21
Sun, Oct

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu led a delegation to participate in the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting that took place on 18-19 October 2018 in Brussels bringing together 51 countries across Asia and Europe, as well as EU and ASEAN Institutions under the title “Global Partners for Global Challenges”.

At the Summit, the Vice President joined the other global leaders in unanimously stressing the role of ASEM as a main platform for Europe and Asia to strengthen dialogue, foster cooperation and tackles global challenges, such as climate change, terrorism, global peace and security, maritime governance, preserving and strengthening rules-based multilateral trading system, and working towards 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.  Chair’s statement was also issued at the Summit.

The Vice President, during his interventions, called on the international community to take concerted action against terrorism, including cross-border terrorism, that threatens peace and stability.  He stated that it is important to uphold principles of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries and to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity.  He stressed on an early adoption of the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. Terming economic offences as a serious issue that threatens the financial stability of nations, he asked the ASEM partners to work together for denying shelter and for expeditious and timely exchange of financial information. He also highlighted India’s own ambitious policy measures in actively combating climate change and stressed International Solar Alliance as a shining example of Asia-Europe cooperation. He underlined Government of India’s measure for more inclusive development, including focus on women empowerment.

Earlier on October 18, the Vice President also called on His Majesty King Philippe of the Belgians. On the sidelines of the Summit, the Vice President also met with the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras and Portuguese Prime Minister, Mr. Antonio Costa, Spanish Prime Minister, Mr. Pedro Sanchez and exchanged views on matters of common interest.

During his visit to Belgium, the Vice President also visited Jain Temple Complex in the City of Antwerp and met the members of Indian Community on October 20. He outlined the transformative governance initiatives in India and suggested that the Indian diaspora could be active partners in the current India’s growth story. Underscoring the important of ethics in business, he emphasized the paramount importance of maintaining the link with the mother-tongue, motherland and enhanced respect for mother and the guru or the mentor. He also visited Office of the Governor of Antwerp where he paid floral homage to the bust of Mahatma Gandhi. Later in the day, he exchanged views on further enhancing India-Belgium trade and investment ties with select group of prominent CEOs.

After successfully concluding his visit, Vice President will be returning to Delhi on October 21.

 

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

Read more: International community need to take concerted...

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that terrorism is a major threat to peace and stability, and called for an early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, stressing peace is the prerequisite for progress and peace cannot be achieved without combating terrorism. He was addressing the  plenary and retreat sessions of the 12th ASEM Summit, with the theme "Global Partners for Global Challenges", in Brussels, Belgium today.

During his interventions, the Vice President stated that India valued ASEM as a platform that brings together leadership of Asia and Europe to exchange views and address global challenges.

The Vice President drew attention of the leaders to the challenge that criminal misappropriation of public assets by economic offenders, was posing threats to the integrity of financial systems. He expressed the need for international cooperation to deny shelter to the economic offenders including by enhancing mechanisms for Automatic Exchange of Information.

The Vice President also emphasized the importance of connectivity for enhancing prosperity and referred to the various cross border initiatives on connectivity undertaken by India.

The Vice President elaborated on the various initiatives undertaken by the Government to promote inclusive governance, women's welfare, sustainable development and digitalization. He pointed out that the biggest driver to prevent climate change was the elimination of poverty through sustainable use of resources. He called on ASEM partners to join the International Solar Alliance, which symbolizes Asia-Europe cooperation,  being an initiative launched by India and France.

 

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

 

Read more: Terrorism is a major threat to peace and...

Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs(I/C) has appreciated the Engineers involved in the construction project of 120 General Pool Residential Type-VII Flats for overcoming the engineering complexities and the plan to use Eco friendly Green and energy Efficient features in this project. The project is to be executed by Central Public Works Department at Pocket-I, DDU Marg, New Delhi. While addressing those present after he laid the foundation stone of the project here today, Shri Puri said he was happy to note that 15,000 sq. meters of area developed is green with provision for rain harvesting. Care has been taken to provide enough parking spaces, public amenities like community toilets, etc. Noting that all the projects put on a fast track by the Ministry have achieved substantial progress, he said, “we are determined to complete other projects as well.” Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, MP presided over the function.

The Proposed 120 Type-VII multi storeyed flats shall be constructed in a plot area of 26,500 sqm. There shall be four ‘State of the Art’ Towers - two towers shall be 13 storeyed and remaining two towers 17 storeyed with basements and stilt for parking. The project costing Rs. 197 crores shall be completed within a period of 21 months by June 2020. On site solar power units shall be installed on roof top with capacity of 300 KW. The campus would have provisions of sewage treatment plant for recycling waste water, rain water harvesting, and de-composter for handling of waste material. These flats shall be a magnificent blend of Architecture and Engineering.

Another project of Grade Separator at Rani Jhansi Road to improve mobility for the citizens of Delhi was opened for public use in the presence of the Minister earlier in the day. The project will ensure easier movement of traffic and reduction in the commuting time. The Minister had inaugurated the Sky Walk and Foot Over Bridge at ITO yesterday as one more initiative for ease of living for Delhi citizens.

Mentioning the initiatives of the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry in making life easier and reducing various bottlenecks, he outlined several projects funded by his ministry which have either been completed or are at an advanced stage of completion. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had issued sanction for funding of following six projects worth Rs. 1,826.40 crore under the Urban Development Fund, which aimed at reducing traffic congestion, pollution and accidents, and improve traffic flow in Delhi.

i) Construction of skywalk and FOB at the Junction of Sikandra Road, Mathura Road, Tilak Marg and Bahadur Shah Marg at ‘W’ Point near Hans Bhawan.

ii) Construction of Grade Separator at Rani Jhansi Road.

iii) Construction of flyover passes between Northern Mahipalpur by pass road and Airport road near Hanuman Mandir, New Delhi.

iv) Construction of Flyover-cum-ROB on UER-I at Narela.

v) Construction of Integrated Transit Corridor Development Plan along Mathura Road, Bhairon Marg, Mahatma Gandhi Marg and connecting Mathura Road to Mahatma Gandhi Marg via Underground Tunnel below Pragati Maidan.

vi) Road corridor improvement of Ring Road from ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Shalimar Bypass including construction of up-ramp for U-turn to join with existing elevated loop at ISBT Kashmiri Gate, widening of road by shifting entry/exit subway near Nigam Bodh Ghat.

