The Union Public Service Commission will hold the Combined Defence Services Examination on September 19, 1999 (Sunday) as scheduled. There is no change in the schedule of this examination.
    Union Home Minister, Shri L.K. Advani has greeted the countrymen on the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Official Language. Fifty years ago on 14th September, 1949, Hindi was accepted and adopted as the official language of the Union. This year the country is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of that historic decision on September 14, 1999. The day is celebrated as ‘Hindi Diwas’ throughout the country every year and the Golden Jubilee celebration will witness great enthusiasm and fervour on this day.

    In a message, Union Home Minister, Shri L.K. Advani said that Hindi has played vital role in bringing a unified platform besides its contribution in raising patriotism during freedom struggle. Eminent persons and saints from non-Hindi areas have equally contributed towards its propagation. He also reminded of the great role of Hindi as a link language which brought all the national leaders together under the able leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

    He mentioned that during last 52 years the use and capability of official language has greatly enhanced. Now-a-days it is not only widely used in the different faculties of medicine, science and technology, agriculture, computer and

    Human Management but writing of original text in Hindi itself has become much easier and simple. Shri Advani emphasised that creative work in Hindi is very much possible now.

    The Home Minister also cautioned that our country is standing on the threshold of the new millennium. This fact has to be kept in mind while talking about the growth and prosperity of the official language. Present age is the age of great change. New era will witness the revolution in information sector. In the international market cut-throat competition is going on. Every country is trying hard to augment the speed of development, added Shri Advani.

    He expressed hope that India would emerge as a great power with its ancient history, glorified culture and vast natural and human resources. Hindi has to be adopted keeping in view the expectations of the new era and the new researches taking place every day in the field of information technology so that it can play its role in the development of nation. In this context he advised that the Golden Jubilee celebration is also an occasion for serious introspection and analyzing our achievements in fair manner.

    Shri Advani called upon people to take pledge, having abiding faith in Constitution to contribute for the growth of the official language sincerely.

    The Department of Company Affairs has launched prosecutions against 57 companies for contravention under Sections 159 and 220 of the Companies Act, 1956, out of a total list of 159 companies forwarded by the Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to the Department of Company Affairs for their prosecutions. According to the parameters of SEBI, the 159 companies were vanished companies. These vanished companies have mobilized resources from individual investors and financial institutions in the capital market.

    Following investigations by the Department of Company Affairs, out of 159 companies listed by SEBI, names of three companies were repeated twice in the list. Out of the remaining 156 companies, 8 companies are under liquidation and one company under Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) proceedings. The assets of one company each have been taken over by the Karnataka State Government and the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation respectively. Seventy Companies are available at their registered offices, but prosecutions have been initiated against 41 companies for non-filing of documents.

    Enquiries against 63 companies are still going on and in respect of 32 of them inspection under Section 209A of the Companies Act, 1956 has been ordered. Police complaints have also been filed against 6 such companies. Only 12 companies were not found at their registered offices. Prosecutions have been launched against 7 of these companies and police complaints filed against the remaining 5 companies.

    Foreign tourist arrivals in the country continued to increase in August 1999 also. It registered 5.2 per cent increase over corresponding month of previous year. Total tourist arrivals during the month was more than 1.82 lakh. Thus the total arrival upto August this year was more than 15.5 lakhs.

    Foreign exchange earning from the Tourism sector continued to remained second highest after Textile. It was Rs. 936.24 crores during August, 1999. So far, this year Tourism has fetched Rs. 7849.24 crores foreign exchange for the country which is 8.2 per cent higher than the corresponding period of previous year.

    The Minister of State for Railways Shri Ram Naik has emphasised on time bound and sincere implementation of all safety related measures. He has asked all concerned to be more vigilant and active to achieve zero accident level. Shri Naik was addressing the Conference of General Managers of all the Zonal Railways on safety and security. The Minister called upon to further improve and strengthen the work culture among railwaymen for most effective and efficient performance. He pointed out that all the issues pertaining to safety and security should be identified and addressed in time.The Minister appealed to the General Managers to rise to the occasion and concentrate on safety related measures as Indian Railways puts top priority on safety.

