'8'
SEPARATE BRAND EQUITY FUND FOR ELECTRONICS AND IT INDUSTRY
    The Government is planning to set up a separate brand equity fund for the electronics and IT industry sector in order to help "brand building". The proposal was mooted at the third meeting of the Development Council for Electronics Industry (DCEI) held here recently.

    The Secretary, Department of Electronics and Chairman of the DCEI Shri Ravindra Gupta told the meeting that the Electronics Industry will have to undertake initiatives in "brand building" to have enhanced presence in the global market. He said that for this, major product promotional efforts will be needed such as, undertaking participation in international fairs, conducting seminars and creating web sites, etc. The established "branded products" would need to be aggressively marketed in the international arena, he said. And for this, a need for a separate Brand equity Fund for IT and electronics industry is greatly felt, he averred.

    The DCEI has recommended the setting up of about a one hundred crore rupee brand equity fund for this to start with. The participation of some of the leading financial institutions is being explored. However, the Planning Commission is being requested to earmark funds for the programme.

    Shri Ravindra Gupta told the Council that IT enabled services and Electronics – Commerce provide tremendous opportunities for the Indian Software Industry. But to build the necessary business confidence, a regulatory framework should be put in place expeditiously. He expressed the hope that the Information Technology Bill, awaiting government’s nod would soon be cleared.
 
 

'31'
USAID ASSISTANCE OF US$ 41.5 MILLION FOR STD/HIV CONTAINMENT PROJECT IN MAHARASHTRA
    An agreement was signed today between the Government of India and US for USAID assistance of US$ 41.5 million for implementing a project relating to containment of STD/HIV and related infectious diseases (AVERT) by the Government of Maharashtra. The agreement was signed by Shri R.S. Sharma, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance and Ms. Linda Morse, Mission Directo, USAID, New Delhi.

    USAID assistance would be utilised for expanding programmes aimed at preventing HIV transmission and mitigating the impact of STD/HIV/AIDS by supporting focussed prevention programme in Maharashtra where the epidemic is grave and needs to be arrested on top priority basis. The AVERT project is a seven year programme to be implemented by National AIDS Control Organisation(NACO) in collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra.
 
 

'30'
INTERNATIONAL OZONE DAY TO BE CELEBRATED TOMORROW
    The International Ozone Day will be celebrated tomorrow. The Development Commissioner, Small Scale Industries, Ministry of Industry, Government of India, will be the Chief Guest at the function here tomorrow. Professor R.C. Agarwal, Department of Mechanical Engineering, I.I.T., Delhi will deliver the Keynote address. The Special Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Shri Vinod Vaish will preside over the function.

    The International Ozone Day tries to raise awareness about the need to protect the earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer absorbs most of the harmful Ultraviolet – B (UV-B) radiation from the sun. It also completely screens out lethal Ultraviolet -C radiation. The ozone shield is thus essential to life, as we know it. Depleting the ozone layer allows more UV-B to reach the earth. More UV-B means more melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, eye cataracts, weakened immune systems, reduced plant yields, damage to ocean Eco-systems and reduced fishing yields, adverse effects on animals and more damage to plastics.

    Ozone molecules consist of 3 oxygen atoms. The ozone gas, which is poisonous, is extremely rare in the atmosphere representing just three out of every 10 million molecules. Ninety percent of ozone exists in the upper atmosphere or stratosphere between 10 and 50 kilometers above the earth. Ozone at ground level is a harmful pollutant resulting from automobiles exhausts and other sources.

    Scientific concern started in 1970 when Prof. Paul Crutzen pointed out the possibility that nitrogen oxide from fertilisers and supersonic aircraft might deplete the ozone layer. In 1974 Professors F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina recognised, that when Chloro Flouro Carbons (CFCs) finally break apart in the atmosphere and release chlorine atoms, they cause ozone depletion.

    The Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) first discussed the issue of ozone depletion in 1976. The inter-governmental negotiations for an international agreement to phase out ozone depletion substances started in 1981 and ended with the adoption of the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer in 1985. This convention encourages international cooperation to research, monitor CFC production and exchange information.

    The Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer was adopted in 1987. This followed the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in late 1985. The Protocol was designed so that phase out schedules can be revised on the basis of periodic scientific and technological assessments. Following these assessments the Protocol was adjusted to accelerate the phase out schedule in London in 1990, Copenhagen in 1992, Vienna in 1995 and Montreal in 1997.

