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India-Singapore tax treaty amended, ‘reasonable burial’ to black money route, says Jaitley

India will start imposing capital gains tax on investments coming from Singapore from April and fully withdraw exemptions in two years as the two countries agreed to amend a decade-old treaty after New Delhi rolled back similar concessions to Mauritius and Cyprus earlier this year.

With the amendments, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday, investors based in Singapore will no longer benefit from tax exemptions on capital gains taxes.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photoFinance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photo

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photo

Changes to the treaty with the Asian financial centre had been widely expected after India this year similarly re-drafted a 33-year old tax treaty with Mauritius. The tax treaty between India and Singapore had a provision that any changes in the Mauritius treaty would automatically apply to the one with the Asian country.

The move to tighten tax treaties is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s anti-corruption drive, which includes tightening loopholes for firms or rich individuals setting up a presence in jurisdictions with tax exemption treaties.

Regulators have long suspected rich Indians were routing cash through these tax jurisdictions, and channeling money back to India in a practice known as “round tripping”.

“We are able to give a reasonable burial to this black money route,” Jaitley told reporters at a news briefing. Capital gains tax will be imposed on investments from Singapore that are made from April onwards. The tax rate will be half the prevailing Indian rate for the next two years and rates will then be equated by April 2019. Jaitley said.

Singapore has been an increasingly popular source of foreign investment into India.Foreign direct investment flows from Singapore stood at $50.6 billion between April 2000 and Sept 2016, contributing more than 16 percent to total capital inflows during that period, second only to Mauritius.

According to Abhishek Goenka, partner, direct tax, PwC India, the renegotiation of the tax treaty with Singapore marks the culmination of a long process of renegotiation of the three key treaties that India had which provided exemptions from capital gains tax, ie, Mauritius, Cyprus and Singapore. Due to this the final outcome with regards to the Singapore treaty is not a surprise and most investors were expecting that it would mirror the new Mauritius treaty, which is what it is as far as capital gains is concerned.

However, he said the press release lacks clarity on some of the key provisions.

“It remains to be seen whether the existing limitation of benefits clause will continue to apply for the 2 year phase out period, or whether there will be a somewhat diluted requirement. The press release does not have details on whether there is also a reduction in the rate of withholding tax on interest to 7.5% as in the case of Mauritius. This will be a critical aspect before there can be complete parity between the two treaties,” Goenka said.

With Reuters

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 10:15 IST

Jayalalithaa’s health: Aiims team confirms Tamil Nadu CM has completely recovered, says AIADMK

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will return home “soon” as an Aiims expert team has confirmed that she has completely recovered after over two months of hospitalisation, ruling AIADMK said on Sunday.

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. File photo. AFP

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. File photo. AFP

“The Aiims doctors visited the hospital on Saturday and after examining her (Jayalalithaa’s) health, they shared the good news with us that Amma (as Jayalalithaa is fondly) has completely recovered,” party spokesperson C Ponnaiyan told reporters.

The team, comprising G Khilnani, professor, department of pulmonology medicine, Anjan Trikha, professor of anaesthesiology and critical care and Nitish Nayak, professor, department of cardiology, has been visiting the hospital regularly ever since the 68-year-old AIADMK supremo was admitted on 22 September.

Ponnaiyan said the chief minister was doing “physical exercises” and undergoing “physiotherapy”, was eating food on her own and advising officers on issues related to government and party activities.

“Currently, she is undertaking physical exercises as she has been in hospital for more than 60 days. Specialists from Mount Elizabeth hospital (Singapore) are also providing physiotherapy to her. She will return home soon”, he said.

Jayalalithaa was hospitalised on 22 September after she complained of fever and dehydration. The hospital, which had been issuing bulletins on her health status, has said she was being treated for infection.

Apollo Hospitals chairman Dr C Prathap Reddy had recently said that Jayalalithaa was in good health and was speaking using a valve attached to the tracheotomy tube.

First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 19:52 IST

There should be no interference in functioning of Nalanda University: Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday asked the Centre to “not tamper” with the idea and autonomy of Nalanda University, days after its chancellor George Yeo quit his post alleging the varsity’s autonomy was being affected as he was not kept in the loop about leadership change at the institution.Speaking at Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Kumar also stated that he will write a letter to the Centre on the issue. “Nalanda University is not like some other Central university. It has had its own history. We wanted to revive that history. So please, there should be no interference (in its functioning). The idea of re-establishing Nalanda University…please don’t tamper with it,” he said.Noting that ex-Foreign Minister of Singapore Yeo, “was not an Indian”, Kumar said the former had “no political leanings” to have not been taken into confidence before the Centre moved to form the varsity’s governing body as per a 2010 Central act.”He was actively involved in the idea of Nalanda University right from the beginning. Hence, he should have been taken into confidence (before forming the varsity’s governing body). I feel sad about it. Now, I will send formal letter on my behalf,” he added.The Chief Minister also insisted on the need for the External Affairs Ministry “to understand the core sentiment (behind setting up the university)” of re-establishing a world renowned varsity before proceeding ahead in that direction.”Once a wrong impression is created among countries across the world about the varsity, no matter how much effort you make those won’t help you regain the historic standards of the erstwhile Nalanda University,” he added. Yeo, the second Chancellor of Nalanda University after Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, had last month resigned from the post saying the varsity’s autonomy was being affected as he was “not even given notice” of the leadership change at the institution. Kumar also lauded Sen for making a “lot of effort” towards building the institution before he was replaced by Yeo and sought to underscore that it was due to Bihar government’s initiative that the ancient university was revived.

Nirbhaya gang rape: Amicus Curiae questions evidence, hearing to continue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Amicus Curiae Sanjay Hegde, questioning the evidence produced by the prosecution in the Nirbhaya gang rape case, the Supreme Court will continue hearing of the case on Monday.In a special hearing held earlier today, Hegde came out with certain points putting a question on the merit of evidence.Hegde said that one of the convicts, Mukesh, was not with the prime culprit Ram Singh when the offence was committed. He further added that mobile locations of Mukesh and Ram Singh were found to be different on the night the offence took place.However, Delhi Police lawyer Siddhartha Luthra said they have evidence of a dying declaration, forensic evidence with regard to DNA blood samples and finger prints. He said that the evidence establishes the fact of the alleged persons’ involvement. Luthr further said there was no element of tutoring in the case, as was the point made by one of the defence lawyers.On December 16, 2012, a 23-year old was assaulted and brutally gang raped by six people in a moving bus in South Delhi. After raping her, they threw the girl outside the vehicle, along with her male friend who was accompanying her. The girl succumbed to her injuries in Singapore on December 29, 2012. The incident led to large scale protests across the country and prompted the government to make laws related to harassment of women more strict and punitive.

SC to hold special hearing on Nirbhaya gang rape case today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Saturday hold a special hearing of the Nirbhaya gang rape case.The death sentence of four of the convicts – Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh was upheld by the Delhi High Court.In the last hearing on November 7, the top court’s Amicus Curiae in the case, Raju Ramachandran, had asked the apex court to set aside the death penalty awarded to the accused.In his written submissions, the senior advocate listed six fundamental errors committed by the trial court while awarding death sentences, including not taking the mitigating circumstances of the accused persons into consideration and not hearing them in person on their punishment.Amicus curiae refers to someone who is not a party to the case but volunteers to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it.The top court had on April 4 begun final hearing of the convicts’ appeal almost two years after staying their execution.Two of the four death-row convicts had written to Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice Deepak Misra, stating that they do not approve of the defence counsel appointed by the court to argue their case before the top court as they had given statements against them to the media in the past.The trial court had in September 2013 awarded death sentences to the convicts. Six months later, the Delhi High Court upheld their conviction and sentence. All the convicts moved the apex court in 2014, which stayed their execution. Six people, including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted the woman in a moving bus in South Delhi.Later, the accused threw out the victim and her male friend at an isolated spot. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012, triggering nation-wide protests that resulted in giving more teeth to laws related to rape and other forms of sexual harassment.

Demonetisation has reduced crime rate in Mumbai: Manohar Parrikar

Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday claimed that due to the Centre’s demonetisation move, the rate of crime in Mumbai, including contract killings, murders, extortion and drug trafficking, has come down drastically.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“The decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a historic one. The black money, corruption money, terror funding and drug money has received a jolt,” Parrikar said while addressing BJP’s Vijay Sankalp rally in Aldona constituency in North Goa.

“One of my friends from Mumbai was telling me that the supari (contract) killings have reduced there. There is no lack of people offering supari, but there is no money to pay. In the last 20 days, the murder rate has come to half in Mumbai,” he claimed.

“The instances of extortion have also reduced in Mumbai. If anyone goes to the builder and tries to extort money, he is ready to give the sum, but that money has no value as they are old notes. Due to this, now the one who wanted to extort money has also stopped. Even here in Goa, extortion attempts from the builders have stopped,” he said.

According to Parrikar, the movement of narcotics in Mumbai has collapsed due to lack of money to fuel it.

“Thanks to demonetisation, the crime graph has been reduced in Mumbai. Modi has eliminated drug lords, terror funders, fake notes and black money,” he said.

Stating that Goa will become cashless by December 30, Parrikar appealed to the people to cooperate to fulfil this dream of the Prime Minister.

“By December 30, we will become a cashless society. Goa has a capability to become a model state for rest of the states,” he said.

“We always feel safe with cash money…A bank manager was telling me that pensioners rush to the bank on every first of the month…He said the pensioners don’t feel satisfied till they count notes,” Parrikar said.

“But I feel in the current era, there is no need for notes. In the Information Technology sector, Goa’s penetration is more than that of Singapore. We can show the way for the country,” he added.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 08:40 IST

Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo quits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo resigned on Friday, protesting changes made in university management without taking him into confidence.Yeo submitted his resignation letter to the Visitor, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, reported The Hindu. “I was neither involved in the preparation nor consulted beforehand. With deep sadness, I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Visitor,” Yeo wrote.Yeo also said that when he took over from Professor Amartya Sen last year, he was repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. “This appears not to be the case now.,” he added.“The circumstances under which the leadership change in Nalanda University has been suddenly and summarily effected is disturbing and harmful to the University’s development,” Yeo said.Former Foreign Minister of Singapore George Yeo was appointed Chancellor in July 2016, over two months after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen withdrew his candidature to the post for a second term.60-year-old Yeo, who was conferred Padma Bhushan in 2012, was serving as a member of the governing board of the prestigious university at Rajgir area of Bihar.In February, Sen withdrew his candidature as Chancellor for a second term saying that the Narendra Modi government did not want him to continue, a contention which was rejected by the government.Sen, who has long been a critic of Modi, had blamed the absence of government’s approval for his re-nomination for the delay in the nod from President Pranab Mukherjee for his name.

India slips to 22nd spot in English proficiency ranking: Report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has slipped two spots compared to last year in English proficiency rankings while China has improved its ranking, according to a new report. India is placed at 22 spot in the new report released by Swedish education company EF Education First in Beijing on Tuesday. In 2015, India was placed at 20 spot by the same study.Meanwhile, General English proficiency in China has improved year-on-year, but is still lingering at the intermediate to basic level, the report said. China which in recent putting an emphasis on English education rose eight places to 39 among 72 countries and regions figuring well above Pakistan which was placed at 48 spot.In China residents of Shanghai and Hong Kong were found to be the most proficient in English, state-run China Daily reported. The report is based on the EF Standard English Test results of 950,000 adults from 72 countries and regions across the world.The test, which consists of reading and listening, was developed by Education First. Elsewhere in the world, the report found that adults from the Netherlands are the best English speakers among people from non-English speaking countries. The Danes and Swedes ranked 2 and 3, respectively. Singapore ranked first in Asia for English proficiency followed by Malaysia, Philippines and India.

Narendra Modi in Goa: With entire political capital at stake, PM shows glimpses of vulnerability

Even during this, easily the most trying time of his tenure, Narendra Modi‘s political rivals and detractors have not been able to answer a simple question. What prompted the Prime Minister to take such a huge risk? Modi has always been a polarising figure. But even his biggest critic won’t underestimate him as a fool. Would he have not known the enormity of the gamble he was about to take by wiping out 86 percent of the total currency in circulation?

The dramatic demonetisation drive to corner black money hoarders, cut corruption and bust fake currency rackets has prompted the media in Singapore to call him India’s Lee Kuan Yew. But in playing the reformer, was Modi unaware of the incompatibility of his action when he wanted India, at one stroke, to become Singapore with the infrastructure of Rwanda?

Given the logistical nightmare, and the 100 percent chance that this will result in sheer chaos, anarchy and anger his vote base (since traders will be the worst hit) why did Modi commit political suicide? If the Prime Minister did it for election gains (as some political rivals and some in the media have suggested), he must be the biggest dunce the world, has ever produced, who drives the common man to tears and still expects them to vote for him. What explains this?

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

None of his critics, with their repertoire of dramatics, semantic jugglery or rhetorical gymnastics has been able to satisfactorily crack this puzzle. And yet this is the only question worth pondering over that should give us a peek into the mind of a man who is so consumed with an idea that nothing seems to deter him — not even the prospect of a brutal thrashing at the hustings.

