Current Affairs January 7, 8 & 9, 2017
NEW DELHI WORLD BOOK FAIR BEGINS TODAY
The 9-day New Delhi World Book Fair began at Pragati Maidan in national capital. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Manushi’ which focuses on writings on and by women.
The fair will exhibit the rich tradition of women writings from ancient times till the present. Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Mahendra Nath Pandey inaugurated the fair.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Pandey said in the context of technological development, the books have to be viewed accordingly in tune with digital age. The minister also said, books continue to be more important as they reflect change in the society. He said, books have contributed in making India a culturally unique country.
Nearly 800 publishers from across the country and abroad are participating in it. About 20 countries including China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan and Iran are taking part in the Foreign Pavilion.
Posters and panels of some of the eminent women scholars of ancient and medieval India, and women pioneers of modern India will provide an intellectual ambiance to the presentation. Books on different genres like fiction, poetry, social science, and children’s literature are forming the main ingredients of the exhibition.
BUDGET SESSION OF PARLIAMENT TO BEGIN FROM JANUARY 31
Budget session of Parliament will start from 31st of this month. President Pranab Mukherjee has summoned both the Houses on this day. The session will conclude on 12th April.
NAIDU TERMS DEMAND OF OPPOSITION PARTIES TO DEFER BUDGET SESSION AS ANTI-PEOPLE
Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has termed the demand of opposition parties to defer the Budget Session as anti-people. Mr Naidu told reporters in New Delhi the Union Budget is for the country and is not state specific. He was responding to a question over opposition demand that the presentation of the Union Budget on 1st of next month, ahead of Assembly polls, be deferred till March 8, the last day of voting.
Mr Naidu said the opposition is afraid as their efforts of disinformation against the Narendra Modi government have failed and the latest disinformation of the opposition on demonetisation is boomranging on them.
He claimed that even in Uttar Pradesh there is a massive support for demonetisation because of which the opposition parties are rattled. Asked about the feud in Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Naidu said BJP will contest the UP election on the issue of development.
NRIS CAN EXCHANGE OLD 500 & 1,000 RUPEES NOTES AT RBI OFFICES TILL 30TH OF JUNE
Indian citizens, who are not residing in the country, will be able to exchange their old 500 and 1,000 rupees notes at RBI offices till the 30th of June.
In a statement, the External Affairs Ministry has said, the provision to exchange the notes would be subject to the regulations of the notification of Foreign Exchange Management Regulations, 2015 which put the limit of bringing back currency into the country at 25,000 rupees per person.
The announcement comes a day ahead of the three-day-long Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention in Bengaluru which is expected to be attended by overseas Indians from across the world.
JAITLEY TERMS DEMONETISATION AS CRIPPLING BLOW TO TERROR, FAKE CURRENCY NOTE RACKET, AND INSURGENT
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today presented Economic Resolution in the BJP National Executive Meet, which focused primarily on demonetisation. Briefing media in New Delhi, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, the Finance Minister clearly explained the objectives of the government in demonetising higher value currency during the meet.
She said, the Executive unanimously agreed that demonetisation was a historic step. She said, the objective of demonetisation was to contain black money which was an election promise of BJP during Lok Sabha elections. The Minister said, demonetisation was a crippling blow to terror, Fake Currency Note racket, and insurgents.
Ms Sitharaman said, the Finance Minister also explained difference between 1997 Amnesty scheme by the then government, and the Income Declaration scheme during the meet. She said, government is constantly taking steps to ease hardships faced by farmers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the valedictory session of the National Executive meet in New Delhi this evening. Mr Modi and party President Amit Shah jointly inaugurated the 2-day meeting last evening. The national executive hailed the Prime Minister’s initiatives of demonetisation and surgical strikes as bold steps.
The party said, it has snatched the pro-poor plank of Congress and other parties and the poor are now backing Mr Modi. This was stated by Mr Shah in his inaugural address.
Our correspondent reports that senior party leaders, Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states are taking part in the meet.
PEOPLE’S FAITH, PATIENCE & SUPPORT HAS STRENGTHENED DETERMINATION OF GOVT: ARUN JAITLEY
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said, opposition’s negative agenda against demonetisation failed to yield any result as the people of the country stood behind the Prime Minister’s bold initiative as a solid rock. He said, even after 50 days of demonetization, there was not a single major incident and no loss of public property which reflect people’s patience and support.
In the economic resolution adopted at the BJP National Executive meeting in New Delhi today, Mr Jaitley said, people’s faith, patience and support has strengthened the determination of the Government to fight the parallel economy, fake currency along with the evils of corruption and terrorism.
Briefing media in New Delhi, Union Minister and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman said the Finance Minister clearly explained the objectives of the government in demonetising higher value currency notes. Quoting Mr Jaitley, she said the objective of demonetisation was to contain black money which was an election promise of BJP during Lok Sabha elections.
Ms Sitharaman said the Finance Minister mentioned that in November, the States’ revenue have increased and as such revenue growth has not suffered post- demonetisation and country’s formal economy will grow. She said, Mr Jaitley also mentioned about India’s agreement with Switzerland and other countries in sharing of information on assets parked there which will help tax evasion.
Ms Sitharaman said the Finance Minister also explained difference between 1997 Amnesty scheme by the then government, and the Income Declaration scheme . She said government is constantly taking steps to ease hardships faced by farmers. She said Prime Minister has also announced recently some new schemes and incentives to provide relief to the people.
The two day meet will conclude with the valedictory address of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening. The national executive which began yesterday hailed the Prime Minister’s initiatives of demonetisation and surgical strikes as bold steps. The party said, it has snatched the pro-poor plank of Congress and other parties and the poor are now backing Mr Modi. This was stated by Mr Shah in his inaugural address.
PM MODI ANNOUNCES PRAVASI KAUSHAL VIKAS YOJANA AT PBD CONVENTION
Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that Government will shortly launch a skill development program – Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana – targeted at Indian youth seeking overseas employment.
At Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the overseas Indian community to convert their PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) cards to OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) cards. Addressing the main convention of 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru today, Mr Modi said, the government has extended the deadline for the conversion of cards from 31st December 2016 to 30th June 2017 without any penalty.
JAIPUR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL BEGINS
The ninth edition of Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) began in Jaipur tonight in the presence of renowned film makers.
The ceremony opened with tributes to veteran actor Om Puri who died of a massive heart attack yesterday.
Speaking at the ceremony, South Indian film maker Hariharan said that the future of film festivals in the country is bright and such events should be promoted to encourage budding film makers.
INTERNATIONAL KITE FESTIVAL BEGINS AT AHMEDABAD
In Gujarat, a week long international Kite festival is being held at Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani inaugurated the festival this morning.
As many as two thousand students from the schools run by the Municipal Corporation performed ‘suryanamaskar’ this morning during the opening ceremony of the festival.
PM MODI, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER DISCUSS DEFENCE, TERRORISM
Seeking to give a greater momentum to the Indo-French strategic relationship, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault today discussed a wide spectrum of issues, including defence and terrorism. The French side said the bilateral ties should move forward with the speed of a Rafale fighter jet.
During the talks between Mr Modi and Mr Ayrault on the sidelines of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Bengaluru, both leaders had considerable discussions on international terrorism of which the two countries are victims.
Briefing media in Bengaluru, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, both leaders reaffirmed close strategic partnerships between the two countries and deliberated upon several issues including bilateral relations in defence and international terrorism.
Swarup also said both the leaders had a comprehensive drill on bilateral relations in defence and Mr Modi reiterated upon Make In India in defence.
The two leaders also discussed about the cooperation in civil energy with specific reference to Jaitapur nuclear plant. Noting that India has various defence needs, Mr Ayrault speaking to media said, India needs subamarines, fighter aircrafts, helicopeters and everything was discussed all of these.
In September last year, India had inked a 59,000 crore rupees deal with France for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear weapons and equipped with latest missiles that will give the IAF greater potency.
PIYUSH GOYAL TO UNVEIL WORLD’S LARGEST STREET LIGHT REPLACEMENT PROGRAMME IN SDMC TODAY
Power Minister Piyush Goyal will unveil world’s largest street light replacement programme in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) area today. Mr Goyal will also launch a mobile app called Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) Complaint App for SDMC, wherein users can now lodge complaints about faulty street lights. AIR Correspondent reports that street Lighting National Programme (SLNP), currently running in the SDMC area is the World’s Largest Street Light Replacement Programme where two lakh LED lights will replace inefficient lamps.
