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HIGHEST PEACE TIME GALLANTRY DECORATION, ASHOK CHAKRA AWARDED TO HAVALDAR HANGPAN DADA POSTHUMOUSLY
The highest peacetime military decoration award – the Ashok Chakra – was given to Havaldar Hangpan Dada posthumously for his selfless service to the nation. The award was received by his wife Chasen Lowang Dada. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the three service chiefs paid tributes to soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate by laying wreaths.
MIN OF SOCIAL JUSTICE &EMPOWERMENT ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR DIFFERENTLY-ABLED AND DISABLED FOR RESPECTING NATIONAL ANTHEM
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has issued new guidelines for differently-abled people to show respect to the National Anthem. According to the new guidelines, those who are unable to stand will have to display maximum attentiveness while persons with hearing disabilities and those visually challenged will have to stand up when the national anthem is played at cinema halls or at a public function.
The guidelines gave relaxation to the people with intellectual disabilities. Earlier, the Supreme Court had ordered the cinema halls to mandatorily play the national anthem before screening of a film and that the audience must stand in respect. However, it modified its order on 9th December exempting disabled people.
NEW DELHI: CULTURE MINISTER DR MAHESH SHARMA TO INAUGURATE BHARAT PARV
Bharat Parv, a week-long festival as part of the Republic Day celebrations, begins in New Delhi this evening. The objective of the festival is to generate a patriotic mood, promote rich cultural diversity of the country, ensure wider participation of people and popularise the idea of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat. AIR correspondent reports that Culture Minister Dr Mahesh Sharma will inaugurate the festival:
The highlights of the event include display of the Republic Day parade tableaux, performances by the armed forces bands, a multi-cuisine food court, crafts mela, cultural performances from different regions of the country. The cultural performances include choreographed folk and tribal dances and music from across the country. The Crafts Mela with 50 stalls will showcase the diverse handicrafts of the country. There will be 11 theme state pavilions where each state would showcase their achievements and initiatives, tourism products and destinations. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is also setting up a Photo Exhibition on the theme Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai, Aage Badh Raha Hai. The festival will remain open to the public from 12 noon to 9 p.m. till 31st of January and entry is free.
GOVERNMENT PLANS TO OPEN PASSPORT CENTRES IN ALL DISTRICTS: VK SINGH
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh has said that the Centre is mulling to open passport processing centres in all districts of the country. He said External Affairs Ministry is working towards making all the passport-related processes online for quick disposal of applications.
The minister said this after inaugurating a Post Office Passport Seva Kendra at Dahod in Gujarat yesterday. Mr Singh was accompanied by Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Jasvantsinh Bhabhor, who represents Dahod Lok Sabha constituency.
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN GREETS PRESIDENT PRANAB MUKHERJEE &PM MODI ON THE EVE OF REPUBLIC DAY
Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Republic Day. He said, special and privileged strategic partnership with India is an invariable priority in Russia’s foreign policy.
In a congratulatory message, Mr Putin said, India has achieved impressive success in economic, social, scientific, technical and other spheres. He also reiterated his readiness to further strengthen mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in various areas.
CITING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES THAT ANDHRA PRADESH POSSES, SHE SAID IT IS A GOOD PLACE FOR INVESTMENTS.
Seeking private investment, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said systemic reforms being pushed by the government may have some short term pain but will make India an easier place to do business.
The government is committed to systemic reforms, however painful it is in the short run, she said while hinting at recent demonetisation exercise carried out by the government to eliminate parallel economy.
She emphasised that systemic changes have to be brought in for the rapid growth.
“So, if you are compressing and also making sure that the baggage of the slow growth is left behind, it means rapidly many systemic changes have to be brought in. And systemic changes are the ones which are going to be painful, systemic changes are going to be time consuming but we have to compress,” she said at the Partnership Summit here.
Citing some of the example of systemic changes carried out by the government, Sitharaman said banking sector reforms, simplifying taxation structure and the proposed roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“GST Council ironing out all the difference between the centre and states. I am near certain to say that we will have GST rolling out from July 1…if that is happening, you have a compressed timeline for systemic reform and that systemic reform what is going to make India the more easy place to invest and to do business in,” she said.
She further said that the government will undertake more systemic reforms so that the tax GDP ratio improves.
“There are more (systemic reform) happening. We do not want a parallel economy, we do not want grey economy, we do not want an economy which does not come under any institutional radar but continue to be cash driven,” she said.
“It’s very clear that the government’s commitment lies in doing the reforms, however painful it is, rapidly so that duration of pain is contained and the long—term benefits are there for everybody to see,” she added.
Citing competitive advantages that Andhra Pradesh posses, she said it is a good place for investments.
On the global economy, she said, it still going through slowdown phase.
As a result trade growth was slow but started picking up now, she added.
ADITYA BIRLA GROUP TO INVEST RS 7,000 CR IN ANDHRA
The company has set up a cement plant with capacity of 5.6 million tonnes.
Aditya Birla Group plans to invest Rs 7,000 crore in the next two years in Andhra Pradesh on expanding existing businesses, Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said today.
The conglomerate already has investments of Rs 10,000 crore in the state across sectors like telecom, retail and cement.
“Our experience in Andhra Pradesh was fruitful… Uptil now our investments are of the order of about Rs 10,000 crore.
We have created employment for 11,000 people both direct and through ancillary industries,” Birla said at the Investment Summit.
“As we go along, we expect to invest another Rs 7,000 crore in the next two years. This will be towards expansion of our existing businesses,” he added.
The company has set up a cement plant with capacity of 5.6 million tonnes. “We are acquiring a 5 million tonnes per annum plant at an investment of Rs 3,000 crore located near Amaravati city.”
In the telecom sector, Idea cellular currently serves 8 million customers through 69,000 outlets and nearly 9,400 cell sites.
“This year we will be extending 3,500 cell sites largely 3G and 4G at an investment of over Rs 1,300 crore,” Birla said.
In the branded apparel and retail business, the company has 240 stores and is looking at increasing the presence as also in the financial services sector.
RUSSIA, TURKEY AND IRAN MONITOR SYRIA TRUCE JOINTLY
Iran, Russia and Turkey have agreed to monitor the fragile cease-fire between the Syrian regime and rebels
Signed by Moscow and Ankara and Tehran in Kazakhstan
A trilateral mechanism would be established by the group to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire and prevent any provocations.
This is to find permanent solution to 6 yr old war
Arrangements for monitoring and enforcing it would be decided in February 2017 in Geneva
NEPAL OFFERED INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR WORKERS TO INDIA
Nepal government announced to provide insurance cover to Nepalese workers going to India
Double the insurance cover for those going to other work destinations
The plan is aimed at providing better social security to migrant workers
Benefit around 5 million Nepalese working in more than 110 work destinations recognised by the government
INDIA AND FRANCE SIGNS PACT ON MARITIME INFORMATION SHARING
India and France signed White Shipping Agreement in New Delhi to enable information sharing on maritime traffic and maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
Aims to enhance the Indo-French maritime security cooperation in the region
Signed at the second dialogue on maritime cooperation for the IOR between India and France
The Indo-French dialogue also emphasized on freedom of navigation in IOR and Pacific
INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR SEEKS HIGHER ALLOCATION, TAX BREAKS
The infrastructure sector’s stakeholders expect a rise in budgetary allocation for 2017-18 and tax breaks to reinvigorate the industry.
“Over the last few years, the government has been trying to address the impediments to the infrastructure growth story. However, investment in the sector is yet to reach the desired level,” Vishwas Udgirkar, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India, told IANS.
“Budgetary allocations are expected to increase and with bank capitalisation taking place due to demonetisation, it would be interesting to see if any announcements are made to facilitate channelising this much needed capital to the sector.”
TATA JLR LEADS HIKE IN INDIAN DEMAND FOR LUXURY CAR BRANDS
Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has seen a 15.8 per cent hike in car exports from the UK to India in 2016, riding on the wave of growing number of “affluent buyers” in the country, according to the latest UK automotive industry figures.
India is now the eighth largest Asian market for UK car exports with JLR’s Land Rover Discovery Sport, Ranger Rover Evoque, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XE and Jaguar F-Pace among the top five most popular models.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), one of the UK’s largest trade associations, said the Indian demand formed part of a wider 17-year high for British car manufacturing last year.
“India is now the eighth biggest Asian market for UK car exports, with demand rising at a rapid rate as an increasing number of affluent buyers take advantage of a range of all new premium and luxury British-built cars. UK car exports to the country grew 15.8 per cent to 3,372 in 2016,” SMMT said in a statement.
UNIQLO TO GO SOLO IN INDIA, FIRST STORE LIKELY BY 2018
Japanese fast fashion brand Uniqlo is entering the Indian market on its own and has initiated talks with mall developers in top cities to open its stores by next calendar year, two people aware of the development said.
Uniqlo, which was earlier in talks with Arvind Brands for a possible joint venture, has decided to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary, like global rival Heinz and Mauritz (H&M). India allows 100% foreign direct investment in single brand retail.
“We are in talks with Uniqlo for possibility of opening a store in our mall. The company is looking at entering the market by 2018,” said a mall developer who requested not to be identified. Another top executive of a prominent mall said a group of Uniqlo executives from Japan was in the country in late December and held talks with premier malls in Delhi NCR and Mumbai.“Their strategy is to come on their own,” the person said.
GOVERNMENT CONTEMPLATES MECHANISM TO MAKE AVAILABLE NMDC’S IRON ORE TO DOMESTIC STEEL COMPANIES
Government is contemplating a mechanism to make available NMDCBSE -1.09 %’s iron ore to domestic steel companies at a reasonable price to help the sector, which is reeling under the impact of high raw material costs.
