Saturday, May 30, 2009

SAIL records Rs. 1487 cr. PAT in Q4 of FY ’09


Q4 turnover Rs. 13008 cr., PBT Rs. 2287 cr. 
· 
Sales up 54% in Q4 over Q3 
· 
Highest-ever turnover of Rs. 48681 cr. in FY ’09, PAT at Rs. 6175 cr. 
· 
Final dividend to shareholders totalling 26% for the year (13% interim dividend paid) 
New Delhi: SAIL recorded a profit (after tax) of Rs. 1,486.68 crore during Q4 of financial year 2008-09, in spite of the economic meltdown and rise in input costs. The profitability of the company during Q4 was 76% higher than the PAT in Q3 – though lower by 37% compared to the corresponding period of last year (CPLY). The company’s audited financial results for financial year 2008-09 were taken on record by the SAIL Board of Directors here today. The turnover in Q4 at Rs. 13,008 crore, EBDITA at Rs. 2,658 crore and PBT at Rs. 2,287 crore were lower by 16.2%, 34.1% and 37.6% over Q4 of 2007-08 but higher by 30.8%, 57.8% and 81.9% over Q3 of 2008-09, respectively. 
In the face of severe slowdown faced by the steel industry globally in the second half of FY ’09, SAIL could achieve this performance due to several internal measures which helped in all round cost efficiency, higher production of value-added items, best-ever techno-economic parameters and continual improvement in productivity. Owing to improvement in domestic market conditions, domestic sales during Q4 bounced back – 50% higher as compared to Q3 of FY ’09, leading to significant reduction in stocks. Overall inventory of semis and finished steel and raw materials was brought down by about Rs. 2,800 crore during the quarter. 

Continuing its thrust on value-added products, SAIL achieved highest-ever quarterly production of high quality rails at 2.63 lakh tonnes, which was 9% higher than CPLY. Production of higher grade TMT bars was up by 40%, tinplates by 72% and galvanised products by 7%. Techno-economic parameters achieved during Q4 were the best ever in any quarter with lowest ever coke rate of 509 kg/thm – an improvement of 3% over CPLY, while highest ever blast furnace productivity at 1.58 tonnes/cu.m./day was 4% better than CPLY. In a major cost saving effort, share of costlier imported coking coal in the blend was reduced by 5% and same was replaced with cheaper indigenous coking coal. All these measures could result in savings to the tune of over Rs. 750 crore during Q4 alone.

With the pick up in Q4, SAIL could achieve record turnover of Rs. 48,681 crore (equivalent to over $10 billion) in FY ’09 – 6.9% higher year-on-year (YOY). During the year, SAIL recorded profit (before tax) of Rs. 9,403.45 crore and profit (after tax) of Rs. 6,174.81 crore – both lower by 18% YOY. The total impact of higher input cost during the year amounted to over Rs. 7,000 crore, of which more than Rs. 6,000 crore was on account of coking coal. 

The steel industry witnessed unprecedented developments during the year with prices of steel reaching historic peaks in the first half of the year, followed by a sharp drop in H-2 in the face of global economic meltdown. There were sharp increases in costs of major inputs, especially coking coal going up by over 200%.

The SAIL Board has recommended final dividend payment to company shareholders at 13% of paid-up equity, with total dividend payout (including interim dividend of 13%) for the year 2008-09 at 26% amounting to Rs. 1,073.9 crore. 

During financial year 2008-09, SAIL produced 12.5 million tonnes of saleable steel by achieving 113% capacity utilisation. Production of hot metal at 14.4 million tonnes and of crude steel at 13.4 million tonnes was maintained at the previous year’s levels. Production through the energy-efficient continuous casting route was highest ever at 66% of crude steel. Product-mix improved significantly with 11% growth over the previous year; share of value-added steel in overall production grew to 30% during the year as compared to 27% in 2007-08. Techno-economic parameters achieved during 2008-09 have been best ever so far. Improvements were recorded in all major indices – coke rate at 521 kg/thm (2%) and specific energy consumption at 6.74 Gcal/tcs (3%). 

With best-ever sales of 4.45 million tonnes of long products, SAIL achieved total sales of 11.32 million tonnes during FY ’09. Supplies to projects of national importance reached a new high during the year with sales to the power sector, telecom sector and the Railways growing by 44%, 58% and 4% respectively. The company’s distribution network was further expanded – SAIL having the unique distinction of being present in every district of the country, with 2,500 authorised dealers. Sales of reinforcement steel for construction through the dealer network was at 5.2 lakh tonnes, going up by 50% over CPLY. With a view to provide value-added steel for general construction, production of higher grade earthquake resistant steel was commercialised during the year, with 90% of total TMT bar production now in this quality. 

The thrust on rationalising manpower continued during the year. There was an overall reduction of over 7,500 in the company’s manpower strength during 2008-09 after accounting for around 1,300 fresh additions to improve skill and age-mix. This brought down SAIL’s manpower further to 121,295 as on 31st March 2009. This thrust will continue in the current year as well. The company has made full provision to the tune of over Rs. 5,000 crore on account of wage revisions which are due with effect from 1.1.07, in its financial accounts for the year 2007-08 and ’08-09. 

Capital expenditure by the company during 2008-09 touched Rs. 5,233 crore – 2.5 times higher than in the previous year. It is expected that capex in the current year may touch Rs. 10,000 crore. To meet the ongoing modernisation & expansion schemes, SAIL raised Rs. 735 crore from the market through long-term bonds during 2008-09. SAIL’s debt-equity ratio as on 31.3.09 is 0.27:1 compared to 0.13:1 as on 31.3.08. Major units commissioned during the year include 250 MW power plant in joint venture with NTPC at Bhilai; a second unit of 250 MW is likely to go onstream in the current financial year. Construction of 2.2 million tonne slag-based cement plant as JV is in full progress and the plant is likely to be commissioned within a year. Slab caster along with secondary steel making facilities at Bhilai, oxygen plant and cold dust injection in two blast furnaces at Durgapur, pipe coating plant at Rourkela, upgradation of Hot Strip Mill and oxygen plant at Bokaro were also commissioned during the year.

The above performance has been achieved in the backdrop of the company holding its price line for three months in H-1 of FY ’09, when market conditions were buoyant, and coping with unprecedented rise in input costs, higher manpower costs and the adverse impact of global meltdown in H-2.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Mr. S.K. Roongta, Chairman, SAIL, said: "SAIL has proved its resilience in facing the challenges thrown up due to unprecedented developments in the steel industry and overall business environment. The revival in steel demand began in Q4 and trends in the current quarter are also encouraging. With major boost to infrastructure building in the offing, we expect steel demand in the country to grow further in the current financial year." 



Three-Digit Million-Euro Project for Siemens – Steel Authority of India Orders Four Long-Product Casters for Bhilai Steel Plant


Siemens VAI Metals Technologies received a major order from SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited) for the supply of four long-product casters to be installed at its Bhilai Steel Plant. The project includes basic and detail engineering as well as the equipment for two new 6-strand billet casters, one new 6-strand billet/bloom combi-caster and one new 3-strand beam-blank caster. The order volume is in the three-digit-million-euro range. The project is scheduled for completion in the last quarter of 2011.
SAIL, with an annual crude steel production output exceeding 13 million tons per year, is the largest steel producer in India. The company has five integrated iron and steel plants at Bhilai, Durgapur, Bokaro, Burnpur and Rourkela, and four other plants at Bhadravati, Chandrapur, Durgapur and Salem which produce special steels, alloyed steels and also ferro-alloys. The new casters are part of a modernization and 7.0 million ton per year steel-capacity expansion project underway at SAIL’s Bhilai Steel Plant.
The two billet casters, designed for open and submerged casting, will cast section sizes of 105x105 mm and 150x150 mm for the production of rebars and high-quality steels. These will be comprised of forging quality, high-carbon, cold-heading, spring-steel, electrode-quality and alloyed construction-steel grades.
The billet/bloom combi-caster with a billet section size of 150x150 mm and a bloom section size of 335x300 mm will cast carbon steel, alloyed-steel grades and especially rail grades. The hot billets will be transported by means of a hot-charging roller table to a reheating furnace followed by rolling.


Siemens’ new Protegra CS systems deliver Type II water for healthcare and laboratory markets



Siemens Water Technologies introduces the Protegra CS water system that combines reverse osmosis (RO) and continuous electrodeionization (CEDI) technologies to produce consistent ASTM Type II pure water quality from a soft water source. Available in four models with flow rates from 120 to 750 liters per hour, the Protegra CS system can supply pure water to an entire building or to one laboratory with multiple points of use.
Protegra CS is ideally suited for higher flow applications, such as feeding autoclaves, glassware washers and environmental chambers. All system components are contained in a single compact cabinet with removable side panels for easy maintenance. These eco-friendly systems can be fully integrated into a central purification system or a loop make-up and delivery system. Water quality sensors throughout the system send data to an easy to read control panel display located on the front of the system cabinet.
The Protegra CS system uses high-capacity RO membrane, and is designed to remove dissolved solids from the feedwater source while sending minimal reject water to drain. The system also uses a single CEDI module that continually regenerates, eliminating the use of costly chemicals. The maintenance-free CEDI module consists of ion exchange resins and electricity to remove ions from water, resulting in a purified water quality of up to 17 megohm-cm.

Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal assumes charge of the office of Minister for Coal

  
 
Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal today took charge as the Minister for Coal. Starting with a detailed briefing from the senior officials of the Coal Ministry, Shri Jaiswal emphasized that his primary focus would be the performance of the Ministry in the first 100 days as has been desired by the Prime Minister. In this regard, he directed the officers to take all necessary steps to step up production of coal in a balanced manner, meet shortages and develop an equitable distribution policy. 

Emphasizing on the importance of coal to meet the energy demand of the country, the Minister said that there was need for a balanced way forward to overcome the various constraints and problematic issues in this sector including those relating to environment, land acquisition and others. 

The Minister said that he was keen to adopt a model land acquisition policy based on successful models that have been implemented in states like Haryana. He said that if required he would hold a meeting with the concerned state Chief Ministers as well as with the Minister for Environment & Forests to sort out issues which were hampering the growth of the coal sector. 

Shri Jaiswal who was Minister of State for Home Affairs in the last Government was born on 25 September 1944. He was elected for the first time to the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999 and re-elected to the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004. He was elected to the current Lok Sabha from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Solar Energy reaches to border villages of Arunachal Pradesh



5000 HOUSES ILLUMINATED BY SOLAR ENERGY 
 
5000 houses in border villages in the country have been provided solar home lighting system and another 800 houses will have this facility within one month. This is result of efforts by Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency and Department of Hydro Power Development. It has been done under the implementation of PM’s Special Package on illumination/electrification of all Border villages through solar and micro hydel systems. With a view to create large scale awareness and publicity about uses and benefits of renewable energy like solar, wind, biomass and hydro, Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has constituted District Advisory Committee’s (DACs) under the Chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner and members from various state government departments, NGO’s. 560 DACs have been constituted and are functional in the country. 

A one day orientation cum training programme of DAC members of Arunachal Pradesh was organized today at Itanagar by Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency. Deputy Commissioners of West Kameng, Tirap, Dibang Valley, Upper Subansiri, ADCs of East Siang and West Siang and 60 other members of DACs attended the programme. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. N.P. Singh, Advisor, MNRE mentioned that about 15000 MW grid power from renewable energy which is about 9% of the total grid power in the country has been installed. Shri Marki Loya, Director, Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency gave presentation on various renewable energy schemes under implementation of the state and requested more and more participation of DAC members. During interaction sessions, DCs presented the views and highlighted the benefits of renewable energy and existence of DACs.

Accelerating Oil and Gas Exploration continues to be a priority; road shows for NELP-VIII and CBM-IV soon: Deora



NEW SCHEME OF RURAL LPG DISTRIBUTOR (GRAMIN LPG VITRAK) ON ANVIL 

SHRI DEORA ASSUMES CHARGE AS PETROLEUM MINISTER AND SHRI JITIN PRASADA AS MOS, PETROLEUM & NATURAL GAS 

 
The Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Shri Murli Deora and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Jitin Prasada thanked the people of India for the faith reposed in the UPA; this has also been done with the highest majority since 1991. This trust of the people places upon the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas the responsibility of meeting the mammoth aspirations of the people of the country. “Our endeavour will be to fulfil the promises made in the Manifesto and provide fuel to the people of India at reasonable prices and ensure the requirements of energy security of the country,” they observed while assuming charge of their respective offices here today. Shri Deora returned to be the Petroleum Minister for second term in succession while Shri Jitin Prasada was the Minister of State for Steel in the previous Government. 

Speaking to media Shri Deora said that further accelerating domestic exploration and production would continue to be a priority. Elaborating agenda of the Ministry under his fresh tenure, he said these include adding significant refining capacities, launching a New LPG Rural Distributor Scheme, addressing the issue of affordable prices for poor and the sound health of PSUs, preparing a road map for adding more and more cities to the present number of 30 cities which have CNG distribution networks, giving a boost to the efforts towards overseas acquisition of oil & gas assets. 

ACHIEVEMENTS OF LAST 5 YEARS


1. Prices of 4 Sensitive Petroleum Products 

• International oil prices have been rising continuously since 2004. The year 2008-09 saw extreme volatility. When the Indian basket of crude oil touched UD $ 142 in July 2008, the required price increase was Rs.18 per litre for petrol, Rs.28 per litre for Diesel, Rs.35 per litre for PDS Kerosene and Rs.340 per Cylinder for Domestic LPG. However, to protect the interest of the consumers, the retail selling prices were increased only by Rs.5 per litre for Petrol, Rs.3 per litre for Diesel and Rs.50 per cylinder for Domestic LPG. 

• The retail selling prices of Petrol and Diesel were reduced by Rs.5 per litre and Rs.2 per litre respectively on 6.12.2008. Again on 29.1.2009, prices of Petrol, Diesel and Domestic LPG were reduced by Rs.5 per litre, Rs.2 per litre and Rs.25 per cylinder respectively. 

• Today, the prices of Petrol and Diesel are even lower than the prices in June 2006. 

• The price of PDS Kerosene was not revised even once during the last 5 years as PDS Kerosene serves the lighting and cooking needs of the common man in the far flung areas of the country. 

• Government took the burden of the Public Sector OMCs’ under-recoveries and issued Oil Bonds of Rs.71,292 crore during 2008-09 while the Upstream Oil PSUs contributed Rs.32,000 crore in price discounts. None of the 3 OMCs will end the year 2008-09 in loss. 

• Uninterrupted supplies of Domestic LPG have been maintained to more than 11 crore households covering about 50% of the country’s population. 

2. Oil and Gas Exploration 

• This area has been our priority and will continue to be so. 

• The natural gas find in KG Basin deep water offshore block D-6 will about double the country’s production from the present level of 82 MMSCMD. Production from KG Basin commenced in April 2009, and is expected to go up to 80 MMSCMD of gas very soon. 

• In Rajasthan, CAIRN-ONGC consortium’s RJ-ON-90/1 block in Barmer district, oil production is expected to commence shortly. The peak production would be 7-8 MMTPA and would increase the country’s oil production by 25%. 

• Under NELP, Government has signed 113 Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) for exploratory blocks in the last 5 years which has increased area under exploration by 30%. Under NELP-VII, 44 exploration blocks were awarded and contracts concluded in respect of 41 blocks with 17 operators (including 5 foreign incorporated companies). 

• In the last 5 years, 166 oil and gas discoveries have been made in various States, Deepwater area in Eastern & Western offshore. 

• Overseas oil and gas production has doubled in the last 5 years and reached a level of about 8.7 MMTOE in 2008-09. 

• The presence of ONGC Videsh Limited and other PSUs in equity oil abroad increased to 22 countries as against 7 countries in 2003-04. 

• This year, the highest number of blocks (70) have been offered under the NELP VIII. 10 coal blocks have been offered under CBM IV. The dates for the road shows would be decided shortly. 

3. Increase in Refinery Capacity and Growth in Exports 

• With the commissioning of RIL’s 29 MMTPA refinery in December 2008, the refining capacity in the country increased to 178 MMTPA from 127 MMTPA in 2004. 

• Capacity expansion of another 63 MMTPA is envisaged during the XIth Five Year Plan. Of this, new refineries are being set up by IOCL at Paradip (15 MMTPA), HPCL at Bhatinda (9 MMTPA) and BPCL at Bina (6 MMTPA). 

• From being a net importer of petroleum products, India has emerged a net exporter of petroleum products. Exports of petroleum products have increased from US$ 6.66 billion in 2004-05 to US$ 26.29 billion in 2008-09, making petroleum products the largest foreign exchange earner in the merchandize category. 

4. Setting up of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (RGIPT) at Rae Bareli, UP 

• The government took the initiative to get the RGIPT Bill passed by the Parliament during the Winter Session of Parliament 2007. The Institute has been set up at Jais, District Rae Bareli, at a cost of Rs. 695.58 crore. 

• With the academic year 2008-09, the courses in Petroleum and Energy Sciences and an MBA program have commenced at Rae Bareli and Noida. 

5. Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd. (ISPRL) 

• In order to enhance the energy security of the country and to safeguard against short-term disruptions in crude oil supply, Government has approved the setting up of a 5 million Metric Tones (MMT) strategic storage of crude oil at three locations. These are being set up Vizag (1.0 MMT), Mangalore (1.5 MMT) and Padur, Udipi (2.5 MMT). 

• The Strategic Crude Oil Reserves would be located in the underground rock caverns and are expected to be operational by 2012. 

• Crude oil from the reserves will be released by a Government appointed High Power Committee in the event of any short-term disruption in supplies, a natural calamity or any unforeseen global event leading to an abnormal increase in prices. 

Priority areas for the first 100 days of the Government 

The manifesto of the Indian National Congress spells out the following action points relating to the Oil & Gas sector: 

• The pace of Oil & Gas exploration will be intensified 

• India’s oil diplomacy will be pursued aggressively 

• The Government will implement a scheme to supply energy to poor families at affordable prices. 

1. A new Scheme of Rural LPG Distributor (Gramin LPG Vitrak): 

Objective: The scheme would help in enhancing LPG coverage in rural areas where it is not viable at present. 

