Thursday, June 30, 2011

Latest Storage Position of Important Reservoirs in the Country

Central Water commission is monitoring storage position of 81 important reservoirs spread all over the country, of which as many as 36 reservoirs are having significant hydro-power benefits with installed capacities of more than 60MW each. The combined live storage in these 81 reservoirs at the beginning of monsoon i.e. 1.6.2011 was 24% of their designed capacity and stood at 27% of designed capacity as on today. The present storage is 202% of last year’s storage and 180% of last 10 years average storage during the same period. Out of these 81 reservoirs there are presently 15 reservoirs where this year’s storage is less than 80% of the average of previous 10 years and in remaining 66 reservoirs the storage is more than 80% of the average of previous 10 years. In order to derive the best possible benefits from the available water, Central Water Commission is keeping in touch with the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation and providing information of the weekly storage position to the Crop Weather Watch Group for evolving suitable crop strategies and also appraising the situation to various Departments and Ministries involved in Water Resources Planning.

Basin wise storage position as on today as follows:

• Storage position in Indus, Ganga, Mahanadi & Neighboring EFRs, Narmada, Tapi, Rivers of Kutch, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery & neighboring EFRs and West Flowing Rivers of south basins is better than average of previous 10 years; and

• Storage position in Mahi and Sabarmati basin is deficient from average of previous 10 years.

Out of 36 reservoirs with significant hydro potential, 7 reservoirs have storage build up less than the average of last 10 years.

Index of Eight Core Industries (Base: 2004-05=100) MAY 2011

The Index of Eight core industries having a combined weight of 37.90 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 2004-05 stood at 142.45 in May 2011 and registered a growth of 5.3% compared to 7.4% registered in May 2010. During April-May 2011-12, eight core industries registered a growth of 4.9% as against 7.9% during the corresponding period of the previous year 2010-11.


Coal production (weight of 4.38% in the IIP) registered a growth of 1.1% in May 2011 compared to growth of 0.3% in May 2010. Coal production grew by 1.9% during April-May 2011-12 compared to an increase of (-) 1.3% during the same period of 2010-11.

Crude Oil

Crude Oil production (weight of 5.22% in the IIP) registered a growth of 9.7 % in May 2011 compared to a growth of 5.8% in May 2010. The Crude Oil production registered a growth of 10.3% during April-May 2011-12 compared to 5.5% during the same period of 2010-11.

Natural Gas

Natural Gas production (weight of 1.71% in the IIP) registered a growth of (-) 9.6% in May 2011 compared to growth of 34.4% in May 2010. The Natural Gas production registered a growth of (-) 9.5% during April-May 2011-12 compared to 43.5% during the same period of 2010-11.

Petroleum Refinery Products

Petroleum refinery production (weight of 5.94% in the IIP) registered a growth of 4.5% in May 2011 compared to growth of 7.7% in May 2010. The Petroleum refinery production registered a growth of 5.6% during April-May 2011-12 compared to (-) 6.5% during the same period of 2010-11.


Fertilizer production (weight of 1.25% in the IIP) registered a growth of 7.3% in May 2011 compared to (-) 6.7% in May 2010.Fertilizer production grew by 4.6% during April-May 2011-12 compared to an increase of 1.9% during the same period of 2010-11.


Steel production (weight of 6.68% in the IIP) registered a growth of 6.1% in May 2011 compared to 9.0% in May 2010. Steel production grew by 5.5% during April-May 2011-12 compared to an increase of 10.9% during the same period of 2010-11.


Cement production (weight of 2.41% in the IIP) registered a growth of (-) 2.3% in May 2011 compared to 8.6% in May 2010. Cement Production grew by (-) 1.7% during April-May 2011-12 compared to an increase of 8.7% during the same period of 2010-11.


Electricity generation (weight of 10.32% in the IIP) registered a growth of 10.3% in May 2011 compared to a growth of 6.4% in May 2010. Electricity generation grew by 8.4% during April-May 2011-12 compared to 6.7% during the same period of 2010-11.

Indian Institute of Job Training partners with NSDC 

IIJT to train 1.8 million youth in the next 10 Years

· NSDC to provide a soft loan of INR 62 Cr. to IIJT
· Technology based training in place for sourcing, training, assessment and monitoring
· Leveraging on the strengths of TeamLease for placements

New Delhi, June 30, 2011: Indian Institute of Job Training (IIJT), a subsidiary of TeamLease Services, India’s largest staffing company, has received a soft loan of INR 62 Cr for setting up 1349 multi-skill development centers across the country from the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a public-private partnership company set up under the aegis of Ministry of Finance.
The centers would be built with advanced technology-based programmes in place for sourcing, training, assessment, monitoring, training the trainers, certification and employment across seven key sectors.
The aim of the tie-up is to skill 1.8 million unemployed school dropouts and college graduates in the next ten years across cities. IIJT will set up 209 centers in Tier I, 312 in TIER II, 311 in TIER III, 222 in TIER IV and 295 in TIER V cities. This is part of the Government’s overall target to train 500 million people by 2022 to meet the global skills shortage.
This announcement was made in the presence of Mr. Dilip Chenoy, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of NSDC, Mr. Ashok Reddy, Managing Director - Indian Institute of Job Training, and Ms. Neeti Sharma, Vice President – IIJT, at the NSDC’s Delhi office.
“We are pleased to partner with IIJT to achieve our target of training 150 million youth by 2022. This partnership will definitely be a boon to the vocational training sector, given IIJT’s extensive network of 250 centres in close to 100 cities,” commented Mr. Dilip Chenoy, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NSDC.
According to Mr. Ashok Reddy, Managing Director& Co-founder, IIJT “The high school dropout rate still stands at 56 percent, making it mandatory for the vocational training sector to strengthen its outreach and provide the right skills to the youth.”
Ms. Neeti Sharma, Vice President – IIJT, further, added, “The target beneficiaries for the training, re-skilling and up-skilling will be identified from TIER I to TIER V locations, they would be provided vocational skills and employment basis the job seeker’s and industry requirements”
IIJT follows the 4C methodology for providing training into four domains namely – IT, Finance, Retail and Job Skills. The 4C methodology includes an industry relevant curriculum developed with regular inputs from TeamLease National Employment Framework (TNEF) with experience across 1200 clients. The Instructor lead classroom training, Satellite delivered training, web based learning and on the-job-training integrated within 4C methodology. IIJT has trained around 23, 768 trainees in the past 4 years pan India and has a placement track record of 82%. Its strategic partnership with TeamLease adds added strengths to its placement capacities.
About TeamLease
TeamLease Services (TeamLease™) is India's largest staffing solutions company and has been spearheading the Temporary Staffing revolution in India for more than seven years now. In this short span of time, TeamLease has deployed more than half a million candidates, and in doing so, it has emerged as one of India's largest private sector employers. The company currently has over 75,000 employees on its rolls, in over 700 locations across the country, working for more than 1,200 clients. In a recent acquisition, Teamlease has acquired a substantial majority stake in the Indian Institute of Job Training (IIJT).
About IIJT
Indian Institute of Job Training [IIJT] is one of India’s largest and leading vocational training providers with a capacity of over 1 lakh concurrent students in courses. Started in 2006, IIJT is the fastest growing educational brand in the country with over 250 centers across the country. IIJT offers short term and long term courses in the areas of Finance, Information Technology, Retail and Sales & Marketing. The Teamlease and IIJT strategic alliance aims to help bridge the employability gap and support the industry’s demand for skilled manpower.
About National Skill Development Corporation
The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a one of its kind, Public Private Partnership in India. It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions. It provides viability gap funding to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives. Its mandate is also to enable support systems such as quality assurance, information systems and train the trainer academies either directly or through partnerships.