The steel ministry is toying with the idea of developing a cost plus formula for iron ore pricing, sources said, adding that there is no point in accumulating raw material reserves.
There has been a sudden spike in prices of iron, making the domestic steel industry uncompetitive in the global market. Also, there has been a lot of dumping of steel products.
RECOVERY ON AFTER INITIAL DEMONETISATION IMPACT: TATA MOTORS
After witnessing a “huge impact” due to demonetisation in November, homegrown auto major Tata MotorsBSE 1.22 % says it is seeing signs of recovery since the second half of December.
“It was huge in both businesses (passenger and commercial vehicles) but not only on us but had huge impact on industry as well,” Tata Motors Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Guenter Butschek told PTI when asked about the impact of demonetisation.
He, however, said: “Since the second half of December we see some clear signs of recovery and we are pretty optimistic for the fourth quarter. Let’s keep fingers crossed.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 announced that the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes would be invalid and were replaced with new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes.
TATA MOTORS BETS BIG ON ELECTRIC, HYBRID BUSES
Tata MotorsBSE 1.22 % estimates the market for electric and hybrid buses in India to reach 400-500 units in the next one year. To tap into this opportunity, which the company expects to grow in the coming years, it unveiled half-a-dozen vehicles running on alternative fuels.
The nation’s largest commercial vehicle maker expects electric and hybrid mass transportation to take off in Indian cities, in line with those like London, Beijing or Amsterdam, as they fight to control increasing air pollution. There is a clear incentive for hybrid buses (which have both an electric motor and a conventional engine) from the government, giving the technology a head start over electric vehicles, Ravindra Pisharody, executive director for commercial vehicle business, said.
“We expect in the next year, there will be orders for a minimum of 300-400 hybrid buses from various state transport undertakings.” Pisharody was speaking to ET on the sidelines of an event in Pune where the company showcased its range of alternative fuel vehicles
PVR HUNTS FOR ACQUISITION OPPORTUNITIES, EYES 100 MORE SCREENS
Multiplex chain operator PVR, which acquired DT Cinemas last year, is scouting for more acquisition opportunities as it plans to add over 100 more screens by the end of next fiscal.
“We are always looking out for more inorganic opportunities and acquisitions. We plan to add 30 more screens by the end of this financial year and another 70-80 screens in the next fiscal,” PVR joint MD Sanjeev Kumar Bijli told PTI.
Last year, PVR acquired 32 screens of DT cinemas from realty major DLF for a total consideration of Rs 433 crore. PVR at present operates 562 screens in 122 properties in 48 cities in India.
When asked if there are companies available to acquire, he said: “There is stuff available…We are evaluating what is the right fit for us.”
KOREA’S MEZZION PHARMA FILES SUIT AGAINST DR REDDY’S IN US
South Korean firm Mezzion Pharma has filed a suit against Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in the US alleging that the Indian company hid “significant deficiencies” and misrepresented compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cGMP practices.
The Hyderabad-based company has, however, said it is yet to receive any “legal papers”.
Mezzion said it is seeking “millions of dollars in damages for fraud, fraudulent concealment and other counts”.
INTERNATIONAL CARGO OPERATIONS RESUME AT BIJU PATNAIK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
In an effort to boost exports in the state, international cargo operations services at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here were resumed today, an official said.
“With the resumption of the services, we can reach the world with our products which can be sent directly to foreign destinations. Though the service was discontinued for some reasons in the past, we will…maintain it as lots of export units are lined up in the state,” Odisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi said.
Asked about the commencement of international flights from the city airport, Padi said Air Asia is most likely to begin services to Kuala Lumpur in April by this year.
INCREASE SUBSIDY ON ROOFTOP SOLAR INSTALLATIONS: VIKRAM SOLAR
Gyanesh Chaudhary, CEO and Managing Director, at Vikram Solar suggested that the government should increase subsidy on solar rooftop installations to 50 per cent, remove service tax on renewable project installations, extend tax holiday on solar projects by 10 years, and lift excise duty on solar equipment and raw material in the budget.
“Increased subsidy on rooftop solar installations from 30 per cent to 50 per cent in the budget will help India achieve its overall target of 100 GW by 2022 said Gyanesh Chaudhary, CEO and Managing Director, at Vikram Solar.
TATA HOUSING EYES RS 450 CRORE REVENUE FROM LUXURY PROJECTS AT KASAULI
Realty major Tata Housing is targeting a sales revenue of about Rs 450 crore by 2020 from its luxury housing project here in Himachal Pradesh, a top company official said today.
Tata Housing, the real estate arm of Tata group, is developing a high-end housing project on 22 acres of land parcel in a joint venture with Impact Projects.
“We are developing 102 high-end luxury villas in this project. The first phase ‘Myst’ comprising 60 units will be completed in next 3-6 months,” Tata Housing MD& CEO Brotin Banerjee told PTI.
