The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Ram Naik, has approved allocation of additional quantities of Kerosene, LPG and setting up of temporary petrol pumps to meet the demand arising out of the forthcoming Mahakumbha Mela at Allahabad. The Mahakumbha Mela is being held in the holy city of Allahabad, on the confluence of Ganges and Yamuna rivers from 1.12.2000 to 31.3.2001.

    The additional allocation of kerosene approved by Shri Ram Naik is 11000 kilo litres. This quantity will be released in phases, depending upon the demand from the pilgrims, during the Mela period. The Government of U.P. had requested for additional allocation of Kerosene to meet the needs of lakhs of pilgrims who are expected to visit the Mela to have a dip in the sacred rivers during the auspicious occasion of Mahakumbha.

    The Minister has also directed the oil marketing PSUs to arrange for 3,00,000 (three lakh) LPG additional gas refills and additional temporary connections to meet the demand during the Mela period. In order to meet the demand of transport fuels generated by additional vehicular movement the oil marketing PSUs have been advised to establish temporary petrol pumps at the locations decided by the Government of UP at six places in Allahabad. The oil marketing PSUs will operate these temporary petrol pumps on Company Owned Company Operated (COCO) basis up to 31.3.2001.






    The Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund is expected to be created by levying 5% revenue from National Long Distance operators. However, with Government control, the dominant operator will provide the major part of the USO. The Government is committed to provide the services in the unviable areas by increasing the volumes in the viable areas. But the best option is to increase the rural market base with a long term economic perspective. These remarks were made by the Chairman, Telecom Commission, Shri Shyamal Ghosh in his key note address at a Seminar on ‘Telecommunication Reforms in India’ organised by the Asia Pacific Research Centre, Stanford University in San Francisco. Shri Ghosh said that with the formation of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) the biggest task is to maintain affordability of services while providing rural services. He said that due to competition in the telecom sector, the players will follow best commercial practices. In such a scenario, Universal Service will be a challenging task to accomplish and as the tele-density in India is low, the challenge is bigger, he added.

    Shri Ghosh said that the BSNL is going to play an important and dominating role in achieving the objectives of the New Telecom Policy-1999 (NTP-99). However, BSNL will have to reconstruct its business strategies based on best commercial principles, he added. Stating that the new Corporation alongwith MTNL and VSNL will utilise the synergy to open up new vistas for operations in other countries, Shri Ghosh said that the new organisational characteristics will develop only by going in for strategic alliances.

    The Chairman said that the broad framework for enacting a comprehensive Statute to take care of convergence and replace the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 is under finalisation which will cover both carriage and content of transmitted information. This will be a major step forward in the development of national infrastructure for an information based society, he added.

    The telecom sector in India has reached the stage where the environment for private sector participation has been maximised with the reform cycle on the verge of completion. Stating that India is likely to emerge a strong force in telecom and IT areas, Shri Ghosh said that in a ten year perspective of India’s telecom sector, the tele-density will increase five folds and the traffic volume many times more than that. Shri Ghosh said that the telecom R&D in India has tremendous potential due to future growth of convergence services. The prowess of IT sector in India adds to the bright opportunity for the industry to set up R&D sides in India, he added.

    Observing that the technology development activities are spearheaded by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) he said that this autonomous body has developed a wide range of Digital Switching System for rural and urban applications. He said that the switches developed by C-DOT are also being used in about 20 developing countries other than India.





    The Department of Company Affairs (DCA) has advised the corporate sector in general that from this financial year onward, the companies should adhere to the relevant provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 in the matter of payment of remuneration to the managerial personnel both in letter and spirit. In a circular issued to all Chambers of Commerce, Regional Directors, Registrars of Companies, the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, the Government has said that if for any justifiable reasons, it is proposed to pay remuneration in excess of Schedule XIII of the Companies Act, it should be timely resolved in the Board meeting. The Board resolution should clearly justify the increase giving sustainable adequate reasons for payment of remuneration in excess of the amount indicated in the Schedule.

