Today Current Affairs 23rd April 2016

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Under pressure to step up capital expenditure to boost the economy, railways have finished the financial year 2015-16 with a record high capex of Rs 94,000 crore, an increase of Rs 37,000 crore over the previous year. Railways have set a target of Rs 1.5 lakh crore capital expenditure for the current fiscal. Happy with the performance of the railway ministry, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is believed to have assured an enhanced Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) of up to Rs 60,000 crore if it continues the trend.  The Centre had earlier announced a GBS of Rs 40,000 crore for the railways in 2016-17, same as the year before. However, in November last, the finance ministry had slashed Rs 8,000 from the Rs 40,000 crore GBS, citing low spending by the railways in the first six months of the fiscal. Railway ministry was important in the Centre's scheme of things to shore up public investment, create infrastructure and revive the economy.   

Uber has entered into a partnership with Gujarat Tourism and FICCI in Ahmedabad city to facilitate training for Uber driver-partners.The training is designed and conducted by Ace Driving & Road Safety Education Pvt Ltd on areas of Safe Driving and Interpersonal Skills of the drivers, in order to improve the overall rider experience in Gujarat. According to a statement from Uber, the training will be conducted on an ongoing basis and will be optional for all Uber driver-partners. All drivers who attend the training will be certified by FICCI and Gujarat Tourism under their program The first such training took place on March 30 , 2016, with over 40 Uber driver - partners attending the session, which covered some of the topics like Safety and Regulations, Interpersonal Skills With Co-Passengers, Driver setiquette, Correct seating posture, Proper attitude towards riders and customers, do’s and don't  while dealing with riders, taking proper care of the vehicle and himself (hygiene), precautions for lady passengers and management of emergency situations among others.

Environmentalist R.K. Pachauri who was accused of sexual harassment by his former women colleagues in the recent past, has stepped down as a member of the governing council of TERI  “to get engaged in other interests” even though his employment contract with TERI expires in 2017. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri  was the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He held the post from 2002 until his resignation in 2015, during which time the organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He resigned from IPCC amid allegations of sexual abuse of a junior colleague at the New Delhi branch of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

Zee Media Corporation Group CEO - News Cluster Bhaskar Das has quit following his transfer to another Essel Group entity. Since Bhaskar Das, Group CEO - News Cluster of the company has been transferred to another entity forming part of Essel Group.He resigned as Chief Executive Officer of the company with effect from April 20, 2016.Das, who was president of media group Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL), had joined Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group as chief executive officer (CEO) in 2012. He was given the responsibility of driving the group's news business, including the digital properties.  Zee Media Group : Zee Media Corporation is one of the largest news networks in the country with 10 news channels in six different languages, Mumbai edition of DNA newspaper and digital properties like zeenews.Com and dnaindia.Com.

China’s first  security robot “AnBot” made its debut, at the ongoing China Chongqing Hi-Tech Fair . It an electrical anti-riot device that can be activated through remote control in case of a threat.It is 1.49-metre-tall, having a  maximum speed of 18 km per hour. It can patrol at a speed of 1 km per hour and has battery capacity of 8 hours. Features of security robot  The robot is capable of autonomous patrol, intelligent monitoring, emergency calls, auto recharging and has optional modules for environmental monitoring, biochemical detection and clearing explosives.  An electrical anti-riot device can be activated through remote control if a threat is detected.  Shouting for help in the patrol area or pushing the robot’s emergency button will alert the police immediately. Breakthroughs in low-cost autonomous navigation and positioning as well as intelligent video surveillance have contributed to the development of the robot. The robot is jointly developed by the National University of Defence Technology and a robotics company in central China’s Hunan Province. The university began researching robotics theory and technology in the 1980s.

A major social change, women were permitted entry to the Trimbakeshwar temple, one of the 12 'Jyotirlingas' (a devotional object representing Lord Shiva) in the country.Seven women activists led by the Swarajya Mahila Sanghatana (SMS) president Vanita Gutte were permitted entry amid tight security provided by police.Bhumata Ranragini Brigade president Trupti Desai, who started the campaign for women's entry to all places of worship in January, welcomed the development and announced she will visit the temple.In deference to the Bombay High Court orders, we provided security to the women who wanted to pray," Nashik Additional Superintendent of Police Prashant Mohite This happened 13 days after women were permitted entry into the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district on April 8 -- for the first time in over four centuries.  

