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Indians Feature in Forbes Asia's Heroes of Philanthropy List


Seven Indians feature in Forbes Asia's ninth Heroes of Philanthropy list, highlighting most noteworthy contributions to philanthropy from 13 countries across Asia Pacific. Of them, four are co-founders of Infosys, one of India's largest information technology (IT) services company.

Kerala-born entrepreneur Sunny Varkey, who in June pledged about half of his USD 2.25 billion dollar fortune to charity as part of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet-led Giving Pledge initiative, tops the list of philanthropists in the region.

Dubai-based Varkey is founder of GEMS Education, a chain of 70 private schools in 14 counties.

Infosys co-founders Senapathy Gopalakrishnan, Nandan Nilekani and S D Shibulal feature on the list for their individual contributions to the health and education sectors.

Another Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy's son Rohan is on the list for donating a whopping USD 5.2 million to Harvard University Press for promoting ancient Indian literary classics.

He represents his father N R Narayana Murthy as a philanthropist.The other two Indian philanthropists are brothers Suresh Ramakrishnan and Mahesh Ramakrishnan, both London-based entrepreneurs and founders of Whitcomb & Shaftesbury Tailors on London's Saville Row.The brothers donated USD 3 million for training of more than 4,000 people in tailoring across India. Beneficiaries include the 2004 tsunami victims and "ill-fated" women.Forbes is an American business magazine owned by Forbes, Inc. Published biweekly, it features original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics. Forbes also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science, and law. Its headquarters is located in Jersey City, New Jersey. Primary competitors in the national business magazine category include Fortune and Bloomberg Businessweek. 

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President to present 2014 Gandhi Peace Prize to ISRO

President Pranab Mukherjee will present the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2014 to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavanhere on Wednesday.The annual Gandhi Peace Prize -- instituted by the government of India in 1995 on the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi -- is given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.Chandi Prasad Bhatt, a Gandhian environmentalist and social activist who founded Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) in Gopeshwar in 1964, which later became a mother organisation to the Chipko movement, was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2013.

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa launches 'Amma baby care Kit' scheme

Tamil Nadu’s latest health care initiative comes packed compact in a small kit box. , Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced on the floor of the Assembly that the government would provide an Amma Baby Care Kit to all mothers who deliver babies in any government hospital in the State.

The kit, which will contain baby and mother essentials post-partum, will include baby towels, napkins, a dress, bedding, mosquito net, oil, nailcutter, soap and soap box, toys, a rattle and hand sanitiser, apart from Sowbhagya Leghyam to build the mother’s health.Ms. Jayalalithaa announced that about 6.7 lakh children born in government hospitals every year would benefit and a sum of Rs. 67 crore had been apportioned for it. Tamil Nadu has a better Infant Mortality Rate in the country at 21 children per 1000 live births, annually. Experts point out that focus should also be on neonatal mortality, where babies die within the first 28 days of birth (15 per 1000 live births in a year). This kit will come in handy during this initial period, they feel, and recommend that the scheme be replicated countrywide.

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Agriculture expert Ramesh Chand appointed to Niti Aayog

Agriculture expert Ramesh Chand has been appointed as new member of the Niti Aayog. Chand is the third member to join the government's think tank which has replaced the erstwhile planning commission. The Aayog, which is headed by eminent economist Arvind Panagariya, has two other members—economist Bibek Debroy and former DRDO chief V K Saraswat. Chand's appointment came at a time the Modi government is keen to revive the agriculture sector and reaffirm its commitment to farmers. The BJP government has already formed a task force to suggest ways to boost agriculture sector in a follow up to first meeting of the Niti Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

The task force, under the aegis of Aayog, is mandated to recommend ways to reinvigorate agriculture, strategies for reforms and identify successful experiments from which all states can learn. Faced with the Congress-led opposition's onslaught, the BJP government has been trying to project an image of being pro-farmer and pro-poor.

About NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog  is a Government of India policy think-tank established by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his having dissolved the Planning Commission.  the acronym stands for National Institution for Transforming India. The stated aim of NITI Aayog's creation is to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by state governments of India, a "bottom-up" approach in contrast to the Planning Commission's tradition of "top-down" decision-making. The Prime Minister heads the Aayog as its chairperson. Thus, while the Planning Commission had no representation for state and Union Territories, the NITI Aayog has.The Union Government of India announced formation of NITI Aayog on 1 January 2015,and the first meeting of NITI Aayog was held on 8 February 2015.

There are a couple of things to be considered here. NITI Aayog would therefore mean:

• A group of people with authority entrusted by the government to formulate/regulate policies concerning transforming India.

• It is a commission to help government in social and economic issues.

• Also it's an Institute of think tank with experts in it.

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made the following observation on the necessity of creating NITI Ayog: “The 65-year-old Planning Commission had become a redundant organisation. It was relevant in a command economy structure, but not any longer. India is a diversified country and its states are in various phases of economic development along with their own strengths and weaknesses. In this context, a ‘one size fits all’ approach to economic planning is obsolete. It cannot make India competitive in today’s global economy”

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Anupam Kher receives Honored Guest Of Texas award

Veteran actor Anupam Kher has been presented with the "Honored Guest" award by Deputy Mayor of Houston Ed Gonzalez on behalf of Texas Governor Greg Abbot.Kher has been honoured with various awards and recognition for his contribution to cinema and art following a resounding success of the repeat show of his play Mera Matlab Woh Nahin Tha here and back-to-back shows in 15 other US cities and in Canada.Kher is off to west coast for a week long performance there before ending his US Tour and flying back to India.