    The phase out schedules for developed countries is as follows: -

    Developing countries have a grace period before they start their phase out schedules.     Without the Protocol by the year 2050 ozone depletion would have risen to at least 50 percent in the Northern hemisphere’s mid-latitudes and 70 percent in the southern mid-latitudes about 10 times worse than current levels. In 1986 total consumption of CFCs worldwide was about 1.1. million tonnes. By 1997 this had come down to about 1,46,000 tonnes.
 
 
‘7’
LAW COMMISSION TAKES UP PROPERTY RIGHTS OF HINDU WOMEN
    The 15th Law Commission of India, headed by Shri Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy, has taken up a study of certain important provisions regarding the property rights of Hindu women under the Hindu Succession Act ,1956 or the old Hindu Law. A questionnaire to this effect already circulated to all concerned throughout the country and their well considered views have been received.

    The study by the Law Commission is intended to bring about amendment in the Hindu Succession Act in order to provide Hindu women especially the daughters right to ancestral or inherited property. This is also intended to remove the gender discrimination in Mitakshara coparcenary by the inclusion of daughters. This is also intended to favour an inheritance certificate on the death of an individual by all heirs compulsorily which will indicate their shares and will be regarded as a proof of their right in the property or properties . Such documents would be necessary for mutation in revenue, municipal and other records.

    There are two schools of Hindu Law namely Mitakshara and Dayabhaga. Dayabhaga Law prevails in Bengal, Assam and most parts of Orissa and Mitakshara prevails in the rest of India. In Kerala and parts of Karnataka, Mitakshara law prevails. Under the Mitakshara Law, a son, son’s son and son’s son’s son have a right by birth in the ancestral properties in the hands of the father and their interest is equal to that of the father. The group having this right by birth is termed a coparcenary and coparcenary, therefore, is confined to male members of the joint family. By traditional definition, the ancestral properties are those properties obtained from father or paternal grandfather or paternal great-grandfather or share obtained on partition or self-acquired properties or separate properties of an individual thrown into the joint family properties.

    Under the Indian Succession Act, 1925, which is also applicable to Hindus, both men and women have unrestricted right of testamentary disposition while the Muslim Law restricts the said right to only 1/3rd of the estate after deduction of funeral expenses and debts. Partial restriction on the power of testamentary disposition is also common among a number of European inheritance systems to prevent the legal heirs from being excluded totally.

    The Law Commission has been entrusted with the task of revising the Central Acts to simplify them and to remove anomalies, ambiguities and inequities . It is in this context that the Commission has taken up a study of certain important provisions regarding the property rights of Hindu women in order to dispense gender justice.
 
 

'31'
APPEAL BY UNION HEALTH MINISTER FOR BLOOD DONATION
    The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. A.K. Patel has appealed to the citizens to come forward to donate blood at any blood bank in Government hospitals and those run by Indian Red Cross Society following reports of shortage of blood in blood banks. Blood is one of the most precious components of the human body that can not be manufactured or artificially produced. It must be donated by healthy individuals, the Minister said.
 
 
‘23’
ENGINEERS ASSOCIATION OF INDIAN RAILWAYS CELEBRATES ENGINEERS DAY
    The Engineers Association of Indian Railways today celebrated the Engineers Day, the Birth Anniversary of Dr.M.Vishveshwariah, an eminent engineer of India. On the occasion , the Association organised a Seminar on "Rail Engineers – Challenges of 21st Century", in which the experts from all over the country participated. Inaugurating the Seminar, the Railway Board Chairman Shri V.K.Agarwal said that the greatest challenge before the engineers today is to maximise productivity of our scare resources and develop in the public, a feeling of confidence that the Indian Railways is a safe and reliable transport system. The recent accident of Gaisal on the Northeast Frontier Railways and some others have shaken the confidence of the travelling publilc. He appealed that the spirit of dedication for which all Railwaymen are famous, needs to be revived and the organisation should strengthen its technical inputs.

    The ex-Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Y,.P.Anand, General Manager, Northern Railways, Shri S.P.Mehta also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the contribution of Dr.Vishveshwariah, for the nation. The young engineers shoulde inculcate the same spirit and dedication and work for the development of the country, they hoped.
 
 

'15'

GOLD DEPOSIT SCHEME 1999 NOTIFIED
    The Government has notified the Gold Deposit Scheme 1999 to help bring privately held stock of gold in circulation, reduce the country's reliance on import of gold and providing its owners with some income apart from freeing them from the problems of storage, movement and security of gold in their possession. According to the notification issued by the Ministry of Finance, the Gold Deposit Scheme will come into effect immediately. The Scheme was announced by the Union Finance Minister, Shri Yashwant Sinha while presenting the Budget 1999-2000 in the Parliament.

    The provisions of the Scheme include: