Emir of Qatar calls on the President




Emir of Qatar calls on the President

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee yesterday (March 25, 2015) received His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar. He also hosted a banquet in his honour.


Speaking on the occasion, the President said he was confident relations between the India and Qatar would be strengthened by the Emir’s visit, which was his first State Visit to India. He thanked the Emir and his father for their personal commitment to strengthen bilateral ties with India. He also thanked the Emir of Qatar and his Government for ensuring the safety, security and well being of Indian community in Qatar.

The President said India has launched a major set of reforms to boost economic growth. The Government of India has eased foreign direct investment caps in key areas, like railways, defence and insurance. It is an opportune time to make investments in India, especially since India was once again on the path of high growth. The President also expressed the need to make the trade more broad based and diversified.

Responding to the President, the Emir said bilateral relations between Qatar and India have been always strong, but they can be made even stronger. The goal of his visit was to strengthen relations. Qatar is happy with the progress in relations between the two countries in various fields. It is confident that these relations will continue to develop and grow further, particularly after signing more cooperation agreements between the two countries and in the wake of the significant economic reforms introduced by the Indian Government which has led to improvement in the investment climate in India. The Emir reiterated Qatar’s commitment to help secure India’s energy needs. He also expressed appreciation for the role of the Indian community in Qatar and their contribution to the progress and economic development of Qatar.

In his banquet speech, the President said India and Qatar share deep and rich historical connections based on geographic proximity and cultural commonalities. Qatar is part of India’s extended neighbourhood. Civilizational links between the two countries find expression in mutually beneficial, growing economic and commercial exchanges and close people-to-people contacts. There is lot that both countries can do together to realize the existing potential in trade and investment ties.

The President said the rich experience of India’s globally reputed companies in executing infrastructure projects of the highest standard is at the disposal of its Qatari friends. India is confident they would be worthy partners in Qatar`s economic progress and would contribute meaningfully towards Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The President said India deeply values Qatar as a reliable source of energy. It is time that the two countries convert their commercial synergies into a deeper energy partnership through India-Qatar joint ventures in refineries and petrochemicals projects in India, as also through joint exploration in third countries. India invites investors and entrepreneurs from Qatar to look at India’s infrastructure sector and to join in the "Make in India” and “Digital India” initiatives. India’s 100 Smart Cities project is open for foreign participation. Foreign investment caps have been eased in construction, railways and defence sectors. India looks forward to new partnerships and collaborations in areas of common interest.

The President said Qatar has generously embraced a large number of Indian expatriates and has encouraged them to flourish and prosper. The positive contribution that the Indian community in Qatar has made towards the development and progress of their host country has been well acknowledged and appreciated.

The President said Qatar is from a region which is of vital importance to India. Peace and stability in West Asia is in common interest of both the countries. Cooperation between India and Qatar is necessary for countering terrorism and maritime piracy that affect both of countries.


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It is Disappointing that even Country’s Top Universities Remain Largely Teaching-Focused with Limited Research and Doctoral Education-Vice President

Vice President Addresses at 10th Convocation of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi

The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that our higher education system continues to have limited research capacity. Low levels of funding and segregation of the country’s R&D institutions from universities and colleges have been responsible for the weak research capacity of Indian universities. It is disappointing that even the country’s top universities remain largely teaching-focused with limited research and doctoral education. Addressing at the ‘10th Convocation of the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi’ here today, he has said that this lack of research orientation, even in the best of the Indian institutions, is reflected in their standing in global rankings, most of which rely heavily on measurable indices of research performance. No Indian university figured amongst the top 200 universities in the Times Higher Education Rankings or the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

He opined that to face up to the increasing challenges in the new world order, our science & technology landscape needs to undergo a paradigm shift. A competitive knowledge economy must be built on the pillars of: (i) an educational system that produces human resources which are employable and globally benchmarked; (ii) S&T pursued on an enormous scale to generate knowledge for long-term use and (iii) strategic translational research inspired by national needs and global opportunities.

The Vice President said that in pursuance of these objectives, we will have to aim at quadrupling our R&D base, stimulate research where R&D productivity is relatively lower, provide challenges to institutions for global positioning including in intellectual property generation, establish new academies and institutions, build up large publicly funded and privately managed facilities to help researchers. Emphasis should also be given on strengthening linkages between universities, R&D institutions, science academies and industry.

