dr Singh said a Group of Ministers had been entrusted the task of considering issues relating to enunciation of public procurement standards, formulation of a public procurement policy, review and abolition of discretionary powers enjoyed by Ministers, and introduction of an open and competitive system for the use of natural resources.

The Prime Minister recalled that at the last meeting of the Council, in May last year, many of the members had spoken about Government and industry partnering to address the challenges facing the economy.

He said their enthusiasm had resulted in the formation of sub-committees of the Council on five thematic areas, which have given their recommendations. He said the Government would carefully study the reports to see how they could be useful in tailoring policies to achieve the desired outcomes.

Dr Singh said industry and business there should be no doubts about whether the economic reforms would continue.

"You should have no doubt on this score. The economic reforms of the past have brought us advantages and I can assure you that we will continue travelling on this path. We might do it gradually, and in a manner which builds a consensus for economic and social change. But I assure you that we will persevere," he declared.

He said tax reforms, especially the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax, were a very important part of the Government's agenda as were financial sector reforms.

"We are also committed to major reforms in education and skill development. We have started a program to raise resources by sale of equity in public sector enterprises. Legal reforms aimed at reducing delays are another key priority," he said.

The Prime Minister said the country needed to develop long-term debt markets and deepen corporate bond markets.

"This in turn calls for strong insurance and pension sub-sectors. Some of the reforms needed, especially in insurance, involve legislative changes. We have taken initiatives in this area and will strive to build the political consensus needed for these legislative actions to be completed. We need to improve futures markets for better price discovery and regulation. We also need to remove institutional hurdles to facilitate better intermediation," he said.

Pointing to the new challenges that India faced in an increasingly open engagement with the world economy, he said the country needed to deal effectively with the consequences of rising oil, food and commodity prices, political upheavals in many countries and unprecedented natural disasters in various parts of the world.

He said that, in recent months, inflation and food inflation, in particular, had been a problem. He said the Government wanted to deal with it in a manner that the growth rhythm was not disturbed.

"I believe we have pursued prudent fiscal and monetary policies to strike the right balance between growth and inflation. I am hopeful of seeing lower levels of inflation in the coming months," he said.

Dr Singh said manufacturing remained an area where India needed to improve its performance. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council were working together on a comprehensive manufacturing policy which would seek to improve industrial infrastructure and the business environment, and encourage development of appropriate technologies and human resources, he said.

He said the Government had made a conscious effort to strengthen international diplomacy and aid industry in their businesses internationally. It was a matter of great pride for the country that many of the Indian industry houses were recognized names throughout the world, he said.

Dr Singh said the country’s increasing engagement with the world economy had resulted in increased volumes of trade in goods and services.

"We are ensuring that our interests are protected in negotiations at the WTO and are also entering into various bilateral and regional trade agreements in order to create greater opportunities for our trade and industry. We are confident that our industry shall ably meet the new challenges of increased competition that come with emerging new opportunities afforded through these agreements," he said.

Dr Singh said the Government was committed to ensuring compliance of environment laws and at the same time reviewing the regulatory institutions and implementing frameworks to ensure that they were rule based, and aligned to the legitimate needs and aspirations of local populations and of businesses alike.

"Captains of Indian industry have to set standards in this regard, which could then become the norm for other businesses to follow. I am happy that the corporate sector has responded positively to the challenge of sustainability and some of the Indian models of integrating sustainability in core business processes are being showcased as the best in the world," he said.

"Let me again reaffirm our Government's commitment to providing an enabling environment conducive to the growth of the corporate sector in our country. Our Government is aware of the many challenges that our industry faces, like the infrastructure deficit. We will do everything possible to help it overcome these challenges. I have said on an earlier occasion that I am aware of the nervousness in some sections of the corporate sector arising out of some recent unfortunate developments. We stand committed to ensuring that our industry moves ahead with confidence and without fear or apprehension," he added.


Census: India's population growth finally drops-31/3/11

Census: India's population growth finally drops

India's population has been pegged at 1,210.2 million, according to the provisional 2011 Census report released on Thursday in New Delhi. Out of 1,210.2 million people in India there are 623.7 million males and 586.5 million females.

The population is an increase by 181 but significantly the growth is slower for the first time in nine decades. There has been a sharp decline in population growth in the last decade with the growth rate at 17.64% in comparison to 21.15% in 2001 when the last census took place.

Even the sex ratio has improved throughout the country as 29 states show an increase in sex ratio.

But Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Bihar should be worried registering a fall in the sex ratio. Daman and Diu have featured the worst with only 660 females per 1000 males.

But its the child sex ration which is the worst news from this census. In the 0-6 age group only 914 females per 1000 males and Punjab and Haryana the worst offenders with 846 and 830 females per 1000 males.

The census report also highlights that not only is India very populous but the density of population is also quite high. With Delhi and Chandigarh as the two most densely populated cities. Maybe people from these two cities should move to Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh which has just 1 person per square kilometer.

While releasing the provisional figures Registrar General & Census Commissioner C Chandramouli said that the fall in population growth is the sharpest amongst all the censuses recorded till date.

The 2001-2011 period is the first decade with exception of 1911-1921 which has actually added lesser population compared to the previous decade.

"We have added almost one Brazil to our population in last one decade," said Chandramouli.

According to the Census report India's population is now bigger than the combined population of USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh and accounts for world's 17.5% population.

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state and the combined population of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra is more than that of the USA. The most populous district is Thane in Maharashtra. The Union Territory of Lakshadweep is the least populated at 64,429.

The Census indicated a continuing preference for male children over female children. The latest child sex ratio in is 914 female against 1,000 male - the lowest since Independence.

"Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Gujarat show decline in sex ratio while 29 states show an increase. This is a matter of grave concern," Chandramauli said.

But child sex ratio in the Punjab and Haryana remains worst - 830 in the case of the former and 846 in the case of the latter.

According to the data, literates constitute 74% of the total population aged seven and above and illiterates form 26%.

The literacy rate has gone up from 64.83% in 2001 to 74.04% in 2011 showing an increase of 9.21%.
Tags: population, India, 2011 Census report , sex ratio

India v Sri Lanka, Final, World Cup 2011Sri Lankan President to watch World Cup final in Mumbai

India v Sri Lanka, Final, World Cup 2011

Sri Lanka over 2007 loss - Jayawardene


Sri Lanka have reached their second successive World Cup final, and though they were blown away by Adam Gilchrist's whirlwind century in the previous one, in 2007, their vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene said they had done really well since that setback. "Gilly did play that brilliant knock and we never had the opportunity to get into the game. It was an unfortunate episode. We have put it behind us and moved on.

"We are really motivated to be consistent and, to be right here in the final, speaks volumes about our character."

Going in to the final, Jayawardene said Sri Lanka were confident, especially after they overcame a late batting stutter to win against New Zealand in the semi-final. "The guys are really excited. We batted brilliantly and were positive in our approach (in the semi-final), but we had wobbled in a couple of overs where they put some pressure on us," Jayawardene said. "The guys came out very well, but you need those kinds of games under your belt going into the best part of the tournament."

Sri Lanka lost only to Pakistan in the group stage, and then beat England and New Zealand in the knockout rounds en route to the final. Jayawardene said they were quite satisfied with how they had progressed so far. "We have handled situations very well. The bowlers, batsmen and everyone has risen to the occasion.

"We had a very good chat about how we are going to approach the final. For a lot of players it was a dream to play for Sri Lanka and now they are on the verge of winning the World Cup."

Muttiah Muralitharan might be retiring from international cricket after the World Cup final, but Jayawardene said that Sri Lanka want to win the tournament not for any individual, but for the country. "We started the World Cup thinking we would win it for Sri Lanka," Jayawardene said. "I don't think we want to change that."

Elements in the Indian media have been exhorting the Indian team to win the trophy for Sachin Tendulkar in what could be his last World Cup, but Jayawardene said that Muralitharan - who is battling to get himself fit for the final - was more committed to the cause of the team. "He wants to win it for Sri Lanka."


Haryana sex ratio second lowest in India-March 31, 2011

Haryana sex ratio second lowest in India

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

Chandigarh, March 31, 2011

Call it a darker side of development. Haryana, which has scripted a success story of economic progress and given the country its newest female role models in sports in recent years, continues to have a highly skewed sex ratio, the worst among the states. At 877 females per 1,000 males (it was 861 i
n 2001), Haryana has the second lowest sex ratio among the states.