Political leaders of every hue never make the mistake of irking their core vote-banks. This is the same principle that forced Mamata Banerjee to support the regressive custom of triple talaq or made Mayawati remain quiet when BJP leader Daya Shankar’s wife and daughter were being openly harassed in public by an irate mob. Despite knowing that he is playing poker with a financial system still not ready to absorb a shock of this nature and fully aware that this action won’t go down well among the community of traders who have never let the BJP down, Modi went ahead and implemented an idea breathtaking in audacity and stunning in ambition.

Few politicians have the courage and conviction to stay true to a promise when the downside involves risk that may end up exhausting even a formidable capital. If the PM took such a risk, it shows his supreme confidence and a quid pro quo of deep trust between Modi and his electorate. He, as Swapan Dasgupta writes in his column for The Times of India, would have calculated that the electorate, though being made to go through utter inconvenience and hardship, will “appreciate forthrightness and loftiness of purpose.”

But he would be hurting. No matter how strong the conviction and unshakable the trust, Modi isn’t blind to the factors at play — the market slipping into a recession, daily lives suspended in a surreal act of faith and common man getting increasingly restive as the days tick by and the system near a total collapse.

It is this realisation, that the nature of the crisis is such that it has put even the strongest of bond between a leader and his citizens to test, that Modi sought to reach out and reassure the people on Sunday, begging for a little more time to set the house in order.

“This is not an end. I have more projects in mind to make India corruption-free… Cooperate with me and help me for 50 days and I will give you the India you desired,” Modi said, after laying the foundation stone of Mopa greenfield airport and launching work on electronic city project in Goa.

“I know that [some] forces are up against me, they may not let me live, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, but I am prepared,” Modi said in a speech which saw him getting emotional a few times.

Modi reminded people that this wasn’t a unilateral “tughlaqi” decision that he imposed on people, rather he was following the command that had put him on Prime Minister’s chair.

“I am doing what I was asked to do by the people of this country and it had become clear from the very first meeting of my Cabinet when I formed the SIT (on black money). We never kept the people in dark.”

Those who accuse Modi of taking a decision in haste weren’t paying full attention when the calibrated steps were taken. If creating the Jan Dhan accounts and linking them to Aadhar and mobile phone was the first step, the bringing back of Rs 13,000 crore from overseas account was the next. The voluntary disclosure scheme came next, which mopped up another Rs 65,000 crore till the last quarter and Modi had reminded people that black money hoarders should get ready for stringent action post 30 September, when the IDS came to a close.

Charges of random action, therefore, reflect a poor understanding of the process at work. But politics has an enmity with rationality because it more often than not appeals to the base emotions. The opposition had initially been caught on the wrong foot but as inconvenience grew, many like Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee accused Modi of being drunk in power and making life hell for the poor.

Modi’s emotional reaction may have something to do with the fact that he understands the unpopularity of his decision and can only gamble on his electorate to have a better understanding of the higher national purpose.

“I was not born to sit on a chair of high office. Whatever I had, my family, my home — I left it for nation,” he said in Goa. “Why do we have to put the future of our youths at stake? Those who want to do politics are free to do so.”

He said he feels the pain, not as someone who needs to woo the public, but someone who has experienced it. “Yes I also feel the pain. These steps taken were not a display of arrogance. I have seen poverty and understand people’s problems.”

An orator knows when to reserve his punches and when to pull them. But though a master communicator, we didn’t see an orator at work. Modi’s clarion call that he is ready to “face consequences” of his action came from a rawer emotion. On Sunday, we saw the strong leader being reduced to vulnerable heap of emotions armed with nothing but his conviction. Will his believers stick to him? Even Modi seemed unsure of the answer.

First Published On : Nov 13, 2016 19:21 IST

India will suffer great losses if it joins Japan on SCS, warns China’s state media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India may suffer “great losses” in bilateral trade if it joins Japan during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to ask China to abide by an international tribunal’s ruling quashing Beijing’s claims over disputed South China Sea (SCS), Chinese media warned on Wednesday.”India should beware of the possibility that by becoming embroiled in the disputes, it might end up being a pawn of the US and suffer great losses, especially in terms of business and trade, from China,” an oped article in state-run Global Times said.Citing media reports that India is seeking support from Tokyo during Modi’s visit to Japan this week to issue a joint statement asking China to abide by July ruling of the tribunal on the SCS, it said, “India and China should put more efforts into resolving problems like the imbalance of their trade ties”.”India won’t benefit much by balancing China through Japan. It will only lead to more mistrust between New Delhi and Beijing,” it said.”India’s proposal to make new waves in the SCS first came to Singapore last month, but Singapore, a master of the rebalancing strategy, snubbed it. The rejection shows India lacks legitimacy and leadership in making new waves in the SCS,” the article said.It also pointed out that with the recent visit to China of Rodrigo Duterte, the new President of Philippines, the country that filed arbitration case against Beijing, the SCS dispute “passed pinnacle of tensions”.”India should realise that the SCS disputes have passed the pinnacle of tensions after the announcement of the arbitration result, and some involved parties have begun to reflect on their old way of addressing the disputes – creating conflicts without seeking productive bilateral negotiations.The Philippines, once a major aggressive claimant against China, has restored its relationship with China,” it said.The article which comes in the backdrop of recent meeting at Hyderabad between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi said India wants to scale up its stand on the SCS in retaliation to Beijing blocking India’s bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”India knows that it is not yet qualified for membership in the NSG, according to the organisation’s rules. China’s decision was simply a fulfillment of its international duties.It is preposterous for Indian media and government to scapegoat China as a troublemaker, and seek revenge by making more troubles,” it said.”As a non-claimant to the South China Sea and an outsider that has no traditional influence on the region, India has been paying keen attention to any activity, because the country has adopted a ‘Look East’ foreign policy since Modi took office,” the article said.”India, however, seems to have overestimated its leverage in the region. Although China’s major rivals in the dispute, such as the US and Japan, have been trying to draw India into their camp, the country will be likely regarded as having a token role,” it said.The article said as “regional major power in Asia, India does not feel at ease with China, a larger and more powerful neighbour”.”It admires China’s imposing changeover, especially its economic takeoff, but it has never relaxed its wariness of China’s rise,” it said, adding that “the complicated feelings could drive India to make mistakes in its China policy”.Another article in the same daily – titled ‘India won t be Japan s geopolitical tool’ – criticised Japan for relaxing its rules to sign a civil nuclear deal with India.”India has refused to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and meanwhile possesses nuclear weapons. Under this situation, selling nuclear technology to New Delhi will taint Tokyo’s reputation of advocating for a nuclear weapons-free world. In fact, Abe is using international law as a tool to safeguard his self- interest, only referring to it to satisfy his needs. Japan is so pragmatic in its diplomacy. The technology agreements are de facto political deals between Japan and India,” it said.It also questioned the bullet train agreement between the two countries. “Given Japan’s costly high-speed technology and India’s relatively under-developed economy, whether the rail project will produce profits is unknown,” it said.China is also bidding for building high speed train network in India and is currently conducting a feasibility study for Delhi-Chennai railway corridor.For Japan and India, technological cooperation will enhance their cooperation in security, a critical way for Japan to contain China’s growing strength, it said.”But containing China is not Modi’s ultimate purpose.Despite its rapid economic growth, India’s development is still backward in many ways. What Modi therefore cares most about is reviving the nation’s economy and enhancing its strength,” it said.”India has no intention and cannot afford to join Japan and contain China since it needs China’s investment and financial support for development. However, considering its disputes with China, India to some extent wants to use Japan to bargain with China.”What Modi wants is to benefit from Tokyo and Beijing when they are at odds, like Duterte has done. Hence the so-called Japan-India cooperation is a tool for the two sides to use each other for political gains,” it said.At present, top leaders in some East and South Asian countries like Japan, India, Myanmar and the Philippines, are tough in their domestic policies to develop and upgrade their industries, it said.”This has given China an opportunity to break US-Japan containment and expand its influences. If China can share common interests with India as emerging industrial countries, it will counterbalance the mutual benefits of India and Japan being democratic countries,” it said.”As emerging countries, China and India have common economic interests in many aspects, and need to jointly face challenges posed by developed countries. How to boost cooperation between China and India is a key issue concerning the economic development of developing countries in the future,” it said.

Singaporean navy’s vessel arrives at Visakhapatnam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Singaporean navy’s stealth frigate RSS Formidable on Sunday arrived at Visakhapatnam on a five-day visit to Eastern Naval Command (ENS) as a part of the ongoing Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises.The two navies share a long-standing relationship with regular professional interactions which include exchange programmes, staff talks and training courses.Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with Indian Navy in 1994 and this year’s edition, SIMBEX-16, is being held in the Bay of Bengal region, an official release said. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Khoo Aik Leong Albert, RSS Formidable is the first of the six multi-role stealth frigates which forms part of the 185 Squadron based at Changi, the release added.A senior Singapore Navy delegation, headed by Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer, 185 Squadron, RSN is also visiting ENC during the period, it said, adding that the visit will encompass interaction between the personnel of both the navies in various professional, cultural, social and sports events.During the visit, Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer (CO), 185 Squadron of Republic of Singapore Navy, along with Lt Colonel Khoo Aik Leong Albert, CO, RSS Formidable, will call on Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, ENC and Rear Admiral B Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, the release said.The 23rd such exercise in the series is aimed at increasing interoperability between RSN and Indian Navy as well as at developing common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations, it added.The exercise would include wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase, scheduled from October 31 to November 2, and a diverse range of operational activities at sea during the Sea Phase, to be held from November 3-5, according to the release. The thrust of the exercises at sea this year would be on anti-submarine warfare (ASW), integrated operations with surface, air and sub-surface forces, air defence and surface encounter exercises, it said.During SIMBEX-16, Singapore Navy will be represented by RSS Formidable and maritime patrol aircraft Fokker 50, operating from Port Blair.Indian Navy will be represented by INS Ranvijay, a guided missile destroyer, INS Kamorta, an indigenous ASW stealth corvette, one Sindhughosh-class submarine, in addition to long range maritime patrol aircraft P8I, maritime patrol aircraft Dornier, advanced jet trainer Hawk and integral rotary wing helicopters are also scheduled to participate in the exercise, the release added.In February, Singapore Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Lai Chung Han had visited ENC and participated in IFR-16, held in Visakhapatnam, the City of Destiny, it said.

Dhanteras buying fails to lift gold; falls Rs 110

New Delhi: Gold prices drifted lower by Rs 110 to Rs 30,590 per 10 gram at the bullion market here despite token buying by jewellers and retailers on the occasion of ‘Dhanteras’ today.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

A weak trend in the precious metals overseas mainly led to the fall in gold prices, bullion traders said.

Silver however managed to close steady at Rs 42,700 per kg on scattered demand from coin makers ahead of the Diwali festival.

Dhanteras is considered to be an auspicious day for buying gold, silver and other valuables and is largely celebrated in North and West India.

Despite buying support from jewellers for the auspicious festival of Dhanteras, gold failed to glitter largely due to a weak trend in global market.

Globally, gold fell 0.17 per cent to trade at USD 1,265.90 an ounce in Singapore, while silver shed 0.34 per cent to USD 17.53 an ounce.

Back home, gold 99.9 and 99.5 per cent purity fell by Rs 110 each to Rs 30,590 and Rs 30,440 per 10 gram, respectively.

Sovereign, however, continued to be enquired at Rs 24,500 per piece of 8 grams.

In futures trading, gold for delivery in December too was down by Rs 46, or 0.15 per cent at Rs 29,881 per 10 gram.

On the other hand, silver ready in restricted activity held steady at Rs 42,700 per kg, while weekly-based delivery was down Rs 15 at Rs 42,170 per kg.

Silver coins remained unaltered at Rs 74,000 for buying and Rs 75,000 for selling of 100 pieces on some support.

Gold prices have gone up by Rs 4,360, or 16.6 per cent, while silver has spurted by Rs 7,290, or 20.58 per cent from last year’s Dhanteras.

Tata sacking: Cyrus Mistry was ‘lame duck’ chairman

Tata Sons ex-chairman Cyrus Mistry attacks the firm and warns it faces the risk of huge writedowns.

Jayalalithaa very well, will return home soon: AIADMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ruling AIADMK said on Wednesday party supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, hospitalised here since last month, is “very well” and would return home soon, even as scores of party workers continue to hold different forms of worships for her speedy recovery. “She is very well. God is by her side. She will come home soon,” party spokesperson CR Saraswathy told reporters here.She said the prayers of party supporters has reaped fruits and thanked the medical experts from AIIMS and Singapore among others who treated the 68 year-old leader. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration. Later on, the hospital had said she was being treated for infection with respiratory support among others.In its latest medical bulletin, which was issued on October 21, the hospital had said the Chief Minister was interacting and progressing gradually. Meanwhile, AIADMK supporters in large numbers continued to organise special prayers and events for the well being of their ”Amma” (Mother), as she is affectionately called by them, across the state. This included a six-hour musical prayer in Tirunelveli.Around 20,000 people carried the traditional ”palkudam” (milkpot) over a 10 km stretch praying for Jayalalithaa”s speedy recovery at Viralimalai in Puthukottai district. In Tirunelveli, ”thavil” and ”nagaswara” musicians played their instruments non-stop for six hours praying for the good health of the AIADMK supremo.Special yagnams and homams (havans) including ”Sudharsana” and ”dhanvanthiri” homams seeking divine blessings for her good health and long life were performed in many temples across the state including in Chennai, Coimbatore and Dharmapuri. In Erode, school students sat in a row depicting ”Amma” in Tamil and held candle prayers for the Chief Minister. An inter-faith prayer was held in Thiruvarur.At Apollo Hospital, a group of members of the traditional Badaga tribe community from Nilgiris district held prayers.