Shri Hardeep Puri said that in view of slow progress in these projects, it was decided in October 2017 by the Ministry inter-alia, that the projects where balance funding of the project cost was not forthcoming from Delhi government, the same may be funded by the DDA/ITPO i.e., 100% funding by the Central Government and implementing agencies be changed to CPWD except in Skywalk project where PWD had called for tender. Accordingly, for four projects relating to (i) Construction of Skywalk (ii) Construction of flyover at Mahipalpur (iii) Road Corridor improvement at ISBT and (iv) Integrated Transit Corridor Development at Pragati Maidan, it was decided to meet the entire cost through UDF/DDA/ITPO.

He pointed out that project of Road Corridor improvement at ISBT, for which Delhi government had decided to do as its own has still not been started. “Apart from this two other projects on Ring Road i.e., Construction of flyovers at Metcalfe House and Majnu Ka Tila at the cost of Rs 320 crore for all three are still not yet sanctioned by Delhi Government”, he added

The construction of flyover passes between Northern Mahipalpur by pass road and Airport road near Hanuman Mandir, New Delhi at a cost of Rs 188 crore, will be completed by February, 2019. Similarly, construction of Flyover-cum-ROB on UER-I at Narela at a cost of Rs 437.21 crore, will be completed by March, 2019. As far as construction of Integrated Transit Corridor Development Plan along Mathura Road, Bhairon Marg, Mahatma Gandhi Marg and connecting Mathura Road to Mahatma Gandhi Marg via Underground Tunnel below Pragati Maidan at a cost of Rs 928.17 crore, is concerned, the Project will be completed co-terminus with completion of new world class ITPO facilities in October, 2019.

***

RJ/KGS

Read more: Eco-Friendly Green & Energy Efficient Features...

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has said that Energy is a global industry and oil is truly a global commodity, and hence our engagement with the global energy community has to be continuous. Speaking at CERA Week conference here today, he said that India cannot work in isolation, as from a global perspective, global market shifts, technological disruptions, financial markets & paper trading, and possible disruption in the form of energy transition  are shaping the future of energy security. He said that any action on energy must take into account the global consensus achieved by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the “Paris Agreement” of 2015 and decisions of the G20 Leaders’ meeting in Hamburg in 2017 that regard energy security as one of the guiding principles for energy transition. He appreciated the efforts of IHS team for bringing the flagship event out of Houston and making India its home away from home for the second time.

Shri Pradhan said that India has taken a lead in International Solar Alliance (ISA) with 60 solar-rich countries. Two weeks back as part of the International Solar Alliance gathering in New Delhi, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi mentioned that ISA can potentially replace OPEC as the key block of supplier of energy in the world. With the falling prices of solar, we can easily achieve his idea of “One World, One Sun, One Grid”. He said that We are trying to accomplish Hon’ble PM’s vision of the energy sector – of ensuring energy access, energy security, energy affordability and energy sustainability. As the third largest consumer of energy and one of the fastest growing – in a volatile global environment, we cannot just rely on one source of energy. As Hon’ble Prime Minister had mentioned last year, like horses in Sun God’s chariot, India will harness all sources of available energy -solar, wind, hydro, coal, oil, gas, nuclear, bio-fuels etc.

 

Mentioning about the recent progress made on the reforms and implementation of initiatives, Shri Pradhan said that in our efforts towards providing universal access of clean cooking fuel to residences, we have the Prime Minister Ujjwala Scheme, under which we had kept a target of reaching 50 million households in 3 years’ time. We achieved that milestone ahead of schedule and increased the target to 80 million. He said that besides moving to a cleaner fuel, Ujjwala has had a major impact on the health of rural women and children. It has empowered poor women also by addressing the issue of “time poverty” and encouraged them to invest in their human capital. Through innovative delivery models, use of technology, and a policy of directed subsidy – we have been able to expand the consumer market for energy.

 

The Minister said that the upstream licensing round under Discovered Small Field and the Open Acreage Licensing Policy has been successfully completed. OLAP under HELP is now a continuous process backed by a transparent data repository. Cabinet has also approved the policy to incentivize enhanced oil recovery which will further help boost upstream activity in India. He said that in a big boost to the City Gas Distribution (CGD) network expansion, in the 9th round of bidding, 86 licenses have been offered and bid out.  50% of country’s population will soon have access to local gas network, which will boost our efforts toward providing clean air in our cities and towns. India has leapfrogged from the use of BS IV to the launch of BS VI grade fuel. Even though the original target for BS VI roll-out was 2024, we advanced that to 2020 and have now rolled it out in the NCT in 2018 itself.

 

Shri Pradhan said that we also have been giving a big push towards harnessing bio fuel with the launch of National Bio Fuel Policy of 2018. This will also contribute to PM’s commitment of doubling the farmer’s income by 2022. He mentioned about the test flight being flown from Dehradun to New Delhi with a blend of 25% bio jet fuel & 75% ATF in August this year. A scheme to promote compressed bio-gas in a big way has been launched. Expansion of the gas grid continues in the East, North-East and Southern parts of the country and several LNG regasification terminals are coming up. In the last 2 years, national oil companies have made significant acquisitions in some of the world-class producing blocks in Russia, the UAE and Oman. He said furthering the agenda for energy security, our cabinet has recently approved the second phase of building strategic oil reserves in Odisha and Karnataka. This will be done in a public-private partnership mode.

Shri Pradhan said that in past one year, severe head winds have been faced by way of rising oil prices. Since the last CERA week in New Delhi, crude prices have gone up 50% in US Dollar terms and 70% in Indian Rupee terms. Much of it is to do with geo-political events imposed on the world. He solicited the suggestions towards further improving the investment climate in the oil and gas sector. He said our industry and research institutes need to come together to develop technology for CO2 Capture, Hydrogen Fuel cells, Gas Hydrates, Hydrogen-Injected CNG, Coal to gas etc.  He expressed the hope that the conference on “India’s Energy Transition: Evolution or Revolution?”  to have stimulating and productive deliberations, which will help India drawing from the rich international expertise and experience.

 

YB

Read more: Shri Dharmendra Pradhan says India has to...

 

Recognising the pathbreaking transformations in India’s energy sector under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design is awarding its fourth annual Carnot Prize to Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Coal and former Minister of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Government of India.

 

The Carnot Prize is the Kleinman Center’s annual recognition of distinguished contributions to energy policy through scholarship or practice. The most prestigious award in the energy sector, Carnot Prize is named after French physicist Nicolas Sadi Carnot who recognised that the power of the steam engine would “produce a great revolution” in human development. The Carnot Prize is intended to honour those leading revolutions in energy policy to further progress and prosperity.

 

Just like Carnot visualised the progress of mankind, the Carnot Prize recognises pioneering scholarship and path breaking policies in the energy sector. Previous winners include: Dr. Daniel Yergin, Vice chairman of IHS, Dr. Fatih Birol, Director of International Energy Agency, Gina McCarthy is a career public servant in fields of energy and environment.

