INCIDENCE OF MALARIA IS ON THE DECREASE BY ABOUT 2.5 PER CENT THIS YEAR
The epidemiological situation of malaria in the country, has shown a decrease by 2.49 per cent in total malaria cases, as per reports received upto 25.9.99, as compared to the corresponding period of 1998.
As per reports received at Directorate of National Anti-Malaria Programme upto 28.9.99, 117 suspected cases of dengue with one death (from Tamil Nadu) have been reported from the States namely Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Rajasthan.
During September 1999, a total of 384 cases with 83 deaths due to
Japanese Encephalitis have been reported from the States as against 363 cases with 111
deaths during the corresponding period of 1998.
OVER 3 LAKH METRIC TONNES OF IODISED SALT DISTRIBUTED UNDER NATIONAL IODINE DEFICIENCY DISORDERS CONTROL PROGRAMME
Under the programme, a quantity of 3.10 lakh metric tonnes of iodised salt was produced and a quantity of 3.05 metic tonnes of iodised salt was distributed to various States and Union Territories during the month of June, 1999.
429 samples were drawn and analysed during August 1999, for iodine
content. The results of analysis have indicated that 79.02 per cent of the samples were
found to conform to the prescribed standards.
HIV POSITIVE CASES ARE ON THE HIGHER SIDE THIS YEAR
As on 30th September 1999, reports received from the various States/ Union Territories indicated that out of 35,34,049 samples screened so far, 88,775 were found to be HIV positive. During the corresponding period of 1998, out of 33,58,804 samples screened, 79,395 were found to be HIV positive.
For Phase II of the National AIDS Control Programme, an agreement
was signed between UNAIDS and Government of India for technical support to be provided for
next five years. Besides, an agreement was signed between World Bank (IDA) and Government
of India for 191.9 million American Dollars. Another agreement was also signed between
USAID and Government of India for AVERT PROJECT to be implemented in Maharashtra.
AWARENESS CAMPAIGN ON NATIONAL LEPROSY ERADICATION PROGRAMME IN FIVE STATES THROUGH ELECTRONIC MEDIA
The Project to operationalise awareness
campaign financed by Department for International Development/ British Broadcasting
Corporation Marshall Plan for the mind through Doordarshan/ All India Radio is underway.
This will concentrate on the five endemic States of U.P., M.P., Bihar, West Bengal and
Orissa. A review meeting of this project was held here, recently in which Health
Secretaries of these five States and senior officials of the Ministry of I & B
INDIAN DELEGATION LEFT FOR NEW YORK TO ATTEND THE CONFERENCE ON AYURVEDA
A two-member Indian delegation led by Smt. Shailaja Chandra, Secretary, Department of ISM& Homeopathy, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has left for United States of America on 28.10.99, to attend the two-day Conference on Ayurveda in New York on October 30 and 31, 1999 and visit to National Institute of Health, Washington.
The other member of the delegation is Dr. S.K.Sharma, Adviser
(Ayurveda) In-charge, in the Department of ISM&H, Ministry of Health and Family
GOVERNMENT DIRECTORS ON NIDHI COMPANIES
The Government has decided to appoint Government Directors on defaulting Nidhi Companies to reinforce confidence of depositors. This follows a recent tripartite meeting at Chennai wherein the Department of Company Affairs, Reserve Bank of India and Chamber of Nidhi discussed liquidity crunch faced by some Nidhi Companies there.
Meanwhile, fresh guidelines for tightening regulations in respect of Nidhi Companies are under formulation. The guidelines are expected to be issued shortly.
The Investors Protection Cell in the Department of Company Affairs settled 232 complaints of investors during September, 1999. The Investors Protection Cell was set up in 1998-99 for monitoring and redressal of complaints of investors from all over the country.
During September, 1999, the constitution of Committees on
Competition Law, Insolvency Law and Investor Protection Fund could not be announced
because of directions of the Election Commission. The Committees on Competition Law and
Insolvency Law have since been formed and announced. A Committee on Investor Protection
Fund is expected to be announced in near future.
BIODATA OF DR. RAMAN SINGH, MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
Name - Dr. Raman Singh
Fathers name - Shri Vighnaharan Singh
Date of Birth - October 15, 1952
Academic details - B.Sc. BAMS
Experience - 1990-1992 - MLA
- 1993-1998 - MLA
- 1996 to till date- B.J.P. Pradesh Mantri
Lok Lekha Samiti
(Public Account Committee)
Editor of Vidhayani Magazine
BIODATA OF SHRI OMAR ABDULLAH
MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMERCE & INDUSTRY
Name - Sh. Omar Abdullah
Date of birth - 10th March 1970
Address - 40, Gupkar Road, Srinagar, Kashmir)
Permanent Address - C-1/29, Pandara Park, New Delhi.
Marital status - Married
- Schooling from
Burn Hall School, Srinagar (J&K)
Lawrence School , Sanawar (H.P.)
Mumbai B.Com. (Hon.)
Extra-Curricular Activities :
'43' SHRI S.K. TRIPATHI TAKES OVER AS SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF DRINKING WATER SUPPLY
Shri Sant Kumar Tripathi took over as Secretary of the newly created Department of Drinking Water Supply under the Ministry of Rural Development here, today. He met the Senior officials of the Ministry. Shri Tripathi, a 1966 batch of the IAS belongs to the U.P. Cadre. Earlier, Shri S.K. Tripathi was Agriculture Production Commissioner in Uttar Pradesh. With the creation of this Department, the Ministry of Rural Development has three Departments Rural Development, Land Resources & Drinking Water Supply. The Department of Drinking Water Supply has the following components Rural Water Supply, Sanitation, CAPART & National Fund for Rural Development.
The President, Shri K.R. Narayanan in his address to the first
Session of both Houses of Parliament after the 13th Lok Sabha Elections had
mentioned that the newly created Department of Drinking Water Supply in the Ministry of
Rural Development will implement a programme to provide clean drinking water to all
villages in the next 5 years. The Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his address
to the nation also said that in the coming days the Government proposes to re-arrange its
priorities by re-deploying the resources and strengthening institutions for providing to
all - Safe Drinking Water; Primary Health Services, Primary Education, Rural roads and
Housing to rural homeless.
23 RPF NABS CRIMINALS DURING SPECIAL DRIVE IN EASTERN RAILWAY
RPF has achieved major success in nabbing criminals during the special drives conducted on Eastern Railway. In one incident yesterday, two RPF constables chased and apprehended 9 persons who were escaping from Down Shaktipunj Express when the train slowed down at 0210 hours near Galsi Railway station in Asansol Division. They were all found ticketless and 9 knives, 6 wrist watches, 11 silver rings and 2 silver chains were recovered from their possession.
In another incident, yesterday at 0330 hours, the RPSF personnel escorting the Dn, Shramjeevi Express nabbed five criminals from reserved compartment. They were travelling ticketless and from their possession five country made revolvers, 5 knives and 6 live cartridges were recovered. They have confessed that they were going to commit dacoity. In other incidents, 16 other criminals have been arrested by the Howrah Division in Tikiapara, Chinsura, Sheoraphulli and other areas in Hughli.
The criminals are being forwarded to the court and concerned GRPs have been informed to take them under custodial warrant.
The special drives are being conducted as per the directives of the
Railway Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee.
'19' RAMACHANDRAN ADDRESSES SUMMIT MEETING OF
INDO-TAIWAN TRADE PROMOTION TALKS
CALLS FOR ESTABLISHING A MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES
Shri G.N. Ramachandran, Minister of State for Textiles, has called for establishing a mutually beneficial trade relationship between India and Taiwan by using the synergies which exist between the two countries. The Minister was addressing the Summit Meeting: Towards a new millennium: Indo-Taiwan Trade Promotion, here today. Mr. Chen-ko Lin, former Finance Minister of Taiwan and presently the Chairman of Taipei World Trade Centre, who chaired the meeting, led the Taiwanese delegation while Mr. Navratan Samdria, President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, co-chaired the meeting and led the Indian delegation. Shri Sudhir Jalan, Chairman , FICCI, also participated in the deliberations amongst other senior officials of both the sides.
The Minister said that there was tremendous scope and potential for increasing trade between India and Taiwan, especially due to the shared perception between the Governments of the two countries to catch up on lost opportunities. Referring to the complimentary benefits the two countries have in trading with each other, Shri Ramachandran said that while India was a source of labour intensive goods and natural resources, Taiwan had a competitive edge in providing high-technology products.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Lin said that Indo-Taiwan bilateral trade has been augmenting rapidly since Indias economic liberalisation and is likely to cross US $ 1 billion by the end of this millennium. Mr. Lin further added, " there is a tremendous scope for growth of Indo-Taiwan relations".
In his inaugural speech, Shri Navratan Samdria said that the topic for the summit meeting was most appropriate as it reflected a bold step in the direction of globalisation. The direct trade between the two countries which began from a modest US $ 400 million was all set to cross the one billion dollar mark. Taiwan, he said, has become a major sourcing centre for many information technology products, sports goods, machinery and consumer ready products and India could gainfully benefit from a closer trade relationship between the two countries.
Shri Sudhir Jalan, President of FICCI also referred to the synergistic benefits the two countries could have from each other and stated that while Taiwan had one of the worlds best electronic hardware, India was proud of having one of the best brains in the field of software. "Its time that we got married," he said.
The meeting concluded with mutual announcements on information
exchange, delegation exchange, exhibition exchange and investment exchange between the two
'16' STC PRESENTS DIVIDEND CHEQUE TO MARAN
PLANS TO SET UP DEPARTMENTAL STORE-CUM-SUPER MARKET IN NEW DELHI
The State Trading Corporation of India has paid a dividend of 20% on its capital to the government for the year 1998-99. The cheque for Rs.5.46 crore was received by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Murasoli Maran from Dr. S.M. Dewan, Chairman & Managing Director of STC at a function here today. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister complemented STC for the increase in their net profit from Rs.2.6 crore in the previous year to Rs.12.5 crore during 1998-99. The Chairman informed that this profit was achieved despite the increased expenditure of Rs.6 crore due to revisions in the pay scale of the Corporations executives.
The Chairman, STC further informed the Minister that the corporation is exploring the possibility of entering into retail distribution by setting up a departmental store-cum-supermarket for which purpose, the corporation will utilise part of its multistorey building at the prime commercial building at New Delhi. The Corporation could consider soliciting proposal for joint venture from the interested retail chain of repute in and outside the country, Dr. Dewan further informed.
During the year 1998-99, STC achieved significant increase in
exports of castor oil, coffee, sugar, engineering and construction material, tea and
medical disposables, the Chairman informed. The canalised import of bulk items such as
sugar, wheat, edible oil and newsprint had been the main business area of the corporation
during the four decades of STCs existence. However, to make up for the decline in
the canalised imports, STC has positioned itself in the import of edible oil, pulses and
wheat on commercial account under OGL. The Chairman informed that the corporation was
confident of achieving more than 50% growth in export turnover during 1999-2000, as the
prospects for castor oil, castor seed, natural rubber, coffee and cashew are promising.
'16' DELHI EXPORTERS CALL ON OMAR ABDULLAH
A high power delegation of Delhi Exporters Association (DEA) met newly appointed Minister of State for Commerce Shri Omar Abdullah last evening. DEA welcomed the new Minister of State for Commerce and also apprised him as to why exports were going down. The points highlighted were : Problems in Banks including non-availability of export credit on time; high rate of interest; short payment and delay in crediting export proceeds; problem in Customs clearance and infrastructural problems.
Mr. Agarwal explained to the Minister that there are total 1,50,000 exporters of whom 48000 are small, medium and tiny exporters. The contribution of the small, medium and tiny exporters is 75% of the total exports from the country, 50% directly and another 25% through Export and Trading Houses. "Inspite of the sizeable contribution of the small sector hardly any facilities or concessions given to them. All policies are made favourable to the big ones. The Exim Policy announced was purely import oriented and there was hardly anything for direct exports without import input", DEA said.
The Minister asked the Association to present a complete action plan
for export growth from the country and agreed to have a meeting with the DEA to discuss
the issues shortly. The delegation was led by Shri S.P. Agarwal, President, DEA.
'16' FOCUS ON EXPORT RELATED POLICY PROPOSALS
FOR NEXT MILLENNIUM
38TH SESSION OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON PROMOTION OF EXPORTS HELD
The 38th Session of the Standing Committee on Promotion of Exports by Air (SCOPE-AIR) and 30th Session of the Standing Committee on Promotion of Exports by Sea (SCOPE-SHIPPING) held on 21st and 22nd October, 1999 respectively at Goa, emphasised the need for policy proposals for next millennium through vision 2000. The meetings held under the chairmanship of Shri Nripendra Misra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce were attended by the representatives from service providers, such as Ministries of Surface Transport, Civil Aviation, Finance, Airports Authority of India, Port Trusts and from trade (including CII, ASSOCHAM and FICCI etc.). These Committees not only act as facilitators for development of infrastructure but also provide important inputs for simplifying procedures besides suggesting long and short-term measures for creation and improvement of infrastructure.
