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December 2006 - January 2007

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Abdul Kalam praises RSS veteran Nanaji Deshmukh

According to IANS report from New Delhi, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam lavished praise on veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Nanaji Deshmukh, commending to the nation the litigation-free model of resolving disputes he had devised.

  This model had ensured that the 80 villages around Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh where Deshmukh is based, 'are almost litigation-free', the president noted while delivering the 12th Justice Sunanda Bhadare Memorial Lecture here on 'Judiciary and its multi-dimensions'.

  'In Chitrakoot, I met Nanaji Deshmukh and his team members belonging to the Deendayal Research Institute (DRI). DRI is a unique institution developing and implementing a village development model which is most suited for India,' the president said.

  'Apart from all the development activities, the institute is facilitating a cohesive conflict free society. As a result of this, I understand that the 80 villages around Chitrakoot are almost litigation-free.

'The villagers have unanimously decided that no dispute will find its way to court. The differences will be sorted out amicably in the village itself. The reason given by Nanaji Deshmukh is that if the people fight among each other, they have no time for development,' the president added.

'I consider that this model may be propagated in many parts of the country by societal organisations, judicial organisations and government,' Kalam contended.

Is there No Solution to Sealing Businesses in Delhi?

Trade and business in Delhi has almost come to standstill due to incompetence and corruption of the members of the Delhi Munipal Corporation and the Government of Delhi.

The proactive role of the Supreme Court in the ‘sealing saga’ is not to the liking of Sheila Dixit, Delhi’s chief minister and other ministers and MLAs belonging to Congress party.

Now they want the intervention of prime minister Manmohan Singh. Running of illegal businesses in residential premises had been going on for the last fifty years. Delhi has expanded haphazardly duriing this time. Now the Delhi Government is pleading before the Prime Minister for an early implementation of the “Delhi Master Plan 2021” so that some relief could be given to traders and businesses in Delhi.

Parveen Khandelwal, sec. gen. of Confederation of All India Traders agrees that the Central government should evolve a comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation of the affected traders. Otherwise, “We will be back to square one position when the extended deadline of January 31 is expired.”

Meanwhile, the MCD is going on with the unpleasant task of sealing premises in various residential areas of Delhi.

Cooperation between UK and India over terrorism and Climate

Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary and newly appointed, India’s External Affairs Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee held “constructive discussions” on a wide range of bilateral and global issues, including counter-terrorism, climate change and enhancement of the already strong economic ties between the two countries.

Margaret Beckett, who was recently on a six-day visit to India told reporters that bilateral relationship between the two countries has never been better. The relationship has now been underpinned by strong business ties. She stressed that new steps have to be taken by the two countries in sharing information to avert terrorist attacks on mass transit system. Mr Mukherjee pointed that that both countries are ‘victims of terrorism’ and would further enhance their ongoing cooperation in contering terrorism - “the biggest menace to world peace in post Cold War world”.

Describing India as an important and powerful emerging economy, beckett underlined the need to confront the global challenge of climate change and sought more informal dialogue with India on this issue.

India’s foreign direct investment in Britain is more than that of Britain’s in India and has exceeded $1 billion.

Agenda for Pravasi Divas - January 2007

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is to be held in New Delhi from January 7 to January 9. This year the focus will be on investment, education and also an inter-active meeting of MPs of Indian origin from different countries.

Said Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, “The Indian diaspora has grown in number and in clout. We want them to belong to India and be a part of the country’s progress and development.” He confirmed that the meeting will also concentrate on women’s issues. How can diaspora help in revamping theeducation infrastructure will be discussed.

Indo-US Nuclear Deal ratified by the senate

Democrats-controlled US Senate ratifed the Bill incorporating Indo-US by an overwhelming majority of 85-12. The Bill will now go to a join conference of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is hoped that by January the bill will be passed ready for ratification by the President.

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s Visits India

Beijing is vigorously pushing New Delhi to sign a bilateral free trade agreement and grant “market economy “ status to China. The Chinese government has said that it was satisfied with the progress of border talks with India. Recently there have been some problems regarding Arunachal pradesh. The Chinese ambassador to India insisted that Arunachal was a “disputed area” and there need to be discussions on it. Although the Chinese government played it down by saying that it was the ‘strategic goal’ of the two countries to find an early solution to the boundary issue.

Boost to Indo-Belgium Trade

Belgium is strongly wooing Indian companies to invest in the country by easing work permit requirements. It is going to allow ‘knowledge workers’, that is anyone with a master’s degree working in a research department to work in the country without a work permit. Accordin to the Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, just a working visa may suffice to work in Belgium. Trade between India and Belgium currently stands at 15.5% of the total EU-India trade. The ‘Festival of India’ in Brussels will further increase Indo-Belgian trade.

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