Afghanistan captures Taliban-linked group leaders


Afghan intelligence officials say their forces have captured 2 leaders of a hard-line militant group within the Taliban.The country’s intelligence agency said on Thursday that its forces had conducted a special operation in the eastern province of Khost 2 days before. Afghan agency officials said their forces detained Anas Haqqani and a commander of the Haqqani network.

Officials said Anas Haqqani is a son of the network’s founder and played a role in raising funds in the Middle East and conducting propaganda activities using the Internet.

Haqqani network was once based in neighboring Pakistan, and staged a number of terrorist attacks and raids. The group is believed to have moved to Afghanistan to evade military operations in Pakistan.

Afghan officials said the capture of the two is important and will weaken the network’s combat capabilities.Ashraf Ghani became the president of Afghanistan in September. He called on Taliban to join dialogue.

ISIS militants still hold Kobane


Oct 17

Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobane is still holding out against the ISIS militants with Kurdish fighters backed by US led airstrikes carrying out series of attacks on the militant targets. The Kurds claimed to have pushed ISIS militants in parts of Kobane, but the Pentagon warned that the airstrikes may not prevent the fall of the strategic town even though hundreds of militants are reported to have been killed.

US Central Command said, American warplanes struck 14 times near Kobane on Wednesday and Thursday, including successful raids on 19 buildings under the control of militants. Coalition forces have now carried out more than 100 air strikes near Kobane since September.

In Iraq, the Islamic State group militants have also been pushed out of Amriyat al-Fallujah, a key city just west of Baghdad. Iraqi authorities and the US military have also denied reports that the Islamic State group militants were encircling the Iraqi capital and that the Iraqi capital was in imminent danger.

Kerry says Russian troops withdrawing from Ukraine


<br /><br />
Kerry says Russian troops withdrawing from Ukraine ” width=”299″ height=”193″ /></p><br />
<p></p><br />
<p>US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said that Russian troops were withdrawing from Ukraine, one of several key steps needed for Western sanctions to be lifted against Moscow.</p><br />
<p>“There are four to five principal requirements with respect to lifting the sanctions: release of hostages, release of all prisoners, is one; the withdrawal of the forces troops and equipment is another,” Kerry said after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Paris.</p><br />
<p>“And at this point… many of them are happening now, the troops are pulling back, the heavy equipment still has to be pulled back and the border is yet to be properly monitored and secured.”</p><br />
<p>Lavrov tried to impress on Kerry his view that tough Western sanctions on Russia were eroding hopes of an economic recovery in Europe and straining Washington’s own ties with Brussels.</p><br />
<p>“We do not know who is losing out more in economic terms: Russia or the European Union,” Lavrov said shortly before flying to Paris. Russian President Vladimir Putin — due to meet Poroshenko in Milan on Friday — had boosted Lavrov’s hand by calling back from the Ukrainian border 17,600 soldiers he had stationed there when Kiev’s forces were making their most significant gains this summer.</p><br />
<p>The sanctions have cut Russia’s access to Western money markets and forced its biggest state companies to appeal for massive rescues that will further limit the government’s ability to meet its social commitments.</p><br />
<p>They also threaten to tip Russia into recession and ensure that growth remains anaemic through the remaining four years of Putin’s third term.</p><br />
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				<br class=” /><small class=Edit : Edit

Hong Kong police clear pro-democracy protest in Mong Kok


Hong Kong police cleared a pro-democracy protest site in the city’s densely populated Mong Kok area today, meeting no resistance as they removed barricades and tents.

The Mong Kok site, which was nearly empty when police moved in, has seen violent scuffles between demonstrators calling for full democracy in the southern Chinese city and opposition groups during almost three weeks of rallies.

The site is separate to the largest protest site outside government offices in the Admiralty district on the city’s main island. Meanwhile, Chief Executive CY Leung’s decision to postpone a planned Question & Answer session at the Legislative Council yesterday came as a disappointment to the Occupy movement.

Police in Hong Kong have cleared one of the 3 main roads occupied by pro-democracy protesters.

Officers removed barricades and tents on the main road in Kowloon early on Friday morning. The dawn raid met little resistance from the small number of protesters at the site.

The road reopened nearly 3 weeks after the demonstrators, mainly students, began their sit-in.
But more than 100 people were still blocking one lane after the police left the area.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Thursday that his government is ready to hold dialogue with the protesters as early as next week.

The students accepted the offer of dialogue, but said that if they are evicted before the talks, it would reveal the government’s insincerity.

Black money info cannot be disclosed


The menace of black money is still unresolved tangle with Centre told the SC its technicalities of not disclosing the name of  holders of black money  cannot be made public on taxation ground the matter appears to bring more people perception of governance to be low ebb as the lobby of the BM holders is too influential.

The Centre  said that the foreign countries have objected to disclosing such information and if such details are revealed then no other country would sign such an agreement with India.

Appearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the issue and pleaded for an urgent hearing.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on whose plea the apex court had constituted Special Investigating Team (SIT) on black money, strongly objected to the stand taken by the Centre and said that matter be not heard.

“Matter should not be entertained even for a day. Such application should have been made by the culprits and not by the government,” Jethmalani said, adding that Centre is trying to protect the people who have stashed black money in foreign banks.

Jethmalani said that he has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue and his response is awaited.

The apex court had constituted the SIT headed by its former judge M B Shah on a plea of Jethmalani, who had moved the court for the purpose of getting black money back to the country.


Centre told the Supreme Court that information on black money given by foreign countries with which India has double taxation avoidance agreement cannot be disclosed. The government said that the names cannot be made public as it violates the double taxation avoidance agreement. It said, the names can only be shared with concerned agencies. The apex court has agreed to hear the government’s plea on 28th of this month.

On 15th of this month, Switzerland agreed to assist Indian authorities on a priority basis and provide requested banking information in a time-bound manner. The Swiss authorities will also assist in obtaining confirmation on genuineness of bank documents on request by the Indian side and also swiftly provide information on requests related to non-banking information.

Indian and Swiss governments have been in talks for the past few years on the matter of alleged black money parked by Indian citizens in banks in Switzerland, but there have been no major breakthrough despite having a bilateral treaty in this regard.

In July, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had informed Parliament that Switzerland had raised some legal issues with regard to providing details of Indian citizens who had parked illegal funds in Swiss banks. Asserting that the government was making all efforts to get details of such accounts, Mr Jaitley had also said it was collecting evidence in this regard.

A Special Investigation Team, chaired by former Supreme Court judge Justice M B Shah, is looking into the menace of black money.

SC grants interim bail to Jayalalithaa


Oct 17,

In a major relief to jailed AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court today granted her interim bail in a disproportionate assets case in which she was sentenced to four-year jail term. A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu also granted bail to Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala and her relatives VN Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi.

The apex court also stayed the sentence and warned Jayalalithaa against causing any delay by seeking adjournment in her appeal in Karnataka High Court. The bench directed Jayalalithaa to file paper book of her appeal in the high court within two months.

The court said, if paper book is not filed within two months, then it will not give even a single day more. Meanwhile, celebrations broke out in Tamil Nadu after the Supreme Court’s order. She was convicted by the Bangalore Special Court on the 27th of last month. After her conviction, Mr. O. Panneerselvam took oath as the Chief Minister of the State.

Today’s founder day meeting of the AIADMK Party had a twist even as the news of the Party’s general Secretary Ms.Jayalalithaa being granted bail at the Supreme Court started trickling in. Happiness knew no bounds and party workers started celebrating with bursting of crackers. Political experts say that the granting of bail was only a temporary relief for the charismatic leader it would be a permanent relief only if she is delivered of the penalty.

Political commentators say that though the Assembly Secretary had not notified on the vacancy of the Srirangam Constituency the election commission will take a decision in six month period which also is a stone to be turned for the political command of the party and also the state.

Indigenously developed cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ test-fired


Indigenously developed cruise missile

India’s indigenously developed nuclear capable sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’, which can strike targets more than 700 kms away, was on Friday test-fired from a test range at Chandipur near in Balasore (Odisha).”The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher positioned at launch pad 3 of the Integrated Test Range at about 10.03 hours,” said an official soon after the flight took off from the launch ground.”Flight details will be available after data retrieved from radars and telemetry points, monitoring the trajectories, are analysed,” the official said.

It is the second test of the sub-sonic long range cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ from the ITR.

The maiden flight, conducted on March 12, 2013 could not achieve all the desired parameters as “the flight had to be terminated mid-way when deviations were observed from its intended course,” sources said.

India has in its arsenal the 290 km range supersonic “BrahMos” cruise missile which is jointly developed by India and Russia.

But ‘Nirbhay’ with long range capability is a different kind of missile being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Nirbhay has good loitering capability, good control and guidance, high degree of accuracy in terms of impact and very good stealth features.


Maharashtra remains the only state to permit GM Field trials in the country,


Maharashtra remains the only state to permit GM Field trials in the country,
Farmers, Scientists, Activists demand an immediate halt of open GM trials that pose a threat to food safety and environment of the entire nation.
Pune,16th October, 2014: On the World Food Day today farmers, scientists, consumer activists, environmentalists, celebrities and citizens from all walks of life have joined hands to demand that open trials of the controversial Genetically Modified (GM) crops in Maharashtra be stopped immediately. A public statement on the same with endorsements from a wide cross section of organisations and eminent individuals in the state was released today at a press conference in the city by the Coalition for a GM Free India along with farmer representatives and leaders from various people’s movements.
The public statement points to the growing scientific evidence as well as experiences of adverse impacts of GM crops to human health, biodiversity and the socioeconomic fabric of our country and demands an immedeate stop to all environmental releases of GMOs including those in the garb of field trials.[1]
Speaking at the occasion Rajesh Krishnan, Convenor, Coalition for a GM Free India stated, “Field trials of GM crops constitute a deliberate environmental release of unknown, untested and presumably unsafe organisms that are new in Nature. GMOs released into the environment in the garb of field trials pose various risks including contamination of wild gene pool,contamination of other crops,undetected entry into the food chain and jeopardizing trade security. In India, time and again, it has also been established that field trials have happened and are happening in violation of the meagre biosafety norms laid down. Hence any field trials being permitted is unscientific and a threat not just to the people of the state but the nation itself.”
Justice B.G Kolse Patil of Lokshasan, releasing the public statement along with others, condemned the manner in which the Maharashtra State Government has approved field trials of GM crops in the state when credible agencies like the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and the Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee ( TEC) in its final report have reccommended against any open release of GM crops, including for field trials, owing to the inherent risks with GM crops as well as the inadequacy of the current regulatory system. He opined, “The hurry with which these trials are being conducted with no information to, let alone consultationswith, the public in the state when the Hon’ble Supreme Court is to hear the matter shows that this is neither in the interest of the people nor the country.”
With the neighbouring Gujarat govt also formally announcing their decision to disallow field trials of GM food crops in the state, Maharashtra becomes the only state where field trials of GM crops are currently taking place, in the country.[2] “Maharashtra has been made into a laboratory of risky GM crops and all of us laboratory animals” said Tanmay Joshi of Coalition for a GM Free Maharashtra. He further stated, “The state committee set up to look at the GM field trials is a sham as it neither has biosafety experts like ecologists, health experts, toxicologists, socioeconomists etc in it who can assess the consequences of release of an untested GM crop into the open field nor does it have the intent to scrutinise the need for such risky crops.”
“It has been conclusively shown that GM crops are a tool in the hands of Multinational seed companies to take control of our food and farming through their proprietary seeds.” stated Sunithi S.R, National Convenor of National Alliance for People’s Movements ( NAPM). Pointing to the Indian experience with Bt cotton, the only GM crop allowed for commercial cultivation, she said, “ Within 12 years of its approval, cotton, a symbol of our freedom struggle, is now completely in the hands of Monsanto, the American multinational seed giant. It controls more than 95% of our cotton seed market through its proprietary Bt cotton. Through aggressive marketing and with the able support of our own government agencies it has monopolised the cotton market leaving the farmer no option but to buy its costly seeds year after year. One shudders at the thought of the same happening with all our food crops putting our food security and seed sovereignty under threat.”
Monsanto leads the list of GM crop developers in India the field trials of which have been approved by GEAC. 15 of the 47 field trials approved this year are for crops promoted by the Monsanto – Mahyco( Monsanto’s Indian affiliate) family. This includes a Herbicide Tolerant and insect resistant (HT/Bt Maize) which is undergoing advanced trials in Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV), Rahuri in Ahmednagar district and another Herbicide tolerant ( HT) Maize in Vasant Rao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth, Parbhani of Maharashtra. The Coalition has written to Sri. Prakash Javadekar, the Minister for Environment, Forests & Climate Change and the District Collector of Ahmednagar pointing to the rampant violations reported by media at this trial site and demanded that the GM crop trial be stopped immedeately.[3]
The current field trials at MPKV Rahuri comes as a U-turn on an earlier decision by the University not to provide its campuses for trials of GM crops. This decision was taken in 2009 after hundreds of farmers and consumers led by eminent farmer leaders like N D Patil and Vijay Jawandhia, along with members of the Coalition for a GM-Free India, confronted the University for conducting a similar GM Maize trial of Monsanto. On April 2nd 2009, after instituting an Inquiry Committee and holding deliberations, the University promised the citizens that it will not take up transgenic crop trials henceforth.[4] This was also informed to the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the nodal agency for any approval of environmental release of GMOs in the country, by Monsanto and recorded in the minutes of their meetings 98 and 100.
“At this juncture, citizens demand to know from the University what fresh evidence they have to show that these GMOs are needed and safe, for them to go against their own promise to conduct such trials, while most emerging evidence shows greater risk.” asked Pandurang Shitole of the Gram Nirman, an organisation working towards sustainable rural livelihoods. He also stated, “ It is completely unacceptable for public sector organisations, funded by public money, to take up such trials on behalf of corporations like Monsanto. Our NARS (National Agricultural Research System)’s universities and their research stations are repositories of India’s germplasm wealth. This is a generous gift from our farmers to other farmers and the nation. All of this is being jeopardized through irresponsible open-air trials of GMOs.
Madhav Pandit, secretary of Maharashtra organic Farmers Federation ( MOFF) pointed to the fact that real alternatives to problems of farmers are being sidelined by the promotion of such false promises like GM crops. He stated, GM crops are a continuation of the treadmill technologies that our farmers have been pushed into thanks to the policies of the successive state and central governments”. He hoped, “The new government in place will promote ecological farming which is socially just, economically viable and ecologically sustainable. This along with proper support for backward and forward linkages in farming is the only way to get our farmers out of the distress which has made Maharashtra the farm suicide capital of the country”.
The speakers urged the Maharashtra state govt as well as the Central Government to heed the voice of people and experts and immediately halt all GM crop field trials in the states. They also announced that they will continue to mobilise public opinion on the issue until this is done.

