Silver and Bronze for India in Worldskills competition

Oct 20, 2017 0

New Delhi– As the country plunged in festivity here, a team of individuals found a different brilliance at the shores in Abu Dhabi with the winning of a Silver and a Bronze medal at the 44th WorldSkills Competition, Ministry of Skill Development said in a statement on Friday.

Mohit Dudeja won a Silver for Patisserie and Confectionery, and Kiran, a Bronze, for Prototype Modelling in the competition that concluded in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Apart from these two, a total of nine “Medallions for Excellence” were also won by the team India, which comprised 28 candidates participating in 26 trades.

“This is India’s best performance since it started participating in these competitions in 2007. The Indian team was competing with candidates from 59 other WorldSkills member countries,” said a statement from Worldskills India — an initiative founded in 2011 by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

“It has been an incredible and by far, the best performance by the Indian team since we began participating in WorldSkills International competition! This Diwali has really been special. It is an important day in the skills calendar for India and a big moment of pride for our country,” Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said.

Widely and informally regarded as the Skills Olympics, WorldSkills Competitions are held in different countries every two years and are organised by an Amsterdam-based not-for-profit organization WorldSkills International. (IANS)

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Odisha gets piped natural gas supply

Oct 20, 2017 0

Bhubaneswar– Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday launched the Piped Natural Gas (PNG) supply system in Odisha by rolling out the first phase of the project here — almost six months before the deadline.

With this, Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) started supplying environment-friendly PNG to 255 houses in Nalco Nagar located at Chandrasekharpur area.

It also plans to provide PNG connections in the near future to adjacent Jeevan Bima Colony and Maitri Vihar Colony, covering a total of 1,000 houses.

Assessment was also being carried out for PNG supply to leading hotels, hospitals and industrial units of the city.

Expressing happiness at the fast pace of work, Pradhan said GAIL took up the project on a war-footing and praised it for the early commencement of this first phase of supply of PNG in Bhubaneswar — expected to be completed by March 2018.

Initially, natural gas will reach Bhubaneswar in special containers called “cascades” which will be transported by road from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. Later, natural gas will be supplied through the Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL).

Gail has planned to provide PNG in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack by end of 2019. The overall capital expenditure for the two cities will be Rs 1,700 crore, of which Rs 400 crore will be spent in the next three to five years, said Ashutosh Karnatak, GAIL Director (Projects).

City gas distribution projects in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are being taken up in parallel with the JHBDPL, popularly known as ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’.

In Odisha, the natural gas pipeline will be constructed at an estimated investment of Rs 4,000 crore and have a length of about 769 km covering 13 districts — Bhadrak, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Debagarh, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Khordha, Puri and Kendrapara. (IANS)

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Government may change price approval method for new drugs

Oct 20, 2017 0

New Delhi– The government on Friday said that it is considering a change in the price approval method for new medicines.

The development assumes significance as the current practice causes considerable time delays in the launch of new drugs by manufacturers.

According to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, it is in consultation with the industry to explore “doing away with the present practice” of deciding a new price for each applicant of “new drug”.

“The government is in consultation with the industry to explore doing away with the present practice of deciding a new price for each applicant of “new drug”, which is causing considerable time delay in launch of the new drugs in the market by the manufacturers,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also clarified that it is not considering any proposal to change the “methodology of calculating ceiling prices of scheduled medicines”.

As per the provisions of DPCO (Drug Price Control Order), prices of those medicines are fixed by the government which are in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).

Currently, NLEM has about 850 drugs against more than 6,000 medicines available in the market of various strengths and dosages. (IANS)

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Solar Scam: Kerala Assembly special session on Nov 9

Oct 20, 2017 0

Thiruvananthapuram– Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday headed a cabinet meeting that decided to call a special one-day Assembly session on November 9 to table the Solar Scam probe report.

Cases were set to be registered against several Congress leaders including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on the basis of the Solar Judicial Commission report.

The cabinet recommended the Governor to call a special session, Vijayan said in his Facebook post.

According to rules, once a judicial commission report is received, the government can either accept or reject it. In case it accepts the report, along with the action taken report, it has to be tabled in the Assembly, within six months.

On October 11, the government decided to proceed with the Justice G. Sivarajan Commission report in the solar scam and gave the nod to register criminal, vigilance and sexual harassment cases against Chandy, his cabinet colleagues, a former Union Minister, legislators and other Congress leaders.

The multi-crore solar energy investment fraud, which rocked the Chandy government in 2013, was led by Saritha Nair and her live-in partner. At its height, Nair had in a letter claimed that she was sexually exploited by numerous political leaders.

Chandy and the UDF have been demanding a copy of the report.

However, the Chief Minister ruled it out and said the report would be tabled in the Assembly at the appropriate time.

Vijayan, last week constituted a new special investigation team (SIT) led by Director General of Police Rajesh Diwan to investigate the cases mentioned.

Apart from Chandy, the others named in the report include former cabinet Ministers Aryadan Mohammed (now ex-MLA), Adoor Prakash, A.P. Anil Kumar, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan (all are present legislators), legislator Hibi Eden, former legislators Benny Behanan, P.C. Vishnunath and Thampanoor Ravi, Lok Sabha members Jose K. Mani, former Union Ministers K.C. Venugopal, Palanimanickam and party office bearer N. Subramanion.

Except for Mani of the Kerala Congress (M), all others are Congress leaders.

The Commission report also indicted that the then solar probe panel led by now Director General of Police A. Hemachandran and his team did not conduct an effective probe and instead tried to save Chandy and others.

Based on these findings, Vijayan ordered that Hemachandran his deputy and then Inspector General of Police K. Padmakumar and eight other police officials should also be probed.

Hemachandran has already written to Vijayan that he has done no wrong but takes full responsibility and is prepared to face the probe but the other team members should not be proceeded against.

On Thursday, Padmakumar told reporters that he has written to the government that he has done no wrong and it was he who first arrested Nair in 2013.

“Till I gave the orders for the arrest of Saritha Nair, none knew that there was such a case. It was only after that arrest took place that the solar scam surfaced. I have done my duty and I have done no wrong,” said Padmakumar.

The government order announcing the new probe has not come yet.

Vijayan has now sought expert opinion from former Supreme Court judge Justice Arijit Pasayat. (IANS)

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JSW Group signs pact with Uttarakhand government to reconstruct Kedarnath

Oct 20, 2017 0

Mumbai– The JSW Group, on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Uttarakhand government to carry out the work of reconstruction and restoration of Kedarnath, which was devastated by flash floods in June 2013, a company statement said here.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone to mark the commencement of the reconstruction and restoration projects.

According to the MoU signed, JSW Group has committed for the reconstruction and restoration of the Adi Shankaracharya Kutir along with a museum, ghats on river Saraswati and part reconstruction of the Teerth Purohit (Priests) houses and other infrastructural facilities related to the houses in Kedarpuri.

Kedarnath is located in the Himalayas, approximately 11,000 feet above sea level in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.

“JSW Group is committed to preserving India’s rich religious heritage. We believe that our restoration effort will help improve local infrastructure as well as develop various facilities for local teerth purohits and the large number of pilgrims that visit Kedarnath,” said Sajjan Jindal, Chairman, JSW Group.

The reconstruction and restoration of these projects will help improve the overall facilities at Kedarnath which were damaged/washed away in the deluge of 2013. (IANS)

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XLRI highest summer internship stipend hits Rs 5 lakh

Oct 19, 2017 0

Kolkata– XLRI – Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, has completed its summer internship placement process (SIP) for 2017 in just two days, with top companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Coca Cola and Microsoft, roping in the students and the highest stipend touching Rs 5 lakh, a statement said.

“The batch of 2017-19 consisting of 364 students has achieved 100 per cent placement with the median and average stipend increasing by over 20 per cent, with a highest stipend of Rs 5 lakh for two months,” the statement issued on Wednesday said.

The placement process saw participation of 90-plus companies offering roles across domains including consulting, finance, sales and marketing, operations, business development (BM), human resources (HR) and industrial relations (IR).

This year multiple new companies were added to the recruiters’ list, besides the traditional recruiters hired a large number of students as well.

The top recruiters this year include BCG, PWC, Coca-Cola and HCCB, Mondelez, HUL, ITC, P&G, TAS, RB, RPG, Microsoft, Uber, GSK CH, and ABG, among others.

In sector-wise split, FMCG stayed at the top with a 27 per cent share. The participation of technology firms like Uber saw an increase, with 20 per cent roles in business management being offered in technology sector.

Other sectors in the process were, BFSI (13 per cent), consulting (11 per cent), conglomerates (16 per cent) and a 13 per cent share split between media, pharma, auto and telecom.

“There was also a significant increase in operations roles, with firms like Reckitt Benckiser and Colgate-Palmolive opening their operations roles for students. The sales and marketing roles topped the charts with 25 per cent share in the recruitments, followed by finance with 20 per cent.

“The performance in finance sector this year has been exceptionally good with many regular recruiters opening up multiple roles. Many offers were made by Kotak Wealth Management, Mondelez Corp Fin, Avendus capital, GoldmanSachs, JPMC Markets. With 17 per cent operations and 17 per cent general management, and 11 per cent consulting roles, the diversity was clearly evident,” the statement added. (IANS)

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Plan to give adequate coal to power plants executed: Ministry

Oct 19, 2017 0

New Delhi– On the eve of Diwali, the Union Power Ministry announced that a detailed plan has been put into action from Wednesday to ensure sufficient supply of coal to power plants.

An official statement here following a joint review of the fuel supply situation by Power Minister R.K. Singh and Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said the ministers had also spoken to states, which had requested for more supply of coal.

“A detailed plan has been agreed which would be implemented from October 18, 2017 (Wednesday) and would ensure sufficient supply of coal to power plants,” a Power Ministry statement said.

The ministers also noted that supply to states like Maharashtra had improved and efforts would be made to improve the coal supply at all the power stations with low stocks, the statement said.

The review follows complaints by some power producers about facing low coal stocks at their plants.

