Monthly Archives: November 2010

India-South Africa Relations: Strengthening South-South Cooperation


Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, paid an official visit to India from June 2-4, 2010. Both the countries have realized the growing need of each other and accordingly have started to diversify their relations. Both sides have underscored the importance of making the strategic partnership more result oriented and of greater direct benefit to the peoples of South Africa and India. Recognising that since the establishment of bilateral relations in November 1993, the two countries had established a framework for cooperation through bilateral and multilateral agreements and Memoranda of Understanding. The basis of relationship has been shaped by three important agreements: the Red Fort Declaration of 1996, the Joint Declaration of 2003 and the Tshwane Declaration of 2006. Both the countries reaffirmed the importance of strengthening relations under the aegis of the India-South Africa Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) which affords both sides an opportunity to address a range of bilateral, as well as multilateral political and economic issues. They confirmed that the 8th Session of the JMC will take place in Delhi in 2010, allowing both sides to evaluate the implementation of bilateral agreements and decisions taken during the State Visit.
Both the nations welcomed the reconstitution of the India-South Africa CEOs’ Forum as an institutional mechanism for closer business interaction with Government support. They look forward to its first substantive meeting in South Africa along with an India Show in August 2010. In the regional context, President Zuma affirmed the importance of India as a partner of the African Union in the consolidation of peace and stability in the Continent, through its contributions to peacekeeping, and as a partner in the development of Africa through its support for the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). During the visit three major agreements were signed:
 Air Services Agreement;
 MoU on Cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors; and
 MoU between the Diplomatic Academy of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa and the Foreign Service Institute of India.
Besides that both sides expressed satisfaction at increasing cultural exchanges between the two countries and agreed to further promote educational exchanges including through University-to-University linkages and emphasized the need for further widening of cooperation in the field of science and technology. Both the sides noted that the MoU for cooperation in the field of Communications and Information Technologies has expired in September 2009 and called for an early renewal of the MOU and a meeting of The Joint Working Group to identify projects for joint cooperation in the ICT sector.
Positive developments:
1. The bilateral trade had grown to the extent that India was now one of the top ten trading partners of South Africa. Both the sides have urged Indian and South African industry to work towards raising bilateral trade to US $ 10 billion by the year 2012. 2. There has been a healthy growth in two-way investment flows, which have increased substantially during the past five years.
2. To strengthen the India-Africa Forum and to the advancement of the seven pillars of the Action Plan of the Framework for Cooperation launched in Delhi in March 2010. The Action Plan will intensify India-Africa cooperation in various fields including Commerce, Politics, Social Development and Capacity Building; Science, Technology, Research and Development; Tourism; Infrastructure, Energy and Environment and Media and Communication. With this in mind, the leaders undertook to work even more closely to reinvigorate their cooperation for Africa’s development.
3. Both sides have agreed on the need to expedite the ongoing negotiations on the India-Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) Preferential Trade Agreement so as to provide a significant incentive to business to explore mutually beneficial commercial opportunities and contribute to growing trade and investment relations. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), with a market size of over 500 Billion US Dollars and a population of 200 million people, is but one of the examples of the potential in Africa.
4. Both the countries undertook mutual support for their candidature for non-permanent Security Council seats for 2011-2012. The World Bank Group’s Annual Doing Business Report for 2010 compared global regulation in 183 countries, from these global economies, South Africa ranked 34th for ease of doing business. In terms of overall competitiveness, South Africa was ranked 45th ahead of countries such as Poland and Mexico. South Africa was also ranked 18th most attractive Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) destination world-wide, according to the 2007 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index compiled by the global management consulting firm, AT Kearney

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Patni Computers opens new BPO unit in Gandhinagar


Patni Computer Systems Ltd, a leading IT and outsourcing major, expects to see its business process outsourcing (BPO) division to expand by 45 per cent this year.
The BPO business accounts for just 15 per cent of the company’s business of $650 million, but is expected to grow at a rapid pace. Patni Computers, which opened its offshore development centre (ODC) at the Mind Space SEZ in Gandhinagar today, plans to shift all of its BPO operations to Gujarat.
“The inauguration of our new facility in Gandhinagar demonstrates our sustained commitment to this region,” said Jeva Kumar, CEO, and Patni Computers. “We are looking at strengthening our presence in this burgeoning IT delivery hub and expect Gandhinagar to play a crucial part in this delivery expansion strategy.”
The company, which is doubling its capacity in Gandhinagar from the current 400 seats, recently signed a deal with a leading UK-based firm for providing product engineering services and application development management services.
Patni Computers, which froze hirings in 2009, has already taken about 4,000 people this year, raising its total employee strength to 17,000. The company’s attrition rate has also gone up, from 13 per cent last year to 22 per cent now. But while the industry’s average of tenure is 3-1/2 years, Patni’s is 7-1/2 years, explains Kumar.
Patni Computers won five new deals worth about $30 million recently and expects to expand at a modest seven per cent this year and 15 per cent next year. It also plans to launch cloud computing as a separate service next fiscal, added Kumar.
The company has 30 offices across America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. It recently opened new delivery centres in Mexico, the US and China.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON “EMERGING TRENDS IN INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION” SCHEDULED TO HELD ON DECEMBER 18-19, 2010, AT INDIA HABITAT CENTRE, NEW DELHI