HPCL, GAIL SIGN PACT WITH AP FOR RS 40K CRORE PETROCHEM PROJECT
State-owned refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and gas utility GAIL India LtdBSE 1.36 % today signed a pact with Andhra Government for setting up a Rs 40,000 crore petrochemical plant in the state.
The 50:50 joint venture will set up a 1.5 million tons Ethylene Derivatives plant, which will produce a wide range of petrochemical raw materials for the manufacture of detergents, paints and coatings, cosmetics, textiles and adhesives.
“What we have signed is an MoU expressing intent for setting up the petrochemical plant,” GAIL Chairman and Manging Director B C Tripathi told PTI.
LARSEN & TOUBRO BAGS RS 1,286 CRORE ORDER FOR CONSTRUCTION JOBS
Larsen & Toubro has bagged orders worth Rs 1,286 crore for construction jobs, the company said in a statement Friday.
The orders include heavy civil infrastructure jobs worth Rs 1,071 crore. The company received order in the underground metro space from Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad Company for the design and construction of underground stations and associated tunnels for Package 2 in East-West corridor of the Ahmedabad metro project.
“This is a significant win in the infrastructure space and we hope that this is a sign for many such projects involving vital infrastructure that are in the offing,” said S N Subrahmanyan, Deputy Managing Director and President, L&T.
MARUTI EXPANDS WAGONR PORTFOLIO; LAUNCHES VXI+ VARIANT
Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) today launched a new variant of its hatchback WagonR with additional features, priced between Rs 4.69 lakh and Rs 5.36 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The latest variant VXi+ comes with both automatic and manual transmissions. The manual trims are priced at Rs 4.69 lakh and Rs 4.89 lakh while the auto gear shift (AGS) versions are tagged at Rs 5.17 lakh and Rs 5.36 lakh.
“The WagonR VXi+ has been introduced to meet customer demands, who have desire for more style, along-with comfort, convenience and advanced safety features,” MSI Executive Director Marketing & Sales R S Kalsi said in a statement.
MFI SECTOR YET TO GET OVER DEMONETISATION IMPACT
The microfinance industry is still facing challenges two-and-a-half months into demonetisation, with repayment collection taking a hit in some rural pockets where cash supply is yet to become normal and in parts of Maharashtra and poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, raising the spectre of a deterioration in asset quality.
The Rs 55,000-crore sector may see loan losses in the range of 1-3% of the overall portfolio, Antique Stock Broking said in a research report.
Microfinance companies typically report less than 1% non-performance assets.
ATAGS LONG-RANGE GUN TO ENTER PRODUCTION IN 2019
India has decided to enlist the aid of the private sector to produce its new Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), or the DRDO 155 mm/52 caliber long-range howitzer that only fired its first live rounds in December 2016 after having been in development since 2010.
Designed for the Indian Army, ATAGS is being developed by state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in partnership with two private sector firms: Kalyani Group and TATA Power SED.
And, in a break from tradition, the government announced ATAGS will be made by both Kalyani and TATA Power and not by DRDO.
India’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is expected to order 144 howitzers worth $350 million in 2018. Production of ATAGS is expected to start in 2019.
The Indian Army, however, requires more than 1,500 towed howitzers. The contract to produce this many howitzers could be worth over $4.5 billion, and provide a substantial boost for domestic private defense firms.
US MAY PRESSURIZE INDIA TO SIGN 2 DEFENSE PACTS
The new US administration is likely to put pressure to move ahead with the remaining two foundational pacts, while India wants speedy implementation of the logistics pact that was signed last year.
However, the investment plans of US defense majors Lockheed Martin and Boeing in India may get derailed under President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” policy.
“India may come under pressure from the US to sign the remaining two pacts. The new administration may like to have things in order with which it wants to do serious business. If India is serious about boosting defense ties with US, it has to follow the prescribed rules,” a top US diplomat told BusinessLine requesting anonymity.
US signs these pacts only with those countries which it considers to be their “major defense partner”.
The remaining two pacts are Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).
INTERNATIONAL GIANTS SUPPORT MAKE IN INDIA POLICY IN DEFENSE
‘Make in India’ policy’s success lies in integrating operations and maintenance into the Indian system and not treat the foreign players as ‘them and us’
Thanks to the “Make in India” policy, the defense sector has moved from the periphery to the core of manufacturing. As the multi-billion dollar defense market in the world, the country has offered several opportunities for Indian and foreign groups for defense manufacturing.
Coming out strongly in a support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy initiative, top international giants in defense gathered at the “Indian Defense & Aerospace Summit 2017′, organised by NewsX and The Sunday Guardian to discuss the policy, expectation and the issue pertaining to India’s defense sector.
“We have moved past the initial focus on the offset requirement to manufacturing the major components today. The private sector needs to build up base and become a part of the global supply chain. We have a unique challenge of becoming scalable with respect to the demand, without losing the profits and build up capability”, said Abhay Paranjape, Director Business Development, Lockheed Martin.
