The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the International Conference and Exhibition on Energy and Environment: Challenges and Opportunities (ENCO 2019) today (February 20, 2019) in New Delhi. This Conference is being organised by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

 

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that in today’s era of rapid technological advance, energy and environment are major concerns not only for developing countries but also for developed countries. Global trends show that coal will remain the predominant energy source for most countries, including India, while renewable sources will also grow. The President said that India is committed to provide power to all citizens at affordable cost as well as boost the national economy through an industrial revolution in tune with Industry 4.0. He urged participants of the Conference to come up with actionable ideas on environmental issues related to use of fossil fuels and viable alternatives.

 

Click here to see the President's speech

 

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AKT/KP/SK

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The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, chaired the fifth meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA) held here today. The Island Development Agency reviewed the progress made towards the program “Holistic development of islands”. Bids for private sector participation in three tourism-based projects have already been invited by the Andaman & Nicobar Administration. They include eco-tourism projects in Smith Island & Long island and tent city project in Aves island. Bids will be invited shortly for one more project in Neil island of Andaman & Nicobar.

 

 Three projects in Lakshadweep have been identified for issue of bids. They include tourism projects in the islands of Kadmat, Minicoy and Suheli Cheriyakara. Environmental Clearance (EC), Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Clearance and all other clearances required for these projects are being obtained upfront, on priority, to attract more number of reputed bidders.

 

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce has issued a notification extending tax incentives for investments made in manufacturing and service sector in islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The tax incentives are

I). Central Capital Investment Incentive for access to credit (CCIIAC)

II). Central Interest Incentive (CII)

III). Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (CCII)

IV). Goods and Services Tax (GST) Reimbursement

V). Income Tax (IT) Reimbursement

VI). Transport Incentive (TI); and

VII). Employment incentive (EI)

 

Expeditious implementation of the above mentioned projects will provide high economic return to the private sector, satisfactory jobs and additional income to the islanders and enhanced revenue to the Government - a win-win situation for all. Above all, stability of the island eco-system will be maintained with effective execution of well-planned environmental safeguards.

A detailed presentation was made by CEO, NITI Aayog highlighting the current status of planned projects being implemented for islanders’ benefits. The status of implementation of decisions taken in the last meeting was also highlighted in the presentation.

 

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress made since its last meeting held on June 30, 2018 when directions were given to focus on creation of recreational facilities along-with tourism infrastructure; implementation of renewable energy projects; incentives for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); development of a film city in an island etc.   

Key infrastructure projects such as operationalization of Diglipur airport for civilian aircraft and construction of a new airport in Minicoy Island have been accorded high priority by the Government. Four islands (Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep, Hutbay and Long) in Andaman & Nicobar and three islands (Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy) in Lakshadweep have been identified for seaplane operation. CRZ clearance has been accorded for ‘Middle Strait Bridge’ on Andaman Trunk Road. All these measures will improve inter-island connectivity significantly.

Digital connectivity will improve substantially in the islands with augmentation of satellite bandwidth and laying of optical fibre cable. Better communication services will facilitate setting up of Information Technology based and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the islands.

In order to sustainably utilize the potential of Tuna Fish, ten deep-sea modern fishing vessels are being procured by Lakshadweep administration from Cochin Shipyard Limited. Export of sea food and coconut products is being encouraged to generate more employment opportunities in the islands.

Shri Rajnath Singh called upon all concerned to expedite implementation of ongoing projects which have been planned to create additional jobs for the islanders and improve inter-island connectivity. He directed that adequate care should also be taken for maintaining a clean, green and healthy environment in the islands. Home Minister appreciated collective efforts being made by all the Ministries for holistic and sustainable development of islands.

The meeting was attended by Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Admiral D. K. Joshi (retd); Administrator of Lakshadweep Shri Farooq Khan; Cabinet Secretary Shri P. K. Sinha; CEO, NITI Aayog Shri Amitabh Kant, Secretaries and senior officials from ministries of Home, Commerce, Tribal Affairs, Environment and Forest, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Telecommunications, Shipping, Water Resources, Earth Sciences, New and Renewable Energy were also present.

******

 

BB/NK/PK/SS

 

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Calling the Kumbh Mela the biggest cultural event in the world, the Vice President said that it was the largest gathering of Dharmik and Spiritual people. It is one of the greatest wonders of the World, he added.

The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu has said that the Kumbh has projected the magnificent “Soft Power” of India to the world. He said that it would develop Prayagraj and adjoining historical places into tourist destinations.

Shri Naidu, was on a day-long visit to Prayagraj, where he felicitated the volunteers at the Yuva Kumbh Sammelan. He also addressed the Kiva Kumbh Mela where representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Netherlands, Brazil etc were in attendance.

Addressing the Yuva Kumbh Sammelan, Shri Naidu stressed upon the need to educate and inform people about the importance of cleanliness and sanitation especially during events such as the Kumbh where more than 19 crore people offered prayers to the river Ganga.

Asserting that peoples’ participation was crucial in achieving the objectives of programmes such as Namami Gange and Swachh Bharat, he called upon the volunteers to educate the devotees on the importance of keeping rivers clean and of avoiding the use of plastics.   For this, he wanted them to become Swachhta guards.

Later, speaking at Kiva Kumbh Mela, the Vice President highlighted the need to evolve a social behavior which was compatible with nature. He further said that such behavior, if in consonance with nature, would be called as ‘Sansktiri’ or Culture and if it destroys the fragile balance of the nature, it would be called ‘Vikriti’ or perversion.

Shri Naidu said that humans have tinkered with nature through the relentless pursuit of industrial growth, unmindful of environmental consequences. He added that for development to be sustainable, it has to be compatible with nature. 

The Vice President lamented that the pollution of the air, water and food resources and degradation of forest resources have created a situation where human and animal life was becoming increasingly unsustainable.  ‘Our future is tied up with how we respect nature and preserve it’, he reasoned.

There is a cultural dimension as well, he said. ‘In my view, cultural ethos that promotes peace, harmony, tolerance and inclusive growth tends to be the best foundation for sustainable future’, he added.

Observing that the holy land of Prayag holds great relevance in our tradition, Shri Naidu said that the city has been the seat of culture, learning and literature.

Talking about the relevance of the Kumbh, the Vice President said that it conveyed an important message; that it is the river that sustains us like divine nectar or ambrosia. ‘It is divine. So, we must worship it, not defile it.  It is life giving. So, we have to preserve it’, he asserted.