Delhi has recorded the lowest sex ratio, 866, according to the early results of the 2011 national census released by the registrar general and census commissioner C Chandramauli on Thursday.

In the 0-6 years age group, Haryana has reported the worst sex ratio of 830 girls per 1,000 boys, followed by Punjab with 846.

Haryana's Jhajjar and Mahendergarh districts have the lowest sex ratio - 774 and 778, respectively.

However, there is something to cheer about.

The state, where the people show a marked preference for sons and killing of unborn girls continues unabated, is showing an increasing trend in child sex ratio. In 2001, the child sex ratio was 819 girls per 1,000 boys in the state. While the child sex ratio has declined in the country - to touch the lowest levels since Independence - Haryana is among the seven states and union territories recording an improvement in the last decade.

In the remaining 27 states and UTs, the child sex ratio has shown a decline over the 2001 census. According to provisional population figures, the population of the state has recorded a 19.9% increase between 2001 and 2011 from 2.11 crore to 2.53 crore. In comparison, the percentage growth was 28.4% in the state in 1991-2001.

The proportion of child population in age group 0-6 years to total population is 13% as compared 15.8% in the 2001 census. The effective literacy rate in the state has also gone up to 76.6% from 67.9% in the 2001 census, with women notching a higher percentage growth.

India’s population rises to 1.2 billion,Uttar Pradesh is the most populous statea continuing preference for male children over female- Census report-

India’s population rises to 1.2 billion, says Census report

population day111

NEW DELHI: India’s population rose to 1.21 billion people over the last 10 years — an increase by 181 million, according to the new census released today, but significantly the growth is slower for the first time in nine decades.
The population, which accounts for world’s 17.5 per cent population, comprises 623.7 million males and 586.5 million females, said a provisional 2011 Census report. China is the most populous nation acounting for 19.4 per cent of the global population.

The country’s headcount is almost equal to the combined population of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan put together, it said.

The population has increased by more than 181 million during the decade 2001-2011, the report said. The growth rate in 2011 is 17.64 per cent in comparison to 21.15 per cent in 2001.
The 2001-2011 period is the first decade — with exception of 1911-1921 — which has actually added lesser population compared to the previous decade, Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner of India C Chandramauli said in presence of Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai.
Among the states and Union territories, Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state with 199 million people and Lakshadweep the least populated at 64,429.
The combined population of UP and Maharashtra is bigger than that of the US.
The highest population density is in Delhi’s north-east district (37,346 per sq km) while the lowest is in Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh (just one per sq km).

The Census indicated a continuing preference for male children over female children. The latest child sex ratio in is 914 female against 1,000 male—the lowest since Independence.”This is a matter of grave concern,” Chandramauli said.
According to the data, literates constitute 74 per cent of the total population aged seven and above and illiterates form 26 per cent.
The literacy rate has gone up from 64.83 per cent in 2001 to 74.04 per cent in 2011 showing an increase of 9.21 per cent.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rebuilding trust - Pakistan allows India to probe 26/11 suspects-30/3/11

Rebuilding trust - Pakistan allows India to probe 26/11 suspects

By: Staff Report | Published: March 30, 2011



Rebuilding trust - Pakistan allows India to probe 26/11 suspects By: Staff Report | Published: March 30, 2011

Both sides agree to set up a hotline between interior secretaries to facilitate information sharing; New Delhi provides information on ongoing Samjhota Express blast investigation

ISLAMABAD - In a major confidence-building measure, Pakistan on Tuesday showed willingness to permit Indian officials to undertake a visit to the country for investigation into the Mumbai attacks.
The important decision was made by Pakistan at the end of the two-day interior secretaries talks held in New Delhi on March 28 and 29th -- a day ahead of the highly-anticipated Cricket World Cup semi-final between the two states, where Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will host his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani in what is seen as a revival of “cricket diplomacy” between Islamabad and New Delhi.
"The Indian delegation was led by Gopal K Pillai, home secretary of India, while the Pakistan delegation was headed by Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, interior secretary of Pakistan,” a Foreign Office statement said. The meeting was held in pursuance of the decision taken in Thimphu (Bhutan) in February 2011 by the governments of Pakistan and India, to resume the dialogue process and in the backdrop of meeting between the home minister of India and the interior minister of Pakistan held in Islamabad on June 25-26, 2010.
Both sides exchanged views on the decisions taken in the last round of talks held in Islamabad in 2008. It was agreed that it was important for both sides to remain engaged on outstanding issues and henceforth the interior secretary-level talks would be held bi-annually. Both sides agreed to set up a hotline between home secretary of India and interior secretary of Pakistan to facilitate real time information sharing with respect to terrorist threats.
Both sides reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed the need to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice. “The Pakistani side provided updates on the ongoing trial and investigation in Pakistan on the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
Pakistan conveyed its readiness, in principle, based upon the principle of comity and reciprocity, to entertain a commission from India with respect to Mumbai terror attack investigations,” the statement said. “Modalities and composition in this connection will be worked out through diplomatic channels,” it said.
Dates for the visit of the Judicial Commission from Pakistan in connection with Mumbai attack trial will be conveyed by India within four to six weeks. NIA and FIA will continue to cooperate in the Mumbai terror attack investigations. India provided information on the on-going Samjhota Express blast case investigation.
It was also agreed that after filing of report in the court, updated information will be shared with the concerned Pakistan authorities. Both sides noted and welcomed the release of prisoners and fishermen by each other since the last round of talks.
It was agreed that both sides would release by April 15, 2011 those civilian prisoners and fishermen who have completed their sentence, whose nationality status has been confirmed by the respective governments and whose travel documents have been received.
A complete list of prisoners in each others’ custody will be exchanged by both sides on July 1, 2011. Both sides agreed that the problem and issues of the inadvertent crossers should be viewed sympathetically, and in a focused and sensitive manner.
Both sides commended the work done by the Judicial Committee on Prisoners for the release, repatriation and humane treatment of prisoners and agreed on the need for its continuation. The next meeting of the Judicial Committee will be held from April 19-23, 2011 in Pakistan. The two sides shared the concern of the growing menace of narcotics and agreed that cooperation between NCB of India and ANF of Pakistan should be enhanced to ensure an effective control on drug trafficking.
It was further agreed that talks between the NCB DG and ANF DG would be held annually. Indian side accepted the invitation for the NCB DG to visit Pakistan in May 2011 for talks with the ANF DG. The MoU on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs/Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and related matters’ as finalised will be formally signed at the next DG-level meeting of NCB and ANF in May 2011.
It was decided that CBI and FIA will schedule a meeting to work out the technical details of moving forward on issues of human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes and Red Corner Notices (RCNs). Both sides agreed to set up a Joint Working Group to examine the modalities for streamlining the visa procedure and modalities and for giving a final shape to revision of the Bilateral Visa Agreement.
The interior secretary of Pakistan invited the Indian home secretary for the next secretary-level talks in Pakistan. The invitation was accepted.

Pakistan to allow visit of Indian probe commission- ‘Talks help reduce trust deficit'-30/3/11

Pakistan to allow visit of Indian probe commission
Vinay Kumar

‘Talks help reduce trust deficit'

NEW DELHI: In a positive development on the eve of the meeting of the Prime Ministers, Pakistan on Tuesday agreed, in principle, to allow a Commission from India to visit that country in connection with the investigations into the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Shedding its reluctance in permitting Indian investigators to set foot on its territory for the 26/11 probe, Pakistan expressed its readiness, based upon the principle of comity and reciprocity, to entertain an Indian Commission in connection with the ongoing investigations.

“Modalities and composition in this connection will be worked out through diplomatic channels,” a joint statement issued at the end of the two-day Home/Interior Secretary level talks said here. The two sides agreed to set up a hotline between the Indian Home Secretary and the Interior Secretary of Pakistan to facilitate real time information sharing with respect to terrorist threats.


Similarly, dates for the visit of the Judicial Commission from Pakistan in connection with the Mumbai attack trial will be conveyed by India within four to six weeks. The National Investigation Agency in India and the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan will continue to cooperate in the 26/11 investigations, the statement noted.

Updates given

The Indian delegation at the talks was led by Home Secretary Gopal K. Pillai and the Pakistani delegation was headed by Qamar Zaman Chaudhary, Interior Secretary. The two sides took forward the dialogue process on several issues. The Pakistani side provided updates on the ongoing trial and investigation in Pakistan of the terror attacks.

