Thursday, July 5, 2012

Minister of State for Human Resource Development Dr. D. Purandeswari led the Indian delegation at the First East Asia Summuit Education Ministers Meeting (EAS EMM), held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 5 July 2012. The Indian delegation comprised Mr. Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to Indonesia and the ASEAN; Dr. R. Govinda, Vice Chancellor of National University for Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA); Ms. Radha Chauhan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development; Mr. K. Gunasekaran, Additional Secretary, University Grants Commission of India and Mr. Nikhilesh Giri, First Secretary (ASEAN), Embassy of India, Jakarta.

In her statement at the EAS EMM, the Minister stated that time had come to evolve a strategy to promote educational cooperation among the EAS countries to harness credit transfer, mutual recognition of degrees, free flow of highly qualified people, earmarking of seats for students from member countries in reputed institutions in the region, setting up corpus fund to promote research, etc.

Dr. Purandeswari conveyed India`s proposal to establish an EAS Regional Leadership Development Programme, with the objective of providing access to higher education for the generation of future leadership in the areas of regional importance.

India also expressed its interest in linking its National Qualification Framework (NQF) to regional framework development. This will usher in Regional Inter-Operability of National Qualification Frameworks and ensure mobility within the EAS participating countries.

Regional integration and harmonization of skills are considered the overarching intervention needed in TVET to address the major issues brought about by the emerging economic, social and technological trends. A flexible approach with different pedagogy and more focus for employers` engagement and ownership are the key success factors for TVET for which sharing of best practices across the region can be integrated to leverage the potential of skill development and competitiveness. Facilitating TVET Teacher and Student Mobility would benefit from a regional approach and India will take the lead in this project.

On the margins of the EAS EMM, Dr. Purandeswari also held bilateral meetings with the Ministrer of Education and Culture of Indonesia H. E. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nuh; Minister of Education of Australia Hon’ble Christopher Evans; Minister of Education of New Zealand Hon’ble Steven Joice; and the US Deputy Secretary for Education Senator Anthony Wilder Miller to review progress in bilateral cooperation in the field of education. They also exchange notes on the approaches of the respective countries on future plans for educational cooperation under the EAS framework.

India and Indonesia also held their second meeting of the Joint Working Group on Education in Yogyakarta on 4 July. The Indian and Indonesian delegations were led by Dr. R. Govinda, Vice Channcellor, NUEPA and Dr. Harris Iskandar, Secretary at the Direcorate General for Education. Both sides agreed on concerete plans for exchange of students and faculty under various scholarship schemes; research collaboartion; and twinning of universities.