 

The 2018 Carnot Prize is a recognition of India’s efforts under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, as the nation charts the path towards eliminating energy poverty with sustainable energy solutions.The rural electrification drive gave a significant breakthrough to the mission of ‘24x7 Affordable, Environment Friendly Power for all’,  as India eliminated decades of darkness in more than 19,000 villages on 28th April, 2018. With real-time monitoring, India’s energy starved people in the remotest villages of 19,000 villages saw electricity for the first time. With the Saubhagya Programme, the last-mile connectivity to every household in the villages is being fast tracked, with 51% of the 3.1 crore rural households electrified. Mark Alan Hughes, founding faculty director, Kleinman Center, commended India’s electrification drive - “Providing power to the world’s energy poor turns on the lights—and also empowers education, sanitation, and health care. It closes the gap between the haves and have nots.”

 

India has taken rapid strides towards translating the country’s ancient ethos of environment conservation in our ambitious renewables and energy efficiency programmes. As Hon’ble Prime Minister has called climate conservation an article of faith for India, the massive thrust to green energy is reflected in India’s 175 GW target by 2022, being the world’s largest renewable expansion programme with 72 GW already achieved. As solar and wind energy market prices achieve parity in India with record low tariffs, renewables are set to become the mainstay of development in the coming years. With India becoming home to the world’s largest solar park, solar plant and single rooftop plant, the Carnot Prize recognises India’s “solid footing to reach a 40% renewable mix by 2030” (Kleinman Center for Energy Policy). As Prime Minister Modi gave the vision of “one world, one sun, one grid” while addressing the member nations of the International Solar Alliance, India is playing its role as a committed solar leader through steady progress on all green energy goals.

 

In the last four years, energy efficiency has become a people’s movement in India, making the Government’s UJALA scheme the world’s largest LED distribution programme, and along with private sector participation, 130 crore LED bulbs have been distributed, making India brighter and cleaner. It is a matter of immense pride that in several newly electrified villages, the first consumers of electricity are using LED bulbs and rooftop solar panels, realising India’s vision of sustainable, universal, and affordable energy access.

The Carnot Prize is a recognition of India’s climate conscious and development driven energy governance that is fuelling the aspirations of 125 crore people.

***

SVS/ENS

 

Read more: Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the...

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venakaiaha Nadiu has called on Chambers of Commerce of Industries to promote ethical practices in corporate governance, tax compliance and corporate social responsibility among its members. He also asked them to create an environment for whistleblowers to report any wrong doing without any fear.

 

Addressing the 98TH Annual Session of ASSOCHAM, here today, he emphasized the need to adopt zero tolerance towards corruption, bribery and frauds. He also sought such organizations to create an environment for whistleblowers to report any wrong doing without any fear.

 

Calling them key drivers of India’s growth, the Vice President tasked the business associations to plan for the long term vision to serve the larger interests of the nation. He stressed the need reinvent and reposition to promote trade and commerce effectively in line with the changing global scenario. A country like India cannot implement its welfare agenda without the progress and participation of industry, he said.  

 

The Vice President said that vital structural reforms like the implementation of demonetization and GST by the Indian government have led to an expansion of the formal economy and brought about increased tax compliance and increased the tax payer base.

 

The Vice President stressed the need to impart education, skills and foster entrepreneurship among young Indians and said that country must harness the potential of youth and utilize the demographic dividend to better country’s prospects. We must empower the youth to become Job Creators rather than Job Seekers, he added.

 

The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

 

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

 

“I am very happy to be present at the 98th Annual Session of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, popularly known as “ASSOCHAM”.  I understand that ASSOCHAM, established in 1920, will be celebrating its Centenary in the near future.  Hundred years is indeed a long time in the history of any organization and I wish ASSOCHAM many more years of service to the industry and business community as also to the nation.

To begin with, I would like to emphasize the important role bodies like Chambers of Commerce & Industry play in the economic development of the country. They act as a bridge between the governments and the industry in creating conducive atmosphere for the businesses to thrive and produce wealth. They also play an important role in advising the governments to enact legislations and regulations that promote ease of doing business. At the same time, these bodies also have a responsibility in promoting ethical corporate governance, tax compliance and corporate social responsibility among its members.

Looking ahead, I believe that the success of a Chamber of Commerce like the ASSOCHAM will depend not just on focusing  on traditional business issues but on how  it guides its  members to face the challenges arising from globalization. In short, tomorrow’s Chamber of Commerce will have to reinvent and reposition itself to not only promote trade and commerce effectively, but also serve the larger interests of the nation.

I am delighted to be here amongst the large gathering of eminent business leaders this morning. Your presence here is affirmation of your deep commitment and interest in India’s growth story.   

I am happy to share with you the ambitious, transformative vision of “New India working for 1.25 billion aspirations”

India is in the midst of an unprecedented economic and social transformation. The economy is growing at a steady pace and the systemic governance reforms are creating a more inclusive society. Most of the multilateral institutions have forecast that India will grow at more than 7 percent in 2018 and 2019, ahead of other major economies. The first quarter estimates of GDP growth for Q1 (April-June) 2018-19 show that Indian economy is now cruising at 8.2 %.

 We have managed to retain buoyancy in foreign investment, public investment in infrastructure and greatly expanded the scope of welfare measures despite uncertain global environment. Investment in infrastructure development has increased substantially and it is already visible in the improved railways, roads, airports and shipping infrastructure in our country.

India is rapidly expanding its infrastructure. For instance, over 9,829 Km national highways were constructed during the year 2017-18 as compared to 8,231 km during 2016-17.

We have seen a strong global confidence in the India story with a surge in Foreign Direct Investments which reached over US $ 52 billion in 2017-18(RBI, Annual Report for 2017-18).

India has emerged as one of the leaders in renewable energies and the government has launched a massive push for clean energy. India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under Paris Climate Agreement, inter-alia, include achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030. India has taken various initiatives, including setting up of National Solar Mission and has set a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 for increasing share of carbon free energy in the energy mix.  Solar energy prices have fallen to record low of Rs2.44/unit, thus bringing us close to achieving our goals under the Paris Climate Accord.

India is playing a leadership role in International Solar Alliance which is committed to financing solar energy projects around the world.

Only recently, the United Nations has bestowed the Champion of the Earth Award, its highest environmental honour, jointly on Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the French President, Emmanuel Macron in the ‘Policy Leadership’ category for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and promoting new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action, including Shri Modi’s unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022. 

Dear sisters and brothers, we are committed to build a five trillion dollar economy by 2025, making us the 3rd largest consumer market in the world. We are strengthening the manufacturing sector through the Make in India and other programs, even as our services sector remains robust and high-tech.

Last four years have witnessed major reforms which include harmonization of indirect taxes through GST, easing the regulatory environment, facilitating foreign direct investment across all sectors, massive recapitalization of the public sector banks at Rs.2.11 lakh crore and the implementation of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. Vital structural reforms like the implementation of demonetization and GST by the Indian government have led to an expansion of the formal economy and brought about increased tax compliance. The number of people, who had filed Income Tax returns have surged. All these measures have given a fillip to the Indian economy, which is expected to pick-up further momentum in the coming years.

The IMF had recently forecast a growth of 7.3 per cent in the current year and 7.4 per cent in 2019.

The IMF in its World Economic Outlook said that in India important reforms have been implemented in the recent years, including the Goods and Services Tax, the inflation-targeting framework, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, and steps to liberalize foreign investment and make it easier to do business. “Looking ahead, renewed impetus to reform labor and land markets, along with further improvements to the business climate, are also crucial,” it said.

I would like bodies like the Assocham to be in the forefront in promoting corporate ethics by its members and in following various reforms initiated by the Government.  Ethical behavior has to be promoted by individuals as well as organizations by adopting zero tolerance towards corruption, bribery and frauds. Organizations should also create an environment for whistleblowers to report any wrong doing without any fear.

Total tax compliance should be the motto of every corporate and bodies like Assocham should sensitize its members on this aspect.  It should also sensitize its members towards taking up various CSR activities by organizing seminars and workshops on the issue regularly.

As part of the efforts to curb the menace of black money, the government has signed treaties with 48 countries for extradition of fugitives and brought in the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill. India also played a major role in building a consensus among countries for free flow of financial account information to tackle black money stashed abroad.

Any tough reform will face teething problems in the initial stages and the same was the case with both demonetization and GST. However, the long-term advantages will definitely outweigh the short-term hiccups which caused a bit of economic slowdown. Well, that period is over now and the economy is on the track to achieve a higher growth.

India has to gear up the delivery system so that the intended benefits of the policies and programmes of government reach the people on time in the spirit of the principle “Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikaas”. Inclusive and rapid broad-based economic development will address a number of problems like income and regional inequalities. The real challenge for us is to ensure that the legislative intent is translated into effective implementation and nobody is left out of the inclusive growth story.

India is witnessing the onset of an information technology revolution which is changing the way a government engages with its citizens. This transformation rests on digital infrastructure that allows free flow of information, innovation and ideas on the information high-ways. We must fully utilize the power of information technology to reach out to the targeted beneficiaries. Government has launched some very significant  initiatives like GST – making India into a single unified market, GeM – to reform government procurement process, Public Finance Management System (PFMS) – to make Just-in-time payments between various entities; eNAM - creating a national agriculture market by connecting the existing Mandis through an electronic platform, and JAM – Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile using Aadhaar to target government schemes to the poor and the needy sections of the society, besides removing intermediaries.

More than 326 million persons have opened bank accounts in the last four years making financial inclusion a reality. Tax base has been widened and tax compliance has increased. The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) is a path-breaking innovation that cuts down multiple intermediaries.

As you all are aware, the Government’s efforts in the area of Ease of Doing Business include cutting down on layers of regulations, simplifying procedures, promoting on-line applications and fixing time-lines for approvals.  As result, India has climbed 30 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking. There also has to be a change of mindset for these reforms to be effective.

Given the size and diversity of the country, there are challenges in delivering basic services to the common man. Therefore, it is imperative to streamline service delivery and provide effective, transparent and people-centred good governance.

India has become the third largest start up eco-system in the world. According to a NASSCOM report, about 1,000 start-ups were added in 2017 taking their number to nearly 5,200. Interestingly a chunk of these start-ups are from Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

The new India that has emerged is ‘Aspirational India’ with about 65 per cent of the population under 35 years of age. While most of developed countries face the risk of an ageing workforce, India is expected to have a very favourable demographic profile. It is estimated that by the year 2020, the population of India would have a median age of 28 years only as against 38 years for US, 42 years for China and 48 years for Japan. This ‘demographic dividend’ offers a great opportunity and it is extremely crucial to effectively harness it.

In order to capture this demographic dividend, we need to impart appropriate education, skills and foster entrepreneurship so that the youth could also become job creators and not remain as mere job seekers.

As we all know the talent of Indian youth is recognized across the world as is evident from the leadership positions many Indians are occupying in well-known global companies. We need to create adequate opportunities, fully harness their potential and ensure that they productively contribute towards nation-building. India’s demographic advantage also provides us with a unique opportunity to not only provide gainful employment through appropriate skilling to meet the domestic demand but also meet the requirements of the aging economies of the world.

While India’s academic system has undergone a massive expansionary phase, there is a need to strengthen and popularize vocational education system. The students graduating from our college and Universities do not have adequate employable skills. The quality of education both in terms of the curriculum as well as teaching methodology needs to be improved.

Education is not only for getting employment, but also for the overall development of an individual—for enlightenment and enhancement of knowledge.

We also need to pay attention to equity in access to education. Women and girls, weaker sections, differently-abled and minority groups tend to be generally educationally disadvantaged. In a country that is committed to the principle of ‘social justice’, equitable opportunities to education become a crucial first step towards achieving ‘Aspirational India’.

With growing middle class, rising disposable incomes, expanding consumer market and the presence of a young, talented work force, the global companies are choosing India for their manufacturing operations and R& D centres. There is also a healthy competition among various State Governments, which are implementing reforms to attract investors.

We have also set the goal of providing affordable and inclusive healthcare to the citizens and to realise this goal we have launched the world’s largest and India’s most ambitious healthcare program, Ayushman Bharat — National Health Protection Mission. The scheme will provide a health insurance cover to 100 million families.

The policy initiatives taken by the Indian government such as Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, Smart Cities and Start-up India are opening up new opportunities for youth.

The current Indian context is full of infinite opportunities. It is an aspirational India with a transformational vision. The next few decades can potentially be India’s decades.  I am hopeful that the Prime Minister’s three-word mantra to ‘Reform, perform and transform’ would inspire every Indian to scale new heights and help transform the country.

I hope ASSOCHAM will play a very constructive and useful role in coming years to realize the aspirations of 1.2 billion Indians in a very befitting and proactive manner.

My good wishes to all of you for future endeavors!

JAI HIND!

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

 

Read more: Industry bodies must promote ethical practices...

 

 

CEOs and Experts from the Oil and Gas sector, from both India and abroad, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today.

