Shri Alok Kumar Verma Appointed as New CBI Director

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Shri Alok Kumar Verma as the new CBI Director. His appointment will be for a period of two years from the date of assumption of charge of his office.

Shri Alok Kumar Verma, currently Delhi Police commissioner, is a 1979 batch Indian Police Service officer of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.


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Consultative Committee on Minority Affairs Discusses Functioning of National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation

The Consultative Committee meeting of the Ministry of Minority Affairs was held. The topic for discussion was Functioning of National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC). The Meeting was chaired by Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister for Minority Affairs (IC) and Parliamentary Affairs.
A presentation was made before the Consultative Committee on the functioning of National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation. The Committee reviewed the progress made in the implementation of NMDFC schemes.
Maulan Asrarul Haque Mohammad (Permanent Special invitee) (from Lok Sabha) made some suggestions including enhancement of fund for micro finance, so that more women could be benefitted and organizing awareness camps at district level. Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi thanked the member for his valuable suggestions and assured him that all possible efforts will be made for their implementation.


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State visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day 2017 (24-26 January, 2017)

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of United Arab Emirates is visiting India as the Chief Guest for the 2017-Republic Day celebrations from 24-26 January 2017. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Ministers, senior officials and captains of industry.
During the visit, the visiting dignitary would call on Rashtrapatiji Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari and would hold discussions with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest.
This is the second visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India since February 2016. Following the landmark visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to UAE in August 2015, the two countries have agreed to elevate the mutually beneficial relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
India and UAE enjoy warm, close and multi-faceted relations underpinned by cultural, religious and economic linkages. The two countries have been amongst each other’s top trading partners with a well-balanced bilateral trade of about US$ 50 billion in 2015-16. UAE is among the top investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments. It contributes significantly to India's energy security and is the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2015-16.
About 2.6 million strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in UAE. Their positive and well-appreciated contribution in the development of their host country has been an important anchor of our excellent bilateral engagement.


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COAS Felicitates National Bravery Awardees

The Minister announced annual awards for the best Innovators at NIC
National Informatics Centre (NIC) kicked off the National Meet on Grassroot Informatics – VIVID:  Weaving a Digital India, at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi today.

The three-day event was inaugurated by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, GoI in the presence of Shri P. P. Chaudhary, Hon’ble MoS for Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, GoI, Ms Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Dr. Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Ms. Neeta Verma, Director General, NIC and Ms. Rama Nagpal, Deputy Director General, NIC.

Speaking at the occasion, Chief Guest Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “NIC is the technological bridge of India and is best placed to lead the way for a Digital India that the honorable Prime Minister envisaged. I would urge the District Information Officers (DIOs) to be innovative and proactive. NIC must adopt a transformative approach to make a difference at the grassroots level. I appeal NIC to connect with the Common Service Centres (CSCs), who have successfully provided training on digital payment systems to over 1.96 crore of rural citizens and 6.15 lakhs of merchants.” 

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the Government’s plan to set up a Government Security Operation Centre and a Data Centre for Cloud in Bhopal.

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad also announced that the Government is going to enhance the infrastructure of district NIC offices to international standards. As a pilot project, 150 District NIC offices would be upgraded during the period 2017-18, while rest will follow soon. He further instructed the ministry to develop a training module for the NIC officials to keep pace with the ever evolving technologies. He also announced the introduction of annual awards for the DIOs of the NIC for taking up exemplary innovative approach in their respective districts. The top three best innovators will get a reward of Rs. 2,00,000, Rs. 1,00,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.

Lauding the efforts of NIC, Guest of Hounor Shri P. P. Chaudhary said, “The threshold of the year 2017 will always be remembered for heralding in several transformative changes to benefit the economy as well to the citizens, amongst them the Digital India initiative has been the most significant one. I must congratulate NIC and DIOs for playing a pivotal role in preparing the country for a successful Digital transformation of our ecosystem.