Local Circles for Swachh Bharat.


Ministry Of Urban Development


Today at 2:53 PM

Ministry Of Urban Development (Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan)

Ministry Of Urban Development (Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan) shared a new resource in “Swachh Bharat”.
Subject: Local Circles for Swachh Bharat.
Dear Friends,

As outlined at the inception of this circle, this Swachh Bharat circle will be focused on sharing best practices, seeking inputs from citizens for the Ministry and Government and enabling citizens from different parts of India to share cleanliness achievements.

We are happy to share that we have begun the process of forming local circles for Swachh Bharat at the constituency level.

We are starting with 7 constituencies of Delhi (New Delhi, South Delhi, East Delhi, West Delhi, North West Delhi, Chandni Chowk, North East Delhi), 4 constituencies of NCR (Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad) and 2 constituencies of Hyderabad (Hyderbad and Secunderabad).

If you haven’t been placed in your constituency circle, please search it using the link below and join:

If you are a member of your Swachh Bharat local circle, do invite everyone of your family member, friends, neighbors to join the movement.

Thanks for your participation!

Ministry of Urban Development
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PSLV-C26 Successfully Launches India’s Third Navigation Satellite IRNSS-1C


Narendra Modi, has congratulated scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the successful launch of the navigation satellite “IRNSS 1C”

“Congrats to the scientists at ISRO for the successful launch of navigation satellite IRNSS 1C. It is a matter of immense pride and joy,” the Prime Minister said.
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C26, successfully launched IRNSS-1C, the third satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), in the early morning hours of today (October 16, 2014) at 0132 hours IST from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. This is the twenty seventh consecutively successful mission of PSLV. The ‘XL’configuration of PSLV was used for this mission. Previously, the same configuration of the vehicle was successfully used six times.

Minister of State (Space), Dr Jitendra Singh, witnessed the launch from the Mission Control Centre at SDSC, Sriharikota.

After the lift-off of PSLV-C26 with the ignition of the first stage, the important flight events, namely, stage and strap-on ignitions, heat-shield separation, stage and strap-on separations and satellite injection, took place as planned. After a flight of about 20 minutes 18 seconds, IRNSS-1C Satellite, weighing 1425 kg, was injected to an elliptical orbit of 282.56 km X 20,670 km, which is very close to the intended orbit.

After injection, the solar panels of IRNSS-1C were deployed automatically. ISRO’s Master Control Facility (at Hassan, Karnataka) assumed the control of the satellite. In the coming days, four orbit manoeuvres will be conducted from Master Control Facility to position the satellite in the Geostationary Orbit at 83 deg East longitude.

IRNSS-1C is the third of the seven satellites constituting the space segment of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B, the first two satellites of the constellation, were successfully launched by PSLV on July 02, 2013 and April 04, 2014 respectively. Both IRNSS-1A and 1B are functioning satisfactorily from their designated geosynchronous orbital positions.

IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. IRNSS would provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Services (SPS) – provided to all users – and Restricted Services (RS), provided to authorised users.

A number of ground stations responsible for the generation and transmission of navigation parameters, satellite control, satellite ranging and monitoring, etc., have been established in as many as 15 locations across the country.

In the coming months, the next satellite of this constellation, namely, IRNSS-1D, is scheduled to be launched by PSLV. The entire IRNSS constellation of seven satellites is planned to be completed by 2015.


OCTOBER 15, 2014


I understand you, because I was a girl too…


On the occasion of International Day for Rural Women (15th October 2014), Celebrated athlete and boxer and a mother,MC Mary Kom highlights the need to drive behaviour change to ensure good health for women and girls in the rural areas and the urban slums and urges people to help spread these messages across to the rural communities. As a part of “The Taj Must Smile” campaign, behaviour change will ensure that the women are able to lead a healthier lifestyle, girls and women are aware about their health needs during crucial days of menstruation, pregnancy and lactation.


Bringing up a child is like reliving your childhood and for a woman, in spite of all the pain, motherhood is the biggest joy of her life.A smooth and complications free pregnancy is also the most enjoyable time in a woman’s life.  A girl’s life is often full of curiosities, anxieties and at times solitude. She needs to prepare for her journey as a woman very early in life, right when she hits her teens, when she first starts menstruating. Hitting puberty is a milestone in the life of a girl and how she deals with it, embarks a lap which could either be an exciting free ride or full of pitfalls and doldrums.

Menstruation in India has traditionally been associated with myths and taboos and adolescent girls find it extremely difficult to even discuss the issue with their parents or elders in the family. Over 23% of girls in India drop out of schools due to lack of proper toilets and sanitation measures in addition to the stress and psychological burden she is anyway facing because she thinks that menstruation is a problem.

I have personally faced similar issues; I have seen my acquaintance who were isolated and couldn’t even see- off their departed near and dear ones (attend funeral/rituals) because they were having their periods. They cannot enter kitchen, touch utensils and have to avoid contacts with family and friends. What an embarrassment…Can we continue to be unfair to these girls who are expected to bring a new life into this world tomorrow?Can we allow them to continue to be ignorant towards their health needs?

Menstruation is the first step towards a healthy motherhood but in India it is culturally considered dirty or impure. We need to break this taboo and teach our daughters that it is OK to have periods and it should not weigh them down mentally or physically or hold them back from accomplishing their dreams.As a growing girl we have all had our share of anxieties when we attained puberty imagine those girls in the rural areas who are not educated and informed about menstruation before they hit puberty. It can be quite a physiological as well as psychological burden. As mothers we


should not shy away from talking about periods to our daughters and educating them. It is time that we break this taboo about menstrual hygiene.

Ensuring proper hygiene for our daughters during puberty will also ensure that they are not vulnerable to any infections and grow up to be healthy women. In rural and tribal areas, girls continue to use sawdust, grass or mud during the periods which can lead to infections and even death. . We should tell our daughters to keep themselves that they should use sanitary napkins or a clean cloth during period and that they should bathe regularly and change their napkins or the cloth every 4- 6 hours to keep them clean and dry.

As a girl grows into a woman there are larger challenges that she need to face. Her health needs also increase, she takes care of the house, her family but does she get the needed care? More than 5 lakh women worldwide die annually from complications during childbirth which can be largely attributed to lack of proper nutrition, lack of proper post natal care and the large number of unassisted childbirths that happen at home. While taking care of her family a woman should also be made aware of her own health needs, she should have at least 100 IFA tablets during pregnancy, take balanced meals rich in vitamins and minerals, take adequate rest and deliver at a proper hospital to avoid any complications. She should also be told that all these facilities are available to her free of cost under the different government schemes like JananiShishuSurakshaKaryakram (JSSK).

400 years ago, “The TajMahal” was built in the memory of MumtazMahal, who died during child birth. The monument of love is also a reminder of those numerous mothers and children who lose their lives to easily preventable birth related complications. Today government has made all facilities available for pregnant mothers, now it is our duty to avail them, and to inform women to follow healthy behaviours to bring down maternal mortality rates, meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 5) for India and MAKE THE TAJ SMILE.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, Jt Secretary, Department of Electronics & IT, enters NRO NC of APNIC



Dr. Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Electronics & IT, Government of India, has won the recently held NRO NC-Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) elections at Brisbane Australia. The election was contested by 6 participants representing 5 countries, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. Dr Kumar received 215 votes as against the second pitted candidate who received only 119 votes.


APNIC represents 56 economies in the Asia Pacific. APNIC is an open, membership-based, not-for-profit organization providing Internet addressing services to the Asia Pacific. Voting in an NRO NC election is open to all members as well as all attendees at the APNIC meeting at which the election is held.


The victory of Dr. Kumar will provide India a platform to India to influence policy with respect to issues relating to Internet governance globally, especially those relating to IP numbers. As an official of Government of India, Dr. Kumar will help bring public policy perspective to the discussions in the NRO NC. He will be able to effectively bring about the developing countries perspective to the discussions in APNIC and NRO NC.


About Dr. Ajay Kumar


Dr. Ajay Kumar currently heads the Internet Governance Division of Department of Electronics & IT and has held several senior level public positions for Government of India and Government of Kerala. In a career spanning three decades, has been actively working in the field of Information & Communication Technologies, Internet Governance and e-Governance for over a decade and a half.


He  represents India on the GAC of ICANN and has played a key role in the setting up of the Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers,  the National Internet Exchange of India (which manages the .IN registry) becoming a part of the ccNSO and making Government of India join Internet Society.  Also, he is the Member Convenor of the recently launched India Internet Governance Forum, which will be India’s premier Internet Governance event.


Dr. Kumar is a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He was awarded separate two fellowships in University of Minnesota. He is a recipient of several national and international awards in the area of IT, e-Governance and technology promotion and has also received awards from the President of India and Prime Minister of India. Dr. Kumar has over one dozen peer reviewed journal papers in international journals.

New resource “Garbage Management in Ind…” in [Swachh Bharat]

Ministry Of Urban Development


Today at 1:30 PM

Ministry Of Urban Development (Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan)
Ministry Of Urban Development (Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan) shared a new resource in “Swachh Bharat”.
Subject: Garbage Management in India – Key Solutions.
Dear Friends,

Below is a summary of the various solutions outlined by you related to Garbage Management in India.

Please review them and if there is anything missing, kindly add to it as a comment.

Thanks again for your participation.

We will soon be putting the collective whitepaper on the subject together and submit to our leadership for action.

Ministry of Urban Development


Garbage Management in India – Solutions
1. Garbage must be segregated at the source , i.e. domestic/commercial/Industrial level
2. Steep fine should be imposed on throwing garbage in undesignated areas
3. More dustbins should be installed in public areas
4. Garbage should be picked up from the bins by the corporation at fixed time everyday
5. Separate bins should be installed for wet and dry waste
6. Plastic bags should be completely banned
7. People should be educated on segregating wet and dry waste
8. Various campaigns should be organised in rural India to educate people on garbage management
9. Wet Garbage can either be used to make manure or compost gas or any other useful method to reuse
10. RWAs (Resident Welfare Associations) should be actively involved in manage waste in the societies/colonies
11. It should be made mandatory for big societies to have a garbage treatment plants
12. Public awareness campaigns about garbage management/ littering the streets should be done
13. People should be educated about the hazard of garbage and spread of diseases
14. Municipal worker in town as well as rural areas should be provide modern equipment to collect garbage
15. Large furnaces should be built to dispose the dry garbage
16. The truck which comes to collect garbage can be installed with a high temperature furnace itself
17. The municipal workers should be made answerable to this fact
18. Job of garbage collection should be outsourced and the private contractor should charge a nominal fee to the residents/RWAs
19. Households should be educated on how to make manure with the kitchen waste
20. Biometric attendance system should be installed in Municipal offices so that all the employees show up for work
21. Hawkers should be fined for littering
22. Government should develop better R&D centres for garbage management
23. Waste management should be taught in middle school
24. Stop illegal import of garbage (medical waste, hazardous chemicals, used end of life electronic equipment etc.)
25. All garbage vehicles (Trucks, Tempo, Lorries) should be properly closed while running with Garbage on Roads
26. Cleaning services should be outsourced to private agencies rather than government officials. There should be heavy fine in case of failure in their job and suspension from any further contracts

View Resource/Reply Reply to this email to post a comment.

New Foreign Trade Policy needs to focus on LatAm, Africa, CIS, Pacific Islands






India’s foreign trade has badly suffered since the beginning of the global financial crisis in August-September 2008 and added to this the subsequent shock of the sovereign crisis in Eurozone added to the problem.


Over dependence on markets in the developed countries was the cause for shrinkage in Indian exports. As the recovery in developed countries and increase in demand is slow, India should strengthen trade bonds with the developing and least developed countries. Instead of pushing for Bilateral Investment and Trade Agreement (BITA) with EU which is fraught with problems like intellectual property rights, agreements on dairy and pharma sectors, India should look for more South-South cooperation and extend its outreach to new non-traditional markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, central Asian republics, Africa, small Pacific island countries and even explore greater opportunities in Russia for exports.


The energy-rich countries and those endowed with natural resources in these regions can attract Indian investments and solve the problem of India’s energy security. India should focus on project exports to Africa, West Asia, central Asian republics and some ASEAN countries.


Recovery in developing countries is faster than in the developed world. Bonds with these countries will help India to fight against developed world for a level playing field at the WTO.


The growth trends in India’s exports and imports became erratic with the changing situation. After a negative trend in export growth (-1.82%) in 2012-13, the performance improved to 4.66% in 2013-14. But imports dipped to -8.26% in 2013-14 from a low base of 0.29% in the previous year. Trade balance remained negative at $1,35,794 million.


Growth in exports is maintained in the current fiscal (April-August 2014) growing at 7.31%. to $1,34,798 million. But growth in imports turned negative by 2.69%. with $4,50,200 million Trade balance improved but still remained negative at $56,151 million. As the manufacturing sector in the country is picking up imports of capital goods, machinery and key raw materials are likely to rise. However services enjoy positive trade balance.


Trade has invariably become an integral part of diplomacy. As the new government after assuming office is slated to come out with a new Foreign Trade Policy for the next five years, it would be advisable that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry work in close cooperation with the Ministry of External Affairs while evolving this new policy. Adequate incentives should be given for export promotion to Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Pacific Islands, central Asian republics and Russia.


India had made some initial attempts to explore new export destinations in South America and the Caribbean, but with limited success.


The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has just begun the process of engaging with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), consisting of 33 sovereign countries representing about 600 million people. The group includes Mexico and excludes Canada and the United States, as well as the territories of France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom in the Americas. There are sub-regional groupings like Mercosur and the Andean with India should engage


CELAC was created on December 3, 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela to deepen Latin American integration and to reduce the once overwhelming influence of the United States on the politics and economics of Latin America. It is an alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS), the regional body organised largely by Washington in 1948, ostensibly as a countermeasure to the then potential Soviet influence in the region. This is the right time for India step in, particularly when it has closer relationship with a major country in the region, Brazil.


However in the last year, there was over 20% decline in India’s exports to Latin America, but in the first quarter of the current fiscal Indian exports to Latin America has grown by 35% from $2.1 billion to $2.9 billion. Exports to Brazil grew by 75%, followed by exports to Peru by 25% and exports to Columbia by 17%. However, the import restrictions imposed by Argentina is a cause of concern.


CELAC is diverse with countries following different economic systems and trade policies. It has 18 Spanish-speaking countries, one each Portuguese, French and Dutch speaking country and 12 English-speaking countries. However, by and large the countries in the region want to move out of the predominant US influence. China is also engaging with the region. Trade between China and Latin America grew by 8% to $255.5 billion in 2012, faster than the 6.2% growth of the continent';s trade with the US. A study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean predicts China will surpass the European Union as Latin America';s second-largest trading partner in 2016. Some estimates forecast that in 15 years, China will overtake the US to become Latin America';s largest trade partner. Chinese investment in the continent';s energy and infrastructure sectors is rising rapidly, with more than $550 billion of infrastructure projects in the market. It is to be seen how effectively India plays its diplomacy in the region for boosting trade relations and energy imports.


India mainly engages with the diverse African Continent through the umbrella body African Union comprising of membership of 55 countries. But Morocco is not a member of African Union while some countries remain suspended from membership due to political reasons. It would be better for India to engage with the regional groups in Africa, if not directly with countries. Regional groups have overlapping membership. There are eight groups recognised by the African Union like Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).


There are eight other groups not recognised by the African Union like Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA/WAEMU), Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Mano River Union (MRU), Southern African Customs Union (SACU), International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR/CIRGL), Senegal River Basin Development Authority (OMVS). Thus it would be tactical for India to engage with each of these groups.


Traditionally, India has good trade relations with eastern, northern and southern Africa. It is time to give added focus for developing greater trade relations with central and western Africa. Prospects for engaging with sub-Saharan Africa looks bright with good recovery in the region.


In its Look East Policy, India has already engaged itself substantially with the South-East Asia and East Asia. It is now time to look further east and engage with the natural resource rich small Pacific Ocean islands. With Australia and New Zealand in the region partnering with these countries it would not be difficult to engage with these countries that form the Pacific Ocean Island Forum to which India enjoys an Observer status.


Though the growth rate in central Asian republics and Russia remain subdued, it opportune moment for India to engage with the energy-rich region endowed with natural resources. The situation of recent EU and US sanctions against Russia provides an opportunity for India to regain its lost markets in specific products.

(*The writer is a senior journalist writing on strategic and policy issues in several national and international dailies and magazines since long. He can be reached at His mobile phone no is 09810902204)




UNCTAD study makes policy recommendations to leverage foreign investment for women’s empowerment


The potential positive impact of foreign investment on women’s empowerment through the creation of formal employment and business linkages is considerable, but the operations of transnational corporations (TNCs) also risk increasing women’s vulnerability in the workplace or exacerbating gender inequality, a new UNCTAD report has found.


Investment by TNCs and Gender, launched during a session on women’s empowermentat the UNCTAD World Investment Forum on 14 October, argues for targeted policies and corporate action to ensure that the activities of TNCs translate into real benefits for women in developing countries.

Investment by multinationals has been instrumental in creating job opportunities for women, particularly in labour-intensive, largely export-orientated industries. These include textiles, garment manufacture, electronics, agriculture, call centres and the hotel, catering and tourism industries, the report says.

As well as providing access to employment opportunities for women, multinationals often offer higher wages, employment stability, skills development and further career opportunities. In addition, such jobs are likely to be unionized and better protected under labour legislation.

But the report also identifies a number of risks, such as poor working conditions and limited access to training for women, especially when the jobs created are confined to low-paid activities or occur in the informal sector. Women employees are more at risk of being marginalized when firms upgrade or when low-cost, labour-intensive industries decline.

The report underlines the key challenges to maximizing the benefits of investment by TNCs for women’s empowerment. A positive impact is not automatic, the effect can vary over time and it is country- and context-specific, the report says.

Legal and sociocultural impediments can prevent access to employment for women. For example, despite having access to education, legal restrictions often prevent women from participating in the labour market. Patterns of job segregation deeply rooted in social structures may restrict women’s opportunities for employment, upgrading skills and career progression. Such impediments can also be reflected within businesses themselves.

The report notes that another important constraint is the paucity of data on women’s empowerment – such data would enable Governments to adopt targeted policies. There is also a lack of research into the specific impact of investment by TNCs on women’s participation in labour markets.

The report proposes a number of targeted policies and actions that Governments and foreign firms might undertake to address such challenges. Three key policy interventions were identified:

  • Governments need a specific strategy for women’s empowerment that complements efforts to achieve economic and social development. The strategy should consider how different policy areas impact on each other: for example, how women’s access to education determines their employment opportunities or how support for women’s health needs directly affects their access to labour markets.
  • Governments should also consider how foreign investment can support women’s equality, not undermine it. To achieve this, a number of actions can be taken to facilitate and protect women’s employment by multinationals and promote a “gender inclusive TNC value chain”. These include providing infrastructure and social protection, preparing women for work with TNCs, protecting women at work and promoting women’s career development.
  • Related to these actions, Governments should give particular attention to selected labour-intensive, export-orientated sectors and highly mobile sectors, where women are often strongly represented in the workforce.

For multinationals, the report proposes a set of guidelines on gender equality that should be included in their business models. These guidelines directly stem from the research undertaken for the report and recognize the role that foreign firms can play in supporting women’s empowerment. They include:

  • Treating men and women equally
  • Incorporating matters of gender equality into TNC investment projects and business models
  • Gathering data on women’s participation in the TNC workplace
  • Promoting women’s empowerment
  • Respecting equal rights in collective bargaining
  • Assessing the “gender impact” of divestment decisions and the development of “gender-sensitive” divestment models.

The report was launched at an interactive session during the UNCTAD World Investment Forum 2014 at which speakers discussed its key themes, highlighting their experiences of the impact of TNCs on gender, and considering avenues for policymakers to minimize risks and maximize benefits of TNC activities for women.




Key capital market leaders convene at largest Sustainable Stock Exchanges Global Dialogue

In the context of an expanded Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative, exchanges unveil bold two-year commitments to promote corporate sustainability in their markets

The Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative hosted its fourth and largest Global Dialogue at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 14 October during the UNCTAD World Investment Forum.
The initiative’s flagship event, the Global Dialogue, convened the Chief Executive Officers of stock exchanges, companies and institutional investors, alongside high-level policymakers and capital market regulators. This unique gathering offered a global platform to demonstrate leadership and understanding of the sustainability-related opportunities and challenges facing capital markets today.

The SSE currently counts 16 Partner Exchanges from every continent. More than 20 stock exchanges were represented at the meeting, half of them at the Chief Executive Officer level.

“At present, financial markets are not hard-wired to drive capital towards sustainable business and achievement of the sustainable development goals. This can and should change,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said.

“UNCTAD and our SSE co-organizers – the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment – can help. We continue to develop the Sustainable Stock Exchange platform to provide a mechanism for policymakers, exchanges, investors and others to share best practices and help to define the role of stock exchanges within the global sustainable development movement,” Dr. Kituyi added.

The BBC’s Tanya Beckett facilitated an interactive dialogue which brought together key players in the field to understand better and act on the sustainability-related opportunities and challenges facing capital markets today.

The Sustainable Stock Exchanges 2014 Report on Progress was launched at the 2014 Global Dialogue and contained a review of sustainability initiatives at 55 exchanges. The report found substantial progress, engagement and a set of emerging best practices among exchanges regarding the promotion of sustainability reporting and sustainable business efforts more generally.

However, it also recognized clear potential for the sector to do more. The report notes that many developments in the policy and regulatory landscape have been supportive of late and highlights practical measures that policymakers and stock exchanges can take to promote sustainability, even in the face of systemic obstacles to sustainable capital markets.

Notably, SSE Partner Exchanges marked the occasion of the 2014 Global Dialogue by publicly announcingcommitments to promote corporate sustainability in their markets during 2014–2016. Individually, the commitments ranged from launching a sustainability-related national dialogue to contributing technical know-how to social investment funds and analysing listing disclosure requirements. Collectively, they also committed to enhancing their own transparency by issuing a new “Communication to Stakeholders” tool, which will be based on a framework of questions created by the SSE Investor Working Group, the SSE secretariat and the Partner Exchanges themselves. The new Communication to Stakeholders will be available on the SSE website by the end of 2014.

For their part, companies such as Pirelli and Bloomberg LP announced their participation in the new SSE Corporate Working Group, affirming their support for stock exchanges’ role in promoting corporate sustainability. The Group is expected to represent the voice and interests of companies and contribute advice, expertise and knowledge when the SSE calls upon it. It is moderated by the United Nations Global Compact and runs in parallel with the SSE Investor Working Group. The latter, coordinated by the Principles for Responsible Investment and chaired by Aviva Investors since 2009, is comprised of investors representing approximately US$1.8 trillion in assets under management.

All interested parties are encouraged to visit the SSE website for more information on specific sustainability efforts of exchanges and further opportunities to advance the integration of sustainability within capital markets.
The SSE is convened by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, and the Principles for Responsible Investment. For further information, please visit



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