In order to raise the ever diminishing number of spectators in the stadium, the BCCI is all set to host its first-ever day and night cricket Test with the pink ball when New Zealand tour India. The main objective of the Duleep Trophy will be to check how the pink kookaburra behaves under the light in sub-continental conditions. It is expected that all leading Indian players will play in that Duleep game in order to get an idea and also give a feedback to the board before they go ahead with the Test match. Duleep Trophy : The Duleep Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket competition played in India between teams representing geographical zones of India. The competition is named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji of Nawanagar . Central Zone are the current champions. The competition was started by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the 1961–62 season.

Pistol ace Jitu Rai of India finished sixth in the men’s 50m pistol event on day five of the lnternational Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup.Jitu, who is the world number one in the event, qualified for the finals in fourth position shooting a score of 563 at the Olympic Shooting Centre. He began the finals on the back foot registering two shots of 8 each to start with.  He seemed to regain composure with three consecutive shots of 10 after that, but a 7.9 in his ninth shot and 8.7in his 10th put paid to all hopes of a medal and he was eliminated after the 12th shot to claim the sixth place. The International Shooting Sport Federation, also known with the acronym ISSF, is the governing body of the Olympic Shooting events in Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun disciplines, and of several non-Olympic Shooting sport events.

India is expected to overtake the US as the second-largest smartphone market next year with robust annual growth, says a Morgan Stanley research report. According to the report on global technology and telecom, the country's smartphone market will grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 per cent through 2018 and would account for 30 per cent of the global growth during the period. We expect India to overtake the US next year as the second-largest smartphone market by units. India will grow nearly five times faster than the world's largest smartphone market China, where growth has decelerated, the report We estimate a 23 per cent CAGR in units in India, compared with 5 per cent over the same period in China. By 2018, we estimate 192 million smartphones will be shipped to India, or 11 per cent of global units The improvement in demographics, as measured by declining age dependency, has been one of the most important factors supporting higher potential growth in India... We expect consumption to maintain a relatively high growth rate, driven by an increase in per-capita income growth and an emerging middle class India's internet penetration to reach 50 per cent by 2018, up from 26 per cent last year, driven by rising smartphone availability and affordability, online content and changing user behavior  The global consultancy estimates 4G smartphones will account for 75 per cent of 170 million shipments by the next year, which currently has less than 1 per cent subscriber penetration in the country.The report, which is based on 2,600 urban smartphone buyers, said the respondents paid an average of Rs 8,500 for their smartphones and plan to spend 40 per cent more on their next phone. 

Google India has emerged as the winner of the 6th edition of Randstad Award 2016 for the second consecutive year and was awarded the 'Most Attractive Employer' in India. Mercedes-Benz India was the runner-up. The sectoral specific special recognition awards this year have gone to Dell India for IT, Samsung India for Consumer Electronics and Amazon India for E-Commerce.  The Randstad Award survey, independently conducted with more than 200,000 respondents across 25 countries worldwide, also revealed that salary and employee benefits (48%) continue to be the top driver among the Indian workforce while choosing an employer, followed by long-term job security (46%), financial health of the company (43%), pleasant working atmosphere (40%), and good work-life balance (38%). However, the importance of salary has decreased from last year (6% decrease from 2015). The survey findings also reflected that the Indian workforce prefers to work or move to sectors like IT & Communication (70%), followed by Automobiles (66%) and FMCG, retail & e-commerce (64%).  Randstad Award : The Randstad Award is the largest independent employer branding survey in the world. The award is presented each year to the most attractive employer in various countries across the globe. In its 6th year in India, and 16th year globally, you can expect the event to be bigger, better and a whole lot more insightful.  

The Centre has decided to release 10,000 metric tonnes of pulses, mainly Tur and Urad, from buffer stock to ensure their availability at reasonable prices. Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a release that the government has requested States to avail the benefit and utilize the available stocks for managing the prices of pulses in their respective State. States have also been asked to keep a close watch on the prices and to take stringent action against hoarding of the commodity.The Ministry said, the Centre has already empowered the states to impose stock limits on the pulses to ensure easy availability. It said, government agencies have made procurement of about 50,000 metric tonnes of pulses from the farmers during the Kharif Marketing Season, 2015-16 and has contracted 25,000 Metric tonnes for import.The Ministry said, government is also initiating procurement of Rabi pulses and has targeted to procure around one lakh Metric tonnes of Chana and Masur to build the buffer stocks further.