NIC today also introduced two new portals - District Collector’s Dashboard and NIC Service Desk, which were launched by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad and Shri P. P. Chaudhary respectively.

The National Meet on Grassroot Informatics is aimed at showcasing the various initiatives of NIC in creating and enhancing the Digital Infrastructure in the country. Some of these are - setting up of ICT infrastructure, developing state of the art products to enable the government and empower the citizens, its initiatives at state and district level along the lines of Digital India initiatives along with the various awareness campaigns on Digital Payment Systems encompassing DBT, PFMS, Cashless Payment, Aadhaar etc.

The individual sessions during these three days would throw lights on NIC’s journey so far, the best practices it follows, the Digital India programme, Digital India initiatives from NIC State Units, success stories from the districts, Financial Inclusion, its technology awareness programmes and ICT Infrastructure being provided by NIC.

(L-R: ) Dr. Ajay Kumar, Addl. Secretary, DeitY, Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, MeitY, Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, Sh. P. P. Chaudhary, Hon’ble MoS, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice and Ms Neeta Verma, Director General, NIC at the NIC National Meet on Grassroot Informatics – VIVID:  Weaving a Digital India, at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi today.

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Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Subhash Bhamre visits Republic Day NCC Camp-2017

The Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre has highly commended the role of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) in propagating the ideals of secularism, national integration, selfless service and generating patriotic values amongst the youth of the nation. He also lauded the efforts of the cadets to make the organisation a cohesive, disciplined and vibrant one synonymous with ‘unity in diversity and the spirit of a secular and united India.’ 

Speaking on the occasion of NCC Republic Day Camp-2017 at Cariappa Parade Ground, Delhi Cantt, today, the Minister appreciated the NCC in carving a niche for itself as a unique organisation in nation building and grooming future leaders. He said the recent initiatives undertaken by the Director General NCC (DGNCC) in making the NCC an elective subject in schools and colleges, are progressive steps in the right direction. Complimenting the achievements made by the NCC cadets, he specially mentioned the successful scaling of Mt Everest by the Girl Cadets. Dr. Bhamre also noted with pride the efforts of the NCC cadets to spread awareness on the benefits and modalities of cashless transactions in society.

Earlier on arrival, the Minister was received by DGNCC Lt. Gen. Vinod Vashisht and other senior officers. He was given a Guard of Honour by the three wings of the Army, Navy and Air Force contingents, and thereafter was presented a fine band display. 
           
Dr. Bhamre also visited the ‘Hall of Fame’, which has an archival collection of alumni photographs, models and other achievements of the NCC. The versatile NCC cadets then presented a colourful cultural programme comprising group dances and ballet, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the nation.

The Republic Day Camp is being attended by 2068 cadets including 696 girl cadets specially selected from 17 Directorates covering all the States and Union Territories and foreign cadets from 10 friendly foreign countries under the NCC Youth Exchange Programme.



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CCI imposes penalty on bidders for cartelisation in tenders of Indian Railways