The gathering included Ministers from Saudi Arabia and UAE, and CEOs and experts from organisations including Saudi ARAMCO, ADNOC, BP, Rosneft, IHS Markit, Pioneer Natural Resources Company, Emerson Electric Company, Tellurian, Mubadala Investment Company, Schlumberger Ltd., Wood Mackenzie, World Bank, International Energy Agency (IEA), NIPFP, Brookings India and various Indian companies involved in both upstream and downstream operations.

Union Ministers Shri Arun Jaitley and Shri Dharmendra Pradhan; Vice-Chairman NITI Aayog Dr. Rajiv Kumar and senior officials from the Union Government and NITI Aayog were also present at the interaction.

During the interaction global CEOs and Experts appreciated the steps taken by the Union Government over the last four years, for ease of doing business, and specifically in the energy sector in India. The experts made a special mention of India’s competitive ranking from the upstream investment point of view which has gone up from 56 to 44. Subjects such as expansion of oil and gas infrastructure in India; enhancing exploration and production; potential in solar energy and biofuels; and the Union Government’s  holistic approach to the energy sector came up for discussion. The experts appreciated the unique initiative of this kind of a dialogue, which brings various stakeholders together on policy matters.

Interacting with the global leaders of the energy sector, Prime Minister highlighted the significant positioning of India in the oil and gas market. He noted that the oil market is producer driven; and both the quantity and prices are determined by the oil producing countries. Though there is enough production, the unique features of marketing in the oil sector have pushed up the oil prices.  Prime Minister Modi made a strong case for a partnership between the producers and consumers, in the oil market, as it exists in other markets. This will help stabilise the global economy which is on path of recovery.

Mr. Modi drew attention of the experts on certain key policy issues relevant to India. Firstly, he highlighted that the consuming countries, due to rising crude oil prices, face many other economic challenges including serious resource crunch.  The cooperation of the oil producing countries would be very critical to bridge this gap.  He appealed to oil producing countries to channel their investible surplus to pursue commercial exploitation in oil sector in the developing countries. Secondly, he spoke of higher acreage under exploration and sought cooperation of the developed countries both in terms of technology and extension of coverage. Thirdly, he sought the role of private participation in the distribution of gas sector. Talking of technology, he appealed for assistance in areas where high pressure and high temperature technology applications are relevant to commercial exploitation of natural gas. Lastly and importantly, he requested for review of payment terms so as to provide temporary relief to the local currency.

Prime Minister also spoke about the various policy initiatives and developmental measures undertaken by his Government in the sector.  He highlighted the liberalisation in gas pricing and marketing which has been particularly in deep waters and requiring technology for high pressure high temperature exploitation. He made a mention of open acreage licensing policy, early monetisation of coal bed methane, incentives for discovery of small fields and seismic survey at a national level. Talking of ongoing commercial exploitation, he made a special mention of extension of production sharing contracts.

****

AKT/VJ/SK

Read more: PM's meeting with Global Oil and Gas Experts/CEOs

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that building the future together is the need of the hour and promoting Inclusive growth and Sustainable Connectivity should be the priority. He was intervening in the first Plenary Session of 12th ASEM Summit, in Brussels, Belgium today.

 

Following is the text of Vice President's address:

 

"Your Excellency Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, brothers and sisters

 

The theme of ASEM 12 Summit "Global Partners for Global Challenges” is particularly relevant in the current global context. I express my gratitude to Belgium, our gracious hosts, for the excellent arrangements made for the Summit.

 

Excellencies, we are today confronted by global challenges that need a global response. The significant threats to world peace and security, to financial integrity and environmental protection need concerted action.

 

Excellencies, a major threat to global peace and security is Terrorism, along with radicalization and extremism. India, as an affected party, urges the international community to work towards early adoption of the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism which will, inter alia, deny terrorists and their supporters’ access to arms, funds and safe havens.

 

Excellencies, my country considers economic offences, tax crimes and criminal misappropriation of public assets as a significant threat to the integrity of financial systems. We need to considerably strengthen international cooperation within G20 and other fora, to deny shelter to economic offenders. There is also an urgent need for enhancing mechanisms for Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with committed timelines. ASEM can and should play an important role in this regard.

 

Excellencies, Climate change is an existential reality for all countries and for our future generations. Elimination of poverty through sustainable use of resources and improvement in livelihoods will be the biggest driver to prevent climate change. Developing countries would need enhanced financial and technological support. In this context, fulfillment of obligations by developed countries would be important.

 

Excellencies, I am glad that the world community is coming together to address these formidable challenges. For example, the ‘International Solar Alliance’, launched by India and France in 2015, is an excellent example of Asia and Europe cooperation. For his leadership effort, Prime Minister Modi, along with President Emmanuel Macron, has been recently awarded the United Nations Champion of the Earth award. We invite ASEM partners to join this initiative on renewable energy.

 

Excellencies, India is of the firm belief that connectivity is the pathway to shared prosperity. India is currently involved in a number of international connectivity projects, such as the International North-South Corridor and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. Connectivity initiatives must meet universally recognized international norms such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and should be transparent, fiscally and environmentally sustainable.

 

Excellencies,

 

Connecting nations, connecting the hearts and connecting minds and connecting economic development with environmental protection is at the heart of our shared commitment.

 

I am proud to share that every 2030 Sustainable Development Goals has been mapped to India's developmental programmes and schemes. As Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has repeatedly emphasized, India’s development architecture is under pinned by ‘Collective Efforts for Inclusive Development’. Women’s empowerment is now a key development imperative.

 

India values its participation in ASEM which acts as a bridge between the two continents and brings together countries with deep commitment to the rules based international system in particular strengthening WTO.

 

Culture is the bridge that connects people. India would be showcasing its rich cultural heritage through the unique fusion of Indian classical dance Kathakali narrating the story of Spanish "Don Quixote" as a part of the ASEM culture festival.

 

Excellencies, the formidable global challenges of our times need clear vision, innovative direction and sincere commitment to action.

 

Let me conclude with a line from Rigveda an Indian scripture that could provide inspiration for all of us–

 

"May our purpose be the same May we all come to a common understanding May our aspirations and intentions be similar May a common set of objectives unite us all”

 

Peace is a prerequisite for progress. If there is tension at the border, there will be no attention in the nation. Let’s work together to eliminate terror from the globe. Namaskar

 

Thank You, Excellencies.