    Talking about the problems faced by Northeast Frontier (NF) Railways,the Minister suggested that a special action plan for the NF Railway should be prepared on safety and security, so that the movement of rail traffic in the region could be made smooth and trouble free. Shri Naik asked the General Managers to strengthen the confidence of the people in the Railways which is the lifeline of the nation and is still regarded as the safer mode of travel.

    Earlier, addressing the Conference, Railway Board Chairman, Shri V.K. Agarwal informed that a group will be formed in the Railway Board to formulate a comprehensive safety plan which will identify areas, time frame and resources for all safety related activities. He said that instructions have already been issued to all the Railways for streamlining safety related measures.

    Further improvement has been effected in the scheme of National Overseas Scholarship for Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe students. From September 1999 onwards, the maintenance allowance granted under the scheme for research work or higher technical education abroad will be $ 7700 per annum as against $ 6600 per annum at present. The annual income ceiling for eligibility under the scheme has also been revised to Rs.1,44,000 per annum. These changes had been effected in budget proposals 1999-2000 itself.

    Financial assistance is granted to SCs and STs under the scheme of Overseas Scholarship to enable them to pursue higher studies in technical fields abroad. A total number of 532 students had benefited under this scheme upto March, 1999.

    The problems of export oriented units (EOUs) relating to EXIM policy/procedure, custom and Central Excise matters were discussed in an open house organised through video conference by Ministry of Commerce earlier this month with the units located in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The Conference was addressed by Sh. D.K. Mittal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce who was assisted by the officers from DGFT and Central Board of Excise and Customs. This was the first experience of discussing problems of EOUs through video conference.

    The problems raised by units covered textiles related issues, frequent visit by inspectors of various departments from the State Governments, difficulties being faced with customs/central Excise staff, reimbursement of CST, applicability of income Tax holiday in certain situations, availability of duty free HSD and furnace oil, unviable duty structure on domestic sales, applicability of MODVAT/DEPB benefits, SIL on deemed exports, exemption from State sales tax, disposal of waste and scrap, procedural formalities of job working etc.

    It was noted that many units were not cleared about the provisions of EXIM policy and procedures and latest customs and central excise circulars had not percolated down to the units. The conference was helpful in resolving many of the problems presently being faced by the EOUs.

    Ministry of Commerce proposes to organize similar open houses through video conference for EOUs in other States also as also for specific sectors like floriculture and aqua culture on regular basis.

    India has sought higher level of protection for geographical indication of goods other than wines and spirits under the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). This would be beneficial for products of export interest to India like basmati rice, Darjeeling tea etc. In a paper submitted jointly by India along with Egypt, Indonesia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Pakistan, in the General Council of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), it has been pointed out that the TRIPs Agreement (Article 23) grants such additional protection only for wines and spirits and suggests that this additional protection should be extended to cover other products of special interest to the concerned member countries. Protection of geographical indications is an industrial property measure which makes it possible to protect all products that are distinguished by the quality, reputation or other characteristics which are essentially attributed to their geographical origin.

    Articles 22, 23 and 24 of the TRIPs Agreement deal with the provisions on geographical indications. According to the Agreement, members must provide means to prevent the use of any indication which misleads the consumer as to the origin of goods and any use which would constitute an act of unfair competition.

    Separately, India has also submitted in the General Council of the WTO several proposals on issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in the preparatory process for the Seattle Ministerial Conference. These include proposals relating transfer of technology at fair and reasonable cost to the developing countries and protection of biological diversity.

    The Ministry of Textiles has stated that the quota for garment exports under the First-Cum-First-Served (FCFS) system would be released during the remaining part of the current year as per the procedures laid down in the policy.

    In this context, the Ministry has categorically denied the report appearing in a section of the press which had stated that the Ministry is considering not to open any quota under FCFS system during the year 1999 to safeguard the interest of NIE (New Investors Entitlement) exporters.