Fighting terror

The statement reiterated the commitment of the two sides to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed the need to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice.

“The meeting was extremely positive. It had moved forward in reducing trust deficit [between the two countries] significantly,'' Mr. Pillai said.

India and Pakistan battle nerves to clinch final ticket

India and Pakistan battle nerves to clinch final ticket

Reuters | Mar 30, 2011, 07.18am IST



MOHALI: Fierce rivals India and Pakistan will have to deal with huge expectations from their cricket-crazy fans when they clash on Wednesday for a place in the World Cup final.

Anything but a win will be a shock for either set of supporters when the neighbours, who have fought three wars since their 1947 independence, meet in Mohali under a heavy security blanket.

The presence of the prime ministers of both countries in the stands will also add a political fervour to the match.

"The biggest, distinguished guests will be there to see the game, but they are here to enjoy cricket, so we have to be at our best," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni told reporters on the eve of the match.

India will bank on their powerful batting line-up while Pakistan will pin hopes on their bowling variety in the match which has gripped the sub-continent's imagination.

Batting mainstay Sachin Tendulkar will have another shot at glory when he walks to the crease needing one more century to complete a hundred international tons.

With the flamboyant Virender Sehwag as his partner, Tendulkar will look to wrest early control for India at the top.

Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, in-form Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni and Suresh Raina will complete a strong batting line-up and Pakistan would need to make the new ball count.


Speedster Umar Gul and captain Shahid Afridi have been the main strike-force for Pakistan and they might be tempted to play Shoaib Akhtar, who will retire after the World Cup, as another wicket-taking option.

Shoaib, 35, who is known for his raw pace, is struggling to get fit for the high-profile match.

Pakistan's batting, on the other hand, has failed to set the tournament alight as none of the batsmen have registered a century yet.

But despite that, the team notched up confidence-boosting victories against Sri Lanka and Australia in the group stages and went on to maul West Indies by 10 wickets in the quarterfinals.

Afridi, the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 21, is confident the team is not solely reliant on its bowling attack.

"My team is very balanced. I got some very good experienced players alongside the youngsters and our bowlers are doing a great job," Afridi told reporters.

Both captains have failed to shine with the bat and would like to set that record straight in Wednesday's pot-boiler.

Past records, however, suggest that India know what it takes to tame Pakistan in the showpiece event, having defeated them on all four occasions they clashed in the World Cup.

Whoever wins the match will take on Sri Lanka in the final on Saturday in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.

ICC has decided to reduce the show to 20-20 overs but Pak to play final if semifinal washed out: ICC]

Pak to play final if semifinal washed out: ICC

Updated at 30 PST Wednesday, March 30, 2011


DUBAI: International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced that the Pakistan cricket team will play final of the mega event in Mumbai owing to better potion in the group if the rains wash away much-awaited second semifinal showdown, Geo News reported.

The council said the semifinal, scheduled to be held on Wednesday at Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Indian city Mohali between archrivals Pakistan and India, would be held on Thursday in case the incessant rains continue.

In another move to make the cricket match possible, ICC has decided to reduce the show to 20-20 overs for each side even if the match could not be held on Thursday due to rains.

However, Pakistan will reach into final of the tournament in the event when every effort goes in vain, ICC said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the second semifinal of cricket world cup 2011 is all set to be played between India and Pakistan today (Wednesday) in Indian city Mohali.

The other team, Sri Lanka, have already qualified for the final having comprehensively beaten New Zealand by five wickets on Tuesday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Guru Gary Kirsten is clinical in his approach has handed out to his team a blueprint of how to win-.a full analysis of the 'dangerous'Pakistani team

India should beat Pakistan - Ponting | Mohali gets ready for Ind-Pak

The cricketing world is in a frenzy of commentary, analysis and advice — both professional and amateur — about the big semi-final in Mohali on Wednesday. But in Camp India, coach Gary Kirsten is clinical in his approach. He has handed out to his team a blueprint of how to win the World Cup —&nb
sp; and tackle Pakistan.

The 16-page document, Roadmap to Success, a copy of which is with HT, mixes praise with criticism for Team India. And, more importantly, a full analysis of the Pakistani team, which he calls “very dangerous”.

“A combination of big-hitters and a potent pace attack with a decent spin attack to follow the pacers makes Pakistan a very dangerous side which is very well known to play fearless cricket,” says Kirsten.

However, he goes on to add: “Pakistan as a team over the years have a tendency to blow hot and cold. (In)consistency is their prime weakness… Their dazzling batsmen are inexperienced…Even though (Mohammad) Hafeez and (Ahmed) Shehzad are in top form, there is tendency that they both can struggle against pace.”

Coach talk:
Inconsistency biggest weakness of Afridi & Co.

Home truths:
‘Superman’ Yuvi, spinners need to deliver.

Kirsten warns: “It’s a great chance for Pakistan to show the world what they are capable of… The tag of dark horses suits them and enables them to perform harder (eg 2009 ICC World Twenty20 victory).”

Kirsten describes the in-form Yuvraj Singh as the team’s “Superman” and Sachin Tendulkar his “hero” while pointing out the problems in fielding, use of the batting power play overs, need for the senior spinner in the side to take wickets as well as the bowling unit to provide support to Zaheer Khan.

The dossier — circulated before the Australia quarter-finals with similar specifics — had predicted that Pakistan would indeed make it to the last four.

What draws Bill & Melinda Gates to India, especially Bihar?-Mar 28, 2011

What draws Bill & Melinda Gates to India, especially Bihar?

Published on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 16:08 | Updated at Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 20:11 |

In a CNN-IBN special Melinda and Bill Gates of the Gates Foundation spoke exclusively to Rajdeep Sardesai about the special bond that they share with India.

Below is a verbatim transcript of their interview. For the complete details watch the accompanying videos.

Q: The ‘Gates Way to India’ is what we have called today’s programme because both of you seems to have developed some kind of a special affinity to India. You put about USD 1.2 billion of the Foundation’s money in public health projects in India alone. What is it that draws you in a sense to India?

Bill Gates: There are several things. The first is there is a lot of progress being made in health here but there is still a long way to go. We are trying to help, trying to fund research and we have also found great companies here that are doing things like cheap vaccines, innovative vaccines and so they become very critical partners both for our work in India and our work all over the world.

Q: That’s interesting because it’s not just India that’s become the ‘Gates Way To India’ but its Bihar that you have chosen to put a lot of money in very specific large family health programmes. Is there any reason that you chose Bihar out of all the Indian states?

Melinda Gates: There are two reasons - there is a large burden of disease in Bihar but there is also unbelievable leadership with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar there. They are taking apart their health system and saying - how do we reduce the number of mothers that die in childbirth every year, how do we get the immunization rate up because we know that those save children’s lives if we get them vaccinated. He is showing leadership and we are seeing immunization rates climb in Bihar. We know work is possible.

Q: Most of your projects are strategic partnerships whether it’s the polio programme, whether it’s the AIDS programme, whether its maternal mortality which means that you need governments that function, you need good government and good leaders in a sense to work with in this public-private partnership?

Bill Gates: That’s right. Vaccination is something that can be done worldwide even in places like Somalia that has no government but there is a very high vaccination rate.

Q: At the end of the day can the Gates Foundation on its own transform the quality of health facilities because you need good strong government. Does that worry or trouble you about India or frustrate you about India that we perhaps don’t invest enough, the government doesn’t invest enough in health where it’s less than 3% of GDP?

Melinda Gates: The government is making investments. Certainly, we would love to see increases in those investments. When you see the National Rural Health Mission essentially working or the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) scheme, we know more women are going into institutions to deliver than ever before in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar.

The rates still need to go up but its saving those mothers lives. What the Foundation can do is be catalytic. We can help show on the edges how to make those programmes better but it’s ultimately government funding that funds immunizations or something like JSY.

Q: Lot of your work is in Africa for example whereas in some parts there is no government. In India on the other hand, some believe there is too much of government but the money doesn’t go where it really should. In your interactions with Indian leaders do you see a change in mindsets now, a recognition that health and education really are critical for India to make the next step forward?

Bill Gates: Absolutely. The health budget has been going up, there are innovative practices and we see a real sense of commitment. We also see the innovation where really the great low cost vaccines are mostly being done by companies here in India. So the innovation of the private sector combined with a little bit catalytic philanthropy and reasonable governance is a great formula.

Q: Is there a sense with every visit that you come that things are getting better?

Melinda Gates: Absolutely. My first visit to India for the foundation was 12 years ago and the progress is substantial. Even in UP, the number of roads and the difference that makes for a woman to get to a healthcare facility or in Bihar the crime rate is down. We are seeing immunization rates climb in Bihar, from 35% in 2005 to 65% today and their goal is to go even higher and that’s what exactly we want to see. That’s real progress in health and it’s saving children’s lives.

Q: You have decided that you are going to try to get Indian corporates more and more involved in corporate philanthropy through the Giving Pledge Campaign that you and Warren Buffett are talking about 50% of the company’s profit or an individual’s profit goes to philanthropy. Is that something which is now going to get equal importance in your focus on India that it’s not just about the public health projects but what you can do with Indian corporates in terms of philanthropy?

Bill Gates: The dialogue that we will have this week when we talk about philanthropies is really to share ideas. There are some great philanthropists here in this country going back to the Tata work that even predates some of the great American philanthropists and there are some new ones, particularly, the technology pioneers who are doing some great work.

We want to share ideas and talk there. We do think corporate philanthropy is great. We also think personal philanthropy is great and if we share ideas about what works and what doesn’t, we will encourage each other to do more and do it better.

Tags: Gates Way to India, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, vaccines, family health programmes, Nitish Kumar, AIDS programme, National Rural Health Mission, Janani Suraksha Yojana

Dinner diplomacy at Mohali-29/3/11

Dinner diplomacy at Mohali

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The much-anticipated summit meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan will take place over an early dinner on Wednesday, said government sources.

After watching the India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup semi-final match for a brief while in the evening, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will invite his visiting Pakistani counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani, for dinner, during which both sides are expected to touch on the future of bilateral ties and the steps required to give them an impetus after the Foreign Secretary-level meeting in Thimphu in February, added the sources.

In line with the position adopted by the foreign offices of both countries, the sources maintained that there was no intention of raising expectations, given the complicated relationship that has had many false starts. At the same time, both sides were avoiding comments that would invite a riposte. This, they pointed out, was in evidence on the first day of the Interior/Home Secretary talk

World Cup: Sangakkara & Company hold the edge against New Zealand-29/3/11

World Cup: Sangakkara & Company hold the edge against New Zealand



Michael Holding | Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Succeeding in cricket has a lot to do with adaptation. Look at the innings Jesse Ryder played against South Africa. He adapted very well.

Ryder has a reputation of being a bit of a flashy stroke-maker but against South Africa in Dhaka, he adapted his game to suit the conditions and match situation.

It’s all well and good being known as a flashy batsman but you need to be able to get down and dirty and tough it out. I think there a few players in the game today who carry reputations that precede them and they need to learn how to adapt. They can take a cue from how Ryder played in Dhaka.

This game is where New Zealand may need to bank on Jacob Oram and Scott Styris a lot. The pair has been around for a while and has a lot of experience.

Now they need to produce, especially Styris. New Zealand sides of the past, like the one today, have rarely had massive stars.

Instead, they’ve been about players who all contribute in their own ways, a little here and a little there. When you put these individual parts together, they all add and exceed the whole. Not a lot of outstanding players, but they all produce together. That’s been New Zealand’s strength.

Now that they’re in the semifinals, New Zealand need to get more out of Oram and Styris. Oram has admitted that he’s the fittest he’s been for some time and that last match was proof that his body is in working order.

Styris has retired from Tests for a few years now and has no excuse for not producing the goods. There is no other form of cricket to tire him; since he’s put everything into one-day cricket and is representing New Zealand at the World Cup, you’d expect more out of him.

This could be his time. How Oram and Styris perform against Sri Lanka could be vital to the side’s success. With Daniel Vettori clearly not at his best, owing to the injury he’s coming off, senior players become important.

Vettori is struggling but New Zealand need him on the field. The players look up to Vettori as a leader. In that regard, his thinking, knowledge of the game, ability to deal with pressure situations and his overall mind-set are vital.

New Zealand’s bowling has carried them so far and I think Allan Donald has had a role to play where Tim Southee, in particular, is concerned. Donald will not be able to change much with how the older bowlers perform, as it’s tough to get them to change at that stage.

But with Southee, who is a young bowler, he seems to have had an effect. Southee has been consistently taking wickets and he’s been bowling at good pace. That could be a result of Donald’s working with him on his action and physical fitness.

Southee looks to have put on a few pounds to his frame and he looks sturdier. He looks an improved player. But more than physically, I think where Donald is probably working with New Zealand’s bowlers would be in dealing with their mind-sets.

He knows a lot about fast bowling and will have stressed on the thought process of a fast bowler.

It’s tough to spot weaknesses in Sri Lanka’s unit, but I do feel that their bowling is not as dynamic as other sides in the World Cup.

They restricted England to a low total but England’s batsmen didn’t venture out of the crease. Against Sri Lanka’s spinners, batsmen will have to use their feet.

There’s no point looking to just score just on the off-side by dabbing into gaps or the leg-side by bringing out the good old sweep.

You’re going to need to be inventive and also score down the ground. Teams that don’t do that are going to struggle. I think if New Zealand manage to do that, they can exert pressure on the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.

Muralitharan is vastly experienced but at the end of his career, he isn’t nearly as threatening as he used to be. Mendis is not a big spinner of the ball, so even though you as a batsman might not be able to pick his deliveries easily, hitting straight over his head down the ground should not be as difficult as some batsmen make it seem.

New Zealand will have to be very positive in handling Sri Lanka’s spinners. I think Sri Lanka will again go in with three spinners because a fair pitch is expected, and it’s a tactic that kept England quiet. With a similar track expected, the same approach will probably be followed.

The real danger is Lasith Malinga. He’s the one who can destroy New Zealand. He’s fast but is very clever with his variety. He’s got a very good slower ball and the yorker. New Zealand will have to be very careful against Malinga.

Sri Lanka look like favourites but then so did South Africa in the quarterfinals. I expected South Africa to beat New Zealand but look what happened. New Zealand have been a consistent team in World Cups, as five semifinals prove.

Going into their sixth semi-final, they look a balanced side but Sri Lankans have the edge.

The writer is a former West Indies speedster

Family medicine & medical education reform P. Zachariah-29/3/11

Family medicine & medical education reform

P. Zachariah

This week could see far-reaching beneficial consequences for health care in India. But we need to ensure that the emerging paradigm shift does not miss out on what medical education can and should do to overcome the inadequacies.

Recent events in our country have been full of sound and fury, which have disillusioned the public with their futility. But this week has the potential for promising developments in Indian medical education which, in turn, could have far-reaching beneficial consequences for health care in India. The Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India (MCI) has been continuously refining its proposals for major reforms in undergraduate medical education. These are to be discussed today with the State Directors of Medical Education and the Vice-Chancellors of universities, who together are the CEOs in this field of education.

The Board has been hard at work on these proposals for some months, with the aid of a designated Working Group for Undergraduate Medical Education. This Working Group, in turn, has been holding wide and sustained consultations with scores of expert groups, which have resulted in a general consensus that major changes are overdue and must occur expeditiously. Thus this week could be a rare, opportune and pregnant moment in the troubled history of regulation of medical education in India. The nation has a vital stake in ensuring that the emerging paradigm shift does not miss out on what medical education can and should do to overcome the inadequacies and inequities in our health care system. And to take our country to the happy consummation of quality assured and universal health care. There should not be a slip between the cup and the lip.

It is important to recognise the special potential and limitations of the present Board of Governors of the MCI, inherent in its origins. The long simmering discontent with the inefficiency and improprieties of the MCI finally erupted when, in April last year, its president was arrested on charges of corruption. The government moved quickly, in May 2011, to issue an ordinance entrusting the considerable powers of the elephantine Council to a small group of six nominated Governors. They were chosen with commendable care, both for their eminence in the profession and their reputation for integrity. In August, Parliament gave its assent to the provisions of the ordinance, but only for a one-year term ending in May 2011.

Thus, on the one hand, for the first time, a small body of reputed experts has the power and, indeed, the mandate to rectify the perceived wrongs of the MCI. They have recognised the need to move quickly on many other fronts as well such as shortage of medical manpower, quality of medical education, shortage of faculty in medical colleges, deficiencies in postgraduate training and so on. The issue of the short period of their trusteeship has now been resolved by extending their term to May 2012.

New medical graduate

Thus the MCI and the Health Ministry together are in a position to consummate this long process of gestation and produce a new Indian medical graduate. And hence the need and urgency to raise in the public domain one crucial aspect of reform of medical education which may not receive the priority it deserves. In spite of the danger of over simplification, the argument here can be stated briefly.

(1) It is generally agreed that the major challenge in health care is in ensuring sound and competent basic health care to the disadvantaged communities, both rural and urban. Indeed, it is an every day experience that even for those who can afford it, dependable and quality assured basic care is a very rare commodity.

(2) This type of care is non-specialised, has to address all common and urgent medical conditions, with limited laboratory and other facilities. It should ensure continuity of care for all members of the family, of all ages. It is mainly ambulatory. And it must include disease prevention and promotion of health, in the family and the community.

(3) Obviously this is not the kind of care that medical students are now exposed to in the so-called teaching hospitals. It is a different kind of clinical practice, usually referred to as Family Medicine (or family practice, though the former is a better term). This can be taught only through a significant exposure to secondary and primary levels of care, the lack of which is the foremost deficiency in Indian medical education today.

(4) Unless and until this component is introduced as a required part of the undergraduate course, India will never be able to solve the lack of competent, well trained, basic doctors in our primary and secondary level health clinics and hospitals. Without this, the proposed new medical graduate will not be the basic doctor who forms the backbone of a sound health care system all over the world and which India sorely needs.

The logic of this is such that a high powered “Retreat” of the Health Ministry on September 28 and 29, 2010 expressed its approval as follows: “Request the MCI to address the issue of curriculum change to make doctors more sensitive to primary health care. Subjects such as Family Medicine need to be given importance.”

But there are many difficulties in this proposal which might result in its being put aside for the present. Health issues have never been a powerful element in our political discourse. They have never been a decisive factor in the elections, unlike in Britain or the U.S. So there is no great incentive for political parties to reflect on or act decisively on the societal responsibilities of medical education.

Electorate easily pacified

In the public perception, sound medical care is equal to access to particular medical interventions and publicised advances in medical care. The electorate is more easily pacified by the offer of medical insurance of the type instituted recently in the southern States. The move suggested above requires the creation of a speciality which hardly exists now. This discipline has to work in close coordination for the State health care system whereas the MCI works at a national level.

Family Medicine is not a field of medical practice that readily attracts the private sector or professionals who make their career decisions based on socio-economic rewards. And, therefore, at this moment in the formulation of the reforms in medical education, there is a special need for all the custodians of Indian medical education, especially the Ministry of Health, to act on behalf of the public to ensure the following:

About 20 to 25 per cent of clinical training, during the “clinical” phase of MBBS, should occur outside the teaching hospitals, at the primary/secondary levels.

Since this is quite different from tertiary care, new departments of Family Medicine should be established in all medical colleges to implement the above.

Either by arrangement with the State health care system or on their own, medical colleges must have sufficient clinical services at the primary/secondary levels to implement the above two. The outlay required for these, in faculty and infrastructure, is minor compared to the prevailing requirements for medical colleges.

There is a tide in the affairs of men. This week has the possibility of a tide which, taken at the flood, could lead to better health for all of us. “Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

(Dr. P. Zachariah was formerly a Professor of Physiology and continues to engage in issues in medical education.)

Home secretary"s- "Talks are extremely positive. Progress made in right direction,"Punishment to perpetrators of the 26\11 Mumbai

Home secretary talks ‘very positive’

Vishwa Mohan, TNN | Mar 29, 2011, 01.26am IST

NEW DELHI: Punishment to perpetrators of the 26\11 Mumbai terror attacks is New Delhi's priority, but the issue does not seem to be a "sticking point" between India and Pakistan.

The sense emerged during the first day of the home secretary-level talks on Monday when almost all the pending issues, relating to security, were discussed between the two neighbours amid indications that both sides may come out on Tuesday with some "promises" in a joint statement to move forward from this point.

Expectedly, home secretary G K Pillai forcefully raised the 26\11 incident, pointing out the "slow pace of trial and probe" in the case in Pakistan despite having all material evidence on its soil. Pillai's counterpart, Qamar Zaman, however, took refuge in law of the land stating that the investigators are doing their job but they have to follow procedure and produce concrete evidence before the courts.

Zaman, on his part, also tried to corner Indian side. He asked some specific questions on the Samjhauta blast, referring to what had appeared in the media in the wake of Swami Aseemanand's confession that disclosed it to be a handiwork of Hindu radicals. He was, however, politely and firmly told by Pillai that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the case, and details of it would "certainly be shared with Pakistan once the agency files its chargesheet".

Later, both of them termed the ongoing talks as "extremely positive" and moving in the "right direction". "Talks are extremely positive. Progress made in right direction," Pillai said at the end of the first day of the two-day talks.
Zaman, who is leading a 12-member delegation, also said talks were "very positive". He said, "Since, we have another day for the talks, I am not going into the specifics at the moment. But I can tell you with good amount of certainty that both the sides displayed a very positive attitude... It has been a result-oriented meeting and I am really confident about tomorrow's proceedings also".

Asked whether the Indian stand on the 26\11 probe on Monday would amount to dilution of the matter, an official privy to the first day of the talks said, "The issue was raised as priority, but certainly it was not a sticking point as such a direction or message we got after what had happened on the sidelines of the Saarc ministerial conference in Thimphu in February."

He added, "Had it been the sticking point, we would not have at the first place decided to resume the home secretary-level talks which was suspended after 26\11. The message was certainly to move on with keeping eye on development over the issue of bringing Mumbai sccused to justice." The issues discussed included ways to ease certain visa norms, release of each other's prisoners and fishermen.
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India vs Pak semifinal: Companies pad up to let employees enjoy-Mar 28, 2011(what about people watching at home planning to sideline other programmes?

India vs Pak semifinal: Companies pad up to let employees enjoy

Mahima Puri & Pramugdha Mamgain, ET Bureau | Mar 28, 2011, 01.16pm IST

NEW DELHI: Work will take a backseat at India Inc when the cricketing world's arch-rivals India and Pakistan face-off in the World Cup semi-final at Mohali on Wednesday.

While some companies are considering half- or full-day leave for employees on the day of the match, others have installed TV screens across office premises or made arrangements for special screening of the match to ensure employees get the pulse of the cricketing ties between the two nations that have fought three wars since independence.

FMCG company Dabur India is weighing an "off" on Wednesday. "The only constraint is that it is yearend closing, so work pressure is quite high at the moment," said Dabur India executive director A Sudhakar.

The company had declared a holiday on the day of the T20 final between India and Pakistan in 2007.

Food and beverages major PepsiCo India may allow half-day leave for employees if it doesn't impact the organisation's functioning, said Samik Basu, vice-president (HR) and chief people officer for India Region.

Some firms are also looking into work-from-home facility for that day. "If employees want to work from home or leave early to be able to watch the match, we are open to that," said Ashish Kumar, chief HR officer at multiplex chain operator PVR Ltd , which is screening the match at some of its multiplexes. The firm is also considering an exclusive screening for its employees.

Employees of the Future Group's Big Bazaar, the country's largest hypermarket retail chain, will be free to watch the match on large screens installed in stores, said its president, Rajan Malhotra.

"The idea is to let employees enjoy the match while at work, because they tend to take leave during such crucial matches," said S Varadarajan, executive vice-president (HR) at BPO firm Quatrro.

The company has in-house contests surrounding the World Cup to give employees a sense of involvement in the sporting event. Salil Kapoor, COO of the country's largest DTH service company Dish TV, said, "We would have special screening of the match in high definition feed for our employees in office and have also tied up with some pubs and clubs with special discounts for our employees."

Wave for change in Assam: Arun Jaitley-Mar 28, 2011

Wave for change in Assam: Arun Jaitley

Published: Monday, Mar 28, 2011, 21:35 IST

Place: GUWAHATI | Agency: PTI

A wave for change is sweeping Assam and would help BJP improve its presence in the state in the upcoming assembly elections, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley claimed in Guwahati on Monday.

"There is a wave for change in Assam, there is an anti-incumbency feeling among the people. The polls are being held under a special situation with Congress in power both in the state and at the Centre. This time there is double anti-incumbency feelings against the state and the central governments."

"Their (Congress) popularity is decreasing. Congress has no answer to its double anti-incumbency. Their numbers will be less this time than in the last elections", Jaitley told the media in Guwahati.

He said BJP, which is fighting all the 126 seats in the assembly, is confident of winning more seats this time and would determine the political agenda.

"We (BJP) will try to form the government," he said adding that the ruling Congress came to power under chief minister Tarun Gogoi after forming a coalition with others.

"Congress has two options now ... either spend for the benefit of the people the money it has gathered for the polls or stop using illegal infiltrators as its vote bank," Jaitley said.

Accusing Congress of encouraging infiltration "only to increase its vote bank," he said, "This has put the country's security at risk, increased its economic burden and changed its demographic pattern."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Endorsements: Yuvraj Singh & Zaheer Khan get ready to rake in big money-28 Mar, 2011

28 Mar, 2011, 02.32AM IST, Rajiv Banerjee & TR Vivek,ET Bureau

Endorsements: Yuvraj Singh & Zaheer Khan get ready to rake in big money


MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Team India may just be two steps away from a historic World Cup victory, but the march up to semis has already raised the commerce quotient of its stars.

If Yuvraj plays yet another stellar innings and then perhaps even helps win the trophy, expect to see the man in a few more advertisements. Similarly, if Mr dependent, Zaheer Khan , runs through the Pakistani line up and emerges as the leading wicket taker, brand and sport marketers expect the hitherto underexploited Khan to rake in big-time moolah.

Both Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag have played two innings of substance, and a third one, if it comes at the business-end of the tournament, will be the icing on their already rich cakes.

But among the three -Dhoni, Yuvraj and Zaheer-it is Yuvraj who stands to benefit the most.

Jitender Dabas, VP and head of planning, McCann Erickson, says this World Cup could mean a significant expansion of Yuvraj's appeal. "From a 'boy' he has truly become a 'man' in this World Cup. Hence, his appeal could expand to make him relevant for more set of brands rather than just the youthful, energetic brands that he represents," he says.

Agrees Sports marketer Anirban Das Blah. "With his current performance, Yuvraj will be able to make inroads as brands might be interested in signing him as an endorser," says founder of marketing company Kwan.

However, Blah cautions."There's too much volatility in Indian cricket for one to take a long-term bet on any cricketer, except Dhoni."

Even for Dhoni, the cool-as-a-cucumber personality has won him plenty of brand associations. Beyond this, it will only be by lifting the World Cup that will help propel the man from a great leader to a legend in the Indian cricket. "Dhoni's has proved his mettle as a captain who remains calm under pressure. Brands are already riding on various facets of Dhoni," remarks Suvrangsu Mukherjee, MD, Total Sports Asia. So, with a kitty of more than 20 endorsements, it is unlikely that more brands will rush to sign him if he wins the World Cup, say market observers. "As a brand marketer, do i want to join a list of 20-plus brands that Dhoni endorses and get lost in the clutter? After all, beyond a handful of brands, does one remember all the brands endorsed by Dhoni?" asks Abhijit Avasthi, co-NCD, Ogilvy. Clearly, for Dhoni and his team, a lot more than sporting glory awaits if they can repeat 1983.

Didi plays to the tune of alliance politics-26/3/11(lets see if she and alliances gains from it)

Didi plays to the tune of alliance politics

TNN | Feb 26, 2011, 04.57am IST

KOLKATA: In presenting her budget, railway minister Mamata Banerjee has played to the tune of alliance politics, and got from Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee the support from the general budget that is essential to pull her through the difficult financial position that the railways are facing.

A government budgetary support of `20,000 crore has helped Mamata place an annual plan estimate of `57,230 crore for 2011-12, "the highest ever plan investment by the railways in a single year". In turn, this year Mamata has not cornered all the announcements for new lines and trains for West Bengal. Rather, she has spread them all over the country. A large share has gone to poll-bound states other than Bengal as well, such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam, furthering the chances of Congress in these states.

It is now to be seen if Mukherjee can use his gesture to the advantage of Congress in Bengal and wrest a few more seats from the Trinamool Congress chairperson when the negotiations for seat adjustment start for assembly election in the state.

The railway budget has been a big chance for Mamata to announce new projects for Bengal before the model code of conduct comes into play and she has made the best use of the opportunity. Her proposals to set up rail-based industrial units at Singur, Nandigram and Uluberia is a bid to experiment with the strategy of developing Bengal into a centre for rail-based industries.

The proposal for an IT excellence centre at Darjeeling is aimed to woo the people of the hills and restore peace there. The plan to recruit 16,000 ex-servicemen in the railways is likely to help the Gorkhas, among whom there are many ex-servicemen. The proposal for construction of a new line from Bhadutala to Jhargram via Lalgarh and a new passenger train from Midnapore to Jhargram are aimed at wooing the people of Jangalmahal, where Mamata is trying to turn tables on CPM in the coming election.

She has also kept the minority vote bank in mind by announcing a new line from Baruipara to Furfura and a new train between Kolkata and Ajmer. The Trinamool strongholds in South 24-Parganas have been addressed by announcement of new lines between Kalikapur and Minakhan and Kakdwip and Budhkhali.

Predictably, Congress leaders, from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to those at the state level, have welcomed the railway budget. While the Prime Minister has described it as "budget of the common people", PCC spokesman Om Prakash Mishra has said that "Bengal has got enough. People of Bengal are dreaming of a development centred around railways."

Cricket fever not to blur focus on talks-We will raise all pending issues firmly and try to have positive assurance from other side-27/3/11

Cricket fever not to blur focus on talks

Vishwa Mohan & Yudhvir Rana, TNN | Mar 28, 2011, 01.26am IST

NEW DELHI/ATTARI: Cricket diplomacy will have a bearing on the much awaited home secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan beginning on Monday. Though all pending issues will be raised as New Delhi does not want to lose focus amid the sudden turn of events, the emphasis is likely to be on taking some "quick steps" on both sides.

As the two-day talks will conclude a day before Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani lands in Mohali where he will meet PM Manmohan Singh, the mood in the home ministry is to take the dialogue forward with "ease" in the "friendly atmosphere". Officials, however, insist that the talks will be held without losing focus on key issues ranging from progress in 26/11 trial to terrorism to release of each other's prisoners and fishermen.

A top government official said, "One should not expect any tough posturing. We will raise all pending issues firmly and try to have positive assurance from other side. Only the follow-up action will tell us where we stand amid all these diplomatic gestures."

Pakistani interior secretary Qamar Zaman Chaudhary, who reached India via the Attari-Wagah border, said his meeting was aimed at promoting and strengthening peace between the two neighbours.

In a gesture that complements Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cricket diplomacy, Pakistan President Asif freed Indian prisoner in Pak after 27 years-

Zardari frees Indian prisoner of 27 years

TNN & Agencies | Mar 28, 2011, 01.26am IST

ISLAMABAD/AMRITSAR: In a gesture that complements Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cricket diplomacy, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari signed the release document of Indian convict Gopal Das, arrested on charges of spying and languishing in Kot Lakhpat prison for 27 years.

President Zardari's spokesman Farhatullah Babar on Sunday said Das's jail term was remitted on humanitarian grounds on the advice of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. He said President Zardari signed the remission document after it was decided that Gilani will visit Mohali for the World Cup semifinal.

"It's a goodwill gesture from Pakistan government before the India-Pakistan match," said Das's elder brother, Anand Veer. Veer had filed a case in the Supreme Court pleading for his brother's release after the completion of his jail term. TOI had first reported Gopal's incarceration in Pakistan jail in May 2009, with Pakistan's former federal minister of human rights, Ansar Burney, making an intervention for his release.

Babar said Indian newspapers had reported that the Indian Supreme Court had observed, "We cannot give any direction to Pakistani authorities... However, that does not prevent us from making a request to the Pakistani authorities to consider the appeal of the petitioner for releasing him on humanitarian grounds." Das's cousin Kewal Krishan said he was arrested near the international border in J&K in 1984. He was sentenced for life in 1987 and was set for release by this year's end.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gilani accepts PM's invitation to watch WC semi-final-In Mohali clash,PM bats for Peace-26/3/11

Gilani accepts PM's invitation to watch WC semi-final

Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday accepted his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh's invitation to watch the World Cup semi-final between the cricket teams of the two countries at Mohali on March 30.

The decision was taken following a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Gilani, which began at midnight last night and lasted for about two hours.

At the meeting, it was decided that "in response to the Indian Prime Minister's invitation, the Prime Minister of Pakistan will visit India to witness the semi-final (of World Cup) between the two cricket teams," Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

He said that Pakistan had already welcomed Singh's invitation to Zardari and Gilani to watch the match.

'The News' daily, meanwhile, quoted its sources as saying that Gilani would informally meet Singh during the match and a formal meeting would be held after the game.

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Separately, 'The Nation' newspaper quoted its sources as saying that Gilani would pay a two-day visit to India for a fresh round of "cricket diplomacy."

It said that Gilani's decision to accept Singh's invitation has been conveyed to New Delhi through diplomatic channels.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bill Gates for tie-up in agri sector in Bihar-$80 million worth partnershipin health sector isexpanding cooperation in agriculture sector too.-23/3/11

Bill Gates for tie-up in agri sector in Bihar

Faizan Ahmad, TNN, Mar 23, 2011, 09.44pm IST

PATNA: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has $80 million worth partnership with Bihar government in health sector, has shown its interest in expanding cooperation in agriculture sector too. This was announced by the software czar and world's leading philanthropist Bill Gates here on Wednesday after rounding off his day-long tour.

Gates, who was accompanied by his wife and Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates and a strong team, said the Foundation is doing well in Bihar and state government's ambitions are quite good. "Our partnership is going at full speed. The great works being done here are lessons for other places in the world," said a beaming Gates while lavishing praise on chief minister Nitish Kumar, sitting beside him.

Cricket diplomacy: Manmohan invites Zardari, Gilani for India vs Pak semifinal in Mohali-25/3/11

Cricket diplomacy: Manmohan invites Zardari, Gilani for India vs Pak semifinal in Mohali
PTI | Mar 25, 2011, 08.03pm IST

(good wishes indian team...vibha)
PM invited the Pakistan president and prime minister to watch the India vs Pak semifinal in Mohali when he will also be present.
NEW DELHI: Launching cricket diplomacy to give a fresh impetus to bilateral ties, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday invited the Pakistan president and prime minister to watch the Indo-Pak cricket encounter in Mohali on March 30 when he will also be present.

In an identical letters to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, he said he proposed to watch the Indo-Pak World Cup semi-final and "it gives me a great pleasure" to invite them to watch the match.

"There is huge excitement over the match and we are all looking forward to a great game of cricket that will be a victory for sport.

"It gives me great pleasure to invite you to visit Mohali and join me and the millions of fans from our two countries to watch the match," he said in the letters to both the leaders.

Singh's cricket diplomacy will be the first major bilateral event at the summit level between the two sides either in India or Pakistan since 26/11 attacks when relations between the two countries plunged to a new low.

Cricket diplomacy between the two countries, which have often witnessed acrimonious ties in the last over two decades, had brought the late President Zia-ul Haq and former President Pervez Musharraf to watch cricket matches in India.

Haq, a former alumini of St Stephen's in Delhi, had come to watch a test match in Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur in February 1987 at the invitation of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The two met and held discussions after the event in Delhi.

Musharraf, who also has his origins in Delhi, also came to watch an Indo-Pak encounter at Ferozeshah Kotla ground here in 2005 when he was in power.

In the last over two years, prime ministers of India and Pakistan have met in third country locations on the margins of NAM conferences in Bhutan and Egypt.

Foreign ministers of the two countries have also met in-between but the last meeting between them in July last year was not fruitful.

However, the two countries had recently decided to intensify contacts and a meeting between home secretaries of the two countries is slated for Monday and Tuesday on New Delhi.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

India, Pak meet at Wagah to talk trade, integrated check post-to ease trade and ceremonial duties.25/3/11

India, Pak meet at Wagah to talk trade, integrated check post

Ahead of the Home Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan, officials from both sides will meet on Friday on the Wagah border to ease trade and ceremonial duties. The meeting of the joint technical group on trade and travel facilitation, which will be attended by senior Home Ministry officials, will also be taking stock of the integrated check post project at the border.

Sources said New Delhi and Islamabad want to open two separate gates at the border check post, instead of the existing one. While one will be used for ceremonial and official duties, the second one will be used for movement of people and goods. The construction of the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari, Amritsar in Punjab began in February last year. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 150 crore.

The ICPs are envisaged to to provide facilities for effective and efficient discharge of functions such as security, immigration, customs, quarantine, while also providing support facilities for smooth cross-border movement of persons, goods and transport.

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Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Thursday cleared the agenda of talks to be discussed with Pakistan when the Home Secretaries meet here next week.

Sources said the CCS, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has given its nod to issues such as cross-border terrorism, progress in 26/11 trial, and inflow of fake Indian currency notes to be raised at the two-day meeting scheduled to be held on March 28 and 29.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nalanda to be developed as tourist hub(good bihar was lacking behind in this department...vibha)

Nalanda to be developed as tourist hub

Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:13:02 AM by IANS ( Leave a comment )

Bodh Gaya By Imran Khan
Patna, Feb 18 (IANS) Bihar is preparing an ambitious master plan to develop Nalanda as a tourist hub to attract more foreign and domestic travellers.

The tourism department is working on the master plan to develop Nalanda, on the lines of Bodh Gaya, to provide facilities of international standard to tourists, the department’s principal secretary, Rashmi Verma, told IANS.

Official sources in the chief minister’s office here said the state tourism department was directed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to develop Nalanda, about 100 km from here.

“Nitish Kumar showed personal interest in the project during his visit to Rajgir, a tourist destination, in the end of December,” an official said.

Rajgir is in Nalanda, which is the home district of Nitish Kumar. In the last four years, he has announced various development projects in the district.

Verma said infrastructure like roads, hotels, resorts, ethnic cottage, auditorium, shopping complex, roadside cafeteria and toilets of international standard would be developed in Nalanda. Ruins of the excavated site of 2,500-year-old Nalanda University, considered to be one of the world’s first residential universities, is a tourist destination in Bihar.

Nalanda, founded in the fifth century AD, was a famous seat of learning. Though the Buddha (563 to 483 BC)had visited Nalanda several times, the centre of Buddhist learning shot to fame much later, during the 5th-12th centuries.

After Bodh Gaya, Nalanda is the most important destination for tourists in Bihar. Bodh Gaya town in Gaya district is considered the birth place of Buddhism. The Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya is 1,500 years old and was declared a World Heritage Site in June 2002. The Buddha had attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago under a Bodhi tree near this temple.

The state government will seek help of various government agencies, including the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), deemed university Nav Nalanda Mahavihara (NNM) and forests and environment, tourism, road and public works departments to develop Nalanda.

Official sources in ASI’s Patna circle office said Nalanda is in the tentative list for being nominated as a World Heritage Site. “The flow of tourists to Nalanda was showing an increasing trend, a positive aspect to develop it soon,” an ASI official said.

In the first week of February, hundreds of Buddhist scholars, academics, monks, travel and tour operators and media persons from across the world attended the ‘International Buddhist Conclave - Experience Buddhism in the land of its origin’ at Nalanda.

The main objective of the two-day international conclave was to give a major thrust to cultural tourism and explore the potential related to the Buddhist circuit in India and especially in Bihar, an official of the tourism department said.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Delhi govt''s social sector-oriented budget-Mar 22,2011

Delhi govt''s social sector-oriented budget

PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 22,2011

New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) The Delhi government's budget for 2011-12 today gave a major push to the social sector hiking allocations for various welfare schemes and made bicycles, kerosene stoves and sanitary napkins cheaper while sweetmeats, diesel-run vehicles, tobacco products and furnishings will be costlier. In the Rs 27,067-crore budget, the transport sector got the highest allocation of Rs 3,348 crore, followed by Rs 1,802 crore for health sector while education has been given Rs 1,247 crore. Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, presenting her first budget in 12 years at the helm, unveiled an ambitious universal free health facility which will cover nearly 27 lakh school going children upto the age of 14 years and an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore has been proposed in the budget for this. Dikshit also set aside Rs 405 crore for construction of houses for economically weaker sections while earmarking Rs 180 crore for improving civic amenities in slum clusters. The Chief Minister proposed an amount of Rs 698 crore for development work in over 1,200 unauthorised colonies and announced enhanced monthly emoluments for Anganwadi workers. She also announced exempting kerosene stoves, lanterns and petromax lamps and their spares from VAT. A VAT of 12.5 per cent would, however, be imposed on unmanufactured tobacco, making all tobacco products including bidis and hookah smoking more expensive. 'Khandsari' sugar and textiles have also been exempted from VAT. Sanitary napkins costing upto Rs 20 have also been exempted from VAT. In her tax proposals, Dikshit, known for her eco-friendly initiatives, proposed levying an additional tax of 25 per cent on existing tax rates on all diesel-propelled vehicles to "discourage people from buying diesel vehicles" while Value Added Tax on bicycles having an MRP of upto Rs 3,500 has been removed. The budget increased the VAT on sweetmeats and 'namkeen' to 12.5 per cent from existing five per cent to discourage people from having "unhealthy eating habits". "We are particularly concerned about the growing incidence of lifestyle diseases among Delhi's citizens.Diabetes and hypertension are some of the unfortunate byproducts of our city life and unhealthy eating habits, even among our children, need to be addressed," Dikshit said. She proposed Rs 13,600 crore as planned outlay and Rs 13,307 crore will be non-plan expenditure.

