Saturday, March 31, 2012

Revised Train Fares for Journey in AC-First Class, AC-2 Tier, Executive Class & First Class from Tomorrow 

The Ministry of Railways has revised passenger fares with effect from tomorrow i.e. 1st April 2012 in AC-First Class, AC-2 tier, Executive Class and First Class only. There is no revision in other classes of travel. The revised fares in these classes would be applicable to all types of trains on Indian Railways network. 

 The revised fares will also apply to tickets issued in advance for journeys to commence on or after 1st April 2012. In the case of tickets already issued at pre-revised rates, the difference in fares from 1st April 2012 will be recovered from passengers either by TTEs in the trains or by the booking offices before commencement of the journey by the passengers as per the usual practice in case of such fare revisions. 

 The revised list of fares for the information of the public is being displayed at the stations and has been made available to the railway staff well in time. The revised passenger fare table is also available on the website of the Ministry of Railways i.e.

Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and the World Bank Group President Hold Talks ; 
 Both Sides Stress the Value of the Bank Group’s Continued Engagement with India 

 Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and the World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick held talks here today, with both sides stressing the value of the Bank Group’s continued engagement with India. The talks came on the final day of Mr.Zoellick’s visit to India – his last as President of the World Bank Group. 

 Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee commended the major achievements of President Zoellick, and thanked him for his special efforts in increasing engagement of the Bank with India. He said that India has a long and very fruitful relationship with the Bank. We value this relationship, and also appreciate the Bank’s support during the last financial crisis,he said. He thanked Mr Zoellick for the ways in which he strengthened the World Bank, and made it more responsive to client needs and stated that Mr. Zoellick has been a true friend of India. India still needs large investments for infrastructure as well as for tackling poverty and in addition to securing long tenure development funds from the Bank, we draw upon the Bank’s knowledge base and global expertise in development matters, Shri Mukherjee said. 

 For his part, Mr. Zoellick, who steps down as World Bank President at the end of June, said his primary aim in India was to thank the Government and its people for their partnership and friendship, adding that he also wanted to lay the groundwork to ensure the momentum of the Bank’s engagement with India continues in the future. He said that he firmly believed that while it’s important for the Bank to become an even stronger development partner of India in the future, even with India’s success, it still has many poor people and faces many challenges of development. At the same time, India is a country with global influence so its deep engagement with the World Bank Group will contribute to modernizing the multilateral system, he said. He stated that India, the Bank, and the world all stand to benefit. Mr. Zoellick stated that the Bank will seek to offer India additional financing to help overcome poverty and seize the opportunities ahead. We are also looking at leveraging funding through the private sector to help India meet its needs, particularly for infrastructure, as part of its quest for sustained and inclusive growth, he said . The World Bank President added that we are keen to explore innovative ways to help India support regional integration that will benefit all the countries involved. 

 Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee appreciated the willingness of the Bank for a stronger engagement with India and also the offer of looking at creative ways to enhance flow of resources from the Bank Group to India. 

 Shri Mukherjee and President Zoellick also shared their views on developments in the global economy and issues like prices for commodities, such as oil and fertilizers have been affecting the economic prospects of developing countries including India.

HHS Secretary Sebelius on India's Polio Win

This op-ed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was published in the March 28 issue of Foreign Affairs and posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services websites titled "India's Polio Win." There are no republication restrictions for use by U.S. embassies.

India's Polio Win: One Step Closer to Eliminating the Virus
By Kathleen Sebelius
Foreign Affairs
March 28, 2012

In January, India marked an incredible achievement: one year since the country's last reported case of polio. That is cause for celebration -- not just in India but around the world. Twenty years ago, there were more than 100 polio-endemic countries; now, only three remain.

Such a victory over polio seemed almost impossible just a decade ago. India's tropical climate is conducive to the survival and spread of the disease. Meanwhile, India's dense, ethnically and linguistically diverse population made it difficult for the government to reach its most at-risk citizens. So, even as the government eliminated the disease from much of the country over the past 15 years, polio hotbeds stubbornly remained.

That India is free of wild polio today is a testament to the commitment of the Indian government. It invested more than $1 billion over the last decade and collaborated with community leaders, health workers, businesses, and parents to fight the disease. The success is also the product of an international partnership that brought together governments, including the United States, Japan, and Norway; nongovernmental organizations, such as Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and multilateral agencies, namely, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund.

I saw the fruits of that partnership firsthand in January, when I traveled to New Delhi as part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delegation. We administered polio vaccine drops to children at one of many vaccination sites across India. During each of India's periodic National Immunization days, health workers collectively immunize 175 million children against polio. The victory over the disease in India has saved millions of lives from disability and death. And although the world must remain vigilant against polio to prevent its resurgence, India's success will gradually allow the nation to focus resources and experience on diseases and initiatives.

Beyond the Indian success story, we have made great progress around the globe. In 1988, when the World Health Assembly pledged to eradicate polio, there were more than 350,000 cases worldwide. Last year, there were fewer than 700. Since 1988, the United States has provided polio-endemic countries with critical on-the-ground support. In India, specifically, U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials have been working side by side with local colleagues to eradicate the disease.

Today, those officials and global health experts collaborate on the design and maintenance of highly effective polio surveillance systems. These disease detectives work with government and other partners to investigate outbreaks and stop their spread. And at CDC headquarters, polio experts help analyze and interpret the latest information on the virus, monitor progress toward eradication, and use this information to help those on the ground adjust their strategies. But challenges remain. Currently, there are three polio-endemic countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. And three other countries that were once polio-free -- Angola, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- have seen a return of the virus in recent years.