Additionally in Delhi, under Phase II of the street lighting programme, EESL has signed a tripartite agreement with BSES and SDMC to install 75,000 more street lights with more focus on installation in parks. The SLNP programme is presently running in more than 14 states. A total of 15.36 lakh street lights have already been replaced in the country with LED bulbs. This programme save energy of over 20 crore kWh, avoiding capacity of nearly 51 MW and reducing around 1.7 lakh tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum.
MINISTRY OF ROAD TRANSPORT & HIGHWAYS ORGANISES 28TH ROAD SAFETY WEEK
With the objective to sensitise people about road safety, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is organizing 28th edition of Road Safety Week from today to 15th of this month.
Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari this morning flagged off the Road Safety Walk at India Gate in New Delhi. On the occasion, Mr Gadkari asked people to report about accident prone areas and appealed to remain vigilant. He advised people to be responsible and stay safe.
The ministry has already been organising workshops in the states with different stakeholders to sensitise them about road safety. So far, workshops have been organised in Bihar, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Assam, Rajasthan and Puducherry and the participation has been very encouraging. The ministry is also running road safety campaigns through social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Two mobile apps e-Challan and m-Parivahan will also be launched during the week. Countrywide essay writing competitions on the topic of road safety will be organised for school children.
CENTRE TO PROVIDE INCENTIVE TO BEST PERFORMING STATES UNDER UDAY
The Centre will soon come out with a policy to provide incentive to best Performing states under Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana,UDAY. Under it, some incentive will be provided to them to create infrastructure for electricity. Power Minister said this after signing of a MoU for UDAY scheme between Ministry of Power and Tamil Nadu Government.
The scheme was launched last year to ensure a permanent and sustainable solution to the debt- ridden power distribution utilities to achieve financial stability and growth. Mr Goyal said, now Tamil Nadu has become 21st state to join the scheme. Mr Goyal said, the State will benefit immensely through the scheme and ensuring power to all. He mentioned that the State government will also save 11 thousand crore rupees in next three years under it.
He said, the LED bulbs and tubes which are being distributed under UJALA scheme will help consumers reduce their electricity bills. Mr Goyal said, the Centre is committed to provide affordable and quality electricity to all by 2019. On the occasion, Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise, Tamil Nadu was also present.
CHIEF OF AIR FORCE STAFF B S DHANOA CALLS ON PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI
Chief of Air Force Staff Birender Singh Dhanoa today called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. This was Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa first meeting with Mr Modi after he took over as Air Force chief.
AUROBINDO PHARMA TO BUY PORTUGAL’S GENERIS FOR 135 MN EURO
Aurobindo PharmaBSE 1.03 % today said it has inked a pact to acquire Portugal’s Generis Farmaceutica SA from Magnum Capital Partners for a consideration of 135 million euros (around Rs 969 crore).
The company has inked a binding agreement through its wholly-owned subsidiary Agile Pharma BV Netherlands to acquire Generis Farmaceutica for a total consideration of 135 million euros, AurobindoBSE 1.03 % Pharma said in a statement.
Generis produces and sells pharma products in Portugal. “The acquisition of Generis, by leveraging its strong portfolio and unrivalled brand recognition will allow us to establish ourselves as the top generics player in the Portuguese market,” Aurobindo SVP European Operations V Muralidharan said.
DELHI-MUMBAI FLYERS CAN NOW CHECK IN UP TO 50 KILOS IN THIS AIRLINE
Air India has enhanced free check-in baggage allowance for passengers flying between Delhi and Mumbai on its newly-launched Boeing 747 service to 40kg and 50 kg for economy and business classes, respectively.
Currently, AI allows 25kg of free check-in baggage in economy class and 35kg in business class compared to 15 kg offered by other airlines.
AI recently started operating two daily flights of its jumbo jet on the Mumbai-Delhi route and two on the Delhi-Mumbai route. The B-747 flights are in addition to the numerous other flights AI operates between Delhi and Mumbai on its narrow body Airbus A-320 fleet.
VODKA PLANT TO COME UP IN DRY GUJARAT?
The state may have tightened the noose around tipplers by enforcing a stricter prohibition law, but the government has received a rather unusual proposal for setting up a vodka plant and distillery unit in ‘dry’ Gujarat.
The proposal comes from a lesser known industrial house, SBM group, which has listed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
SBN Group has proposed to set up one vodka plant where the spirit will be made using potatoes grown abundantly in Gujarat and one distillery as part of its mega food park in Ahmedabad district involving estimated investment of Rs 5,000 crore.