Earlier in the morning, the Vice President visited the holy Sangam at Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh and offered prayers on the occasion of Kumbh. He was accompanied by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh Shri Ram Naik, Health Minster of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Sidharth Nath Singh and others.

The Vice President appreciated the state administration for taking up massive urban renewable mission and for providing facilities to crores of devotees visiting Kumbh.

Paying homage to the CRPF martyrs who lost their lives in the recent terrorist attack in Pulwama, the Vice President  said that the neighbour has committed a heinous crime and expressed confidence that the Indian Army would a teach befitting lesson at the time and place of its choice.

On the two occasions, the Vice President and the gathering had observed silence in the memory of the martyrs.

Vice President also called upon world community to work together to uproot the menace of terror. He urged the United Nations Security Council to conclude their discussions and come out with a comprehensive action plan against terrorism

 

***********

AKT/BK/MS/RK

Read more: Kumbh is the world’s largest gathering of...

The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held during 13 and 14 February 2019 in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening. Dam Safety Conferences are being organized as an annual event in different DRIP States in collaboration with the Implementing Agencies and leading academic institutes to provide a common platform for all stakeholders including non-DRIP States. Dam professionals, academicians, scientists, as well as industries both from within the country and from around the world to deliberate on all aspects related to dam safety and the solutions that worked best in addressing dam safety concerns.

Globally India ranks third after China and the USA in terms of the number of large dams with 5264 large dams in operation and 437 large dams under construction. The total storage capacity of the impounded water by these dams is about 283 billion cubic meters (BCM). Dams play a vital role in water security and foster rapid and sustained growth in agricultural, rural, urban and industrial development, which have been key priorities for the Govt. of India since independence. Over the last seventy years, India has invested substantially in this critical infrastructure which is essentially required to store and manage limited surface water resources in reservoirs to ensure food, energy, and water security as well as to mitigate droughts and floods.

About 80% of our large dams are over twenty-five years old. About 209 dams are over 100 years old and were built in an era when design practices and safety considerations were much below the current design and safety norms. Several of these dams may be experiencing distress and are in need of attention for ensuring their structural safety and operational efficiency. Mindful of this, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) had been taking various initiatives since late ‘70s such as establishment of Dam Safety Organisations in the CWC and States. In the 1990s a World Bank assisted DSRP project was launched to rehabilitate 183 distressed dams. Recently, In 2012 The Ministry initiated the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) with a duration of 6 years and financial outlay of Rs. 2100 crores. Presently, DRIP coveres rehabilitation of 198 large dam projects located in seven States namely Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand. Government has revised the financial outlay to 3466 crores and extended the duration by two years to complete the ongoing Project activities. In addition to rehabilitation of selected dams, DRIP also involves Institutional Strengthening and Project Management in the ten Implementing Agencies as well as nine academic institutions primarily aimed at sustained dam safety management. In Odisha, 26 large dams are covered under DRIP for rehabilitation including construction of an additional spill way for the Hirakud dam to address the hydrological safety at about Rs. 600 Crores.

The overall implementation, supervision, and coordination of DRIP has been entrusted to the Central Water Commission. The objective of DRIP is not to provide budgetary support for regular Operation and Maintenance (O & M), but to bring new initiatives in the dam safety area through technological advancements, novel rehabilitation construction materials, best global dam safety practices, capacity building of dam owning agencies as well as other selected stakeholders, cross-learning among partners, publication of technical guidelines and manuals, strengthening of the State and the Central Dam Safety Organisations etc.

Institutional strengthening is one of the important pillars of dam safety management and DRIP addresses this aspect holistically. To achieve defined objectives, 115 national and 5 international training programmes, and 8 exposure visits have been organized for the benefit of personnel from DRIP Implementing Agencies in which nearly 4,000 people have been trained on various aspects relating to the design, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of dams. Eight (8) technical guidelines/ manuals have been published for standardising the various important technical protocols across the Country. During this Conference, 3 important national guidelines, 16 Emergency Action Plans, and 5 Operation and Maintenance Manuals are being published. The List of these documents is appended. The copy of all published national guidelines are available at official web site of DRIP.

Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Operation and Maintenance Manuals are being prepared for all DRIP dams. Seismic Hazard Mapping of the entire country is being done to facilitate the dam safety professionals and dam owners to generate seismic design parameters for preliminary planning and design of water resources structures and seismic review of existing dams. In this context, a web bases Seismic Hazard Information System (SHAIS) is being develop for simplifying the procedures and analysis. Dam Health and Rehabilitation Monitoring Application (DHARMA), a software tool for asset management has been developed to capture authentic data pertaining to all large dams to act as information repository. It covers the monitoring and health information to regularly review the safety aspects of any dam. This tool has the appropriate access to policy makers, project managers, and dam managers to review the information and take appropriate action.

Government of India is striving to address the issue of dam safety in a comprehensive way for a quite a long time. In this context, Union Cabinet approved the Dam Safety Bill in June 2018 and this Bill was introduced in Parliament in December 2018. The Preamble of the Bill is to provide surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of specified dams for prevention of dam failure related disasters and to provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Considering the success of the ongoing DRIP, Government of India proposed Phase-II and Phase-III of DRIP with a financial outlay of over 10,221.0 Crores to rehabilitate around 700 dams. The new Project is proposed to be a State Sector Scheme with 10-year duration, with each proposed Phase of six years duration with two years overlapping. The government of India has given in-principle approval to this Project and very shortly is going to pose to World Bank for funding. This Project has wide spatial coverage; having 18 States and two Central Agencies, and covering about 13% of large dams of India. In addition to three components of ongoing Scheme, it has additional Component i.e. Revenue Generation through incidental i.e. tourism, fisheries, solar and hydel power, water recreations etc.

The Conference has one Plenary Session, 7 Technical Sessions and one Industry Session. The details of the Conference is available at https://damsafety.in/idsc2019. This Conference is part of the series of Dam Safety Conferences organized in Chennai (2015), Bengaluru (2016), Roorkee (2017), and Thiruvananthapuram (2018) which received an overwhelming response in terms of professional participation by Indian and overseas organizations. Over 725 delegates comprising dam owners, policy makers, and dam professionals, Scientists, academia etc. are coming together in this Conference. About 100 overseas experts from 30 Countries representing all the major continents of the world are participating in the Conference. Also, about 150 technical papers have been contributed by experts across the world; 35 national and international organizations both from within the country and abroad are showcasing their technologies, products and services in the exhibition to be organized during the Conference, reflecting the contemporary developments in the dam safety field. To accommodate more oral presentation of more technical papers, four sessions are being organized in two parallel locations making a total of 13 sessions.