In May, the WHO's executive board will ask its member countries' ministers of health to declare the upsurge a global public health emergency that requires urgent, additional measures. For polio-affected countries, this would mean full implementation of current and new eradication strategies, enhanced national oversight, and greater vigilance and support from around the world.

The CDC, too, recently activated its emergency operations center for polio activities, and agencies across the U.S. government will continue working with partners around the world to implement mass polio vaccination campaigns. They will support improved surveillance, community mobilization, and quality evaluation, while holding partners to the highest levels of accountability.

The world is a small place. When people, goods, and microbes can move around the world in a matter of hours, a health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere. Eradicating polio not only means saving countless children and families and tens of billions of dollars in treatment and care, it also represents new opportunity and growth for entire communities and countries. When one nation eradicates polio, it is a victory for the entire world.

(Kathleen Sebelius is the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.) 

Commerce Secretary on U.S.-India Trade and Investment Ties

U.S. Department of Commerce
Commerce Secretary John Bryson
March 29, 2012
Remarks at Luncheon Sponsored by Confederation of Indian Industry and U.S.-India Investors Forum in Mumbai, India
As Prepared for Delivery

Good afternoon. Thank you, President Sachdev. I'm pleased to see the formation of the U.S.-India Investors Forum. Congratulations to all of the founding board members.

And thank you again to our host, CII. You have been excellent hosts in Delhi, Jaipur and now here in Mumbai.

Briefly, I also want to recognize the three other U.S. federal agencies traveling with us: the Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Export-Import Bank.

The Trade and Development Agency, represented by Henry Steingass and Mark Dunn. OPIC, represented by Peter Ballinger. And Larry Walthers, the Director of the Export-Import Bank. Can each of you raise your hands?

All of these agencies do critically important financing, spurring growth and opportunity in both of our counties.
Today marks the fifth day of my first trade mission as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. 16 excellent U.S. businesses came with me on this infrastructure-focused trip.

They specialize in project management, engineering services, transportation, and energy. We have now highlighted in many meetings how their deep experience with America's infrastructure can be used to help meet India's pressing needs in this area.

As President Obama said two years ago, the U.S.-India relationship is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. I agree.

As you all know well, back in the early '90s, India and outstanding leaders like then-Finance Minister Singh decided that openness and a market-driven economy were essential to the economic future of the world's largest democracy.

As a result, India's entrepreneurial spirit was then unleashed for the world to see. And, for the past 10 years, it's no coincidence that India's economy has grown quickly-at an annual rate of around 8 percent.
With this growth, millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Also, India's top companies-like Tata-are now known worldwide.

This growth has resulted in increased demand for American-made products and services. U.S. exports to India have grown from less than $4 billion in 2001 to over $21 billion last year.

And America has reciprocated. The U.S.-an exceptionally open market-receiving $36 billion in goods from India in 2011.

Today, we have a unique opportunity to build on our trade partnership due to India's aggressive plan to invest $1 trillion over the next five years in infrastructure.

This plan is ambitious and admirable. This includes as many as 600 major projects, with a strong emphasis on public-private partnerships.

And what I want most to emphasize here is what we see as the importance of using this moment as an opportunity to deepen and broaden the U.S.-India partnership. Our countries and our businesses should do more work together in cities like Jaipur-which the delegation visited yesterday. In 20 years, 68 cities in India could have populations over one million.

Today, American businesses want to serve as partners in building India's infrastructure and supporting inclusive growth. U.S. businesses want to help pave the roads, lay the rails, build the airports, and bring the energy-critical efforts that will drive prosperity and job creation in both our countries.

If American businesses are able to compete and contribute more, we can help ensure that strong and balanced trade growth remains a pillar of the U.S.-India relationship in years to come.

What I particularly want to underscore in these remarks today is that strong and balanced growth must also characterize our investment relationship-another pillar of our economic relationship.

Already, the bilateral investment relationship between the U.S. and India is stronger than ever. Many American companies have invested in India over the past five years. U.S. investment has grown to over $27 billion across a wide range of sectors, including services, manufacturing, information technology and more.

At the same time, India is a fast-growing source of direct investment into the United States. We see more each day.

For example, just last September, Tata Chemicals announced a joint venture with the New Jersey-based company that makes America's famous Arm & Hammer products. Together, they are going to make sodium-based chemicals for the purposes of pollution control. Specifically, they are going to invest $60 million in a new manufacturing facility.

Another example, also from last September: HCL Technologies opened a new software engineering hub in the state of Washington. This will add 400 jobs to HCL's operations in the U.S. I should note that Governor Christine Gregoire was on-hand to offer support with state-level funds to help HCL with workforce training-a great example of public-private collaboration.

We need more stories like these, because while India's direct investment in the U.S. is growing quickly, it remains in total only about $3 billion, or about $7 billion when you include investments made through other countries.

Today, I want to encourage more India-based companies and investors to Select the USA. In fact, that is, the name of our new worldwide initiative is SelectUSA-an initative strong supported by President Obama-the first, coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America.

India is one of the first 10 markets for SelectUSA. Our message is absolutely clear: We welcome your investments.

As you already know, America has world-class universities, cutting-edge R&D, deep supply chains, powerful IP protections, a strong patent system that is getting better each day, and a talented and productive workforce-a workforce which includes many Indian-Americans who have driven global innovation and entrepreneurship.

Through SelectUSA, our commercial service officers here in India are going to do more to give you the tools you need: We will serve as an information clearinghouse for CEOs and investors. We will help you when you are facing confusion, delays, or obstacles. We will even help you after you have already invested in the U.S.-because we want you to do it again.