    The companies have been advised further that the applications for Government approval should also be submitted well in time. No payment of remuneration in excess of the limit under the Schedule XIII should be made till the Government order is received.

    In this connection, the Department has directed Auditors of the companies, who audit its accounts, to ensure that remuneration to the managerial personnel is not paid in excess of the limit under Schedule XIII without necessary approvals. The Company Secretary has been asked to play a constructive role in ensuring that the matters relating to managerial remuneration are dealt with in the company within the stipulated time frame.

    The Government’s direction follows a plethora of complaints that some companies are making payment of remuneration to their managerial personnel in excess of the ceilings prescribed in Schedule XIII of the Companies Act, on their appointment, re-appointment or by way of mid-term increase in remuneration without seeking the approval of the Central Government in the DCA. Besides, applications seeking the approval of the Central Government are submitted after a considerable lapse of time. Added to this, in some cases applications were submitted to the Government for waiver of excess of remuneration after the managerial personnel had already resigned, retired and left the country.






    The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will hold open House Discussion on "Policy issues relating to Limited Mobility by use of Wireless in Local Loop Techniques in the Access Network by Basic Service Providers" at Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and Delhi as per programme given below:

Date Venue Time


‘Ritz Hotel’, 5 Jamshedji Tata Road, Church Road, Mumbai-400 020. 1100 hours to 1330 hours


Hotel ‘Savera’, Dr. Radha Krishnan Road, Chennai-600 004. 1100 hours to 1330 hours


Hotel ‘The Park’, 17 Park Street, Calcutta. 1100 hours to 1330 hours


Hotel ‘Samrat’ Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. 1500 hours

    The discussion will be based on TRAI’s Consultation Paper No.2000/5-FN dated 3rd November 2000. The Consultation Paper is available on TRAI’s website www.trai.gov.in. Issues posed for public consultation will also be available at the venue of the Open House Discussion.



‘1’ + `3’


    The President, Shri K.R. Narayanan and the Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee have greeted the people on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

    In his message, Shri Narayanan said, "on the auspicious occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji, I convey my heartiest greetings to all my fellow citizens.

    May the eternally relevant teachings of the great Guru find their application in our daily lives".

    In a separate message, the Prime Minister expressed the hope that Guru Nanak Devji’s message of compassion, brotherhood and tolerance will continue to guide us to tread the path of virtuous life.





    A three-day (November 13-15,2000) Training Programme on GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) aimed at training certifying officers of various agencies authorised to give Certificates of Origin (CO) to exporters for the purpose of obtaining tariff concessions for their products under GSP from the importing countries is being organised here by the Export Inspection Council of India (EIC), a body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Shri Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, would inaugurate the Programme on the 13th of this month.

    GSP is a non-contractual instrument by which industrially developed countries extend tariff concession to goods originating in developing countries and the objectives of the system are to assist developing countries in increasing their export earnings; in promoting their industrialisation; and in accelerating their rates of growth. The System offers the developing countries a more preferential tariff compared to that given to developed countries in order to enable a more favourable access to the developed country markets for exports originating from developing countries. It involves reduced MFN (Most Favoured Nation) tariff or duty-free treatment of eligible products exported by developing countries like India. The principles underlying GSP were formally accepted in March 1968 during the 2nd UNCTAD Conference held in New Delhi and the system was first put into operation in 1971.

    The GSP benefits exports from India by way of reduction or removal of import duty on Indian products making them more competitive in overseas markets. Presently, 29 developed countries are offering preferential tariff treatment to the eligible Indian goods through 15 schemes. Each scheme prescribes its own rules and regulations for determining eligibility of a product for preferential treatment. The Certificate of Origin form filled in by the exporter and certified by an authorised governmental agency is accepted by all countries as evidence of origin for according concessions. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the administrative ministry for such authorisations.






    Mr. Yang Jingyu, Minister in the the Legal Affairs Division of the Peoples Republic of China, heading a six-member Chinese delegation, met Shri Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Commerce, here yesterday and agreed with Shri Abdullah that cooperation between India and China would help make the World Trade Organisation (WTO ) rules suitable for the developing countries in general. The Chinese Minister referred in particular to the efforts of some countries to bring non-trade issues like labour standards into the WTO and the need for India and China to cooperate in resisting such attempts. Shri Abdullah enquired about the progress being made in China's accession to the WTO and expressed the hope that China's entry into the WTO would become a reality soon. India and China together account for more than one-third of the humanity and could be a formidable force in taking up the cause of developing countries in the WTO forum. Recalling the visit of Shri Murasoli Maran, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, to China in February, 2000, Shri Abdullah mentioned that the success of the Special Economic Zones in China had inspired the setting up of similar Zones in India. Referring to the changes in legislation necessitated by joining the WTO, Shri Abdullah stated that since India was among the original members of the GATT since 1948, Indian laws were broadly in conformity with the GATT/WTO and hence, only limited changes were required on our joining the WTO. Shri Abdullah also took the opportunity to indicate that the visit of a Chinese team of experts as agreed in the bilateral agreement for progressing towards a bilateral phyto-sanitary protocol was overdue and conveyed that India was looking forward to the visit of the team.

    The Chinese delegation is on an official visit to India from 8th to 13th November, with the objective of studying India's experiences on measures taken by the government to ensure both compliance with the WTO covered agreements and the enforcement of India's rights under the relevant WTO agreements, particularly the adjustment of domestic law to accommodate these needs. China's accession to the WTO has entered the final stages and China has concluded bilateral agreements with almost all the major trading members of the WTO. Currently, the Working Party for the accession of China to the WTO is discussing multilateralisation of the various bilateral agreements and finalisation of the Protocol of Accession and the Working Party Report, which are the major instruments of accession. China has to make it's laws conform to the WTO rules on it's accession.

    The delegation earlier also met Shri Nripendra Misra, Special Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Shri Misra stated that the entry of China to the WTO was timely in the sense that mandated negotiations in the areas of Services and Agriculture had just begun. Mandated review in the area of Trade Related Investment Measures - which was very important for the developing countries - was also on. China and India could together make progress in making developed countries accept the demands relating to implementation of Special and Differential Treatment for developing countries.





    Slow growth of demand and stiff competition in the steel sector demands the Induction Furnace (IF) Units in the country to improve their quality, enhance cost-reduction and be more accessible to consumers for their survival. Technological upgradation and timely investment in R&D measures are key to ensure more profit for these units. This was observed today by the Minister of Steel Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy while inaugurating the 15th Annual General Meeting and conference of the All India Induction Furnace Association.

    The Minister hailed the role of private sector that produces 65 per cent of the steel in the country. Induction Furnace Sector, an important sub-sector of the steel industry has contributed substantially to the production and availability and provided employment to the people. He asked the National Institute of Secondary Steel Technology (NISSI) set up under the Development Commissioner for iron and steel to assist the IF Units in taking up technology upgradation measures and to reduce their cost of production.

    Shri Tripathy expressed concern over en-block movement of the IF Units to new places that send confusing signals to the consumers. It also stands in the way of formulation of policies and planning linkages of raw materials, he said. The Minister urged the units to adopt environment –friendly technologies and work hard for sustainable development of this sector. He assured all Govt. help and cooperation for the improvement of this sector.

    The Minister released the Book "Performance Review for Iron and Steel 1999-2000"- annual agenda of the Joint Plant Committee of the Steel ministry and said that the book is a treasure of data on steel industry and will benefit the planners, policy makers, industrialists and the consumers.He presented the IF awards to the winners in different fields.

    Shri R.L. Bhatia, MP, Shri R.K.Prasannan, the Development Commissioner for Iron and Steel and Srhi Naveen Jindal also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the problems faced by the Induction Furnace Units in the country.





Subject: Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production and Use-based Index (Base 1993-94=100) for the month of September, 2000.

    The Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 1993-94 for the month of September, 2000 have been released by the Central Statistical Organisation. The General Index stands at 157.2 which is higher by 5.4% compared to the month of September, 1999.

    2. The Indices of Industrial Production for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for the month of September, 2000 stand at 123.6, 162.2, and 152.4 respectively, with the corresponding growths of 9.0%, 5.5% and 1.9% compared to the month of September, 1999. The cumulative growths during April-September, 2000-2001 over the corresponding period of 1999-2000 in the three sectors have been 6.6%, 5.6% and 3.4% respectively, with the overall growth in the General Index being 5.5%.

    3.Alongwith the Quick Estimates of IIP for September, 2000, the indices for August, 2000 have undergone the first revision and those for June, 2000 have undergone the second (final) revision based upon the updated data received from the source agencies. While in the mining index there is significant upward revision from 119.2 to 125.4 for June, 2000, there is no significant revision in the indices for the manufacturing and electricity sectors. For August, 2000 the indices of three sectors have undergone minor revisions.

    4. Fourteen out of seventeen two-digit industry groups have shown positive growth during the month of September, 2000 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. Metal Products and Parts, except Machinery and Equipment have shown the highest growth of 31.6% followed by 17.7% for Other Manufacturing Industries and 17.2% in Non-Metallic Mineral Products. On the other hand, Paper & Paper Products and Printing, Publishing & Allied Industries have shown a growth of –17.4% followed by a growth of –11.9% in Transport Equipment and Parts and –4.6% in Wood and Wood Products; Furniture and Fixtures.

    5.As per Use-based classification, the growth in September, 2000 as compared to September, 1999 is 5.9% in Basic goods, 5.2% in Intermediate goods and -2.7% in Capital goods. The Consumer durables and Consumer non-durables have recorded growth of 19.4% and 4.5% respectively, with the overall growth in Consumer goods being 8.2%

    6. Statements giving Quick Estimates of the Index of Industrial Production at the 2-digit level of National Industrial Classification (NIC-1987) and by Use-based classification for the month of September, 2000 alongwith the growth rates over the corresponding month of previous year including the cumulative indices and growth rates are enclosed.

** Note:

1. This Press release information is also available at the website of the Department - http://www.nic.in/stat .

2. The next release of the index i.e., for October, 2000 will be on Dec 11, 2000.





    At the closing plenary of the 13th four day session of the Indo-Bulgarian Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation held in New Delhi from 7th to 10th November, 2000 a Work Plan was signed today for the biennium 2000-01 for cooperation in the field of agricultural research and education. The Work Plan was signed between the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and the Bulgarian National Centre for Agrarian Sciences (BNCAS) in the presence of Agriculture Minister of India Shri Nitish Kumar and the Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture and Forestry H.E Mr. Ventsislav Varbanov, by Shri B.K Chauhan, Joint Secretary (DARE) and Secretary (ICAR) from Indian side and by Mr. Tzvetan Tzvetkov, Director General of the Bulgarian National Centre for Agrarian Science from the Bulgarian side.

    The Work Plan provides for activities of Joint Research Projects; exchange of study visits and training of scientists; exchange of plant and genetic resources and scientific information; organization and exchange of participants from ICAR and BNCAS in conferences, seminars, symposia and other scientific meetings in India Bulgaria.

    The Joint Research Projects are proposed in the field of improvement of buffaloes and goats and technologies for reading, development of efficient system for regeneration of tissue and cellular sunflower culture, implementation of new study and diagnosis of diseases, virus in animals.

    An agreement was also finalized for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology which is proposed to be signed in the near future. Both sides agreed to explore the possibilities for cooperation in the new areas such as chemicals and fertilizers, power, surface transport, steel and water resources.

    The discussions in the Joint Commission were held in three working groups viz. Agriculture and Related Sectors; Commerce, Industry, Electronics and Information Technology; and Science & Technology. Both sides expressed satisfaction for having meaningful and fruitful discussions which they hoped will usher in an era of increased mutual cooperation not only in agriculture sector but also in other important sectors of the economy like bilateral trade, tourism, transport, electronics, IT and science & technology.