NAVY ISSUES RFI FOR 57 CARRIER FIGHTERS
A little more than a month after the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, announced that the Indian Navy intended to forego the acquisition of the naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and look elsewhere for new fighters, the navy issued a Request For Information (RFI) for 57 Multi Role Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF), last week.
According to the RFI, “The MRCBF are intended as day and night capable, all weather multi-role deck based combat aircraft which can be used for Air Defence (AD), Air to Surface Operations, Buddy Refueling, Reconnaissance, EW missions etc from IN aircraft carriers.”
The navy stipulates that the eventual acquisition process will be awarded under the terms of the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2016 and will require deliveries of the aircraft to ‘commence within three years post conclusion of contract, and be completed within further period of three years’.
Responses to the RFI have to be submitted within four months from the date of issue and qualifying vendors will be shortlisted for issue of Request For Proposal (RFP).
DTTI: FIRST SIGNS GOOD BUT INDIA TO WAIT AND WATCH ON DEFENSE TIES WITH U.S.
Lockheed Martin’s Squad Mission Support System (SMSS): An autonomous vehicle serving alongside soldiers in rough terrain with a half a ton of equipment on its back will change the rules of the battlefield – India can look forward to procuring such advanced systems from the U.S.
IN HIS testimony to the US Senate during his confirmation earlier this month, new American Defense Secretary General James Mattis highlighted the centrality of the India-US Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) to ties between the two countries. Because of the DTTI, General Mattis said, the bilateral defense relationship “has grown to the benefit of both countries”. But, notwithstanding General Mattis’s optimism about the initiative, it has shown some progress on only two projects so far.
The DTTI mechanism was launched in 2012. It was a brainchild of then US deputy secretary of defense, Ashton Carter.
It progressed when Carter took over as the US defense secretary, and the first four projects under the DTTI were announced during President Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi as chief guest for the 2015 Republic Day celebrations. India and the US are currently working on six projects under the DTTI framework and two more American proposals are under the consideration of the Defense Ministry.
HAL ROLLS OUT FIRST INDIGENOUSLY UPGRADED HAWK-I, TO BE DISPLAYED AT AERO INDIA 2017
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has rolled out the first indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132, named as Hawk-i on the eve of Republic Day celebrations.
“This is the 100th Hawk aircraft produced at HAL and we are proud that it has Make in India mark. HAL had conceived a program for indigenous upgradation of the Hawk Mk132 for achieving self-reliance and has successfully accomplished it”, said Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL in a press release. This aircraft would be on the flying display in the forthcoming Aero-India 2017 at Bangalore, he added.
The upgrade of HAWK Aircraft was taken up at HAL to so as to be independent in matters such as integration of new sub-systems or modifications, obsolescence management of avionics systems and to enhance the aircraft operational and training capabilities. HAL has rolled out its own aircraft with the upgrade features in a record time.
INDIA TO BUY HUNDREDS OF MISSILES FOR RUSSIAN SELF PROPELLED AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM
In what could be a signal of faith in the Russian 2K12 Kub/Kvadrat self propelled air defence system over home-made surface to air missile Akash, India has asked global vendors to supply approximately 200 missiles for the system.
Akash was to replace the 3M9ME/3M9M3E missiles in the Kvadrat System for providing air defense cover to the mechanized forces during battle maneuvers. Kvadrat is designated for air defense of the manpower and objects against enemy aircraft flying at low and middle heights both at subsonic and supersonic speeds.
The army in a document says that missile should be capable of engaging target in range of 24/25 kms with a single shot kill probability of at least 80 percent. The army wants the missile to have minimum 96 percent with delivery from 2018.
It is evident from the current purchase order that the army would have to continue with Kvadrat. The army finds Akash air defense system a bit slower and ineffective while on the move. It is considered that the reaction time of Akash is longer and has radar coverage of less than 360 degrees.
REPUBLIC DAY PARADE: NAVY DISPLAYS SUBMARINES, INS CHENNAI
The Indian Navy on Thursday displayed the stealth guided missile destroyer INS Chennai and the indigenously-made Kalvari class Scorpene submarines at the Republic Day parade here.
This year, the submarine arm of the Indian Navy is marking its golden jubilee, commemorating 50 years since Foxtrot-class submarine INS Kalvari was inducted.
The first of the Scorpene submarines, a model of which was on display, has been named after the boat. Marine Commandos marched ahead.
A model of P8-I long-range maritime surveillance aircraft was also on display.
APPLE OFFICIALS MAKE PRESENTATION TO GOVT ON INDIA PLANS
US-based technology giant Apple has made a detailed presentation to the Indian movement, chalking out its plans and demands for setting up a local manufacturing plant in India.