In addition, we will provide more opportunities for you to make personal connections with local and state leaders in the U.S.-as in the HCL example in Washington State.

On that note, I want to personally invite you to the First Annual SelectUSA Investment Summit this fall in Washington, D.C. Companies from around the world will come and meet with officials at all levels of government as well as economic development leaders.

They want to talk with you about how America is a very strong place to invest, to hire, and to help build the future of your business.

And as we look to the future of our investment relationship, we know we must do even more.

We know, for example, that America's corporate tax code is overly complex and needs to be reformed. America has one of the highest statutory corporate tax rates, which hasn't changed meaningfully since the 1980s.

President Obama has asked Congress to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent-and to close the loopholes that lobbyists have added over the years.

I believe that this is something that both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress can and should agree on-and, with the president, I will continue to push for it to be adopted this year.

And while each of our countries can take actions like that on our own, I'm more excited about the work that we can do together.

For example, I announced on Monday that we have renewed our bilateral Commercial Dialogue for two additional years. This involves the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration.

The Dialogue brings together both of our public and private sectors, to make progress and make constructive decisions on the top issues of doing business in each other's markets.

In that forum, for example, I'm pleased to say that we will now seek to expand into new areas of engagement on smart grids, intelligent transportation systems and sustainable manufacturing

And we can build on that Dialogue. This administration supports moving forward with a Bilateral Investment Treaty.
Such a treaty would send an important signal to potential U.S. investors. It would provide strong investor protections to help India attract investment, particularly for much-needed infrastructure projects.

And it's a two-way street. A strong treaty would also help protect Indian investors and companies who are increasing their investments in the U.S.-including those here today.

Overall, this treaty could support market-based policies that provide greater stability and predictability for business leaders in both countries.

In short, it is clear, that investors and CEOs in both of our countries are at a critical moment in the U.S.-India relationship.

In the interactions this week between U.S. and Indian business executives, I have seen first-hand that we share the same values, the same concerns and the same desire to build growth and prosperity for our people.
While I know that you have many challenges, I believe that India-the world's largest democracy-can work to build one of the world's strongest business climates.

And my hope is that all of us can join together to send one very clear message. Our two democratic countries are serious global business leaders in the 21st century, and we are jointly committed to the principles of fairness, openness, transparency, and a level playing field.

In all of our efforts, we must continue to come to the table and exchange ideas on how we can broaden and deepen our relationship. As a simple sign of your commitment to that approach, I hope you join the U.S.-India Investors Forum if you haven't already.

Together, we can find, illuminate, and maximize win-win situations that benefit both the U.S. and India. If we are successful, our futures will indeed be bright, our people will indeed be prosperous, and the global economy, indeed, will be much stronger.

Thank you.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)

Lighting Up Rural Innovation in India

Studying at night was making Shailesh Upadhyay sick.

In the rural village in Gurera, India, where Upadhyay grew up, electricity was hard to come by. With only a few hours of electricity available during the day, Upadhyay had to study at night by the light of a kerosene lamp.

But Upadhyay had asthma and the kerosene's toxic fumes affected his breathing each night that he studied. He was forced to drop out of school.

Upadhyay was determined not to give up his studies, so he came up with a bright idea: use tractor batteries to power lamps. He designed a circuit board that channels energy from tractor batteries into compact fluorescent lamps, which are more energy-efficient than regular light bulbs.

With the help of his invention, Upadhyay was able to enroll in university and study engineering. When he mentioned his design to classmate Ujala Shanker, who also grew up in Gurera, the two co-founded Tractor-Factor, a venture to light homes in rural villages and help students study longer.

"Like me, many rural students struggle to progress in spite of their intelligence and enthusiasm," Upadhyay told Ashoka, a global organization that supports social entrepreneurs such as Upadhyay.

But their venture had many challenges. Upadhyay and Shanker first had to convince villagers to use the circuit. Many villagers were worried that taking power from a battery would lessen its life. However, they were surprised to learn that the circuit could actually extend battery life when used regularly. Villagers feared they would get a shock when they plugged in the wires. Through demonstrations, Upadhyay and Shanker showed that at only 12 volts, the gadget is very safe.

Students in Gurera started using Tractor-Factor's circuit. They were able to study longer, and the number of students passing their exams nearly doubled. Some 240,000 fewer liters of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere each month.

"Understanding the needs and affordability and fine-tuning the solution are the key," Upadhyay told Ashoka. "Being a good observer helps in identifying the difficulties and simplest ideas that could be of great impact."

Upadhyay and Shanker since have incorporated their idea into a larger project called Stitches, which aims to improve the socio-economic welfare of farmers. So far, they have helped more than 200 people across rural India. Their work has also helped Shanker obtain a fellowship to study for a master's degree at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in New York. Shanker will be the first person from Gurera to study in the United States.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)

Friday, March 30, 2012

India's industry leaders meet World Bank Group President Zoellick on tiger, biodiversity conservation

NEW DELHI, March 30, 2012 – The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) hosted a strategy session with World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick today at which industry leaders said they hoped to join efforts by the Government and civil society to protect natural habitats for wild tigers and conserve India’s threatened biodiversity.

“The Government of India’s experience and commitment to saving the tiger is already evident, so it is encouraging to see the country’s industry leaders willing to join forces to create an even stronger coalition to conserve the nation’s natural heritage,” Zoellick said. “Environmental sustainability is rapidly emerging as a key challenge for India and action to bring industry and others together helps illustrate that development need not be at the expense of conservation.”

The CEOs joined senior representatives of India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority, the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, IFC, the Global Tiger Initiative, and WWF India.

Mr Jamshyd Godrej, Past President , CII, said that "the current issues related to tiger conservation and protection of biodiversity actually stem from more fundamental issues related to ecological and environmental sustainability with many complex and cross cutting factors playing on each other At CII, we believe that business and industry should try and consciously follow a triple bottom-line approach i.e. the 3Ps of “people”, “profit” and “planet”. CII is actively engaged in promoting this concept amongst business and industry which is critical to our own survival, success of our businesses and long term economic growth." With regard to tiger conservation, Mr Godrej said that, "it was important to ensure not just the stability of the tiger population but to work out an institutional mechanism to increase it and this could then be a concrete goal that all stakeholders could work towards.”

According to Dr. Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority, India, who was also present at the Roundtable: “This dialogue would help flagging the concerns relating to tiger for “factoring” them in industrial practices where tiger conservation is not the goal.”

The need for more sophisticated planning of infrastructure and natural resource development was raised during the talks. Keshav Varma, Program Director for the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative, said: “India has experienced an accelerated loss of tiger habitat since the 1990 and as a result tigers are left in small and fragmented patches of wilderness across the country and on remote international borders. If the last patches of tiger and biodiversity-rich forest and wilderness are to be protected, we must enlist the support of industry to help keep critical habitats inviolate, adopt principles of smart green infrastructure, and use advanced spatial and zoning planning tools in tiger conservation landscapes to minimize development impacts to tiger conservation landscapes and critical wildlife corridors.”

Thomas Davenport, IFC’s Director for South Asia, said: “Private sector, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the World Bank and IFC can play a key role in identifying specific areas of collaboration, evolving a coordinated conservation agenda and helping implement it to raise awareness and protect and save the tiger.”

Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India, highlighted the negative impacts of industry on tiger habitats in India and across the tiger's range. He stressed the importance of business and industry recognizing these impacts and working with other partners to find innovative solutions to harmonize economic development and tiger conservation. “Given the imperative to conserve our remaining natural resources, businesses need to be sensitive to conservation values and take responsibility for sustainable development, natural heritage and tiger conservation seriously,” he said. "We see businesses coming together around this critical issue as a positive step.”

Among the 13 tiger range countries, India is home to by far the most tigers still living in the wild. Of the estimated 3,200 wild tigers remaining worldwide, about half are estimated to live here, according to the most recent census by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. While the population trend is encouraging, the actual land area of tiger habitat is decreasing and tiger corridors are under increasing threat.

Zoellick has taken personal interest in tiger conservation during his tenure at the World Bank Group. He launched the Global Tiger Initiative in 2008, which has convened high-level international stakeholders to spearhead policy reform in support of on-the-ground conservation efforts across tiger range countries, with the aim of doubling the overall population of wild tigers by 2022. The roundtable on tiger conservation with Indian industry and the private sector followed a similar meeting the World Bank Group President in February with regional business leaders in Singapore.

Today’s Roundtable generated strong enthusiasm among industry leaders, with agreement on: the need for coordinated strategies in planning infrastructure and natural resource development in and around environmentally-sensitive habitat, willingness to advance campaigns to raise awareness, especially among youth and young professionals, about conserving biodiversity and protecting the tiger, the desire to convene a business council that could flag areas of cooperation on wildlife and tiger conservation, as well as advise on industry’s role in raising awareness and in other initiatives.

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick
March 30, 2012
New Delhi, India
MR. ZOELLICK: Well I’d like to begin by thanking the Government and people of India for their very warm welcome and hospitality for my colleagues and me during this visit.
I especially want to thank Finance Minister Mukherjee, and ministers Ramesh and Chidambaram for our discussions over the past couple of days.
My prime reason for coming to India this time is to thank my colleagues and the government for their strong co-operation and support during my tenure as President of the World Bank since I’ll be stepping down at the end of June.
India and the World Bank Group have been exceptionally good partners during a time of financial turmoil and economic uncertainty.
But I also wanted to hear about India’s priorities going forward – the challenges and opportunities lying ahead – so as to ensure the momentum of the Bank’s successful engagement with India continues.
I’ve had meetings with the government as well as with private sector representatives, economists, civil society, and academics on topics as diverse as the economic outlook to strengthening India’s national markets, and India’s role in the region.
And I also met this morning with a group of business executives who are interested in our Global Tiger Initiative with the assistance of the Confederation of Indian Industry and the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
A clear message that I’ve heard over the past few days is that India would very much want the World Bank Group to remain decisively engaged in the country – at the Union level, at the state level and also with the cities.
During my time as Bank President, I’ve sought to put countries’ first. They’re our clients and I also firmly believe while it’s important for the Bank as a development institution to focus on the world’s poorest countries, that we’d leave a huge hole in development and a modernized multilateralism if we were not to support middle income countries.
Some two thirds of the people living under $2 a day are in so-called middle income countries. And an effective international system requires the World Bank Group to stay deeply engaged with countries such as India, because our value is not just money, but access to knowledge and our international reach and our ability to use those to leverage private financing.
Fast growing and influential countries such as India will in turn contribute to a stronger, better informed and more effective World Bank Group because India is a global player.
The World Bank Group will seek to offer India additional financing support as it embarks on its 12th Five Year Plan.
India is the largest client for the arm of the Bank which lends to middle income countries – that’s the IBRD. We’ve already moved to leverage additional support for India through the IBRD and we’re looking at making the case to support countries such as India in the transition of funding from IDA, the International Development Association, which is our fund for the poorest.
Today if you take the IBRD and IDA lending together, the World Bank has about $38.5 billion of credits to India. IFC, our private sector arm, has an additional $3.5 billion of investments – so in total that’s $42 billion.
We are also looking at leveraging additional funding through the private sector to help India meet its development needs, especially in the area of infrastructure. And public private partnerships can help India meet some of its huge needs.
As I mentioned, IFC our private sector arm has been very active. We forecast it’ll invest about $1 billion this year in India and our IFC team has built up their advisory services, particularly with India’s low income states where we’re trying to help design effective public private partnerships.
So the World Bank Group stands ready to support India as it strives for sustained growth, that’s inclusive and environmentally sustainable.
On Wednesday, I had an opportunity to visit Odisha and saw how the Bank is supporting India’s efforts to protect its environment and provide sustainable livelihoods for people through and integrated coastal management project. And IFC also provides advisory services in Odisha for public private partnerships.
I’m also pleased the Bank has been able, in past years, to partner with India in some of the transformational programs that have been launched – for example, from roads to freight corridors to cleaning up the Ganga River- which I saw on my last visit - and importantly to improve the lives of millions of rural women through the National Rural Livelihoods program.
On this visit, when I was in Odisha, I had an opportunity to meet more women who’ve benefitted from the rural livelihoods program. And that stop reminded me that just as important as the money that was received was the opportunities that they felt were now possible. One of the women told me that the greatest benefit of this program was opening her eyes to the world. Economic empowerment offers dignity and respect and those gains reach far beyond numbers. Later today, I’ll also meet with some women from SEWA – the Self Employed Women’s Association - where we – through the Bank and IFC have built a very strong partnership trying to finance some of their efforts.
So I close where I began – with thanks to India. The World Bank - through its financing and technology – can help India meet the challenges ahead and open up new opportunities for tens of millions of people. That is a fantastic opportunity.
But if you’ll permit me, I’ll also want to end with a note close to my colleague Roberto Zagha who’ll be leaving India later this year as our Country Director. He has done a fantastic job and his colleague Tom Davenport from IFC is also – with the strength of our Bank and IFC staff – has left a lot to be proud of here. They’ve really done a superb job. And yesterday I had a chance when in Chennai to thank Sunil Kumar and the some 400 support staff that we have brought together in Chennai because they keep us at the top of our game worldwide, whether it be with financial information technology or support operations. So thank you. I’m please to take your questions. 

Tata Interactive Systems recognized as a Global Top 20 Training Outsourcing Company for the Third Consecutive Year’s annual global survey reveals TIS’ supremacy in the Training Outsourcing industry.

30th March 2012, Mumbai: Tata Interactive Systems (TIS), a leading developer and pioneer of learning solutions, has featured in the list of Top 20 Training outsourcing companies in the annual evaluation undertaken by continually reviews training outsourcing service providers to help organizations make informed decisions about their training partners. The Top 20 list recognizes the leading training outsourcing companies for their high quality services and comprehensive capabilities. Selection to the Top 20 list is based on the following criteria:
· Industry visibility, innovation and impact
· Capability to deliver multiple types of training services
· Company size and growth potential
· Strength of clients
· Geographic reach
Kshitij Nerurkar, Chief Operating Officer at Tata Interactive Systems says, “TIS featuring among the Top 20 Training Companies of the world is proof of its continuous efforts towards excellence and setting new standards in training outsourcing. Over the last 22 years, leading global companies including over 60 of the Fortune 500, have trusted TIS to enable the success of their key organizational initiatives through its innovative learning solutions.”
“It is a matter of pride to us that TIS has received this accolade once again. TIS recently won 4 Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning awards for its innovative solutions. Such recognitions serve as a testimony of our ability to create innovative and quality learning solutions for clients across industries and our potential to scale even greater heights,” says Rajesh Jumani, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Tata Interactive Systems.
“The Top Training Outsourcing Companies continue to lead and be a source of innovation for the corporate training marketplace. These companies gather best practices through their experience across a wide base of excellent customers”, says Ken Taylor, Chief Operating Officer of Training Industry, Inc.
Since 1990 Tata Interactive Systems has developed more than 3000 hours of learning every year for over 60 Fortune 500 clients worldwide. TIS has provided strategic learning solutions to organizations across the corporate, education, and government segments.
© 2012 Tata Interactive Systems 

Italy needs anti-corruption watchdog

Transparency International report highlights weakness in state bodies, media independence

Italy needs an independent anti-corruption watchdog to hold the country’s politicians, public officials and institutions to account and enforce new measures, such as the anti-corruption law currently going through parliament, Transparency International said today in a new report.

The survey, the first to evaluate the effectiveness of Italy’s politics, public service, businesses and media in the fight against corruption, also says the country needs specific codes of conduct for members of parliament and an end to parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

Transparency International Italy said the reforms are necessary to restore integrity in public life and stabilise the economy. It called for greater sanctions for, and prevention of corruption, but also more public education about it.

“Without an anti-corruption law, watchdog, and code of conduct, Italy is behind other countries when it comes to fighting corruption. To catch up at a time when Europe and Italy are facing economic crisis, our country needs to reinstate a culture of integrity, of professionalism and respect for the public interest from our schools to the highest levels of government,” said Maria Teresa Brassiolo, head of Transparency International Italy.

“Of utmost importance is the credibility of political representatives and public servants, who must be chosen with the greatest care, and need to show absolute proof of their transparency.”

The report says Italy’s justice system and state auditor lead the way in fighting corruption. It says that creating a body responsible for investigating and enforcing anti-corruption laws would bring the country in line with international anti-corruption treaties from the United Nations and the Council of Europe. 89 per cent of Italians think sanctions for corruption are currently too weak, according to a recent EU survey.

Ranked 69th out of 183 countries, Italy is one of the worst performing EU countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures perceptions of public sector corruption.

Today’s report seeks to explain the structural problems underlying this score, looking at how institutions perform when it comes to transparency, accountability and integrity. Italy’s public sector is weakest with problems both in law and in practice including nepotism, lack of access to information and lack of oversight.

Corruption and the economic crisis

Transparency International Italy warned that these institutional problems are also responsible in part for the country’s economic crisis, with a mismanagement of resources a particular concern since the public sector manages resources equal to about the 55% of Italy’s Gross National Product (€800 billion in 2009).

“In recent years, Italy’s leaders have not done half as much as they should have to fight corruption,” said Brassiolo. “Their failure to act has left systems of accountability and control of public spending weak and expensive, leading to enormous waste. We see examples of this on an almost daily basis and it can no longer be accepted.”

The report also warns about lack of independence in the media, citing a “super concentration” of political influence in the sector.
Political parties, parliament and the executive also score poorly, weakened by conflicts of interest, impunity against sanctions as well as conflicts with other state institutions. Italians think that political parties are the most corrupt institution in their country, according to a 2010 Transparency International survey.

Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption
Transparency International is analysing the institutions of 25 European countries and their effectiveness in fighting corruption, a project part-funded by the European Commission.

The first Italian report of its kind, the National Integrity System report takes an in-depth look at Italy’s anti-corruption structures, comparing thirteen institutions and sectors: anti-corruption agencies, business, central electoral services, civil society, the court of auditors, executive power, judiciary, law enforcement, media, the ombudsman, parliament, political parties, and public administration.

Indonesia May Ask Foreign Miners to Offer Stake to Government

Indonesia may ask foreign investors that are majority owners of mining companies to sell shares to the government to comply with a law that lowers their ownership, an energy and mineral resources ministry official said.

If the government declines, the stake can be offered to state-owned or private companies, Fadli Ibrahim, head of the legal division at the directorate general of minerals and coal, told reporters in Jakarta today. The guidelines will be ready this year, he said.

“This is a preliminary draft,” Ibrahim said, without specifying when the regulation will be issued. “We still need inputs to perfect it.”

Indonesia wants a greater share of mining profits and has asked foreign holders of licenses to cut their stakes to 49 percent within 10 years of starting production, according to a decree signed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in February. A 2009 mining law mandated local ownership of at least 20 percent in ventures by the sixth year of production.

Shares can be offered through a tender if there is more than one bidder from among state or private companies, Ibrahim said.

Mining companies with majority foreign holders that plan to list on the stock exchange must complete the divestment before selling shares in an initial public offering, he said.

The regulation applies to companies with mining business licenses. Miners such as Vale SA (VALE5), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and Newmont Mining Corp. currently operate under contracts of work and need to apply for mining business licenses when their permits expire. 

- Umesh Shanmugam

Rio Tinto joins new iron ore trading network

Rio Tinto has become a member of the new China Beijing Metals Exchange (CBMX). The CBMX is an electronic trading platform that will provide participating members with an additional iron ore trading channel in the China market.

A signing ceremony was held in Singapore earlier today between senior officials of CBMX and Rio Tinto Iron Ore Asia, which markets iron ore on behalf of Rio Tinto to its Asian customers.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Asia president Alan Smith said “We welcome the development of CBMX as it gives us a new option for selling any available tonnes to China, over and above those already contracted. We look forward to the Exchange developing into a transparent, independent, efficient and sustainable iron ore trading platform supported by broad market participation.”

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange 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, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America. 

World Bank Nominee Calls for "Open, Inclusive World Bank"

This op-ed by President Obama's nominee to the World Bank presidency, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, was published in the March 29 issue of the Financial Times and posted on the U.S. Department of the Treasury website. There are no republication restrictions for use by U.S. embassies.

My Call for an Open, Inclusive World Bank
By Dr. Jim Yong Kim

We live in a time of historic opportunity. Today more people live in fast-growing economies than at any time in history, and development can take root anywhere - regardless of whether a country is landlocked, just emerging from conflict or oppression, large or small. If we build on this, we can imagine a world in which billions of people in developing countries enjoy increases in their incomes and living standards. Given our collective experiences, successes and resources, it's clear that we can eradicate global poverty and achieve in our lifetimes what for generations has been a distant dream.

My own life and work have led me to believe that inclusive development - investing in human beings - is an economic and moral imperative. I was born in South Korea when it was still recovering from war, with unpaved roads and low levels of literacy. I have seen how integration with the global economy can transform a poor country into one of the most dynamic and prosperous economies in the world. I have seen how investment in infrastructure, schools and health clinics can change lives. And I recognise that economic growth is vital to generate resources for investment in health, education and public goods.

Every country must follow its own path to growth, but our collective mission must be to ensure that a new generation of low and middle-income countries enjoys sustainable economic growth that generates opportunities for all citizens.

As co-founder of Partners in Health and director of the World Health Organisation's initiative to treat HIV/Aids, I will bring practical experience to the World Bank. I have confronted the forces that keep more than 1bn people trapped in poverty. I have worked in villages where fewer than 1 in 10 adults could read or write, where preventable diseases cut lives short and where lack of infrastructure and capital held back entrepreneurs. In all those villages, the local people knew where improvement was needed.

But for change to happen, we need partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society to build systems that can deliver sustainable, scalable solutions. And as we work for global prosperity, we must draw on ideas and experience from around the globe.
My message is simple: an era of extraordinary opportunity requires an extraordinary global institution. I want to hear from developing countries, as well as those that provide a big share of the resources to development, about how we can together build a more inclusive, responsive and open World Bank.

A more inclusive World Bank will have the resources to advance its core mission of poverty reduction. It will have a governance structure that provides legitimacy and fosters trust and confidence. The Bank has recently achieved a historic capital increase and begun an ambitious programme to modernise its operations. It has also taken important steps to increase the voting power and participation of developing countries. If I am entrusted with the responsibility of leading the World Bank, I shall ensure this continues. If the World Bank is to promote inclusive development, it must give developing nations a greater voice.

A more responsive World Bank must meet the challenges of the moment but also foresee those of the future. The World Bank serves all countries. My focus will be to ensure that it provides a rapid, effective response to their needs. I will come with an open mind and apply my medical and social-science training to take an evidence-based approach.

Finally, a more open World Bank must recognise it does not have all the answers and listen closely to its clients and stakeholders. I have led a world-renowned higher education institution and I will ensure that the World Bank provides a platform for the exchange of ideas. It is already working more closely with a diverse array of partners and it can build on these changes. The Bank has taken significant steps to become more transparent and accountable: it must continue on this path of openness.

Opportunity is nothing without action. In the coming weeks, I look forward to hearing the views of the World Bank's constituents - clients, donors, governments, citizens and civil society - as we forge a common vision to build an even stronger institution, prepared to meet the world's needs in the 21st century.

(The writer is president of Dartmouth College and the U.S. nominee for the presidency of the World Bank.)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)

BHP Billiton Iron Ore Leadership

30 March 2012
BHP Billiton today announced that its Iron Ore President, Ian Ashby, would be leaving BHP Billiton on 1 July 2012, after more than 25 years with the Company. Mr Ashby will be succeeded by Jimmy Wilson, currently BHP Billiton Energy Coal President.
BHP Billiton Group Executive and Chief Executive Ferrous and Coal, Marcus Randolph, said:
“Jimmy is a very experienced business leader who has more than 20 years’ experience with the Group. He will build on Ian’s successful leadership to continue to grow the Iron Ore business, while ensuring it continues to operate to world class standards. Jimmy’s background includes successful roles as President of the Energy Coal and Stainless Steel Materials business groups and he brings deep operating and project experience to his new role in Iron Ore. I know that he and his family are looking forward to returning to Perth.
“I would also like to thank Ian for his tremendous contribution to BHP Billiton during his 25 years with the Group. Under his leadership Iron Ore has become our largest and most profitable business. Ian will leave Iron Ore in excellent shape and with a bright future. His wisdom and experience will be missed, and we wish him all the best.”
To allow a smooth transition, Mr Wilson will join the Iron Ore team immediately. Energy Coal CFO, Andre Liebenberg, will assume the role of Acting President, Energy Coal. A separate announcement around a final decision on the Energy Coal President role will be made in due course.

Mechel Announces That It Is in Discussions With Its Lenders

Moscow, Russia – March 29, 2012 – Mechel OAO (NYSE: MTL), one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies, announces that it commenced discussions with its lenders seeking waivers and amendments to certain of its credit facilities.
As a result of prevailing market conditions and a corresponding decline in market prices for its products, it expects to breach certain financial covenants in certain of its credit facilities for the year ended December 31, 2011.
Mechel has hired financial and other advisors and is currently in discussions with its lenders to seek relevant waivers and amendments of these credit facilities. Although Mechel is confident about the positive outcome of these discussions, no assurance can be given regarding whether, or on what terms, it will be able to secure such waivers and amendments.
 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, ferrochrome, ferrosilicon, steel, rolled products, hardware, heat and electric power. Mechel products are marketed domestically and internationally.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Per Capita Income

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics and Programme Implementation Shri Srikant Kumar Jena has said that the Per Capita Income at current prices at the national level, stands at Rs. 60,972 in the year 2011-12, vis-à-vis Rs. 53,331 in the year 2010-11, showing an increase of 14.3% during last year. 

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha today he said, the details of State/UT-wise per capita income (Net State Domestic Product) at current prices, for the year 2010-11 and 2011-12, as compiled and provided by the Directorates of Economics & Statistics of the States/UTs, are given in the table at Annexure.

He said, this per capita income is an average of incomes of residents of all villages, towns and cities, and all persons in different occupation groups. Per capita income of several States is more than the national average. However, the regional imbalance and disparity among various States and UTs in the country is largely due to historical difference in initial conditions, natural resource endowments, level of industrialization and differences in human capital indicators viz. education, health, etc. Per capita income is only an indicator of disparity and not the cause.

Wi–Fi Facility in Trains 

Internet facility using Wi-Fi has been presently planned in three rakes of Howrah Rajdhani Express only, as a pilot project. It is a satellite based system using Wi-Fi for distribution of internet bandwidth in coaches and likely date for implementation of this system is September 25, 2012. The estimated implementation cost of the project is Rs. 6.30 crore. 

 This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri K. H. Muniyappa in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Record 53,922 MW Capacity Added During 11th Plan 

            There has been a record capacity addition of 53,922 MW till date during the 11th Five Year Plan, out of which 19,459 MW has been added in the current Financial Year, the highest ever capacity addition in a single year. This was stated by the Union Minister of Power Shri Sushilkukmar Shinde at a press conference in New Delhi today. The Minister outlined the achievements of Power Sector during the 11th Five Year Plan. The highlights are as follows:


Since power generation capacity is a continued challenge to the country if it has to achieve 8%+ rate of growth, hence, a lot of emphasis has been placed in the 11th Plan on the timely capacity addition. Thus -

·         There has been a record Capacity Addition of 53,922 MW in the 111th Plan as on 29.03.12. 

·         This is more than two and a half times of the achievement of 21,180 MW capacity addition in the 10th Plan. 

·         In fact, the capacity addition in the 11th plan is close to the total cumulative achievement of 56,617 MW in last 15 years from the 3 plans that is - 8th to 10th plan.

·         The total installed capacity is 1,92, 792 MW as on 29.03.12. 

·         Now 75,785 MW is planned for 12th Plan.

Similarly, the capacity addition of 19,459 MW in 2011-12 (upto 29.03.12) has been the highest ever capacity addition in a single financial year. In fact -

·         This capacity addition of 19,459 MW is 1.5 times more than the addition of 12,161 MW achieved last year (2010-11) and any of the years in the 11th Plan. 

·         In fact more than 4440 MW capacity has been added from 11 projects in just one month, that is, March 2012.

·         In addition to above, there are 5 projects totalling 1885 MW which are already synchronised and expected to be commissioned shortly. These projects are: Jajjhar,  Bhusawal Unit-5, Parichha, Kasaipalli, Balco.


Apart from capacity addition, specific emphasis has been laid to ensure efficient operation of plants so as to achieve higher generation. As a result of this, the generation achievements in the 11th plan have surpassed all previous records. Thus – 

·         In 2010-11, the generation was 811 Billion Units (BU).

·         This year’s target for electricity generation of 855BU has already been achieved on 23.3.12 that is, one week before the close of the year. 

·         By the end of March 2012, a total of 875 BU generation is expected to be achieved which would be about 8% higher than the last year’s achievement of 811BU.



·         World’s highest voltage line test station of 1200KV transmission line erected in partnership with 35 indigenous companies has been successfully tested at Bina, in Madhya Pradesh.

·         Transmission Line addition of 32,100 Circuit km has been achieved in the 11th Plan. This is highest so far for any period since the inception of PGCIL in 1989.

·         The Cumulative transmission line length created by PGCIL now is 91,651 ckms.

As regards Transformation Capacity addition by PGCIL, a record Capacity Addition of 52,665 MVA has been achieved in the11th Plan.  

·         This is close to total cumulative achievement of 59,415 MVA by PGCIL since its inception in 1989; 

·         Now the total installed transformation capacity installed by PGCIL is 1.12 lac MVA (Mega Volt Ampere).


·         In the 11th plan, there has been a record Inter-Regional transmission line carrying capacity addition of 11,800 MW. 

·         About 2000 MW of further transmission capacity is expected to be added by the end of March 2012. Thus a total of 13,800 MW of transmission capacity is expected to be added by the end of the 11th plan.

·         The cumulative transformation capacity available upto the end of 10th Plan was  14,100 MW.

·         In the 11th plan, the addition of 13,800 MW transmission capacity is almost equal to the total cumulative transmission capacity available at the end of the 10th plan (14,100 MW).    

·         70,239 Circuit Km (ckm) of transmission lines have been added in the 11th Plan. This is 1.5 times of the achievement of 46,138 ckm added in the 10th plan.

·         As of now, total cumulative transmission line length is about 2.68 lac ckm

·         Transformation Capacity addition:            Transformation capacity addition of 1.36 lac MVA  (Mega Volt Ampere) has been achieved in the 11th Plan. This is 1.8 times of the achievement of 75,696 MVA in the 10th plan.

·         The total installed transformation capacity is now about  3.94 lac MVA.


·         The Bharat Nirman target of electrification of 1 lac unelectrified villages and providing free electric connection to 1.75 crore BPL households has already been exceeded by achievement of electrification of 1,03,611 villages and 1.91 crore BPL households as on 22.3.2012.


·         The Central CPSUs like NTPC, etc. have been directed to ensure 100% electrification of households within 5 km radius of each and every power plant location. 

·         For this, 29 Projects costing about Rs 320 crs have been taken up.


·         9 super critical technology units with a total capacity of 6080 MW have been commissioned in the 11th plan – Adani, Mundra, Tata Mundra, Sipat,  Jhajjhar, etc.

·         24,000 MW of supercritical plants are now targeted for commissioning in the     12th plan.

·         World’s highest voltage line test station of 1200KV transmission line set up with indigenous technology has been successfully tested.

·         World’s longest +/- 800 kv HVDC multi-terminal bi-pole link of 2000 KM is under implementation from Biswanath Chairali in North Eastern region  to Agra in Western India.

·         Extensive use of Gas Insulated Sub-stations of 400 KV and 765KV levels have led to reduced land requirement of upto 50% - from 120 acres to 60 acres for 765KV substation and 60 acres to 30 acres for 400KV substation as compared to conventional air insulated substations. This will particularly benefit the setting up of high capacity substations in urban and hilly areas.

·         Extensive construction of 765 KV D/C lines has been done to enable large capacity transmission on the same right of way. This has also reduced the land requirement from 128 metres to 69 metres.


·         9479 MW capacity has been saved upto September, 2011 in the 11th plan and by end of March 12 a total of 10,758 MW is expected to be saved.  

·         2.6 crore CFL lamps  have been provided as part of the efforts to support and encourage efficient appliances for energy savings.


·         A National Electricity Fund has been created for providing interest subsidy on the loans to state / private utilities taken by them for distribution infrastructure strengthening.

·         In the first two years of the 12th plan, upto Rs 25,000 crores of investments are expected to be covered for strengthening of the distribution infrastructure.