CONFERENCE THEME NOTE: International Arbitration is the preferred choice of multinational business entities to resolve their commercial disputes. Arbitration is increasingly becoming popular with parties in India to settle their international as well as domestic commercial disputes. It is believed that claims ranging to several thousand Crores of Rupees are locked up in construction disputes alone in India. Given the mammoth investment that has been proposed for infrastructure projects in India (which would include substantial foreign investment), the next decade will see a tremendous increase in infrastructure related disputes arising from India being resolved through International Arbitration.
With a view to providing a focus on the emerging trends in International Arbitration, the Construction Industry Arbitration Council (CIAC) under the patronage of Construction Industry Development Council, India (CIDC) and with the support of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), and the Singapore international Arbitration Centre (SIAC) will be organizing a conference on “Emerging Trends in International Commercial Arbitration” from 18th to 19th December 2010 at New Delhi. This conference will not only deliberate on the emerging trends in International Arbitration but will also focus on best practices in this area.
The topics to be discussed will include a comparative analysis of institutional arbitration versus ad-hoc arbitration, a discussion on the new UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 2010 (which replaces the 1976 edition of the Rules), the new SIAC Rules to be adopted in the latter half of 2010, the new IBA Rules on taking of evidence in international arbitration that was adopted in May 2010, documents-only arbitration and the legal issues that arise in the context of Online Dispute Resolution / Cyber Arbitration.
The session on Online Dispute Resolution would be of particular interest as it is a relatively new topic in India. While dispute resolution processes are required or are in place for disputes that arise out of usage of Internet or in Electronic Commerce, Online Dispute Resolution for all kinds of disputes (including infrastructure related disputes) is something that might become very popular in the future. The legal issues that might arise in this context would be discussed during the Conference.
Online Dispute Resolution is likely to present a convenient platform for a large number of SMEs and individuals to pursue their claims online and get a binding decision in a cost efficient and less time consuming manner. It might also assist in the Government’s and the Judiciary’s mandate for speedy resolution of commercial disputes.
The development of Online Dispute Resolution in India would find legislative support in the Information Technology Act, 2000 which provides for recognition of electronic records and digital signatures. The legal issues in this context would also be deliberated at the Conference.
Apart from Online Dispute Resolution, other emerging trends in International Arbitration as enunciated above would also be discussed and debated.
Who should attend the conference?
Arbitrators, judges, lawyers, in-house counsel, legal officers, engineers, project managers, senior government officials, Small medium enterprises, Bankers, Insurance agencies, academicians, policy makers and all those involved in dispute resolution, especially professionals associated with the construction industry as well as the IT Industry.

National Council for Rural Institutes


National Council for Rural Institutes
National Council of Rural Institutes is an autonomous society fully funded by the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India. Registered on 19th October, 1995 with its Headquarter at Hyderabad, It was established with a main objective of promoting Rural Higher Education for advancing rural livelihoods with the instrument of education on the lines of Mahatma Gandhiji’s revolutionary concept of Nai Talim, a functional education based on the values proposed by Gandhiji. Other objectives of the council include teachers training, extension and research by networking with policy making bodies such as UGC, AICTE and research organizations like CSIR, AICTE etc., in addition to encouraging other educational institutions and voluntary agencies to develop in accordance with Gandhian Philosophy of education.

For more info, Visit http://www.ncri-mhrd.org/

Rehabilitation Council


Rehabilitation Council
The Rehabilitation Council of India was set up as a registered society in 1986. However, it was soon found that a Society could not ensure proper standardization and acceptance of the standards by other Organizations. The Parliament enacted Rehabilitation Council of India Act in 1992. The Rehabilitation Council of India becomes Statutory Body on 22nd June 1993. The RCI Act was amended by the Parliament in 2000 to work it more broad based. The Act casts onerous responsibility on the Council. It also prescribes that any one delivering services to people with disability, who does not possess qualifications recognised by RCI, could be prosecuted. Thus the Council has the twin responsibility of standardizing and regulating the training of personnel and professional in the field of Rehabilitation and Special Education.

For more info, Visit http://rehabcouncil.nic.in

Rehabilitation Council


Distance Education Council (DCE)
Distance Education Council was constituted under statute 28 arising from Section 25 of the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985. The Distance Education Council (DEC) is responsible for the promotion and coordination of the Open University and distance education system and for determination of its standards. The Council provides academic guidelines to promote excellence, encourage use of innovative technologies and approaches, enable convergence of all systems and sharing of resources through collaborative networking for access to sustainable education, skill up gradation and training to all.

For more info, Visit http://www.ignou.ac.in/dec/

Distance Education Council (DCE)


Distance Education Council (DCE)
Distance Education Council was constituted under statute 28 arising from Section 25 of the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985. The Distance Education Council (DEC) is responsible for the promotion and coordination of the Open University and distance education system and for determination of its standards. The Council provides academic guidelines to promote excellence, encourage use of innovative technologies and approaches, enable convergence of all systems and sharing of resources through collaborative networking for access to sustainable education, skill up gradation and training to all.

For more info, Visit http://www.ignou.ac.in/dec/

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