Stellar performances by Kher and Neena Gupta in the play have earned them continuous accolades in US cities and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada since its first sold out event here on August 7.Due to the public demand, yet another sold out show the production was played for the second time in Houston.Mayor Annise Parker commended the actor's commitment for providing quality entertainment to the community and, also declared August 7 as Anupam Kher Day in Houston.

Kher was earlier appointed a UN ambassador for the HeforShe campaign for gender equality.The He for She campaign has been initiated by UN Women.Its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women's rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.The actor, a known Bollywood export in the US, has appeared in Hollywood films like Mistress of Spices, Bend It Like Beckham, Lust, Caution, and Silver Linings Playbook.

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Mathrubhumi Literary Award for T Padmanabhan

Acclaimed short story writer T. Padmanabhan has been selected for this year's Mathrubhumi Literary Award. A three-member panel of jury comprising literary critic M Leelavathi, novelist M Mukundan and writer C Radhakrishnan, who selected 84-year-old Padmanabhan for the award, opined that he gave a new dimension to the Malayalam short story stream, Mathrubhumi Managing Director M P Veerendrakumar and Managing Editor P V Chandran said in a release. Padmanabhan's stories have been translated to various Indian languages and also to English, French, German and Russian. Recipient of several honours including the Ezhuthachan Award, Vallathol Award, Vayalar Award, Lalithambika Antharjanam Award and Sahitya Parishad Award, Padmanabhan also won the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad's Award for his outstanding contributions to Indian languages. Thikkodiyan, M V Devan, Pala Narayanan Nair, O V Vijayan, M T Vasudevan Nair, M Mukundan, Akkitham, Kovilan, Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri, Dr Sukumar Azhikode, Dr M Leelalavathi, Punathil Kunjabdulla and Sugathakumari have received the Mathrubhumi Literary Award in the past, The award carries a purse of Rs two lakh, sculpture and a citation.

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PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates Delhi-Faridabad Metro Line

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged-off the Delhi-Faridabad Metro Line that would allow hassle free travel for around two lakh daily commuters between the national capital and the industrial hub in Haryana.The extension of the Delhi Metro connects Badarpur to Escorts Mujesar in Faridabad.

The nine stations in this section include, Sarai, NHPC Chowk, Mewala Maharajpur, Sector 28, Badkal Mor, Old Faridabad, Neelam Chowk Ajronda, Bata Chowk and Escorts Mujesar. All these are elevated and located on either side of the Delhi-Mathura Road (NH-2)."The nine-station metro corridor which was 95 per cent indigenously built will provide people a safe, affordable, quick, comfortable, reliable, environment-friendly and sustainable transport facility," a Haryana government spokesperson said.

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Sanjeev Mantri is ICICI Lombard GIC executive director

ICICI Lombard GIC  announced the appointment of Sanjeev Mantri as executive director for its retail business division.Mantri has more than 20 years of experience in the banking, finance services and insurance sector and has held key leadership positions in his earlier assignments with BNP Paribas and ICICI Bank.

About ICICI Lombard--ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited is a joint venture between ICICI Bank Limited, India's second largest bank with total assets of over USD 99 billion at 31 March 2014 and Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a Canada based USD 37 billion diversified financial services company engaged in general insurance, reinsurance, insurance claims management and investment management. ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd. is the largest private sector general insurance company in India with a Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs 71.34 billion The firm offers policy insurance and renewal through its intermediaries and website. It markets assurance products including Car Insurance, Health Insurance, International Travel Insurance, Overseas Student Travel Insurance, Two Wheeler Insurance, Home Insurance and Weather insurance. ICICI Lombard has 221 branches spread across the nation

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India ranks low on inclusive growth, dvpt ranking: WEF

In a first of its kind global rankings, across different groups of countries in terms of their per capita income levels, the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that most countries are in fact missing major opportunities to reduce income inequality and same is the case with India.India has been ranked very low, mostly in the bottom half, globally on most of the parameters for inclusive growth and development even as it fares much better internationally when it come to business and political ethics. In a first of its kind global rankings, across different groups of countries in terms of their per capita income levels, the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that most countries are in fact missing major opportunities to reduce income inequality and same is the case with India. For business and political ethics, India ranks 12th, while it ranks 11th on the Financial intermediation of real economy investment pillar, which suggests that money invested in the economy generally gets directed towards productive uses. 

About World Economic Forum--The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva. Recognized by the Swiss authorities  as the international institution for public-private cooperation, its mission is cited as "committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas".

The Forum is best known for its annual winter meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals, and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world. Often this location alone is used to identify meetings, participation, and participants with such phrases as, "a Davos panel" and "a Davos Man"The organization also convenes some six to eight regional meetings each year in locations such as Latin America and East Asia, as well as undertaking two further annual meetings in China and the United Arab Emirates. Beside meetings, the foundation produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector specific initiatives. The 2011 annual meeting in Davos was held from 26 to 30 January. The 2012 meeting was held on 25–29 January 2012, with the theme "The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models".

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Chandela wins silver in ISSF World Cup Finals

Young Indian shooter Apurvi Chandela impressed again as she clinched the silver medal in women’s 10m air rifle event of the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup Finals in Munich on Saturday.The 22-year-old Jaipur girl finished second on the podium after she tallied 206.9, just 0.6 behind Ahmadi Elaheh of Iran, who won the gold medal with a tally of 207.5.Andrea Arsovic of Serbia bagged the bronze after prevailing in a shoot-off with Croatia’s Valentina Gustin.

About ISSF--The ISSF World Cup was introduced by the International Shooting Sport Federation in 1986 to provide a homogeneous system for qualification to the Olympic shooting competitions. It still is carried out in the Olympic shooting events, with four competitions per year in each event. For the best shooters there is since 1988 a World Cup Final.

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