India plans to have 14.5 GWe of nuclear generating capacity online by 2024: Report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian government has put renewed vigour into nuclear power plans as part of its infrastructure development programme, with negotiations on to unlock long-standing agreements with French, Russian and US companies, said a report released in Singapore on Tuesday. “Its overall goal is to have 14.5 GWe (Gigawatt or one billion watts of electricity power) of nuclear generating capacity online by 2024, compared to 6,219 MWe now,” said the World Nuclear Performance Report 2016 released at the Singapore International Energy Week being held this week.The government gave in principle approval for new nuclear plants at 10 sites in nine states, according to the report by the World Nuclear Association. Those for indigenous pressurised heavy water reactor are at Gorakhpur in Haryana’s Fatehabad; Chutka and Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh; Kaiga in Karnataka; and Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan.Those for plants with foreign cooperation are Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu; in Jaitapur in Maharashtra; Chhaya Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat; Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh and Haripur in West Bengal, though this location has been in doubt. In addition, two 600 MWe fast breeder reactors are proposed at Kalpakkam.Unit 2 of the Russian-built Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu was completed in 2015, with the unit continuing in mid-2016. A prototype fast breeder reactor is nearing completion at Kalpakkam, according to the report.The report also noted performances of the nuclear power plants which were commissioned in Rajasthan in 1973. The unit has had a mixed history with lengthy outages from 1982 to 1987, and 1994 to 1997. It has been put out of service since 2005.The second unit of nuclear power plant in Rajasthan, which came into operation in 1981, performed more reliably, despite long outages between 1994 and 1998, and from 2007 to 2009. It achieved a lifetime capacity factor of 56%.Rajasthan 3, starting in 2003, has managed a cumulative capacity factor of 76.5%. Altogether, the country has commissioned 18 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, two small BMRs – boiling water reactors – (in 1969) and two PWRs – pressurised water reactors – (at Kudankulam in 2014 and 2016, respectively), according to the report.A dip in the average capacity factor in 2008 and 2009 resulted from contemporaneous outages at Rajasthan 2, Kakrapar 1 and Narora units 1 and 2, it said. The association noted challenges of providing electricity across the world’s rural regions where people lack electricity. It has set a higher target for nuclear power – 25% of electricity in 2050, which would require an estimated 1,000 GWe capacity.It said one possible pathway to this target would be to build 10 GWe a year between 2015 and 2020, step this up to 25 GWe per year to 2025, and then 33 GWe per year to 2050.

Dammed or Damned? Before reviewing Indus River Treaty, India needs to learn from the past

Based on reports in the media, the Indus River Treaty between India and Pakistan is under scrutiny by the Indian government. While there may be a geo‐strategic case for scrutiny of the treaty, there are serious geographical, geological and ecological issues that a relook of the treaty raises.

If a relook at the Treaty involves new dams, as suggested by some commentators, planning should take note of lessons from earlier dam construction in the Himalayas. The key issue is that the Himalayas are a ‘hot spot’ for environmental hazards – particularly great earthquakes, landslides and floods.

It is also home to very high biodiversity, both on land and in the rivers and lakes. Building large dams to gain a geostrategic advantage over Pakistan may not be the best approach for the rivers governed by the Treaty or for the people living near those rivers. If criteria other than geo-strategy are taken into account then these rivers may not be easy candidates for big dams.

Although the whole Himalayan range is earthquake‐prone, some areas have experienced earthquakes with magnitudes greater than eight on the Richter scale, referred to as great earthquakes, while others experience much lower levels of seismicity.

Before reveiwing the Indus River Treaty, India should take notes from earlier dam construction in the Himalayas. ReutersBefore reveiwing the Indus River Treaty, India should take notes from earlier dam construction in the Himalayas. Reuters

Before reviewing the Indus River Treaty, India should take notes from earlier dam construction in the Himalayas. Reuters

It is one of the ironies of the Himalaya that those areas that experience low seismicity are also places where river flows are relatively small. So rivers that flow from the Indian territory into Pakistan may be eligible for only small dams, which may be safe but the reservoirs would be small and thereby not achieve the purposes imagined by those re‐examining the Treaty.

In locations prone to great earthquakes, the design of dams will have to be stringent and therefore the construction will be very costly. For example, in 1997, geologist KS Valdiya commented unfavourably on the location and design of the Tehri Dam – one of the world’s tallest dams situated on the Bhagirathi River in the earthquake‐prone state of Uttarakhand.

Landslides are also a major hazard in the Himalayas. Dangerous landslides can be caused by filling of reservoirs where adjacent hill slopes are destabilised. An extremely well documented case occurred in 1963 in Italy when about 30 million cubic metres of water was displaced from the Vaiont Reservoir by a landslide, sending a wall of water over the wall and killing 2000 people downstream.

Landslides from other causes can create waves that destabilise dams and overtop dam walls and spillways, like dropping a brick into a bath. Landslides also add sediment to reservoirs and shorten their useful lives. The Himalaya is home to great landslides, proof that the phenomenon of giant waves in reservoirs is not a figment of scientists’ fevered imaginations. In fact the Himalaya is not just a ‘hot spot’ of environmental hazards, is one the world’s ‘great hot spots’.

And of course there are great floods. The most recent was the 2013 Kedarnath/Mandakini flood in Uttarakhand. This was not just ‘great’ but also a ‘perfect storm’. The monsoon reached into the high mountains earlier than usual, and when it met cold and dry air from the Arctic it generated one of the most severe rainfall events in living memory.

The analysis of this event by the renowned Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) has made clear what happened. Floods of the magnitude of the 2013 event recur in the Alaknanda river on average every 40 years. Before the 2013 event, the largest flood was in 1970, which was one of the factors that spurred the ‘Chipko Andolan’.

We know the average frequency of extreme floods from studying flood sediments from which it has been possible to reconstruct a flood history for the past 1500 years. However, the future may be bleaker than the past. The confluence of climatic phenomena that caused the 2013 flood will recur and possibly with greater frequency. As the Arctic warms, it will send out bursts of cold air more often.

It is particularly sobering to have found that most if not all of the large floods in the Alaknanda River over the past 1500 years have occurred when the Arctic was sending out such bursts into the Himalayas. Large floods can topple dams if the design is not sufficiently stringent. Floods also carry large amounts of sediment that reduce the lifespan of reservoirs.

Even more dangerous for people and dams are floods that are generated by the bursting of lakes made by landslides and glaciers.  These are common in the Himalayas, another reason to see these mountains as a ‘great hot spot of hazards’.

Most of the Alaknanda floods were probably the result of landslide lake bursts, but glacial lake bursts also pose an increasing threat as glaciers are reduced by rising air temperatures that create lakes which eventually burst leading to a flood.

India clearly needs electricity for the good of its people. Hydroelectricity is more greenhouse gas friendly than thermal power stations, although not to the extent claimed by its proponents. Given the problems, actual and potential, of large dams it would be best to build small run‐of‐river dams for the generation of electricity; so‐called “hydels”.

Many are already built and a lot more are planned. However, once again the 2013 flood in Uttarakhand has lessons for the future. Many of the hydel dams were damaged and some destroyed. The hydels in the Himalayas are built too close together to provide for the aquatic ecosystem’s needs.

More dams in the Himalayas should be planned while honouring the safety of people and the ecology of the area. Learning from historical disasters, landslides, floods and earthquakes, the government should also adopt a ‘disaster risk reduction’ approach. A new Indus River Treaty can have long term impacts on the Himalayan mountain range. The impacts will be positive only if it is well planned in advance.

Dr Robert J Wasson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Shivani Ratra is a Research Associate at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Why expats think India is better than China and US: 5 takeaways from HSBC survey

India is indeed shining, when it comes to expat life.

A survey conducted by HSBC has found that India is better placed for expats than China and even the US with respondents praising its economy, political stability and even entrepreneurial environment.

As per the survey held among nearly 27,000 expats from 190 countries and territories, India’s overall rank stands at 26, higher than the US’s 30 and China’s 34.

The survey has thrown up some interesting points that paint a rosy picture of India.

startup-team-shutterstockstartup-team-shutterstock

The survey found India is a popular destination for expat entrepreneurs. ShutterStock

The ranks were decided taking into account mainly three parameters — economics, experience and family. All the three are captured in league tables and ranked separately as per other sub-parameters.

While in the overall ranking Singapore has emerged the topper for the second year in a row, Switzerland leads the economics league table, New Zealand the experience league table and Sweden the families league table.

However, it is interesting to note that India is considered better than the US and China on many of these parameters.

Here are a few takeaways from the recently released survey:

1) Indian economy better than China, US: In the economics league table, India is ranked 23, while the US is at 20 and China 21. In the sub-parameters, India is at 26 in personal finances as against China’s 10 and the US’s 20. Interestingly, local economy looks better in India (rank 10) than China (20) and the US (16). When it comes to working life, India is ranked 24 between China’s 26 and the US’s 19. Not surprisingly, the survey found that expats have high levels of confidence in the country’s political and economic stability. “Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of expats are confident in the Indian economy, above the expat average of 52 percent across Asia-Pacific. More than half (53 percent) of expats in India also have confidence in the political stability of the country, above the average of 48 percent across Asia-Pacific,” the survey said.

2) Family relationships better in India: This should come as a big boost for the desi brigade: when it comes to family India is ranked much higher (at 24) than the US (37) and China (38). In relationships, India’s score is a higher 15, while the US is at 28 and China 33. Surprisingly, it is so even in education and child care, where India is ranked 16 with the US at 34 and China 30. Raising children is also better in India (28) than the US (34) and China (a lowly 41).

3) India good for career progression: The survey found that expats are all praise for India as a good destination to progress a career. “Three in five (60 percent) expats believe their experience in India will improve their future job prospects, compared with 43 percent of expats across the (Asia-Pacific) region,” the survey said. Also as many as 51 percent of expats in India believe the country is a good place for them to progress their career (42 percent across Asia-Pacific_ and 57 percent feel they have a better chance to acquire new skills here than they did in their home country (44% across Asia-Pacific).

4) India good for entrepreneurship: The country is a popular destination for expat entrepreneurs. “More than one in ten (11 percent) expats in the country moved there to set up a business, more than twice the average of 5 percent across Asia-Pacific,” says the survey. India also draws more expat entrepreneurs than countries in the Middle East, such as Bahrain (7 percent) and the UAE (5 percent). “Almost half (46 percent) of expats report that India is a good place to start a business, more than in both China (39 percent) and Oman (32 percent), and above the Asia-Pacific average of 39 percent,” the survey said.

5) India helps achieve long-term financial goals: Nearly two in five (38 percent) expats in India say their time abroad has accelerated their progress towards saving for their children’s education, above the average of 29 percent in Asia-Pacific. Expats in India are also able to save more, with 44 percent saying that living there has accelerated their progress towards making long-term savings and investments, compared with 39 percent across the (Asia-Pacific) region.

Defence Minister Parrikar urges ASEAN countries to ‘cooperate unreservedly’ to destroy terror networks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming terrorism as the foremost challenge in the region, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said it should be delegitimised as a State policy and urged ASEAN countries to “cooperate unreservedly” to locate and destroy terror networks.Security frameworks in ASEAN region still do not give enough attention to terrorism. This must change, he said at 20th ASEAN Regional Forum Heads of Defence Universities Meet in New Delhi.”Terrorism remains the foremost challenge to our region. We need to oppose terrorism resolutely everywhere, delegitimise it as an instrument of State policy and cooperate unreservedly to locate and destroy terrorist networks,” he said.The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam as members.Parrikar’s remarks came on a day when terrorists launched another attack on an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir. Three terrorists, believed to be Pakistan backed, were killed in the attack on the army camp north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.19 soldiers were killed in a militant attack on an army camp in Uri on September 18. The Army had launched surgical strikes targeting terror camps located across the LoC on September 28 night.

Manohar Parrikar urges Asean countries to ‘cooperate unreservedly’ to destroy terror networks

New Delhi: Terming terrorism as the foremost challenge in the region, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said it should be delegitimised as a State policy and urged Asean countries to “cooperate unreservedly” to locate and destroy terror networks.

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Security frameworks in Asean region still do not give enough attention to terrorism. This must change, he said at the 20th AseanRegional Forum Heads of Defence Universities Meet in New Delhi.

“Terrorism remains the foremost challenge to our region.

“We need to oppose terrorism resolutely everywhere, delegitimise it as an instrument of State policy and cooperate unreservedly to locate and destroy terrorist networks,” he said

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam as members.

Parrikar’s remarks came on a day when terrorists launched another attack on an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir. Three terrorists, believed to be Pakistan backed, were killed in the attack on the army camp north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

19 soliders were killed in a militant attack on an army camp in Uri on 18 September. The Army had launched surgical strikes targeting terror camps located across the LoC on 28 September night.

India, Singapore to step up anti-terror, economic cooperation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Singapore on Tuesday decided to strengthen cooperation in countering threats of rising terrorism with Prime Minister Narendra Modi terming cross- border terrorism and increasing radicalisation as “grave challenges” that endanger the very fabric of the two societies.Modi, who held comprehensive talks with Singapore Prime Minister on ways to enhance cooperation in key sectors including trade and investment, said defence and security cooperation is a key pillar of strategic partnership between India and Singapore. Addressing a joint press meet, Lee condemned terrorism and offered condolences to the families of the soldiers who were killed in the Uri attack.Singapore PM condemns Uri attackAsserting that “rising tide of terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism, and the rise of radicalisation are grave challenges to our security”, Modi said, “they threaten the very fabric of our societies.”It is my firm belief that those who believe in peace and humanity need to stand and act together against this menace. Today, we have agreed to enhance our cooperation to counter these threats, including in the domain of cyber security.” He also noted that as two maritime nations, keeping the sea lanes of communication open and respect for international legal order of seas and oceans was a shared priority.The two countries also inked three pacts including the one dealing with Intellectual Property rights to facilitate greater business to business exchanges and collaborations. Describing trade and investment as bedrock of bilateral relationship, Modi said India has embarked on a path of strong economic growth and transformation and in this journey, it regards Singapore as a key partner. Agreeing to expedite the second review of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, the two leaders also welcomed the issuance of corporate Rupee bonds in Singapore which was a step forward in mobilising capital for India’s large infrastructure development needs.”I have been informed that Singapore is leading the world in putting driverless cars on the road. But, I rest assured, we all rest assured, that one of India’s strongest well- wishers Prime Minister Lee is in the driving seat for Singapore and for our bilateral relationship. Excellency Lee, you are a friend of India,” Modi said. Lee said they also discussed furthering Singapore and India’s strong economic ties, for instance, by setting up a Finance Dialogue between the finance ministries of both the countries.On the Singapore side, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be appointed for the task and India will appoint Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to find “win-win outcomes” for both countries, Lee added. Noting that Singapore s National Anthem was “Majulah Singapura” “Onward, Singapore”, Modi said it is no surprise, therefore, that if there is one country that seems to act in the present, but is alive to the needs of the future, it is Singapore.Both sides trying to increase trade relationship”Whether it is manufacturing, environment, innovation, technology, or delivery of public services, Singapore does today what the rest of the world would do tomorrow,” he added. Prime Minister Modi said that last year the bilateral ties were upgraded to the level of a Strategic Partnership with “renewed spirit, new energy” with an aim to deliver benefits to people of the two countries and to “combine the strengths of Singapore with the scale of India and dynamism of Singapore with vibrancy of our states”.On his part Lee said, “Singapore remains a firm believer in India and we will continue to contribute, where we can, to India’s remarkable development story.” The two leaders also undertook a detailed review of the shape and substance of strategic partnership. Referring to the inking of two MoUs, Modi said under it a Skill Development Centre for the North-Eastern states in Guwahati will be set up.He also welcomed the inauguration of the Centre of Excellence for Tourism Training in Udaipur, in cooperation with Rajasthan government. Rajasthan is also partnering with Singapore in the fields of urban development and waste management, Modi said while noting that Singapore was already a partner in developing Amaravati, the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh.Prime Minister Modi also recalled his first visit to Singapore as Prime Minister on the solemn occasion to pay last respects to Lee Kuan Yew, a guiding light not just for Singapore, but for the whole of Asia. This year, India was saddened by the demise of another great son of Singapore, former President S R Nathan, he said while describing him as a close friend of India who was conferred with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

India, Singapore to step up anti-terror, trade and investment cooperation

New Delhi: On Tuesday India and Singapore decided to strengthen cooperation in countering threats of rising terrorism with Prime Minister Narendra Modi terming cross- border terrorism and increasing radicalisation as “grave challenges” that endanger the very fabric of the two societies.

Modi, who held comprehensive talks with Singapore Prime Minister on ways to enhance cooperation in key sectors including trade and investment, said defence and security cooperation is a key pillar of strategic partnership between India and Singapore.

Addressing a joint press meet, Lee condemned terrorism and offered condolences to the families of the soldiers who were killed in the Uri attack.

Asserting that “rising tide of terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism, and the rise of radicalisation are grave challenges to our security”, Modi said, “they threaten the very fabric of our societies.

“It is my firm belief that those who believe in peace and humanity need to stand and act together against this menace. Today, we have agreed to enhance our cooperation to counter these threats, including in the domain of cyber security.”

A file photo of PM Modi and PM Lee.A file photo of PM Modi and PM Lee.

A file photo of PM Modi and PM Lee.

He also noted that as two maritime nations, keeping the sea lanes of communication open and respect for international legal order of seas and oceans was a shared priority.

The two countries also inked three pacts including the one dealing with Intellectual Property rights to facilitate greater business to business exchanges and collaborations.

Describing trade and investment as bedrock of bilateral relationship, Modi said India has embarked on a path of strong economic growth and transformation and in this journey, it regards Singapore as a key partner.

Agreeing to expedite the second review of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, the two leaders also welcomed the issuance of corporate Rupee bonds in Singapore which was a step forward in mobilising capital for India’s large infrastructure development needs.

“I have been informed that Singapore is leading the world in putting driverless cars on the road. But, I rest assured, we all rest assured, that one of India’s strongest well- wishers Prime Minister Lee is in the driving seat for Singapore and for our bilateral relationship. Excellency Lee, you are a friend of India,” Modi said.

India’s PM Modi and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong sign three agreements in Delhi

India’s PM Modi and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong sign three agreements in Delhi

Updated: Oct 4, 2016 14:46 IST

#India #Narendra Modi #NewsTracker #Singapore

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New Delhi: India and Singapore on Tuesday signed three agreements, including two in the area of skill development, following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong, now on visit to Delhi.

“Strengthening a Strategic Partnership. The two leaders witness the signing of 3 agreements in skill development and industrial property,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

A file photo of Narendra Modi and Lee Hsien Loong.A file photo of Narendra Modi and Lee Hsien Loong.

A file photo of Narendra Modi and Lee Hsien Loong.

One memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Education Services (ITEES) and India’s National Skill Development Corporation on collaboration in technical and vocational education and training.

Another MoU was signed between the Assam government and ITEES Singapore also on collaboration in technical and vocational education and training.

A third MoU was signed in the field of industrial property cooperation.

The Singapore Prime Minister, accompanied by a high-level delegation, arrived in Delhi on Monday on a five-day bilateral visit to India.

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong on 5-day visit to India, will meet PM Modi tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Delhi on Monday on a five-day visit during which he will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and other leaders on an entire gamut of issues including security, trade and investment. Lee will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee and attend a reception for Singaporeans based in India. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will also call on him.During the visit, he will be hosted for lunch by Modi and the two leaders will hold bilateral talks to explore ways to bolster ties between the two countries. Both Lee and Modi will witness the signing of an MoU on Tuesday on cooperation in industrial property between the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, and Singapore’s Intellectual Property Office.Besides that, two more MoUs will be signed on cooperation on establishment of a North East Skills Centre in Assam between the Assam Government and the Institute of Technical Education Education Services, and cooperation in skills development between the National Skill Development Corporation and Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education Education Services.Lee is accompanied by his wife Ho Ching, a number of key ministers and senior officials. The delegation also includes Minister of Trade and Industry S Iswaran, Acting Minister of Education and Senior Minister of State for Defence, Ong Ye Kung, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Maliki Bin Osman, the External Affairs Ministry of Singapore said.Members of Parliament Denise Phua and Vikram Nair are also part of the delegation. Lee will also visit Udaipur on October 5-6. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will call upon him and also host him to a lunch.In Udaipur, Lee will attend the launch of Centre of Excellence for Tourism Training as part of skills development collaboration under the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership signed in November 2015. Besides that, he will also witness the signing of an MoU on cooperation on tourism and urban solutions between Rajasthan government and Singapore’s International Enterprise.An agreement on a Capacity Building Programme in tourism and hospitality between the state government and Singapore’s Cooperation Enterprise will also be signed. Lee last visited India in December 2012 to attend the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit.

Jayalalithaa not travelling to Singapore for medical treatment; to be discharged from hospital tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was admitted to a hospital here late Thursday night due to fever will be released tomorrow, on Sunday, says NDTV. Hospital authorities said on Friday that she is recovering and continues to be under observation. “The Chief Minister (Jayalalithaa) has no fever now and is taking a normal diet. She is under observation,” Apollo Hospital’s Chief Operating Officer Subbiah Viswanathan said in a press release. “She was admitted to the hospital after she complained of fever and dehydration,” he said. The 68-year-old AIADMK chief was taken to Apollo Hospital after she complained of fever.There were reports earlier that she will be flown to Singapore for high sugar and kidney treatment which was denied by AIADMK. “She is very healthy, no problem at all. This (reports that TN CM will travel Singapore for treatment) is just a rumour,” CR Saraswathi, AIADMK.AIADMK party leaders and allies offered prayers in places of worship across Tamil Nadu praying that she gets well soon. Leaders of parties including state unit chief of BJP Tamilisai Soundararajan, All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi chief Sarathkumar, an ally of ruling AIADMK, besides Dravidar Kazhagam chief Ki Veeramani wished her speedy recovery.

Netaji files: Nehru was ready to share INA funds with Pakistan

The recently declassified Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose files reveal that India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to share Indian National Army or erstwhile Azad Hind Government’s gold, along with a sum of Rs 10 lakh, with Pakistan.The cash and jewellery were in the possession of the custodian evacuee property in Singapore.Nehru’s note of June 30, 1950, mentioned in secret file (no. 23 (156)/ 51-PM) in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) – ‘Disposal of Properties of Indian National Army (INA) in the Far East’ – mentions that “since it has been decided that the assets of INA/IIL funds should be divided between India and Pakistan in the ratio of 2:1, Pakistan might claim a part of this gold in which case it might lead to embarrassment if we were to take charge of it in its entirety now.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nehru, obviously, didn’t knew the value of the gold. In a letter dated November 12, 1953 he had asked the ministry of external affairs to take possession of the gold and inquire about its value. He also sent along a letter of authority as the gold and other funds of the INA, after Netaji’s reported death in a plane crash in 1945, were pledged under his (Nehru’s) name as PM of India.Subsequent inquiries done by the MEA revealed that the amount of gold was Rs. 37,956 at the then Singapore value. Plus, there was a sum of Rs.10 lakh which the Custodian of Enemy Property in Singapore held with him as property of the provisional government of Azad Hind.But as Nehru had gone ahead and done a lot of correspondence for the return of gold, he pursued further and got it back. As for the remaining and larger sum of Rs.10 lakh, Nehru finally decided to let it remain in Singapore and asked the MEA to use the interest accrued on it for giving scholarships for Indian students there, various correspondences in the file reveal.But an intriguing part of this file is that many of its papers were destroyed by Nehru’s PMO without mentioning any reasons, thus leaving out much of mystery about the INA treasure remain unsolved.The first two pages of the file clearly mention the reference numbers of various notes and letters that were destroyed and includes U.O.Note No. d/s-8666, dated August 24, 1953 from Prime Minister Secretariat (as PMO was then known) to Mohd. Yunus, Ministry of External Affairs, and U.O. Note No. D. 3788-8EA/53 dated August 27 from Mohd Yunus, MEA to PM’s Secretariat.It appears from the file that Mohd Yunus had sent another Memo No. 2/53/19713/601 (151) to Prime Minister Secretariat which was also destroyed.

IITs plan entrance test in SAARC, UAE, Pakistan excluded

The prestigious IITs, which are planning for the first time to hold entrance tests abroad including in SAARC nations, will not do so in neighbouring Pakistan, at least for the upcoming year.While preparations are underway for conducting entrance tests in other SAARC countries and also in Singapore and the UAE for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, Pakistan will not figure in the list, sources told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Considering various factors, especially difficulties involved with regard to students procuring visas, it has been decided that entrance tests for IITs may not be conducted in Pakistan for the upcoming year,” a senior official said.Earlier, it had been decided that to attract more talent, the coveted IITs would hold tests in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia in Africa, Singapore and Dubai (UAE) next year onwards.Pakistan was also among the first list of probable countries that had been prepared for conducting JEE tests abroad.Officials had held that seats to be offered to foreign nationals would be additional in nature and would not reduce those available to Indian nationals at the IITs.While the test is to be held in 2017, the outreach programme for the exercise would be conducted earlier.

IITs plan entrance test in SAARC, UAE but not in Pakistan

The prestigious IITs, which are planning for the first time to hold entrance tests abroad including in SAARC nations, will not do so in neighbouring Pakistan, at least for the upcoming year.While preparations are underway for conducting entrance tests in other SAARC countries and also in Singapore and the UAE for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, Pakistan will not figure in the list, sources told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Considering various factors, especially difficulties involved with regard to students procuring visas, it has been decided that entrance tests for IITs may not be conducted in Pakistan for the upcoming year,” a senior official said.Earlier, it had been decided that to attract more talent, the coveted IITs would hold tests in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia in Africa, Singapore and Dubai (UAE) next year onwards.Officials had held that seats to be offered to foreign nationals would be additional in nature and would not reduce those available to Indian nationals at the IITs. While the test is to be held in 2017, the outreach programme for the exercise would be conducted earlier.

Asian shares see severe falls as UK votes to leave the EU

Asian shares fall sharply as traders react to the UK voting to leave the European Union.

Tata patriarch’s ambitions a step closer as Indian skies open up

Officially at least, Ratan Tata, patriarch of one of India’s wealthiest business families, retired in late 2012. In reality, he has been a driving force behind Tata’s bet on airlines and a rare public campaign to open up the booming aviation sector.

Reuters

The $100 billion Tata group conglomerate is a major beneficiary of the decision last week to open up aviation in India, making it easier for start-ups to fly overseas sooner.

The decision is no panacea for Tata, whose airlines – Vistara and AirAsia India – have had a slow start in a competitive market dominated by IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, and Etihad-backed Jet Airways, both of which opposed the rule change.

But it marks a victory for 78-year-old Ratan Tata, and ends more than two years of airlines lobbying, of Twitter rows and of frequent public statements from the usually circumspect steel-to-salt group.

“This was a David-and-Goliath kind of situation,” said a source close to Tata group. “There was huge lobbying from the other side.”

Ultimately, sources familiar with the talks said, it was Ratan Tata, a trained pilot, who was key to sealing the deal, capitalising on his clout.

In a message earlier this year, he called for ‘a new open market economy’ and said airlines lobbying against a rule change was “reminiscent of protectionist and monopolistic pressures by vested interests’ entities who seem to fear competition.”

A spokesman for Tata Sons, which promotes the group, denied Ratan Tata was directly involved, saying he had “nothing to do with operations or management of either of the airlines” after his retirement, and that views he expressed were personal.

Turbulent beginnings

Not that either of Tata’s two airline ventures – a low-cost carrier owned with Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd and Vistara, a full-service carrier run with Singapore Airlines – is yet ready to fly overseas. Both have had turbulent starts.

Vistara initially focused on domestic business travellers, but had to reconfigure its aircraft after a year, to replace pricier seats with cheaper ones.

AirAsia underwent a management shake-up earlier this year.

Vistara’s share of India’s passenger air market is rising but is still just 2.5 percent after nearly 18 months in business. AirAsia’s share after two years has stagnated at about 2 percent, government data showed, compared with IndiGo, which has a 39 percent share, and Jet Airways with 19 percent.

But flying overseas is critical. It means higher profits and margins than in India’s cut-throat market dominated by low-cost carriers, and Vistara and AirAsia now aim to boost their fleet sizes within a year.

A Tata Sons spokeswoman said making profit can take several years and the group had a “clear road map”: “Aviation is a long gestation business sector.”

The new rules water down a requirement known as 5/20, which barred domestic airlines from flying overseas before being in operation for five years and having 20 aircraft.

Now they can fly overseas as long as they deploy 20 aircraft or 20 percent of total capacity in India, whichever is higher. Tata Sons and the two airlines said they would prefer the rules to be abolished altogether.

Tata’s re-entry

Tata group, a business empire stretching from Jaguar Land Rover and steel mills in Britain to salt pans and India’s cheapest car, has a long history in aviation.

J. R. D. Tata, the group chairman before Ratan Tata, became India’s first qualified pilot in 1929, and set up an airline that was later nationalised as state carrier Air India.

Under Ratan Tata, the group sought to snap up Air India in a privatisation process, later aborted.

Instead, even as current chairman Cyrus Mistry has sought to wind up some of Tata group’s more ambitious projects, Ratan Tata pulled the group back in with two joint ventures. For his critics, the intervention was too little, too late.

In 2013, a year after India liberalised foreign direct investment in aviation, Tata returned, first with AirAsia and then Vistara.

“India’s market has only just started and it could provide growth for global aviation for the next 10 or 15 years,” said Kapil Kaul, New Delhi-based chief executive of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) consultancy.

India is the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, clocking more than 20 percent growth last year, and CAPA expects domestic passenger travel to grow to 500 million by 2035 from 70 million in 2015.

Tata group is moving to capitalise on the win.

Vistara, which has 11 aircraft, had an original plan to scale up to 20 by June, 2018, but could speed that up.

“We do not rule out accelerating the deliveries or procuring more aircraft from leasing firms, manufacturers or, for that matter, from our parent Singapore Airlines also,” Vistara CEO Phee Teik Yeoh said in response to a query.

Yeoh said the company was reviewing its international plans.

AirAsia is in the process of ramping up its aircraft to 20 from six to meet the criteria, India CEO Amar Abrol said, adding that the airline lobbied hard for the removal of the 5/20 rule.

MEA releases statement on Jasvinder Kaur murder case

A headless female body was discovered in a river in Singapore in December 2013. The Singapore Police informed the MEA’s Mission in Singapore that they suspected the headless body to be of an Indian citizen, Jasvinder Kaur. The main accused, husband Harvinder Singh, is absconding and a red corner notice has been issued by Interpol.Here are the details released by the MEA with regard to the case:<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The facts of this case as conveyed by our Mission in Singapore are as under: 1. A headless female body was discovered in a river in Singapore in December 2013. After investigation, the Singapore Police informed the Mission that they suspected the headless body to be of Jasvinder Kaur, born in Haryana, and holding an Indian Passport.2.The Mission conveyed this to the Next of Kin (NoK) Sona Singh in India.3. While the Mission was making arrangements to send the body back, Singapore police informed the Mission that permission to take back body was granted on the understanding that the parents of the deceased would be in Singapore for DNA comparison and that till DNA comparison was completed, the body would be kept in the Government mortuary at Singapore.4. This was conveyed to the family members of the deceased. However, they did not say anything. Singapore authorities also remained in touch with NoK Sona Singh to come to Singapore to identify the body and for giving DNA sample but the family did not respond to the Singapore Police.5. As no headway was being made, the Singapore Police travelled to India to collect DNA samples, which was done in May 2015, in co-ordination with NCB, Delhi. During the visit, in their interaction with Singapore Police, the family members conveyed that they will not travel to Singapore for any further inquiry nor did they show any inclination to have the body back, and Singapore Police disposed off the body, after DNA confirmation.6. In the murder case, the main accused, the husband Harvinder Singh is absconding and a red corner notice has been issued by Interpol. The other accused, Gursharan Singh, who helped the husband in the disposal of the body, was sentenced on 8 April 2015 to 30 months imprisonment for causing disappearance of evidence and six months imprisonment for intentional omission in giving information of offence to the authorities.”

NITI Aayog organises workshop on water management for capacity building in states

New Delhi: NITI Aayog will organise a two-day workshop beginning Thursday on water, waste water and solid waste management for capacity building in states and urban local bodies (ULBs).

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The workshop is a part of Urban Management Programme of NITI Aayog in collaboration with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and Temasek Foundation, Singapore, the Aayog said in statement.

The programme was launched on 27 April, 2016 in New Delhi.

It focuses on capacity building of officials of states and local bodies in three critical areas of urban rejuvenation – Urban Planning & Governance; Water, Wastewater & solid waste management and public financing (PPP) of urban infrastructure.

It provides a platform to states/ULBs to share the challenges being faced in urban transformation in these key areas and to evolve and design efficient solutions to some of these challenges through partnership with urban sector experts from Singapore.

Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Assam are participating in this programme.

The Singapore experts are from Surbana Jurong, CH2M Hill and PwC. The first workshop on Urban Planning and Governance was held on 28-29 Apri, 2016.

The second workshop beginning tomorrow would focus on areas including integrated urban water cycle management for sustainable and resilient water infrastructure and healthy cities; used water (wastewater) management, rain water harvesting and public education.

IISc Bangalore and four IIT’s figure in list of Asia’s top 50 universities: QS Rankings

Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and four IITs — Mumbai, Delhi, Madras and Kanpur — figure in the list of Asia’s top 50 universities, as per the QS University Rankings for 2016.IISc, which is placed 33rd this year, had emerged as the top Indian institute last year as well when it was ranked 34th.IIT-Mumbai has been ranked 35th, closely followed by IIT-Delhi (36th), IIT-Madras (43rd) and IIT-Kanpur (48th).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IIT-Kharagpur was placed 51st and two other IITs — Roorkee (78) and Guwahati (94) — made it to the top 100.Delhi University (DU), which had got 91st position last year, has jumped several steps and was ranked 66th.University of Calcutta was ranked 108th, a big jump from 149th last year, University of Mumbai 145th, while Banaras Hindu University is placed at 155th position. Panjab University is in the 251 to 300 bracket.Overall, like last year, National University of Singapore (NUS) has been ranked the best university in Asia, followed by University of Hong Kong.India’s performance in these rankings is the fifth best among the 17 countries that feature in the ratings.While India has 23 universities in the list of 350, it is outperformed by Taiwan (34), South Korea (54), Japan (72) and China (82), who also dominate the list of top 10 institutions.Other Indian institutions which figure in the rankings are Amrita University (169), University of Pune (176), Amity University (195), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (200) and Anna University (251-300 band).Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad, Pondicherry University and Andhra University are in the 301st-350th band.QS had evaluated 920 universities from the Asia region for this year’s rankings.

6,804 Indian citizens languishing in foreign jails

As many as 6,804 Indian citizens are languishing in the jails of 72 countries across the globe. More than 41 per cent of the total inmates are imprisoned in the jails of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone. At least 49 Indians have died in prisons of different countries since 2013.The Information was provided by the Ministry of External Affairs to a Jammu-based RTI activist Raman Sharma in response to his online RTI application submitted to the ministry last month.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the data available, the highest number of Indian prisoners –1,696 –are in the jails of Saudi Arabia. It is followed by the UAE and Nepal which houses 1,143 and 859 prisoners of Indian origin respectively.Three other nations that have maximum number of Indians in their jails are Kuwait with 434, Malaysia and United Kingdom with 356 prisoners each.There are 230 Indians imprisoned in Pakistan. USA has jailed188 Indians while as China has imprisoned 161 Indians. France houses 48 Indian jail inmates, Germany 59, Russian Federation six, Sri Lanka 32, Spain 52 andSouth Africa 13.Bangladesh, Qatar, Singapore, Oman and Bahrain have detained 137, 129, 115, 113 and 107 Indians respectively. Countries having least number of Indian prisoners are Japan with seven, Denmark eight, Kenya five, Egypt three, Portugal four, and Uzbekistan, Armenia, Fiji, Georgia, Hungary, Malta, Niger and Senegal one Indian each in their jails.”Indian prisoners lodged in foreign jails for crimes such as violation of immigration/visa rules such as overstay and illegal entry, non-possession of valid travel documents, economic offences, violation of employment contracts, working without any visa/permit”, the RTI reply says.The reply also cites consumption of alcohol as a reason for arrest of Indian nationals in such countries which have prohibition of alcohol. Some Indians are also jailed for grave offenses like drug trafficking, theft and murder. The ministry has denied giving gender based numbers of inmates lodged in different foreign jails. The MEA has advised the RTI activist to approach respective Indian missions of different countries to get this information as they are designated public authorities.

India for regional security framework to resolve disputes: Parrikar

Singapore: On Saturday India called for a regional framework for security management to peacefully resolve disputes, threat and use of force in the Indo-Pacific region, amid China flexing its muscles in the area to advance its maritime claims against its Asian neighbours.

“Regional framework for security management must enshrine a commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, the threat or use of force,” said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in his address at the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

He also called for collective efforts to tackle terrorism which remains the foremost challenge to the region.

“The security framework in our region still do not give enough attention to terrorism. This must change,” Parrikar said.

“Collective action and cooperation is the way forward to deal with the maritime threat, like terrorism, piracy and natural disaster,” said the minister, adding that such cooperation will build trust and confidence.

“We need to oppose terrorism resolutely everywhere,” said Parrikar, calling for resolute efforts by all to destroy the terrorism.

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTIA file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Terrorism remains the foremost challenge to the region. Networks of radicalism and terrorism as well as the whole structure in the region and beyond continue to pose a threat to all peace loving societies.

Noting sensitivities of disputes and concern about growing tension, Parrikar highlighted India’s blue economy initiative and prosperity of the region.

“We are also building economic cooperation with maritime neighbours to reap the benefit of blue economy,” he said.

Parrikar said there is no doubt that the Indo Pacific region, from East of Suez to Asia Pacific shores, will remain the driver of global prosperity for decades to come.

“India’s contribution as the fastest growing major economy in the world, will be a significant factor in ensuring this.

“I am equally confident that the countries of the region will rise to the challenge and tackle the security threat it faces,” said Parrikar.

He also touched on the South China Sea and stressed “While we do not take positions on territorial disputes which should be resolve peacefully without the threat or use of force, we firmly uphold freedom of navigation and over flights in accordance with international law in particular the UN convention on law of sea.”

Shiv Sena slams Congress for fielding Chidambaram from Maharashtra for Rajya Sabha

Shiv Sena on Monday slammed Congress for fielding former Union minister P Chidambaram from Maharashtra for the Rajya Sabha poll, saying the party has “damaged itself by foisting him on the state”.An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ noted that the ED has sent Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to UK and Singapore in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal case and parallel investigations in the financial transactions of some companies belonging to friends of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It has also been alleged that Chidambaram amended the affidavit to drop references to Ishrat Jahan’s LeT link, in order to prove the ‘human bomb’ of LeT innocent,” the editorial said.”Considering all this, Congress has damaged itself by foisting Chidambaram on Maharashtra. The answer to the question whether wisdom will dawn on Congress has come in the negative,” it said.”Whom to nominate for Rajya Sabha is its (Congress’) internal issue. But Congress has sinned in fielding Chidambaram, who has no place left in Tamil Nadu,” it said.While Karti has denied any wrongdoing and has reiterated his cooperation with probe agencies, his father P Chidambaram had accused the government of a “malicious onslaught” launched by it against his family.”All said and done, senior leaders enter the House of Elders. Two lawyers, Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal were nominated to defend the Congress, but has Congress left anything (to defend) in the country,” the Sena asked.The duo’s entry into Rajya Sabha won’t make much of a difference as Congress is helpless before the barrage unleashed by Subramanian Swamy, it said.”More than defending Congress, the duo’s candidature seems to have been finalised for defending Sonia and Rahul Gandhi,” the Sena said.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal to visit Singapore and push for energy cooperation

Piyush Goyal Image Courtesy: PIB

Piyush Goyal Image Courtesy: PIB

New Delhi : Power Minister Piyush Goyal will lead a high-powered delegation to Singapore from Monday, eyeing deeper engagement in the energy sector with the city-state which is an important source of FDI in India.

“The visit would primarily focus upon engaging with the leading energy and technology companies and also strengthening connection with Singapore’s strong investor community,” FICCI  said in a statement.

“It aims to further strengthen relations, which have been elevated to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’ between the two nations having received a boost under the present Government,” it added.

Singapore is a global financial hub for clean technology funds, asset management companies and private equity funds. It is home to commodity traders especially those dealing withproducts like coal and natural gas.

Four tyres of Mumbai-bound Lufthansa flight bust on landing

One hundred and sixty-three passengers on a Mumbai-bound Lufthansa flight from the German city of Munich had a miraculous escape here after four tyres of the plane were damaged while landing. In an official statement, the German national carrier said, ” on May 13, at 10:50 PM local time, four tyres of the flight LH764 from Munich to Mumbai were damaged. The incident happened on Runway 27.” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The airline said the passengers of Airbus A330 flight had to be deplaned through the stairs and none of them were hurt. The German airline also said it cancelled the return flight (LH765) to Munich scheduled for today from the city. The cancelled flight was to ferry 223 passengers, who would be booked on other flights. The statement added that the plane would be towed away from the runway after fixing of the new tyres. The Lufthansa accident caused jam on the runway leading to cancellations and delay of many flights. While four flights — United Airlines, Singapore, Air India and Cathay Pacific — were cancelled, many got delayed. In a statement, the Singapore Airlines said its Airbus A380 flight (SQ423) bound for Singapore from Mumbai last night was delayed due to the temporary runway closure. The flight was to ferry 427 passengers and 25 crew.The airline said the passengers have been provided with hotel accommodation and a revised departure time will be determined when the runway is reopened by the authorities.

Regularisation of ‘odd-even’ will reduce its impact: TERI

Regularisation of the ‘odd-even’ scheme will “reduce” its impact and it should only be used as an emergency measure, a green body on Tuesday said, underlining the need for implementing alternative measures like “congestion pricing” to lessen the number of vehicles on roads to tackle air pollution.The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) which released an impact assessment study on the two-phases of odd-even scheme observed that as private cars have limited contribution in the PM2.5 levels, the scheme yielded only “marginal” reductions (4-7 per cent) during both the phases. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>TERI observed that the impact of the scheme with respect to traffic counts, average speeds and air quality declined during the second phase in comparison to the first phase and the decline could be probably due to people opting for “second cars with alternative number plates, installations of CNG kits or enhanced use of taxis”.”The results of the two phases of odd-even scheme in Delhi suggest that it is useful only when high pollution episodes are expected. We do not see merit in regularising the scheme. “A more sustainable approach for dealing with air pollution not only in Delhi but also in other metropolises would be congestion pricing, which is a far more effective option,” Director General of TERI Ajay Mathur said. Congestion pricing is based on a ‘pay-as-you-use’ principle with an aim to reduce the number of vehicles and in turn encourage modal shift by charging vehicles on entry in restricted zones and times. This can be complemented by providing exemptions to higher-occupancy vehicles. TERI said that such a model has proved to be successful in cities such as Singapore, London, Sweden, Rome, Durham, Seoul, San Diego etc. The congestion pricing scheme can be first tried out in different ways including, all across congestion pricing, identification of low-emission zones and road-wise congestion pricing, TERI said. TERI also urged the government to ensure the earliest possible introduction of BS-VI vehicle and fuel quality norms, real-time monitoring and reporting of industrial emissions in NCR and the need for business models to convert agricultural wastes into energy using biomass gasification technologies.Sumit Sharma, fellow at TERI, said that the measures, which were taken, were more to control particulate matter rather than Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). “We need multi-sectoral measures for the whole NCR to effectively reduce air pollutant levels, which calls for regular air quality management plans based on scientific studies,” he said.While TERI acknowledged that the scheme was successful in raising public awareness on air pollution as well as in improving traffic speeds, it also cautioned against the regularization of this scheme, saying the rule should at best be used as an emergency measure. The body said that during phase II of the scheme, the general variation of PM 2.5 concentration due to daily changes in local emissions, meteorology and background concentrations (influences from outside Delhi) was 42 per cent.The reduction achieved from the scheme during this phase seems too small (4 per cent) to be captured among the other more dominating factors. TERI said that as in the case of other cities in the world that have tried out the scheme, people could look for alternatives by purchasing new or old cars which would, over a period of time, neutralise and negate the positive impacts. “This is likely to happen as the public transportation system is not reliable and attractive enough to encourage the car users to shift to public transport.”Hence, the odd-even scheme should be used only as an emergency measure when the pollution levels are expected to be very high like winters. Regularizing it or its frequent use may only reduce its impacts, unless public transportation is improved and sales of alternative vehicles are checked,” it said.TERI emphasized that air quality management plans should be based on scientific studies that are updated every 3-5 years and air-quality targets must be defined for each year and strategies must be enforced to achieve them in line with these plans.TERI said that during phase-II of the scheme, the averaged PM2.5 concentrations at five locations were 1.4-4.3 times higher than prescribed 24-hourly standard, NO2 concentrations were 0.6 1.36 times the prescribed standard while PM10 levels were 1.8 4.0 times above the prescribed standard.

Don’t regularise odd-even, it will reduce its impact: TERI

New Delhi: Regularisation of the ‘odd-even’ scheme will “reduce” its impact and it should only be used as an emergency measure, a green body said on Tuesday, underlining the need for implementing alternative measures like “congestion pricing” to lessen the number of vehicles on roads to tackle air pollution.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) which released an impact assessment study on the two-phases of odd-even scheme observed that as private cars have limited contribution in the PM2.5 levels, the scheme yielded only “marginal” reductions (4-7 percent) during both the phases.

TERI observed that the impact of the scheme with respect to traffic counts, average speeds and air quality declined during the second phase in comparison to the first phase and the decline could be probably due to people opting for “second cars with alternative number plates, installations of CNG kits or enhanced use of taxis”.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“The results of the two phases of odd-even scheme in Delhi suggest that it is useful only when high pollution episodes are expected. We do not see merit in regularising the scheme.

“A more sustainable approach for dealing with air pollution not only in Delhi but also in other metropolises would be congestion pricing, which is a far more effective option,” Director General of TERI Ajay Mathur said.

Congestion pricing is based on a ‘pay-as-you-use’ principle with an aim to reduce the number of vehicles and in turn encourage modal shift by charging vehicles on entry in restricted zones and times. This can be complemented by providing exemptions to higher-occupancy vehicles.

TERI said that such a model has proved to be successful in cities such as Singapore, London, Sweden, Rome, Durham, Seoul, San Diego etc.

The congestion pricing scheme can be first tried out in different ways including, all across congestion pricing, identification of low-emission zones and road-wise congestion pricing, TERI said.

TERI also urged the government to ensure the earliest possible introduction of BS-VI vehicle and fuel quality norms, real-time monitoring and reporting of industrial emissions in NCR and the need for business models to convert agricultural wastes into energy using biomass gasification technologies.

Sumit Sharma, fellow at TERI, said that the measures, which were taken, were more to control particulate matter rather than Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). “We need multi-sectoral measures for the whole NCR to effectively reduce air pollutant levels, which calls for regular air quality management plans based on scientific studies,” he said.

While TERI acknowledged that the scheme was successful in raising public awareness on air pollution as well as in improving traffic speeds, it also cautioned against the regularization of this scheme, saying the rule should at best be used as an emergency measure.

The body said that during phase II of the scheme, the general variation of PM 2.5 concentration due to daily changes in local emissions, meteorology and background concentrations (influences from outside Delhi) was 42 percent.

The reduction achieved from the scheme during this phase seems too small (4 per cent) to be captured among the other more dominating factors.

TERI said that as in the case of other cities in the world that have tried out the scheme, people could look for alternatives by purchasing new or old cars which would, over a period of time, neutralise and negate the positive impacts.

“This is likely to happen as the public transportation system is not reliable and attractive enough to encourage the car users to shift to public transport.

“Hence, the odd-even scheme should be used only as an emergency measure when the pollution levels are expected to be very high like winters. Regularizing it or its frequent use may only reduce its impacts, unless public transportation is improved and sales of alternative vehicles are checked,” it said.

TERI emphasised that air quality management plans should be based on scientific studies that are updated every three to five years and air-quality targets must be defined for each year and strategies must be enforced to achieve them in line with these plans.

TERI said that during phase-II of the scheme, the averaged PM2.5 concentrations at five locations were 1.4-4.3 times higher than prescribed 24-hourly standard, NO2 concentrations were 0.6–1.36 times the prescribed standard while PM10 levels were 1.8–4.0 times above the prescribed standard.

VVIP chopper deal: ED team may soon travel to Singapore, other countries

New Delhi: Aiming to trace the money trail in VVIP chopper deal, a team of ED officials may soon travel to a few countries, including Singapore, and seek expediting the process of replies to its judicial requests issued in the case.

ED has already issued follow-up requests on its Letters Rogatories to at least ten countries in connection with the money laundering case. Reuters

ED has already issued follow-up requests on its Letters Rogatories to at least ten countries in connection with the money laundering case. Reuters

Officials said while the agency, along with CBI, has already issued a number of Letters Rogatory to a number of countries, investigators are eager to obtain quick information on funds and transactions made by individuals and entities involved in the Rs 3,600-crore deal for supplying a dozen AgustaWestland Aw-101 choppers to India for VVIP flying.

They said preparations are being made to send a team of Enforcement Directorate officials to a few of these countries, including Singapore, to “speed up” the entire process of legal
cooperation in matters of overseas criminal and financial investigations.

The agency has already issued follow-up requests on its Letters Rogatories (LRs) to at least ten countries in connection with the money laundering case it has registered to probe the deal.

Officials said while seven of the LRs (judicial requests) have been already dispatched, three have been sent recently.

The agency has obtained, from the courts, a total of ten LRs to countries like Tunisia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mauritius, Israel, Finland, Singapore and Denmark in order to obtain details about the financial transactions that have taken place in the case by the firms and individuals named in its charge sheet filed before a court here last year.

A court in Italy’s Milan recently sentenced Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica‘s former chief Giuseppe Orsi and the former CEO of the firm Bruno Spagnolini on corruption charges in the sale of these helicopters.

Apart from filing a charge sheet, ED has also attached assets worth Rs 11 crore belonging to the cousins of former IAF chief SP Tyagi and Italian national and alleged middleman in the case Christian Michel James.

Investigators are also on trail to apprehend James from his overseas location indicated to be either Dubai or the United Kingdom. Both CBI and ED have already notified him under Interpol’s Red Corner Notice for arrest.

Maharashtra Drought: Airbus A-380 won’t get water cannon salute at Mumbai airport

In order to avoid water wastage in drought-hit Maharashtra, Mumbai airport authorities have decided to not carry out a water canon salute for the Airbus A-380, a globally-followed practice for welcoming a new flight.The Airbus A-380 by Etihad Airways will start flying to Mumbai from May 1 onwards. According to an English daily, the decision was taken as top officials felt any wastage of water in the state would not be taken kindly. However, the airport management is expected to come up with another way to welcome the aircraft.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>World over, when a prestigious new aircraft is deployed on a route or when an airline starts a new operation, a water canon welcome is given from two fire tenders when the aircraft lands at the destination airport.
ALSO READ Maharashtra drought: Not aware of 10,000 litres of water used for helipad, says Eknath KhadseWhile Emirates and Singapore Airlines (SIA) already operate the double-decker aircraft to Mumbai, Etihad is the third international airline to join the list. Once this route is operational, Mumbai would become the biggest operator of the A-380 in India.Incidentally, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered IPL matches that were to be played in Maharashtra to be shifted outside the state from May 1, due to the serious drought situation.
ALSO READ Maharashtra drought: 65 farmers in Marathwada commit suicide in first three weeks of AprilIn other incidents, R-City mall in Mumbai had to cancel their bike washing event recently, after they faced a severe backlash on social media. Other politicians have been criticised for water being wasted on watering helicopter landing sites.

Indian temple awarded for lending deity jewellery in Singapore

An Indian temple trust was among nine patrons awarded in Singapore for lending its exquisite century-old deity jewellery on loan for 10 years to Indian Heritage Centre and helping provide “greater insight” into Indian culture.The jewellery which includes a necklace made of rubies, emeralds, diamonds and a gem-studded crown was loaned by Saigon Chettiars Temple Trust and came from Thendayuthapani Temple which was established 200 years ago in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Saigon Chettiars Temple Trust has strengthened the IHC’s storyline with its loan of beautiful deity jewellery, which gives us greater insight into the many perspectives of Indian culture,” said Singapore’s Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who gave away distinguished supporter of heritage award to the trust.
ALSO READ Heritage marries ModernityThe jewellery is on loan for 10 years, said Ashwin Muthiah, who represented the trust at the award ceremony held on Thursday.The jewellery came from Nagaratas, also known as Nattukottai Chettiars, sometimes in 1900 or before for deities at the Thendayuthapani temple, established about 200 years ago, said Muthiah, executive chairman of AM International Holdings Pvt Ltd.
ALSO READ Indian culture inclusive, accommodative: Rajnath SinghThe High Commission of India in Singapore was given a “Supporter” award for donation of Bronze Busts of Indian Leaders to the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC).Former Singapore President S R Nathan was also awarded for contributing a ‘Group of Indian National Army Related Photographs and Publications’.Shirin and Rustom Ghadiali were also honoured for lending Parsi Silver Ritual objects and Sarjit Singh for offering Collection of Artefacts pertinent to the Sikh Police and Armed Forces in Singapore and Malaya.Others honoured with awards were R Gangatharan Davar, Leaena Tambyah and Gayatri Roy for their contribution and lending of Indian artefacts from their ancestors to the IHC. Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong inaugurated the IHC on May 7 last year in the heart of Little India, a colourful, thriving neighbourhood that caters predominantly to the Tamils and Chinese.Blending both traditional and modern Indian architectural aspects, the IHC celebrates many contributions of the Indian community to Singaporean society.

Boosting Delhi’s public transport key to sustaining odd-even scheme

Nomesh Bolia

As Delhi’s odd-even road-rationing for vehicles restarted yesterday for 15 days, the positive response of last time will be difficult to sustain through forced compliance and the absence of incentives to use public transport.

Studies conducted over the last four years at the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi), published in global journals and conferences (some of which are here, here and here) surveyed commuters who did not use buses for their daily commute to work. When we categorised them by monthly income, we found that more than 39% of commuters in the least income group (less than Rs 30,000 per month) used a car for commuting.

This implies commuters in Delhi are reluctant to use buses, which carry 42% of all commuters (25% use the metro and 25% use private vehicles), primarily because they perceive buses as being overcrowded, according to our research. Fare, safety and security are minor concerns.

Despite having India’s largest metropolitan road network, Delhi roads are congested because it also has more vehicles than any Indian city: three million cars and 5.5 million two-wheelers, with more than 1,000 added every day, according to Delhi Statistical Abstract.

What Delhi’s commuters want: More buses

Existing bus users want more buses to be added to the system and do not expect any major systemic law-and-order overhaul, our research implied. Public transport will need to become as attractive as personal vehicles, even more, in order to shift people away from private vehicles.

Overcrowded buses were the leading concern even of those who did not use buses, our perception analysis showed.

Timeliness, directness, punctuality and accessibility were the other concerns. Clearly, adding buses is a necessity to expand the reach of buses and shift people away from cars.

Globally, several interventions have been made to change commuter behaviour and move commuters to public transport. Our research revealed that Delhi commuters, too, are willing to move to public transport, if persuaded by interventions.

These interventions include separate lanes for buses, similar to the now-dismantled BRT, and a congestion charge for private vehicles. Both serve a dual purpose: they persuade commuters to use buses by giving them privileged access (as they should, since they cause less congestion and pollution per passenger-kilometer) and disincentivise private vehicles by reducing their access and imposing fair/acceptable financial penalties for causing more pollution per passenger-kilometer.

The international experience of such interventions is positive.

For example, in 2005, more than half of the residents of Stockholm, Sweden were not satisfied with implementation of a congestion charge, but they later accepted it and appreciated the reduction in travel-time and use of private vehicles, according to this study.

In Delhi, if done carefully, such congestion charging alone can move more than 5% of non-bus-users to buses, according to our study.

Additionally, supply side interventions, such as more buses to ensure standing and sitting space, more direct links and integration of public transport for hassle-free ticketing can get more users on board.

(Our on-going research–almost done–uses sophisticated mathematical modeling to determine how buses can be optimally added/reassigned to different routes in the network, incorporating given policy constraints. We are also developing methodologies to address other commuter concerns.)

Delhi bus commuters are willing to pay higher fares–if services improve

Up to 60% commuters currently using private vehicles expressed willingness to move to buses, if there are more buses, more direct links and more space.

We also found that existing bus commuters do not see higher fares as an inhibiting factor, implying that bus fare – the minimum is about 28% and 67% lower in Delhi than Mumbai for AC and non-AC buses respectively – can be increased without affecting ridership.

Lastly, a hike in parking fee and innovative parking as infrastructure, such as the Sarojini Nagar multi-level parking, are other ways to reduce traffic congestion and subsequently pollution. In Delhi, the monthly parking fee is low by global standards. In general, Indian cities charge 13 times lower parking fees than Hong Kong, China and more than 20 times lower than Singapore.

International experience in various cities of comparable characteristics indicates that smart parking strategies help move commuters to public transport.

Our findings confirmed, as did the positive response to the odd-even scheme, that Delhi commuters are willing to use public transport–if implications of indiscriminate private-transport use are explained and appropriate policy-governance interventions are made.

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Vehicular pollution in Delhi can be controlled by taking difficult steps beyond “odd-even” to rid the city of congestion, incentivising the use of public transport, and a milder-than-odd-even disincentivisation of private transport.

(The author holds a PhD in Operations Research and is Associate Professor in IIT Delhi’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.)

(IndiaSpend.com is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit)

VIDEO: India gets ready to welcome William and Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to arrive in Mumbai on Sunday as they begin a seven-day tour of India and Bhutan.

Dec 16 gangrape: SC appoints two senior advocates as amicus; next hearing on 18 July

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Friday appointed two amicus curiae on appeals of four condemned convicts in the 16 December gangrape and murder case against the Delhi High Court order upholding their death sentence.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra appointed senior advocates Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.

While Ramachandran would assist the court in appeals of the convicts — Mukesh and Pawan, Hegde would appear for convicts Vinay and Akshay in the case.

“We must express our concern in the matter. We feel the gravity in the whole issue. Sometimes there are many perceptions and we don’t want to miss anything. We would like to be assisted by the amicus curiae in the matter. We appoint two senior counsels Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde as amicus in the case,” the bench, also comprising Justice V Gopala Gowda and Kurian Joseph, said.

A file photo of Supreme Court. ReutersA file photo of Supreme Court. Reuters

A file photo of Supreme Court. Reuters

The matter is listed for next hearing on 18 July.

On 4 April, the court had commenced arguments on the plea of Mukesh and Pawan.

Besides Mukesh and Pawan, the other two convicts, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh, had approached the apex court against the Delhi High Court’s 13 March, 2014 verdict, which had termed that their offence fell in the rarest of rare category and upheld the death sentence awarded to them by the trial court.

A 23-year-old paramedic was brutally assaulted and gangraped by six persons in a moving bus in South Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle with her male friend on the night of 16 December, 2012. She had died in a Singapore hospital on 29 December.

The prime accused, Ram Singh, had been found dead in a cell in Tihar Jail in March 2013 and proceedings against him were abated.

On 31 August, 2013, another accused, a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted and sentenced to three years in a reformation home. He was released from observation home in December last year.

dna Morning Must Reads: From assembly elections in West Bengal and Assam to Indians named in leaked Panama Papers

1. Voting in first phase of assembly elections begin in West Bengal, AssamVoting for the first phase of assembly elections on eighteen seats in Maoist-affected areas in West Bengal and 65 seats in Assam began on Monday morning, amidst tight security. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Indian industrialists, Bollywood actors, politicians named in leaked Panama papers for tax evasionThe names of over 500 Indians have been revealed in the 1.15 crore leaked documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca. Read more here3. WWE Wrestlemania 32 LIVE ResultsThe main events include Undertaker vs Shane McMahon in Hell in a Cell, Roman Reigns vs Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Title, and Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose in a Street Fight. Read more here4. Kangana Ranaut-Hrithik Roshan controversy: Here’s proof that the engagement never happened!A tabloid recently reported that Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut got engaged in Paris in January 2014. Read more here5. Five key takeaways from Black Hat Asia 2016Here is what we learned at Asia’s biggest computer security conference in Singapore. Read more here

World Health Organization wants South East Asia to be more cautious of diabetes

New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday urged the Southeast Asian countries to promote educational campaigns regarding self-management of diabetes and make its treatment cost effective.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Diabetes is of particular concern in the South East Asian Region. More than one out of every four of the 3.7 million diabetes-related deaths globally occur in this region,” said Poonam Khetrapal, director for WHO South East Asian region.

“If diabetes prevalence continues to rise, the personal, social and economic consequences will deepen,” Khetrapal said.

The South East Asian Region is generally considered to be made up of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, and East Timor.

World Health Day this year focuses on diabetes and calls for scaling up efforts to prevent, care for and detect the disease to arrest the global epidemic which is hitting the low and middle income countries the most.

According to WHO records, over 96 million people in the world do not know that they are suffering from diabetes.

“Diabetes rarely makes headlines, and yet it will be the world’s seventh largest killer by 2030 unless intense and focused efforts are made by governments, communities and individuals,” said Khetrapal.

Nearly 90 percent of all diabetes cases are of Type 2 diabetes, largely the result of excess bodyweight and physical inactivity, she said.

“Diabetes is both preventable and treatable if detected early. If not properly managed the disease causes serious damage to every major organ in the body, resulting in heart attacks, strokes, blindness and nerve damage,” said Khetrapal.

World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948.

10 years on, private parties called in to develop Nagpur zoo

In a development sure to give impetus to zoo tourism in Maharashtra, the forest department has issued tenders for private parties to develop an international standard zoo and rescue centre in Nagpur, just 7 km away from the zero mile stone or the centre of India. The project will have a bio-park, day and night safari (Indian and African), walking trails, wildlife reserve, wild animal rescue centre and entertainment hub.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The night safari and the rescue centre was commissioned by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis last month. The development comes at least 10 years after it was first announced on December 2005. The actual process to set it up, however, started only in 2001. Also, the required permissions from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and Supreme Court were obtained in 2014 and 2015, which further delayed the project.The state government plans to implement the zoo project on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis for a period of 50 years, including the construction period of four years.”This will be the first project in India to have night safari facilities on lines of those in foreign countries, such as Singapore,” said minister for finance and forests Sudhir Mungantiwar. He said the works would be fully scaled up in around four months, and water bodies, adventure sports, hotels and theatres will be developed there along with signature pieces of architecture.According to the government officials, Gorewada lake is a haven for many residents and migratory bird species. Quality tourist attractions, such as a butterfly park, African safari, bird park and bio-park will be set up, apart from a rail tour and a wildlife museum. Walking tracks and tribal village trails will give tourists an authentic experience, the officials added.

PM Narendra Modi’s wax statue to join world leaders’ in at Madame Tussauds

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join the ranks of prominent global leaders at Madame Tussauds in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok next month, the world famous wax museum announced on Wednesday.escribing him as a “hugely important figure in world politics”, the museum said the Indian Prime Minister had given the museum’s team of artists and experts a sitting at his residence in New Delhi earlier this year. “Madame Tussauds has crafted figures of very distinguished dignitaries from around the world – how could I regard myself worthy of being alongside them? But when I was informed that your decision had emanated from public opinion and public sentiment, I was comforted,” Modi said in a statement to the museum.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”During my sitting, I observed the team carefully and was deeply impressed by its dedication, professionalism and skill. I have visited Madame Tussauds three or four times and had the pleasure of getting myself photographed standing next to the figures of various dignitaries,” he said.The wax figures at each of the museum’s locations around Europe and Asia will be dressed in Modi’s “signature kurta” in cream with a jacket and he will be featured in a traditional pose “making a namaste gesture”. “Prime Minister Modi is a hugely important figure in world politics, a position supported by his place in the top 10 of Time Magazine’s Person of the Year List 2015,” said museum spokesperson Kieran Lancini.”His massive social media presence – he is currently the second most followed politician on twitter after President Obama also confirms the intense interest the public have in him, a fact supported by the requests our guests have made for us to create his figure. We are delighted to be including the Prime Minister’s figure in our attractions in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok,” he said. Each figure took a team of Madame Tussauds’ artists four months and cost around 150,000 pounds to create. “Guests will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder and measure up to one of the most powerful men in the world and even grab a selfie when the figures arrive in their locations,” the museum said.The launch in London and all other centres is expected around late April and it is yet to be confirmed if Modi would be personally unveiling himself in wax at any of the four locations. A new branch of Madame Tussauds is also set to open in New Delhi as part of the India-UK Year of Culture in 2017, announced during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK last November.

Chidambaram challenges govt to unearth undisclosed assets of his son

Former Union minister P Chidambaram on Sunday challenged both the AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government and the Central government led by the BJP to unearth any undisclosed assets of his son Karti Chidambaram. For two days last week, Parliament was disrupted on the issue of alleged assets of Karti with the AIADMK and parties like Biju Janata Dal demanding a thorough probe and action against the former minister’s son. Even, last Wednesday, the Lok Sabha had a discussion on the issue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley telling the house and there are “no holy cows” for the government to protect and that action would be taken against anyone found guilty “howsoever important” one may be.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a statement issued here, Chidambaram said that if the government is of the view that Karti has alleged undisclosed assets he would ask it to make a list in this regard and his son will voluntarily execute any document necessary to transfer such assets to it for a nominal consideration of Re 1. It was reported that the recent raids by the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax in the Aircel-Maxis scam have revealed that Karti had made investments in real estates and engaging in other business activities in 14 countries, including the US, UK, France, Dubai, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Island, Switzerland, Greece and Spain.Chidambaram said, Karti runs a legitimate business, apart from managing inherited property. “He has been an income tax assessee for many years. He has duly and regularly filed his income tax return, including a statement of assets and liabilities, every year. The assessments have been completed upto AY 2013-14 by the Income-tax department,” he added, taking strong objection to news reports. He said Karti’s assets and liabilities have been duly disclosed in his tax returns, asserting that he has no undisclosed asset anywhere and his business was fully compliant with the laws and regulations of the Income-tax department and of all other regulatory authorities concerned.He further said, Karti was being targeted only because of being his son. ” I understand the political motive behind the accusations and the timing of the story. I have nothing but pity for those who make these false accusations. Ultimately, truth will prevail,” he added.

World Wildlife Day: Clear evidence of rise in elephant poaching in India

On the occasion of World Wildlife Day, the theme of which this year is ‘The Future of Elephants is in Our Hands’, TRAFFIC India also said that some of the illegal ivory entering the markets could be from privately owned or “captive” elephants, which is also illegal.”The current poaching hotspots are the similar to what they were about two decades ago, in the elephant-rich habitat of Western Ghats, spanning the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, as well as in Odisha and Assam. There is clear evidence of increase in poaching of elephants in the last few years,” said Shekhar Kumar Niraj, Head of TRAFFIC India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The wildlife body said the endangered pachyderms are facing the threat of extinction in the wild in many countries, including India, with poaching for illegal trade being one of the “major drivers of its decline”.
ALSO READ In a new PETA ad, Neil Nitin Mukesh says no to ‘elephant rides’Noting that in the case of captive elephants, the ivory is generally scrapped at the tip of the tusk, which takes about a year to grow back, he said the lack of effective intelligence could be a stumbling block towards ending elephant poaching.”Though it is early to comment on ongoing investigations, it is being speculated that some of the ivory entering the market could be from privately owned or ‘captive’ elephants, which is equally illegal.
ALSO READ One-million-year-old elephant tusk discoverd in Pakistan”Today, on the occasion of World Wildlife Day, we released a poster urging people to pledge never to use any parts made of elephants,” the wildlife body said.Wild Elephants in IndiaIt said the Asian elephant was once widely distributed across the country, including in states like Punjab and Gujarat.Currently, they are found only in 14 states, in four fragmented populations, in south, north, central and north-east India.
The elephant has been accorded the highest possible protection under the Indian wildlife law through its listing under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, of India.”Domestic demand is one of the drivers for elephant ivory in India, with a few communities of Western India using it for bangles and decorative ornamental purposes. Poaching for meat and other products like tail hair also pose threats, especially in north-east India.”Ivory is also smuggled out to countries like Japan and China via Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. It is used for making Japanese hanko, artifacts, wedding bangles, trophies and medicines,” said TRAFFIC India.

Now, AIADMK creates ruckus in Parliament

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha plunged into ruckus amidst repeated adjournments on Tuesday, following the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members trooping into well, demanding action against former Union minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis issue. They alleged that Karti has build a huge empire in different parts of the country. The AIADMK is the third largest party with 37 MPs in the Lok Sabha, after BJP’s 280 and Congress’ 45.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both the Houses were to discuss motion of thanks to the President for his address to a joint session last Tuesday. In Lok Sabha, Congress had listed its vice-president Rahul Gandhi to speak on the motion, where he was supposed to comment on recent controversies around educational institutions and Union human resources development minister Smriti Irani.Outside Parliament, Congress accused both the BJP and the AIADMK working hand-in-gloves to divert Parliament’s attention from crucial issues and the controversies surrounding HRD Minister Smriti Irani. “The attempt is obviously to distract attention from Smriti Irani misleading the Parliament and the disappointing Budget which is inflationary and will break the back of middle class/salaried class and only pays empty lip service to farmer,” said Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjiwala.ADIADMK MPs raised slogans in the House after a report published in the February 29 issue of a Delhi-based English daily regarding the raids carried by the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax in the Aircel-Maxis scam revealed that Karti had made investments in real estates and engaging in other business activities in 14 countries including USA, London, France, Dubai, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Island, Switzerland, Greece and Spain.The daily claims that the raids threw up the details of Karti’s wealth following raids on his company, Advantage Strategic Consulting, which is involved in the Aircel-Maxis deal for financial transactions with telecom beneficiaries. The 2G Court had already issued Letter Rogatory to Singapore for getting transaction details of the Karti-controlled company in Singapore.While an upset Speaker told the AIADMK members shouting from the well that she can’t understand what they want to say, the deputy chairman in the Rajya Sabha asked them to approach the government for action as the Chair is helpless in meeting their demand except to act against them for the ruckus. The Speaker allowed AIADMK member Dr Ponnusamy Venugopal to air his views, hoping that it would end the pandemonium. All AIADMK members withdrew from the well but they were back after he finished.But the Congress said Karti Chidambaram was a private individual and is neither a shareholder nor a director in the company. “The Company concerned has repeatedly asserted that it is Income Tax, Registrar of Companies and RBI compliant,” he said.Political battleRandeep Singh Surjiwala said both the central government headed by BJP and Tamil Nadu government led by AIADMK were entitled to take action as they deem appropriate. But, he lamented, that instead of taking a proper legal recourse, they are fighting a political battle against P Chidambaram on account of vendetta.

Gangster Kumar Pillai detained in Singapore?

Unconfirmed reports on Friday suggested that gangster Kumar Pillai has been detained in Singapore by the authorities there. The Mumbai crime branch sleuths were still in the process of checking the information through their sources at the time of going to press.According to the crime branch sources, if the information is found to be true, they will be handing over all case related details of Pillai to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) so that the agency can coordinate with the Interpol for Pillai’s extradition.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pillai, 48, has around a dozen criminal cases, ranging from extortion to threatening, registered against him with Mumbai police. His gang was instrumental in extorting businessmen and builders in eastern suburbs of Mumbai. Recently, Pillai had also issued a threat to a political leader in Mumbai, sources said.The gangster’s father, Krushna Pillai, a resident of Bhandup and involved in smuggling activities at the Bhandup creek, was killed by Dawood’s man Suhas Makdawala, allegedly at the behest of the then MLA, Lal Singh Chavan and to avenge his father’s murder Pillai took to crime.Pillai, who did chemical engineering, as a youngster got in touch with Ashwin Naik who was also an engineer and joined the Amar Naik gang in late eighties. He had contacts in southern India and specialised into weapon dealings and narcotics smuggling for the gang.It was in early nineties, after the death of Amar Naik and arrest of Ashwin Naik, that the gang started declining. Pillai allegedly fled to a South East Asian country and then started creating his own gang in mid-nineties.After the redevelopment activities in Vikhroli, Bhandup and Kanjurmarg brought about a real estate boom, Pillai was accused of extorting money from the builders involved in constructions in these areas.

Maharashtra government will provide conducive atmosphere for innovation: Devendra Fadnavis

Assuring that the state government would provide a conducive atmosphere for innovation in the state, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said that the best of the talent in the country coupled with innovation can result in faster development.He was speaking at ‘Maharashtra Innovates: Next Step’ during the Make in India Week at the Bandra-Kurla Complex. Industries minister Subhash Desai, minister of state for finance Deepak Kesarkar, chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya, joint chairman of the state innovation council Dr RA Mashelkar, National Innovation Foundation representative Anil Gupta, and member secretary of state innovation council Dr Rajendra Jagdale were present.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fadnavis said the state government would provide an atmosphere comparable to the Silicon Valley and Singapore so that innovation flourishes. Expressing the need for creating an Indian Microsoft and Indian Google, Mashelkar said, “The term IT is information technology, but, for me, IT stands for Indian Talent. India has been a leader in innovations and research… There is a need to develop state-of-the-art technologies at affordable rates.”

Lady Shri Ram college student bags placement offer of Rs 29 lakh per annum

Delhi University’s Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) has registered a record placement this year, with a BCom student bagging the highest offer of Rs 29 lakh per annum. Last year, the highest package offered was Rs 18 lakh.”Rhea Grover has been hired by Parthenon-EY a strategy consultancy at a package of Rs 29 lakh which is this year’s highest,” a senior college official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The average compensation amount is also high this year at Rs 7 lakh with 94 students being placed so far. A few start-ups like Grofers, Singapore Angel Network and Nearby by Groupon too participated in this year’s placement.

Indian-origin woman to be new Australian envoy to India

The Australian Government has announced Harinder Sidhu as its high commissioner-designate to India. She succeeds Patrick Suckling.The announcement was made by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Speaking of her appointment, Sidhu said she was looking forward to her new role in a dynamic country. “India is one of the most exciting places for a diplomat to be at the moment. India’s economic prospects are bright and it is becoming a more influential and active international player,” she said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Australia-India relationship has grown substantially over the past few years and I will dedicate myself to building that relationship further.”At a personal level, I have always been fascinated by the country of my heritage and am keen to learn more about India ” its language, culture and history ” while I am there”.Sidhu continues a tradition of Australian representatives with strong connections to India. “Both sides of my family are from the Punjab, my father was born in India,” she said. Sidhu was born in Singapore and settled in Australia with her family as a child.She speaks a little Punjabi and Hindi but is looking forward to the opportunity to become more fluent. The high commissioner-designate is also eager to indulge her passion for Bollywood movies. “The first movie I remember watching as a child was Brahmachari, it starred Shammi Kapoor and Mumtaz, and I’ve been hooked ever since,”she said.One of Sidhu’s first tasks in her new role is likely to be hosting the Australian men’s and women’s cricket teams in India for the T20 in March. “I’m looking forward to seeing both the Australians and Indians in action. I hope to get to Mohali for the match and, with luck, see them both in the final, too. May the best team win.”

Juvenile released from correction home after murder, now kills elderly widow

A 17-year-old boy has been apprehended for allegedly strangulating an elderly widow and robbing her of cash, jewellery and other items from her residence in south Delhi’s BK Dutt colony.The juvenile, along with his girlfriend, had last year allegedly abducted and murdered a 13-year-old boy for money which he needed for participating in a popular reality dance show, police said.After being released from a correction home recently, he targeted the 65-year-old widow, Mithilesh Jain, who lived alone in a first-floor residence in BK Dutt colony, police said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The woman was found dead on Monday by her son-in-law but the police had then claimed that it was a case of natural death.Things took a turn when Jain’s relatives informed police that some jewellery, cash and expensive items, including two mobile phones, were missing from her residence.The post mortem report also suggested that she was strangulated, following which police registered a case.Police traced the boy when he switched on one of the phones which he had allegedly robbed from Jain and apprehended him today from his residence at Faridabad.On being questioned, he told the police that he had targeted the woman as he needed money to participate in a popular reality dance show.On Sunday night, he went to Jain’s house, where he allegedly strangulated her and then placed the body on the bed to make it look like a case of natural death, before he fled with cash, jewellery and other belongings, police said.Jain, who had retired from her job at Safdarjung Hospital which she got after her husband’s death, is survived by her son who lives in Singapore, a daughter settled in US, and another daughter who lives with her chartered accountant husband in elsewhere in Delhi, police said. She was planning to leave for Singapore in a few days.

India condemns series of blasts in Jakarta

India strongly condemned the terrorist attacks that occurred in Jakarta on Thursday and extended condolences to the bereaved families of the victims.”The Government of India strongly condemns the terrorist attack that occurred in Jakarta,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release.”India unequivocally opposes terrorism in all its forms and expresses solidarity with the Government and the people of Indonesia,” it added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The world has come together in voicing their condemnation of the deadly blasts in Jakarta by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), with leaders offering any support that the Indonesian government may need to tackle these acts of terrorism.US Secretary of State John Kerry also condemned the attacks, saying that these acts of terror are not going to intimidate nation-states from protecting their citizens and continuing to provide real opportunity, education, jobs, possibilities of a future.Condemning the attacks, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was shocked and dismayed by news of the blasts.European Union High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini underlined that Thursday’s attack was a tragic reminder that the threat of terrorism was global and has to be tackled globally.

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