He said that our investment in research and related activities since independence has lead to creation of substantial capacity and capabilities in science and technology, evident in our Nuclear and Space programmes and in the Information Technology, Bio-technology and Nano-technology sectors etc. High quality basic research in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science and science education is being undertaken in universities, and in islands of excellence like the TIFR, Indian Institute of Science, Jawahar Lal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research, and some others.

The Vice President said that Science, technology and innovation have emerged as major drivers of national development globally. As India aspires for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth, our research and development system will need to play a defining role in achieving these national goals.

He congratulated the graduating students and their families and said that their achievements are a source of joy and pride to them, the University and the nation. They owe their success to their own hard work and commitment but they should also remain thankful to their parents and teachers for invaluable contributions in this success. They should also not forget their debt to society and the country and remain mindful of the millions of fellow citizens who are deprived and marginalized and need compassion and help. I leave them with a few words from Tagore for inspiration “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy”.


Following is the text of Vice President’s Convocation address :

“Convocations are occasions to honour intellectual achievement and celebrate life in the academic world. They mark the graduation of students from the safe haven of a temple of learning to the realities and challenges of life outside it. Students leaving the portals of their alma mater today, to venture into the world beyond it, would value the instruction and counsel received here. It is nevertheless important to remember that pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong process and does not end with the acquisition of a university degree. The aim of education, as Herbert Spencer put it, is not only knowledge but also action.

The foundation of every state, said the philosopher Diogenes a long time back, is the education of its youth. This truism is even more valid in the 21st century when the world is moving towards a knowledge economy in which the focus has shifted to the ability to produce and generate new knowledge, especially in frontier research and cutting edge technology. This is the challenge that beckons us as a nation today. It has to be addressed within the framework of our quest for a just and vibrant society.


II


Our investment in research and related activities since independence has lead to creation of substantial capacity and capabilities in science and technology, evident in our Nuclear and Space programmes and in the Information Technology, Bio-technology and Nano-technology sectors etc. High quality basic research in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science and science education is being undertaken in universities, and in islands of excellence like the TIFR, Indian Institute of Science, Jawahar Lal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research, and some others.

Given the nature of the challenge and the potential posited in the large number of our young people in institutions of higher education, the output of new knowledge in our country is by no means satisfactory. This is evident from the following observation in the section on Science and Technology in the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-2017): ‘In 1985, the number of PhDs produced in India was in the range of 4500 and the country figured among the top in the league of developing nations in the science sector. Since 1985, however, other emerging Asian economies invested heavily in R&D, blunting India’s competitiveness in S&T sector.’

As a result, our score card today indicates the following:

·         Only 1% of the students enrolled in higher education are pursuing research in various areas. This reflects a lack of focus on research.
·         The full Time Equivalent R&D professionals in India have stagnated for long. We remain ranked ninth in the world.
·         India’s output in PhDs is relatively small. According to UGC in 2011-12, only around 17,600 PhDs were awarded, which is 0.1% of total enrollment. Science and engineering accounted for around 8000 PhDs which is much less compared to 30,000 and 25,000 approximately for China and the USA, respectively.
·         India’s share in world output of science papers in 2012 stood at around 3.6% compared to more than 14% for China. According to one estimate, we moved from fifteenth position in 2003 to seventh in the world in 2013, in terms of scientific publications.
·         Although there are some encouraging growth trends with respect to volume of scientific publications, India’s global competitiveness in terms of quality of scientific contributions and global impact need to improve significantly.
·         We were ranked fourteenth globally in terms of the number of citations. Our citation impact rose from about half to three quarters of the world average (of one) during the last decade.
·         While our contribution of highly cited papers, as a percentage of total output, has improved, it has remained stubbornly low, achieving by 2011, only about half of the 1% expected.
·         In the 2005 to 2012 period, published patent applications originating from India have oscillated between 4,000 and 7,000 per annum, maintaining an average over the period of around 5,900 per annum, which is around the same level as Australia and Great Britain. However, with a population of over 1.2 billion compared to 22 million for Australia and 62 million for Great Britain, this level can be considered particularly low.
·         Inventiveness in basic science, as indicated by creation of intellectual property, is low. India’s innovation system ranking varies between 50 and 60 among the nations. Domestic innovation has remained stable from 2005 to 2012 at around 29%. Nearly two thirds of all Indian patent applications in 2012 were from foreign concerns seeking protection for their innovations in the Indian market.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resource Development in its 248th Report of February 26, 2013 sought to diagnose the problem. It observed that ‘traditional universities in our country are so overburdened with imparting undergraduate and postgraduate education and managing the affiliation system that they are not able to focus on research.’

Our higher education system continues to have limited research capacity. Low levels of funding and segregation of the country’s R&D institutions from universities and colleges have been responsible for the weak research capacity of Indian universities. It is disappointing that even the country’s top universities remain largely teaching-focused with limited research and doctoral education.

This lack of research orientation, even in the best of the Indian institutions, is reflected in their standing in global rankings, most of which rely heavily on measurable indices of research performance. No Indian university figured amongst the top 200 universities in the Times Higher Education Rankings or the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

To face up to the increasing challenges in the new world order, our science & technology landscape needs to undergo a paradigm shift. A competitive knowledge economy must be built on the pillars of: (i) an educational system that produces human resources which are employable and globally benchmarked; (ii) S&T pursued on an enormous scale to generate knowledge for long-term use and (iii) strategic translational research inspired by national needs and global opportunities.

In pursuance of these objectives, we will have to aim at quadrupling our R&D base, stimulate research where R&D productivity is relatively lower, provide challenges to institutions for global positioning including in intellectual property generation, establish new academies and institutions, build up large publicly funded and privately managed facilities to help researchers. Emphasis should also be given on strengthening linkages between universities, R&D institutions, science academies and industry.

The twelfth Plan document suggested some of the following correctives and targets in order to achieve these goals.

·         Evolve a new Science, Technology and Innovation policy to bring in more resources from both public and private sector for R&D for socially and strategically relevant projects and mainstream innovation-related activities.
·         Ensure Science & Technology becomes an integral component of the national development processes by strongly linking research resources with other stakeholders.
·         Increase the number of full-time researchers/scientists from the current level of 1.54 lakh to 2.50 lakh; the volume of publication outputs in basic research from a global share of 3 per cent to, say, 5 per cent; improve the global ranking from 9th to 6th by the end of the Twelfth Plan.
·         Focus on doubling the number of patents and increase the commercialization of patent portfolio to 5–6 per cent from a level of less than 2 per cent.
·         Increase R&D expenditure to 2 per cent of GDP and significantly enhance corporate sector R&D expenditure to at least 1 per cent of GDP by attracting investments and engaging the corporate sector in R&D through policy and reforms processes.
·         Provide more flexibility to the younger generation of scientists to pursue their ideas and greater mobility between industry, academia and R&D institutions; strengthen gender parity in R&D and nurture students towards pursuing science as a career.

Science, technology and innovation have emerged as major drivers of national development globally. As India aspires for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth, our research and development system will need to play a defining role in achieving these national goals.

III


Let me conclude by congratulating the graduating students and their families. Their achievements are a source of joy and pride to them, the University and the nation. They owe their success to their own hard work and commitment but they should also remain thankful to their parents and teachers for invaluable contributions in this success. They should also not forget their debt to society and the country and remain mindful of the millions of fellow citizens who are deprived and marginalized and need compassion and help. I leave them with a few words from Tagore for inspiration “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy”. I thank the Vice Chancellor for having invited me.”


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Union Agriculture Minister emphasises that the Prime Minister attaches importance to revitalization of the Agriculture Sector through modernization of farming practices

On the occasion of the 77th meeting of the General Council of National Cooperative Development Corporation today in New Delhi, Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that the Government is keen to usher modern techniques in agriculture sector. He emphasises that the Prime Minister attaches importance to revitalization of the agriculture sector through modernization of farming practices thereby increasing crop productivity without compromising on quality. Shri Singh said that the measures announced by the Government like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yogna to ensure more crop per drop are aimed at improving efficiency of farm activities and also increasing farm productivity.

Shri Singh said that while increased productivity is an essential component of a vibrant agricultural sector, improved post harvest handling and processing is essential to ensure value addition, reduction in wastage and transporting good quality products to markets. He said that it is in this context that agricultural cooperatives have a very important role to play and it is expected that NCDC to fully support them.

Shri Singh said that agriculture remains central to India’s economy. He said that the livelihood of a large number of farm families is linked to agriculture. He said that the country is a leading producer of several commodities – cereals, fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and jute. Further, in a scenario of growing grain stock and increasing production of high value commodities, improving market linkage assumes great significance, he said. Shri Singh urged for participation and involvement of the cooperatives in the marketing and distribution of agricultural commodities.