The basic objective of these annual events is to give exposure to non-DRIP States as well as other stakeholders across the Country and World, to the best global practices and technological advancements to address the emerging dam safety challenges. As these events are being organised in various regional centres of Country, it also make aware the overseas delegates with culture and traditions of India. 

The key recommendations emerging from the deliberations during the Conference will be published and circulated to all stakeholders and policymakers for implementation. Some selected technical papers received for the Conference will be published as a Compendium to provide a permanent reference for all users. For wider dissemination, the published guidelines/ manuals, as well as the Compendium will be available on the official DRIP website: https//:www.damsafety.in

*****

NP/SKP/IA

Read more: Fifth International Dam Safety Conference to be...

The Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi inaugurated the newly established Virtual Experiential Museum (VEM) in a Centrally Protected Monument under Archeological Survey of India, Man – Mahal, situated on the bank of the Ganges near holy Dashashwamedh Ghat at Varanasi today.

Virtual Experiential Museum has been established by the National Council of Science Museum (NCSM) working under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. NCSM has worked hard to show a glimpse of various cultural aspects, tangible and intangible, of Varanasi through the use of modern and sophisticated virtual reality technology in this museum. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) helped in designing and curation of this Virtual Experiential Museum and also in preparing of script for various documentaries to be shown in this VEM.

A tour of VEM will be a unique experience for the visitors where they will get the experience of the holy ghats, classical music, weaving of sari, Ram Leela, 3D view of monuments, narrow lanes and betel shop etc. of Varanasi in an interesting way with the help of curved T.V. screen, paintings, touch screens and projectors etc.

The story of the descent of the holy Ganga on earth will also be shown to the visitors in a most interesting manner.

Before the setting up of VEM, the centrally protected monument observatory of Man – Mahal was conserved scientifically as this building was constructed by Raja Man – Singh in 1600 A.D., a close associate of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Later, in 1734, an observatory was constructed on the roof of this monument by Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur, which was planned by Samarath Jagannath to calculate time, prepare lunar and solar calendar, study movement & angles of star and planet.

Entry ticket for this museum with monument is Rs. 25/- for Indian and visitor from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries while for other foreign visitors, Rs. 300/- will be charged. The VEM will remain open from sun rise to sun set. The entry of children below 15 years is free.

NB/UD

Read more: Prime Minister inaugurates Virtual Experiential...

 

The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu has said that the Maha Kumbh has projected the magnificent “Soft Power” of India to the world. He said that it would develop Prayagraj and adjoining historical places into tourist destinations.

Shri Naidu, was on a day-long visit to Prayagraj, where he felicitated the volunteers at the Yuva Kumbh Sammelan. He also addressed the Kiva Kumbh Mela where representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Netherlands, Brazil etc were in attendance.

Addressing the Yuva Kumbh Sammelan, Shri Naidu stressed upon the need to educate and inform people about the importance of cleanliness and sanitation especially during events such as the Kumbh where more than 19 crore people offered prayers to the river Ganga.

  1. that peoples’ participation was crucial in achieving the objectives of programmes such as Namami Gange and Swachh Bharat, he called upon the volunteers to educate the devotees on the importance of keeping rivers clean and of avoiding the use of plastics. For this, he wanted them to become Swachhta guards.

Later, speaking at Kiva Kumbh Mela, the Vice President highlighted the need to evolve a social behavior which was compatible with nature. He further said that such behavior, if in consonance with nature, would be called as ‘Sansktiri’ or Culture and if it destroys the fragile balance of the nature, it would be called ‘Vikriti’ or perversion.

Shri Naidu said that humans have tinkered with nature through the relentless pursuit of industrial growth, unmindful of environmental consequences. He added that for development to be sustainable, it has to be compatible with nature.

The Vice President lamented that the pollution of the air, water and food resources and degradation of forest resources have created a situation where human and animal life was becoming increasingly unsustainable. ‘Our future is tied up with how we respect nature and preserve it’, he reasoned.

There is a cultural dimension as well, he said. ‘In my view, cultural ethos that promotes peace, harmony, tolerance and inclusive growth tends to be the best foundation for sustainable future’, he added.

Observing that the holy land of Prayag holds great relevance in our tradition, Shri Naidu said that the city has been the seat of culture, learning and literature.

Talking about the relevance of the Kumbh, the Vice President said that it conveyed an important message; that it is the river that sustains us like divine nectar or ambrosia. ‘It is divine. So, we must worship it, not defile it. It is life giving. So, we have to preserve it’, he asserted.

  1. in the morning, the Vice President visited the holy Sangam at Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh and offered prayers on the occasion of Kumbh. He was accompanied by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh Shri Ram Naik.

The Vice President appreciated the state administration for taking up massive urban renewable mission and for providing facilities to crores of devotees visiting Kumbh.

Paying homage to the CRPF martyrs who lost their lives in the recent terrorist attack in Pulwama, the Vice President said that the neighbour has committed a heinous crime and expressed confidence that the Indian Army would a teach befitting lesson at the time and place of its choice.

 

***********

AKT/BK/MS/RK

Read more: Maha Kumbh projected India’s soft power to the...

The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held during 13 and 14 February 2019 in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening. Dam Safety Conferences are being organized as an annual event in different DRIP States in collaboration with the Implementing Agencies and leading academic institutes to provide a common platform for all stakeholders including non-DRIP States. Dam professionals, academicians, scientists, as well as industries both from within the country and from around the world to deliberate on all aspects related to dam safety and the solutions that worked best in addressing dam safety concerns.

Globally India ranks third after China and the USA in terms of the number of large dams with 5264 large dams in operation and 437 large dams under construction. The total storage capacity of the impounded water by these dams is about 283 billion cubic meters (BCM). Dams play a vital role in water security and foster rapid and sustained growth in agricultural, rural, urban and industrial development, which have been key priorities for the Govt. of India since independence. Over the last seventy years, India has invested substantially in this critical infrastructure which is essentially required to store and manage limited surface water resources in reservoirs to ensure food, energy, and water security as well as to mitigate droughts and floods.