Sir. Ganesan Natarajan 
WT Director, President & C.E.O.,
Ennore Coke Limited (An ISO 9001:2008 Company)
The steel industry is ambling towards its natural habitat in the eastern parts of India. Access to raw materials, skilled manpower, a rich legacy of steel making, excellent smithy's, nearness to ports ... The reasons for this shift are known to all.
It is also a well known fact that a substantial portion of the steel that India will produce in the future will be through the blast furnace route - a process that requires metallurgical coke, the only ingredient that we do not have in abundance and are dependent on imports. The most astonishing fact is that while the steel making facilities are moving eastwards, most of India's Merchant Coke producers are located in the western coast, for whom the logistics simply will not work out.
Under the circumstances, there remains a huge scope for the development of the coke industry in the east, something that the new Government should take up in earnest if we are to put west Bengal on the resurgence mode and ride this impending steel boom to economic prosperity. West Bengal is ideally situated when we consider the fact that most of the raw coal imports for coke making are from Australia which will accord a special freight advantage because of our location over the western coast.
Finally, such a move will also ensure that the scattered and fragmented coke makers come together to form an alliance so that we may collectively have better bargaining powers with the suppliers, built roughly on the model of the Japanese Steel Alliance which plays a crucial role in determining global prices of the commodity.
West Bengal is now poised to keep her tryst with her economic destiny and it is our privilege to be here at this important juncture. The Merchant Coke Industry wishes to congratulate the government for its transparent and proactive role and let it be known that we are ready to dour bit for the resurgence of the state.

Union Finance Minister Conveys his Felicitations to Ms. Chritine Lagaarde on Her Selection as Managing Director of International Monetary Fund 

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee has conveyed his felicitations and good wishes to French Finance Minister Ms. Christine Lagaarde on her selection by consensus as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In a letter to French Finance Minister Ms. Lagaarde, the Union Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that this reflects the high regard in which she is being held by the different countries of the world at large. Shri Mukherjee said that there is expectation that, under her leadership, the IMF will deal effectively and fairly with the serious challenges which confront the global economy. He said that a robust and sustained global economic recovery is a priority for all of us, as is the task of carrying forward the process of reform to ensure that emerging economies have a greater voice in the decision making processes of the IMF. Shri Mukherjee said that the Government of India looks forward to working closely with her in her new assignment.

India -US Financial and Economic Partnership give an Impetus to Rapidly Expanding Financial and Economic Engagement Between Two Countries: FM

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that the India-US Financial and Economic Partnership which was launched last year in New Delhi, has succeeded in giving an impetus to the rapidly expanding financial and economic engagement between our two countries. The Finance Minister said that meaningful exchange of views have since then taken place at sub-cabinet level and through working group meetings. He said that it has resulted in better understanding of each other’s economic policies and mutual appreciation of our respective positions in many international economic fora, including at the G-20.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee was addressing the Second Meeting of India-US Financial and Economic Partnership in Washington D.C .yesterday. Shri Mukherjee was leading the Indian delegation which included among others Dr Subbarao, Governor, RBI, Shri R.Gopalan, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Shri Shashi Kant Sharma, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Dr Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Adviser, Shri Subhir Gokaran, Deputy Governor, RBI, Shri B.C.Khatua, Chairman, Forward Market Commission and Ms Meera Shankar, Indian Ambassdor to USA.

The US delegation on the other hand was led by Mr Timothy Geithner, Secretary,US Department of Treasury and included among others Mr Ben S Bernanke, Chairman, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, Mr Austan Goolsbee, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers to the President of US, Ms Mary L Schapiro, Chairman, US Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Gary Genseles, Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Mr Martin J Gruenberg, Vice Chairman, FDIC Board of Directors and Mr Nathan Sheets, Director, Division of International Finance among others.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that our partnership is based on common values and interests, a shared vision of the world, and the deep-rooted ties of friendship among our people. Shri Mukherjee said that as the world’s largest democracies and the leading market economies, we are committed to promoting freedom in our societies, which have strong tradition of nursing pluralism and tolerance. He said that this makes our relationship unique and casts upon us the responsibility to define and influence the developments that would help shape the 21st century. Shri Mukherjee said that indeed, US President Obama has characterized the India-US relationship as one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that we have continued to deepen and expand our strategic partnership as outlined by US President Obama and our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. He said that President Obama’s last year’s visit to India has resulted in a number of important strategic outcomes that have seen progress in implementation. Shri Mukherjee said that the US has eased controls on high-technology exports for sectors like defence and space. He said that we also appreciate the intention of the United States to support India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes. The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that there has been progress on a number of bilateral agreements in the areas of science, technology and innovation, and clean energy research. He said that we have also taken concrete steps in developing joint projects for food security and agriculture in African countries.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that our economic relations are also rapidly growing. He said that bilateral trade grew by 30 per cent in 2010 beside investments in each other’s economies continue to expand. The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that the engagement of people and enterprises of the two countries remains the cornerstone of our relationship.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that India as one of the world’s fastest growing economies and the United States, the world’s largest economy, are committed to achieve a high growth global economy that is both stable and sustainable. Shri Mukherjee said that through our bilateral engagements and by working together in multilateral fora like the G-20, both the countries can expand economic opportunities and prosperity worldwide.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that the Indian Government attaches high importance to the India-US strategic partnership, both in the pursuit of India’s national development goals and for advancing global peace, stability and progress. Shri Mukherjee said that we are committed to deepening our strategic partnership and enhancing dialogue and cooperation in various facets of our economic relationship.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that we have a rich and varied agenda for discussions before us for this second meeting and is looking forward to have a very productive and comprehensive exchange of views on issues that have been identified.

The text of the Opening Statement made by the Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion is given below:

“It is a great pleasure to be here for the second meeting of the India-US Financial and Economic Partnership. I am happy that the Partnership, which we launched last year in New Delhi, has succeeded in giving an impetus to the rapidly expanding financial and economic engagement between our two countries. Meaningful exchange of views have since then taken place at sub-cabinet level and through working group meetings. It has resulted in better understanding of each other’s economic policies, and mutual appreciation of our respective positions in many international economic fora, including at the G-20.

Our partnership is based on common values and interests, a shared vision of the world, and the deep-rooted ties of friendship among our people. As the world’s largest democracies and the leading market economies, we are committed to promoting freedom in our societies, which have strong tradition of nursing pluralism and tolerance. This makes our relationship unique and casts upon us the responsibility to define and influence the developments that would help shape the 21st century. Indeed, President Obama has characterized the India-US relationship as one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.


We have continued to deepen and expand our strategic partnership as outlined by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh. President Obama’s visit has resulted in a number of important strategic outcomes that have seen progress in implementation. The US has eased controls on high-technology exports for sectors like defence and space. We also appreciate the intention of the United States to support India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes. There has been progress on a number of bilateral agreements in the areas of science, technology and innovation, and clean energy research. We have also taken concrete steps in developing joint projects for food security and agriculture in African countries.

Our economic relations are also rapidly growing. Bilateral trade grew by 30 per cent in 2010. Investments in each other’s economies continue to expand. The engagement of people and enterprises of the two countries remains the cornerstone of our relationship.

India as one of the world’s fastest growing economies and the United States, the world’s largest economy, are committed to achieving a high growth global economy that is both stable and sustainable. Through our bilateral engagements and by working together in multilateral fora like the G-20, we can expand economic opportunities and prosperity worldwide.

The Indian Government attaches high importance to the India-US strategic partnership, both in the pursuit of India’s national development goals and for advancing global peace, stability and progress. We are committed to deepening our strategic partnership and enhancing dialogue and cooperation in various facets of our economic relationship.

We have a rich and varied agenda for discussions before us today. I am looking forward to having a very productive and comprehensive exchange of views on issues that have been identified.”

India and USA to Work together to Expand their trade and Investment Links; to Furhter Develop and Strengthen their Financial Systems : Joint Statement made at the Second Ministerial meeting of the U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership in Washington D.C .

