Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Outrage in Parliament, govt vows strong action

Diplomat issue: Outrage in Parliament, govt vows strong action
Amidst outrage expressed by members in Parliament, India on Wednesday asserted that it will intervene “effectively and specifically” to ensure the return and restoration of dignity of its Deputy Consul General in New York who has been arrested on charges of visa rules violation.
Responding to concerns expressed by members across party lines in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid condemned the US action and said he will not return to the House if he fails in his responsibility to bring back the arrested diplomat Devyani Khobragade. 
Spelling out the series of steps initiated to scale down the privileges granted to US diplomats in India, he said there was a “conspiracy” in which Khobragade was “virtually trapped”. 
He said the diplomat is “innocent” and the US action was unwarranted. “It is not illegality that she is accused of, but the illegality she refused to oblige,” he said. 
Maintaining that the government was not over-reacting by taking a slew of measures against the US, Khurshid said the treatment meted out to Khobragade had “not happened out of blue” and there is a “history” behind it. 
He asserted that the government is determined and “will intervene effectively and specifically to ensure that dignity of the diplomat is preserved.” 
Khurshid made suo motu statements in both the Houses after members expressed outrage with demands that a resolution be passed to condemn the US action. 
“It is my responsibility. We will bring back the diplomat (arrested in New York) and restore her dignity. If I fail to do it, I will not return to this House,” he said in Rajya Sabha. 
In the Lok Sabha, he said, “First and foremost, our effort is to bring her out of this situation and then we will talk to the US government.” 
 US has said it is “looking into” the facts of the case, even as US Marshals on Wednesday admitted that she had been strip searched as part of “standard procedures”. 
“We understand that this is a sensitive issue for many in India. Accordingly, we are looking into the intake procedures surrounding this arrest to ensure that all appropriate procedures were followed and every opportunity for courtesy was extended,” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said. 
Her statement came after India took a series of steps in retaliation to Khobragade’s arrest and ill-treatment in New York last week for alleged visa fraud.
The 39-year-old consular officer was subjected to a humiliating strip search, was swabbed for DNA and was kept in a cell with drug addicts after her arrest.
She was released on bail the same day. “While this is a law enforcement issue and will need to be worked through standard procedures and official law enforcement channels, we will continue to work this issue with India in the spirit of partnership and cooperation that marks our broad bilateral relationship,” Harf said as the US went into damage control mode following India’s tough stand. 
A 1999 batch IFS officer, Khobragade, India’s Deputy Consul General in New York, was arrested on 12th December by the State Department’s diplomatic security bureau, and then handed over to the US Marshals Service (USMS). 
Khobragade was taken into custody as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court. 
USMS confirmed that Khobragade was subjected to a “strip search”, the same as other arrestees. 
“As for the type of search, I can only confirm that she was subject to the same search procedures as other USMS arrestees held within the general prisoner population in the Southern District of New York, which in this case was a strip search,” USMS spokesperson Nikki Credic-Barrett said. 
She insisted that standard intake procedures were followed, saying, “While in USMS custody, standard arrestee intake procedures were followed.” 
 United States on Tuesday urged India to accord due protection to American diplomats as the South Asian nation was responding angrily to the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.
“We have conveyed at high levels to the government of India our expectations that India will continue to fulfill all of its obligations under the Vienna Convention,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at a regular press briefing.
She said Washington will continue to work with India to ensure that all of American diplomatic personnel and facilities “are being afforded full rights and protections.”
India on Tuesday also summoned U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell in protest and stopped import clearances for the U.S. embassy, as senior Indian government officials refused to meet with a visiting delegation of U.S. congressmen.
“The U.S. and India enjoy a broad and deep friendship,” Harf said in a statement. “And this isolated episode is not indicative of the close and mutually respectful ties we share.”
She told reporters that U.S. diplomatic security officials followed “standard procedures” during Khobragade’s arrest, and that the Indian diplomat does not have full diplomatic immunity.
“We understand there are sensitive issues involved here,” Harf added. “For example, the State Department isn’t the entity that conducts the intake procedure at the federal courthouse. That’s the U.S. Marshals.”


Snowden offers to help Brazil in NSA inquiry

Snowden, the former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), has offered to help Brazil investigate the extent of NSA’s spying against the South American country in an open letter published Tuesday.
The letter, addressed to “the people of Brazil” and expected to be sent to authorities there, was published by Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, which had previously run articles on the NSA’s activities in Brazil, based on documents revealed by Snowden.
But Snowden, who blew the whistle on the NSA’s global surveillance scheme and is wanted in the U.S. for divulging secret documents, said, “Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere in my ability to speak.”
Snowden is currently living in Russia under temporary asylum, which is due to expire in August next year. He had previously requested asylum in Brazil, but that request remains unanswered.
The whistleblower said in the letter that several Brazilian senators have asked him for his help in investigating U.S. spying on Brazil, but that Washington would continue to try to prevent him from speaking out until he is able to secure permanent asylum.
Soon after the spying revelations were first made, documents revealed Brazil was a main target of Washington’s political and corporate spying, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff became one of the most outspoken critics of the U.S. spying policy.


Mishkat Varma debuts on television in Rajan Shahi’s …Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya


On a recent shoot in Rajasthan, the actor was mistaken as Ranbir Kapoor!!

Seen in various ad commercials and working as a  successful model for various brands, Mishkat Varma makes his debut with Zee TV and Rajan Shahi’s new offering –  …Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya.

Playing the role of Raj in the show, Mishkat dons the hat of a simple and fun boy-next-door. Talking about his role, Mishkat said, “I play the role of a young college boy who takes life with a pinch of salt and has his own ways of fighting problems that drive his life. A happy-go-lucky chap, I relate to my character every bit as I am pretty much like that in my real life too.” Taking up a television offer after doing many modeling assignments, Mishkat is a trained dancer and has been a part of Shiamak Davar’s dancing troupe.