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed penalties on three firms for bid rigging of tenders floated by Indian Railways for procurement of Brushless DC fans in the year 2013.
A final order has been passed by CCI in a case taken up suo moto under Section 19 of the Competition Act, 2002 (‘the Act’) based on the information received from Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi.  
CCI has held that the firms had shared the market by way of allocation of tenders of Indian Railways for Brushless DC fans amongst themselves under an agreement/ arrangement and indulged in bid rigging/ collusive bidding in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3)(c) and 3(3)(d) read with Section 3(1) of the Act. The anti-competitive conduct of the firms has been established based on exchange of rates to be quoted in upcoming tenders amongst the errant firms, numerous calls amongst the key persons of these firms before and during the period of the tenders and admission by one of the firms which confirmed and revealed the existence and modus operandi of the cartel.  
Accordingly, a penalty of Rs. 2.09 crores, Rs. 62.37 lakhs and Rs. 20.01 lakhs and was imposed on the firms M/s Western Electric and Trading Company, M/s Pyramid Electronics and M/s R. Kanwar Electricals respectively in terms of proviso to Section 27 (b) of the Act. While imposing penalty, Commission took into consideration all the relevant factors including the duration of the cartel, volume of the tender affected by the cartel and value thereof and decided to impose penalty on M/s Pyramid Electronics and M/s Western Electric and Trading Company calculated at 1.0 time of their profit respectively in the year 2012-13 and on M/s R. Kanwar Electricals at the rate of 3 percent of its turnover for the year 2012-13.  
Additionally, considering the totality of facts and circumstances of the case, penalty was also imposed on persons-in charge of the three firms i.e., Shri Sandeep Goyal of M/s Pyramid Electronics, Shri Ashish Jain of M/s R. Kanwar Electricals and Shri Ramesh Parchani of M/s Western Electric and Trading Company at the rate of 10 percent of the average of their income for the last three preceding  financial years.  
CCI had received an application under Section 46 of the Act read with Regulation 5 of the Competition Commission of India (Lesser Penalty) Regulations, 2009 from M/s Pyramid Electronics. This application was received when the investigation in the matter was in progress and the report from the DG was pending.   
Considering the co-operation extended by M/s Pyramid Electronics in conjunction with the value addition provided by it in establishing the existence of cartel and the stage at which it had approached CCI, it was granted 75 percent reduction in the penalty than would otherwise have been imposed, had it not cooperated with the Commission. Accordingly, the penalty imposed on M/s Pyramid Electronics was reduced to Rs. 15.59 lakhs and penalty imposed on Shri Sandeep Goyal was reduced to Rs. 11,648 only.


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CCI imposes penalties on cement companies for bid-rigging

The Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) has imposed penalties on 7 cement companies for bid rigging of a tender floated by the Director, Supplies & Disposals, Haryana, in the year 2012, for procurement of cement to be supplied to Government Departments/ Boards/ Corporations in the State of Haryana. 
A final order has been passed by CCI pursuant to a reference filed under Section 19(1)(b) of the Competition Act, 2002 (‘the Act’) by the Director, Supplies & Disposals, Haryana. 
 CCI has held that the cement companies, through their impugned conduct, have engaged in bid-rigging, in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3)(d) read with Section 3(1) of the Act, which eliminated and lessened competition and manipulated the bidding process in respect of the impugned tender. The bid-rigging has been established from quoting of unusually higher rates in the impugned tender (than rates quoted in tenders of previous years), determining different basic prices for supply of cement at the same destination through reverse calculation, quoting of quantities in the impugned tender such that the total bid quantity almost equalled the total tendered quantity, quoting of rates for the districts in a manner that all cement companies acquired L1 status at some of the destination(s) etc. The anti-competitive conduct was re-affirmed through SMS exchanged and calls made amongst the officials of the cement companies.  
 Accordingly, penalty of  Rs. 18.44 crore, Rs. 68.30 crore, Rs. 38.02 crore, Rs. 9.26 crore, Rs. 29.84 crore, Rs. 35.32 crore and Rs. 6.55 crore has been imposed upon Shree Cement Limited, UltraTech Cement Limited, Jaiprakash Associates Limited, J.K. Cement Limited, Ambuja Cements Limited, ACC Limited and J.K. Lakshmi Cement Limited. The penalty has been levied @ 0.3% of the average turnover of the cement companies of preceding three years. While imposing penalties, Commission took note of potential delay which would have occurred in the execution of public infrastructure projects due to cancellation of the impugned tender. At the same time, due consideration was given to factors such as peculiarity of the tender process which created uncertainty in procurement, total size of the impugned tender and competition compliance programmes put in place by some companies while determining the quantum of penalty.  
The cement companies have been directed to cease and desist from indulging in the acts/ conduct which have been held to be in contravention of the provisions of the Act. 
 A copy the CCI’s order passed in Ref. Case No. 05 of 2013 has been uploaded on the website of CCI at www.cci.gov.in


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