India and the United States will work together to expand trade and investment links between their economies, and will further develop and strengthen their financial systems. India and the United States will also work together in the G-20 on an effective mutual assessment process to bring about strong, sustained, and balanced global growth. This was stated in a joint statement issued at the end of day long deliberations at the Second Cabinet level meeting of the U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership in Washington, D.C yesterday. The first meeting of the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership was held last year in April,2010 in.Delhi. The joint statement signed by both U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Mr Timothy Geithner and Indian Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee was issued at the end of second ministerial level meeting of the U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership in Washington, D.C yesterday.The joint statement said that the United States is committed to making the investments in technology, skills and infrastructure necessary to maintain and enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. It said that India intends to take steps to marshall private and public saving to meet the infrastructure needs of a rapidly growing Indian economy. Both the countries agreed to work together to expand trade and investment links between two economies and to develop and strengthen their financial systems. In the meeting, India and U.S. discussed the challenges that both economies faced in ensuring a strong recovery and price stability in the short term, as well as the range of policies necessary to reach growth at our full potential domestically.

According to the joint statement, the two sides agreed to a robust roadmap for the coming year that included deeper engagement in the following areas within each pillar of the Partnership :

• Macroeconomic challenges, including growth, unemployment, inflation, global liquidity, commodity prices, international capital flows and fiscal consolidation.

• Financial sector reforms, including deepening of capital markets, financial inclusion, and ensuring the stability, transparency, and integrity of the financial system.

• Infrastructure finance, including innovative strategies to mobilize capital for infrastructure development, and sharing best practices and building capacity for design and successful execution of Public Private Partnerships.

The statement said that since the April 2010 launch in Delhi, India-US Partnership had led to deeper institutional relationships and exchanges between U.S. and Indian economic and financial sector regulators – both of which had proven critical to technical cooperation, capacity building, and the removal of impediments to realizing our relationship’s full economic potential.

Building on the success of the first year of the Partnership, India and U.S. decided to continue to strengthen our economic and financial partnership in order to realize the full economic and strategic potential of the U.S.-India partnership to achieve maximum benefits for Americans and Indians.

As per the joint statement, the U.S.-India relationship offered enormous economic opportunities for Americans and Indians alike. Through stronger collaboration and coordination amongst their economic and financial policymakers, this Partnership had sought to deepen U.S.-India bilateral and multilateral engagement in order to fully capitalize on the wealth of economic opportunities between the two nations .It said that the U.S.-India economic relationship had made significant progress in recent years . Over the past decade, trade and investment between the two countries had expanded across a variety of industries and sectors. Between 2000 and 2010, Indian exports to the United States had grown by nearly180 percent and American exports to India had increased over four times. Meanwhile, the combined bilateral U.S.-India foreign direct investment had grown by nearly 165 percent between 2005 and 2009. Despite this progress, and especially given the size of the two respective economies, the joint statement recognized that that there remained untapped potential and opportunity to expand trade and investment linkages to the benefit of both countries.

PM's opening remarks at the interaction with newspaper editors

Following is the text of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's opening remarks at the interaction with newspaper editors:

“I think that there is a growing perception that this government is in siege, that we have not been able to deliver on our agenda. An atmosphere has been created in the country - and this I say with all humility – the role of the media today in many cases has become that of the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge.

Now that way no Parliamentary democracy can function and I would like to tell you that if you are taking governmental decisions, particularly big macro decisions, we don't know all the facts and yet we have to take decisions. When I was a student at Cambridge, Sir Paul Chambers, who was then the Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries, came and addressed us on who is a good manager, who will be considered by industry as a good manager.

He told our student group that, in an uncertain world in which we live in, if 5 out of 10 decisions that I take ex-ante turn out to be correct ex-post that would be considered as a job well done. If out of 10 decisions that I take, 7 turn out to be right ex-post that would be considered an excellent performance. But if you have a system which is required to perform 10 out of 10 cases I think no system can be effective and satisfy that onerous condition.

We live in a world of uncertainty and ex-post whether it is the Comptroller and Auditor General, whether it is a Parliamentary committee then they analyse post facto. They have a lot more facts which were not available to those who took the decision.

I am not saying that it is not possible that some people may deliberately do wrong things, but in many cases it would turn out in that sort of a scenario it is very difficult to operate. So we must create in this country an environment in which Governments, Ministers and civil servants will not be discouraged from taking decisions in the national interest when all facts are not known, they will never be known. We take decisions in a world of uncertainty and that’s the perspective I think Parliament, our CAG and our media must adopt if this nation is to move forward.

Our basic task is to deal with poverty, ignorance and disease which still afflict millions and millions of our citizens and whatever the ideological moorings of different parties, there is nobody who would say that you can satisfy all these aspirations of the people except in the framework of a rapidly expanding economy which is able to create 10 to 12 million jobs. For this, we need skilled citizens and we need to put in place a system of skill formation in education which is going to create employable skills which alone can provide our people the security of jobs that they need.

We have put in place an entitlement system. Entitlements have a role, but quite frankly there is a limited role. In the institutions of social security that we are trying to build, there are a large number of leakages in health, in education, and the allocation of subsidies. Our challenge is to plug these leaks and we will do that.

Corruption is a big issue. It has caught the imagination of the people, and we will deal with it. Let me say that while the Lokpal is an essential and desirable legislation, we will honestly work to evolve a broad based national consensus so that we have a viable statute in place which will give us a strong Lokpal. We have differences, there will be differences, but there are mechanisms to resolves these differences.

I certainly respect members of the civil society. It is out of my respect for members of the civil society that whether it is Anna Hazare or Swami Ramdev, I myself took the trouble to interact with them. In February-March itself I had an hour long meeting with Anna Hazare, the Bhushans, both father and son, Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi. They were all there and I assured them that we are committed to come with the bill in the Monsoon Session and it was not a commitment made under duress. I had mentioned it to them at that time itself. I said we will introduce a Bill in Parliament but then it is for Parliament to pass it or amend it and that right cannot be taken away.

In the same way people talk about black money. Black money exists, but if you look at all European countries also the average amount of black money which is talked about is at least 25 % of the economies of a large number of European countries. These are transactions that are not taxed and intended to avoid social security payments. But this is a reality. We can deal with corruption, we can deal with black money but quite frankly it is wrong for anyone to assume there is a magic wand which will lead to an instant solution of these difficult societal problems.

We need system reforms. If the project Nandan Nilankani has promised to design, if the UIDAI can give unique ID numbers to all our residents we would have discovered a new pathway to eliminate the scope for corruption and leakages in the management and distribution of various subsidies to which our people are entitled. But it will take time. It cannot be done instantly.

Four lakh crores or whatever the figures or black money being mentioned…… I do not know what is the basis of those calculations. Whatever is possible is being done. We are in the process of negotiating double taxation avoidance agreements, tax information agreements and we have fought hard in the Group of 20 to see that the secrecy of tax saving banking systems should be modified. This is not a one shot operation. We are doing all that is possible and we could accelerate it. We are committed to pursue all that is fiscally possible to deal with these problems of black money, problems of tax evading money and corruption.

But there are other instruments. Tax evasion is one important source of generation of black money. But there are other issues - narcotics, trafficking in human beings - all these illegal activities…. we need a strong mechanism to track down these criminal elements. But in all these my worry is to avoid a situation when we convert this vast country of over 1.2 billion people into a state where everybody is policing everybody else. We must not bring back the license permit raj which we sought to abolish in 1991.

I think our nation has prospered as a result of that. If you look at the list of top 100 firms today you will find a sea change in that list today. New entrepreneurs have come into the list. These are some of the gains of liberalization which we must cherish, we must nurse and we must develop.

We are committed to a growth rate of 9 to 10 % per annum. Our savings rate is about 34 to 35 % of our GDP with an investment rate of 36 to 37 %. And with a capital output ratio of 4:1 we can manage to have a growth rate of 9%. It requires strong commitment to development and modernization of our infrastructure; a strong commitment to modernizing and making our education system more relevant to the needs of our time; it requires strong commitment to work for a universal health care system. We are now engaged in looking at how insurance can be expanded to cover all elements of our population.

These are some of the priorities of our government. But frankly speaking in our country this constant sniping between government and opposition or if an atmosphere of cynicism is created all round I think the growth impulses, the entrepreneurial impulses of our people will not flourish and that is what worries me. We must do all that we can to revive the animal spirits of our businesses. And the fact that businessmen cut corners is partly a reflection of the loopholes in our regulatory system. We must therefore reform and strengthen the regulatory system where there is a need to do so. And when it comes to the management of natural resources we need a regulatory system but it must be transparent and it must be functional and that is the next step of our government.

Despite corruption in public procurement we are committed to work towards a public procurement law which will make procurement a transparent operation, and will eliminate to the extent possible the scope for corruption.

But in the situation that we are faced today, day in day out I think we are described as the most corrupt government. There have been aberrations. But quite frankly I have been a civil servant all my life, except the last 20 years. What surprises me is not that there are corrupt civil servants but that despite all the temptations, so many of our civil servants remain honest and lead frugal lives and this is the mainspring that we have to tap.

We must punish the wrong doers but we must not paint all civil servants as babus and contemptuously describe them as a despicable class.

These are the concerns that I have and I would like to hear from you what you think of them and what we should be doing.

And let me say on the international front I think the situation is not that positive. The international global recovery is fragile. Even the United States growth rate is faltering. In Europe it is the sovereign debt crisis, the problem of the Greek crisis and whether the Euro-zone will survive or not. If it will not survive it will be a major institutional collapse.

What is happening in the Middle East is of direct concern to us. Apart from the fact that we have 6 million Indians working in the Middle East nearly 70 % of our oil supplies come from the countries of the Gulf and North Africa. What turn these events will take nobody knows.

So we have to swim against this adverse tide and therefore India requires all the energy and all the cohesiveness of our polity to swim against these tides and come out victorious. We can do it. We showed that in 2008 when most people believed that our financial system would also be a victim of the global financial crisis. We put in place correctives and we managed to retain a growth rate of 7% and next year it was back to 8 to 8.5 %. We must have the vision, the ability and the determination to prosper even when the world environment is hostile.

And because nature has blessed us with a large common market, if we can put in place the goods and services tax legislation and if we can remove barriers to interstate commerce that itself will create new opportunities internally for accelerating the tempo of growth.

These are our top priorities, these are national priorities and I invite you as very influential members of our polity to help the government to deal with these problems with courage, with clarity and with determination.”
Preliminary transcript of the Q & A session between the PM and Newspaper Editors.

Q 1: Sir, you did not mention anything about our neighbourhood.

A: Well, neighbourhood worries me a great deal, quite frankly

You have a situation in Sri Lanka. The decimation of the LTTE was something which is good. But the Tamil problem does not disappear, with the defeat of the LTTE. The Tamil population has legitimate grievances. They feel they are reduced to second-class citizens. And our emphasis has been to persuade the Sri Lankan government that we must move towards a new system of institutional reforms, where the Tamil people will have a feeling that they are equal citizens of Sri Lanka, and they can lead a life of dignity and self-respect. It is not easy. Within Sri Lanka’s population, there are hotheads, the Sinhala chauvinism is a reality. But we have to find a difficult balance because what happens in Sri Lanka has a domestic dimension also. The Tamil Nadu government and assembly have often shown great worry about what is happening. Our challenge is to keep the Tamil Nadu government on our side. I have had good cooperation with Jayalalithaa-ji. I raised this matter with her the very first time. What she asked of me was moderate. Whatever be the resolutions that were passed in the assembly, I found her fully conscious of the complexities and the realities of managing this relationship.

With Bangladesh, we have good relations. Bangladesh government has gone out of its way to help us in apprehending the anti-Indian insurgent groups which were operating from Bangladesh for a long time. And that is why we have been generous in dealing with Bangladesh. We are not a rich country. But we offered it a line of credit of one billion dollars, when Sheikh Hasina came here. We are also looking at ways and means of some further unilateral concessions. We are also looking at ways and means of finding a practical and pragmatic solution to the sharing of Teesta waters. I plan to go there myself. The external affairs minister is planning to go later this week. So, Bangladesh, our relations are quite good. So Bangladesh, our relations are quite good. But we must reckon that at least 25 percent of the population of Bangladesh swear by the Jamiat-ul-Islami and they are very anti-Indian, and they are in the clutches, many times, of the ISI. So, a political landscape in Bangladesh can change at any time. We do not know what these terrorist elements, who have a hold on the jamiat –e – islami elements in Bangladesh, can be upto.

So a very uncertain neighbourhood. A very uncertain international, economic environment. We have to swim and keep our heads high.

Q 2 –About uncertainty between the government and the party.

A- Let me say that these things can be exaggerated. But it always existed in the Congress party. I welcome the expression of views, which can be helpful at times in introducing mid-term correctives. For example, let us take the case of the criticism from the party of our handling of Anna Hazare and Ramdev. When he threatened to sit on a fast, my honest attempt was that we as a government should appear receptive to all good ideas, wherever they come from. And that is why,I was the one who encouraged this dialogue with Anna Hazare, who I have known for many years. He came and spent an hour with me. And when he went back, I felt he was satisfied. But in 2-3 days I found that there are other forces controlling him, who wanted confrontation. I consciously, created a system where our government should reach out to all civil society elements. We need their inputs, and their support to carry out a social and economic transformation of the type we need in our country. I also expected that they would also play by the rules of the game. NO group, howsoever important he or she may be, can insist, that their views, A to Z, are the last word on what the people of India need. There are many other layers of NGO opinion. There is the Parliament, There are former Chief Justices of India – who have voiced differences with some of the ideas that Anna Hazare has. But it is still my endeavour, that we can, working together with the political parties, evolve a national consensus. And with regard to Swami Ramdev also, all I felt was, not to create an unnecessary misunderstanding. I wrote a letter myself, when he wrote to me. I mentioned that I share your concerns, with regard to black money and corruption, and we will be very happy if you have any ideas. And he responded quite well. When Pranab Mukherjee sent some officials, tax officials, they came back and said that Baba is very cooperative. He is not going to be a problem. Once he comes here, he will make a statement, that problems have been resolved. It was in that background, that our colleagues went to the airport, not to receive him. There also they had a good meeting. But the moment Baba is in the company of large crowds, that also has an effect on him. We did not get the impression that he has any intention of honouring what he said. He himself said, and I heard him, that 90 percent of their demands had been met. I also heard him say that when Kapil Sibal last wrote to him, and said, we will enact a law, he said all my demands have been met. But suddenly, when it came to addressing the public, he gave a different picture.

Q -3: At 11 o clock a letter reached him, at 12 o clock there was a lathi charge. Are you aware of this?

A- Lathi charge and teargas – these are unfortunate things – they should never have happened. But quite frankly, if we had allowed them to work during the day, the next day, we would have to handle a much larger crowd, and there worries that we had – because the way the Ramlila ground is located, there are some very communally sensitive issues. We didn’t know Sadhvi Rithambhara and others - where would that lead to. It is unfortunate that this action had to be taken. I don’t see – the situation we were placed in – there was any other alternative.

Q -4 Your views on bringing PM, PMO, under the purview of the Lokpal.

A- We have discussed this matter in the Cabinet last year. I for one, have no hesitation in bringing myself under the purview. But there are Cabinet colleagues of mine, who said Sir, this is not your personal concern. We are legislating for the people of India. There are many members of the Cabinet feel strongly, that bringing the institution of the Prime Minister (under Lokpal), will create an element of instability, which at times, can go out of hand. I hope that sound sense will prevail, and we would still work to find a way out. Also, the Prime Minister of India, is equally covered by the anti-corruption act. One can dismiss the Prime Minister of India most easily. All that is necessary is for Parliament to pass a vote of no-confidence. Every day, the Prime Minister is a 24-hour servant of the people of India. So we have mechanisms, much more effective mechanisms, in place. I am not saying categorically, one way or the other. I would like the guidance of political parties. Some Chief Ministers have spoken. Dr Jayalalithaa have spoken. Others have spoken. Badal sa’ab has spoken. So there is obviously a divergence of opinion in the country. We have to find a way out. I recognize we need this Lokpal bill. Even though,I don’t believe Lokpal is a panacea. Also, if we enlarge the mandate, the way Anna Hazare group wants it – they want 15,000 people, independent of the existing intelligence and prosecuting agencies. If we want to cover every single civil servant of our country – Centre and States – I worry whether the system will be able to stand the strain. Let us concentrate on corruption in high places – which is most obnoxious – which invites wrath – that is a justified concern. Wherever possible, we will act, and act firmly.

