India cannot unilaterally revoke or alter Indus Treaty: Pakistan

Oct 7, 2016 0

Islamabad–India cannot unilaterally revoke or alter the Indus Waters Treaty, Pakistan has asserted, days after India decided to revisit the treaty.

“The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is not time-barred and was never intended to be time or event-specific. It is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision,” Dawn online quoted Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakria as saying on Thursday in a weekly media briefing.

He called upon the international community to take note of Indian claims as they were a violation of New Delhi’s obligations and commitments under the treaty. According to the sub-provisions (3) and (4) of Article XII of the IWT, the treaty cannot be altered or revoked unilaterally, he pointed out.

india-pakistan-flag-india-first“Pakistan is closely monitoring the situation and would respond accordingly,” he added.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday asked the Foreign Ministry to launch ‘water diplomacy’ in the wake of India’s threat to revoke the Indus Water Treaty.

“Blood and water can’t flow together,” India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is quoted as having said last month during a meeting on the Indus Waters Treaty, during which India decided to revisit the 56-year-old river water sharing treaty, apportioning more water to itself.

“There are differences on the treaty. For any such treaty to work, it is important there must be mutual trust and cooperation. It can’t be a one-sided affair,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said last month following the September 18 Uri terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which killed 17 Indian soldiers. Two soldiers died later. India has held Pakistan-based militants responsible for the killings.

The water distribution treaty brokered by the World Bank was signed between the two countries in 1960.

According to the agreement, India has control over three eastern rivers – Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – all flowing from Punjab, while Pakistan, as per the treaty, controls the western rivers of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum that flow from Jammu and Kashmir.

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Bidi industry makes a case for participation in WHO meet

Oct 7, 2016 0

New Delhi–The All India Bidi Industry Federation (AIBIF) on Friday sought permission from WHO and the government to participate in the upcoming WHO FCTC COP7 to highlight the issue of counterfeit bidi trade.

In a press statement here, the Federation said the growth of counterfeit trade in bidis in India has severely impacted the livelihood of millions of bidi workers and their families.

Bidi smoking Sadhu: Photo courtesy: The Hindu

Bidi smoking Sadhu: Photo courtesy: The Hindu

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Conference of Parties (FCTC COP7) is being hosted by India in Noida from November 7-12, later this year. Various tobacco bodies, including farmers, have sought permission to participate in the global event.

The Federation also asserted that by keeping the tobacco farmers and the bidi industry out of the FCTC COP7, WHO and the Indian government are encouraging deterioration of social and economic condition of the tobacco industry-dependent families.

“The government is not realising that our participation is extremely important to highlight the counterfeit trade in bidis in India,” said Rajnikant Patel, AIBIF President.

“We are deeply concerned about the vested interests of NGOs and anti-tobacco activists in India, who through their relentless and biased campaign are influencing the government’s tobacco control policy and promoting extreme regulations that are already hurting bidi industry and consequently employment of bidi workers and causing widespread growth of counterfeit trade in bidis,” added Patel

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TiE-Boston Appoints Laura Teicher as its New Executive Director

Oct 6, 2016 0

CAMBRIDGE, MA—TiE-Boston, the local chapter of TiE-Global, one of the largest global not-for-profit organizations fostering entrepreneurship in the world, has appointed Laura Teicher as its new Executive Director. She replaces Anu Yadav, who left the second oldest TiE chapter in July.

“Laura brings a passion for impactful leadership grounded in experience managing business operations that will help us to strengthen current programs and events, grow our community, and establish ourselves as leaders in the eco system,” said TiE-Boston President Praveen Tailam.

Laura Teicher (Photo: Linkedin)

Laura Teicher (Photo: Linkedin)

Teicher served as Events Chair for two years and recently completed a term as President of the Boston chapter of Net Impact, a global association that connects and empowers professionals. She earned her MBA from Boston University. She completed portions of her studies in China and Brazil.

Her prior work includes three years with the Massachusetts Senate.

Since 1997, TiE-Boston has been supporting entrepreneurs by offering education, mentorship, networking, and funding opportunities. TiE-Boston connects entrepreneurs with each other and other stakeholders in the ecosystem, including seasoned serial entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, service providers, and early customers.

