- Maruti Suzuki Manesar plant to see Sunrise on August 21
- North East Student Bodies request Safety from Prime Minister
- West Bengal adopts new Information Technology Policy
- Delhi to host 7th Thumri Festival from August 27
- Kerala Suicidal nurses end their Strike
- Meghalaya sends Delegation to Karnataka to prevent Student Exodus
- Gates Foundation awards Indian Firm $450K for E Toilet Project
- Scientists claim to develop deadly Hepatitis C Vaccine
- Reliance Life Insurance to recruit 5500 Agents by September
- Pakistan Newspaper admits atrocities towards Hindus
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 03:30 PM PDT
Maruti Suzuki would restart its operations at its Manesar Facility next week after more than a month’s shutdown caused due to violence by Labour Union which claimed the life of a senior official and caused injuries to 96 supervisors and managers.
The Manesar Plant would see a new sunrise on August 21 but with a miniature capacity of only 150 Cars Daily employing 300 workersLast Mon
The plant has two production lines with an assembly capacity of 1,200-1,500 cars a day. The car maker will start both its plants A and B. Plant B currently makes the Swift car model.
“We have planned to have a phased production ramp-up in the coming days. Security and safety is the prime concern and we have taken steps to provide a safe working environment for our employees,” said R.C. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki.
“We have plans to enroll casual workers as permanent workers in the company. Those casual workers found fit would be employed. At any time, 20 per cent of our overall workforce will be hired on short-term contracts depending on demand,” said Bhargava.
The auto major had employed 3,300 workers at the Manesar plant before violence erupted on July 18, 2012. Out of 3,300 employees, 1,528 were permanent and the rest 1,869 were contractual.
The Violence caused a loss of nearly Rs.10 crore, but production losses run into crores of rupees, as the plant was manufacturing nearly 1,700 vehicles per day. There are nearly 120,000 bookings alone for the company’s popularhatchback, Swift.
According to Bhargava, the company has sent notices to 500 odd workers including 154 who have been arrested for participating in the violence of July 18, 2012. The services of these 500 odd workers have been terminated.
“We have also sent notices terminating services of some 500 odd workers in whom the company has lost confidence. These workers have violated the terms of the good conduct bond that was signed by them last year. Some of these workers also have criminal charges against them.”
“More workers may be sacked, irrespective of permanent or casual category, if they are found to have taken part in violence. The Haryana government is currently probing the incident,” Bhargava added.
The company has also planned to have a contingent of 200 armed state policemen stationed at the factory, while another 300 armed police personnel will be stationed nearby.
Local police and nearly 100 guards from Maruti, including ex-servicemen, will be on vigil near the factory. As an extra precaution 40 police officers will accompany workers when they travel back from work.
After announcing resumption of production at its Manesar plant, the Maruti Suzuki management met local village heads and thanked them for their support.
The management praised the locals for their support and said that the company too would cooperate with them in future.
A couple of weeks ago, the locals had backed the Maruti Suzuki management through a ‘Mahapanchayat’.
Senior officials from Suzuki Powertrain India Limited (SPIL) and Maruti’s Manesar plant including Ratan Aggarwal, Vijay Khazanchi, L.K. Jain, Capt. Naresh Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Salil Lal and Ranjeet Singh were among those present at the meeting in Manesar. Sarpanches (village heads) and other dignitaries from 20 villages attended the meeting.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 02:32 PM PDT
Student body North East Students Organisation (NESO) has asked PM Manmohan Singh to ensure the safety of North Eastern Students in different parts of Country in the wake of attack on them in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
NESO, an umbrella organisation of different students unions of the northeastern states, also appealed to all state governments to take immediate and effective measures for “mental, physical and social security” of the people from the region.
“We demand proper and swift high level enquiry of the ongoing incidents and to give exemplary punishments to the criminals associated,” NESO’s secretary general Gumjum Haider said.
NESO also demanded proper security for safe return of the people, and immediate measures for creating comfortable and secured environment for the people in trauma and danger.
“It is a matter of serious concerns that in the last few days, there has been frequent unwanted incidents of killing, assaults, and threatening on the people of northeastern region in various parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra,” Haider said.
Saying that the situation has become serious, he pointed out that there have been frequent incidents of discrimination, atrocities faced by people from the northeast studying or living in various parts of the country.
The students’ outfit also threatened that it would not allow illegal “foreigners” to stay in northeast. “We will not allow illegal foreigners and they must leave this region,” Haider said.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 01:30 PM PDT
West Bengal government has declared new IT Policy which lays special emphasis on jobs linked to hardware, animation and graphics.
Christened “Information & Communication Technology and Incentive Scheme Policy 2012″, it was ratified by the cabinet sub-committee on industry, infrastructure and employment.
The policy also laid stress on increasing computer literacy.
The much-awaited policy replaces its predecessor unveiled nine years back in 2003 during the erstwhile Left Front regime. The new policy provides for four categories of incentives based on the remoteness of the project.
“The entire state has been divided into four categories – A (most accessible), B, C and D (most remote) – with the incentives going up as one ventures into the more remote areas,” officials said here.
An incentive scheme added later to the old IT policy had divided the state into three categories – A, B and C – based on remoteness, with the amount of incentive being directly proportional to the degree of remoteness of the project area.
“Special emphasis will be on hardware, animation and graphics for providing jobs and increasing employability,” an official said.
The cabinet sub-committee also raised the corpus of venture capital provided to IT start-ups to Rs.10 crore from the existing Rs.10 lakh.
“Originally, the plan was to increase it to Rs.50 crore. But due to the state’s poor financial position, it was decided to raise the figure to Rs.10 crore initially,” the official added.
Officials said the new policy would provide incentives to small and medium enterprises with emphasis on the cluster approach to improve competitiveness of the SMEs.
The state has also earmarked clusters in select locations like Kolkata, Falta, Asansol, Kharagpur, Siliguri, Purulia and Kalyani for the small and medium enterprise SMEs)
The officials said the state aimed to set up 15 such clusters in five years either through central assistance or through state funding.
Hardware clusters would be another key area for the government.
After coming to power last year, the Trinamool Congress government constituted an IT expert panel on software and hardware with Infosys chairman emeritus N.R. Narayana Murthy as its chief mentor and Sam Pitroda, adviser to the prime minister on public information infrastructure and innovations, as chairman.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 12:30 PM PDT
India would rewalk on the steps on Thumri in the 3 day Thumri Festival 2012 at Kamini Theatre Delhi starting from August 27. The Festival would witness veterans like Girija Devi, Ajoy Chakraborty, Kaushiki Chakraborty and Purnima Chaudhuri.
The seventh edition of the Thumri festival, presented by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), will feature the three main “gharanas” (schools) – Benaras, Patiala and Lucknow.
“The objective is to enhance awareness about this prominent Indian music tradition for the international community and music connoisseurs in Delhi. The tradition which started in the capital has travelled to Lucknow and from there to Benaras, Gaya and Kolkata – developing into three major gharanas,” director-general of ICCR Suresh Goel said, announcing the festival Thursday.
Thumri is derived from the Hindi word “thum” representing the music from anklets and “thumak” – the graceful dance step. The language of the text is Braj bhasa. The genre peaked in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in the 19th century in Lucknow.
The festival will bring old and young performers on one platform.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 12:08 PM PDT
Nurses in Kerala who had threatened to suicide if they were not employed permanently finally called off their protest after their demands were met. The Hospital Management agreed that prescribed minimum wages would be given to all the nurses.
The final talks were held between nurses and Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, who addressed the striking nurses and officially announced that the strike had been called off.
Three nurses had climbed atop the hospital building early Wednesday when the strike by a section of nurses in the Kothamangalam Mar Baselious Hospital in Ernakulam — demanding that the hospital authorities make permanent the services of all the nurses working on a labour bond contract — entered its 114th day.
Labour Minister Shibhu Baby John, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar and Kerala government’s chief whip P.C. George held several rounds of talks with the trio. However, they remained adamant on their demand that they be given a permanent post at the hospital.
The settlement was reached after the hospital management agreed that the prescribed minimum wages would be given to all the nurses.
The salaries of striking nurses for the 115 days of their strike would also be paid and no disciplinary action would be taken against them.
Another round of talks will be held Sunday in which the Ernakulam district collector will finalise the terms and conditions of the settlement between the hospital management and the nurses.
“We all have taken education loans and the cooling period is now over. We have no means to repay it with our meagre allowance,” a colleague said.
“The three on the roof top recently received a recovery notice from the bank,” she added.
A shutdown was observed in Kothamangalam Thursday to put pressure on the authorities for an early resolution to the issue.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 10:58 AM PDT
Meghalaya has taken a strong reactionto the exodus of North East Students from Bangalore and other states of South and decided to send a delegation to Karnataka to know the reality.
Many students from Meghalaya and the northeast region left Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Maharashtra after circulation of SMSes about northeast students being attacked. The SMSes on the attacks emanated after the Assam ethnic violence.
“It is a matter of concern (students leaving southern states fearing attack) and such incidents would have serious ramification in the long run,” Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
“We have checked with our counterparts and found that most of the information being circulated through SMSes are rumours,” Sangma said.
He said a delegation would be sent to the affected states and the union home ministry was being approached to facilitate the visit.
“The director general of police and the chief secretary are in constant touch with their counterparts in the states. I have also taken up the matter with my counterparts there,” Sangma said.
Meghalaya Police have also set up a helpline 91-8575001111.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 06:30 AM PDT
Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation has awarded an Indian Firm Eram Scientific a sum of whooping $450K for E-Toilet Project
India’s Eram Scientific Solutions Private Limited was awarded the grant as part of the foundation’s second round of Reinvent the Toilet Challenge grants totalling nearly $3.4 million.
Foundation Co-chair Bill Gates announced the grants Tuesday along with the winners of the first round of Reinvent the Toilet Challenge-an effort to develop “next-generation” toilets that will deliver safe and sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have it.
“Innovative solutions change people’s lives for the better,” said Gates. “If we apply creative thinking to everyday challenges, such as dealing with human waste, we can fix some of the world’s toughest problems.”
The awards recognize researchers from leading universities who are developing innovative ways to manage human waste, which will help improve the health and lives of people around the world, according to a media release from the foundation.
California Institute of Technology in the US received the $100,000 first prize for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity.
Loughborough University in Britain won the $60,000 second place prize for a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water.
University of Toronto in Canada won the third place prize of $40,000 for a toilet that sanitizes faeces and urine and recovers resources and clean water.
Special recognition and $40,000 went to Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and EOOS for their outstanding design of a toilet user interface.
Teams from 29 countries showcased their prototypes and projects at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair at the foundation’s headquarters in Seattle Aug 14 and 15.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 05:30 AM PDT
Australian scientists are trying a new vaccine which would help in control of deadly Hepatitis C disease which claims 200 million lives every year.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease primarily of the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic, but can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is apparent after many years. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure, liver cancer.
Currently undergoing formal pre-clinical studies, the vaccine is the result of a breakthrough work done by Heidi Drummer, associate professor from Burnet Institute with her team from its virology centre.
Drummer and her team have overcome a major hurdle in HCV vaccine research, developing a vaccine candidate that protects against a number of different HCV strains, according to a Burnet statement.
“Hepatitis C has a great ability to change its structure and evade the immune response. This makes vaccine development challenging,” Drummer said.
“Our vaccine is unique as it contains only the most essential, conserved parts of the major viral surface protein, eliciting antibodies that prevent both closely and distantly related hepatitis C viruses from entering cells, thereby preventing infection,” Drummer said.