Q-5 What about the judiciary?

I have been talking to a number of people about this – the serving judiciary as well as a number of other people. They have grave reservations of including higher judiciary. People say, why set up a separate mechanism – we have a judicial accountability bill. We have a new set-up – the judicial selection board- which will look into all complaints against judges. But Supreme Court has to ultimately pronounce on everything. How will the Supreme Court pronounce on complex issues, if it is subject to restrictions of the Lokpal. I am not a legal expert. I think several distinguished luminaries have questioned this particular suggestion in the Jan Lokpal Bill – saying that this runs counter to the constitutional scheme of things. Judiciary must be encouraged to find ways and means to regulate its own affairs – consistent with the spirit of the constitution. That is my preliminary feeling. But as I said, I am not going to pronounce. I would like to hear from the political parties, and if necessary, we should hear other groups also – what they are thinking.

Q-6 :Are you confident of getting a national consensus – on the bill in Parliament, given the opposition’s resistance to it?

A – Yes I am confident.

Q -7: What about the cabinet reshuffle?

A – That is a work in progress.

Q-8: – Major or minor

A – I cannot tell you. I cannot predict.?

Q -9: Do you think team Anna hazare is naive – politically innocent, or politically motivated?

A – We are still in the process of negotiation. It is not a good thing to question their motive. I still hope we have the wisdom to come to the right conclusion. Either our people have not been good at communication. Or there are other interests at work to see that an atmosphere of confrontation is built up and sustained over a very long period of time.

Q -10: What do you think of the large middle-class and celebrities that supported your government in 2009, and are now not supporting you on the Lokpal?

A – Some events – the telecom scam, the commonwealth games – have caused genuine concerns among large classes of middle-class opinion. That cannot be wished away. So people want that whosoever is guilty must be punished. Before the Commonwealth Games took place, I had announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August last year, that anyone who is found guilty of wrongdoing in the Commonwealth Games, we will bring him or her to book. That comment still stands.

Q –11 : There is an impression that with your government unable to bring regulatory measures to prevent corruption, you have conceded space to civil society – who are now forcing you to do it?

A – I have been working 24 hours a day. I spend 18 hours a day on work – without any holidays. Then there are so many extraneous issues – that affects the ability of the government to attend to essential things of the type that we want to do. It will be wrong to say that I am not affected by such things – it does affect me. Sections of the media have not been responsible while covering recent events.

Q-12:– The judiciary has also made some strong statements?

I have talked to the judges – and they said these had to do with questions and answers in the process of hearing the cases – in order to clarify their point. They say the way the press reports – it creates a real problem. I think everybody should exercise restraint. When I talk to the judges, they say these are not our intentions, orders or instructions. Press reportage causes sensationalism.

Q -13: There was a hope that UPA-2 would push faster on reforms. That record two years down the road has been a disappointment. What is the agenda for the next 8-9 months.

A-I think the first thing is to sustain the momentum of growth that we have built. Second, we must ensure that infrastructure does well, is well-managed, its reform is a priority concern. It is in this context that the procurement system in the public sector must be made more transparent – we are all working towards a law which will lay more emphasis on transparency. There are new issues that have arisen, with regard to the management of scarce natural resources – particularly the land question. The land acquisition will require modification. There are several drafts within our government – but it is my hope that we will have a workable draft of the Food Security Bill – and finally – with regard to education and rural health – we have a large agenda. I would like to start a system of vocational education, skill formation, there is a report from Dr Ramadorai – to help me in putting together a design of the sort of systems and working procedures we need. We also need a group in the Planning Commission working on how we can expand and ultimately generalize the healthcare insurance system. Plus looking at citizen’s charters, and create an environment in which leakages in the disbursement of subsidies can be got rid of. I have been told that the system that Nandan Nilekani is at work on – if that system works, we will have instruments to deal with wrong use of subsidies. I think that will be a massive effort. There are other issues also – the consensus that emerged until a few months ago on the Good and Services Tax – the BJP is clearly playing politics, they do not want the government to pass this landmark legislation. We had helped the BJP pass the first insurance bill. All we want now is to increase the share of FDI to 49 percent. The bill is in Parliament. I hope we can still persuade the opposition and other parties to pass the bill. Insurance industry needs that capital. Domestic industrialists don’t have that large capital base. They need that support.

There is also the question of supply-chains and distribution of food supply. This is where the question of FDI in retail comes in. There is a big debate about it in government and Parliament. There is fear of small traders, but without breaking such institutional barriers, there is fear of food inflation. I am hoping we can make a beginning in these areas. These are some of the ideas that are uppermost in my mind.

Q –14:- There are occasional voices in your party that Rahul Gandhi should take over? What is your opinion?

A-I am sure that the Congress Party and the Congress President have entrusted me with this job to do. I have not got any contrary view from the Congress High Command. In fact, the Congress High Command has been most supportive, particularly Mrs Gandhi. Therefore, if you ask me, the general perception – that younger people should take over – I think it is the right sentiment. I sincerely hope that whenever the Congress Party makes up its mind, I have no objection to step down. But so long as I am there, I have a job to do.

Q-15: There is a feeling of a drift in the government – the coalition itself is cracking up. There is a question about the longevity of your government.

A-There are some of tension. But I am confident that no one wants an election at this time. Therefore, the self-preservation instinct will work to our advantage. We can manage these tensions of the coalition.

Q-16:-Do you think you should have dealt with your coalition partners more firmly in your earlier term?

A-I really don’t know which is the golden mean. I don’t know if some of these things could have been avoided. Because some of these things which have happened, they have happened without our getting the full picture. Take the case of 2G auction. I had myself written to Raja, that we should consider auction. He wrote back saying this matter was considered by TRAI. TRAI came to the conclusion – which was endorsed by Telecom Commission – this is on record and it is a public property – you also have access to it. He said to me – TRAI is against auction. TRAI is also against other verification which would help the competition between the new and the old. Quite frankly, I felt TRAI exists to advise the government, it is an expert body. And therefore, I left it at that. On the same matter, three letters that he wrote to me, he assured me that utmost transparency, fairness and objectivity will be observed in anything that he has done or will do. When a cabinet colleague makes that sort of an assurance, I cannot sit in judgement. After that someone approached the CVC. The CVC then passed it on to the CBI. The CBI began investigating. They raided the offices of the ministry.

Q-17:One of the biggest assets you had was your integrity and honesty. But in the second term, while your personal integrity remains above board, there is an impression that you allowed these things to happen.

A-If a cabinet colleague tells me, that in all matters of his ministry, he will scrupulously work by the norms of ethics, fairness and transparency. How can I conduct a post-mortem? I am not an expert in telecom matters. As Prime Minister, it is not that I am very knowledgeable about these matters. Or that I can spend so much of my time, to look after each and every ministry. Ministers administer their departments, and if they don’t apply any policy change, they are free to implement the policy to the best of their ability. One observation that my private secretary recorded, that the Prime Minister says there must be transparency - the minister should have said it was his responsibility – rather than saying that the Prime Minister has also endorsed it.

Q-18:-The issue was on the boil on the front pages of newspapers every day. There were questions being asked.

A-If I go by the newspapers, there were people writing to me on both sides. If I go by the newspapers everyday, I would have to refer everything to the CBI, and the CBI would sit in judgement. And if we continued in this vein, our public sector would not be able to perform. It would greatly weaken the (entrepreneurial) forces that we have unleashed, and willy-nilly install a police raj.

Q-19:How do you propose to recover the lost ground on this?

A-My conscience is quite clear.... There is a cabinet decision of 2003.

Q-20:What about the CAG draft report on KG Gas?

A-I have not read the full report. This is a special report which the ministry themselves had asked for. It is never been in the past that the CAG has held a press conference – as the present CAG has done. Never in the past has the CAG decided to comment on a policy issue. It should limit the office to the role defined in the constitution.