    It may be mentioned here that the Textile Ministry, in order to achieve maximum utilisation of quota levels available under the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA), has been announcing a long-term export quota policy and the current policy is valid for a three-year period from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 1999. Under the export quota policy, the available quotas are distributed under different systems of allocation, such as Past Performance Entitlement (PPE), First-Cum-First-Served (FCFS), Manufacturer Exporters Entitlement (MEE), Non-Quota Entitlement (NQE), Powerloom Exporters Entitlement (PEE), New Investors Entitlement (NIE) etc. The garment export entitlement policy is implemented by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC). A new quota policy is being formulated for the year 2000 onwards.

    Air India has introduced a Family Travel Scheme for Government and PSU officials from tomorrow i.e., 15th September, 1999. The scheme, valid for travel upto 30th November, 1999, makes an attractive offer of one member of the family accompanying the Government /PSU official travelling on duty.

    The salient features of the scheme are:

India-Paris/Osaka/Tokyo Y Class INR 5,000
F/J Class INR 10,000
India-London Y Class INR 8,000
F/J Class INR 12,000
India-New York/Chicago Y Class INR 12,000
F/J Class INR 15,000
    The Telecom Commission has decided that all new Cellular Mobile Service Providers (CMSP) will be technology wise neutral. According to the decision the technology must, however, be digital. The technology neutral approach for provision of cellular mobile services will enable faster and cost effective roll out of the cellular networks by leveraging technological developments.

    The existing licensees of cellular services on their migration to the New Telecom Policy-99 (NTP-99) regime in terms of migration package already offered to them, will also be permitted to expand their networks using any other technology or the GSM technology to which they have been bound so far as per the existing licences.

    The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) would operate cellular services under the same terms and conditions of licence as would be applicable to private operators. In keeping with the objectives of NTP-99, DoT and MTNL would be permitted to operate cellular mobile services under provisional licence till the terms and conditions of new licences are finalised for which recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have already been sought. The final terms and conditions would be applicable to all licensees under NTP-99 including MTNL and DoT. The licence fee, thus, received would be reimbursed to DoT to provide resources for meeting the immense rural and social obligations.

    The NTP-99 which was adopted by the Government from 1st April 1999, envisages that CMSP under the new licensing regime shall be free to provide all types of mobile services using any type of network equipment that meet the relevant International Telecommunication Union (ITU)/Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) standards.

    The Department of Posts (DoP) has brought out a set of commemorative postage stamps on Kazi Nazrul Islam, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Jhaverchand Kalidas Meghani and Rambriksh Benipuri symbolising the theme "Linguistic Harmony of India." This also marks the 50th anniversary of "Hindi Diwas", adoption of Hindi as the official language of the Indian Union. The stamps are in the denomination of Rs.3/-.

    The release of special postage stamps on distinguished literary figures, whose works when viewed in totality, emphasise the linguistic harmony of the country. Jhaverchand Kalidas Meghani was a poet, a lyricist writing folk songs, a social-cultural-historical novelist, short story writer and educationist. His stirring poems and songs inspired freedom fighters and Gandhiji gave him the honoured epithet of "Rashtriya Shayar". Kazi Nazrul Islam, a poet from Bengal, began his literary career by contributing to periodicals and his poems were noted for their intensity of emotions. His contributions inspired the people to join the movement for independence. Shri Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', called the "Rashtrakavi" evoked the spirit of nationalism on account of his inspiring patriotic composition. A philosopher-poet, Shri Dinkar who rose upon the Hindi literary scene like the proverbial 'Sun'. Rambriksh Benipuri hailed from Muzaffarpur in Bihar took active part in the freedom movement. He wrote many plays, radio features, novels, stories, word-sketches and reminiscences which brought-forth many literary master pieces.

    The First Day Cover alongwith the information sheet is available on sale at all Philatelic Bureaux/Counters and at selected Post Offices.