At present, there are about 9,350 LPG distributors in the country serving a population of 10.6 crore LPG customers. Of these distributors, about 25% are serving rural areas. Presently, LPG distributorships are being set up in towns and villages having a population of 5,000 and potential of 2,500 refills per month, considering the population within 15 KMs from a town or village. Very few new locations are found commercially viable under the above scheme. The Gramin LPG Vitrak scheme would be launched at locations having potential of upto 1,000 refills per month, and the proprietor himself/ herself would operate it with the help of two staff. The godown and the showroom would be much smaller in size compared to a normal distributorship. Total capital investment will be about Rs.3,40,000 and there will be a potential for a monthly earning of Rs.13,800. 

2. Pricing of Petroleum Products 

The Government will address the issue of the need to provide fuel and petroleum products to the people at reasonable prices along with the requirement of the Oil marketing Companies (OMCs) to run profitably and efficiently. Policy decisions in this context will be taken shortly. 

3. Road map for extending City Gas services 

As of now, city gas is being supplied to 30 cities. CNG is a cheaper and greener fuel than LPG, for domestic cooking as well as for vehicular transport. Expansion of CNG outlets was started in 2008 in Mumbai & Delhi. Another 50 outlets will be added to present number of 300 by the end of 2009 in these 2 cities. Further, CNG operations will be started in 10 more cities by end of 2009. A road map will be prepared by a working group for expanding the city gas distribution to more and more cities/ towns over the next five years for cooking and for transportation. 

4. Acquisition of Oil & Gas Assets Abroad 

Signing Agreement with Kazakhastan: As a result of Government to Government efforts, ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) has concluded Head of Agreement (HOA) with Kazmunaigaz (KMG) for equation of Participating Interest (PI) in the Satpayev exploratory block in Kazakhstan. The total investment in the project is likely to be USD 400 Million in the exploration phase. A note dated 28.04.2009 has been submitted seeking approval of CCEA for OVL’s investment in Satpayev project. Decision of CCEA will be obtained. 

5. Pace of Oil & Gas Exploration will be intensified through NELP VIII & CBM IV, which have been launched. 

The eighth round of NELP (NELP-VIII) offering 70 blocks covering an area of about 1.7 lakh sq. km. and fourth round of CBM (CBM-IV) offering 10 blocks covering an area of about 5000 sq. km. were launched on 9.4.2009 and the bid closing date is 10.08.2009. During the next 100 days, road shows will be held.

Shri Virbhadra Singh assumes charge of the Steel Ministry to focus on timely completion of expansion of SAIL and RINL 

The Minister for Steel Shri Virbhadra Singh assumed charge of the Ministry here today. Talking to newsmen after taking charge he said, that one of the key priorities will be to ensure that the expansion programmes of the public sector giants Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) is completed in time in a cost effective fashion. He said, while the capacity of SAIL will go up to 26 million tonnes that of RINL will go up to 6 million tonnes after the expansion. Both the expansion programmes will involve an expenditure of over Rs.70,000 Crore. The new Minister said, Steel sector in India and China have recorded positive growth during the first quarter of this calendar year while the global steel production has contracted by 23 per cent during the same period. 

Shri Virbhadra Singh said, another focus area would be to bring in a rational, seamless and transparent regime for allocation of raw material resources to existing and prospective steel producers. He said, Ministry of Mines will be requested to undertake consequential amendments to Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 to bring amendments to force. 

He said, there is a need to restructure some of the smaller steel PSUs and for attempting mergers to capture the benefits of improved synergies. The companies under restructuring/merger mode include the Bird group of companies, HSCL, BRL and SIIL. The Minister was welcomed by the Steel Secretary Shri P.K.Rastogi and other senior officers on his arrival in the Ministry. He was also given a presentation on the functioning of the Ministry and the Steel Sector.

Friday, May 29, 2009

PRESIDENT ALLOTS PORTFOLIOS TO 27 CABINET MINISTERS, 7 MINISTERS OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) AND 38 MINISTERS OF STATE 


The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has been pleased to direct the allocation of portfolios among the following members of the Union Council of Ministers: - 

CABINET MINISTERS 
1.  Shri Virbhadra Singh 

Minister of Steel

2.Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh

Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

3.Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad 

Minister of Health and Family Welfare

4.Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde 

Minister of Power


5.Shri M. Veerappa Moily 
Minister of Law and Justice

6.Dr. Farooq Abdullah 
Minister of New and Renewable Energy

7.Shri S. Jaipal Reddy 
Minister of Urban Development

8.Shri Kamal Nath 
Minister of Road Transport and Highways

9.Shri Vayalar Ravi 
Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs

10.Smt. Meira Kumar 
Minister of Water Resources

11. Shri Dayanidhi Maran 
Minister of Textiles

12. Shri A. Raja 
Minister of Communications and Information Technology

13. Shri Murli Deora 
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas

14. Smt. Ambika Soni 
Minister of Information and Broadcasting

15. Shri Mallikarjun Kharge 
Minister of Labour and Employment

16. Shri Kapil Sibal
Minister of Human Resource Development

17.Shri B.K. Handique 
Minister of Mines and Minister of Development of North Eastern Region

18.Shri Anand Sharma 
Minister of Commerce and Industry

19.Shri C.P. Joshi 
Minister of Rural Development and Minister of Panchayati Raj

20.Kum. Selja 
Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Minister of Tourism

21. Shri Subodh Kant Sahay 
Minister of Food Processing Industries

22.Dr. M.S. Gill 
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports

23.Shri G.K. Vasan 
Minister of Shipping

24.Shri Pawan K. Bansal 
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs

25.Shri Mukul Wasnik 
Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment

26.Shri Kantilal Bhuria 
Minister of Tribal Affairs

27.Shri M.K. Alagiri 
Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers


MINISTERS OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) 
1.  Shri Praful Patel 
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry Civil Aviation

2.  Shri Prithviraj Chavan 
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Science and Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Earth Sciences and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office; Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs

3.  Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal 
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Coal and Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation

4.  Shri Salman Khursheed 
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Minority Affairs

5.Shri Dinsha J. Patel 
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises 

6.Smt. Krishna Tirath 
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development

7.Shri Jairam Ramesh 
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests


MINISTERS OF STATE 
1.  Shri Srikant Jena 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers

2. Shri E. Ahamed 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways

3. Shri Mullappally Ramachandran 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs

4. Shri V. Narayansamy 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Planning and Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs

5. Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry

6. Smt. D. Purandeswari 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Resource Development

7.Shri K.H. Muniyappa 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways

8.Shri Ajay Maken 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs

9.Smt. Panabaka Lakshmi 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Textiles

10.Shri Namo Narain Meena 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance

11. Shri M.M. Pallam Raju 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence

12. Shri Saugata Ray 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Urban Development

13.Shri S.S. Palanimanickam 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance

14.Shri Jitin Prasad 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

15.Shri A. Sai Prathap 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Steel

16.Smt. Preneet Kaur 
Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs

17.Shri Gurdas Kamat 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

18.Shri Harish Rawat 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Employment

19.Professor K.V. Thomas 
 Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Minister of State in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

20.Shri Bharatsinh Solanki 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Power

21. Shri Mahadev S. Khandela 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

22.Shri Dinesh Trivedi 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

23.Shri Sisir Adhikari 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development

24.Shri Sultan Ahmed 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism

25.Shri Mukul Roy 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Shipping 

26.Shri Mohan Jatua 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

27.Shri D. Napoleon 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

28.Dr. S. Jagathrakshakan 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

29.Shri S. Gandhiselvan 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

30.Shri Tusharbhai Chaudhary 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs

 31. Shri Sachin Pilot 
 Minister of State in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

32.Shri Arun Yadav

Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports


33.Shri Pratik Prakashbapu Patil 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

34.Shri R.P.N. Singh 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

35.Shri Shashi Tharoor 
Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs

36.Shri Vincent Pala 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Water Resources

37.Shri Pradeep Jain 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development

38.Ms. Agatha Sangma 
Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development

Ministries that have remained unallocated, will be looked after by the Prime Minister.

AWACS inducted into IAF, A Momentous Occasion for IAF : Antony

Giving impetus to the long-standing operational requirement of the armed forces, the first AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) Platform was inducted into the Indian Air Force today. At a special ceremony held at Palam airbase of the IAF, Defence Minister Shri AK Antony dedicated the newly-inducted AWACS in the service of nation. 

“It is a rare and momentous occasion in our continuous efforts to upgrade the operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force and our Armed Forces”, said Mr Antony, addressing a gathering that included among others Ambassadors Konstantin Vasikiev and Mark Soffer of Russia and Israel respectively , Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal FH Major, CAS Designate Air Marshal PV Naik, Defence Secretary Shri Vijay Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western and Central Air Command and other senior officials and air warriors of the AWACS squadron. 

Emphasizing the need for maintaining eternal vigil in the present security scenario to safeguard our strategic interests and economic assets, Mr Antony said the new AWACS will provide IAF a high degree of situational awareness, enabling it to dominate the air space. With the induction of AWACS, India now joins an elite group of nations that possesses such a sophisticated surveillance system. 

The veritable “eye in the sky” fitted on an IL-76 platform will help detect aerial threats at long ranges at all altitudes, in all weather conditions, providing adequate warning and their timely neutralization. The system will also enable out defence forces to graduate to the next stage of network-centric operations, he added. 