About 80% of our large dams are over twenty-five years old. About 209 dams are over 100 years old and were built in an era when design practices and safety considerations were much below the current design and safety norms. Several of these dams may be experiencing distress and are in need of attention for ensuring their structural safety and operational efficiency. Mindful of this, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) had been taking various initiatives since late ‘70s such as establishment of Dam Safety Organisations in the CWC and States. In the 1990s a World Bank assisted DSRP project was launched to rehabilitate 183 distressed dams. Recently, In 2012 The Ministry initiated the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) with a duration of 6 years and financial outlay of Rs. 2100 crores. Presently, DRIP coveres rehabilitation of 198 large dam projects located in seven States namely Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand. Government has revised the financial outlay to 3466 crores and extended the duration by two years to complete the ongoing Project activities. In addition to rehabilitation of selected dams, DRIP also involves Institutional Strengthening and Project Management in the ten Implementing Agencies as well as nine academic institutions primarily aimed at sustained dam safety management. In Odisha, 26 large dams are covered under DRIP for rehabilitation including construction of an additional spill way for the Hirakud dam to address the hydrological safety at about Rs. 600 Crores.

The overall implementation, supervision, and coordination of DRIP has been entrusted to the Central Water Commission. The objective of DRIP is not to provide budgetary support for regular Operation and Maintenance (O & M), but to bring new initiatives in the dam safety area through technological advancements, novel rehabilitation construction materials, best global dam safety practices, capacity building of dam owning agencies as well as other selected stakeholders, cross-learning among partners, publication of technical guidelines and manuals, strengthening of the State and the Central Dam Safety Organisations etc.

Institutional strengthening is one of the important pillars of dam safety management and DRIP addresses this aspect holistically. To achieve defined objectives, 115 national and 5 international training programmes, and 8 exposure visits have been organized for the benefit of personnel from DRIP Implementing Agencies in which nearly 4,000 people have been trained on various aspects relating to the design, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of dams. Eight (8) technical guidelines/ manuals have been published for standardising the various important technical protocols across the Country. During this Conference, 3 important national guidelines, 16 Emergency Action Plans, and 5 Operation and Maintenance Manuals are being published. The List of these documents is appended. The copy of all published national guidelines are available at official web site of DRIP.

Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Operation and Maintenance Manuals are being prepared for all DRIP dams. Seismic Hazard Mapping of the entire country is being done to facilitate the dam safety professionals and dam owners to generate seismic design parameters for preliminary planning and design of water resources structures and seismic review of existing dams. In this context, a web bases Seismic Hazard Information System (SHAIS) is being develop for simplifying the procedures and analysis. Dam Health and Rehabilitation Monitoring Application (DHARMA), a software tool for asset management has been developed to capture authentic data pertaining to all large dams to act as information repository. It covers the monitoring and health information to regularly review the safety aspects of any dam. This tool has the appropriate access to policy makers, project managers, and dam managers to review the information and take appropriate action.

Government of India is striving to address the issue of dam safety in a comprehensive way for a quite a long time. In this context, Union Cabinet approved the Dam Safety Bill in June 2018 and this Bill was introduced in Parliament in December 2018. The Preamble of the Bill is to provide surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of specified dams for prevention of dam failure related disasters and to provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Considering the success of the ongoing DRIP, Government of India proposed Phase-II and Phase-III of DRIP with a financial outlay of over 10,221.0 Crores to rehabilitate around 700 dams. The new Project is proposed to be a State Sector Scheme with 10-year duration, with each proposed Phase of six years duration with two years overlapping. The government of India has given in-principle approval to this Project and very shortly is going to pose to World Bank for funding. This Project has wide spatial coverage; having 18 States and two Central Agencies, and covering about 13% of large dams of India. In addition to three components of ongoing Scheme, it has additional Component i.e. Revenue Generation through incidental i.e. tourism, fisheries, solar and hydel power, water recreations etc.

The Conference has one Plenary Session, 7 Technical Sessions and one Industry Session. The details of the Conference is available at https://damsafety.in/idsc2019. This Conference is part of the series of Dam Safety Conferences organized in Chennai (2015), Bengaluru (2016), Roorkee (2017), and Thiruvananthapuram (2018) which received an overwhelming response in terms of professional participation by Indian and overseas organizations. Over 725 delegates comprising dam owners, policy makers, and dam professionals, Scientists, academia etc. are coming together in this Conference. About 100 overseas experts from 30 Countries representing all the major continents of the world are participating in the Conference. Also, about 150 technical papers have been contributed by experts across the world; 35 national and international organizations both from within the country and abroad are showcasing their technologies, products and services in the exhibition to be organized during the Conference, reflecting the contemporary developments in the dam safety field. To accommodate more oral presentation of more technical papers, four sessions are being organized in two parallel locations making a total of 13 sessions.

The basic objective of these annual events is to give exposure to non-DRIP States as well as other stakeholders across the Country and World, to the best global practices and technological advancements to address the emerging dam safety challenges. As these events are being organised in various regional centres of Country, it also make aware the overseas delegates with culture and traditions of India. 

The key recommendations emerging from the deliberations during the Conference will be published and circulated to all stakeholders and policymakers for implementation. Some selected technical papers received for the Conference will be published as a Compendium to provide a permanent reference for all users. For wider dissemination, the published guidelines/ manuals, as well as the Compendium will be available on the official DRIP website: https//:www.damsafety.in

*****

NP/SKP/IA

Read more: Fifth International Dam Safety Conference to be...

Greetings, (Namaskar)

I warmly welcome Mr. President, his family and the delegation. It is a matter of great pleasure that two months after our meeting in Buenos Aires, I have this opportunity to welcome you today in India. On this occasion, I once again congratulate President Macri and his team for the efficient and successful hosting of the G-20 Summit in 2018. The leadership of President Macri was important for the successful hosting of the Summit. During the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires President Macri made the pleasant announcement that during the 75th year of India’s independence in 2022 India will be hosting the G20 Summit. For this I am thankful to him.


Friends,

My fifth meeting with President Macri today reflects the fast and growing importance of bilateral engagement between the two countries. We have proved that the distance of 15,000 kilometers between the two countries is just a number. This visit of President Macri is taking place in a special year; This is the 70th year of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. But the mutual relations of our people is older than this. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore had traveled to Argentina in 1924. The immense effect of that journey has become immortal through his creations. Considering our shared values and our interests to promote peace, stability, economic progress and prosperity both the countries have given their relations the status of a strategic partnership. I and President Macri agree that terrorism is a very serious threat to global peace and stability. The brutal terrorist attack in Pulwama shows that the time for discussions is over now. Now the whole world unitedly needs to take concrete steps against terrorism and its supporters. Hesitating to act against terrorists and their anti-humanitarian supporters is also equivalent to promoting terrorism. As the G-20 countries, it is also important that we implement the 11-point agenda of 'Hamburg Leaders' Statement’ on countering terrorism. In this regard it is important that, we, both the countries are issuing a special declaration against terrorism after our discussions today. Our cooperation in the field of space and peaceful use of nuclear energy is continuously increasing. The Memorandum of Understanding signed today in respect of Defense Cooperation will give a new dimension to our cooperation in the defense sector.


Friends,

India and Argentina are complementary to each other in many ways. It is our endeavor to take full advantage of this for our mutual benefit. Argentina is the powerhouse of agriculture. India sees it as an important partner for its food security. The work-plan of Agro-Industrial Cooperation between us today is an important step in this direction. India's success in the ICT field, especially JAM i.e. Jandhan-Aadhaar-Mobile trinity and digital payment infrastructure, we are ready to share with Argentina. We have set a goal in India that by 2030 at least 30% of our vehicles will run with electrical batteries. Argentina is a part of the Lithium Triangle, and it has approximately 54% of the world's lithium reservoir. Our joint venture 'KABIL' has started discussions with Argentina for cooperation in the mining sector.

Friends,

In the last 10 years, our bilateral trade has more than doubled and have become in excess of US $ 3 billion. There are possibilities for significant increase in many sectors such as agriculture, metals and minerals, oils and gas, pharmaceutical, chemicals, motor vehicles and services. Today we have identified specific methods to enhance our commercial engagement. I am glad that representatives from many important Argentine companies have come with President Macri. I am confident that his talks with business leaders in Delhi and Mumbai will be useful. India was the first country to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement with MERCOSUR in 2004. During the present Presidency of Argentina, today we discussed several measures for the expansion of the India-MERCOSUR trade.

Friends,

There are millions of fans of Indian art, culture and spirituality in Argentina. Argentina's Tango dance and football is very popular in India. In order to bring people closer, agreements have been made between tourism and Public Broadcasting agencies for cooperation and exchange of cultural programs.

Friends,

India and Argentina have good cooperation in international forums. For global peace and security and economic and social advancement of all people we accept the need of reformed multilateralism. Argentina has strongly supported India's membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. South-South Cooperation holds great importance for us. I am happy to say that India will actively participate in the second high level conference of United Nations on South-South Cooperation in Buenos Aires in 2019. Our views are similar in the fight against climate change. I am very happy to welcome Argentina as a new member in the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Excellency,

I once again express my gratitude for accepting my invitation to visit India. I hope that this journey is enjoyable for you and your family.

Thank you.


MuchasGracias

 

*****

AKT/VJ/SBP

Read more: English Rendering of Prime Minister’s Press...

The Fifteenth Finance Commission had a meeting with the Ministry of Power in New Delhi today. The meeting was chaired by the Minister for Power, Shri R. K. Singh along with the Chairman of the Finance Commission Shri N.K. Singh. Members of the Commission and Senior Officers of the Commission , Ministry of Power and its Public Sector Undertakings were also present.

The meeting discussed the impact of the power sector reforms on state finances as there was a significant correlation between the two

The fiscal positions of States have been impacted by exposure to guarantees provided to power utilities and other public sector units, including those in the transport sector. The liabilities on account of guarantees provided to power units are quite significant in a number of States. By assigning a weight of 90 per cent to the power sector guarantees and 10 per cent to other guarantees, including transport sector guarantees, the extended debt of all States, in aggregate was around 23.3 per cent of GDP in 2011-12. The stakeholders discussed the issue in detail.

In the case of the power sector, the earlier Commissions (13th and 14thFC) had deliberations in the meeting and gathered these issues that some States had not raised tariffs for eight or nine years despite increasing deficits, and that the absence of timely tariff increases had adversely affected the operations of the utilities. Further, it noted that in several States, where tariff revisions had taken place, financial gaps had been reduced. Nevertheless, large financial deficits continued to persist since the true costs were not taken account of.

The regulatory institutions, in general, lacked sufficient capabilities and urged the expediting of tariff reforms, including a multi-year tariff implementation, as required by the Electricity Act, 2003. The Ministry discussed the remedial steps in this regard.

The Union Ministry of Power concurred with the views of the States that compliance with the directions of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) by State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) would bring about discipline and simplify procedures in the distribution sector as well as lead to improvements in the revenue and liquidity position of distribution utilities. It pointed out that the Financial Restructuring Plan of state-owned distribution companies contained a condition for mandatory tariff revisions.

The meeting discussed in detail updated status of the UDAY Scheme. 

The Ministry has proposed to the Commission a scheme for supporting transiting to Electric Mobility in India – for rolling out EV infrastructure across 70 cities and 20% highways in five year i.e. 2020-25 at a cost of Rs.5000 crores.

The Ministry has also proposed VGF of upto 40% amounting to Rs.83500 crores  to meet the cost of installation of Flue Gas Desulphurization to meet the new norms notified by MoEF & CC for power plants.

The Commission and the Ministry of Power agreed to have a separate meeting soon with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

 

*****

MC

Read more: Finance Commission meets the Ministry of Power

Life Insurance - Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana; 5,67,88,890 enrolments made and Rs. 2488.44 crore disbursed under the Scheme till 31st December, 2018

Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) was launched on 9th May, 2015.  The cover period under this Scheme is 1st June of each year to 31st May of subsequent year. This Scheme is offered/administered through both public and private sector life insurance companies, in tie-up with Scheduled Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperative Banks.

 

PMJJBY offers a renewable one year term life cover of Rupees Two Lakh to all subscribing bank account holders in the age group of 18 to 50 years, covering death due to any reason, for a premium of Rs.330/- per annum per subscriber, to be auto debited from subscriber’s bank account.

 

As per the data uploaded by banks on Jnasuraksha Portal, the State-wise Enrolments and Cumulative Claims Benefit amount paid as on 31.12.2018 under PMJJBY are at Annexure.

 

The Scheme is open for enrollment to all Savings Bank Account Holders including Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana account holders for en-rollment.

 

State -Wise Distribution of Gross Enrollments and Claim amount disbursed under PMJJBY as on 31.12.2018 ( Source: Enrollment  and Claims Data uploaded by Banks on DFS Portal)

SNo.