Commenting on his journey, Mishkat said, “I’ve been modeling for quite a few years now, and each time I received a television offer, I felt that I was not ready for it. I knew if I’d jointelevision, it would only be if I get to play the lead on the show. I was taken by surprise when I received a call to audition for the role of Raj in …Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya. Known for launching many fresh faces as leads in top-rated shows of the industry, I am glad to have Mr. Rajan Shahi’s show as my stepping stone in the showbiz.”

On a recent outdoor shoot in Rajasthan, the young lad was mistaken as superstar Ranbir Kapoor!!! Quiz Mishkat about the incident and the actor blushes red! “It was crazy and flattering at the same time. We were shooting in a temple and the locals out there  suddenly started saying, aree ye toh badtameez dil wala ladka hai.. They thought I was Ranbir Kapoor and wanted my autograph. I thoroughly enjoyed the attention. I hope the entire country accepts me as the Ranbir Kapoor of the small screen,” gushes the actor.

The show will also see an entry of another newbie – Kaanchi Singh playing the female protagonist, Avni in the show. …Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya talks about this sublime experience called ‘love’ that a young and spirited Avni is waiting to discover in her life. So is Raj the right guy for her?  To know more, stay tuned to Zee TV.

… Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, coming this New Year only on Zee TV!


Protest at US Embassy

भारतीय महिला राजनयिक के साथ हुए दुव्र्यवहार के विरोध में राष्ट्रवादी शिवसेना ने किया अमेरिकी दूतावास के बाहर विरोध प्रदर्शन।
         नई दिल्ली, 18 दिसंबर। अमेरिका में तैनात भारतीय राजनयिक देवयानी के साथ अमेरिका में किए गए दुव्र्यवहार के विरोध में राष्ट्रवादी शिवसेना ने आज नई दिल्ली स्थित अमेरिकी दूतावास पर विरोध प्रदर्शन कर अमेरिका से इस कृत्य के लिये सार्वजनिक तौर पर माफी मांगने की मांग की। पार्टी कार्यकर्ता तीन मूर्ति चैक पर एकत्रित हुए और अमेरिका के विरू( नारे लगाते हुए अमेरिकी दूतावास की ओर बढ़े जहां पर पुलिस ने उन्हे बढ़ने से रोक कर गिरफ्तार कर लिया। प्रदर्शनकारियेां ने अमेरिकी राष्ट्रपति बराक ओबामा का रूप धारण किए एक व्यक्ति को निर्वस्त्र करके सड़को पर घुमा कर अपना आक्रोश जताया। इस मौके पर पार्टी ने एक ज्ञापन अमेरिकी उच्चायुक्त को दिया। कार्यकर्ताओं की अगुवाई पार्टी प्रमुख श्री जयभगवान गोयल कर रहे थे। कार्यक्रम का आयोजन पार्टी की दिल्ली ईकाई द्वारा किया गया।
इस मौके पर उपस्थित प्रदर्शनकारियों को संबोधित करते हुए पार्टी प्रमुख श्री जयभगवान गोयल ने कहा कि अमेरिका के इस बर्ताव से आज हिन्दुस्तानियों में गहरा आक्रोश है। उन्होंने कहा कि अमेरिका में भारतीयों के साथ हुए दुव्र्यवहार की यह कोई पहली घटना नहीं है, इससे पूर्व भी अमेरिका भारतीय अभिनेताओं, राजनेताओं के साथ दुव्र्यवहार कर चुका है जिस पर अगर उसी समय भारत सरकार कड़ा रूख अपनाती तो आज इस तरह अपमानित नहीं होना पड़ता। उन्होंने कहा कि अब अमेरिका ने अपनी सारी हदें पार कर दी है तभी उसने एक महिला राजनयिक के साथ ऐसा दुव्र्यवहार किया है। उन्होंने कहा कि इस हरकत के बावजूद भी अमरिकियों द्वारा इस घटना को सहजता के साथ लिया जाना अमेरिका के अहंकार को दर्शाता है। मगर अमेरिका को यह याद रखना होगा कि हिन्दुस्तानियों को ”जैसे को तैसा“ की भाषा में भी जवाब देना आता है।
श्री गोयल ने कहा कि हमारे देश में महिला सम्मान सर्वोपरि है और प्रत्येक सच्चा हिन्दुस्तानी, किसी भी महिला का अपमान बर्दास्त नहीं कर सकता। इसलिए इस दुव्र्यवहार के लिए अमेरिका सार्वजनिक तौर पर मांफी मांगे और यह भी सुनिश्चित करे कि भविष्य में हिन्दुस्तानियों के साथ कभी ऐसी घटना घटित नहीं होगी। इस मौके पर प्रदर्शनकारियेां को दिल्ली प्रदेश अध्यक्ष चै. ईश्वर पाल सिंह तेवतिया ने भी संबोधित किया।
इस मौके पर सर्वश्री देवेन्द्र कुमार सिंह, बलदेव राज मनचन्दा, जयप्रकाश बघेल, जितेन्द्र यादव, प्रवीण गोयल, बजरंग बहादुर, मदन लाल माहौर एवं श्रीमति सुमन देवी आदि पदाधिकारी अपने कार्यकर्ताओं के साथ मौजूद थे।
भरतलाल शर्मा
कार्यालय सचिव


Meghna Naidu to enter Jodha Akbar!


Meghna’s character Benazir to enter the lives of Jodha & Akbar with a secret agenda  

Making an appearance across various reality shows, the Kaliyon Ka Chaman girl Meghna Naidu is all set to make her debut in a fiction show as she gears up for her role of Benazir, the enchantress in Zee TV’s No. 1 show Jodha Akbar. This Andhra beauty has been a famous model, done a number of music videos and acted in Bollywood films before she shifted base to Dubai. Meghna returns to Mumbai to take on this role.