As per reports, senior executives from the multi-billion dollar firm gave a presentation to the inter ministerial group including officials of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
“They are seeking certain duty exemptions and other concessions. Respective departments will look at those demands. The government has not taken any decision,” an official said.
Before today’s meeting, senior officials from the company spoke to Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman including the company’s Global VP Priya Balasubramaniam to place the company’s demands.
However, the demands made by the company seem over-the-top as it has asked for several tax exemptions and other incentives, including long-term duty immunity, to enter the manufacturing sector in India.
This is not the first time that Apple has tried to bring its manufacturing activities in India; last year the company’s CEO Tim Cook visited India to inaugurate a development centre, apart from negotiating with PM Modi.
However, the government reportedly turned down the proposal as the company did not meet certain regulations under the country’s local manufacturing norms. It would be interesting to see if the company gets permission this time as it would make iPhones a lot cheaper for the Indian populace.
NITI AAYOG’S ATL MISSION TO ‘SHAPE IDEAS OF YOUNG MINDS’
Niti Aayog will organise a two-day event next month for schools that have been selected to set up Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) aimed at inculcating a culture of scientific innovation into the young minds. The event will be held on February 20-21. Under the programme, Niti Aayog has targeted to set up a total of 500 such labs across the country in select schools.
These laboratories will provide a work space to the young students for shaping their ideas by hands on doing themselves models and learning innovation skills.
For the longer term, ATL mission envisages to cultivate as many as one million school children to become neoteric innovators.
The students participating in the ATLs will be encouraged, guided, mentored and enthused to work with ‘Do-It-Yourselves’ (DIY) kits so that they develop a spirit of innovation and thereby build solutions.
The young children will get a chance to work with tools to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Government will provide grant-in-aid of one time set-up cost of Rs 10 lakh to the selected schools. Also, they will get operational expenses of Rs 10 lakh each for five years.
RENSSELAER NANOMATERIALS EXPERT GANPATI RAMANATH NAMED FELLOW OF AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY
Ganpati Ramanath, the Jon Tod Horton Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). The APS Fellowship Program recognizes members who have made advances in physics through original research and publication or significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology.
Nominated by the APS Division of Materials Physics, Ramanath was cited for “creative approaches to realize novel properties in bulk nanomaterials fabricated from nanocrystal building blocks and molecularly tailored interfaces; and uncovering atomistic and electronic structure-level mechanisms of property enhancements.”
Known throughout the global materials science and engineering community as a leader and innovator, Ramanath focuses his research on developing a fundamental understanding of structure-processing-property relationships in nanomaterials and interfaces for applications in energy and electronics. His discoveries include a new class of thermoelectric nanomaterials built from assemblies of sculpted nanostructures for high-efficiency solid-state refrigeration and electricity harvesting from waste heat, along with nanomolecular layers of “nanoglue” that can join non-sticking materials, inhibit chemical intermixing, and boost thermal transport.
PURDUE SELECTED TO PARTNER WITH INDIA’S SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH BOARD
Purdue University is among a select group of U.S. institutions to enter into a partnership agreement with India’s Science and Engineering Research Board, the country’s equivalent to the U.S. National Science Foundation.
On Tuesday, a memorandum of understanding in support of international academic cooperation between the two institutions was signed in New Delhi. Suresh Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and the Goodson distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, and R. Brakaspathy, secretary of India’s SERB, signed the agreement. The memorandum lays the groundwork for Indian government support for visiting doctoral student research programs and for the creation of virtual research centers between Indian institutions of higher education and Purdue.
“This new partnership with SERB will not only catalyze existing research partnerships between Purdue and some of the leading institutions in India, but will also open new doors for our faculty and students to tackle research topics together with their Indian peers that will have a lasting impact,” Garimella said.
The agreement with SERB will specifically deepen research linkages between Purdue and institutions in India, including the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, with which Purdue already has formal strategic partnership agreements.
JYOTI BANSAL: INDIAN AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR & FOUNDER OF APPDYNAMICS
Jyoti Bansal, Indian-American entrepreneur, has been in news for a $3.7 billion worth acquisition. His company AppDynamics, a US-based firm that solves problems on an organisation’s website and improves customer engagement, has been bought over by Cisco.
Bansal has a greater reason to cheer. The start-up honcho of Silicon Valley managed to sell his company at the top networking giant Cisco at almost twice the estimated value just a day before it was scheduled to be listed on the stock exchanges.
Bansal, who will now be the Chairman on the Board of AppDynamics with 14 per cent, has diluted his stake among venture capital funds like Greylock Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners, both hold per cent. Institutional Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers hold 8.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent, respectively.
A LARGER R&D BUDGET WON’T SECURE A QUANTUM LEAP FOR INNOVATION IN INDIA
India’s improvement in the ‘Global Innovation Index’ from rank 81 (2015) to 66 (2016) showcases the country’s slow transition to an innovation economy. However, an innovative society is a far cry from an innovation economy. A more inclusive innovation culture is critical for India’s future, considering the massive shifts in industry models and potential job losses along the way.