State

Enrolments

Amount Disbursed     ( In Crores )

1

ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS

15,735

0.66

2

ANDHRA PRADESH $$

1,82,78,825

198.38

3

ARUNACHAL PRADESH

38,520

2.10

4

ASSAM

6,64,860

62.22

5

BIHAR

14,42,707

51.98

6

CHANDIGARH

54,348

3.28

7

CHHATTISGARH

12,36,185

100.88

8

DADRA & NAGAR HAVELI

22,533

0.86

9

DAMAN & DIU

16,204

0.52

10

GOA

1,20,258

5.62

11

GUJARAT

24,29,207

199.04

12

HARYANA

8,95,906

75.92

13

HIMACHAL PRADESH

2,67,267

17.24

14

JAMMU & KASHMIR

3,15,534

2.74

15

JHARKHAND

5,25,273

28.60

16

KARNATAKA

32,56,551

217.60

17

KERALA

8,51,753

23.68

18

LAKSHADWEEP

1,682

0.00

19

MADHYA PRADESH

20,08,339

180.22

20

MAHARASHTRA

37,06,638

211.20

21

MANIPUR

36,680

2.58

22

MEGHALAYA

46,266

2.18

23

MIZORAM

56,093

8.74

24

NAGALAND

20,669

1.48

25

NCT OF DELHI

9,23,296

42.58

26

ORISSA

10,96,845

75.98

27

PUDUCHERRY

69,832

3.76

28

PUNJAB

6,78,973

40.80

29

RAJASTHAN

16,32,800

146.50

30

SIKKIM

28,834

1.14

31

TAMIL NADU

26,03,089

126.04

32

TELANGANA

20,65,466

220.94

33

TRIPURA

1,17,613

4.14

34

UTTAR PRADESH

36,42,310

321.62

35

UTTARAKHAND

3,61,626

28.10

36

WEST BENGAL

14,10,931

79.12

37

Others **

58,49,242

0.00

Grand Total

5,67,88,890

2488.44

       

** Beneficiaries converged from Ministry of Textiles, Women & Child Development, MSME and Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries from their respective erstwhile Insurance schemes. Also includes offline enrolments pertaining to urban cooperative bank subscribers which were not migrated to Portal. State/UT wise break-up not available for this number

$$ includes 1.65 crore beneficiaries which have been converged from AABY to PMJJBY in the state of Andhra Pradesh

Source : Gross Enrollment as uploaded by banks on Jansuraksha portal as on 31/12/2018 subject to verification of eligibility, Availability of Funds for auto debit of Premium etc.

This was stated by Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of State for Finance in written reply to a Question in Rajya Sabha today.

 

****

DSM/KA

Read more: Life Insurance - Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti...

Modern Coach Factory (Raebareli) as a shining example of “Make in India”

In August 2014 the first coach was rolled out and since then it has doubled production almost every year. It is expected to produce 1,422 coaches in 2018-19 of which 1,220 coaches have already been produced till date. MCF has least cost among all Production Units of Indian Railways for coaches produced. New concepts such as extensive use of Robotics, automation etc. are being implemented in MCF. To augment production, it is planned that Vande Bharat Express train sets too will be manufactured here.

Foundation Stone of Modern Coach Factory (MCF), Raebareli was laid in February 2007. But construction began only in May 2010. The factory was slated to produce 1,000 coaches. However, between 2011-14, it only did minor work on some coaches brought from Kapurthala. Only 375 coaches were thus refurbished between 2011 to 2014 when it should have been manufacturing coaches completely.

Since, 2014 the unit has been a priority area. In July 2014, MCF was declared a Production Unit of Indian Railways. Within a month it started production of fully formed coaches. Since then it has doubled production almost every year: 140 coaches in 2014-15, 285 in 2015-16, 576 in 2016-17,  711 in 2017-18. It is expected to produce 1,422 coaches in 2018-19. 1,220 coaches have already been produced till date.

On 16th December, 2018, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi flagged off the 900th coach produced this year, and a Humsafar Rake, which was also produced in MCF.

This turnaround was possible only through better management of resources, coordination and focussed leadership. Machines which were uncommissioned were commissioned. Civil work completed went up from 33% in 2013-14 to >90% in 2018-19. Better management of resources led to proper utilisation of allocated budget from 45% spent amount in 2013-14 to 85% spent amount in 2018-19.

Due to economies of scale, as more coaches are being produced in MCF, per unit cost of production is also coming down. MCF has least cost among all Production Units of Indian Railways for coaches produced. This benefit will be passed on to passengers and will lead to more affordable services.

MCF is a shining example of ‘Make in India’. New concepts such as extensive use of Robotics, automation etc. are being implemented in MCF.

Rs. 480 crore has been sanctioned in Budget 2018-19 for augmentation of production capacity of MCF from 1,000 to around 3,000 coaches per year by 2020-21.

New generation safer LHB coaches are being built in MCF - contributing to railways and passengers safety. Production of Humsafar coaches was also commenced from this factory. MCF has also rolled out smart coaches, providing better safety and passenger amenities as well as enabling predictive maintenance. MEMU, EMU &Metro  coaches will also be produced here. In future, coaches for Bullet Train can also be built in MCF if all requirements are met.

It is also planned to manufacture Aluminium coaches at MCF, the first such manufacturing in India. Aluminium coaches have many advantages over stainless steel coaches including light weight, better aesthetics and less cost per year over the life of the coach. To augment production, it is planned that Vande Bharat Express train sets too will be manufactured here.

MCF will become 1st Rail factory to meet Zero-Energy Mega Factory standards by 2020-21. Solar energy capacity will be raised from 3 MW to 10 MW which will help achieve ‘Energy Neutral’ standards for the unit and the township.

MCF has boosted local economy of Raebareli. It has created employment opportunities for local youth and invigorated industries in vicinity. Goods worth Rs 667 crore were procured from MSMEs in 2018-19. Purchase from local units in Raebareli was less than Rs 1 crore in 2013-14; it has now become Rs. 124 cr in 2018-19. Further, training centers have been developed to provide skill development opportunities to local youth.

*****

SVS/ENS

Read more: Modern Coach Factory (Raebareli) as a shining...

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon the industry bodies in the Real Estate Sector to institutionalize a code conduct and a self regulation mechanism to curb unethical practices.

Addressing the young entrepreneurs and professionals at the 3rd YouthCon organized by CREDAI, here today, he pointed out that the sector had come under severe scrutiny by the apex court and statutory Consumer rights bodies due to some unethical practices followed by certain players.

Shri Naidu said that the growing NPA in real estate had not only affected Banks but also dried up Bank loans to the sector from 63% in 2013 to 17% in 2016, thereby accentuating the stress. “You owe as much to your customers and the workers as you do to creditors and suppliers. More than financial viability, it is social obligation and trust that is at stake”, he said.

Quoting the recent report of CAG on Real Estate sector, the Vice President said that 95% of the real estate developers, builders and agents did not have mandatory PAN. He also pointed to surveys from the sources like CREDAI and RERA and said that out of around 3000 entities surveyed; more than 500 didn’t file Income Tax Returns.