Mr Antony appreciated the several inter-governmental initiatives between India, Russia and Israel whose specialists worked jointly to build this complex aviation platform. He also expressed his “anxiety” to the Ambassadors of Russia and Israel present at the about the timely delivery of remaining two platforms. Appreciating the exemplary role of the IAF in times of war and peace the Defence Minister conveyed that the government has ensured allocation of adequate budgetary resources to meet defence requirements. 

Recalling the journey embarked by the IAF fulfill the futuristic needs of air operations, the Air Chief said, “We (IAF) had foreseen that future air operations will be conducted at a very high tempo and this requires real time control of all our combat assets. To dominate the aerial environment in our region, we need to fully exploit the capabilities provided by the very effective networking of AWACS with other sensors and combat assets. Towards this we in the Air Force already have a very robust network – AFNET – integrated with the IACCS (Integrated Air Command and Control System) and ODL (Operational Data Link). And all assets that are presently being acquired by us will also have the capability and provision to plug-in on this network.” The AWACS will form an extremely important component of this command and control structure, he emphasized. 

The newly inducted AWACS squadron will be based in Agra.

Index Numbers of Wholesale Prices in India (Base: 1993-94=100)


Review for the week ended 16th May 2009

 
The official Wholesale Price Index for 'All Commodities' (Base: 1993-94 = 100) for the week ended 16th May 2009 rose by 0.1 percent to 232.2 (Provisional) from 232.0 (Provisional) for the previous week. 

The annual rate of inflation, calculated on point to point basis, remained unchanged at its previous week’s level of 0.61 percent (Provisional) for the week ended 16/05/2009 (over 17/05/2008) and 8.66 percent during the corresponding week (ended 17/05/2008) of the previous year. 

The movement of the index for the various commodity groups is summarized below:- 

1. PRIMARY ARTICLES (Weight 22.02%) 

The index for this major group rose marginally to 256.1 (Provisional) from 256.0 (Provisional) for the previous week. The groups and items for which the index showed variations during the week are as follows:- 

The index for ‘Food Articles’ group declined marginally to 251.4 (Provisional) from 251.5 (Provisional) for the previous week due to lower prices of gram, fruits & vegetables and jowar (1% each). However, the prices of tea (10%), barley (2%) and bajra, moong and urad (1% each) moved up. 

The index for ‘Non-Food Articles’ group rose by 0.2 percent to 234.7 (Provisional) from 234.3 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of raw cotton (2%) and linseed (1%). However, the prices of raw rubber (5%), copra (2%) and niger seed (1%) declined. 

The index for ‘Minerals’ group rose marginally to 675.4 (Provisional) from 675.2 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of barytes (19%), felspar (2%) and asbestos and fluorite (1% each). 

2. FUEL, POWER, LIGHT & LUBRICANTS (Weight 14.23%) 

The index for this major group rose by 0.1 percent to 324.0 (Provisional) from 323.7 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of aviation turbine fuel and furnace oil (2% each). 

3. MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS (Weight 63.75%) 

The index for this major group rose by 0.1 percent to 203.5 (Provisional) from 203.3 (Provisional) for the previous week. The groups and items for which the index showed variations during the week are as follows:- 

The index for 'Food Products’ group rose by 0.5 percent to 232.6 (Provisional) from 231.4 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of bagasse (25%), unrefined oil (21%), malted food (7%), imported edible oil (3%) and khandsari (1%). However, the prices of rice bran oil (2%) and cotton seed oil (1%) declined. 

The index for 'Beverages Tobacco & Tobacco Products' group rose by 0.1 percent to 302.4 (Provisional) from 302.0 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of potable country liquor (7%). However, the prices of rectified spirit (1%) declined. 

The index for 'Textiles' group declined by 0.1 percent to 141.0 (Provisional) from 141.2 (Provisional) for the previous week due to lower prices of cotton yarn-'hanks and polyester staple fibre (1% each). However, the prices of nylon filament yarn, viscose filament yarn and cotton yarn-cones (1% each) moved up. 

The index for ' Transport Equipment & Parts ' group declined by 0.1 percent to 175.1 (Provisional) from 175.2 (Provisional) for the previous week due to lower prices of bicycles (1%). 

4. FINAL INDEX FOR THE WEEK ENDED 21st March 2009 


For the week ended 21/03/2009, the final wholesale price index for 'All Commodities’ (Base:1993-94=100) stood at 228.5 as compared to 227.3 (Provisional) and annual rate of inflation based on final index, calculated on point to point basis, stood at 0.84 percent as compared to 0.31 percent (Provisional) reported earlier vide press note dated 02/04/2009.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ArcelorMittal announces EUR 2.5 billion Bond issue



On 27 May 2009, ArcelorMittal ("The Company" or "the Issuer") completed the pricing of two series of EUR denominated notes for an aggregate principal amount of EUR 2,500,000,000 consisting of EUR 1,500,000,000 principal amount of its 8.250 % Notes due 2013 and EUR 1,000,000,000 principal amount of its 9.375 % Notes due 2016.

The proceeds to ArcelorMittal (before expenses), amounting to approximately EUR 2.5 billion, will be used to lengthen the debt maturity profile and to refinance existing indebtedness.

The offering is scheduled to close on 3 June 2009, subject to satisfaction of customary conditions.

About ArcelorMittal 

ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel company, with operations in more than 60 countries. 

ArcelorMittal is the leader in all major global steel markets, including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with leading R&D and technology, as well as sizeable captive supplies of raw materials and outstanding distribution networks. With an industrial presence in over 20 countries spanning four continents, the Company covers all of the key steel markets, from emerging to mature.

Through its core values of Sustainability, Quality and Leadership, ArcelorMittal commits to operating in a responsible way with respect to the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees, contractors and the communities in which it operates. It is also committed to the sustainable management of the environment and of finite resources. ArcelorMittal recognises that it has a significant responsibility to tackle the global climate change challenge; it takes a leading role in the industry's efforts to develop breakthrough steelmaking technologies and is actively researching and developing steel-based technologies and solutions that contribute to combat climate change.

In 2008, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $124.9 billion and crude steel production of 103.3 million tonnes, representing approximately 10 per cent of world steel output. 

ArcelorMittal is listed on the stock exchanges of New York (MT), Amsterdam (MT), Paris (MT), Brussels (MT), Luxembourg (MT) and on the Spanish stock exchanges of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia (MTS).


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rio Tinto to retain borates business

Rio Tinto has taken its borates business off the market after the sales process did not achieve values acceptable to the company in the prevailing economic conditions. The sales process is continuing for other businesses slated for divestment, including talc.

Rio Tinto believes the borates business is a good fit within its overall portfolio, based on its asset base, share of global supply and presence in Asian markets. Rio Tinto has also decided not to sell its Jadar lithium-borate deposit in Serbia, which will now be transferred from its Exploration group to be managed within the borate business.

This year Rio Tinto has announced agreed sales totalling US$2.5 billion, including US$850 million for the undeveloped potash assets in Argentina and Canada, US$750 million for the Corumbá iron ore operation in Brazil, US$761 million for the Jacobs Ranch coal mine in the United States and US$125 million for the Ningxia aluminium smelter in China. 


About Rio Tinto 
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. 

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

Dr. Manmohan Singh Sworn In




The President of India has appointed Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister of India. Further, as advised by the Prime Minister, has appointed the following as members of the Council of Ministers :-


Cabinet Ministers

1. Shri Pranab Mukherjee

2. Shri Sharad Pawar

3. Shri A.K.Antony

4. Shri P. Chidambaram

5. Km. Mamata Banerjee

6. Shri S.M.Krishna

7. Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad

8. Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde

9. Shri M. Veerappa Moily

10. Shri S. Jaipal Reddy

11. Shri Kamal Nath

12. Shri Vayalar Ravi

13. Smt. Meira Kumar

14. Shri Murli Deora

15. Shri Kapil Sibal

16. Smt. Ambika Soni

17. Shri B.K.Handique

18. Shri Anand Sharma

19. Shri C.P.Joshi

  The President administered the oaths of office and secrecy to the above members of the Council of Ministers at a ceremony held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan today.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rickshaw Pullers Using Microfinance for Alternative Livelihood



 

The Additional Financing: Second Poverty Alleviation Microfinance Project (Microfinance II) aims to alleviate poverty by diversifying micro credit operations to reach underserved segments of the urban poor. Initiated in August 2007, the additional financing part of the Project, aims at assisting rickshaw pullers, other non-motorized vehicles drivers, and poor owners to switch to alternate professions and restore their income and livelihood affected by ban on non-motorized vehicles in major roads of Dhaka city. The project also aims to build institutional capacity of the implementing agency - Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), the participating Partner Organizations (POs) and the poor borrowers. 

The project, designed to be implemented over two years, is funded by the World Bank (US$ 15 million). Initially the project had a delayed start due to administrative processes at the ministry as well as implementing agency level. In the face of continuing challenges, such as providing business development skills training, awareness building for improvement of livelihood, and finally, assisting the non-motorized vehicle drivers and poor owners, the implementation progress has been slow. In order to accelerate the pace of implementation , PKSF proposed certain measures such as, extending the project area to cover the entire Dhaka city, using more options for skill development training, including the regular urban poor in the project, and extending the project closing date. 