Shri Singh said that during the year, NCDC would continue to support and supplement Government efforts towards development of cooperatives in agriculture and allied sectors. The focus would be on consolidation of the existing infrastructure and units established by the cooperatives especially for value addition and processing of farmers’ produce, strengthening of forward and backward linkages for procurement and marketing. He spoke about strengthening of the existing monitoring systems and creating awareness about NCDC schemes / programmes by organizing workshops.


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Coal Minister Launches Projects Monitoring Portal to Enhance Efficiency, Transparency & Improve Communication Between B2G, G2G & G2B

With the view to putting in place an institutional mechanism to track stalled investment projects, both in the public and private sectors and to remove implementation bottlenecks in these projects on a fast-track basis, Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State ( IC) for Power, Coal , New & Renewable Energy has launched online Coal Projects Monitoring Portal (e-CPMP) for all large projects, both public and private in the Ministry of coal here today.

Speaking on the occasion , Shri Goyal said that the new system will bring in more transparency and responsiveness in the Ministry. Shri Goyal expressed his confidence that each of 30 allottees will successfully mine each piece of coal that is expected from them. The Government will encourage everyone to do more mining so that each one of allottee will not only meet their targets but exceed their targets, Shri Goyal added.

Shri Anil Swarup , Secretary Coal said that this marks a new beginning in making system transparent in the coal ministry.

e-CPMP (Online Coal Project Monitoring Portal) has been developed for tracking projects that entail an investment related to coal. IT automates the entire tracking of projects in the context of the bottlenecks. This system has been designed in such a way that it will enhance the efficiency, bring transparency, boost the investor confidence, revive the investment cycle, eliminate the human interaction, and improve the communication between industries to Government (B2G), Government to Government (G2G), or vice versa (G2B). It automates the entire tracking of issues resolution mechanism from submission to commission on time. This would include submission of a new project, editing/updating the projects, reviewing the projects, submission of details relating to bottlenecks and the decisions taken to remove the implementation bottlenecks in the stalled coal related projects. It also includes preparation of Agenda that can be generated online and circulated with auto mailer to all the Nodal officers. System also provides various Graphical Analysis and Reporting functionalities. The system also provides general issues module through which agencies, states and coal administrator can discuss other issues apart from projects.

Investors (Private Entrepreneur) can create their login credential with this platform and the same credential can be used to submit projects with issues. When any project with issues is being added by an Investors (Private Entrepreneur) to the e-CPMP, the portal shall automatically push the data to the respective agencies/Subsidiaries for their comment or action. Once the project is being endorsed by Nodal Officer of e-CPMP, Investors get the immediate response through automatic mailer and they can see the current status of concerned projects through this platform immediately after the subgroup meeting is over, if the decision being entered online.


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Total Eclipse of the Moon on Saturday



            A total eclipse of the Moon will occur on Saturday (April 4, 2015) from 15-45 hours to 19-15 hours Indian Standard Time (IST).

                  The Eclipse will be visible in the region covering eastern Asia, Australia, North America, western half of South America, Antarctica, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
                  The places from where the beginning of the umbral phase is visible at the time of moonset are Argentina, western part of Brazil, eastern part of the USA and Canada.                                                                
               
                  The places from where the ending of umbral phase is visible at the time of moonrise are some parts of Pakistan , Kazakhstan, India and some parts of Russia. The totality of this eclipse will last for a very short duration.

            In India the initial umbral phase of the eclipse will not be seen. At the time of moonrise, the totality phases of the eclipse will be visible from the extreme north eastern region of India and Andaman and Nicober Islands. Rest part of the country will only see the partial eclipse.
         
            A few places from where the totality phase will be seen at the time of moonrise are Aijawal, Dibrugarh, Imphal, Itanagar, Kohima, Tezu, Port Blair etc.
         
The circumstances of the eclipse are as follows :-




            *Magnitude of the eclipse = 1.006 (Moon’s diameter being taken as 1.0)
            Duration of the eclipse : 3 h 30 m.
            Duration of totality       :0 h  12 m.

A table relating to visibility of eclipse of some places in India is as below:
TABLE
TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON, APRIL 4, 2015

PHASES OF ECLIPSE VISIBLE FROM CERTAIN PLACES OF
INDIA AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD

                                        
                                      
                                         
                                      

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Emir of Qatar calls on the President Emir of Qatar calls on the President Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 4:25 PM Rating: 5

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