Among other planned facilities in the food park are cold storage chain, fruit and vegetable by-products manufacturing unit. The MoU has been filed under agro and food processing sector.
WHY INDIA MIGHT NOT ACHIEVE ITS 2020 RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGETS
In April 2016, Piyush Goyal, the Power and Renewable Energy Minister, reiterated that India’s solar power target — 100 GW by 2022 — was achievable, but an IndiaSpend analysis shows that this expansion is challenged by weak infrastructure and a lack of cheap financing.
To achieve its targets, India must add 130.76 GW of renewable energy over the next six years, an average of 21.7 GW per year or, three times the capacity it added in 2016.
This target is crucial for India in achieving its goal to reduce global warming — by the year 2100, the earth’s temperature could increase by an average of 1.8 degrees Celsius, in the best scenario, and four degrees Celsius.
DELHI METRO PHASE-IV TO COST RS 50,000 CRORE, WILL TAKE SIX YEARS
Months after it gave in-principle approval to Phase-IV of the Metro project, the Delhi government has finally given the cabinet nod to the same. There will be six corridors, measuring 103 km, under this project and they will be built at a cost of Rs 50,000 crore, deputy CM Manish Sisodia announced on Friday .
Phase-IV will be monitored closely , said Sisodia. “The project is scheduled to take six years to be completed. We have asked that DMRC give a monthly progress report to the Delhi government once the work on Phase-IV starts,” he added.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the decision would “go a long way” in reducing congestion and pol lution in the city . “A big decision by Cabinet today ,” he tweeted.
VISTARA AIRLINES MAY ADVANCE OVERSEAS SOJOURNS
Vistara, joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, has taken up the launch of overseas services with its board and may start flying abroad earlier than as planned in June 2018.
“We do not rule out going international before the earlier announced time,” Vistara CEO Phee Teik Yeoh told ET.
He added that the international launch plan is at the discussion stage hasn’t been approved. “We have approached our airline board with the international plan and we are refining it. The plan is not approved yet and will require funding from promoters,” he said, without sharing additional details.
Vistara, which completes two years of domestic operations on January 9, has maintained that it would like to start flying overseas as early as possible.
FOREIGN CARMAKERS, INCLUDING FORD, AUDI, BMW, WANT INDIANS TO LEAD LOCAL SHOW
You need an Indian in the driving seat to succeed in India. Foreign carmakers seem to have reached this conclusion after expat chief executives fumbled and failed to make a dent in the country’s highly competitive and price sensitive auto market.
As many as five global carmakers have named or are in the process of naming Indians or Indian-origin executives to lead their show in India, an indication of their increasing reliance on the more rooted local talent.
ET has learnt that US auto major Ford Motor Co and German luxury carmaker BMW Group have been aggressively searching for Indians to lead and manage their local operations. This comes as German luxury carmaker Audi AG named NRI Rahil Ansari as head of its India arm effective February 1. Ansari succeeds Australian Joe King, who has returned to Germany after a 3-year stint.
IBM INVENTORS RECEIVED RECORD-BREAKING 8,000 PLUS US PATENTS IN 2016
IBM announced that it broke the US patent record with 8,088 patents granted to its inventors in 2016, marking the 24th consecutive year of innovation leadership. In India, IBM inventors contributed 658 patents to IBM’s record breaking US patent total.
IBM’s 2016 patent output covers a diverse range of inventions in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, cognitive health, cloud, cyber security and other strategic growth areas for the company. IBM inventors were granted more than 22 patents per day in 2016, enabling the company to become the first to surpass 8,000 patents in a single year. IBM researchers, engineers, and designers generated more than 2,700 patents for inventions related to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing.
“Leading the world in innovation for 24 years in a row is a result of IBM’s unmatched commitment to innovation and R&D–reflected in this year’s new US patent record, breaking the 8,000 barrier for the first time,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO. “We are deeply proud of our inventors’ unique contributions to discovery, science and technology that are driving progress across business and society and opening the new era of cognitive business.”
HUBBLE DETECTS ‘SHADOW PLAY’ CAUSED BY POSSIBLE PLANET
Washington, Jan 10 (IANS) NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a “shadow play” caused by a possible planet that is moving counter clockwise around a gas-and-dust disk encircling a young star.