The Government of India approved assistance of Rs 842.7 crore for Karnataka, Puducherry and Arunachal Pradesh, which have been affected by drought or floods.The decision to provide assistance was taken by a high-level committee meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The decision to provide assistance was taken by a high-level committee meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Committee examined the proposals based on the report of the central team which visited Karnataka, affected by drought,Puducherry and Arunachal Pradesh, which have been hit by floods. An amount to the tune of Rs 723.23 crore was approved to Karnataka, Rs 35.14 crore was approved for Puducherry and Rs 84.33 crore for Arunachal Pradesh. The central assistance of Rs 84.33 crore to Arunachal Pradesh includes Rs 18 crore under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). In total, 10 states, including Maharashtra and Karnataka, have declared drought in their parts. More than Rs 10,000 crore central assistance has been given to these states to tide over the situation. While Puducherry was hit by floods due to heavy rains in December 2015, Arunachal Pradesh too was affected by floods last year.  The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and senior officers of the ministries of Home, Finance and Agriculture.   

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1 will launch Rs. 8,000 crore scheme to provide 5 crore free LPG connections to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families using the money saved from 1.13 crore cooking gas users voluntarily giving up their subsidies. The scheme is called Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and Mr. Modi will be launching it on May 1 at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh and Dahod in Gujarat on May 15. Maharashtra tops the list with 16.44 lakh consumers giving up subsidies, then Uttar Pradesh where nearly 13 lakh users gave up subsidies, followed by Delhi with 7.26 lakh people giving up subsidies. Prime Minister’s home state Gujarat was way down the list with just 4.2 lakh giving up subsidies. In Odisha around 1.3 lakh people gave up subsidies. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in his Budget for 2016-17 provided Rs 2000 crore to provide deposit free LPG connections to 1.5 crore women belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. GiveItUp Campaign : Domestic LPG is heavily subsidized by the Government of India and every cylinder that we use in our kitchen carries a substantial subsidy.  Subsidy on domestic LPG instead of being universal needs to meet the needs of the truly needy citizens. Fortunately, many able and aware citizens are not in favor of subsidies and would rather pay the full price for the products and, thereby they also make a personal contribution towards nation-building. There is a need to spread this message. Accordingly, the Government has launched the ‘GiveItUp’ campaign which is aimed at motivating LPG users who can afford to pay the market price for LPG to voluntarily surrender their LPG subsidy.

The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has taken a decision to terminate three highway projects worth over Rs. 3,000 croreThe government has decided to terminate three highway projects in Jharkhand, Haryana and Uttarakhand on account of poor show by the developers. The three highway projects are  projects are  :  Rargaon-Jamshedpur (Rs. 1,650 crore) in Jharkhand Rohtak-Jind (Rs. 410 crore) in Haryana Haridwar-Dehradun (Rs. 1,021 crore) in Uttarakhand. While in the first two projects, which were started in December 2012 and October 2013 respectively, the NHAI had suspected diversion of funds, the concessionaire failed to bring in promised funds in the Uttarakhand project which had begun construction in November 2011. None of these projects had even completed half the work.

The World Book and Copyright Day was celebrated on 23 April 2016 across the world. The events on this day are organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright. The day was first celebrated on 23 April 1995. World Book Capital 2016: Wroclaw, Poland  Every year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry - publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April each year. This year the city of Wroclaw was chosen as the World Book Capital 2016 for its commitment to spread the message of the power of books to nurture creativity.  World Book Capital for 2017 : Conakry,Republic of Guinea Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea, has been named World Book Capital for 2017. The decision was made by an international committee of experts on 30 June during a meeting at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris. 23 April is considered as a symbolic date for world literature. In 1616, on this date Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov and Manuel Mejia Vallejo.In 1995, UNESCO in its General Conference in Paris, paid a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date by encouraging everyone to discover the pleasure of reading. In this regard, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day.