World Hindu Economic Conference emphasizes need for Hindu model of economy for the prosperous world
-          Vinod Bansal
-          M - 9810949109
Hong Kong, July 01, 2012. World Hindu Economic Conference emphasizes need for Hindu model of economy to overcome the global threat caused by undue exploitation of the resources, breakdown of the institution of family in western societies and lack of ethical framework in the present economic system. After two day long discussion in Kowloon, Hong Kong, prominent economic experts, industrialists, management gurus, business persons from across the globe concluded that the current greed based model of the economy is collapsing and creating political instability apart from increasing disparity within the societies. it needs to be captured within an ethical framework to eradicate poverty and environmental hazards and generating employment.
Inaugurating the first economic conference, organized by the World Hindu Economic Forum (WHEF), the Vice-Prime Minister of Mauritious, shri Anil Kumar Bachoo emphasized the need to develop new economic models which are sustainable and will generate wealth for eradicating poverty, creating employment, and reducing environmental degradation, since prevalent models are collapsing across the world, leading to global political instability and increasing disparity between the poor and poor as well as leading to environmental degradation.
WHEF has been established to make society prosperous through the generation and sharing of surplus wealth. The Forum facilitates sharing of knowledge through reputed economic thinkers, and well established business-persons of the world. The Forum also provides a common platform for strategic and management professionals, industrialists, traders, bankers, investors, technocrats, scientists and economists for creating a prosperous global society and eradicating human misery across the world. WHEC-2012 was attended by over 250 prominent businesspersons, industrialists, economists, bankers, international traders, and business association leaders from different countries from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Pacific region.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy former Union Minister of Commerce and Law in the Government of Bharat and an alumnus & professor of the Harvard University delivering the keynote address in the conference argued that the world needs a new economic agenda based on ethical framework in lieu of current greed-based model to propel and expand global economies.
Prof (Dr.) Gautam Sen of London School of Economics emphasized the need to organize Hindu economy not only for creating wealth, but also for promoting economic equity across the world and help underdeveloped countries, and communities.
Prof (Dr.) R. Vaidyanathan, Professor of Finance at IIM Bangalore elaborated the linkages between the ongoing economic crisis in the Western world and the breakdown of the institution of family in Western societies. He saw these crises as an opportunity for reinventing global economic model founded which is more feminine, eco-friendly, relationship driven and community oriented.
Shri Subhash Thakrar Chairman London Chamber of Commerce and Industry briefed the delegates about emerging sectors of business in current turbulent world. He identified Africa as the next area which could witness significant economic growth and boom.
The conference held extended discussions on the immediate and long-term goals in context of needs of the global economy. Towards this end, it resolved to set up an institutional framework with cross-continental footprint which will provide market intelligence to people interested in furthering the goals of the Forum. Such a framework will also network millions of existing and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Forum also intently listened to Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, ex-chief of Indian Space Research Organisation and head of Chandrayaan (Bharat Moon Mission) on how innovations in aerospace technologies is opening up new markets, wide range of products, and economic possibilities.
Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, ex-Director Centre for Developing Advanced Computing, and inventor of PARAM supercomputer made a very strong case for investing in innovation and education as these will be the two factors which will separate successful business ventures from unsuccessful ones.
Shri D. N. Kulkarni from Jain Irrigation, a global leader in drip-irrigation technology explained how helping the marginal farmer by providing best technology and expertise at affordable prices is not only a commercially a sound practice, but can also create mass-scale prosperity globally. Shri Bhanwarlal Jain, started his company on a modest six-acre patch of arid land, and today he runs a MNC with operations in 120 countries with a turnover of over 800 million USD.
The Forum has also launched Young Hindu Business Leader Forum, which will offer diverse services to aspiring entrepreneurs in areas pertaining to mentoring, capital access, training, networking, Internships, and market research. Young Hindu Business Leader Forum will hold its first meeting in Mumbai, January 2013.
The Forum held several panel discussions covering topics as diverse as “Developing Global Economy”, “Making Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Successful in the Global Market Place”, “Mega Trends in the Global Economy and Future Prospects” and “Mantra for a Successful Business Enterprise”.
The Forum’s meeting at Hong Kong is a grand success and all the delegates and speakers were inspired and interested in furthering the cause of World Hindu Economic Forum. World Hindu Economic Forum will meet next in Bangkok in 2013.

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North West India may have the worst deficit rainfall


The precariously low water levels at BBMB (Bhakra Beas Management Board) dams (Bhakra on Sutlej River, Pong on Beas River and Thein on Ravi River[1]), has lead BBMB to declare that if there are no rains soon, urgent meeting of states will have to be called to consider emergency measures. This, when summer in the Northwest India has already been rather long, hot and dry and when monsoon has been giving all the signs of some serious deficit behaviour already and when India Meteorological Department has also said that North West India may have the worst deficit of all regions of India. But it seems BBMB did not read these early signals and allowed the reservoirs to deplete, did not take measures to build up the levels that it could have had. The ad-hoc, unresponsive and unaccountable reservoir operations, thus has lead to a situation which could have been avoided. Let us see how this could have been avoided.

Analysis of BBMB reservoirs for the last one year shows that if the reservoirs were operated keeping in mind the developing situation, this precarious situation could have been avoided and lakhs of farmers and people all over North West India may not have to suffer.

Let us first take stock of the current reservoir situation. The water storage (Live storage capacity) on June 27, 2012 (as per the latest available weekly bulletin from Central Water Commission[2]) was 16% at Bhakra (compared to 37% same date last year), 14% at Pong (54% last year) and 26% at Thein Dam (47% last year). So it is clear that the water storage in all three dams on the same date last year was much higher than what it is this year. It should be noted that all these reservoirs are on snow fed rivers, so it should not be surprising to find substantial ater storage in these dams at the beginning of the monsoon. Here we should also note that rainfall in the catchments of these dams last monsoon was above normal and the reservoirs were almost full at the end of monsoon, say early October 2011. So the lower water level now is not due to any deficit in last monsoon.

So when did the depletion in water storage in these reservoirs happen? It seems the situation was comfortable in these reservoirs till early February 2012, when Bhakra had 58% (64% storage previous year), Pong had 53% (63% last year) and Thein had 35% (41% last year). Over the next two months, the water storage in the three reservoirs reduced by 33% (Bhakra), 23% (Pong) and 16% (Thein), when in previous year, the depletion in the same period was much lower at 25%, 14% and 6% for Bhakra, Pong and Thein respectively. So the three reservoirs lost 8-10% extra water in these two months. Now in these months of Feb and March the residual Rabi crop irrigation should not have been much higher than the previous year. And post Rabi, in summer season, irrigation should anyway be discouraged and dis-incentivised. Punjab and Haryana has actually passed acts that say that before June 10 and 15 respectively, no paddy transplantation should be allowed. This is indeed welcome. So this extra depletion in Feb and March seems to be the first important issue that has lead to current situation. It is a bit of mystery as to why this happened, only BBMB officials can help unravel this.

This extra depletion this year is further corroborated when we look at the water release figures from the Bhakra and Pong dams, available on BBMB website[3]. We find that the average water releases from both the dams in the period January to March this year were unprecedented: the highest in last 13 years for which the figures are available on the website. In case of Pong dam, the average release even during April-May this year was higher than the figures for last two years. This confirms the conclusion above that there was extra ordinary water depletion in the dams in Feb and March and even beyond this year in these reservoirs.

Some government sources have been complaining that there was less inflow from the rivers, implying that the water depletion was higher this year due to less inflows. The monthly water inflow figures are not available on BBMB website. But an indication of the inflow from Sutlej River to the Bhakra dam is available from the power generation at the upstream hydropower station of Nathpa Jakhri, having installed capacity of 1500 MW. This project does not have substantial storage capacity, hence most of the inflow in the river during the months of January to June would get reflected in the power generation figures. We find from the power generation figures for this project available on the website of Central Electricity Authority[4] that this station generated 2719.03 Million Units (MU) power in first six months of this year, about 19.5% lower that power generation during the same period last year. When we look at power generation figures at BBMB during the same six months, we find that the power generation during the same six months this year was only 1.5% below that in last year. These figures also suggest that BBMB was releasing more water[5] during these six months when its inflows were about 20% lower than that in last year.

We already saw above that by early April this year, the water level in all the three BBMB reservoirs had majorly depleted due to extra water release during January to March this year and it remains mystery why it was happening. However, after early April, when irrigation releases should be very low and when these reservoirs continue to get significant inflows, due to snow melt, there was a chance for BBMB to increase the water levels in the reservoirs. However, we find that for some unknown reasons BBMB did not do it. On the contrary, the level at Bhakra further reduced from 25% of live storage capacity in early April to 16% by June 27. In this period, BBMB continued to produce power at levels only marginally lower than those last year. It seems like this was the second major problem in the operation of BBMB reservoirs. It’s a mystery why BBMB did not choose to build up water storage level during April-June 2012.

There were a number of good reasons why BBMB should have taken that option. Firstly, a number of official monsoon forecasts were available in April 2012 itself, which said that monsoon in Northwest India is likely to be below Normal. For example, the South Asia Climate Outlook Forum conference (in which India Meteorology dept and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology along with the World Meteorological Organisation participated) during April 19-20, 2012 developed 2012 forecast of Southwest Monsoon Rainfall over South Asia that said that the probability of Northwest India getting below normal rainfall was 40%, which was the highest for below normal rainfall forecast among all the areas. Seeing this, BBMB should have immediately adjusted its reservoir operation and started building water storage in its reservoirs, which it did not do. It should have also chosen this path since the water levels in its reservoirs were already very low. However, it stead of doing that, BBMB continued to allow more outflows than there were inflows (as is apparent from its power generation figures too), thus further depleting the reservoir levels.

This is not the first time that farmers and people in North West India will suffer due to ad-hoc, unaccountable and irresponsive reservoir operation by BBMB, similar situation prevailed in a number of years including 2004 and 2009. Had BBMB’s reservoir operation been more responsive to the developing situation, the situation at BBMB reservoirs today need not have been so critical now. India has no transparent, participatory and accountable reservoir operation policy.  

It is high time that Governments of India and states develop a more responsible, transparent, participatory and accountable reservoir operation policy, rules and norms. Till than people of India will continue to suffer for unaccountable mistakes of some individuals and wont even know whom to hold responsible. Moreover, Climate change has now become an irrefutable fact and reservoir operations need to be more and more flexible and responsive to weather predictions, be it about low rainfall or high rainfall. Dam operators cannot simply neglect these predictions, but should develop strategies to cope with these events.