Saying that the CAG Report must be the point of reference, Shri Naidu wanted the industry to promote digital transactions and enhance transparency and ethical facet of the sector.

Considering that the Real Estate sector contributes 7.9% to the GDP of the country and provides employment to more than 50 million people, he said that a transparent and predictable regulatory regime was essential to strengthen the real estate market by creating greater confidence in the consumers.

Shri Naidu said that the sector was essential for healthy, inclusive and equitable growth of the economy.

The Vice President added that programmes like AMRUT, HRIDAY and the pioneering initiatives like 100 Smart Cities, Housing for all by 2022 and PMAY present a great opportunity for the sector. He wanted organisations like the CREDAI to take lead in imparting the skill-sets required for new employment opportunities.

Shri Naidu said that it was heartening to note that the Real Estate sector was showing signs of revival due to measures like RERA and GST.

Pointing that the Supreme Court has acknowledged Right to Shelter as a Fundamental Right, he said “we have a massive task at hand” He said there was a shortage of 19 million housing units in India and 96 per cent of those affected by this shortage were people belonging to Economically Weaker Sections and Middle Income Groups.

The Vice President stressed upon the need to create affordable and adequate shelter in urban habitats to the increasing influx of population that is moving out of villages to explore better opportunities.

 

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

I am happy to join youon the 3rd YouthCon of the CREDAI and share my thoughts and expectations with the young entrepreneurs in the real estate sector.

 

Young Friends,

India is poised to assume its rightful place in global economy.

Organizations like World Bank and IMF have recognized India’s growth story. As World Bank has acknowledged “India’s growth performance has been quite impressive. Year after Year it has delivered strong numbers around its potential growth”.

With around 7.3% Growth Rate, India is the fastest growing economy today. We are the sixth largest economy of the world. Over last five years our Ease of Doing Business rankings have improved our ranking from 142 in  2014  to 77 this year and the biggest gain was in construction permits where India climbed 129 ranks to 52nd place.

Domestically, we have created an enabling policy environment and legislative architecture to promote enterprise and innovations. The Prime Minister has given a clarion call to “Reform, Perform and Transform”.  Every sector in our economy is being radically transformed.  For example, GST has been the biggest tax reform anywhere in the world. There has been unprecedented expansion of tax base and tax compliance. There is a rise of 50% in tax base and an increase of 80% in the filing of Income Tax Returns. Financial inclusion is becoming a reality.

We are a young and aspirational India. To give opportunity to young entrepreneurs, the Government has launched schemes like Start Up India under which 15000 new entrepreneurs have been recognized as Start Ups. For small entrepreneurs, 15 crore loans have been sanctioned under the MUDRA Yojna, majority of them being women and persons from weaker sections. With 65% of our population under 35 years, India can potentially draw upon this demographic dividend to build a New India in the next few years. The young leaders like you must lead their respective sectors to this dream.   

 

युवा साथियों,

 

भारत विश्व अर्थव्यवस्था में अपनी अपेक्षित सही जगह लेने के लिये तैयार है। विश्व बैंक और IMF जैसी संस्थाओं ने भी भारत की विकास गाथा को स्वीकार किया है। विश्व बैंक ने माना कि भारत की विकास गाथा प्रशंसनीय रही है। उसने साल दर साल विकास के जबरदस्त आंकड़े प्रस्तुत किये है।

7.3% विकास दर के साथ, आज भारत विश्व की सबसे तेज बढ़ने वाली अर्थव्यवस्था है। हम विश्व की छठी सबसे बड़ी अर्थव्यवस्था हैं।  पिछले पांच सालों में Ease of Doing Business  तालिका में हमारा स्थान 150 से बढ़कर 77 तक पहुँच गया है। हम विश्व की पहली 50 अर्थव्यवस्थाओं में पहुंचने का प्रयास कर रहे हैं।

देश के भीतर हमने, नये उद्यमों और नवोन्वेषण को प्रोत्साहित करने के लिये कारगर नीतियां और कानूनी ढांचा तैयार किया है। प्रधानमंत्री ने रिफार्म, परफार्म तथा ट्रांसफार्म का नया मंत्र दिया है। अर्थव्यवस्था के हर क्षेत्र में आमूलचूल क्रांतिकारी बदलाव हो रहे हैं। GST  को लागू किया जाना, विश्व का सबसे बड़ा कर सुधार था। इसकी वजह से टैक्स बेस तथा राजस्व में वृद्धि हुई है। GST के बाद टैक्स बेस में 50% की वृद्धि हुई है। इसी प्रकार आयकर रिटर्न भरने वालों की संख्या में 80% की वृद्धि हुई है। हम एक टैक्स पालन करने वाले राष्ट्र बन रहे हैं।

हम एक युवा और आकांक्षी देश हैं। युवा उद्यमियों को प्रोत्साहन देने के लिये सरकार की स्टार्ट अप योजना के तहत 15000 नये उद्यमियों को चिन्हित किया गया। छोटे उद्यमियों के लिये मुद्रा योजना के तहत 15 करोड़ ऋण दिये गये जिनमें अधिकांश महिलाएं या दुर्बल वर्ग के लाभार्थी हैं। हमारी जनसंख्या का 65% भाग 35 वर्ष से कम आयु का है। अगले तीन वर्षो में न्यू इंडिया बनाने के लिये हम इस डेमोग्राफिक डिवेडेंट का भरपूर प्रयोग करना चाहते है।  आप जैसे युवा इस स्वप्न को प्राप्त करने के लिये अपने-अपने क्षेत्र का नेतृत्व करें।

The Real Estate sector is an important sector of our economy that contributes 7.9% to the GDP of the country.  Being the second largest job provider in the economy after agriculture, the entire country has stakes in the real estate sector. Of more than 50 million people employed in the construction sector, 90% are minimally skilled and 9% are skilled workers. This figure is likely to rise up to 67 million by 2022.This sector is essential for healthy, inclusive and equitable growth of the economy.

However, in the recent times, the Real estate sector has come under severe scrutiny by apex court and statutory Consumer rights bodies, due to some unethical practices followed by certain players. As I told you it is an important sector of our economy and we cannot allow it to fail. We should take corrective action and industry bodies like yours should institutionalize an internal self-regulation mechanism.  The growing NPA in real estate has not only affected banks but also dried up bank loans to the sector from 63% in 2013 to 17% in 2016, thereby accentuating the stress.

You owe as much to your customers and the workers as you do to creditors and suppliers. More than financial viability, it is social obligation and trust that is at stake.