The following decisions were taken and announcements made
'16' 8-POINT STRATEGY TO BOOST EXPORTS TO UAE
OMAR ABDULLAH INTERACTS WITH HIGH-LEVEL DUBAI BUSINESS TEAM AT CII MEET
Shri Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, has proposed an eight-point strategy to increase Indias exports to the UAE giving focussed attention to a few major areas which would give a direct boost to bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Outlining the strategy at a Seminar on "Indo-Dubai Business Opportunities" organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) where the Minister interacted with a high-level business delegation from the Dubai Chambers of Commerce and Industry here yesterday, Shri Abdullah indicated that the key elements of the action plan would be: (i) boosting horticultural exports; (ii) increasing exports of information technology (IT) products, especially computer software; (iii) initiating exports of Indian jute products to the UAE; (iv) increasing exports of construction materials; (v) cooperation in the development of small and medium industries; (vi) cooperation in power sector; (vii) cooperation in the financial services sector; and (viii) training in foreign trade, utilising Indias excellent facilities to augment cooperation in this sector. He also invited the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to avail of the liberalised a foreign trade regime in India and invest in Indian industry in order to further bilateral cooperation. More than 70% of UAEs trade is through Dubai which has developed into major hub of commercial activity and entrepot trade in the Gulf.
Shri Abdullah spelt out the various bottlenecks which were coming in the way of Indo-UAE trade and said that these must be removed. For instance, UAE has restricted/stopped work permits for Indian workers. This, the Minister said, needs to be tackled appropriately on a government to government level. Referring to the virtual ban imposed by UAE on export of Indian drug and pharmaceuticals, the Minister clarified that Indian drugs and pharmaceuticals were second to none in the world in both quality and price. He said visa restrictions needed to be eased and the UAE authorities ought to issue visas for Indian businessmen on the recommendations of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry. "Trade basket needs to be diversified. We in India need to explore the market in the UAE with a view to selling products other than the traditional ones like gold, spices and rice etc. The additional items could include construction materials, tea, horticulture products, drugs and pharmaceuticals, information technology products (hardware/software)", Shri Abdullah said.
The UAE has emerged as a major trading partner of India within the
West Asia region. During 1998-99 bilateral trade amounted to US $ 3.59 billion as against
US $ 3.47 billion in 1997-98. Indias exports to UAE amounted to US $ 1.86 billion in
1998-99 compared to US $ 1.69 billion in the previous year showing a growth of about 10%
-- (Growth in Rupee terms is 24%). Nonetheless, the potential of bilateral trade is
immense and has not been fully exploited.
'25' GOVT. DECIDES TO ESTABLISH
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MARITIME STUDIES
The Government has decided to establish Indian Institute of Maritime Studies to upgrade maritime training in the country. A decision to this effect was taken by the Minister for Surface Transport, Shri Nitish Kumar.
It will be created by forming a registered society and placing the four Government-run maritime institutions within its domain. The four maritime training institutions, namely, the Lal Bahadur Shastri College of Advanced Maritime Studies and Research, Mumbai, Training ship 'Chanakya', Mumbai and Marine Engineering and Research Institutes located at Mumbai and Calcutta, are presently being run as Government institutions under the control of the Department of Shipping of the Ministry of Surface Transport. These institutions are now subject to various rules and regulations applicable to Government organisations. With the formation of a separate society to oversee the affairs of these training institutions, it is expected that they will be able to perform better as a result of greater operational freedom.
The new Institute will provide training in the maritime field to prepare top class trained personnel for the Merchant Navy ; will help the Indian shipping industry with up to date information through research and publication and will assist the training institutes in the country to carry out research in a number of relevant areas. It is proposed to transfer the assets of the institutions to the new society and also provide for lump sum funds as block grants. The representatives of the industry will be actively associated with the running of the Institute and modalities will be worked out for smooth transition from Government-run institutions into training institutions of excellence in the field. It is also proposed to chart out a time bound 'plan of action' so that the Institute becomes self-sustaining over a period of time.
As early as in 1992, a Committee had recommended the setting up of an Indian Maritime University to manage various Government-run maritime training institutions. The decision to start an autonomous body now is expected to be a forerunner for the ultimate conversion of the society into a deemed University and subsequently, into a full-fledged University. The new set up is expected to provide considerable operational freedom to the institutions, thereby facilitating the starting of new programmes and courses.
Maritime training is perceived as a continuing process and comprises
of various stages such as pre-sea training, on-board training, post-sea training and
specialised training. Training of maritime personnel in India has been accorded top
priority by the Government of India since independence.
'39' CENTRE TO ACCEPT BROWN RICE FROM PUNJAB FOR CENTRAL POOL
The Central Government has accepted the offer of Punjab Government for supply of brown rice from the State to the Central Pool instead of fully finished rice. The Punjab Government in a letter to the Centre has made this offer to expedite the milling the paddy and complying with the specifications announced by the Government of India for rice procurement for kharif season.
The Department of Public Distribution in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution is seriously considering the offer for which a meeting has been convened at New Delhi with the Secretary, Food, Government of Punjab on November 5, 1999.
The Centre is also considering a request from the Tamil Nadu Rice
Millers' Association to undertake milling of paddy procured by the Food Corporation of
India in Punjab. The millers are ready to take paddy from Punjab and mill the stock in
Tamil Nadu for issue under Public Distribution System in the State.
'15' SECURITIES LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 1999
The Bill proposes to expand the definition of securities under the Securities Contract (Regulation) Act, 1956 to include derivatives and instruments of the collective investment schemes. This would enable development and regulation of markets for derivatives of securities and units of collective investment schemes. The Bill also proposes to authorise the Central Government to delegate powers to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the Act. This would enable the RBI to regulate the transactions in government securities and other related instruments as may be specified by the Government.
In the last few years there have been substantial improvements in the functioning of the capital market. Risks have been reduced by requirement of adequate capitalisation, margining, establishment of clearing corporations in stock exchanges, etc. Systemic improvements have been made by introduction of screen based trading and depositiories to allow book entry transfer of securities and so on. However, there are inadequate advanced risk management tools. With a view to providing such tools and to strengthen and deepen markets, there is an urgent need to allow derivatives trading in securities for which the infrastructure, rules and regulations are ready. SEBI has already drawn up a detailed regulatory framework under which stock exchanges/clearing corporation/clearing house would be permitted to carry on derivatives trading and settlement. This constitutes a major component of economic reforms process in the securities market. The Bill, therefore, proposes to include derivatives within the ambit of securities in the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 whereby trading in derivatives may be possible within the framework of that Act.
Recently, many companies, especially plantation companies have been raising resources from investors, which are in the form of collective investment schemes. However, the existing regulatory framework is not adequate to allow an orderly development of this market. In order that the interest of investors is protected, Government took a decision that SEBI would frame regulations with regard to collective investment schemes, which would include instruments such as Agro bonds. To enable the SEBI to regulate collective investment schemes and develop the market for the same effectively, the Bill proposes to amend the definition of securities under the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 so as to include the instruments as well as units of collective investment schemes within its ambit.
These proposals were incorporated in the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 1998 which was introduced in Lok Sabha on 4th July 1998. The Bill was later referred by the Honble Speaker, Lok Sabha to the Standing Committee on Finance on 10th July 1998 for examination and report thereon. The Committee submitted their report on 17th March 1999. The Committee were of the opinion "that the introduction of derivatives, if implemented with proper safeguards and risk containment measures will certainly give a fillip to the sagging market, result in enhanced investment activity and instill greater confidence among the investors/participants." The Committee after having examined the provisions of the Bill and being convinced of the needs and objective of the Bill, approved the same for enactment by Parliament with certain modifications/recommendations.
The Government feels that these modifications are in the nature of clarification/elaboration of the proposed amendments in the law. The instant Bill incorporates the proposals in the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 1998 as well as the modifications suggested by the Standing Committee.
Securities Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 1999
In order to bring greater transparency and impartially of appellate bodies, the Bill proposes to amend the Securities Laws namely; the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act (SC(R)A), 1956, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992 and the Depositories Act, 1996 to empower the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) to dispose all appeals under these Acts instead of Central Government/SEBI.
The Appellate Authorities under the SEBI Act, 1992 and the
Depositories Act, 1996 function independently of the Government and perform a
quasi-judicial function. However, since it is constituted by Government, its orders may be
misconstrued as orders of the Government. If an order of SEBI is struck down, even on
merits, there is a feeling that SEBIs autonomy as the regulator has been
compromised. Further, SEBIs current attempts to discipline securities market
functionaries (brokers, sub-brokers, underwriters, lead managers, merchant bankers, etc.)
have led to a spurt in appeals coming to Government under these Acts. The designated
officers comprising Appellate Authorities are finding it difficult to cope with the
disposal of a large number of appeals. Besides, the scheme of disposal of appeals by SEBI
against orders of stock exchanges under the SC(R)A may not appear impartial, as SEBI is
represented on the governing bodies of stock exchanges. Further, Government has
representation in the SEBI Board. Thus, appellate bodies constituted in Government/SEBI
may be construed to lack impartiality in the eyes of the public. Hence there is a need to
transfer appellate functions from the Government to an agency such as Securities Appellate
SMT. SUMITRA MAHAJAN : A PROFILE
Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, the Minister of State for Human Resource Development was born on 12th April, 1943 at Chiplun in Distt. Ratnagiri (Maharashtra). She completed her post graduation and LLB from Indore University, M.P.. She is a Lawyer by Profession. She has a special interest in art, social and cultural activities.
Smt. Mahajan started her career as a Member of Parliament with her election to 9th Lok Sabha in 1989. She was re-elected for Lok Sabha in 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999 consecutively.
Smt. Mahajan had held many important positions during her political career. She was Corporator, Municipal Corporation, Indore during 1982-85 and Deputy Mayor of Indore during 1984-85. She was President Mahila Morcha, BJP, Madhya Pradesh during 1990-91 and Vice-President of BJP, Madhya Pradesh during 1992-94. She was Secretary, BJP Parliamentary Board during 1995-96. From 1996 onwards she is the Secretary, BJP. She was General Secretary, BJP in 1998.
Smt. Mahajan was a Member of the Consultative Committee of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Ministry of Communications during 1990-91 and 1991-96 respectively. She was also a Member of the Joint Committee for 73rd Constitution Amendment Bill during 1991-92, Member, Joint Committee for Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation & Prevention of Misuse) Bill and Member, Supervisory Board on Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques during 1991-93.
Smt. Mahajan had visited China and Indonesia as a delegate for the Conference on Women.
Her hobbies include reading, music, drama, cinema and singing.
SHRI ANANTH KUMAR , SHRI CHAOBA SINGH TAKE CHARGE
Shri Ananth Kumar, took over today as the new Cabinet Minister for Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs. The Union Minister was accompanied by MOS Shri Th. Chaoba Singh. Immediately after taking over he called a meeting of the senior officers of the Department of Culture and Department of Youth Affairs and Sports and apprised himself of the important activities of the Departments.
One of the first decisions of the Minister was to rush to the help of ailing Violin Maestro Padma Bhushan V.G. Jog. Shri Jog was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1980 but is now ailing from Ischaemic heart in a nursing home in Calcutta. Shri Jog is about eighty years old and makes his living by giving tuitions, though in his hay days he had popularised Indian Violin in the Western world. He had given many performances with Yehudi Menuhin and scintilated connoisseurs of Indian music. The Minister declared an immediate help of Rs. 25,000/- to the Violin Maestro and provided a monthly pension of Rs. 2,000/- to take care of his immediate expenses.
Shri Ananth Kumar advised the officers to be quick and sensitive to the needs of the artists and take all action for reinforcement of Indian culture amongst the youth of the country. He mentioned that India is rich in culture and should, therefore, lead the way in the new millennium. Earlier senior officers briefed him about Tercentenary celebration of Khalsa, cultural activities in the Norht-East, Gandhi Peace Prize for 1999, Development of Libraries and Archives etc.
Shri Ananth Kumar is a BJP M.P. from Karnataka and
was Union Minister for Civil Aviation in the previous BJP Government. Shri Chaoba Singh is
a Manipur State Congress Party M.P. from Manipur.
INDIA OFFERS I.T EXPERTISE TO UNESCO
DR JOSHI ADDRESSES 30TH SESSION OF UNESCOS GENERAL CONFERENCE IN PARIS
The Human Resource Development Minister Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has offered Indias expertise in Information Technology to UNESCO for networking of on-line digital libraries. Addressing the 30th session of the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris today Dr. Joshi emphasised the need to preserve traditional knowledge. He said that India would be happy to participate in exercise to index and catalogue all such information on traditional knowledge systems. Seeking the sponsorship for some of these projects he said projects sponsored by the UNESCO have world wide sweep and thrust.
Dr. Joshi said UNESCO should publish a biannual series of World Technology reports to highlight in what way technology impacts on social welfare and cultural change. This ,he said , would be a complement to the series of World Science report. He also offered Indias willingness to host one of the proposed regional consultation on World Conference on Communication and Information.
Following is the text of Dr. Joshis speech on the occasion of the 30th session of the General Conference of UNESCO being held in Paris.