TiE-Boston is a chapter of TiE-Global, the largest global not-for-profit organization fostering entrepreneurship.  TiE-Boston members leverage the global network of members from 61 chapters in 18 countries. TiE has 12,000 members throughout the world, and has contributed over $250 billion in wealth creation.

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IMF chief cautions against reverse globalisation

Oct 6, 2016 0

Washington– International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Thursday urged greater global trade integration, warning against tendencies of reverse globalisation, or retreat from globalisation and multilateralism.

“A retreat from globalisation and multilateralism is a serious risk at a time when international cooperation and coordination are as critical as ever,” Lagarde said in her policy paper presentation at the start of the annual fall meetings of the IMF and the World Bank here.

Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde

“This persistent underperformance (global growth) has exposed complex underlying trends in many countries — including the difficulty for some groups to adjust to rapid changes in the global economy,” she said.

The IMF chief said that in many advanced economies, demand is low with the post-crisis recovery being uneven across countries, and output gaps are still negative.

Productivity growth has not recovered, and its likely reasons owe to several factors that hinder investment, including debt overhangs, and low and uncertain prospects of future demand.

“Emerging economy growth improved overall, driven by robust activity in emerging Asia and large stressed economies showing some signs of improvement. Yet vulnerabilities, especially in the corporate sector of some large countries, have persisted,” Lagarde said, arguing that not enough has been done to address the concerns of those who have been adversely affected, creating social tensions and political backlash.

This situation has added to a political climate that favours inward-looking policies, makes reforms more difficult to enact, and puts at risk the well-established overall gains in productivity from globalisation and technological change, she contended.

The global economy has benefited tremendously from globalisation and technological change, particularly with regard to expanding consumers’ access to goods and services and helping to lift millions out of poverty in emerging markets and developing countries, she added. (IANS)

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Finance Minister Jaitley Kicks Off US Visit

Oct 6, 2016 0

Washington DC–India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrived on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., after a successful visit to Canada.

In Washington, the Finance Minister held a meeting with the World Bank Group President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, where he acknowledged the long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship between the World Bank Group and India since the inception of the World Bank and also appreciated the support of the World Bank to the many significant achievements of India in its development process, especially the World Bank Support in the six priority areas identified by the Prime Minster for Multilateral Development Banks’ assistance.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

While discussing the policy issues related to the World Bank Group, he indicated India’s strong support for the capital increase and its readiness to take larger share than the dynamic formula would require. He also emphasized that the World Bank Group should work together with the member countries to explore innovative financing solutions.

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth Rt. Hon. Ms Patricia Scotland also met the Finance Minister. Later in the evening Hon’ble Finance Minister interacted with several US State Department officials during the reception hosted in his honour.

Shaktikanta Das, Secretary Economic Affairs, held a bilateral meeting with United States Treasury Under-Secretary, Mr. Nathan Sheets. After exchanging notes on the state of their respective economies, both sides took stock of the work done on technical cooperation on NIIF, public debt management and municipal bonds and agreed to expedite progress on these issues. During the course of their interaction, Secretary (EA) also highlighted the sustained rapid growth of Indian economy and its ambitious reform agenda including the landmark Goods and Services Tax, passage of the recent national bankruptcy law and liberalization of foreign direct investment.

The Finance Minister is currently on official tour to Washington to attend the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Dr. Urijit Patel, Governor RBI, Mr. Shaktikanta Das, Secretary Economic Affairs, Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor and other officials.

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Now, replacement Samsung Note 7 catches fire on US plane

Oct 6, 2016 0

New York– Samsung woes over its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone are far from over it appears. Now, a replacement Note 7 device reportedly caught fire on a US flight, leading to cancellation of the flight after evacuation.

According to The Verge, Southwest Airlines flight 994 from Louisville to Baltimore was evacuated on Wednesday during the boarding process after a smoked Note 7 was spotted.

“All passengers and crew exited the plane via the main cabin door and no injuries were reported,” the report said, quoting a Southwest Airlines spokesperson.

Brian Green is the owner of the replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone that caught fire on a US flight, leading to cancellation of the flight after evacuation. Photo: The Verge.

Brian Green is the owner of the replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone that caught fire on a US flight, leading to cancellation of the flight after evacuation. Photo: The Verge.