Searching for planets around other stars is a tricky business. They’re so small and faint that it’s hard to spot them.
But a possible planet in a nearby stellar system may be betraying its presence in a unique way – by a shadow.
A team of astronomers led by John Debes of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland said the shadow is spotted in the stellar system TW Hydrae – located 192 light years away in the constellation Hydra.
The star is roughly 8 million years old and slightly less massive than our Sun.
“This is the very first disk where we have so many images over such a long period of time, therefore allowing us to see this interesting effect,” Debes said. “That gives us hope that this shadow phenomenon may be fairly common in young stellar systems.”
NATMO LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST ATLAS FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Making maps accessible for the visually impaired is not simple and the world’s first completely mass-manufactured atlas for those deprived of sight has been produced in India. Making use of maps comes so very normally to us but for the millions of visually impaired people of the world, maps were like finding a needle in a haystack.
The Department of Science and Technology has launched an atlas ”tailor-made” for the unsighted. For the first time, visually impaired can get a sense of what India looks like.
In most blind people the physical sensation is given more prominence to compensate for the loss of vision. The way out was to make a map that could be felt rather than be looked at. The National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO) located in Kolkata created this unique atlas after years of struggle and hard work.
PAKISTAN AND CHINA REMAIN INDIA’S BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR 2017
In 2017 our foreign policy challenges will essentially be those of 2016. Our principal external challenges are known as we have grappled with them for decades without success. In some ways, these challenges sharpened in 2016, and 2017 will, therefore, test our foreign policy mettle even more.
In 2016 we moved away from the passivity of the past in dealing with our principal adversaries. We want to change the rules of the game in our neighborhood, hitherto played at our cost because caution and even timidity have governed our responses.
The challenge in 2017 would be steadfastness in the new course, for which political stamina and strong domestic consensus will be needed.
Some quarters have begun to criticize the government for mismanaging our relations with China.
We are told that China’s GDP is five times ours, its military budget is much larger and that the gap between the two countries is now unbridgeable.
INDIAN, FRENCH SPACE AGENCIES INK PACT ON SATELLITE LAUNCH TECHNOLOGY
Indian Space Research Organisation and French Space agency (CNES) today signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology.
The agreement was signed between ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall in the presence of visiting French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault.
Space cooperation between France and India spans over 50 years and is one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French strategic partnership.
Ayrault, accompanied by the French delegation, was given a guided tour of ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network) by the ISRO chairman, according to a French Consulate release here.
ISTRAC monitors Indian space missions, including the two Indo-French satellites currently in orbit for collecting data to track climate change.
ISRO is the second partner of CNES, in terms of volume, after NASA. Of comparable size and sharing similar objectives, the space programmes of both countries are complementary, it was noted.
INDIAN NAVY $5 BILLION MCMV PROGRAM HITS ROADBLOCK
Indian Navy’s $5 billion program to build 12 high-tech new generation mine counter-measure vessels (MCMVs) has run into rough weather, as Kangnam Corporation of South Korea virtually refuses to provide a performance guarantee for supervision of construction of the vessels by state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd.
The design and technology transfer agreement worth over $ 1 billion with Kangnam Corporation for 12 MCMVs in India is “not in sight as of now” an MoD official added. “There are several parameters of the technology transfer which need to be finalized before the agreement with Kangnam is signed.”
“The real bone of contention is we want full intellectual property rights of the MCMVs which is not acceptable to the selected design and technology partner,” the MoD official disclosed.
No executive of Kangnam Corporation was available for comment.
MoD official noted that since an additional order of 12 MCMVs is likely to top the existing order of 12 to Goa shipyard the negotiations with the South Korean company will cover large parameters of technology transfer.
INDIA’S ARTILLERY GUN ‘DHANUSH’ BEGINS USER TRIALS
A total of six guns are being tested by the Indian Army under the aegis of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps and the Leh-based 14 Corps.
A production-level prototype is being tested and this is supposed to be the last lap of trials before the Ordnance Factory Board starts it bulk production. “The guns are doing well, but results in a tabulated form are awaited,” sources told Tribune India on Sunday.
The first three guns of the production-level prototype underwent four-month trial from June to September. Three more other guns were to be added and the entire lot will be tested in high-altitude winter conditions.
Dhanush 155 MM/45 calibre gun is based on the 1980s’ Bofors FH-77B/39 Calibre artillery gun design and aided by the transfer of technology (ToT) clause signed with the Swedish company AB Bofors of Sweden.
The Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, drawn in 1999, aims to acquire 2,800-3,000 155 mm/52-calibre guns of all kinds and 155 mm/39-calibre lightweight howitzers by 2027.
Dhanush guns will be showcased during a Republic Day parade this January 26.
INDIA’S FIRST RAFALE FIGHTER JET SQUADRON TO REPLACE MIG-27S
India has planned to base its first squadron of Rafale fighter jets in the eastern sector as part of policy to eventually build nuclear and conventional deterrence against China.
The IAF has now already confirmed its plans for the first 18 Rafales to be stationed at the Hasimara airbase in Bengal from late-2019, Times Of India reported today.
Under the Rs 59,000 crore (7.87 billion euro) deal signed with France in September 2016, the Indian Air force will be receiving 36 Rafales in batches by mid-2022.
The fighter, with 14 India-specific requirements, is capable of “cold start” from high-altitude regions. Moreover, the Rafale can carry 9.3-tonne of weapons and simultaneously can perform both air defence and ground attack missions.
The Hasimara airbase currently has MiG-27s that will be retired over the next two-three years. They will be replaced by Rafales. A team from Dassault Aviation has already visited Hasimara to review the maintenance and other infrastructure required there,” said an official.
“The Sarsawa base (Uttar Pradesh), among other places, is being considered for the second Rafale squadron.
OBAMA SELECTS FOUR INDIAN-AMERICANS FOR PRESIDENTIAL AWARDS
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday chose four Indian-American scientists for the highest honour given by the US government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The honour is recognition for keeping the US on the cutting edge with their innovations.
These scientists are Pankaj Lal from Montclair State University, Kaushik Chowdhury from Northeastern University, Manish Arora from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Aradhna Tripati from University of California, Los Angeles.
AMONG PRAVASI DIVAS AWARDEES: PORTUGAL PM, ORGANISERS OF PM’S US EVENTS
A woman from Bhopal who, 40 years ago, set up the first school for the Indian community in Saudi Arabia, a first-generation American woman born to Gujarati immigrant parents who is assistant secretary of state in the US state department, the Indian-origin PM of Portugal, leaders of the Hindu community in the US who also helped organise PM Narendra Modi’s 2014 visit to the US are among 30 winners of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.
The awards for outstanding diaspora citizens were announced on Monday at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. The awards were presented by President Pranab Mukherjee at the conclusion of the event.
For the first time, an Indian woman living in Saudi Arabia was awarded the Samman. Zeenat Musarrat Jafri, who along with her husband set up the first Indian school in Riyadh in 1982, was awarded for her contribution to the education of the Indian community. Originally from Bhopal, Jafri was the founding principal of the Indian International Public School in Riyadh.
VIVA GOA PRESENTS FOOD, TRAVEL & HOSPITALITY AWARDS 2017
Lifestyle magazine Viva Goa celebrated its first Food, Travel & Hospitality Awards 2017 on January 4 at Grand Hyatt Goa. Supported by Goa Tourism, the awards recognised the contribution made by the tourism and hospitality industry in Goa and honoured its best performers.The Viva Goa Food, Travel & Hospitality lifetime achievement award was conferred on chairman and managing director of Alcon Victor Group Victor Albuquerque by the chief guest, Governor Mridula Sinha.
There were 11 awards presented in different categories, decided by votes from a special jury and trade professionals. Grand Hyatt Goa, Bambolim, walked away with two prestigious awards, for the best luxury resort and the best MICE hotel. The other winners included Hyatt Place Candolim (best mid-market hotel), The Park Calangute (best boutique hotel), Hard Rock Café Calangute (best debut hotel), Heritage Village Club Arossim (best local independent hotel), Rio Rico at Hotel Mandovi (best Goan cuisine within a hotel), Chilli & Spice at Hotel Fidalgo (best restaurant within a hotel category) and Welcome Heritage Hotel Panaji (best hotel incorporating Goan architecture).
Awards were also given to airlines operating in Goa. Indigo Airlines was named the best domestic airline while Qatar Airways bagged the award for best international airline.The audience was entertained by a dance performance by Prince Dance Group, winners of India’s Got Talent season 1. [NT]