Nitish repeats special status call as President lauds him for progress...“Bihar is perhaps one of first states to give 50 per cent reservation to wome

Nitish repeats special status call as President lauds him for progress...

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar got another feather in his cap on Tuesday when President Pratibha Patil lauded his efforts for empowering women and the overall development of the state.

Nitish Kumar could not have chosen a better occasion to get the praise from the first citizen of the country than Bihar Diwas, when the state enters its 100th year of its foundation after separation from Bengal.

The Bihar CM reciprocated Patil’s praise by inviting her to visit Bihar at least once in a year. Invoking Bihari pride, Nitish said it was “mandatory to become a good Bihari before becoming a good Indian citizen”.

The three-day centenary festivities started with the President kick-starting the 100th year celebration of the Bihar Legislative Council foundation on Tuesday.

Patil, who termed the history of Bihar as one of culture and civilisation, said: “Bihar is perhaps one of first states to give 50 per cent reservation to women in panchayats. I congratulate Bihar government for this.”

Prez pats Bihar for empowering women-23/3/11

Prez pats Bihar for empowering women

Pranava K Chaudhary, TNN | Mar 23, 2011, 06.30am IST

PATNA: President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday praised the Bihar government for taking several initiatives in empowering women, including 50 per cent reservation in panchayati raj institutions, and recruitment of teachers.

President Patil said this while inaugurating the centenary celebration of the Bihar Legislative Council at the state legislature complex here. The president, in her 15-minute speech in Hindi, said Bihar had been the in the world as the seeds of democratic systems were sowed in ancient Lichchvi and the successive generations of the leg-islators in the state have risen above partisan politics to work for the de-velopment of the state.

While calling upon the legislators to play an active role in strengthening the institutions of panchayati raj at the grassroot level, Patil complimented the state government for giving more powers to women in the various grassroot-level bodies.

She said the state government should step up efforts to bring growth in the industrial and agriculture sectors.

India set for media boom identified "3Cs"-in the form of consumer demand, enhanced connectivity and convergence across devices.

India set for media boom-it will become imperative for media companies to reset their business models and build greater focus on profitability-23/3/11

Sustainability gains ground
Luxury evolves in China
Research models evolve

India set for media boom

identified "3Cs"-in the form of consumer demand, enhanced connectivity and convergence across devices.

NEW DELHI: The Indian media and entertainment sector is set for rapid growth during the period to 2015, a forecast has predicted.

According to a study from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and consultancy KPMG, the category grew by 11% last year, reaching 652bn rupees ($14.5bn; €10.2bn; £8,9bn).

It suggested revenue levels would continue to climb between 2011 and 2015, when the industry will generate 1.28bn rupees.

Advertising spend climbed 17%, to 266bn rupees or 41% of all returns, last year, as competition among brand owners intensified.

Digital recorded the fastest expansion, leaping 33%, radio secured a 24% improvement, outdoor logged a 21% jump, television surged by 17%, and print enjoyed a 14% uptick.

In value terms, television remains the dominant medium, and the report anticipated there would be 156m TV households in India by 2015, when ad sales hit 214bn rupees, and subscriptions deliver 416bn rupees.

"Television is expected to account for almost half of the Indian M&E industry revenues, and more than twice the size of print, the second largest media sector," the study argued.

One factor fuelling TV's strength will be the rising number of direct-to-home viewers, following a 75% lift, to 28m residences, in 2010.

In contrast with the challenges faced in many markets, print should witness an improvement averaging out at 10% per year, receiving 310bn rupees by 2015.

Outdoor is likely to build on the momentum gained last year, as expenditure increased by around 21%, and should come in at 29.6bn rupees in 2015.

Digital advertising and gaming outlay is due to attain 73.8bn by the same date, registering the most impressive performance of any channel.

FICCI and KPMG identified "3Cs" prompting the ascension of new media, in the form of consumer demand, enhanced connectivity and convergence across devices.

Rajesh Jain, KPMG's head of media and entertainment, argued that several beneficial trends are supporting these processes, but also pose challenges.

"The resurgence in advertising, growth in subscription revenues, thrust on digitisation, and emerging avenues for content monetization were the key growth drivers for the Indian media and entertainment industry in 2010," he said.

"However going forward, it will become imperative for media companies to reset their business models and build greater focus on profitability and changing consumer preferences."

This could be achieved by leveraging regional opportunities, assuming an early-adopter status regarding tablets, m-commerce and apps, creating more niche content, and prioritising audience insights.

Elsewhere, consolidation may reshape the landscape, as technological evolution encourages new partnerships and foreign corporations seek to progress.

"Inorganic growth is likely to be a preferred route for many of these players," the report said.

"With increased digitisation and accountability, Indian media companies are also expected to generate greater interest from private equity players."

Data sourced from KPMG; additional content by Warc staff, 23 March 2011

Civil society can play elaborate role in peace process: Pak delegation-Mar 23, 2011

Civil society can play elaborate role in peace process: Pak delegation

Dileep Athavale, TNN | Mar 23, 2011, 12.17am IST

PUNE: The civil societies of India and Pakistan have an elaborate role to play in the process of establishing peace and good relations between the two countries, said members of a business delegation from Pakistan who were participating in a panel discussion here on Tuesday.

The panel discussion was organised by the Pune chapter of Young Indians, a wing of the Confederation of Indian Industry, which took the initiative as part of Aman ki Asha. The delegation chiefly comprises leaders of Pakistan's information technology sector.

Aman ki Asha, started last year, is an initiative of The Times of India Group and Pakistan's Jang Group.

The discussion, which coincided with the annual day function of Young Indians, generated many possibilities for India and Pakistan to work together for the betterment of both societies.
Ganesh Natarajan, vice-chairman and chief executive officer of Zensar Technologies, initiated the discussion. He said it would be important for people of both sides to shed the stereotypical thinking and prejudices and look at each other as human societies that share a common heritage and culture. The younger generation in either country has a better chance to do so as they have no historical baggage to carry, Natarajan said.

Amin Hashwani, director, Hashwani Group of Companies, Pakistan, who is leading the delegation, said that despite the three wars the two countries have fought, the people of India and Pakistan have a great chance to contribute to the peace process as there is no animosity on a "people-to-people" level. "If there are exchange programmes happening between countries whose people once hated each other, why can't India and Pakistan do better?" Hashwani asked.

Praising Aman ki Asha as the first peace initiative by the civil societies of the two countries in the last 60 years, Hashwani said this initiative has created greater possibilities than the 'official' positions India and Pakistan may have nursed over the years. "Unfortunately, the positive energy exuded by the two societies has not been exploited adequately by the social and business leadership so far," he said.

Humayun Bashir, country head for global IT giant IBM in Pakistan, said there is scope for industry bodies to do more work for the youth in Pakistan. He also said there are important learnings Pakistan can pick up from India in the advancement of civil society. India has progressed remarkably in the education sector in the last two decades, but Pakistan has not been so aggressive on that front, he said.

"Pakistan has had its challenges, with its democracy derailing a couple of times, but its people have always demonstrated their strong support through the political process. Global companies are investing in Pakistan and their business is flourishing. This is a sign that the world has confidence in Pakistan," Bashir said.

Jehan Ara of the Pakistan Software Houses Association said that the civil societies of both countries have common problems and can seek solutions that are common. There is great youth energy in both countries which can be cultivated into a positive force beneficial to both the societies, she noted. Health, education and literacy are among the prominent areas where the two societies can do many things, she added.

Hashwani said Pakistan's people have shown great resilience through the decades and alliances between like-minded people in Pakistan and India can work wonders.