Brian Green who bought the new Note 7 from an AT&T store on September 21, had turned off his phone after the flight attendant call and all of a sudden, the device began to smoke.

Green immediately dropped the phone to the floor of the cabin.

According to Green, the phone was letting off a “thick grey-green angry smoke.” The phone had burnt through the carpet and “scorched the subfloor of the plane”.

“A photograph of the box shows the black square symbol that indicates a replacement Note 7 and Green said it had a green battery icon,” The Verge reported, adding that Green has now bought an Apple iPhone 7.

According to Green, the phone was at around 80 per cent of battery capacity when the incident occurred.

Samsung later issued a statement: “Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.”

Green’s Note 7 was now with the Louisville Fire Department for investigation.

India’s civil aviation regulator last week lifted the restrictions on in-flight use of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone — but only those purchased after September 15.

On September 9, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had prohibited the use of the high-end smartphone on-board aircraft.

The DGCA said the usage restrictions have only been lifted for mobile phones purchased after September 15. Restrictions still continue for Note 7s purchased before that date.

The select type of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone allowed to be used on-board have a green battery charge indication on their screen.

A Samsung India spokesperson said: “It is important to note that Samsung has not sold a single unit of Galaxy Note7 in India so far. The ‘green battery icon’ will apply to all Galaxy Note7 units that will be sold to customers in India when it is launched.”

Samsung has recalled its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone over battery overheating issues globally. (IANS)

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Filmmaker Ketan Mehta: India now ready to take animation to next level

Oct 6, 2016 0

By Radhika Bhirani

New Delhi– With “Motu Patlu: King of Kings” coming out in stereoscopic 3D animation on October 14, acclaimed filmmaker and Maya Digital Studios founder Ketan Mehta says the time is right for the Indian animation industry to take off in a big way.

“Animation industry in India is growing extremely rapidly over the last five years. Since India is actually a late starter in the animation industry, it took time to gain momentum. But now, there is a large talent pool that is available in India and I think India is ready to take it to the next level now,” Ketan told IANS in an email interview from Mumbai.

Ketan Mehta

Ketan Mehta

According to the FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2015, the animation and VFX market in the country was pegged at Rs 51 billion in 2015 and is projected to grow to Rs 58.7 billion the year after.

“Motu Patlu: King of Kings”, produced by Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd, Cosmos Entertainment and Maya Digital Studios and directed by Suhas D. Kadav, is about two best friends from Furfuri Nagar. These are popular characters from Hindi comic magazine Lotpot, and after a successful TV series on the same, its movie version is now set to enthrall cinema-goers, courtesy Ketan Mehta, Deepa Sahi and Anish JS Mehta.

Ketan, at the Lonavla International Film Festival last month, had shared that he had “faced a crisis as a filmmaker” when he wanted to infuse some visual effects for a scene in his 1993 film “Maya Memsaab”. There was a lack of up-to-date animation equipment and expertise to meet his need in India.

That’s when the idea of launching Maya Digital Studios with wife Deepa dawned upon him.

Looking back at the days, Ketan said: “When we started the studio initially, there was just no manpower in India, technology was totally new, and when we started MAAC (Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics), there were hardly any trained professionals in India.”

“For the first 10 years, most of the work the animation studios and we did was outsourced from the US or Europe. Gradually, just five years ago, the entire scenario started changing. Most of the TV channels were also just recycling American or Japanese animation. But they realised very soon that unless they help original Indian content, the growth was not really possible.”

He said when they took a leap of faith and decided to create their own IP, it paid off.

“It has actually galvanised the entire industry to an extent where most of the international channels are now telecasting Indian content. That has also given bandwidths for the studios to start creating feature films. First, they started doing TV features and over the last few years, more and more feature films are also happening and the entire growth is really gaining momentum,” Ketan said.

Maya Digital Studios plunged into a full-length feature film with the 2010 movie “Ramayana — The Epic”.

“But the market hadn’t grown sufficiently (at that time). Since then, the market has grown, entire generations of children are growing up on watching Indian animation and with ‘Motu Patlu’ in stereoscopic 3D, we believe that the time is right for Indian animation industry to take off,” he added.

However, the fact that “animation is a global phenomenon” is what the Indian animation industry has to realise.

