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Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

September 1st, 2008

India putting in place national knowledge network: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said his government is putting in place a national network to facilitate sharing of knowledge and information among higher educational institutions of the country."We are putting in place an Integrated National Knowledge Network that would have nodes to all major institutions of higher education and learning," Manmohan Singh said in his speech at a function in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, Assam. "This network would help our institutions of higher learning to connect with each other and carry on the relevant interdisciplinary dialogue," he added.

Excerpts from the Prime Minister's speech:
"I believe it was Sir Winston Churchill who once said that empires of the future are going to be the empires of the mind. And whenever I visit the institutions of higher level such as the IIT, I feel that our country is on the road to conquer or becoming part of the empire of the mind. The IIT represent the best of the platters in our country, both in terms of the faculty and in terms of students that they attract. The IITs have served our country with great distinction. But I sincerely believe that the best is yet to come.

The Indian Institutes of Technology represent in our country the highest traditions of academic excellence not only in India but all over the world. They are the laboratories of the software revolution in our country and owe their existence to the pioneering vision of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

We live in a world where human knowledge particularly scientific and technological knowledge is growing at an exponential pace and everywhere there is a recognition that the pace at which a country requires must be more than science and technology is going to be the principle determining of the wealth of the nation.

Therefore, your creativity, your contribution to the growing stock of human knowledge is a critical determinant of our place in the comity of nations.

We are one of youngest nations in the world and according to observers India has the potential to create over 500 million trained people by the year 2020. That would be over a fourth of the global workforce, so I have been told. This big and unique opportunity for India will come from an education revolution that we must undertake as our most important national endeavour.

Our government's effort has been to create the next big wave of investment in higher education and the 11th Five Year Plan, now under implementation, is basically a knowledge investment plan. We have significantly increased allocations to the education sector with a five-fold increase to an unprecedented Rs. 2,750 billion.

Our government is doing its very best. We are fully committed to fulfilling all our ambitious plans and targets for educational development in the country. But this will not be enough if we are to tackle the enormity of the problem and the opportunities that lie before us. We need to work in close partnership with the corporate sector, non-governmental entities and community organisations. We need to facilitate creative partnerships between the public and private sectors in the field of education including higher education.

Many eminent educational institutions all over the world are now partnering with industry to set up collaborative knowledge partnerships in their campuses. These are to the mutual advantage of both industry and academia. The knowledge industry is driven more and more by innovation and that innovation is incubated in institutions of higher learning and research."

India signs International Coffee Agreement, 2007


His Excellency Mr. Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom signed the International Coffee Agreement, 2007 on August 28 at International Coffee Organisation (ICO) headquarters in London, in the presence of ICO Executive Director, Dr. Nestor Osorio.

International Coffee Agreement, 2007, the seventh since 1962, is an important instrument for development cooperation and will provide the legal framework for core activities in the coffee sector.

The Preamble to the new Agreement specifically acknowledges the contribution of a sustainable coffee sector to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly with respect to poverty eradication.


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ONGC to invest Rs. 4.5 billion

State-run hydrocarbon major Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on August 25 said its board had approved spending Rs.4.5 billion 104.65 million) to enhance its exploration and production capabilities.

The board has approved refurbishing its offshore drilling rig Sagar Ratna at a cost of Rs.4.2 billion. The repair work will be carried out by Hindustan Shipyard Ltd.

The board has also approved a proposal to hire a consultant through international bidding for acquiring or constructing a floating production and storage offloading (FPSO) vessel at a cost of Rs.268 million.

Rs. 716 bn direct tax collected

The Finance Ministry on August 20 announced that the direct tax collection between April and July this year amounted to Rs.716.48 billion, and said it was an indication of "a buoyant economy".

"The total direct tax collection during April-July 2008 is Rs.716.48 billion as against an amount of Rs.487.56 billion during the last corresponding period, and translates into a robust growth rate of 46.95 percent," the Ministry said in a statement. "The robust growth of direct tax collections by 47 percent in April- July 2008 is rather an indication of a buoyant economy," it said.

The total direct tax collection of India, Asia's third-largest economy after China and Japan, comprises mainly advance tax payments, tax deducted at source, self-assessment tax payments, and post-assessment tax collections.

At the level of the taxpayer, advance tax payments and tax deducted at source are substitutes and inversely related to each other, that is, if the tax deducted at source (TDS) is high, a relatively smaller amount is payable as advance tax. During April-July, the TDS on payments received by companies increased to Rs.221.28 billion from Rs.137.82 billion in the last corresponding period.

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Record in subscriber base

According to The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India saw the highest ever increase in mobile subscriber base in July, when it added 9.22 million new subscribers, taking the total user base to 296.08 million in the country. In June, the number of new users was 8.94 million. A private player commented that the possibility of 10-million mobile user additions was now quite strong.

The overall tele-density in July 2008 was 29.08 percent, against 28.33 percent in June.

The number of telephone connections totalled 334.84 million at the end of July 2008, against 325.78 million in June 2008. The overall wireless subscriber (GSM, CDMA and WLL-F) base was 296.08 million in July, compared to 286.86 in June while the broadband subscribers' base touched 4.57 million in July, against 4.38 million in June.

On the other pages

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India Pakistan Sri Lanka Bangladesh UK

Indian News, Pakistan News, Sri Lanka News, Bangladesh News

India:Rupee gains 20 paise vs dollar; Sensex up 126 points.


Pakistan:Pakistan welcomes IMF $6.7bn lifeline

Sri Lanka:LankaClear posts Rs 189 m PAT


Bangladesh:GDP growth rises to 6.18pc, per capita income $ 1044 

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