Q-21: What about the bugging issue?

A-There was a complaint that the office was bugged. I asked the IB to do a thorough check. The IB reported back to me that there was nothing of the sort.

Q-22:Did it go through the Home Minister? Did he know?

A-No. This was on a need-to-know principle.

Q-23:There is a perception that Sonia Gandhi is deciding everything and you are helpless.

A-Whatever this government has done, I will accept full responsibility. I never felt that she was an obstacle in the performance of the government. My relations with her have never been better. I meet her every week.

Q-24:What about the diarchy – she heads the party and you the government – is it not working anymore?

A-She has done a superb job of being the President of the party for more than 15 years.

Q-25:There was a question of rotational chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir?

A-There was a decision of the Congress high command that they would have a full-term as Chief Minister. We have not done anything to reverse that decision.

Q-26: What about the current situation in the state?

A-We have to be on our guard. We hope Pakistan will leave Kashmir alone, because they have their own share of internal problems. Tourists are returning. We have to keep our fingers crossed.

Q-27:What about the current situation with regard to Pakistan? Will you undertake a visit to Pakistan?

A-We are not a big player in Pakistan. But whatever our role, engagement is a commitment to our shared geography. They have not done enough on terror. I still feel they need to do more. We need to keep engaging them.

Q-28: Is there any possibility that Indian companies will be able to access natural resources in Afghanistan?

A- Transit through Pakistan – Pakistan is not ready. Afghan trucks can come upto Wagah. Afghanistan is quite keen. But we also have to reckon with Pakistan’s capacity to protect our enterprises. Situation on the ground is not that good.

Q-29: What are your views on theAmrrican pullout form Afghanistan scheduled by2014?

A-It does hurt us. It could hurt us. No one knows what is going to happen in Afghanistan. Yesterday, I was talking to the New Zealand Prime Minister, the war in Afghanistan does not enjoy large-scale public support. That’s the reality. If we hold elections every four years, politicians have to be re-elected before they can become statesmen.

Q- 30: In Afghanistan there is also the question of good and bad Taliban?

A-I told the Afghan Parliament that the reconciliation should be Afghan-led. I think Karzai and other politicians can work on that. You cannot carry the good-bad Taliban distinction much too far. but the Haqqani group –they are a more determined group – perhaps not in league with the Pakistani establishment – I don’t know – but we are worried about them.

Q-31: What about our defence preparedness in the light of Chinese capabilities?

A-We have started the process. We are looking at the modernization of our armed forces, including the navy and the air force. For the first time in many many years, we have added two divisions to our army. So within the limits of our resources, – we are doing - much advanced air fields in the border areas. We are trying to strengthen the border roads. Also to see, that states on our border - our villagers have access to electricity using solar power. The effort is on.

Q-32: The defence expenditure as a part of GDP has been falling from year to year.

A-That is true. But quite frankly we have not restricted defence spending – no conscious decision has been taken to any fixed percentage. We are as a nation, prepared to live with a defence expenditure equal to three percent of our GDP. IF the armed forces have a plan to raise their expenditure to that ceiling, the system will be able to tolerate it.

Q-33: It will take 10 to 15 years for all of this to materialize?

A.The Chinese are far ahead of us. They are building a blue-water navy also. Aircraft carriers – they are acquiring.

Q 34: -A major threat is Naxalites

A-We are tackling that problem at two ends. We are strengthening the development work in the 60 districts. This year we have put at the disposal of the Deputy Commissioner, SP and the District Forest Officer, large sums of money for each of those districts. Money is not a problem. But the main problem is infrastructure. We need to protect the building of roads. There is a proposal to raise a reserved battalion to protect the building of development works in the Naxal-affected areas. If that goes through, I think we will provide greater security to contractors willing to build roads and other infrastructure in those areas. It is a vicious circle. We must strengthen the police and other intelligence. One emphasis is on intelligence so that they match them in actual combat. The other is on development. Development is the master remedy to win over people. If my children are in school, better health facilities are available, if forest rights of tribals are respected, ---- implemented, it should win over people. In the short run, government’s writ must run.

Q-35:Your environment minister is on record, saying he has had to reverse many of his positions under pressure from you?

A-I think he is right.

Q-36: Are you pressurizing him?

A-As Gandhiji said, poverty is the biggest polluter. We need to have a balance.

Q-37: Mamata Bannerjee in West Bengal and Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra are opposing the gas price hike. How is this effecting the functioning of the coalition?

A- I have nothing much to say about these tensions.

Q-38: At Air India, the situation seems to be getting from bad to worse. What is the government doing about it?

A- I was discussing this with the Principal Secretary only yesterday. I think I have to tell the Pranab Mukherjee led group to expedite considerations on the proposals that are in the offing. So I am aware of it. There was some difficulty in paying salaries last month.

Q-39: In terms of perception, Your second term seems to be somewhat of a disaster. Your credibility has been damaged and you have become a lame duck Prime Minister.

PM: Much of these happened in the first term. ...(interjection) This is the result of the clever propaganda of the opposition. Because whatever we are discussing today it was already in the public domain when elections were fought. This is nothing which happened now, I think.

Q-40: On Commonwealth Games

PM: The Common Wealth games bulk expenditure was incurred before 2009 elections and what could we do. As far as the Common wealth games were concerned, there was a group of ministers under Arjun Singhji, there was a group under Jaipal Reddyji. As far as Kalmadi’s presence is concerned for you have also written Mr. Ninan that our friend Mani Shankar Aiyar wrote to me,but he wrote to me on purely ideological grounds – he was opposed to hosting cwg. (Interjection- sir but budget) That is the job of his Ministry - to tell us about the budget.It was the responsibility of the Sports Ministry- they had to c ome to the Cabinet. There is no mechanism in PM’s office to look at all the minute details. Mani Shankar Aiyar wrote many letters to me. Bulk of the letters were all on ideological aspects of spending so much money on the Common Wealth Games – we should be doing --- nothing he brought me anything that was wrong. At one stage, I did get worried – I did get reports but at that one stage we put some officials under Jarnail Singh to keep a watch. Question is how effective was that supervisionJarnail Singh. But Kalmadi was there because he was the President of the Indian Olympic association. The agreement to have CWG was signed in the year 2003 when the previous government was in power.

Q-41. Lameduck PM.

PM: Well I have reason to believe that ultimately truth will prevail.

Q-42. Inflation

PM: I agree. Quite frankly – I did not expect the effect of shock injection of liquidity into the system by the United States. I could not anticipate that the Middle East would once again go into turmoil. Commodity prices, food prices, energy prices are variables over which we have no control. And if you exclude these I think the rest of the inflation is still marginally above what would be considered as inflationary. Now we have the no magic wand to bring down international commodity prices – particularly of food grains – we cannot force our farmers to part with their food grains for procurement at unreasonable prices. That will be suicidal to our farmers. One thing what this Government has done is, it has increased the procurement prices in a manner like no one has increased in the history of the country. (Interjection : That is the root of the problem.) No it may be the root of the problem but that is also our safety net. That agriculture is in good shape. That we have all time high stocks of foodgrains. We have at long last been able to reach out to large numbers of our people.

Q-43:The Food security law wants 80 million tones procured, that is impossible.

A. Maximum that has been procured is 57 million, the average procurement for the last couple of years is 55 million tones. We have to work out a system within this.

Q.44: How would you control Inflation?

A. Inflation is a global problem. Chinese inflation rate has also gone up sharply. We have so much liquidity in the world, and in an integrated world economy we cannot wish away some problems. If oil prices soften and if commodity prices remain where they are, then I asked Rangarajan the other day, and he said that by the end of March, we should have an inflation rate of 6.5 percent.

Q.45: Have you seen the Chinese figure on hidden debt – all of it has suddenly emerged.