***

AKR/BK/MS/RK

Read more: Building the future together;

Shri Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, today inaugurated and dedicated to people of Delhi a skywalk and FOB at the junction of Sikandra Road, Mathura Road, Tilak Marg and Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg at ‘W’ point near Hans Bhavan. Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Shri Anil Baijal, Member of Parliament Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, Secretary MoHUA Shri Durga Shankar Mishra, Chairman, NDMC Shri Naresh Kumar, Vice-Chairman, DDA, Shri Tarun Kapur and other officials were present on the occasion.

 

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had, as part of the decongestion plan of Delhi roads, sanctioned an amount of Rs. 54.84 Cr. under UDF to decongest ‘W’ Point and provide easy and safe passage to pedestrian by way of providing a Skywalk at this junction.

 

The ITO Crossing and ‘W’ Point Junction are the two busiest crossings as far as pedestrian traffic is concerned. There are over 25 major offices and other institutions located in this area. Approximately 30,000 pedestrian cross various roads around ITO Crossing and ‘W’ Point.

 

A large network of public utilities has been constructed to connect all the sides of various roads (Tilak Marg, Sikandra Road, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg & Mathura Road) with Pragati Maidan Metro Station. The Foot Over Bridge (FOB) at Hans Bhawan has also been constructed to provide easy and safe movement to the pedestrians. The Skywalk with a length of 400m has a width of 5m and length of Loop and Ramp is 130m having width of 3m. The length of FOB at Hans Bhawan is 54m having width of 5m.

 

The Skywalk and FOB has been constructed in Steel Structure. The Granite Flooring and Stainless Steel Railing has been provided. The structure has Tensile Fabric roofing. The Skywalk shall have 6 passenger lift of 20 persons capacity and one lift of 16 person capacity. Solar PV modules, Wi-Fi, CCTV has been provided in Skywalk and FOB. The LED fittings for functional and architectural lighting have also been provided. The entire Skywalk has been covered under CCTV surveillance. A police booth has also been constructed under the Skywalk for constant surveillance in the area. Public convenience has been provided at Mathura Road and near Hans Bhawan. Seven Glass lifts have been provided for pedestrian to ascend and descend, besides stair cases. There is enough space at ground floor at various locations which can be used for commercial purposes. Matching design has been adopted for the Foot Over Bridge constructed near Hans Bhawan.

 

Apart from the sky walk, the Central Government has taken several landmark decisions to make the lives of Delhiites more comfortable. One of the areas in which Delhiites suffer is the tremendous traffic congestion affecting efficient mobility.

 

In the year 2016, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had issued sanction for funding of six projects worth Rs. 1826.40 crore under the Urban Development Fund of Rs 1382.77 crore which aim at reducing traffic congestion and improve traffic flow in Delhi. On a review undertaken in October 2017 in the Ministry in view of the slow progress in these projects, it was decided that the projects where balance funding of 20% of the project cost was not forthcoming from Delhi government, the same may be funded by the DDA/ITPO i.e., 100% funding by the Central Government.

 

All the above projects then were put on a fast track and have achieved substantial progress during the last one year.

Brief Specifications of Skywalk and FOB:

Sl.No.

Name

Length

Width

1

Skywalk at ‘W’ Point

485 m

5.0 m

2

Ramp & Loop

130 m

3.0 m

3

FOB at Hans Bhawan

54 m

5.0 m

 

***

RJ/KGS

 

Read more: Skywalk & FOB at ‘W’ Point, ITO Inaugurated

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that government of India’s reform agenda would realize the full potential only when it receives support from all sections of the society. To achieve the herculean task, he called on business associations and Chambers of Commerce to promote tax compliance and run campaign against the black money.

Addressing the 90th Year Celebrations of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu today, the Vice President said that demonetization and the introduction of GST were landmark initiatives aimed at ensuring transparency, eliminating parallel economy and fetching increased revenue to the exchequer. These initiatives have led to change in the attitude of the people as evidenced by increased tax compliance, he said.

The Vice President said that Government has taken several measures to cut down red tape, improve the ease of doing business, attract more investments and create a business-friendly environment. With various measures taken by the government to step up economic growth, including FDI in various sectors and given the strong macro-economic fundamentals, India will continue to grow steadily to become the third largest economy in the world, he added.

The Vice President asked the business community not to confine themselves to the minimum requirements of Corporate Social Responsibility but to take up activities for the betterment of the society. Promote ethical corporate governance, tax compliance and corporate social responsibility among its members, he added.

The Vice President told the gathering reminding them India’s great philosophy that has 'Sharing and Caring' at its core. In this regard, he advised organizations such as The Coimbatore Chambers to adopt some government schools and contribute towards improving the infrastructure as part of their CSR activities. He said that sectors like agriculture, education and health must receive the highest priority. Government, Parliament and Press must focus on these three core areas, he added.

Saying that Agriculture and Industry were like two eyes of our nation, the Vice President sought the support of the business community to realize the vision of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to double the income of farmers by 2022. Agriculture must be made remunerative by encouraging farmers to adopt allied services like poultry, fisheries, horticulture and others, he said adding that it can be achieved through the concerted effort by scientists, farmers, government and business entities, he added.

The Vice President said that encroaching up on rivers, canals and water bodies is a bad habit and termed such actions as contrary to civilizational values. Expressing concern over the depleting water levels in states such as Kerala and Karnataka that recently experienced massive floods, he warned people to be aware of the challenges of climate change. Man made mistakes such as encroachments would lead to frequent floods. We have played with the nature for too long and now it is playing with us, he added. Rising sea levels and depleting ground water levels are staring back at us. Urgent action is required to tackle the menace, he said asking people to preserve and protect nature.

The Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Tamil Nadu, Shri S.P. Velumani, the President, ICCIC, Shri V. Lakshminarayanasamy, the former President, ICCIC, Shri K.G. Balakrishnan and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Following is the text of Vice President's address:

"I am delighted to participate in the 90th year celebrations of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore.

Ninety years is indeed a major milestone in the journey of this organization which was witness to the birth of Indian Republic and many other momentous events since it was formed in 1929 by Sir R.K. Shanmukham Chetty, the First Finance Minister of Independent India.

Since then Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Coimbatore has been serving the cause of trade, industry and services since then and fostering the economic development of the this region.

I am happy to note that the members of this organization are investing their time and money in community development and working for civic and cultural well-being of the area. 

With over 1671 members with 96 affiliated associations and with their members of nearly 10,000, the Chamber represents a wide spectrum of merchant establishments of Coimbatore – from the manufacturing of pump sets, engineering, auto components, software development centres, IT solutions, BPO companies, clean-tech industries like wind, solar power and electric vehicles industry, State-of-art educational institutions, world class hospitals and medical facilities, textiles and garments, among others.

I am also glad to know that the Chamber launched a crusade against destruction of tanks in and around Coimbatore which culminated in the announcement by the State Government in 1992 that construction on tank lands would not be permitted.

I am told that with active support of the members, the chamber took initiative for reviving Noyyal canal system, De-silting of Valankulam these efforts towards environmental protection are truly laudable.

Friends,

The world is changing at a rapid pace aided by technological and digital revolutions. Any nation unable to keep pace with the changes will become a laggard. India is at the threshold of becoming one of the major economic powers and the private sector can play a huge role in accelerating the growth and development of the country.

Tamil Nadu is among the States which are in the forefront of industrialization. This State is known, among others, for the automotive, leather and textiles industries and the hard working nature of the population. To spur growth, we have to improve infrastructure, resource efficiency and promote innovative technologies.

Reformative measures like the introduction of GST will improve the economy in the long run, although there might be some teething problems in the initial stages of implementation. In the end, such reforms will also benefit the consumers.

With various measures taken by the government to step up economic growth, including FDI in various sectors and given the strong macro-economic fundamentals, India will continue to grow steadily.

India has now emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world today. If this trend and momentum continues, India is poised to become the largest economy in the next 10-15 years.

We in India are all committed to build a five trillion-dollar economy by 2025, making India the 3rd largest consumer market in the world. 

The latest report of the World Bank has forecast that the economy is projected to grow at 7.3 per cent in 2018-19 and 7.5 per cent in the next two years. 

As the World Bank has noted in its latest report, “India’s growth in recent years has been supported by prudent macroeconomic policy: a new inflation targeting framework, energy subsidy reforms, fiscal consolidation, higher quality of public expenditure and a stable balance of payment situation. In addition, recent policy reforms have helped India improve the business environment, ease inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve credit behavior.”

IMF has forecast that India will grow at more than 7 percent in 2018 and 2019, ahead of other major economies. 

India has climbed 30 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index this year. 

India is rapidly expanding its infrastructure. For instance, over 9829 Km national highways were constructed during the year 2017-18 as compared to 8231 km during the previous year.

The policy initiatives taken by the Indian government such as Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, Smart Cities and Start-up India are opening up new opportunities. 

We have seen a strong global confidence in the India story with a surge in Foreign Direct Investments which reached over US $ 62 billion in 2017-18.

The Government has taken several measures to cut down red tape, improve the ease of doing business, attract more investments and create a business-friendly environment. Demonetization and the introduction of GST were landmark initiatives aimed at ensuring transparency, eliminating parallel economy and fetching increased revenue to the exchequer.

These initiatives have led to change in the attitude of the people as evidenced by increased tax compliance. Similarly, bankruptcy and insolvency code and the measures taken to unearth black money and curb corruption will further improve our economy. As a matter-of-fact, Chambers like yours should promote tax compliance and launch campaigns against corruption and black money. It should be remembered that improved collection of taxes will only enable the government to spend more on developmental activities and welfare of the people.

However, every reform must have a human face and the fruits of the reforms must reach the poorest sections of the society. Economic prosperity is meaningless if there is no equity in wealth distribution.

The initiatives taken up by the Union Government such as Jan-Dhan Yojana are aimed at empowering the poor and putting an end to their financial inclusion.

Commerce and Industry bodies like yours must chip in to see that nobody is left behind in the financial inclusion initiative.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Chambers act as bridge between the governments and the industry in creating conducive atmosphere for the businesses to thrive and produce wealth.

They also play a formulating role in advising the governments in enacting legislations and regulations that promote ease of doing business rather than act as strangulations.

Chambers should promote ethical corporate governance, tax compliance and corporate social responsibility among its members.

Corporate sector should not get confined to the statutory requirements of CSR, but take up much more activities for betterment of society as ‘Share and Care is the core of Indian philosophy ’.

I advise Chambers like yours to adopt some government schools and contribute towards improving the infrastructure as part of your CSR activities.

I have been always stressing that the government, Parliament and press must accord highest priority to agriculture, education and health.

Agriculture and Industry are like two eyes of our nation and Agriculture is also our basic culture. So focus your CSR efforts on help the farming community to realize the vision of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to double the income of farmers by 2022. No doubt, it is a tall order. But nothing is impossible to achieve if there are concerted efforts by all stakeholders.

Perhaps, the Chamber of Commerce can even identify the felt needs of a given area and take it up on your own.

The Chamber can be the centre sphere of influence in community and governance issues and provide innovative thoughts to those in power.

Your body can also play a vital role in promoting ‘Skill India’. The need of the hour is impart employable skills to our youth. India is blessed with a huge demographic advantage as 65 per cent of our population is below the age of 65. We need to unleash the energies of our youth to develop India into a manufacturing hub and one of the top economies.

In fact, the Chamber should help in promoting cottage industries in the rural areas based on the local resources in each area. It will not only help in providing employment to the youth, but also prevent migration of people from rural areas. As you all are aware, urbanization is an irreversible modern-day phenomenon and cannot be fully curbed. However, we need to make our rural areas vibrant hubs of economic activities through multiple efforts on various fronts, including education, health, industries and agriculture.

As regards healthcare sector, the members of your chamber should supplement the government’s efforts under CSR activities.

I am happy to know that the chamber has played an important role in getting new railway lines, developing Coimbatore airport into an international airport and establishment of Coimbatore Stock Exchange, among others.  

I am also glad to learn that you have been organizing interactive meetings with diplomats of foreign countries to promote bilateral trade.

My best wishes to Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore for all its future endeavors.

Jai Hind!"

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

Read more: Fruits of reforms must reach the poorest...

CSIR develops affordable Water Disinfection System “OneerTM”

The device will go a long way in meeting the requirements of potable water in rural and urban areas : Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ,Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow has developed an innovative technology for “Drinking Water Disinfection System” with Trade name “OneerTM” which was transferred to M/s Bluebird Water Purifiers, New Delhi in the presence of Union Minister of Science & Technology and Vice-President, CSIR, Dr. Harsh Vardhan today. It is useful for continuous treatment of water and eliminates all disease causing pathogens such as virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and cyst to provide safe drinking water to domestic and communities settings as per National and International standards prescribed for potable water (BIS, WHO etc.).

 

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that it is well known that infection through drinking water results in an increase in morbidity and mortality particularly amongst children and Oneer developed by CSIR-IITR ,will provide access to safe and clean drinking water at a cost of just 2 Paise / Ltr. Dr. Harsh Vardhan further added that the Community level model is of 450 LPH capacity which can be scaled up to 5000 to 1 lakh L/day; and is also maintenance and membrane free. “The technology will be helpful especially for rural people since it can be solar powered and this development is in line with the ‘Make in India’ Mission”, added the Union Minister.

 

Dr. Shkekar C Mande, Director General, CSIR and Secretary, DSIR lauded the efforts of CSIR-IITR Scientists in developing Oneer-a safe drinking water device especially for rural areas. He said that currently, a large proportion of India's rural community is consuming water that does not meet the WHO drinking water quality standards. According to the World Health Organization, "access to safe drinking-water is essential to health, a basic human right and a component of effective policy for health protection”.

CSIR is continuously focusing on translational research through Mission Projects and Fast Track Translational Research Projects to develop technologies and products focussed at unmet needs. One of the components of the programme is to enhance the quality of life of common people and remove drudgery.

The smaller unit of Oneer is particularly suitable for homes, street food vendors, and small establishments.

 

***

RDS/GK

 

Read more: CSIR develops affordable Water Disinfection...

Shri RK Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy announced an award scheme under Saubhagya here today to felicitate the DISCOMs / Power Department of the States and their employees for achieving 100 per cent household electrification in their area of operations. Awards would be provided for achieving 100 per cent household electrification at DISCOM/Power Department level of the States. Eight States which have already achieved more than 99 per cent household electrification prior to launch of Saubhagya (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu), are ineligible for participation under the award scheme. All the remaining States and their Discoms are eligible for the award.

Award will be given in three categories, (i) DISCOMs / Power Departments of Special Category States (which includes seven North Eastern States, Sikkim, J&K and Uttarakhand); (ii) DISCOMs / Power Departments of other than Special Category States (which includes Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal)having more than 5 Lakh un-electrified households and (iii) DISCOMs / Power Departments of other than Special Category States having less than 5 Lakh un-electrified households.

There will be two quantum of award in each of the three categories. Under first quantum of award, the 1stDISCOM / Power Department to achieve 100per cent household electrification by30th November 2018 would be provided cash award of Rs. 50 Lakh. The Principal Secretary (Energy/Power) of the State will devise the mechanism to distribute this cash prize amongst employees of the concerned DISCOM / Power Department. From this amount, Rs. 20 Lakh will be given to the division of DISCOM/Power Department with highest number of households electrified. Certificate of appreciation would also be given to five officials of concerned DISCOM/Power Department of any level from managing Director to Lineman to be nominated by the Principal Secretary (Energy / Power) of the States. The second quantum of awardincludes cash award of Rs. 100 Crore as grant to the concerned DISCOM/Power Department to be spent in distribution infrastructure development in their area of operation. The Principal Secretary (Energy/Power) of the State will decide work to be executed from this amount.

Other DISCOM/Power Department of the States to achieve 100% household electrification by 31st December 2018 would also be provided certificate of appreciation for five officials of any level from managing Director to Lineman to be nominated by the Principal Secretary (Energy / Power) of the States.

Government of India launched ‘PradhanMantriSahajBijliHarGharYojana’ (Saubhagya) in Sept. 2017 to achieve the goal of universal household electrification in the country by 31st March 2019. The scheme envisages to provide last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining households in rural as well as urban areas. With the support of State Power Departments and DISCOMs more than 1.65 Crore households have already been connected since the launch of scheme. All the States have shown confidence in achievement of the target much before the targeted timelines.

 

*****

RDS/MS

Read more: Shri RK Singh launches award scheme under...

 

Niger has appreciated India’s support to build Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre in Niamey

          Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, C. R. Chaudhary, is leading the Indian delegation to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)- EXIM Bank, Regional Conclave on India-West Africa Project Partnership being held in Abuja, Nigeria on 8th – 9th October 2018. President and Vice President of Nigeria along with Ministers and Delegation of West African countries are participating in the Conclave.

Minster of State, C. R. Chaudhary, also held bilateral talks with Cape Verde, Niger and other West African countries. C. R. Chaudhary, discussed issues of climate change, electric mobility, renewable energy,tourism, infrastructure development and HR building capacity with Trade Minister of Cape Verde. These are the key areas for collaborative projects between India and Cape Verde.

 Niger has appreciated India’s support to build Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre (MGICC)in Niamey in Niger at the cost of USD 35.5 million on grant basis. The foundation stone of the project has been laid recently.

 India’s exports to Niger increased by more than 50% since 2014-15. There is tremendous scope for increase and diversification of trade between thetwo countries. Minister of State for Commerce & Industry held bilateral meeting with Mr. SadouSeydou, Niger Minister of Trade and Promotion of Private Sectorat the Conclave.

Bilateral relations between India and Niger have expanded significantly since 2009. India has provided lines of credit worth USD 96.54 million for projects in transport, electrification, solar energy and potable drinking water. India’s grant assistance for MGICC will further contribute towards enhancing of bilateral ties. Niger will host the African Union (AU) Summit in 2019 in this Convention Centre. The establishment of the Centre is the land mark of Niger-India friendship and also a symbol of India’s firm commitment towards Africa.

India has offered to establish Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre in more than 20 counties of Africa, of which,Centres in 9 countries are being taken up in the immediate future.

West African countries have taken great strides over the past decade in liberalising their economies and increasing industrialisation.There is significant scope for investment across the region in financial services, energy and power, mining, manufacturing, consumer and retail, transport, heath care and agro processing.

The Conclave is a two-day event with focus on business deliberations, Business to Government (B2G) and Business to Business (B2B) engagements. It will be an opportunity for the Indian private sector and key institutions, like EXIM Bank of India, to identify priority areas and key projects for Indian investment and partnership with long term commitment to the region.

West Africa region is now seen as the next investment frontier, with many economies of the region, like Ghana,Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Benin, recording continuing high economic growth. Despite the enormous potential, West Africa gets only 5 % of FDI that flows to the continent. Therefore, promoting sustainable and inclusive financing is a prerequisite for spurring economic transformation of the region.

***

MM/ SB

 

Read more: Minister of State for Commerce attends...

More Articles ...

Advertisement

Translator

Advertisement
Advertisement

SolarQuarter Tweets

Follow Us For Latest Tweets

SolarQuarter EV Invest 2018_Explore New Investment Opportunity in India's Booming EV Sector_1 Nov 2018, Mumbai - https://t.co/tqVvShIaA2
Saturday, 20 October 2018 04:09
SolarQuarter Hi << Test First Name >>, Learn Advanced Solar Data Analytics For Improving Your Asset Yields_26 October_Bengaluru - https://t.co/e4NIs44WGl
Friday, 19 October 2018 12:40
SolarQuarter EV Invest 2018_Explore New Investment Opportunity in India's Booming EV Sector_1 Nov 2018, Mumbai - https://t.co/pIJ4dQPmfp
Friday, 19 October 2018 04:34

Advertisement