    The Bulgarian Minister was accompanied by his wife Mrs. Kamelia Varbanov and a twelve member official delegation.





    India and Brazil have identified drugs and pharmaceuticals, information technology, engineering and various other sectors for greater cooperation and business tie-ups to give a further boost to bilateral trade between the two countries. This was the outcome of the deliberations held during the current visit to India of a business delegation led by Mr Esperidiao Amin Helou Filho, Governor of Santa Catarina- one of the leading states of Brazil.. During his stay here, the Governor met various Union Ministers such as External Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Chemicals & Fertilisers, Small Scale Industry, Rural Development and Health. The delegation also held separate meetings with the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and representatives of the Electronics and Software Export Promotion Council.

    The delegation, which was in India on the initiative of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, would also be visiting Bangalore where it would meet the Chief Minister of Karnataka and visit some drugs & pharmaceuticals, IT and engineering units.





   The Chairman & Managing Director of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd. (RCF), Shri D.K. Varma presented a cheque of Rs. 10.20 crore as dividend for the year 1999-2000 to the Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, here today. Secretary, Department of Fertilizers, Shri Ashok Pahwa and other senior officials from the Department were present on the occasion.

    The regularly dividend paying ‘Mini Ratna’, RCF is a MoU company with consistent ‘Excellent Rating’ for its outstanding performance over the years. It has achieved highest ever turn over of Rs.2,330 crore compared to Rs.2,160 crore during the previous year.

    The company has progressed well in the renovation and modernization of its existing plants at Trombay and Thal. From an estimated cost of Rs. 500 crore set aside for the purpose, Rs. 300 crore has already been spent. While technical upgradation has been taken up at Thal, major revamping has been carried out at its Trombay Unit which was set up in 1965. The process equipment and layout are being changed with energy efficiency, environmental friendly and safe technologies. This work is in its completion stage and RCF will be well equipped to take on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) challenges in the years to come.

    The company is planning to set up a joint venture for production of DAP in Rajasthan and a major expansion project at its Thal Unit to substantially increase its production and market share.

    Shri Dhindsa while accepting the Dividend Cheque complimented RCF for maintaining an excellent track record and hoped that the company would continue its endeavour in surpassing its own high standards.





    A six-member high powered Chinese delegation led by H.E. Yang Jingyu, Minister- in-Charge of Legislative Affairs of the Peoples Republic of China called on the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs and Shipping Shri Arun Jaitley here today and discussed with him the measures taken by the Government of India to ensure compliance of World Trade Organisation (WTO) covered agreements and adjustment of Indian laws in keeping with its regulations. They also discussed matters of mutual interest in the field of legal and judicial affairs especially in adjusting to the emerging globalisation of Indian economy.

    The Chinese delegation apprised the Government of India of the steps taken by China towards globalisation and market economy and adjustment of their legal and judicial system to meet such challenges. Responding, the Law Minister Shri Jaitley gave a broad outline of the legal measures that have been taken to meet the obligations under the WTO and further steps that were being taken by adjusting its laws to meet the emerging challenges of globalisation and market economy especially in the area of obligations under Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. The Law Minister also informed his Chinese counterpart how India was responding to the emerging challenges.

    Both the sides exchanged pleasantries and the discussions were held for half an hour in a cordial atmosphere.






    The Minister of Communications, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan has said that the possibility of a tie up between Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) and European Telecommunication Satellite Communications (EUTELSAT) could be explored and suggested that a meeting between the two may be arranged at a mutually convenient time. This emerged at a joint meeting between senior EUTELSAT officials and delegation from Government and industry led by Shri Paswan in Paris late last night. The Director General, EUTELSAT, Mr. Giuliano Berretta said that his organisation was looking for partnerships with Indian companies in the DTH broadcasting market which has just been opened in the country. He said that EUTELSAT is also looking for collaboration for the Internet multi-media and TV market in India.

    Shri Paswan said that there was immense scope for mutual cooperation between India and France in the telecom sector. He said that India would consider the offer by EUTELSAT for training of Indian engineers in France. The Minister stated that Information Technology had no meaning without telecom and emphasised the importance of easy availability of bandwidth both nationally and internationally.