Three of the four measures were adopted, deferring the consideration for extension of the project closing date. Since adoption of the new measures in October 2008, the pace of project implementation has picked up, especially in the area of skill development training. Results from the ground indicate that around 15% of the borrower households have completely eliminated dependence on income from rickshaw pulling and another 30% - 35% have engaged themselves in new professions but still supplement household incomes with rickshaw pulling/non-motorized vehicle driving. Besides, livelihood trainings have increased general awareness among the rickshaw pullers and the poor owners.

Recently, PKSF has withdrawn their request for an extension of the project closing date, on the ground that it would not make a difference in terms of improving quality of implementation, as inherent challenges relating to project design and structural constraints would persist. Therefore, the project will close on June 30, 2009, as scheduled. IDA hopes that the lessons learned through implementing this project would be internalized in PKSF’s institutional learning and help not only in carrying forward the Microfinance II project but also in designing future poverty alleviation projects with similar challenges.

IAF IL-76 airlifts medical team and aid for Sri Lanka

India today dispatched a team of 27 doctors and paramedics to the war ravaged northern Sri Lanka for the benefit of the devastated civilian Tamil population. An Indian Air Force IL-76 aircraft took off from New Delhi for Colombo this morning with the medical team, including a surgeon and paediatrician. The team is also carrying about 30 tonnes of medicines worth over Rs. 3 crore to replenish stores at the Field Hospital run by the Indian Armed Forces in a camp for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). 

India has deployed a self-contained Emergency Medical Unit with Hospital in Sri Lanka since March 2009. The 110-bed facility comprises of 62 members including eight doctors and paramedics. It has been operating out of Pulmoddai town on the north-eastern coast of Sri Lanka. The Hospital provides urgent medical care to civilians evacuated out of the conflict zone by the Red Cross (ICRC) in ships. The hospital has so far treated more than 3,000 war wounded and trauma patients. 

In view of the greater requirement in and around Vavuniya, India's Emergency Medical Unit with Hospital is being shifted to Menik Farm Area Zone 1 near Vavuniya which has a significant IDP population in need of medical care. 

India has been providing urgent relief assistance to civilians affected by the conflict in northern Sri Lanka. To further augment our effort in light of the large number of civilians who have been evacuated from the conflict zone, Prime Minister has approved a grant of Rs 100 crores (Rs 1 billion) for providing humanitarian relief assistance to civilians. Separately, state government of Tamil Nadu has also pledged Rs 25 crores. In addition, the Government of India is also working on a rehabilitation and reconstruction package for northern and eastern Sri Lanka. 

India's relief assistance so far has included food, clothing, medicines and other essential supplies. Since November 2008, Government of India has provided 1.7 lakh family relief packs for lDPs and civilians affected by the conflict. The packs include dry rations, personal hygiene items, clothes, utensils and water purification tablets. Two consignments of medicines have been handed over to Sri Lanka. Shelter material worth Rs. 15 crores will be dispatched to Sri Lanka shortly to provide temporary housing for IDPs. Further relief assistance is in the pipeline, including demining, provision of civil infrastructure and reconstruction of houses.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Index Numbers of Wholesale Prices in India (Base: 1993-94=100)


Review for the week ended 9th May 2009

The official Wholesale Price Index for 'All Commodities' (Base: 1993-94 = 100) for the week ended 9th May 2009 rose by 0.2 percent to 232.0 (Provisional) from 231.6 (Provisional) for the previous week. 

The annual rate of inflation, calculated on point to point basis, stood at 0.61 percent (Provisional) for the week ended 09/05/2009 (over 10/05/2008) as compared to 0.48 percent (Provisional) for the previous week (ended 02/05/2009) and 8.57 percent during the corresponding week (ended10/05/2008) of the previous year. 

The movement of the index for the various commodity groups is summarized below:- 

1. PRIMARY ARTICLES (Weight 22.02%) 

The index for this major group rose by 0.5 percent to 256.0 (Provisional) from 254.7 (Provisional) for the previous week. The groups and items for which the index showed variations during the week are as follows:- 

The index for 'Food Articles' group rose by 0.6 percent to 251.5 (Provisional) from 250.0 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of tea (11%), ragi (4%), bajra (3%), jowar and condiments & spices (2% each) and fruits & vegetables, moong, rice, wheat, masur and arhar (1% each). However, the prices of urad (4%), barley (2%) and maize (1%) declined. 

The index for 'Non-Food Articles' group rose by 0.4 percent to 234.3 (Provisional) from 233.3 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of raw cotton and raw silk (2% each) and rape & mustard seed, gingelly seed and castor seed (1% each). However, the prices of copra (3%) and raw rubber (2%) declined. 

2. FUEL, POWER, LIGHT & LUBRICANTS (Weight 14.23%) 

The index for this major group remained unchanged at its previous week's level of 323.7 (Provisional) 

3. MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS (Weight 63.75%) 

The index for this major group rose by 0.1 percent to 203.3 (Provisional) from 203.0 (Provisional) for the previous week. The groups and items for which the index showed variations during the week are as follows:- 

The index for 'Food Products' group rose by 0.4 percent to 231.4 (Provisional) from 230.5 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of rice bran oil (4%), oil cakes (2%) and gur, imported edible oil, bran (all kinds) and gingelly oil (1% each). However, the prices of sooji (rawa), coconut oil and maida (2% each) and khandsari, salt and atta (1% each) declined. 

The index for 'Textiles' group rose by 0.6 percent to 141.2 (Provisional) from 140.4 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of synthetic yarn and hessian & sacking bags (4% each) and hessian cloth (3%). 

The index for 'Paper & Paper Products' group declined by 0.2 percent to 203.5 (Provisional) from 204.0 (Provisional) for the previous week due to lower prices of newsprint (2%) and other boards (all kinds) (1%). 

The index for 'Chemicals & Chemical Products' group rose by 0.05 percent to 217.7 (Provisional) from 217.6 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of carbon black (3%). However, the prices of liquid chlorine (3%) and caustic soda (1%) declined. 

The index for ' Basic Metals Alloys & Metal Products ' group rose by 0.1 percent to 255.7 (Provisional) from 255.5 (Provisional) for the previous week due to higher prices of steel ingots (7%), lead ingots (3%) and zinc ingots and zinc (2% each). 

4. FINAL INDEX FOR THE WEEK ENDED 14th March 2009 

For the week ended 14/03/2009, the final wholesale price index for 'All Commodities’ (Base:1993-94=100) stood at 228.0 as compared to 227.0 (Provisional) and annual rate of inflation based on final index, calculated on point to point basis, stood at 0.71 percent as compared to 0.27 percent (Provisional) reported earlier

Special Economic Zones – Backgrounder

 The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Policy supported by SEZ Act 2005 and SEZ Rules 2006 intends to make SEZs an engine for economic growth supported by quality infrastructure complemented by an attractive fiscal package, both at the Centre and the State level, with the single window clearance mechanism. The process of globalization has enhanced the relevance of SEZs and SEZs have become an important component in the export led industrialization strategy, playing a crucial role in promoting the manufacturing sector, including enabling investment climate for SMEs and offer platform for attracting export-oriented FDI. The salient features of the SEZ scheme are: 

a) generation of additional economic activity

b) promotion of exports of goods and services

c) promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources

d) creation of employment opportunities

e) development of infrastructure facilities

2. In short span of about three years since SEZs Act and rules were notified in February, 2006, formal approvals have been granted for setting up of 568 SEZs out of which 315 have been notified. Out of the total employment provided to 3.87 lakh persons in SEZs as a whole, 2.53 lakh persons is incremental employment generated after February, 2006 when the SEZ Act has come into force. At least double this number obtain indirect employment outside the SEZ as a result of the operations of SEZ Units. This is in addition to the employment created by the developer for infrastructure activities. Physical exports from the SEZs have increased from Rs.66638 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.90416 crore in 2008-09, registering a growth of 36%. There has been overall growth of export of 552% over past five years (2003-04). These figures establish beyond doubt that the response to the SEZ policy of the Central Government has been overwhelming and the scheme has been able to achieve the envisaged objectives.  

3. A total of 91 SEZs are making exports. Out of this 43 are IT/ITES, 13 Multi product and 35 other sector specific SEZs. The total number of units in these SEZs is 2263.

4. The new generation SEZs have created a tremendous local area impact in terms of direct employment, emergence of new activities, changes in consumption pattern and social life, human development facilities (such as for education, healthcare) etc. SEZs generate demand for complementary services and goods and thus impact on other sectors. For instance, demand for packing materials, packaging industries, banking and related services, other ancillary and component industries will create spill over effects. The SEZ policy provides incentives to developers to build local infrastructure in the areas of power, water, roads and social infrastructure. SEZs help in build up local infrastructure and reduce the burden on urban areas.

5. Even during the current economic meltdown, SEZs have registered an impressive growth in export, investment and employment generation.

 Some success stories in SEZs

 Nokia Special Economic Zone in Tamil Nadu (Telecom equipments SEZ):

 Physical Exports of Rs.10385.3 crore effected in three years (2006-07 to 2008-09) 

 Direct employment provided to 14859 persons.  

 Investment of Rs.2225.47 crore has already been made in this SEZ, out of which FDI is Rs.833.51 crore.  

 Projected investment of Rs.2930 crore and projected direct employment of 20000 persons. 

Mahindra City SEZ, Tamil Nadu (Apparels and fashion accessories; IT/Hardware; auto ancillary):

 Physical Exports worth Rs.1524.56 effected in three years (2006-07 to 2008-09)  

 Direct employment provided to 9383 persons.  