While many actresses who were approached for the role refused it because of its negative  shades, Meghna gladly took ‘Benazir’ up. Commenting on what appealed her about the role, she said, “The role holds a lot of mystique for the viewers as Benazir is a girl who’s brought into Akbar’s haveli with a secret agenda … her motivations are not known to the audience … though it will be evident that Benazir is attempting to manipulate the Emperor, people will be left guessing as to what her true intentions are. A tough nut to crack, Akbar will fall prey to beautiful Benazir’s seduction as he is vulnerable after Jodha’s rejection. My character will bring in a lot of interesting twists in the show and I am sure, that Jodha Akbar fans are going to enjoy watching me in the show.” 

Talking about her character and comeback on television, Meghna said, “It feels good to come back and take up a role in one of the top-rated shows running on Indian television at the moment. I have been following Jodha Akbar on and off and I love the grandeur of the sets and the entire look and feel of the show. The role is one of a temptress … someone who will captivate Akbar’s attention through her guile and allure. She will be a part of his harem and will dance her way into his heart. So, I am glad the role entails dancing! I am quite excited as I will start shooting soon.”

Also, entering the show is Juhi Aslam, playing the role of ‘Zaiyada’, who is Benazir’s (Meghna Naidu) care taker.

Will the two new entries change the equation between Jodha and Akbar and bring them closer, or will the two end up being separated forever?

Do not miss Jodha Akbar, Monday to Friday, 8 – 8:30 PM only on Zee TV!


Developing Asia behind the growth of South South trade: UNCTAD


Surge in South-South trade is led by China , Vietnam , Egypt , India , Turkey , Peru , Colombia , Brazil , Mexico and Chile .
In the global trade scenario, world merchandise exports have more than tripled over the last two decades and reached US$18.3 billion (in current prices) in 2012 from US $10.5 billion in 2005.  One fourth of the world exports comprise of the exports among developing countries called “South-South” trade, which marked a record $4.7 billion, according to the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2013.

The share of South-South trade in total world exports has doubled over the last 20 years, to over 25%. This South-South trade trend has been led largely by developing Asia, followed by developing America . Amongst the developing Asia, China accounts for more than 20% of developing countries’ intra-trade. The other major country which are leading the South South trade are Viet Nam, Egypt, India , Turkey , Peru , Colombia , Brazil , Mexico , and Chile  These economies have expanded the most in the South-South trade during the last two decades.

           World, developing economies and South-south merchandise exports
                                                                                                                                (million US dollars)
Chart 1
                       Source: PHD Research Bureau, Compiled from UNCTAD,

Fuels with 25% share holds the highest share in South South trade followed by manufactured goods and components for electrical and electronic goods, which accounts for 19% and 15% share in intra South trade. Developing economies have also been gaining market share in international trade in services.  The share of exports of commercial service from developing countries in total world exports of services increased from 22% in 1995 to 30% in 2012. In 2012 alone services-sector exports from developing countries increased by almost 8%.  In construction and travel exports, developing economies accounts for 40% of the global market. Their importance is also growing in transport and in computer services trade. However, developing and transition economies do not account for much of global trade in financial services and in trade related intellectual properties. South-South trade has been facilitated by various bilateral, regional and inter-regional preferential trade agreements.


China:U.S. to be cautious on South China Sea issue

China on Wednesday rebuffed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks on the South China Sea issue and urged the country to be cautious in its words and deeds.
“We have noticed his remarks,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing in response to Kerry, who said on Tuesday that the United States would speak out when China took unilateral actions that raised the potential for conflict.
“We hope the relevant country will respect the efforts made by China and countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the South China Sea issue, strictly abide by its commitment of not taking a position, and be cautious with its words and deeds,” she said.
Hua noted China always stands for a resolution of the South China Sea issue through direct negotiations among relevant countries, and keeps smooth and effective communication with ASEAN countries on the South China Sea code of conduct.
The spokeswoman urged the United States to be more helpful for the mutual trust among countries in the region and the peace and stability of the region.
Hua also slammed criticism by Japan and the Philippines on China’s East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), urging them to stop sowing discord.
“The performance of relevant parties is enough and should be stopped. If they really care about the region’s peace and stability, they should treat this objectively and fairly and stop sowing discord,” Hua said.


Mid-Quarter Review of Monetary Policy: 2013-14


RBI in its mid quarter review of monetary policy for 2013-14 has kept the CRR unchanged at 4% of net demand and time liability (NDTL); and the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) has kept unchanged at 7.75%. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 6.75%, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 8.75%.

The RBI policy rates so far                 
Repo Rate
Reverse Repo Rate
WPI Inflation
IIP growth
(-) 1.8%**
Real GDP growth
 Source: PHD Research Bureau, compiled from various sources
Note: ˆ Data for Q1FY12, “’ Data for Q1FY13, @Data for November 2013,
 ** Data for October 2013, # Data for Q2 2013-14 estimates

Snapshot of mid-quarter review of monetary policy 2013-14: RBI

The outlook for global growth continues to remain moderate, with an uneven recovery across industrial countries. Activity in major emerging market economies (EMEs) barring China has decelerated on account of weak domestic demand, notwithstanding some improvement in export performance. While volatility in financial markets has receded, it could pick up again following the inevitable taper of quantitative easing in the US , given the large dependence of emerging market economies (EMEs) on external financing.

On the domestic front, the pick-up in real GDP growth in Q2 of 2013-14, albeit modest, was driven largely by robust growth of agricultural activity, supported by an improvement in net exports. However, the weakness in industrial activity persisting into Q3, still lacklustre lead indicators of services and subdued domestic consumption demand suggest continuing headwinds to growth. Tightening government spending in Q4 to meet budget projections will add to these headwinds. In this context, the revival of stalled investment, especially in the projects cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Investment, will be critical.

Inflation – Retail inflation measured by the consumer price index (CPI) has risen unrelentingly through the year so far, pushed up by the unseasonal upturn in vegetable prices, double-digit housing inflation and elevated levels of inflation in the non-food and non-fuel categories. While vegetable prices seem to be adjusting downwards sharply in certain areas, the feed-through to much-too-high headline CPI inflation remains to be seen. Wholesale inflation has also gone up sharply from Q2 onwards, with upside pressures evident across all constituent components. High inflation at both wholesale and retail levels risks entrenching inflation expectations at unacceptably elevated levels, posing a threat to growth and financial stability. High and persistent inflation also increases the risks of exchange rate instability. 