Drummer presented these findings at the prestigious Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine Summit (ImVacS) in Cambridge, Massachussets, US, on Aug 13.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 04:30 AM PDT
Reliance Life Insurance Company, a unit of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital, plans to hire 5,500 agents on payroll by the end of next month in a bid to reduce attrition and boost the company’s new business, an official said.
“We are introducing career agent format. Under this format, agents will be assured of a fixed level of income,” said Malay Ghosh, president and executive director of Reliance Life Insurance.
He said the company has already begun hiring process and by the end of September 5,500 people will be employed as “career agents.”
When asked about the amount of salary, Ghosh said those things were in the process and it will be worked out soon.
“I can’t tell you right now that exactly what amount of salary I will be paying. But it will be a fixed income plus incentives,” Ghosh told IANS.
The company also plans to hire 50,000 new agents who will be working on commission basis.
The business of Reliance Life Insurance, which has over Rs.18,700 crore assets under management, is largely driven by agents working on commission basis.
At the end of the last financial year the company had 150,000 agents, which are also called insurance advisors. However, the number of agents declined by 30,000 in April-June 2012 quarter.
“Attrition rate is very high because of uncertainty in income. We are hiring new people and also trying to make sure that they get enough incentives to stay connected with the company,” Ghosh said.
Ghosh said the company targets to increase the number of insurance advisors to 150,000 by the end of the current financial year from around 120,000 now.
Reliance Life Insurance is the largest private insurance firm in India in terms of number of policies. It operates through a network of 1,230 branches spread across the country.
It also has 35 corporate agents and 72 brokers. Over 60 percent of the company’s insurance policy is sold through agents.
“Our business is spread evenly – 34 percent of our new businesses come from rural areas,” said Ghosh, adding that only 15 percent of the company’s businesses come from Tier-1 cities.
Ghosh said Reliance Life Insurance targets to increase its reach and product mix to become an alternative of Life Insurance Company (LIC).
The government-run LIC controls 70 percent of life insurance business in India while the rest 20 firms combined have just 30 percent market share. Reliance Life Insurance controls 5 percent market share.
Ghosh said Reliance Life Insurance targets to consistently expand its business and increase market share.
Posted: 16 Aug 2012 03:30 AM PDT
It cannot be denied that “minorities, and particularly Hindus, have faced persecution over the past few decades” in Pakistan, said a daily that wished minorities would “stay and feel confident they have a place in this country”.
An editorial in the News International Thursday said that the issue of the migration by some 200 Hindu families from Jacobabad to India remains a controversial one.
“Certain Hindu leaders and human rights activists have claimed that members of the community were fleeing Sindh because of the law and order situation and fear of forcible conversions. These claims have been vehemently denied by the authorities who had formed a three-member committee to probe the incidents,” it said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has “in typical fashion declared the whole affair a conspiracy while the General Hindu Panchayat at Larkana has said the community is confident the Pakistan government can protect it, and its members will not be leaving the country”.
“If true, this is good news,” it said.
“We certainly want our minorities to stay and feel confident they have a place in this country,” said the daily.
The editorial noted that Pakistan Army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had indirectly touched upon the issue in his Independence Day message, in which he said Pakistan should be a homeland for all communities and groups.
“But we cannot deny that minorities, and particularly Hindus, have faced persecution over the past few decades,” the editorial said.
The daily went on to say that “…Hindus have faced more abductions, more harassment and more threats in recent years than at any time in the past in both Sindh and Balochistan. As a result, many have indeed fled. What we need to do is create an environment more conducive to all minorities and make sure they are made to feel equal citizens of the state”.
“It is unfortunate that even in areas of Sindh, where Hindus and Muslims have lived in harmony for centuries, tensions have recently begun to creep in. Steps need to be taken to tackle this problem and ensure more Hindus or other groups do not feel compelled to leave their country,” it added.
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