 Investment of Rs.1372.5 crore has already been made in this SEZ, out of which FDI is Rs.187.63 crore. 

 Projected investment of Rs.2404.17 crore and projected direct employment of 56766 persons.

Apache SEZ (Adidas Group) in Andhra Pradesh (Footwear SEZ):

 Physical Exports worth Rs.172.03 crore was effected in three years (2006-07 to 2008-09)  

 Direct employment provided to 5342 persons, out of which 1453 are women employees.  

 Investment of Rs.227.15 crore has already been made in this SEZ, out of which FDI is Rs.16.77 crore.  

 Projected direct employment of 20000 persons.

Wipro Limited, Andhra Pradesh (IT SEZ):

 Physical Exports worth Rs.586 crore was effected in two years (2007-08 to 2008-09)  

 Direct employment provided to 4437 persons.  

 Investment of Rs.371.701 crore has already been invested in this SEZ.  

 Projected investment of Rs.223 crore and projected direct employment of 7000 persons.

Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone, Gujarat (Multi product SEZ):  

 Physical Exports worth Rs.768.44 crore was effected in two years (2007-08 to 2008-09)  

 Direct employment provided to 870 persons, out of which 10 are women employees.  

 Investment of Rs.5219.009 crore has already been made.  

 Projected investment of Rs.25545 crore and projected direct employment of 2, 08,869 persons.

Reliance Jamnagar Infrastructure Ltd., Gujarat (Multi Product):

 Physical Exports in 2008-09 was Rs.9882.28 crore. 

 Direct employment provided to 2385 persons.  

 Investment of Rs.32082 crore has already been invested in this SEZ.  

 Projected investment of Rs.36274 crore.

Govt. Employees take pledge on Anti-Terrorism


 
Anti Terrorism Day is being observed throughout the country today. Employees in Govt. offices, Public Sector Undertakings and other public institutions in the country took a pledge in connection with the Anti-Terrorism Day. The Union Home Minister Shri P.Chidambaram administered the oath to the officers and staff of the Ministry of Home Affairs in North Block lawns this morning. 

The Day is observed to generate awareness in the country among all sections of people, about the danger of terrorism, violence and its dangerous effect on the people, the society and the country as a whole. 

`The objective behind the observance of Anti-Terrorism Day is to wean away the youth from the terrorist/violence cult by highlighting the suffering of the common people and showing how it is prejudicial to the national interest. These objectives are aimed to be achieved by organizing debates/discussions in schools, colleges and universities; holding of symposia/seminars, lectures, etc. on the dangers of terrorism & violence and a determined and sustained drive to bring about a mass awakening against terrorism and violence.

April 2009 crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to worldsteel

Brussels, 20 May 2009 – World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 89 million metric tons (mmt) in April. This is 23.6% lower than in April 2008. 
China’s crude steel production for April 2009 was 43.4 mmt, -3.9% lower than April 2008. Japan produced 5.7 mmt of crude steel in April 2009, down by -43.6% compared to the same month last year. South Korea showed a decrease of -10.5% from April 2008, producing 4.1 mmt of crude steel in April 2009. 
In the EU, Germany’s crude steel was 1.9 mmt in April 2009, a decrease of -53.1% from April 2008. Spain produced 1.2 mmt of crude steel in April 2009, - 38.2% less than the same month last year. France showed a decrease of -50.5% from April 2008, producing 0.8 mmt in April 2009. 
 
The US produced 3.9 mmt of crude steel in April 2009, a decrease of -53.4% compared to the same month last year. Brazil produced 1.7 mmt of crude steel in April 2009, -40.4% lower than in April 2008. 
 
Turkey produced 2.0 mmt of crude steel in April 2009, -13.4% down from April 2008. 
 
Iran produced 0.9 mmt crude steel in April 2009, 3.2% more than in April 2008.
 
World crude steel production for the first four months of 2009 was 354 mmt, a -22.7% decrease over the same period of 2008. Asia produced 231 mmt of crude steel, a decline of -9.5% over the first four months of 2008. The EU produced 40 mmt of steel from January to April 2009, down by -44.2% compared to the same months of 2008. North America showed a -48.5% decline, producing 23.5 mmt during the first four months of 2009.
China produced 171 mmt of crude steel for the first four months of 2009, a slight increase of 0.1% while all the other major steel producing countries showed a decrease for the first four months of 2009. 

Small-Scale Carbon Sequestration Field Test Yields Significant Lessons Learned



Information from Ohio Project Will Aid Future Sequestration Efforts

Washington, D.C. —The Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, one of seven regional partnerships created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance carbon capture and storage technologies, has completed a preliminary geologic characterization and sequestration field test at FirstEnergy’s R. E. Burger Plant near Shadyside, Ohio. The project provided significant geologic understanding and "lessons learned" from a region of the Appalachian Basin with few existing deep well penetrations for geologic characterization.

The initial targets for the geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) at the site were the Oriskany and Clinton Sandstones at depths between 5,500 and 8,000 feet in the Appalachian Basin. This region is geologically complex and little is known about these formations, especially in the western portion of the basin. Since the nearest well penetrations are more than 20 miles away from the Burger injection well, any and all data collected from the region is useful in determining the suitability of potential field test locations for CO2 storage in the future.

Results of the formation evaluation indicated that the porosity, void space, and permeability of the target formations were lower than expected. The pressure in the formations also rose unexpectedly with very low injection rates. This does not mean that the entire western flank of the Appalachian Basin will show these same rock properties; instead, it confirms the complex nature of the formations within the basin. The work demonstrates the importance of extensive drilling, formation evaluation, and testing to characterize and identify appropriate formations for CO2 storage within the Appalachian Basin prior to injection.

Other lessons learned include the following:

Site Selection—Although the Burger site was determined not to be in the optimal location for CO2 storage from a geologic perspective, it was an excellent place to drill and test because of the extensive cooperation provided by FirstEnergy and the potential to co-locate the storage site with the plant. Data derived from rock property models and characterization information suggested that the site would have good geologic storage potential; however, the pressures necessary to inject CO2 into the target formations proved to be much higher than anticipated. Additional testing methods must be developed to provide more information about the character of geologic formations chosen for injection testing. Power plants in the Appalachian region may eventually need to transport CO2 relatively short distances to areas that have adequate storage formation characteristics. 

Design of Robust Formation Imaging, Evaluation, and Testing Program—Because of the geologic complexity of this region, a robust wire line logging, imaging, and testing program should be designed and implemented at every potential geologic storage site considered within the region. Stakeholder understanding of the type of data collected from the various logging and testing tools and its interpretation will benefit future siting decisions. This evaluation plan will decrease overall costs at future field test sites. If economically feasible, drilling a pilot hole prior to drilling the injection hole would be ideal to develop a robust logging, coring, and testing program. 

Formation Stimulation—As part of the project design process, project developers should request the ability to hydro-fracture the formation to create fractures that extend from a borehole into the targeted formation. This could provide a better injection rate into rocks that have moderate porosity and low effective permeability. 

Well Completion—Project developers should also consider plans to complete the well at the target formation. Given the low permeability and porosity that exist at some areas in the Appalachian Basin, care should be taken so that well drilling and construction operations do not reduce or eliminate the effective permeability that is naturally present. 

Communications—Continuous communications with all stakeholders, including those who are non-technical, is vital throughout the field testing process, especially at key decision points, including collection of data to allow informed decision-making. 

Ultimately, the goal of geologic sequestration field testing is to successfully demonstrate the viability of safely storing injected CO2 in geologic formations. To achieve this goal, DOE will continue to collect pertinent geologic information as part of its characterization phase within the Appalachian and other basins. Drilling deep wells into proposed injection zones, performing formation evaluations to understand their rock properties, and testing injection capability within the zones are all necessary to develop a clear understanding of the overall potential of geologic formations to store CO2.
As DOE and its partners continue to gain understanding and experience related to geologic carbon storage by extensive characterization and injection of CO2 at various sites across the United States and Canada, various best practices will be developed for undertaking sequestration projects. These best practices will provide guidance on site selection through monitoring of stored CO2 after injection and well closure. 

The Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership is managed by the Battelle Memorial Institute, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The characterization and test were sponsored by the DOE Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, with support from FirstEnergy, Praxair, and the Ohio Geological Survey

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

President appoints Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister


 

OATH-TAKING CEREMONY ON MAY 22


Having been chosen as the Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party, Dr. Manmohan Singh, accompanied by Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, Congress Parliamentary Party and the UPA called on the President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil at 5.00 p.m. today at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Staking claim to form the Government, they also handed over to the President letters of support extended to them by various political parties and others. 

The President having satisfied herself, on the basis of various letters of support received, that the Congress-led UPA alliance, which is also the largest pre-election alliance, is in a position to command majority support of the newly constituted 15th Lok Sabha and to form a stable Government, appointed Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister and requested him to indicate the members of the new Council of Ministers. 

The President will administer Oaths of Office and Secrecy on Friday, 22nd May, 2009 at a mutually convenient time which will be decided soon.

Anti-Terrorism Day to be observed tomorrow

  
Anti Terrorism Day will be observed throughout the country tomorrow. It was on this day in 1991 that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi fell to the designs of terrorists. 

The Day is observed to generate awareness in the country among all sections of people, about the danger of terrorism, violence and its dangerous effect on the people, the society and the country as a whole. 