External sector – The narrowing of the trade deficit since June through November, on positive export growth and contraction in both oil and non-oil imports, should bring the current account deficit (CAD) down to a more sustainable level for the year as a whole. Robust inflows into the swap windows opened by the Reserve Bank during August-November have contributed significantly to rebuilding foreign exchange reserves thus covering possible external financing requirements and providing stability to the foreign exchange market. Going ahead, these favourable developments should help to build resilience to external shocks.

Policy stance

Headline inflation, both retail and wholesale, have increased, mainly on account of food prices.  While CPI and wholesale price index (WPI) inflation excluding food and fuel have been stable, despite a steady and necessary increase in administered prices towards market levels, the high level of CPI inflation excluding food and fuel leaves no room for complacency. There are indications that vegetable prices may be turning down sharply, although trading mark-ups could impede the full pass-through into retail inflation. In addition, the disinflationary impact of recent exchange rate stability should play out into prices. Finally, the negative output gap, including the recent observed slowdown in services growth, as well as the lagged effects of effective monetary tightening since July, should help contain inflation.

RBI in its policy stated that there are obvious risks to waiting for more data; including the possibility that tapering of quantitative easing by the US Fed may disrupt external markets and that the Reserve Bank may be perceived to be soft on inflation. Even though the Reserve Bank maintains status quo in its mid quarter review of monetary policy, it can help guide market expectations through a clearer description of its policy reaction function: if the expected softening of food inflation does not materialise and translate into a significant reduction in headline inflation in the coming times, or if inflation excluding food and fuel does not fall, the Reserve Bank will act, including on off-policy dates if warranted, so that inflation expectations stabilise and an environment conducive to sustainable growth takes hold.

Warm regards,

Dr. S P Sharma
Chief Economist


Hindustan FC Kick Off Delhi League With A Goalless Draw

New Delhi: Hindustan FC started its Delhi Senior Division League campaign with a goalless draw against Youngmen FC at the CWG Sports Complex here today.

Hindustan FC were bang on target right in the 2nd minutes of the game, just to be denied a lead by the diving Youngmen FC goalkeeper. The former champions continued in the same vein and unleashed flurry of attacks.

Nigerian recruit O.O. Sola’s solo effort from just outside the box kissed the woodwork in the 8th minute before Mehra’s scorcher went straight to the keeper.

On the other side of the field, Hindustan FC goalkeeper, Rajat Guha came into action and made a sliding tackle to deny a Youngmen striker a sniff at the goal, who had just the experienced custodian to beat.

It was Hindustan FC all over again in the 2nd half, having many sniffs at the goal but all in vain. Former Mohun Bagan skipper Rishi Kapoor made a left footed attempt from 30 yards out which missed the near post by inches.

Thereafter both the side went hard at each other seeking for the winner, but none managed to get that elusive goal as both side had to be content with one point.
Hindustan FC next play Punjab Heroes on Tuesday, 24th December in a 12:45 PM kick off.


“Role of the National Government and Civil Society Organizations in National EFA 2015 Reviews”

South Asia Technical Workshop
“Role of the National Government and Civil Society Organizations 
in National EFA 2015 Reviews”
UNESCO New Delhi, Government of India and ActionAid Association are organizing the South Asia Technical Workshop on Role of the National Government and Civil Society Organizations in National EFA 2015 Review, from 19-20 December 2013 in New Delhi, at Hotel Umrao. Six countries from South Asia will be participating in the Workshop – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
The workshop will be inaugurated by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, former under secretary general of the United Nations and an eminent author. Also present will beMs Lise Grande, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in India; Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, and Director, UNESCO New Delhi Office, and Dr. Amarjit Singh, Additional Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The workshop will provide a forum for the South Asian countries’ government and CSO representatives, representatives of the EFA convener UN agencies from UNESCO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP and World Bank, international experts and resource persons, and also key stakeholders from India with opportunity to explore and discuss issues on Achieving Education for All Goals in South Asia by 2015 and formulating the Post 2015 Education Agenda.
The main objectives of the workshop are:
· Taking stock of the achievements and progress of six EFA goals in South Asia and the gap between projected results and goals in 2015;
· Sharing of best practices, lessons learnt, and experiences on implementation of the EFA goals in the countries of South Asia, highlighting collaboration between government and CSOs;
· Taking stock of the ongoing exercise in conducting National EFA Review and suggest for appropriate modality of working together; and
Making recommendations for the future education goals, and the post 2015 development agenda.
Where does South Asia Stand on EFA Goals
In this connection it will be opportune to look into the performance of the world, particularly South Asia with regard to the EFA goals. It needs to be pointed out that the world is not on track on all six EFA goals set in 2000. Some are close to targets and some are far from the targets. The enrolment in absolute number and Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) has increased at primary level significantly from 1999. The proportion of Out-of-School children (OOSC) at the primary level has reduced substantially from 23% in 1999. It is now only 7% in 2011 in South and West Asia. At the same time, at the lower secondary level (upper primary level for India) it was 40% and now it is 30% in 2011.
Among the participating six countries of South Asia in this workshop namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka the highest proportion of OOSC at the primary level is in Bhutan with 8.2% in 2011, where as the lowest proportion of OOSC is in India with 1.1% in 2011. However, at the same time, in terms of the proportion of OOSC at lower secondary level (upper primary) the highest proportion is from India with 22.8% and lowest from Nepal with 6.0% in 2011. The large proportion of out of school children in India could be attributed to the drop out among girls at that age, prevalence of child labour etc.
In terms of the number of out-of-school children at the primary level, it has gone down from 40 million in 1999 to 12 million in 2011 in South and West Asia. The number of OOSC at lower secondary (upper primary) level has gone down from 39.6 million to 31.2 million from 1999 to 2011.
The six participating countries is the homeland of 341 million adult (15 years and above) illiterate populations out of world’s 773.5 million (UIS 2013 September) adult illiterate populations. Among six countries India contributes 37% of World’s adult illiterate population. 
As we approach the target set for Education for All by 2015, there is an urgent need to review in a systematic and effective manner how various countries, which are the Member States of the UN have achieved the goals of the Education for All (EFA). The EFA review will provide better understanding of the bottlenecks and barriers and achievements of EFA.
At the World Education Forum (Dakar, 2000), the international community recognized the central role of civil society in the achievement of the EFA goals. Since then, civil society’s involvement in education has expanded considerably and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are now considered a vital EFA partner to achieve the goal of EFA 2015. Accordingly, the EFA Review 2015 Technical Guidelines has also suggested to include civil society organizations in the Review national team. It is in this context that UNESCO and Government of India are partnering with ActionAid Association ( in organising this EFA 2015 workshop involving number of other civil society organisations from various South Asian countries as well. The Action Aid Association works in 24 states of India for promoting free and adequate schools for children belonging to Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, girls, urban poor and other vulnerable communities.

For more details you could contact:
Ms. Rekha Beri, Documentionalist and Public Information, UNESCO New Delhi Tel: 26713000-106
Dr. Alex George, Head of Child Rights, Action Aid Association, New Delhi: M: 9968293621
Kind regards,
Documentation and Public Information
United Nations
Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization
UNESCO Office in New Delhi – Cluster Office for Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka
B5/29 Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110 029, India
Tel. +91-11-26713000; Fax. +91-11-26713001


EU considers suspending some Iran sanctions


​EU considers suspending some Iran sanctions

The EU has promised to suspend some sanctions against Tehran once the IAEA has verified that Iran is on a compliance course under the terms of the Geneva agreement reached in November. In a statement, EU foreign ministers said that they are “committed to…suspend those EU sanctions as set out in the [agreement] immediately after the IAEA has verified the implementation of the nuclear-related measures by Iran.” They added that ”a swift implementation of the voluntary measures by all sides is now key. Iran has to implement its commitments in good faith.”


Russian MPs pass presidential amnesty draft



The lower house of Russia’s parliament, State Duma, on Tuesday passed in the first reading President Vladimir Putin’s bill on amnesty in honor of the 20th anniversary of Russia’s Constitution. The document was unanimously supported by 442 MPs, Itar-Tass reported. According to the accompanying documents, some 25,000 people will be granted amnesty. They include the people who committed crimes when they were under age, women with underage children, pregnant women, women older than 55 and men older than 60, severely disabled persons, military servicemen, law enforcement officers, plus some other categories.


NATO voices concern over Russian Iskander missiles deployment



NATO has voiced concerns over Russia’s deployment of Iskander missiles on the Baltic Coast, claiming that better communication channels are needed with Moscow. “We have to have a medium of trusted, constant, reliable communication,” said NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove. Because of the nature of military deployment of NATO and Russian forces in various parts of the world, “there can be no room for miscalculation,” he said. Meanwhile NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the deployment of Iskander missiles “is counter-productive to the kind of partnership NATO seeks with Russia and to the goals we have agreed for the enhancement of security in the region.” Calling for more transparency, she assured Moscow that “NATO’s goal is a truly strategic partnership with Russia.” Media agencies 


Lokpal is a reality now, It is passed in Loksabha..

"We should complete the unfinished work of fighting corruption... Six anti-corruption bills are pending. If necessary, can we not extend this session of parliament?" Gandhi said.</p> <p>Noting that the Lokpal bill was part of this comprehensive framework, he said the RTI law was the first on the UPA list.</p> <p>The other bills include the right of citizens for time-bound delivery of goods and services and also cover areas of public procurement, foreign bribery, judicial accountability and protection for whistleblowers.</p> <p>#INCLeader<br /> #INCMessage<br /> #DPCC
‪#‎AnnaHazare‬‘s ‘thank you’ note
#Lokpal Bill: Arvind #Kejriwal missing in #AnnaHazare's 'thank you' note

Lokpal is a reality now, It is passed in Loksabha..Transparency in governance comes by strong will and intention to make things better. It takes time to discuss and understand the requirement and at the end the fruit is sweet for we all.
Lets step towards emerging India with positive mindset. ”We should complete the unfinished work of fighting corruption… Six anti-corruption bills are pending. If necessary, can we not extend this session of parliament?” Gandhi said.
Noting that the Lokpal bill was part of this comprehensive framework, he said the RTI law was the first on the UPA list.
The other bills include the right of citizens for time-bound delivery of goods and services and also cover areas of public procurement, foreign bribery, judicial accountability and protection for whistleblowers said Rahul Gandhi tweets.Big Celebration in Hazare village as Lokpal bill is passed
Several thousand supporters of fasting social activist Anna Hazare lustily cheered here as the Lok Sabha passed the much-anticipated Lokpal bill.
As soon as the news flashed on TV screens, there were screams of joy and merriment in the gathering and a frail Hazare gathered strength to stand up on the dias.
“Jai Hind, Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai,” he cheered on the microphone, acknowledging the greetings and happiness of the people gathered there.


Moscow confirms deployment of Iskander missiles on NATO borders



Iskander high-precision missile system in place during military exercises. (RIA Novosti/Alexei Danichev)
Iskander high-precision missile system in place during military exercises.
 Russian Defense Ministry confirmed media reports on the deployment of short-range Iskander missiles in the country’s west, near its borders with the Baltic states and NATO members, saying that it does not violate international agreements.
German newspaper Bild wrote this weekend that Russia stationed several Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems – which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads – in its westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad, along the border with Baltic states. The paper said it obtained “secret satellite” images showing at least 10 Russian missiles close to the EU border, which were deployed over the past year.
 Moscow confirmed that it did station the missiles, which have been designated by NATO as SS-26 Stone, in the region.
Rocket and artillery units of the Western Military District are really armed with Iskander tactical missile systems,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, head of the Defense Ministry’s press service, told reporters on Monday.
The concrete areas of the deployment of Iskander missile battalions in the Western Military District do not contradict any international agreements or treaties,” he added, as quoted by Interfax.
Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said earlier that he was concerned over the reports of Russian missiles near his country’s border. He added that the former Soviet state had discussed with its neighbors and NATO partners “how to react and protect” themselves, because “any incidents were hypothetically possible,” Delfi news website reported on Monday.RT News


The core of AAP is Swaraj, people’s participation in major decisions.

Congress replied to our letter seeking clear answers to the 18 questions. They said that 16 did not require their support and they would support AAP on the remaining 2. BJP did not even bother to respond, making us wonder what “constructive opposition” means!On one hand, there is history of Congress’s support to other parties and what they did to them. We also fought on the principle of neither giving, nor seeking support from either BJP or Congress. On the other hand, a section of people believe that the political parties will not be able to play and tricks till the Loksabha elections. So AAP should form a government and work for the betterment of Delhi during this time.The core of AAP is Swaraj, people’s participation in major decisions. This one involves the future of Delhi. We ask you for your opinion. Should AAP form the govt. in Delhi, in the present circumstances. You can express your opinion at the link below.
AAP candidates are also reaching out in their constituencies in the next few day to collect the opinion of people. All responses received will be collated by Monday morning and the decision will be conveyed.
We are committed to making the right decision for the people of Delhi. Therefore, their participation in this process is key. After all, we have always maintained that democracy is not a once in 5 year event!
Congress replied to our letter seeking clear answers to the 18 questions. They said that 16 did not require their support and they would support AAP on the remaining 2. BJP did not even bother to respond, making us wonder what "constructive opposition" means! </p><br /> <p>On one hand, there is history of Congress's support to other parties and what they did to them. We also fought on the principle of neither giving, nor seeking support from either BJP or Congress. On the other hand, a section of people believe that the political parties will not be able to play and tricks till the Loksabha elections. So AAP should form a government and work for the betterment of Delhi during this time. </p><br /> <p>The core of AAP is Swaraj, people's participation in major decisions. This one involves the future of Delhi. We ask you for your opinion. Should AAP form the govt. in Delhi, in the present circumstances. You can express your opinion at the link below. </p><br /> <p>AAP candidates are also reaching out in their constituencies in the next few day to collect the opinion of people. All responses received will be collated by Monday morning and the decision will be conveyed. </p><br /> <p>We are committed to making the right decision for the people of Delhi. Therefore, their participation in this process is key. After all, we have always maintained that democracy is not a once in 5 year event! </p><br /> <p>


Sony introduces PlayStation 4



The Panchala MahaUtsav




Gender, Youth and Migration (GYM) A New Web Portal is Now Online!

–18 December 2013
On the occasion of the International Migrants Day and in continuation of UNESCO’s work on internal migration, UNESCO announces the launch of an online knowledge platform on Gender, Youth and Migration (GYM), as a sub-community of practice of the Gender Community of UN Solution Exchange. The GYM initiative, supported by UNESCO, hopes to bridge the gap and link researchers, practitioners and decision makers working on gender, youth and migration in India.
Worldwide, there are 740 million internal migrants, almost 4 times as many as those who have moved internationally i.e. 214 million (UNDP 2009). Internal migration in India accounts for a large population: 326 million or 28.5 percent of the population are internal migrants (NSSO 2007-08), projected to reach 400 million (Census 2011). 70 percent of internal migrants are women (Census 2001) and about 30 percent of internal migrants belong to the youth category, i.e. between 15-29 years (Rajan 2013, Census 2001).
While research interest and policy intervention in international migration has garnered some attention, there is no dedicated ‘resource hub’ yet that promotes or brings together researchers, practitioners and decision makers working on issues of internal migration, enabling them to learn from each other and stay connected.
The GYM web page is linked to the Gender Community-UN Solution Exchange web portal, supported by UNICEF and UN Women, and provides access to over 200 resources on internal migration, gender and youth, at policy, research and case-studies level. The GYM webpage is now online and in the following months, online queries and discussions would be initiated on themes of gender, youth and internal migration in India.
GYM, launched with support from UNESCO, as a sub-community of the Gender Community of Practice, UN Solution Exchange, is an online platform connecting experts, researchers, NGOs and decision makers who share a common concern on the topic of internal migration, gender and youth; tapping research and policy recommendations from India, South Asia and BRICS countries.
GYM Membership
Members can sign up for free via a membership form available on the web portal. All members will be merged under a common mailing list to create an effective and inexpensive way to collect, disseminate, and create policy relevant knowledge for better policy making; also enhance individual and organizational capacities on addressing GYM issues.
GYM Web page available at:
• A one-stop “research and policy hub” on internal migration
• Search by keyword from over 200 resources on gender, youth and migration
• Data base of Books , Reports Research Articles and Policies
• National and International Laws
• Directory of Experts, Research Institutes and Organizations
• Online Queries and Discussions
• Upcoming events and latestnews
• Important Web links
For membership and further queries, please contact us on:


India’s SOMDEV DEVVARMAN to battle it out in main draw of Aircel Chennai Open 2014


The 28-year-old has dramatically broken into the top 100 list and has had an impressive run at tournaments across the world in 2013

CHENNAI, DECEMBER 18, 2013: Even as Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp has pulled out from the Aircel Chennai Open 2014 with a back injury, India’s Somdev Devvarman has entered the singles draw for the upcoming 19th edition of the tournament, scheduled to take place from 30th December 2013 to 5th January 2014 at Chennai’s SDAT Tennis Stadium. The World No. 90 will be spearheading India’s representation at the US $450,000 tournament.

Cutting off at 89, the strong player field for the region’s most exciting and hard fought tennis tournament will see an inspiring array of players and include thrilling talent such as World No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka, World No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny, World No. 16 Fabio Fognini, and Defending Singles Champion Janko Tipsarevic. The 2014 edition marks only the second time in the history of the tournament where three returning singles champions form part of the playing field.

This year, 28-year-old Devvarman dramatically broke into the top 100 list had an impressive run at tournaments. In the space of 10 months, he climbed more than 550 spots to a No. 90 Emirates ATP Ranking. He recorded main draw wins at his first six tour-level events of 2013, highlighted by a third-round run at the Sony Open Tennis, and followed with success on the ATP Challenger Tour circuit, reaching the semi-finals at four events. He also advanced to the second round of Roland Garros and the US Open and the third round of the Citi Open – all as a qualifier – to re-enter the Top 100 by September.

Noteworthy that Somdev also was nominated for Comeback Player of the Year for the ATP.

Other leading players who will add excitement to the event include France’s Benoit Paire, Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, Spaniards Marcel Granollers & Roberto Bautista-Agut, and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vesselin.

The Title Sponsor for the tournament is Aircel and the event is supported by a consortium of sponsors in the Platinum category headed by the Government of Tamil Nadu



~Prize money of Rs 50 lakh~\
~Top names in the field include Rashid Khan, Mithun Perera, Shamim Khan, Chiragh Kumar

Jamshedpur, December 17, 2013: TATA STEEL and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) have announced the 12th TATA Open Golf which will be held in Jamshedpur from 19th – 22nd December, 2013. The four-day tournament will be hosted at the Beldih and Golmuri Golf Courses in Jamshedpur. The Pro-Am will be played on 18thDecember, 2013. The prize money for the event is Rs. 50 lakh.
The tournament will feature 124 golfers including 118 professionals and six amateurs. Top professionals (as per the PGTI’s Rolex Rankings) competing at the event include defending champion Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka, former champions Mukesh Kumar, Shamim Khan (reigning Rolex Rankings champion) and Vinod Kumar as well as other leading Indian professionals like Rashid Khan (current Rolex Rankings leader), Chiragh Kumar, Harendra Gupta, Om Prakash Chouhan, Shankar Das, Chikkarangappa S and Angad Cheema, to name a few.
Sri Lankans N Thangaraja and Anura Rohana, Kunal Bhasin of Australia, Nepal’s Shivaram Shrestha and Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah will be the other foreigners to watch out for besides defending champion Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka.
The local challenge will be led by Jamshedpur-based top Indian amateur Karan Taunk.
Mr. T V Narendran, Managing Director, Tata Steel said, “Tata steel has a proud legacy of supporting sports and has always helped in creating an atmosphere conducive to sports promotion creating champions who have made India proud. Tata Open Golf is an annual domestic professional golf tournament of repute, which gives an opportunity to the top golfing talent from across geographies to display their skill and talent. The tournament has, over the years, become one of the most talked about golfing events in the country and has been instrumental in elevating the standards of Indian professional golf. We welcome all golfers to the steel city and wish them the very best.
Mr. Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said, “We thank TATA STEEL for their committed support to Indian professional golf over the last decade. The 12th TATA Open promises to be a treat for golf fans in Jamshedpur as the top professionals in the country engage in an exciting contest in order to secure berths at the McLeod Russel Tour Championship, PGTI’s year-ending championship, and also make a bid for the Rolex Player of Year title. We wish the players all the best and look forward to an exhilarating week of golf.
The two venues for the tournament, the Beldih and Golmuri golf courses, are both lush green, beautiful and very well-maintained, with the charming Dalma Hills in the background. While the 70-year-old Beldih Golf Course flaunts long fairways, Golmuri is a smaller, greener, boutique course disallowing golfers any room for error. 
About Tata Steel and Sports

Established in 1907 as Asia’s first integrated private sector steel company, Tata Steel Group is among the top-ten global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of over 29 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). It is now the world’s second-most geographically-diversified steel producer, with operations in 26 countries and a commercial presence in over 50 countries.

Tata Steel is the only Indian company to invest in world-class sports facilities, create academies and maintain and manage international level arenas. The cadets of its Tata Football Academy, the nursery for the sport in India, as well as those of Tata Archery Academy, the only one-of-its-kind for archery, besides Tata Athletics Academy, have justified the faith that the Company has in the talent and ability of its youth. Today, a significant part of the Indian Football team, India’s best archers, some of its finest cricketers, athletes, shooters, a Grand Master and several national and international legends have realised their dreams as a result of the support they have received from TATA Steel’s Sports Academies. Tata Steel is the only Corporate in the country to have been awarded Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar by the Hon’ble President of India. Cadets from the various academies have won honours like Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Padmashree, Dronacharya Award, Arjuna Award and Dhyan Chand Life Time Achievement Award. They have been Olympians, Asian Medalists and winners at innumerable medals at International & National levels.

About PGTI:

Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognized official body of professional golf in India. PGTI’s objective is to promote professional golf in the country as well as give players an opportunity to be involved in decision making for all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI’s governing body comprises of leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

Chief, Corporate Communications
Tata Steel


DFW International Airport Welcomes New Etihad Airways Service to Abu Dhabi

DFW International Airport Welcomes New Etihad Airways Service to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Starting In 2014

Etihad Airways arrival at DFW expands travel options to the Middle East and beyond

December 18, 2013 – Etihad Airways today announced it will launch new international service from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport three times a week to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, starting on December 3, 2014.  Etihad Airways will operate the Dallas/Fort Worth route with Boeing 777-200LR aircraft featuring a three-class design.

“We are thrilled to have Etihad Airways bring its highly respected international service to Dallas/Fort Worth,” said Sean Donohue, Chief Executive Officer of DFW Airport.  “Etihad Airways has established a reputation for excellence, and we are confident that DFW customers will be eager to take advantage of the new route for travel to the Middle East and beyond.”

“The United States is one of Etihad Airways’ most important global markets and we are delighted to add Dallas/Fort Worth, a key U.S. destination and hub, to our flight network, bringing the number of American cities we will serve to five by the end of 2014,” said James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new service will also strengthen the deep commercial and bilateral ties between the United Arab Emirates and the United States.”

The addition of Etihad Airways further extends DFW’s record expansion of air service, in which the Airport has added 23 new international services and ten new airline partners in the past three years. With this announcement, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport now serves a total of 206 destinations, with Abu Dhabi set to become DFW’s 58th international destination.  

“This new flight from Etihad Airways demonstrates that the Dallas/Fort Worth region continues to grow as one of the most vital business and tourism centers in the world, and it demonstrates the continuing benefit of having a world-class airport to help drive international growth,” said Donohue.  “We are confident the combination of DFW Airport and Etihad Airways will create an outstanding travel experience for customers.”

Etihad Airways offers travelers connections from Abu Dhabi to over 90 destinations around the world.  Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, began commercial operations in November 2003. Since then, Etihad Airways has gone on to become the fastest growing airline in the history of commercial aviation, and has been named ‘World’s Leading Airline’ at the World Travel Awards for five consecutive years.

The Etihad Airways service is expected to produce an additional $90 million in annual economic impact to the Dallas/Fort Worth region in terms of additional visitors, business ties and investments, according to DFW Airport estimates.

About DFW International Airport

Located halfway between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, DFW International Airport is the world’s fourth busiest, offering 1,800 flights per day and serving 60 million customers a year. DFW provides nonstop service to 148 domestic and 58 international destinations. For seven consecutive years, DFW has ranked among the top ten large airports worldwide for customer service in surveys conducted by Airports Council International. For the latest news, real-time flight information, parking availability or further details regarding the many services provided at DFW International Airport, visit or download the Official DFW Airport Mobile App for Apple iOS, Android or Blackberry devices.

(re)defining DFW International Airport

DFW International Airport’s $2.3 billion Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP) is (re)defining first class for this global gateway.  For the latest details regarding TRIP, log on to

Follow DFW International Airport On:


Decoding Arvind Kejriwal: A servant-leader in the making

Some recent comments by Santhosh Babu

A political party established in November 2012 became a ray of hope for voters in Delhi. Kejriwal went on to defeat three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Delhiites disillusioned with corruption and poor governance put their faith in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Kejriwal, an engineer by training and a former joint commissioner with the income tax department. His single-minded, focused approach to fighting corruption helped him to create a paradigm shift in Indian politics. India is ranked 94th among 177 nations in the global corruption index by Transparency International.


AAP Collected Rs.2 Per Capita from Delhi

AAP Collected Rs.2 Per Capita from Delhi
AAP Collected $3m from all over the world, $1m from India and around 3 crores from Delhi Residents.
Kejriwal is on my mailing list for 10 years – He has yet to respond to even a single mail.
Youth of India are SMARTER than generally believed.
Every passing day without Forming a Government His Credibility Is Going Down –
He may BREAK RECORD of Fastest to join Discredited Political Party List.
CAG or CBI shall not running Government in Delhi.
Out of about 2m voters over 80% voted for him because BJP & Congress are CLEAN and Kejriwal is Cleanest of Three So Far.

Ravinder Singh
Inventor & Consultant
Ha Ha Sirjee.
AAP/AK is the Smartphone of Indian politics – “Cool and Innovative”
Youth will be drawn towards the party. (70m plus smartphones sold tilldate!)
The Youth are fed up with the traditional way politics is conducted in the country.
We saw yesterday how in the Rajya Sabha political parties across the board, closed ranks and supported/passed the watered down version of the Jan Lokpal bill.
Sorry that IAC/Anna got co-opted but the people of India see through this game.
Asking the people of Delhi to advise them if they should form the Govt in Delhi is a unique way to involve the people in decision making with the use of technology.
The established political parties have once again resorted to ridiculing AAP. Proof that they continue to be out of touch with the new and changing India and that AAP is on the right track.
They will learn the Hard Way in 2014.
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel
Kejriwal Lacks Leadership Qualities Misunderstand Democracy
December18, 2013 (C)
We humans arrive in this world head first with powerful brains to lead rest of humanity and all other life forms.
Kejriwals lack of Confidence and Ability to Lead, is like a Soldier who look back 20 times and seek orders of the General to fire every bullet at the enemy.
Kejriwal was voted to Lead Delhi by voters to Form Government and deliver on promises made.
A General or Even a Soldier never Complains about Size of Weapons Numbers of Soldiers and is battle ready all the time doesn’t wait for second order to accomplish the assigned task. Only One General Has Done So in India Recently.
Best Generals Achieve Much Better Successes, with Limited Capability & Resources, Well Within Time Specified.
I had been Politically Alert, Ace Chess Player, and Inventing before Kejriwal was born and for last ten years providing Expert Opinion all Political & Development issues within hours – Kejriwal is on my mailing list am not with him because I am not sure of his Core Ideology.
General Seeking Directions from Soldiers Following Him
I am puzzled when other political parties refuse to form government and wanted to support AAP – Kejriwal was not expected to look back all the time it is ten days and he is not yet decided whether to be Incharge of the Government or Sit Back in opposition Benches.
But what is worse under Presidents Rule is that AAP shall neither be Chief Minister of Government in power nor lesser option Leader of Opposition.
And yield Jhadoo for another six months in Delhi streets.
With his Look Back Policy Not Just His 28 Legislators and all others too in Delhi suffer from delays in Constituting Delhi Assembly – they are all without Job and authority.
In hung situation they will not Local Area Development fund and may not get salary also.
He has not Understood as Yet that he has to Run The Government as Per Law & Constitution & Make Rules That are in Best Interests of People of Delhi.

What he has not Understood is that in Democracy term of Government is always uncertain. Even if has 69 seats in 70 member Delhi assembly – any corruption case against him could send him to jail Under Lokpal.

Finally if he thinks he can run the government then he should run the government.

People may not like Leaders Who Look Back & Calculate Losses all the time.

Ravinder Singh
Inventor & Consultant

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