According to a Central Electricity Authority (CEA) daily report, as many as 22 plants had coal for less than four days, while four had stocks for less then a week, as on October 16.

The ministers also agreed that the issues with some Damodar Valley Corporation power plants, arising from closure of the Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line, would be resolved expeditiously.

The statement said that press reports had highlighted the rise in price of power on the power exchange on October 16, to Rs 10.8 per unit.

It said that power prices on the Indian Energy Exchange on that day on an average was Rs 5.45 per unit, and maximum price were Rs 10.80 only for half an hour from 6.30 pm to 7.00 pm.

The prices on Wednesday dropped to average for the day of Rs 4.33 per unit, the statement added. (IANS)

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Corporate India cuts gifting budget by 35-40% this Diwali

Oct 18, 2017 0

New Delhi– Concerned about slowdown and pressure on balance sheets, corporate India is going slow on Diwali gifts to its associates, networked partners and others, slashing the budget by at least 35-40 per cent, an Assocham survey said on Wednesday.

The reduction in gifts is more for outside connects than employees who are more or less receiving their annual gesture from their employers, the survey said.

However, it added that there has been certainly a downward impact on the bonus payments, with several corporates reeling under debt and cutting costs in their overall operations.

Besides, jerks arising out of demonetisation and the roll out issues of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) too have affected the overall sentiment.

“Consequent to slowdown in the Diwali gift sale, the FMCG companies which generally bet high on festive sales in the business of chocolates, cookies, sweets are reporting less than normal sales,” said D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham.

“Similar is the case with consumer durable firms engaged in washing machines, refrigerators, cooking ovens, electric stoves and other such items. Even the festive sale of high-end smartphones seems to have taken a hit,” Rawat said.

“The survey endorses the general low key mood of the industry and trade with the considerable trimming of the festive budget,” he said.

The chamber had conducted a telephonic survey of 758 companies across tier I, II and III cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai in the run-up to Diwali.

Online shopping vouchers, cash rewards, gift cards, dry fruits, chocolate/bakery (cake and biscuits) items, wearable devices like fitness tracker and others were top choices as Diwali gifts for both employees and clients, said most of the company representatives. (IANS)

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Draft rules issued on trusts re-registering if aims modified

Oct 18, 2017 0

New Delhi– Indian income tax rules are proposed to be amended after Parliament passed legislation earlier this year requiring charitable and religious trusts, which have deviated from their original objectives, to again apply for registration for tax exmption purposes, the government said on Wednesday.

The Finance Ministry has invited public comments and suggestions on the draft rules that have been uploaded on the I-T Department website.

“Vide Finance Act, 2017, a new clause was inserted in the Income-tax Act, 1961, that with effect from 01.04.2018, where a trust or an institution, which has been granted registration, has subsequently adopted or undertaken modification of the objects and such modification does not conform to the conditions of such registration, then such trust or institution shall be required to obtain registration again by making an application within a period of 30 days from the date of such adoption or modification of the objects,” a Finance Ministry release here said.

It said comments and suggestions on the draft rules are to be sent by October 27 via email to dirtpl1@nic.in.

Tax-exempt trusts created for charitable purposes recently became the focus of controversy for their control of large business groups following the prolonged boardroom battle in Tata Sons, whose majority shareholding is with the Tata Trusts.

Such exemption, however, continues to be enjoyed only by a select few older trusts like the Tatas and the Birlas in view of the long record of their charity work.

Meanwhile, sources here said that a number of charitable trusts are under the I-T Department’s scanner for suspicious cash donations they received post-demonetisation. They said a large numebr of cases are to be taken up for scrutiny to determine whether trusts may have been misused to divert cash in form of donations after the November 2016 note ban measure. (IANS)

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CPI-M attacks Centre on economic slowdown, jobless growth

Oct 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– Attacking the central government on “slowdown in economy and jobless growth”, the CPI-M on Monday accused it of “creating more jobs outside India by focusing on imports” than within the country.

“It is now a well-established fact that the economy is virtually coming to a grinding halt,” Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters after a meeting of its Central Committee here.

“There is a decline in every sector. The services sector, for the first time, is contracting.”

“Imports have gone up whereas industrial production has declined. That means the Modi government is creating more jobs outside India, whereas virtual de-industrialisation is taking place after demonetisation in India,” he said.

Taking a dig, Yechury said the Modi government’s ‘acchhe din’ promise was never fulfilled and the people were in fact now demanding return of their ‘bure din’ (bad days).

He said that due to the combined effects of Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation, “a very rapid phase of domestic de-industrialisation has set in the country”.

At the same time, the burden on the people is increasing, Yechury said.

The CPI-M leader said that while the central government was writing off non-productive assets of banks vis-a-vis big corporates, no such relief was available for small farmers unable to repay their loans.

“The Central Committee condemned the NPA write-offs of big corporates totalling more than Rs 2 lakh crore instead of initiation of recovery proceedings. In sharp contrast, when small farmers and those owning small amounts to banks are unable to pay back, their properties are confiscated,” a CPI-M statement said. (IANS)

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