A. The Chinese system is opaque. They have a visible very small fiscal deficit. But there are reports that the banking system is financing their infrastructure out of their non-performing assets which is leading to these debts.
Blackthorn Resources Ltd [BTR] - MUMBWA PROJECT: Phase 5 Drilling Program Planned

Blackthorn Resources advise that a detailed exploration program has been designed for the Mumbwa Project in Zambia. The Phase 5 program includes ~ 7,000m of cored drilling from a series of 14 holes over the Kitumba deposit, which has been previously estimated to contain a JORC code compliant inferred mineral resource containing 87Mt at 0.94% copper (using 0.5% Cu cut-off).
The focus of the Phase 5 program is to conduct additional drilling over the Kitumba deposit with the aim of further delineating the mineral resource and generating an upgrade to the mineral resource category, tonnage and grade.

European metals alliance for recyclable & sustainable buildings

Industry establishes the “METALS FOR BUILDINGS” European alliance and calls on EU legislators to consider end-of-life recycling rate of building products as a resource saving indicator

Brussels, 29.06.2011

Today saw the launch of the METALS FOR BUILDINGS alliance, which brings together 9 European Metals Associations active in the building sector to promote the unique strengths of metal products for recyclable & sustainable buildings.

"Today's virgin metals are the recycled metals of tomorrow", said Gordon Moffat, EUROFER's Director General. "Metals provide society with a material that is 100% recyclable without loss of properties, and as a result, they help minimize the impact on the earth's resources."

In that sense, the use of metals should be considered as an investment, and not as pure consumption. Metal scrap collection and recycling from the demolition or renovation of buildings is already a well-established business activity thanks to the high intrinsic financial value of metal scrap.

"Current EU initiatives, standards and criteria mostly refer to the recycled content of materials, a very common but not sufficient indicator of resource saving." added Patrick de Schrynmakers, EAA's Secretary General. "Some products may have a high recycled content, but may not be recyclable a second time because of unacceptable loss of properties. Metals, in contrast, are recyclable again and again without loss of properties."

METALS FOR BUILDINGS calls on EU legislators to address the unique attributes of metal building products and their inherent value for future generations, by including end-of-life recycling in all studies.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Labor Contract at Stillwater Mine and Processing Facilities

BILLINGS, MT--(Marketwire - June 29, 2011) - STILLWATER MINING COMPANY (NYSE: SWC) and United Steel Workers International Union reported today that they have reached a tentative agreement on the terms of a new four (4) year labor agreement at the Stillwater Mine and Processing Facilities.
The current contract, scheduled to expire on July 1, 2011, has been extended until July 9, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. (MDT). The members of United Steel Workers Local 11-0001 will vote on the new tentative agreement on Wednesday, July 6, Thursday, July 7 and Friday, July 8, 2011 at 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (MDT) at the Stillwater Pavilion (Little Metra) located in Columbus, Montana.
The Negotiating Committee for the Union and the representative for USW International are unanimously recommending ratification of the tentative agreement to members of the United Steel Workers Local 11-0001.
Stillwater Mining Company is the only U.S. producer of palladium and platinum and is the largest primary producer of platinum group metals outside of South Africa and the Russian Federation. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWC

ThyssenKrupp Elevator wins follow-up contract in Bulgaria

50 elevators and escalators for new Sofia metro stations

ThyssenKrupp Elevator is to manufacture and install a further 19 elevators and 31 escalators for the expansion of the metro system in Sofia. It is the second contract the company has received in connection with Bulgaria's biggest current infrastructure project. At the same time the 50 units represent ThyssenKrupp Elevator's biggest ever contract in the country. The elevators and escalators are for four new underground stations in the middle of the city, including the central train station and Sveta Nedelya Square intersection.

This new intersection between lines 1 and 2 lies in one of the most densely inhabited parts of Sofia, which has a total population of 1.3 million. The station's direct catchment area includes the capital's main shopping street, various sightseeing attractions as well as numerous government offices. ThyssenKrupp Elevator will be installing eight elevators and eleven escalators here to enable passengers to enter, exit and change trains as quickly and conveniently as possible. The first trains are scheduled to travel on the 11.6 kilometer section from 2012.

Some new stations of the Sofia metro system have been in operation since 2009. These too feature a total of 17 elevators and ten escalators supplied by ThyssenKrupp Elevator. The overall expansion program is scheduled for completion in 2015, at which point the extended network will comprise 65 kilometers of track and a total of 63 stations - planners anticipate more than 1.2 million passengers per day.
The Elevator Technology business area brings together the ThyssenKrupp Group's global activities in passenger transportation systems. With 44,000 employees, sales of 5.2 billion euros in fiscal 2009/2010 and customers in 150 countries, ThyssenKrupp Elevator is one of the world's leading elevator companies. The company's portfolio includes passenger and freight elevators, escalators and moving walks, passenger boarding bridges, stair and platform lifts as well as tailored service solutions for all products. 900 locations around the world provide an extensive sales and service network to guarantee closeness to customers

Siemens wins an order for the complete electrification and service for a new containerboard mill in the USA
Siemens Industry, Inc. has a received a multi million dollar order from Greenpac Mill LLC, a Cascades Inc. affiliate, to supply the automation system and the electrification for a new containerboard mill in Niagara Falls, New York.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The Coke Oven Battery # 1 of SAIL's Bokaro Steel Plant, entirely rebuilt after having served for three decades since its first commissioning in 1977, started production on 28 June 2011. MD, BSL Mr. SS Mohanty pushed the first oven (Oven # 58) in presence of ED (Projects) Mr. TS Suresh, ED (Works) Mr. TK Das, ED (P&A) Mr. R Singh and senior officers from BSL, CET and MECON to start production from the battery.
With a designed coking period of 16.9 hours and a regime of 98 battery pushings per day, the battery will has the annual capacity to produce 0.57 MT of dry gross coke and 0.503 MT of dry BF Coke, using 0.74 MT of dry coal as input. The yield of Coke Oven gas from the battery, which serves as valuable fuel for other shops of the plant, will be 310 Nm3 per tonne of dry coal charged.
Several new features have been incorporated to make it a zero emission battery and enhance productivity. Some of these features include:
  1. Additional rail to improve stability of Guide Car Hood and arrest pushing emission.
  2. Improved design of oven doors to prevent door emission.
  3. Water sealing of ascension pipe caps to prevent leakage from gas off-takes.
  4. High pressure liquor aspiration system for on-main charging of ovens.
  5. In-house design for mechanized wharf gate opening system.
  6. Spillage coke conveyor system on pusher side.
With  CET (Centre for Engineering & Technology of SAIL) as the in-house consultant, the rebuilding of this battery has been implemented under 6 (six) packages through different agencies, viz. Pkg-1 - Battery Proper (Contractor M/s MECON), Pkg-2A - Quenching System (Contractor M/s BEEKAY), Pkg-2B - Quenching Machines (Contractor M/s BEC), Pkg-3 - Procurement of Silica Bricks & Mortar (Contractor M/s OCL), Pkg-4 - Procurement of Fireclay Bricks & Mortar (Contractor - 6 Parties), Pkg-5 - Oven Machines (Contractor M/s BEC) and Pkg-6 - Coal Handling & Coke Sorting Plant (Contractor M/s POWERMAX).
Under its modernisation and expansion plans, BSL has taken up the rebuilding of its two Coke Oven Batteries -- 1 & 2 -- at a total sanctioned project cost (Net of Cenvat) of Rs. 458.34 crores. Battery # 2 is at an advanced stage of completion. Battery # 5 has already been rebuilt a couple of years back.
The commissioning of this battery will play an important role in meeting the coke requirements of BSL and also supplement gas availability for other vital operations. Battery # 2, which has an identical design and shares a number of equipment with Battery # 1, is also expected to be completed within this year, bringing greater self sufficiency in coke for the plant.
BSL has eight Coke Oven Batteries in all, of which six were being operated while two batteries were under rebuilding. These 5-metre tall batteries have 69 ovens each. With coke as the primary reducing agent in the Blast Furnaces, the rebuilding of batteries 1 & 2 holds great significance for this important member of SAIL

SAIL bags Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2011
New Delhi: Maharatna Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has received the prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award for the year 2011. The award, in recognition of SAIL’s initiatives and achievements in the field of environment management, was presented by Union Minister for Home Affairs Shri P. Chidambaram on 24th June, 2011 at a glittering function held in the Capital.  
The Golden Peacock Awards, instituted by the Institute of Directors, New Delhi, are presented annually under various categories. The winners of the Golden Peacock Awards for 2011 were finalised by a jury headed by Justice P.N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India and Member, UN Human Rights Commission, and presented on the occasion of the 13th World Congress on Environment Management.
Speaking at a panel discussion during the Congress on the theme of ‘Environmental Initiatives for Corporate Sustainability’, SAIL Chairman Mr. C.S. Verma said that the steel industry “is putting in concerted efforts and adopting a multi-pronged strategy” to minimise the emission of greenhouse gases and to achieve greater sustainable practices. Giving examples of SAIL’s achievements in this endeavour, he pointed out that in the last four years the company has succeeded in reducing particulate emissions by 52%, specific water consumption by 11% and specific energy consumption by 5%, and increased solid waste utilisation by 18%.   
SAIL has continuously been taking proactive steps in holistic environment management and preservation. The Corporate Environmental Policy of SAIL also emphasises upon the company “conducting its operations in an environmentally responsible manner, complying with applicable regulations and striving to go beyond”. In accordance with the National Environment Policy, the company has built a management system at its different plants and units for further environmental protection, including acquisition of certification under ISO:14001. All major units of SAIL, covering both production and service departments, are ISO:14001 accredited. In addition, the townships of Bhilai, Rourkela and Salem Steel Plants have also been certified to ISO:14001.
To improve the environment inside its plants and their surrounding habitat, SAIL has put in best efforts such as regular maintenance and consistent operation of air pollution control systems, effluent treatment plants, recycling of solid wastes and adoption of cleaner and environment friendly technologies. The concerted efforts have resulted in resource conservation, compliance to regulatory requirements, waste reduction, increase in green cover, etc. SAIL has effectively adopted waste minimisation strategies, including conservation at source, recovery and recycling, to manage the wastes associated with steel making.
Recently, SAIL’s Bhilai Steel Plant installed a 30 million litres per day (MLD) sewage treatment plant at a cost of approx. Rs. 41 crore using inhouse resources in order to achieve ‘zero effluent discharge’ target. The scheme is expected to reduce dependence on the Chhattisgarh government’s Water Resources Department for additional water requirement in future for BSP’s expansion schemes. The recycling of 30 MLD of treated water for industrial use will approximately save Rs. 3.94 crore per annum.
Joining hands with the Ministry of Environment & Forests’ Ozone Cell and UNDP, SAIL took up an umbrella project for replacement of carbon tetrachloride (CTC) used as a cleaning solvent by trichloroethylene (TCE) at six of its steel plants. The objective of this project was to phase out the use of 268 metric tons (approx.) of CTC being used at the Oxygen Plants and Electrical Repair Shops of these selected units for cleaning of storage tanks, electric motors, cylinders, piping, etc.
Extensive afforestation programmes have been carried out by the company in all its plants and mines to develop sinks for absorbing air and noise pollution. More than 17.5 million trees have been planted at the SAIL plants and mines since inception. Keeping pace with 21st century environmental agenda of sustainable development, SAIL has spent nearly Rs. 90 lakh on a programme for ecological restoration of degraded eco-systems over a period of five years up to 2010. Under the programme, 154.42 acres of limestone mined-out area at Purnapani, 11.36 acres of iron ore mined-out area at Kalta, and 27.79 acres of iron ore mined-out area at Barsua have been restored. 222,376 saplings at Purnapani, 24,000 saplings at Barsua and 12,000 saplings at Kalta have been planted under the programme. Species planted have shown lush growth. At all three locations, nurseries have been developed for raising saplings. In addition, pisciculture is being practiced in five abandoned quarries filled with water at Purnapani, by releasing 8 lakh fingerlings, mainly the species of fish such katla, rohu and mrigal. An automatic solar meteorological station has also been put up at Purnapani as a part of the project.

India, Mozambique Agree to Cooperate on Maritime Security

India and Mozambique have agreed to work together on the issue of maritime security so as to make Indian Ocean a safe region for maritime trade. This was agreed to during the delegation level talks between the visiting Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Mozambique Mr. Filipe Jacinto Nyussi and Defence Minister Shri AK Antony here today. Mr.Nyussi thanked India for the help rendered by Indian Navy in the rescue of a Mozambican shipping vessel from pirates off the Mozambican coast last year. The issue of piracy off the East Coast of Africa prominently figured during talks between the two leaders.

Both sides had a fruitful discussion on various bilateral defence cooperation issues. A number of fresh areas for cooperation were identified to enhance and strengthen the existing bilateral relation between the two countries.

The Mozambican Defence Minister also met Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh and the Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall NAK Browne. During his five-day visit he will visit key defence installations including the Western Naval Command in Mumbai, National Defence Academy and Armed Forces Medical College in Pune besides the prestigious Army Research & Referral Hospital in New Delhi.

India and Mozambique have enjoyed traditionally close and friendly relations. In March, 2006 the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation. Subsequently, two meetings of the Joint Defence Working Group were held in 2008 and 2010.

The scope of the MoU covers all the three Services, envisaging cooperation in the field of military technical cooperation, logistic support and training. It also deals with joint activities include maritime patrolling of the Mozambican coast, mutual training in military institutes, supply of defence equipment/services and establishment of partnership and transfer of knowhow and technology for assembling and repair of vehicles, aircraft and ships as well as rehabilitation of military infrastructure.

"Untapped Potential" for Expanded U.S.-India Trade, Geithner Says

By Stephen Kaufman
Staff Writer
Washington - President Obama hopes to see India become one of the top 10 U.S. trading partners, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there is "vast untapped potential" in the economic relationship between the two countries. Geithner urged India to make economic and financial reforms to attract more investment.
In a June 28 statement released at the conclusion of his meetings with Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the 2011 U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership in Washington, Geithner said India's economic growth is good for the United States and American growth also benefits India.
"We aren't just watching India's rise as an economic power, we support it. We encourage it. And we want to help advance it," he said.
Between 2000 and 2010, India's exports to the United States grew by nearly 180 percent, while U.S. exports to India increased more than four times, he said. The decade also saw India rise from being the 25th-largest trading partner of the United States to its 12th-largest. Between 2005 and 2009, the combined bilateral U.S.-India foreign direct investment also grew by nearly 165 percent.
Both countries are benefiting from the increase in economic ties. Geithner said that when President Obama visited India in November 2010, he learned how "American-manufactured solar cells are helping move Indian cell towers off diesel generators and how a drug discovery technology invented and manufactured in the U.S. is helping find new cures in India for deadly illnesses, including dengue."
But Geithner urged the Indian government to make more financial and economic reforms that will increase investment and offer long-term benefits.
"American companies still face barriers in India in sectors such as banking, insurance, manufacturing, multibrand retail and infrastructure. Easing those barriers, which are limiting economic growth and job creation in both our countries, would be an important step toward integrating our economies," he said.
"The Indian government recognizes that to realize its aspirations of strong growth, it will need to attract sufficient investment, both from abroad and domestically. India will need to advance pending economic and financial reforms to make this possible," Geithner said.
Geithner and Finance Minister Mukherjee signed a joint statement June 28 in which they said India and the United States share both a vision and a commitment to "expanding economic opportunities for our citizens through greater trade and investment."
In the statement, the United States said it is committed to maintaining and enhancing its competitiveness in the global economy, and pledged to make investments in the necessary technology, skills and infrastructure. India said it will take steps to "marshal private and public savings" to meet the infrastructure needs of its rapidly growing economy.
Both countries pledged to "work together to expand trade and investment links between our two economies, and to develop and strengthen our financial systems," as well as cooperate in the Group of 20 leading industrialized and developing nations forum on "an effective mutual assessment process to bring about strong, sustained, and balanced global growth."
The statement said that during the upcoming year, the United States and India also plan to have deeper engagement over macroeconomic challenges such as growth, unemployment, inflation and commodity prices, as well as financial sector reforms and infrastructure finance strategies.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)