India’s impact on the global research and knowledge economy is comparatively low. Based on World Bank data for 2013, India’s R&D spending oscillates between 0.8-0.9 % of its GDP, much lower than countries like China (2%), Japan (3.5%), South Korea (4.15%), and Israel (4.1%). While these nations have massively ramped up their R&D investments from where they stood in 1996, India has witnessed minimal increase in the same window of almost two decades. While the industry and private sector in these countries contribute 60-70% of this research expenditure, India’s share fluctuates around 30%. This data indicates that both government and private actors are lagging behind in India.
Comparisons aside, India must realise that economies can often be a function of global business cycles. The current technological transformation in every single domain has resulted in companies becoming more innovative and spawned an innovation economy. But an innovation culture goes beyond this to the percolation of “outside the box” thinking to students, teaching faculty, and lay people in all kinds of varied settings. To get there, India has to focus on redesign of current educational practices and meaningful cross-stakeholder interaction.
IKP RAISES ₹108 CRORE TO PROMOTE BIOTECH, LIFE SCIENCES START-UPS
Furthering its efforts to boost start-ups and innovation in biotechnology and life sciences, ICICI Knowledge Park (IKP) has raised up to ₹108 crore from a clutch of Indian and global organisations.
The investors include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, US Food and Drug Administration, US Agency for International Development, the Department of International Development of the UK, and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) under the Union Department of Biotechnology and Government of Karnataka. The funds will be used for collaborative research and creation of facilities.
With the experience of supporting over 200 global research efforts, entrepreneurial ventures and start-up ideas in the past two decades, IKP has also created a new incubation facility in Bengaluru with an investment of ₹31 crore. The facility, with support from Karnataka Government, is working on five ‘grand challenges’ to encourage start-ups and innovators, said Deepanwita Chattopadhyay, Chairman and CEO, IKP.
Some of the projects being incubated are online systems for effluent treatment of sewerage, pests and diseases management, community-based healthcare, etc, she told BusinessLine.
IKP has also set up a Regional Innovation Centre with BIRAC. One of the major initiatives so far has been the mapping of life sciences’ strengths, assets and potential in the Southern cities of Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram. A similar exercise for West and Central, and later East India will be done to compile an all-India scenario, she said.
IKP, a science park and incubator, has 200 acres on the outskirts of Hyderabad, where it has created incubation and research facilities to encourage pharma, biotech and chemical companies. At present, a dozen start-ups and 15 research organisations utilise the facilities.
LT GEN PRAVEEN BAKSHI AND LT GEN P M HARIZ AWARDED PSVM FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE
Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen P M Hariz, who were superseded by Gen Bipin Rawat in the race for Army chief, have been awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal.
PVSM is awarded to officers for their meritorious service.
Bakshi, who heads army’s crucial Eastern Command that looks after the eastern border adjoining China and army anti-insurgency operation in the north east, and P M Hariz, Commander-in-chief of the Southern Command, were superseded by Rawat for army’s top post.
Apart from Bakshi and Hariz, 18 officers of Lt Gen rank were awarded PVSM. This also comprises three retired officers.
BRAVERY AWARD WINNING CHILDREN CHEERED AT REPUBLIC DAY PARADE
Children who won the National Bravery Awards on Thursday participated in the 68th Republic Day Parade at Rajpath here to the loud cheers from the spectators.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday presented the National Bravery Awards to 25 children, four of them posthumously, from different parts of the country.
Among the award winners were 15-year-old Sumit Mamgain from Uttrakhand who fought a leopard to save his cousin, and nine-year-old Sonu Mali from Rajasthan who saved his classmate from a four-foot long black cobra.
Tejasweeta Pradhan and Shivani Gond from Darjeeling showed immense courage in fearlessly helping the police and an NGO in uncovering an international sex racket leading to the arrest of the mastermind in Delhi.
Four children received the awards posthumously, including eight-year-old Tarh Peju from Arunachal Pradesh who sacrificed her life in an attempt to save two of her friends from drowning.
Lalhriatpuii from Mizoram sacrificed her life in an effort to save her cousin from a car accident.
Tushar Verma from Chhattisgarh lost his life as he tried to extinguish a fire in his neighbour’s shed.
Roluahpuii from Mizoram sacrificed her life in a bold effort of saving two girls from drowning.
The National Bravery Award Scheme was initiated by the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) in 1957 to give recognition to children who distinguish themselves by performing outstanding deeds of bravery and meritorious service.
HAVILDAR HANGPAN DADA AWARDED ASHOK CHAKRA POSTHUMOUSLY ON 68TH REPUBLIC DAY
Havildar Hangpan Dada, who died in Kupwara on May 27 after killing three terrorists, has been awarded Ashok Chakra, the highest peace time gallantry award. Havildar’s wife, Chasen Lowang Dada received the Ashok Chakra award from President Pranab Mukherjee on Rajpath during the Republic Day celebrations in the national capital. Havildar Hangpan Dada belonged to the Assam Regiment. The brave jawan killed four intruding terrorists before sacrificing down his life in North Kashmir on May 26, 2016.