The objective behind the observance of Anti-Terrorism Day is to wean away the youth from the terrorist/violence cult by highlighting the suffering of the common people and showing how it is prejudicial to the national interest. These objectives are aimed to be achieved by organizing debates/discussions in schools, colleges and universities; holding of symposia/seminars, lectures, etc. on the dangers of terrorism & violence and a determined and sustained drive to bring about a mass awakening against terrorism and violence. 

Voluntary organizations, social and cultural bodies organize their own programmes through lectures, talks, discussions, musical and recitation programmes and cultural functions, etc. Mass education programmes are held to highlight the ill effects of violence and terrorism. Anti-terrorism/anti-violence pledge will be taken in all Government offices, public sector undertakings and other public institutions.

China’s Urgent Crackdown on Backward Steel Capacity: Can It Replace Market?

China Ministry of Industry & IT issued on May 14, 2009 an urgent notification to require local governments to curb the excessive growth in crude steel output. It’s the first time for the ministry to announce such a notification since its establishment in 2008. The statement described Chinese steel industry with a series of contradictions and problems, like severe overproduction of crude steel, high ratio of backward capacity, blind resumption of normal production, excessive pileups of imported iron ore.
According to the official document, given that downstream sectors have not resumed fully, Chinese steel industry must put overall-output-control as a priority, should firmly curb excessive growth in crude steel output, should shut down those ironmaking, steelmaking, steelrolling production lines in the elimination list, commercial banks should cut or even halt loans to steelmakers with blind expansion plans. The notification also required to strictly implement differential power rates to eliminate backward capacity. The backward capacity elimination has been a long-discussed topic in China. However, can the Ministry of Industry & IT fulfill its goal via publishing such an urgent notification? It’s hard, said Liu Hanmin, vice directory of China Metallurgical Industrial Economic Development & Research Institute. “The purpose is hard to be realized via sending commands and assigning quotas to local governments.” An enterprise, as long as it’s legal, harmless to the society, has the rights to exist, according to market economic rules. The role for a government to play is to create fair competition environment for enterprises by perfecting rules and laws. In the first two months of 2009, China’s steel production began a new round of resumption in not only small mills, but also those giants. Some state-owned steelmakers realized that if the production limits continue, they will lag behind those private ones. Buoyed by the RMB4 trillion stimulus package, demand for steel products resumes modestly in China, and steel stocks also increase. “The urgent notification indicates central government’s attitude”.
A government should ensure that an enterprise is legal and harmless to the society. For instance, the pollutant emission and product quality should meet state standards, working environment should follow China Labor law.
“The enterprises that meet above conditions and shoulder their responsibility have the rights to exist. as for the technology and capacity, it’s an enterprise’ own business,” said Liu. China did not implement pollutant emission standards, but define new capacity standard for steel mills. It’s not a solution to eliminate backward capacity via administrative means. Local government and industrial associations are hard to limit production. In order to “secure growth”, some governments even required mills not to limit production. Most members of steel industry associations are those big steelmakers. Once they limit normal production, the industry may repeat the same mistake occurred around 2000, “limit big steelmakers, free small mills”. Furthermore, as high quality assets of banks, private steel mills in China do have competitive edge compared with those giants. So banks are also hard to follow loan limitations. The key role for governments to play is creating fair competition atmosphere for enterprises. State-owned steelmakers should vie with private mills by enhancing their own competitive edge. “Although standing in front ranking among Chinese state-owned enterprises, Baosteel decided to squeeze 30% of its management expenditure to fight against global financial crisis. This move shows that there remains huge room for the rest to promote management efficiency.” Liu also pointed out that private mills have a much higher labor production rate compared with state-owned ones. Without government direct interference, Chinese private mills might not be eliminated by market. The private mills in China are very likely to surpass state-owned ones in next five to ten years.
(My Steel, China)


Indium Corporation’s Dr. Lee Recognized by Two Industry Organizations



Indium Corporation’s Vice President of Technology, Dr. Ning-Cheng Lee, was recognized recently by two highly respected industry organizations as both a Distinguished Author and Distinguished Lecturer. 
 
SMTA International Technical Committee has selected Dr. Lee as a Distinguished Author. Dr. Lee was selected from authors of exceptional papers and “Best of Conference” award recipients from past events. He was selected for this honor as part of the SMTA’s 25th Anniversary celebration. 
 
In addition, the IEEE’s Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology Society (CPMT) approved Dr. Lee to be a CPMT Distinguished Lecturer. According to Albert F. Puttlitz, Ph.D., Director, CPMT Distinguished Lecture Program, Dr. Lee was nominated and endorsed by several colleagues from the industry. Upon becoming a CPMT Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Lee joins a group of key technologists who serve as speakers for CPMT sponsored events. 
 
The Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) is an international network of professionals who build skills, share practical experience, and develop solutions in electronic assembly technologies, including microsystems, emerging technologies, and related business operations. 
 
The IEEE’s Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology (CPMT) Society is the leading international forum for scientists and engineers engaged in the research, design, and development of revolutionary advances in microsystems packaging and manufacture.
 
Dr. Lee is a world-renown soldering expert and an SMTA Member of Distinction. He has extensive experience in the development of high-temperature polymers, encapsulants for microelectronics, underfills, and adhesives. His current research interests cover advanced materials for interconnects and packaging for electronics and optoelectronics applications, with emphasis on both high performance and low cost of ownership.  
 
Indium Corporation is a premiere materials supplier to the global electronics assembly, semiconductor fabrication and packaging, solar photovoltaic, and thermal management markets. Founded in 1934, the company offers a broad range of products, services, and technical support focused on advanced materials science. With facilities in the PRC, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the USA, the company is a four-time Frost & Sullivan Award winner and registered to ISO-9001.

This Week's Raw Steel Production



In the week ending May 16, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,060,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 44.4 percent. Production was 2,173,000 tons in the week ending May 16, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 91.1 percent. The current week production represents a 51.3 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 16, 2009 is up 3.7 percent from the previous week ending May 9, 2009 when production was 1,023,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 42.9 percent. 
Adjusted year-to-date production through May 16,2009 was 19,765,000 tons, at a capability utilization rate of 42.6 percent. That is a 52.9 percent decrease from the 41,951,000 tons during the same period last year, when the capability utilization rate was 90.6 percent.

Broken down by districts, here's production for the week ending May 16, 2009 in thousands of net tons: Northeast Coast: 98; Pittsburgh/Youngstown: 92; Lake Erie: 10; Detroit: 41; Indiana/Chicago: 301; Midwest: 111; Southern: 353 and Western: 54.

(Estimate based on reports from companies representing about 50% of the Industry's Raw Steel Capability + includes revisions for previous months)


IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn Urges Further Action to Counter Effects of Global Crisis in Africa




May 19, 2009 

In a speech today to African ambassadors in Washington DC, Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), urged further action by African countries, as well as the international community, to combat the effects of the global economic and financial crisis.

In particular Mr. Strauss-Kahn emphasized the human dimensions of the crisis. “All countries should give priority to strengthening well-targeted social safety nets, or at least shielding them from cuts—this is vital to protect the most vulnerable from the ravages of the crisis,” he said.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn said the vulnerability of populations in Africa meant the stakes in tackling the crisis were higher there than elsewhere. African governments should use fiscal stimulus and monetary and exchange rate policies where possible to offset the effects of the crisis and prevent it from increasing poverty. Development partners must also show a deeper commitment to donor aid to help support the continent’s policy actions, he said.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn noted World Bank research indicating that almost 50 million people could be pushed below the $2-a-day poverty line this year if financing needs were not met. “As many as 3 million additional children may die between now and 2015 if the crisis persists. We cannot allow this to happen,” he said.

The Managing Director called on Africa’s development partners to fulfill the commitments made at the Gleneagles summit to increase assistance to the continent, and said countering protectionism and further opening up markets to African products was “critically important.” The IMF plans an additional $6 billion in concessional lending over the next two to three years after world leaders pledged to double the Fund’s capacity for concessional lending, but Mr. Strauss-Kahn said even more needed to be done.

“Marshaling resources is essential, but it is not enough. IMF financing must also become more flexible, better tailoring our lending programs to the needs of our membership,” he said. “Already, we have doubled all loan access limits, including for low-income countries, to give confidence to countries that we can meet their needs. Our revamped Exogenous Shocks Facility allows us to respond rapidly to countries with large upfront disbursements if necessary. And we are in the process of modifying our concessional lending facilities to further enhance their flexibility and usefulness.”

The terms of IMF financial support is being streamlined and tailored to be more attuned to individual low-income countries, he said. Fiscal targets had been loosened in around 80 percent of African countries with an active Fund lending program, giving them more breathing space to adjust to the crisis, while the Fund was re-examining its policies on public debt limits to make them more flexible, he added.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn is due to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire between May 23 and 28 to discuss with policy makers and other leaders in those countries how the IMF can help Africa respond to the current crisis.

“When it comes to assisting Africa, the IMF does not stand alone, cannot stand alone. To help countries weather this crisis, all development partners need to follow through with their commitments,” Mr. Strauss-Kahn underscored.

IMF Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa Highlights Impact of Global Financial Crisis




May 19, 2009 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) today warned that the economies of sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing a severe downturn and called for a strong public policy response to limit the impact on the region’s poorest while preserving macro-economic gains. The IMF's latest Regional Economic (REO) projects growth in sub-Saharan Africa at 1½ percent in 2009, or well below trend, before recovering to just under 4 percent in 2010, which is still below pre-crisis levels.

Mr. Mark Plant. Deputy Director of the IMF's African Department, commented on the report's main findings in Lagos today:

“These are difficult times for sub-Saharan Africa. Growth prospects have deteriorated markedly. Fiscal and external positions are now expected to weaken substantially through 2010. The credit crunch in advanced economies has led portfolio flows to reverse or slow, deterred foreign investment, and made trade finance more costly. Remittances flows may be weakening. Credit risk and nonperforming assets are likely to increase and weaken the balance sheets of financial institutions and corporations. Demand for African exports has fallen and prices for most commodities have declined. Oil and other commodity exporters will be particularly hard hit.

“Nigeria, one of the region’s main oil producers, has been severely hit. The report projects a growth of 2.9 percent for Nigeria in 2009 and 2.6 percent in 2010, a major decline from last year’s 5.3 percent rate of growth. A key factor is lower than anticipated oil production. Growth in the non-oil sector is projected to be somewhat higher at 4 percent in 2009. The decline in oil prices, drying up of global capital flows, and slowing credit to the private sector are some of the reasons for the decline in growth.

“Against this background, the priority for all sub-Saharan African countries must be to contain the adverse impact of the crisis on growth and poverty, while preserving the hard-won gains of recent years, including macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability. This is best accomplished in Nigeria and elsewhere by utilizing available fiscal space and enabling adequate exchange rate flexibility to cushion the adjustment and provide incentives for recovery of investment.

“Africa will need additional financial resources in that it needs at least the doubling of the aid promised by the G-8 Heads of State at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005. Without additional donor support, poverty reduction and economic development in Africa could be set back by several years and political stability might even be endangered in some countries. The IMF is doing its part to support Africa. We are revising our lending instruments to make them more flexible and we have doubled the access to concessional resources for low income countries. We also continue to provide policy advice and extensive technical assistance to strengthen economic policymaking in these countries,” Mr. Plant underscored.

Mechel Announces the Launch of the New Welded Mesh Production Line in Moscow Region



 


Moscow, Russia – May 18, 2009 – Mechel OAO (NYSE: MTL), one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies, announces the launch of welded mesh production by its Mechel Service OOO service and sales subsidiary in Moscow Region.

In the beginning of May 2009, Mechel Service has commissioned an automated line to manufacture welded meshes in the Town of Vidnoye, Moscow Region. The production was set up on the territory of a reconstructed workshop of Mechel’s Moscow Coke and Gas Plant OAO. The procedure of certification of the product has already been completed thus enabling Mechel Service OOO to supply the product to the market immediately.

Mechel Service’s project of welded mesh production in Moscow Region has been launched in line with Mechel Service’s the program of expansion and development of its production and warehouse network in the regions of its presence. The new equipment comprises an automated line designed to manufacture meshes with the mesh cell size from 50 mm to 300 mm. The size of the finished products may vary from 250 mm х 1,200 mm to 2,400 mm х 6,000 mm. VR-1 grade wire and cold deformed rebars of 2.8 mm -8.0 mm diameter produced at Mechel OAO’s subsidiaries will be used as feedstock. The line production capacity is up to 1,200 tonnes per month depending on the feedstock characteristics and required size of finished products.

Commissioning of Mechel Service’s mesh production will enable the company to expand its mix of marketable metal products and reach a new level of quality in servicing its end consumers. Construction companies of Moscow and Moscow Region will be the main off-takers of the welded meshes. High quality of products manufactured by Mechel Service is confirmed by the Certificate of Mosstroycertification, the Moscow system of voluntary certification in construction industry.


Mechel is one of the leading Russian companies. Its business includes four segments: mining, steel, ferroalloy and power. Mechel unites producers of coal, iron ore concentrate, nickel, steel, ferrochrome, ferrosilicon, rolled products, hardware, heat and electric power. Mechel products are marketed domestically and internationally.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wajahat Khan Sarod Recital:



Indian Ragas on Sarod with tabla and tanpura: Reflections

London Sinfonietta
David Murphy Conductor
Stephanie Marshall Mezzo
Daniel Norman Tenor
Michael George Bass
Wajahat Khan Sarod 

Based on an episode from the Mahabharata, Holst's haunting chamber opera, tells a simple and timeless Indian tale in a style influenced by English folk-song and given universal significance. 

Savitri is coupled with a performance by India's celebrated master sarod virtuoso Wajahat Khan. This would offer reflections to a Western opera from an Indian perspective. Wajahat Khan's performances are renowned as unforgettable experiences of great depth and musicianship of the highest level, which along with his acclaimed world-music collaborations, have catapulted him to be amongst the most sought-after musicians of India today. 

‘One of the quiet masterpieces of British music, arguably the most successful of all attempts to bring the culture of the East into the Western musical tradition.' The Guardian 



Labour Bureau Report on Effect of Economic Slowdown on Employment in India (January to March, 2009) – Summary findings

As entrusted by Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Labour Bureau conducted a second quick survey to assess the impact of economic slowdown on employment in India for the quarter January to March, 2009. 

The highlights of the survey are as follows:

v A sample different from that for October – December 2008 was drawn on the basis of latest Annual Survey of Industries sampling frame for 2007-08 in the case of manufacturing sector i.e. textiles, leather, metals, automobiles and gems and jewellery. For IT/BPO sector, the frame has been collected from the Software Technological Parks of India (STPI). However in the absence of any sampling frame, the transport sector units located at selected centres were covered. In the case of handloom/power-loom sector, the list of units located at selected centres was obtained from the respective State industry departments.

v A sample of 3192 units pertaining to Textiles and Apparel, Metals, Gems and Jewellery, Automobile, Transport and IT/BPO; and by extending the coverage to Leather and Handloom/Power-loom Sectors was drawn for conducting the survey.

v Both the earlier survey of 2581 units and this sample indicate that in the quarter October – December 2008, there was more or less same rate of decline in employment i.e. around one percent confirming the representativeness of the samples. The earlier findings are thus validated in the second survey.

v The sample has been drawn from 21 centres in 10 states of Haryana (Panipat, Faridabad and Gurgaon), Uttar Pradesh (Noida, Kanpur and Agra); Tamil Nadu (Chennai, Coimbatore/Tiruppur and Erode), Punjab (Ludhiana and Jalandhar); West Bengal (Kolkata and Howrah), Gujarat (Ahmedabad and Surat), Maharashtra (Mumbai and Pune) besides Delhi, Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad); Karnataka (Bangalore) and Union Territory of Chandigarh. 

v Two stage stratified sampling has been adopted for sample selection in this study.

Ø The first stage units are the districts/centres, which have been selected using purposive sampling keeping in view the concentration of establishments belonging to the sectors covered in the survey.

Ø The establishments as being the second stage units are selected using circular systematic sampling with random start after arranging the units in decreasing order of employment. The selection of first establishment and the establishments falling at regular intervals, which is worked out on the basis of total number of establishments in the sampling frame so arranged divided by the number of sample units determines the whole sample of the establishments to be covered under the survey.  

v The sample from each of the selected States was drawn in proportion of units in the sampling frame from these sectors. The numbers of schedules (establishments) covered were the highest at 1224 units for textiles including apparel followed by 889 schedules in metals and metal products, 278 schedules in IT/BPO, 240 Gems and Jewellery, 182 schedules in Leather, 160 schedules in Automobiles, 131 schedules in Handloom/Power-loom and 88 schedules in Transportation.

The analysis of employment trends as submitted in the second quarterly report by Labour Bureau is summarized as below:-

v During the quarter October-December, 2008 quarter, about half a million workers were assessed to have lost their jobs in these sectors. However, employment in selected sectors during the quarter January to March, 2009 is estimated to have increased by about a quarter million to 15.72 million. The employment in the selected sectors during March, 2009 still remains lower than employment in September, 2008, when the employment figure was 16.2 million.

v Total estimated employment in the sectors covered has increased by 0.6% during January-March, 2009 period. Non-exporting units have shown higher rate (0.92%) of increase in employment as compared to exporting units (0.28%).

v Sectors registering increase in employment during January-March, 2009 period are Gems & Jewellery (3.08%), Textiles (0.96%), IT/BPO (0.82%), Handloom/Power-loom (0.28%) and Automobiles (0.10%).

v Decline in employment during January-March, 2009 has been observed in Leather (2.76%), followed by Metals (0.56%) and Transport (0.36%).

v The increase in employment of direct workers has been observed to be 0.68% during January-March, 2009 in comparison to decline of 0.63% during October-December, 2008.

v During the course of the survey, data has also been collected to analyse impact on contractual workers. The employment of contract workers at overall level has remained unchanged during January-March, 2009 quarter, whereas the decline in contract workers was observed to be 3.88% during October-December, 2008.

v In view of the contracting and sub contracting of workers in the construction sector and as also non availability of any sampling frame, the impact on employment in the construction sector could not be assessed. Thus the construction sector requires a special study as during both the surveys undertaken by Labour Bureau, difficulties were experienced in the collection of data. The option of resorting to estimates based on employment elasticity to growth is a theoretical option, which would not yield the real picture.