“Catering just to the domestic market is not going to be enough for the substantial growth of the industry. But we also have to realise that as compared to the American, European, Chinese and Japanese animation films, Indian animation is being done at a fraction of those costs and the cost difference is so high that to match those qualities within these costs, becomes very difficult.”

“I believe that the only solution to this is that the Indian creative talent has to get more ambitious and believe in themselves and make products for the global market,” he said, adding that with “Motu Patlu”, they are trying to expand the market substantially.

“We believe that the time is right and the potential has just begun.” (IANS)

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Ultimate aim is to strengthen Indian manufacturing: Goyal

Oct 5, 2016 0

New Delhi– Declaring that Indian entrepreneurship needs to be promoted in global electrical industry, Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said though foreign technology is welcome in India, the overall aim is to strengthen Indian manufacturing.

“We welcome technology from all around the world but at the end of the day, we would like to strengthen our Indian hands,” Goyal said at the launch of the Light India Exhibition 2016 here.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal

Power Minister Piyush Goyal

“I am happy to have imports come in, if we are at level playing field. But if we find that other countries are dumping goods into India, certainly that is not welcome in the country,” the Minister said.

He lauded the innovative concepts like solar street lights on display at the exhibition.

“I can actually imagine putting up not less than 10 or 15 million solar street lights, particularly in rural areas,” Goyal said.

“The industry is reinventing itself and I saw some very new products here and would like to initiative talks for bulk orders,” he added.

Over 275 companies are showcasing intelligent technologies at this electrical building technology exposition.

Organised by Germany’s Messe Frankfurt Trade Fairs and the Electric Lamp & Component Manufacturers’ Association (ELCOMA), the event brings together companies from India, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland and Taiwan to display the latest in lighting and building technologies, the organisers said. (IANS)

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India needs alternate technologies in housing: Minister

Oct 5, 2016 0

New Delhi– Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said speedy, safe and sustainable construction using prefabricated alternate technologies is the need of the hour.

This was necessary to meet the targets under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and programmes of the state governments, he said at the inauguration of a Housing Technology Park established by Hindustan Prefab Limited (HPL) in New Delhi.

M. Venkaiah Naidu

M. Venkaiah Naidu

Several such technologies validated by official technical agencies are now available and need to be scaled up in use, the Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister said on the occasion.

Naidu said that with increase in demand, prefabricated construction technologies will become even more cost effective and they need to be promoted in a big way.

He said about two crore dwelling units in urban areas and about four crore units in rural areas will be built for economically weaker sections and low-income groups.

Minister of State for Housing Rao Inderjit Singh urged the defence, railways and public sector undertakings to promote such technologies in a big way.

Ministry Secretary Nandita Chatterjee said that it was in talks with the Defence Ministry for building two lakh houses with alternative technologies for paramilitary forces. (IANS)

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India approves setting up of first medical devices technology park

Oct 5, 2016 0

New Delhi–Giving a “Make in India” a push in the field of medical technology, the Union Cabinet here on Wednesday approved “mini Ratna” public sector undertaking HLL Lifecare to sub-lease its land for setting up the country’s first medical devices manufacturing park, an official statement said.

“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to HLL Lifecare to sub-lease 330.10 acres of land at Chengalpattu, located in the outskirts of Chennai, to set up a medical devices manufacturing park (Medipark) through a special purpose vehicle,” the statement said.

Indian Prime Minister Mody

Indian Prime Minister Mody

The shareholding of HLL in the project, which is expected, would be above 50 per cent, it added.

The Medipark project will be the first manufacturing cluster in the medical technology sector in the country, envisaged to boost the local manufacturing of hi-end products at a significantly lower cost, resulting in affordable healthcare delivery, particular in diagnostic services to a large section of people.

“Medipark will be developed in phases, spread over seven years for completion. In the first phase, physical infrastructure will be developed and plots will be leased from third year onwards. Knowledge management centre will be developed in the second phase,” it said.

“It would contribute to the development of medical devices and technology sector and allied disciplines in the country, which is still at a nascent stage besides generating employment and give a boost to the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign,” it added.

HLL will sublease the land to investors, through a transparent bidding process to investors desirous to set up manufacturing units for medical equipment and devices.

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