 Roger Federer crushed Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to reach a record 32nd Grand Slam semi-final Wednesday and a clash with world number one Novak Djokovic for a place in the Wimbledon final.
The six-time champion, who had gone level with Jimmy Connors for Grand Slam semi-final excellence when he made the last four at the French Open last month, cruised to a 14th win in 14 meetings against the 26th seeded Russian.
Just as importantly for Federer, there were no no signs of the back pain which had dogged him in the fourth round against Xavier Malisse.
Federer, chasing Pete Sampras's record of seven Wimbledon titles, also put an end to a worrying sequence at the All England Club where he had been knocked out in the quarter-finals in the last two years.
The Swiss great broke in the second and sixth games of the first set to claim the opener in 28 minutes while also breaking twice more in the second set, sealing it with an ace.
Youzhny, playing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final, had been defeated by Federer in the fourth round in 2011 where he had taken the first set before losing in four.
He was so dispirited that on his way to dropping serve again in the first game of the third set, he turned to the Centre Court Royal Box for help.
The 30-year-old appealed to tennis legends Rod Laver and Andre Agassi, who were watching from their privileged positions.
A second double fault gave Federer another break for 4-1 before Youzhny fought off three match points in the seventh game.
But world number three Federer wrapped up the tie in just 90 minutes with a backhand volley

Vice Presidential election will be held on August 7:EC

Election to the post of Vice President will be held on August 7 and the results would be out on the same day, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday.The term of the incumbent Md Hamid Ansari expires on August 10.Announcing the poll schedule, the Election Commission, after its meeting, decided that it would issue the notification on July 6, which will set the election process in motion.

Last date for filing nominations is July 20, after scrutiny the next day, the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is July 23.The Vice-President is elected by the members of the electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament. There are a total of 790 members of Parliament. Unlike in the Presidential election, the nominated members of both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are also eligible participate in the election for the post of Vice President.

A nomination paper of a candidate has to be proposed by at least twenty electors and seconded by as many.The Election Commission, in consultation with the Central Government, has decided to appoint the Secretary General to the Lok Sabha as the Returning Officer for the election.

The Commission also decided to appoint Assistant Returning Officer from amongst the officers of the Lok Sabha Secretariat to assist the Returning Officer.MPs in the vice presidential poll will vote in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

TAFE institutes plans to build five schools in India

Australia's much popular vocational courses in tourism, retail and hospitality will now be available to students in India as a leading Australian institute is set to open branches in the country. 

Melbourne-based firm Heraud Inc will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TAFE NSW - Sydney Institute on 10th July for setting up the TAFE institutes that would offer vocational diploma courses in tourism, retail, automotive engineering, hospitality and construction in the country.
Initially, the compny plans to build five schools in India with first one starting in Gurgaon which is expected to be functional by April next year.
The move is in line with the Indian government's targets to skill 500 million people by 2022 and to build nationwide employability.
Heraud CEO Amit Tikoo said his company has closely worked with the analysts from National Skill Development Corporation in India to understand the gaps between industry requirements and what the education institutes are able to churn.
"There is a recognition by the high circles of industry and the government that although we produce a high number of engineering graduates in India, the quality and deployability of these graduates is not high."
"The initiative has been designed on two-pronged approach -- one is directed towards individuals and the second aims at companies to train its own staff members," he said.
Last year, the two countries had committed to expand the education exchange programme to achieve greater cooperation between their schools, higher education, vocational education and training sectors.
During a visit of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, the two sides also decided to open more avenues to share expertise in education and launch India-Australia Education Council.
"Heraud Inc educational pattern will be based on Australian traditions and will focus to prepare students for a globalised world" Tikoo said.
"All courses will be based on the TAFE NSW Sydney Institute curriculum but will be developed by TAFE NSW Sydney Institute staff in India in cooperation with the local industry," he said.
After graduating from its institutes, students can also further choose to apply for their internship in Australia, he added.
TAFE NSW institutes are part of the New South Wales Government Department of Education and Communities and are regarded as world's best practice leaders in the provision of high quality education and applied practical training, and are a popular choice for Indian students who wish to study in Australia.

PM INTERACTS WITH AMERICAN CEOS JUNE 26, 2017 LEAVE A COMMENT ON PM INTERACTS WITH AMERICAN CEOS The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra...