July 15th, 2008
Prime Minister unveils India's National Action Plan on Climate Change
IIndia on June 30 unveiled its National Action Plan on Climate Change. Releasing the Action Plan in New Delhi, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that India would put solar energy generation at the forefront of its battle against climate change.
Excerpts from the Prime Minister speech:
"It is my pleasure to welcome you all on the occasion of the formal launch of India's National Action Plan on Climate Change. With this launch, the Government has fulfilled its solemn commitment to announce the National Plan by the middle of this year. This reflects the great importance we attach to mobilising our national energies and resources in meeting the challenge of climate change. Without a careful long-term strategy, climate change may undermine our development efforts, with adverse consequences, across the board, on our people's livelihood and the living standards.
Our people have a right to economic and social development and to discard the ignominy of widespread poverty. For this we need rapid economic growth. But I also believe that ecologically sustainable development need not be in contradiction to achieving our growth objectives. In fact, we must have a broader perspective on development. It must include the quality of life, not merely the quantitative accretion of goods and services. Our people want higher standards of living, but they also want clean water to drink, fresh air to breathe and a green earth to walk on. The National Action Plan we announce today really incorporates India's vision of sustainable development and the steps we must take to implement it and implement it effectively. The Plan encompasses a very broad and extensive range of measures. That is how it should be since the challenge we face is both complex and cross-cutting in nature.
Nevertheless, we have decided to focus our national energies on Eight National Missions which will be pursued as key components of our strategy for sustainable development. These include National Missions on Solar Energy, on Enhanced Energy Efficiency, on Sustainable Habitat, on Conserving Water, on Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, on creating 'Green India', on Sustainable Agriculture and finally, on establishing a Strategic Knowledge Platform for Climate Change. Our vision is to make India's economic development energy-efficient. Over a period of time, we must pioneer a graduated shift from economic activity based on fossil fuels to one based on non-fossil fuels and from reliance on non-renewable and depleting sources of energy to renewable sources of energy. In this strategy, the sun occupies centrestage, as it should, being literally the original source of all energy."
Edinburgh hosts Commonwealth Law Ministers Meet
The Meeting of Commonwealth Law Ministers was held in Edinburgh from July 7-10. The meeting was officially inaugurated by Rt. Hon'ble Alex Fergusson, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, at the Holyrood (seat of the Scottish Parliament) on July 7.
Hon'ble Minister for Law and Justice of India H.R. Bhardwaj accompanied by Law Secretary T.K. Vishwanathan represented India at the meeting.
The meeting's agenda was wide ranging, covering all important issues of law and justice, especially the rule of law. A special session of the Law Ministers Meeting was held on July 8 to deliberate on the theme 'The Developing Role of the Justice Minister in the Light of Challenges Facing the Rule of Law in the Commonwealth'.
The Indian Minister was one of the panelists at the discussion.
Speaking at the Ministerial Session of the meeting, the Indian Law Minister highlighted the role of independent judiciary, the financial autonomy of the judiciary, the role of the Attorney-General and other law officers. "India has an excellent track record in the promotion of the rule of law. In fact, the Indian judiciary has taken the lead in amplifying the concept of rule of law expounded by the celebrated expert A.V. Dicey in the last century as an antithesis of arbitrariness," he said.
The Meeting of Commonwealth Law Ministers issued a final communiqué of the meeting on July 10.
The meeting also issued the "Edinburgh Statement on the Rule of Law" and the "Action Plan of the Edinburgh Meeting of the Commonwealth Law Ministers". During the meeting, both sides discussed opening India's market to British legal firms and according mutual recognition to legal qualifications obtained from either country.
India is the largest member country with 60 percent of the total population of the Commonwealth and has been contributing positively to its activities.
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Record crop production
India's food grain production as per the fourth Advance Estimates of Crop Production for 2007-08 is estimated at 230.67 million tonnes. The total food grain production includes rice production at 96.43 million tonnes, wheat at 78.40 million tonnes, coarse cereals at 40.73 million tonnes, pulses at 15.11 million tonnes and oilseeds at 28.82 million tonnes, according to a report released on July9 by Agriculture Secretary P.K. Mishra.
Laptops sales rising
Laptop sales are rising in India, which now accounts for over 25 percent of the total personal computer (PC) market, an industry body said on July 8. The Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT) said in its Industry Performance Review 2007-08 that note-books were now affordable and that the new models had enhanced security features besides other in-built accessories.
MAIT executive director Vinnie Mehta said laptop notebooks account for a quarter of the total PC market in the country, up from less than 3 percent four years ago.
"With shifting consumer preference in favour of notebooks over the desktop, this proportion will only get larger with time. It accounts for over 25 percent of the total PC market in 2007-08," Mehta said.
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PE deals in QI leap 50%
Private equity (PE) investments clocked $2.8 billion in the first quarter of the current financial year, an increase of 50 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2007-08. This is even as the PE deal activity in terms of number of deals have gone up only marginally. The biggest investment this year has been made by Aditya Birla Telecom, a subsidiary of mobile telephone services provider Idea Cellular, which raised $640 million from Providence Equity Partners. The first three months of financial year 2009 has registered 77 deals as against last year when 74 deals worth $1.9 billion were signed during the first quarter, according to Venture Intelligence which tracks private equity and venture capital sector in India. Telecom, infrastructure, power and healthcare sectors have seen the most number of deals last quarter besides attracting the big-ticket investments.
Area under crop cultivation up
Total area under rice cultivation in India has risen to 9.2 million hectares from 8.6 million hectares a year ago, official figures show. The latest data with the Agriculture Ministry shows an increase in the area under rice, maize, bajra, soybean, and jute cultivation, while there is a remarkable decline in the acreage for cotton and sugarcane.
Official figures pertaining to the July 11 cut-off showed maize, bajra, and soybean were being cultivated in 3.3 million hectares, 3.7 million hectares, and 5.39 million hectares respectively.
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