India on 22 April 2016 ratified the new Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of World trade Organisation (WTO). WTO ambassador of India, Anjali Prasad, handed over the country’s instrument of acceptance to WTO’s Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.The ratification of the TFA will help India further boost economic growth by reducing trade costs and supporting its integration into the global economy. Features of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) : The agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit which was concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.It will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the agreement. India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA.India submitted its Category A notification to the WTO on 18 March 2016, with an indication of which provisions of the TFA it intends to implement upon entry into force of the Agreement. Russia : The Russian Federation has become the 77th WTO Member to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The Russian Federation’s Minister of Economic Development, Alexey Ulyukaev, met with Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on 22 April and presented his country’s TFA instrument of acceptance. Apart from India, the other countries which ratified the TFA include: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia and Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates and Samoa. The TFA broke new ground for developing and least-developed countries in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members.  Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to 1 trillion US dollar per annum, according to the WTO’s flagship World Trade Report released on 26 October 2015.

Malaysian Government has introduced the Electronic Travel Authorization Visa (e-visa) for a short visit to Malaysia. Currently, the e-visa facility is available to Indians residing in India only and is valid for a single journey stay of maximum 30 days in Malaysia for tourism purposes. India is a significant contributor to the tourism economy of Malaysia. Last year, 7,22,141 Indian tourists visited Malaysia making it the 6th largest contributor to tourist arrivals. The Malaysia e-visa comes at a fee of around Rs 2,710 and can be obtained within 24- 48 hours with a validity of 3 months. Tourism authorities across the globe are vying to get the attention of Indians as the Indian traveller is now getting increasingly noticed at global tourist destinations. India's outbound travel, industry estimates suggest, is growing 15-20% every year. According to industry estimates, the number of Indians travelling overseas is set to rise to around 50 million by 2020. 

Bollywood actress Radhika Apte has bagged the best actress in an international narrative feature honour at this year’sTribeca Film Festival for her performance in anthology film ‘Madly‘. The 30-year-old actress starred in ‘Clean Shaven‘, which is a segment of ‘Madly‘. Madly is a mixture of six short stories, directed by different directors. The movie also stars Satyadeep Misra. The award for best US narrative feature went to ‘Dean‘, written and directed by Demteri Martin. It is a comedy about a man, who falls for a woman just as his father prepares to sell his family home in the wake of his mother’s death. ‘Junction 48‘ was honoured with the best international narrative feature award. The award for the best actor in a US narrative feature film went to Dominic Rains (‘The Fixer’), while Mackenzie Davis’ performance in “Always Shine” earned her the best actress. Alan Sabbagh bagged the best actor award in an international narrative feature for his work in ‘The Tenth Man’. Radhika Apte : Radhika Apte made her feature film debut in the 2005 Bollywood film Vaah’ Life Ho Toh Aisi’ and had her first starring role in the 2009 Bengali film Antaheen.She made her Marathi film debut in 2009 with Amol Palekar’s Samaantar.Her Bollywood breakthrough occurred in 2015, following acclaimed performances in Badlapur and Hunterrr. Apte, who has appeared in films in Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and English languages, besides Hindi and Marathi, has also featured in short films and a television series.  

The foreign brands like Google and Facebook that rank on top in terms of their influence, while domestic ones are placed lower, as per the new list of ten most influential brands in the country.  According to the study by global research firm Ipsos, Google ranks on the top and is followed by Facebook, Gmail, Microsoft and Samsung in the top five -- all of which are foreign brands.  While another foreign brand WhatsApp is sixth on the India's top 10 most influential brands, Flipkart is the top ranked Indian brand at seventh place.  The other two Indian brands on the list - SBI and Airtel- are ninth and tenth, US-based Amazon is placed at number eight . Brands are more than just corporate logos. They have meaning, personality, even attitude. The role brands play in our lives and the world at large is becoming more important.  The Most Influential Brands study that ranks brands according to their influence in 21 countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, the US and UK, was conducted in December 2015.  Ipsos study has measured the biggest, most well-known and/ or highest spending brands only. As a result, the study did not look at the entire market.  The Ipsos Most Influential Brand Study evaluates over 100 brands across 21 countries and involved 36,600 interviews. In India, where the study was conducted for the first time, we canvassed the country to ask more than 1,000 Indians online to assess more than 100 brands, Ipsos 

Indian Information Service (IIS) officer Bhupendra Kainthola has been appointed as Director of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Kainthola will replace Prashant Pathrabe and shall have tenure of three years. He is a 1989 batch IIS officer. Prior to this appointment he was serving as Director (News Room) with DD News since January 2015. He was responsible for ‘management of news operations and output’. Previously, he has worked with PIB, Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP), Directorate of Film Festival (as Director, National Film Awards and Indian Panorama) and also with the Lok Sabha Television. Kainthola holds a Masters in International Relations from the University of Mumbai’. Film and Television Institute of India :  FTII is premier institute that provides training for acting, film making, video editing, direction and production. It is an autonomous body under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Established in 1960 and is situated in Pune on the premises of the erstwhile Prabhat Film Company. Since its inception, FTII has become India’s premier film and television institute. Its alumni have become technicians, actors and directors in the film and television industry.

175 nations including India have signed the historic Paris Climate Agreement at United Nations Headquarters in New York along marking a significant step to combat global warming. On behalf of India, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signed the agreement at a high-level ceremony hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of Earth Day (22 April). The ceremony was attended by heads of governments, foreign ministers, corporate leaders and artists from across the world. The agreement will come into force 30 days after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions ratify the agreement. Highlights : The Paris Climate Agreement was formulated within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Facilitates enforcement of global GHGs reduction measures, adaptation and finance in the post-2020 i.e. in post Kyoto Protocol scenario. The agreement was adopted by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC held in Paris (France) in December 2015. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. Takes into account the principle of equity (climate justice) and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capabilities. The mitigation will be based on consensus among the members that have incorporated their respective Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Developed countries will provide 100 billion dollars annually to the developing counterparts beginning in 2020 and it would increase with time. The signing of this agreement is the first step toward ensuring that it comes into force as soon as possible. After the signing, countries must take the further national step of accepting or ratifying the agreement.

President Pranab Mukherjee has nominated of six eminent members to Rajya Sabha as per the provisions of Article 80 of the Constitution. These nominated members are Mary Kom : Legendary boxer and Olympic bronze medallist. She belongs to the Sino-Tibetan speaking Kom tribe of Manipur. She is five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. In 2014, she became the first Indian woman boxer to get a gold medal in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Narendra Jadhav : He is renowned economist and former member of the erstwhile National Advisory Council (2010-14) and Planning Commission (2009-14). He is also the former vice-chancellor of Pune University. Suresh Gopi : He is Malayalam actor and had acted in over 200 films. He is a winner of the National Film Award and Filmfare Award. Subramanian Swamy : He is BJP leader and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977, 1980 and 1988, and to the Rajya Sabha in 1974 and 1998. Navjot Singh Sidhu : He is cricketer-turned-politician and former two time member of Lok Sabha. Nomination of eminent members to Rajya Sabha  : As per Article 80 (Part V) of the Constitution, President can nominate 12 members in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha). These persons should have special knowledge or practical experience in the field of Art, Science, Literature and Social Service. The rationale behind the principle of the nomination is to facilitate the representation of eminent professionals and experts who cannot face direct elections.

Former national champion Vishnu Vardhan put his name into the record books by becoming the first champion of the Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) after he beat Sidharth Rawat 7-6(7), 6-3 in the final of the $5,000 event at the DLTA Complex .In the national championship final two years ago, Vishnu had taken three sets to beat Rawat.Vishnu recovered from 0-40, to serve out the match in which he fired 14 aces. Vishnu Vardhan  :  Vishnu, who had played doubles at the London Olympics with Leander Paes, that he would listen to his body and play events accordingly, as he plays both singles and doubles.While the 28-year-old Vishnu will play the next three-day ATT tournament as well beginning on Friday, before the three Futures events in Chandigarh and Ludhiana, Rawat said he would skip the next event and train for the Futures.The champion collected $900 and the runner-up $600, and both earned the additional allowance of $125 each, like all the 16 players in the main draw.  

Shri T. Suresh Babu, presently Ambassador of India to Armenia, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Mongolia. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly. Suresh Babu has worked in various capacities at Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi and held diplomatic positions in Indian Missions viz. Odessa (Ukraine), Moscow (Russia) and Minsk (Belarus). He has also served as Regional Passport Officer in Chandigarh.