    The Minister of Communications, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan met the Chairman of Autorite De Regulation Des Telecommunication (ART), Mr. Jean Michael Hubart. ART is a Regulatory Authority of France equivalent to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). At the meeting, the issue of cooperation between India and France in the regulatory area with the objective of developing expertise in regulation was discussed. Shri Paswan was also briefed how the regulator in France was addressing the issue of convergence, interconnectivity and tariffs. The Minister shared the Indian experience in regulation, especially the dispute settlement mechanism and recommendatory powers of TRAI.

    Shri Paswan was accompanied in these meetings by Additional Secretary, Department of Telecommunications and Secretary, Telecom Commission, Shri Dhanendra Kumar. The CII business delegation to France includes Chairman and Managing Director, Shyam Enterprises, Shri Rajiv Mehrotra, Vice Chairman, Zip Telecom Limited, Ravi kailas, Additional Director, ITI Limited, Shri Jagdish Devgan, General Manager, Hindustan Teleprinters Limited, Shri Sampath Kumar, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Shri T.V.Ramachandran and Senior Director, CII, Shri Dilip Chenoy.





    The Indian Railways earned an amount of Rs.19932.11 crore rupees from both goods and passenger traffic upto 31st October in the current financial year. This is an increase of 7.80 per cent as compared to the earnings of Rs.18490.71 crore during the corresponding period in last year. The increase in earnings from passenger traffic was 9.45 per cent. It was Rs. 5900.85 crore during the report period which was Rs.5391.55 crore during the corresponding period last year. The amount is 3.13 per cent more than the budget projections. The earnings from goods traffic was Rs.13298.86 crore during the same period which was Rs.12386.80 crore during the corresponding period in the last financial year.





    The Union Minister for Mines Shri Sundar Lal Patwa received a cheque from Shri P. Parvathisem, CMD, National Aluminium company (NALCO), towards dividend on the Government`s share, here in a meeting today. Nalco, a flagship PSU under the Ministry of Mines has paid final dividend which together with the interim dividend of 15% paid by the Company in May, 2000, adds up to 20% dividend for 1999-2000, on the paid up equity capital of Rs. 644.31 crore. The total pay out works out to Rs. 128.86 crores which is 25.91% of the profit after tax of Rs. 511.53 crore. Total dividend paid by Nalco towards dividend on Govt. share is Rs. 112.30 crore.

    During the financial year 1999-2000 , the performance of NALCO has been quite impressive with bauxite and alumina plants exceeding the rated capacity. Sales Turnover and Export Turnover too have been the highest. The most significant achievement has been the optimum capacity utilisation of 230,000 tonne of Smelter Plant. For the first time, all the 480 pots were put into operation during the year. This has resulted in the record metal production of 212,663 tonnes of metal.

    The Company’s Rs. 3700 crore expansion project is going on in full swing. First phase of alumina refinery has been commissioned in June, 2000, which takes its capacity from 8 lakh tonnes to 10.50 lakh tonnes per year. The final phase expansion of 15.75 lakh tonnes will be completed by April, 2001. The Company has already doubled its mining capacity from 24 lakh tonnes of 48 lakh tonnes. Similarly, the smelter capacity is being expanded from 230,000 tonnes of 345,000 tonnes.





    Shri Sundar Lal Patwa attended office here today, as the Union Minister for Mines. Shri Patwa was given the charge of the Ministry in the recent reshuffle of the Cabinet. Shri Patwa was earlier the Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers.

    Soon after assuming the charge, Shri Patwa was briefed by the Senior officials of Ministry of Mines about various concerns, operations and activities of the Ministry.

    A member of the Lok Sabha, Shri Patwa was elected to the Lower House of the Parliament in the 1999 General Elections from Hoshangabad constituency in Madhya Pradesh.





    The Minister of State for Human Resource Development (Women and Child Development), Smt. Sumitra Mahajan has asked the state governments to accord priority to women and child development programmes. Speaking at a review meeting of eight states on Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) projects at Mahabalipuram near Chennai today, she said no nation can progress without empowerment of women and development of children. She also asked the state governments to periodically review the working of the ICDS and the Women Self Help Groups, to remove impediments in the way of effective implementation of the programmes. The meeting was held to sensitise the States about the new initiatives taken by the centre in connection with the ICDS. The states represented at the meeting were Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

    Smt. Mahajan later visited a number of villages in the Chengalpattu district of Tamil Nadu to see the working of the Anganwadi centres and held meeting with the Self Help Groups organised by the Tamil Nadu Women Development Corporation.






    Defence Minister, Shri George Fernandes today underlined the need for more Coast Guard Stations, particularly on the West Coast, Southern sector on the East Coast and in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. "At least 10 stations from the Rann of Kutch to Calicut on the West Coast are required to be built in view of the security challenges", he added. In his opening remarks in the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the Defence Ministry here today, Shri Fernandes said that lack of funds stood in the way of realising the full potential of the Coast Guard. However, he said that the Coast Guard Development Plan 1997-2002 approved the construction of one Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel, 2 Fast Inshore Patrol Vessels, 2 Interceptor Boats, 6 Hovercraft, 7 Dorniers, 2 Chetaks and 2 Advanced Light Helicopters for which orders have been placed. Construction of one more Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel and 3 Pollution Control Vessels has also been approved and orders will be placed shortly for the Pollution Control Vessels.

    Listing out the achievements, the Defence Minister said that the Indian Coast Guard created a maritime history by capturing a pirated Japanese ship in November 1999. The joint exercise of the Coast Guards of India and Japan yesterday off the Chennai Coast was due to the initiative taken by India in seizing the pirated Japanese ship. He said during the last one year 65 foreign boats, including 16 Pakistani and 14 Sir Lankan with a total crew of 723 were detained. Shri Fernandes stressed that the Coast Guard is not only preventing crimes, on the high seas, but also becomes the fighting arm of the Navy during the times of war. Shri Fernandes also said that Indian Navy is the most powerful Navy in the region. The agreements with Russia place our Navy in an unassailable position, he added. The Defence Minister disclosed that the Government has decided to set up a tri-services Command in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands as it had received information about some poachers using the islands for smuggling of arms and narcotics and indulge in undesirable activities.

    A presentation on the structure, organisation and achievements of the Coast Guard was made by the Director General of the Coast Guard, Vice Admiral J C De Silva which was appreciated by most of the committee members. The members unanimously urged the Government to allot more funds for the Coast Guard and to strengthen the force in view of the country’s long coastline.

    Defence Secretary, Shri Yogendra Narain, Secretary, Defence Production and Supplies, Shri Ravindra Gupta, Additional Secretary, Shri Ajay Prasad, Financial Advisor (Defence Services), Shri P R Subramanian and Commander, Coast Guard Region (East), Commodore R S Vasan were present.

    The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for Defence Production and Supplies, Shri Harin Pathak and Members of Parliament, Shri T N Chaturvedi, Shri S Agniraj, Dr. Ranjan Prasad Yadav, Shri Khagen Das, Shri Chaudhary Chunni Lal, Shri K Kalavenkata Rao, Shri Kripal Parmar, Shri Balavant P Apte and Shri K B Krishna Murthy – all from Rajya Sabha and Shri Kunwar Akhilesh Singh, Dr. Nihal Chand, Dr. C Krishnan, Shri N N Krishnadas, Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, Smt. Jaishree Banerjee, Shri Hassan Khan, Shri Shyama Charan Shukla and Shri M Rajaiah – all from Lok Sabha.

    Later in the afternoon, the Defence Minister, the Minister of State for Defence Production and Supplies and the Members of Parliamentary Consultative Committee witnessed an exercise by the Coast Guard off Chennai Coast.





    Two expert committees, one for Kendriya Vidyalayas and the other for Navodaya Vidyalayas are to be set up to examine ways and means of improving and streamlining their management and functioning. The committees would be asked to submit their report within three months. This was disclosed by the Minister for Human Resource Development Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi while addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee of his ministry, here today. Dr. Joshi said that action would be taken on the recommendations of the Committee and see whether they can be implemented before the next session starts. The agenda of today's meeting was "Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan".

    Dr. Joshi told the meeting that despite some shortcomings in the functioning of these schools, their results were comparable with that of any private school. He said efforts are being made to evolve the Kendriya Vidyalayas as ideal schools in the country and a model school for the States and other institutions. He said special attention will be given to those in the North-Eastern Region. The Minister informed the committee that measures are already underway to look into the grievances of teachers of these schools including the transfer policy. The minister also disclosed that 20 Navodaya schools have been selected for strengthening their infrastructure to make them the best schools in sports also. Some of these are in the North-Eastern region.

    Twenty six more Kendriya Vidyalayas would come up next year and of these six will be in the North-Eastern States, Dr. Joshi said. At present there are 854 Kendriya Vidyalayas, out of which two are located in Kathmandu and Moscow. Encouraged by the success of Kendriya Vidyalayas abroad, more such schools are to be opened in other countries on self-financing basis, the Minister averred.

    The Minister revealed that pre-primary education has been introduced in 50 selected Kendriya Vidyalayas on self-financing basis during the current academic year. It is planned to extend the scheme to more Kendriya Vidyalayas in the coming years following their success. 319 Kendriya Vidyalayas have already been supplied with computers. The number would go up to 600 by March next year. The Minister told the members that all their suggestions will be looked into and action taken.

    Taking part in the discussions, the members demanded streamlining the functioning of the Kendriya Vidyalayas, a sound transfer policy, better student-teacher relationship, involvement of people's representatives in the management committee, allowing children other than that of government servants for admission in schools where the strength is low, a watch-dog committee for the Kendriya Vidyalayas and improvement of playground facilities.

    The members who attended include Shri Rajnath Singh 'Surya', Shri M. Sankaralingam, Dr. A.K. Patel, Shri W. Angou Singh (Rajya Sabha) and Shri Y.G. Mahajan (Lok Sabha).





    India and Bulgaria have signed an agreement on Science and Technology to enlarge and strengthen scientific cooperation. It was signed here today by the Minister for Human Resource Development and Science and Technology Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi and the visiting Bulgarian Minister for Agriculture and Forest Mr. Ventsislav Varbanov. So far, the two countries have been conducting scientific collaboration through the Indo-Bulgarian Joint Commission for economic, scientific and technical cooperation, to which Mr. Varbanov is the co-Chairman.

    The areas identified for cooperation include, metal sciences and new materials; alternate renewable energy sources including solar energy; geophysical instrumentation and earthquake engineering including its prediction; laser science and technology as well as astronomy. The two sides have agreed to conclude a new programme of cooperation in science and technology sometime next year.

    The agreement among other things provides for the establishment of a joint committee for scientific and technological cooperation. The two sides will also exchange scientists, researchers and specialists besides joint identification of scientific and technical problems.





    The 112th birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad will be observed tomorrow. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations observed the day by paying homage to the memory of the Maulana at his Mazaar Sharif near Jama Masjid by offering floral wreaths, as he was the founder President of the Council. The Prime Minister has deputed Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Minister of State for HRD to pay homage at the Mazar Sharif of Maulana Azad, on his behalf.





    The Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), one of the Defence Public Sector Undertakings, has paid a dividend of Rs.4.5 crores for the financial year 1999-2000 to the Government of India. The dividend warrant was handed over to Shri Ravindra Gupta, Secretary, Defence Production and Supplies, Department of Defence Production and Supplies, by BEML Chairman and Managing Director, Dr. K Aprameyan here today.

    BEML, established in 1964, has maintained a consistent track record of making profits since inception. It has paid dividend from its fourth year of operations. This is the 32nd dividend paid out by the company having attained Rs.1317 crores sales turnover and Rs.23.6 crores pre-tax profit.