Chairman of the 30th Session of the General Conferencee of Unesco
Director General Prof. Federico Mayor,
Head of Governments,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by expressing my own, and my countrys gratitude and admiration to professor Federico Mayor for the manner in which he has steered UNESCO for the past twelve years. I have no doubt that his efforts to establish a Culture of Peace will endure and help us to face the challenges of the new millennium.
I wish to convey the greetings of my people to this august gathering. I am filled with emotion and pride when I inform this house that India has, in its recent General election, once again affirmed its deep-rooted faith in democracy. A nation of one billion people went to vote a few weeks ago and elected 543 parliamentarians.
You will be happy to know that the political leadership in India is fully committed to the same ideals, for which UNESCO stands.
One of the UNESCOs major contributions has been to give to the world, the concept of a Culture of a peace. Since the dawn of civilization, we in India have evolved a tradition of respect for all cultures and religions which is embodied in our philosophy of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam and Sarva Dharma Sambhava. Indias march in history is an enobling experience in cultural co-existence. The new Government is fully committed to upholding this concept with renewed vigour.
At a time when the fashion is to venerate the selfishness of the market, where intolerance is breeding terrorism world wide, only a culture of universal tolerance , compassion, co-existence, and a concern for human dignity, respect and welfare will bring peace to this world.
UNESCO is not rich the way international financial institutions are. Nevertheless, its contributions to cultural, social and educational development are bound to have an enduring influence far beyond what money can have. Financial institutions can make the world richer, but it is only UNESCO that can make the world wiser ! In submitting to UNESCO the Report of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century, the Commission Chairman Mr. M. Jacques Delores, talks about seven different tensions. Almost as an afterthought, he says.
"Lastly, another perennial factor the tension between the spiritual and the material : often without realising it, the world has longing, often unexpressed, for an ideal and for values and we shall term "moral" ..It is no exaggeration on the Commissions part to say that the survival of humanity depends thereon."
It would probably be more accurate to describe this tension between the spiritual and the material not as the last one in consequence but as the primary one. An education that merely teaches one to exploit the forces of nature apparently swells the head but shrinks the heart. The poet Oliver Goldsmith wrote : "where wealth accumulates men decay." Likewise, in many wealthy countries, family values have collapsed to the extent that in their selfishness, parents often go to the extent of abandoning their own children. In turn, children abandon their aged parents. It is important for UNESCO to consider what kind of a millennium we are ushering in, what kind of education we are organising, what kind of society we are developing, and what kind of a culture we are advocating when families are torn asunder by selfishness, children are brought up without love, but taught to love only for pleasure, to die finally unwept and uncared.
We are celebrating the arrival of the Second Millennium by promoting unabashed consumerism. We have two options : One is to apply science and technology greedily for maximising production. The other is to use that knowledge wisely to get the maximum out of sustainable production. We need that wisdom. Unless and until we evolve a culture of sustainable consumption, we will not be able to engineer the kind of sustainable development many of us ardently desire.
Projects sponsored by UNESCO have world-wide sweep and thrust. Neither national nor bilateral schemes can have similar scope. So, we seek the sponsorship of UNESCO for the following projects, which we believe have widespread utility. We request like-minded countries to join us in these endeavours.
One-Under the onslaught of modern technology much of traditional knowledge is getting lost without trace. Hence, it is important to index and catalogue all such information. India will be happy to participate in any such exercise and to help UNESCO in organising an international/regional programme on traditional knowledge systems. As a corollary, I propose that UNESCO hold also a workshop on the illicit transfer of cultural property.
Two-UNESCO already produces biannually a World Science Report. As a complement to this series, I suggest publication of a biannual series of World Technology Reports to highlight not what technology can do but in what way technology impacts on social welfare and cultural change. India offers organisational and editorial support for the same.
Three- Indias computer scientists have earned a world wide reputation for their skills. India will be happy to place that expertise, which incidentally is well tailored to link the capabilities of the Third World with the needs of developed nations, for use in UNESCO training programmes, particularly in Information Technology and for networking of on-line digital libraries.
Four- I understand that UNESCO proposes to organise a series of regional consultation on World Conference on Communications and Information. India will be happy to host one of those meetings.
Five- World over, there is an asymmetric movement of talented people, by which rich nations have been able to secure highly talented youth from developing countries. Rich nations cannot sustain that inflow, and will lose the services of such talent, unless they help developing countries to maintain a high quality of instruction in their schools and colleges. I suggest UNESCO initiate a programme that will induce the rich nations to support world class education and research infrastructure in poorer countries. For that purpose, I suggest that UNESCO commission a study.
Six- As a complement to the above it will be useful also for UNESCO to define and evolve a Minimum Package of Science for Everyone. That will be instrumental in promoting science literacy and culture of science.
These proposals will, hopefully, trigger a new direction for educational, scientific, social and cultural development. In this context, it is worth noting that the greatest concern people have about the on set of the new Millennium is the Y2K problem. A minor lapse of foresight in software design has caused this problem, which, it is feared, may lead to unimaginable chaos. If a simple programme mistake can cause so much harm, how much greater is the risk from human fallibility in comprehending matters of far greater import and complexity ! In this connection, permit me to bring to your attention some words of Mahatma Gandhi who enunciated the following as the Seven sins of Social conduct :
Politics without principle
Pleasure without conscience
Wealth without work
Knowledge without character
Commerce without morality
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice
Let us hope we will learn to appreciate the Mahatmas message and that we will help to evolve a culture by which all nations will co-operate to build a peaceful future where no one will be in need, and more important, no one will be driven mad by greed !
I end with this ancient Upanashidic verse, which we may call a universal prayer :
Om Sahanaavavatu, sahanau bhunaktu,
Shaviryam Karvavahai, tehjasvinaavadhitamastu
Om, Shantih, Shantih, shantih!
Let us all live together in peace;
Let us all enjoy the fruits of your labours;
Let us all work with all our vigour;
Let us all acquire knowledge together; and
Let us not be jealous of anyone;
Let there be-
Worldly peace, Universal peace and Cosmic peace."
The General Conference of UNESCO, which began in Paris yesterday,
will continue till the 17th of next month. Delegates to the Conference include
Shri M.K. Kaw, Education Secretary, Dr. R.V. Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Secretary, Deptt. of
Culture, Shri Y.N. Chaturvedi, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting,
Prof. V.S. Ramamurthy, Secretary, Deptt. of Science and Technology, Shri L.M. Singhvi, MP.
'21' Increase in All India Consumer Price Index
For Industrial Workers
(Base 1982= 100 )
The All India Consumer Price Industrial Workers (CPI-IW ) for the month of September, 1999 (base 1982= 100 ) has increased by 3 points to stand at 429. The CPI-IW during September, 1998 had increased by 7 points.
The rise/ fall in the index varied from centre to centre. In 47 centres the increase in index was noticed between 1 to 17 points, in 10 centres it remained constant and in 13 centres it recorded a decrease of 1 to 10 points when compared to previous month.
The index in respect of six main centres for September, 1999 stood at the following level:
The point to point rate of inflation, based upon the CPI-IW
decreased from 3.1 % in August, 1999 to 2.1 % in September 1999. In September, 1998 it was
SHRI T.R. BAALU TO ATTEND UN MEET ON ENVIRONMENT IN GERMANY
Minister of Environment and Forests Shri T.R. Baalu will lead the Indian delegation to the High Level Committee of Ministers and Officials (HLCOMO) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) scheduled to be held in Bonn, Germany on 1st November, 1999. The Committee is a subsidiary organ of the Governing Council of UNEP to guide and advise it on emerging environmental issues during the inter-sessional period. The Committee is likely to endorse the contribution of UNEP to the Medium Term Plan of the United Nations for 2002-2005. The Plan will provide strategic direction for comprehensive review of the state of the global environment as well as its trends and conditions, while developing appropriate policy responses and providing early warning on the basis of the regional and global environment outlook.
Shri Baalu will take part in the discussions on Environment and Human Settlement and on the response of environment on globalisation in the agricultural sector, from the developing countries point of view.
The Minister will also be participating in the Fifth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change being held in Bonn from 3-5th November, 1999. The Climate Change Convention is a multilateral treaty, the objective of which is to stabilise the anthropogenic concentrations of green house gases in the atmosphere at safe levels. The green house gases in the atmosphere are responsible for maintaining the earths temperature and recently a build up of the green house gases has been recorded and warming of the planet may take place if corrective steps are not taken by mankind.
The Convention will deliberate various issues relating to implementation of the Climate treaty and Kyoto Protocol. India has been playing a proactive role in various meetings and is coordinating the position of the Group of 77 and China by effectively defending the cause of basic needs of the people of the developing world.
At the Convention, India would voice its concern on the
subject and highlight that her overriding priority is poverty alleviation, infrastructure
development, provision of drinking water, health and education besides addressing the
global environmental issues to make the planet safer.