An epitome of sheer grit and determination, 36-year-old Havildar fought valiantly at the 13,000-feet high Shamsabari range in Northern Kashmir along the Line of Control (LoC). It was him who spotted the suspicious movement of terrorists in the area. Soon after, in no time he engaged in an encounter and gunned down three terrorist before sacrificing his life for the nation. His body was taken to his native town where the last rites were performed with military honours. He, single-handedly killed the three terrorists and his actions led to the elimination of the fourth terrorist.
TIME INC. ANNOUNCES THE 2017 TIME INDIA AWARDS
Today, Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) announced the winners of the second annual TIME India Awards, honoring leaders for manufacturing excellence in India at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Partnership Summit in Andhra Pradesh, India. McKinsey & Company is the knowledge partner for the awards, which were given in eight categories.
The winners were announced at the Partnership Summit, with Indian Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu presenting the awards, after an introduction by Time Inc. Vice Chairman Norman Pearlstine and McKinsey & Co. Senior Partner Rajat Dhawan.
Alongside prizes for the Manufacturing Innovator for the Year and the Global Manufacturer for the Year, the 2017 Time India Awards recognized the country’s most exciting startups and small and medium-sized businesses.
The winners of the 2017 TIME India Awards:
Innovator for the Year: Mahindra & Mahindra
Global Manufacturer for the Year: Bharat Forge
MSME Innovator for the Year: Phoenix Medical Systems
MSME Manufacturer for the Year: KHS Machinery
Startup Innovator for the Year: Barrix Agro Sciences
Startup Sustainability Pioneer: Greenway Grameen Infra
Jury Special Mention-MSMEs: PTC Industries
Jury Special Mention-Startups: Versa Drives
3 INDIAN-ORIGIN CONFERRED WITH AUS’S HIGHEST CIVILIAN AWARD
Three Indian-origin persons have been awarded Australia’s highest civilian honour this year for their contributions in the field of medicine and work towards the community.
Purushottam Sawrikar, a Sydney-based medical practitioner, received Order of Australia medal for the year 2017 announced on the Australia Day in General division category for his service to medicine, and to the Indian community.
Sawrikar was a former President of Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association and also founded a community radio called Akashwani Sydney.
Makhan Singh Khangure from Perth was given the award for his for significant service to medicine in the field of neuroradiology, to education, and to a range of professional medical associations.
Vijay Kumar, a nuclear medicine specialist and a researcher, was given the award for his significant service to medical research in the disciplines of nuclear medicine and biology, to professional organisations, and to the community.
Kumar, a founding Member of Sydney Tamil Sangam Association, was also awarded Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Award in 2007 and 2014.
A Darwain-based Tejinder Pal Singh was among the list of finalists in the Australian of the Year Local Hero catergory awards, for his efforts in improving the community.
Singh was nominated for his four-year-old initiative of providing a free-meal service called the ‘food van’ in Northern Territory.
Singh has been feeding the poor and needy locals of northern Darwin with dedication on the last Sunday of each month.
Over 950 Australians were named in the Australia Day Honours this year with former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorians Governor Linda Dessau, organic scientist Andrew Holmes and former Liberal MP David Kemp receiving the nation’s top Australia Day medal, the Companion of the Order of Australia.
Other who received the top honours were a Queensland based Biomedical scientist Alan Mackay-Sim who was named Australian of the Year this year.
Alan’s groundbreaking work on stem cells was crucial to the first ever successful case of restoring a quadriplegic person’s ability to walk.
SENA MEDAL FOR 3 SOLDIERS WHO GUNNED DOWN HIZBUL TERRORIST BURHAN WANI
Three personnel of Rashtriya Rifles have been awarded Sena Medal for having gunned down dreaded terrorist Burhan Wani
Major Sandeep Kumar, Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind Singh Chauhan showed nerves of steel and exemplary restraint in the face of extreme provocation in neutralising the terrorists
TRICHY BASED TREC-STEP BAGS NATIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARD FOR INCUBATION, MENTORSHIP AND SUPPORT TO STARTUPS
Tiruchirapalli Regional Engineering College Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park (TREC-STEP), has been selected as winner of the National Entrepreneurship Award 2016 under the category of Institutions/organisations providing incubation, mentorship and support to startups.
TREC-STEP, considered one of the country’s earliest science and technology park was set up in 1986 by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Government of Tamilnadu, along with National Financial institutions such as IDBI, IFCI, ICICI and other institutions. TREC-STEP presently incubates 19 companies who work in the areas of clean tech, engineering and manufacturing, bio technology, healthcare and IT.
The award will be presented to TREC-STEP on 30 Jan in a ceremony presided over by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.