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December 1, 2007

Cambridge launches Manmohan Scholarship

In a unique honour accorded to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, his Cambridge alma mater, St. John's, launched a scholarship in his name, in New Delhi on November 27, to help spot and develop potential Indian leaders in the fields of science and technology, economics and the social sciences.

Speaking at a function at his residence where Professor Christopher M. Dobson, Master of St. John's, announced the scholarship scheme, the Prime Minister said it was a sentimental journey for him as he recalled his days as a young student in Cambridge University.

"As I said at St. John's last year, 'Cambridge made me.' The values, the ideals and the discipline instilled in me at Cambridge have lasted through my life," he said. The Dr. Manmohan Singh Scholarships have been instituted by St. John's, one of the pre-eminent colleges of Cambridge University, in areas such as science, technology and social sciences. Singh studied economics at St. John's in the late 1950s.

Recalling the heady days of intellectual ferment when he was a student at St. John's, Singh said that Cambridge will have "a special place in the hearts and minds of Indians".

The Prime Minister recalled the illustrious company of his fellow students like Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and the late Mehboob-ul-Haq, former finance minister of Pakistan, during his Cambridge days.

"To be honoured in this manner by such a great institution is more than I can ask for and certainly more than what I had dreamt of," the Prime Minister said.

Always proud of his humble origins, Singh did not miss the chance to mention the inclusive vision that animates his government. "Scholarships are an important means of making education available to all sections of society," he said.

"My life is a living example of what scholarships can do for those who come from less privileged sections of society," he said. "I spent the first 10 years of my life in a village without electricity, without any modern infrastructure," he recalled.

The Prime Minister spoke about raising the number of scholarships, especially for children and youth from the less privileged sections of society.

Continued on page 2

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London Mayor visits India

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, arrived in New Delhi on November 18, on a six-day visit to India, to strengthen bilateral ties between India and Britain, especially in business, tourism, education and cinema.

Accompanying the Mayor, was a group of top business, tourism and sports executives, which included Sebastian Coe and Paul Deighton, the main organisers of the 2012 London Olympic Games, NRI businessman Raj Loomba and TV presenter Myleene Klass. Peter Kenyon, chief executive of Chelsea Football Club and Jitesh Gadhia, the ABN Amro banker who advised Tata Steel on its $8-billion acquisition of Britain's Corus Group Plc in 2006, Christopher Rees, partner and co-head of the TMT Group and Phillip Bouverat, director of Major Accounts, JCB, were also part of the Livingstone's delegation.

Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London, Peter Hendy, Commissioner for Transport, and James Bidwell, Chief Executive of Tourism, also accompanied Livingstone.

At New Delhi, Livingstone lauded the efforts of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the tree plantation programme, which he said, "is transforming the local environment".

"In London, where we face catastrophic hot summers, where thousands of people die of heat, we need to actually see similar programmes there," he said.

Livingstone said that he was planning to introduce an "air quality zone" that would cover the whole of London, to reduce and gradually stop polluting vehicles from coming in.

On the issue of global security, Livingstone said, "Both Delhi and London will always be target for terrorists, huge security issues that we share."

Continued on page 2

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Kamalesh Sharma is new Commonwealth Secy-Gen

India's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Kamalesh Sharma, was elected Secretary-General of the 53-nation Commonwealth on November 24, in what is seen as a major diplomatic coup by India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who participated in the process with other heads of state, said he was delighted at the decision and expressed confidence that Sharma would acquit himself well in his higher responsibility as the first servant of the Commonwealth.

Sharma's main contender for the post was the Foreign Minister of Malta, Michal Frendo.

Outgoing Secretary-General Don McKinnon, a former New Zealand foreign minister, announced that Sharma was the unanimous choice of the Commonwealth, a grouping of English-speaking countries that works on the principle of consensus. Sharma takes over on April 1, 2008.

"I would like to express my gratitude to all the leaders for the responsibility and trust they have given me to carry forward the task of the commonwealth," said Sharma. "It is an honour and privilege to serve this great institution."

Addressing a press conference after his election, Sharma said as Secretary-General at the Commonwealth, he would vigorously pursue collective solutions for collective global problems, especially those affecting the developing nations.

Sharma said he would attempt to build further solidarity among developing nations and work towards a consensus on some of the most pressing issues faced by them.

Continued on page 2

KP world's richest property czar

A booming stock market is propelling Indians into the list of the world's richest people. With a net worth of $35 billion, K.P. Singh, CEO of the New Delhi-based DLF Group, is the world's richest real estate developer, according to the Forbes list of 40 richest Indians. L.N. Mittal of ArcelorMittal remains the richest Indian with a net worth of $51 billion. Mukesh Ambani comes a close second with $49 billion, while younger brother Anil is the third-richest Indian with $45 billion. Among the four of them, their combined wealth is $180 billion.

If the Indian stock market had reached the levels it is at today in March 2007, when Forbes compiled its annual list of the world's richest people, then, says the magazine, these four people would have been among the Top 10.

14 world-class varsities to come up

With a thrust on improving the standard of higher education, the Indian government is working on a proposal to set up 14 "world class universities" across the country as soon as possible. A blueprint is being prepared by the HRD Ministry and the Planning Commission to set out the criteria for such universities, which will have a business management school, an engineering college, a medical college and a law college in a single campus.

500 new airports planned

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has said that the government has plans to touch up 100 operational airports by 2008 and create at least 500 small and big airports across the country. During Patel's tenure, the number of operational airports in the country has gone up from close to 40 in 2004 to 81 at present. Calling the aviation sector a 'sunrise economy', Patel said around $150 billion was expected to be invested in the aviation sector.

124 mt steel output by 2011

Steel production in the country is set to go up to 124 million tonnes (mt) by 2011-12, beating an earlier official estimate of 80 mt by a wide margin. The new estimate does not include capacities being planned by two of the biggest global names in the steel sector - ArcelorMittal and Posco. India's steel production, which stood at 50.8 mt in 2006-07 against a production capacity of 56.8 mt, has been growing at 15 percent in the first half of the current year.

YRS lays stone for uranium plant

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on November 20 laid the foundation stone for a Rs. 11.06-billion uranium mining and processing plant in Thummalapalle in Kadapa district, which is expected to boost nuclear power generation in the country. This will be the second uranium plant in the country, after Jaduguda in Jharkhand.

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