To promote real estate sector, ambitious urban renewal programmes like AMRUT, HRIDAY and the pioneering initiatives like 100 Smart Cities, Housing for All by 2022 and PMAY have been launched. These programmes require a massive pool of skilled personnel. It is a great opportunity for your organization for imparting the skill-sets required for these new employment opportunities. 

The Government has laid emphasis on affordable housing and has accordingly provided a conducive policy environment and incentives.

In the recent budget, the Government has provided tax relief on the notional income from unsold or self occupied houses, by lowering GST on affordable Houses.

A transparent and predictable regulatory regime is essential to strengthen the real estate market by creating greater confidence in the consumers.

With measures like RERA and GSTthe realty sector is showing signs of revival.

However, I am aware that certain difficulties in the registration of properties still exist. That has been a drag on our Ease of Doing Business ranking for years. I call upon the Central and State Governments to resolve these difficulties to facilitate a steady growth in real estate sector.

 

Friends,

 

The Supreme Court has acknowledged Right to Shelter as a Fundamental Right included in Right to Life under Article 21 of our Constitution.

As such, we have a massive task at hand. Our cities will remain the engines of rapid economic growth.  People are migrating to cities to explore better opportunities. Our urban habitats have to provide adequate shelter to ever increasing influx of population. As per one estimate, there is a shortage of 19 million housing units in India, 96 per cent of those affected by this shortage are people belonging to Economically Weaker Sections and Middle Income Groups.

 

Friends,

 

Any sector survives and thrives with the innovative enterprise of its new Members. The Government is actively promoting innovation and enterprise in every sector of the economy. There is vast scope of innovative partnerships in Real Estate sector too.

I am happy to learn that CREDAI, as part of their CSR, have been training about 1 lakh construction workers. I would suggest that you should provide certification to construction workers after providing them 12-80 hours of orientation and bridge course under Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme. It will greatly help unorganized construction workers in upgrading their skills and improve their job prospects.

This year, the Government has proposed a pension scheme for those employed in unorganized sector. It is indeed a welcome initiative. Being one of the larger sectors employing unorganized workers, I think you should promote and propagate this scheme but also to actively persuade your Members to sensitize and enroll construction workers in the Scheme.

Similarly, very often the benefits of Welfare Cess collected under Building and other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act are not delivered to the construction workers. By one estimate, more than Rs 45000 crores have been collected by the State Governments, of which only 35% could be utilized for the welfare of workers. I hope the State Governments and CREDAI will work together to ensure timely and adequate delivery of intended benefits to the construction workers.

 

Friends,

 

In your sector, unorganized minimally skilled illiterate construction workers are important stakeholders.  I will urge you to explore the possibility of setting up a separate wing in CREDAI for the welfare of construction and building workers. It will help promote and monitor the implementation of statutory obligations towards welfare of these workers.

As young professionals, you all would be aware of innovations being made in the designs and materials to make buildings energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. An elaborate Energy efficiency code has been prescribed. Apex bodies like CREDAI should adopt these Codes.

Similarly, Water preservation and solid waste treatment, should be an essential feature in the Housing projects. I urge you to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in affordable housing projects. These measures will ensure long term savings on power and water bills for the residents.

I have learnt that CREDAI under its CSR activities had launched Clean City Movement, which was not only about solid waste management but also provided employment opportunities to workers from economically weaker sections. I admire your initiative and appeal to you to expand it by joining hands with the local municipal authorities where your projects are located.

You will be doing a great service to the society if could provide technological solutions to remove the unlawful practice of manual scavenging, manual sewer cleaning. These practices are a blot and disgrace to any civilized society and must be removed immediately.

I will also expect you to adopt and adhere to best building construction practices. We all are aware that construction has emerged as major contributor to air pollution in the cities like Delhi.

 

Young Friends,

 

You constitute the rich human capital of our country. Your talent is the biggest asset of the country. Your aspirations and competence drive the country’s growth process. I would urge you to hone your skills, upgrade them and keep learning from the best practices around the world.

The real estate sector has often been blamed for absorbing enormous amount of unaccounted cash. The recent report of CAG on Real Estate sector should be an eye-opener for policy makers as well as the Industry. 95% of the real estate developers, builders and agents don’t have mandatory PAN. A sample survey from the sources like CREDAI and RERA suggested that out of around 3000 entities surveyed, more than 500 didn’t file Income Tax Returns. As young entrepreneurs and professionals of an apex industry organization, I request you to promote digital transactions and enhance transparency and ethical facet of your sector.

 

Young Friends,

 

Let me remind you the seven social sins Mahatma Gandhi elaborated in his weekly news paper Young India on 22nd October, 1925:

 

  • Politics without principles.
  • Wealth without work.
  • Pleasure without conscience.
  • Knowledge without character.
  • Commerce without morality.
  • Science without humanity.
  • Worship without sacrifice

 

Knowledge without character and Commerce without morality are sins. As young professionals I beseech you, to keep these principles in mind. Today when India is emerging as sixth largest economy in the world, when we are become one of the most sought after destination for FDI, we must ensure that our growth must be built on strong ethical foundations.

We cannot allow unscrupulous elements to defame our country and derail our growth process. I urge each one of you to maintain a fine balance between profits and ethics.

 

मित्रों,

 

मैं आशा करूंगा कि आप सभी युवा उद्यमी, गांधी जी के मंत्र को याद रखेगें। हमें सुनिश्चित करना होगा कि हमारी प्रगति, नैतिकता के सुदृढ़ आधार पर खड़ी हो। हम चंद अनैतिक तत्वों को अपने देश का नाम बदनाम नहीं करने दे सकते और नहीं ही हम उन्हें अपने विकास के मार्ग में आने देगें। मुझे विश्वास है कि आप सभी लाभ और नैतिकता के बीच संतुलन बना कर अपने भविष्य में आगे प्रगति करेगें।

I am sure such YouthCon will help young entrepreneurs of the Sector to pool their expertise and entrepreneurship, to provide solutions to some of the issues and concerns.  It is essential that our real estate and construction sector is not only financially vibrant but also socially and environmentally responsible. 

I wish you all every success in your future endeavours and wish you a gratifying professional career ahead.

 

Jai Hind!

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

 

Read more: Institutionalize a code of conduct & self...

DPIIT Secretary releasing NPC annual report 2017-18

 

National Productivity Council (NPC) celebrated its 61st Foundation Day today. NPC observes foundation day as Productivity Day and celebrates National Productivity Week from February 12-18, 2019.

This year’s theme is “Circular Economy for Productivity & Sustainability” which represents a unique opportunity for circular business models for Make - Use - Return. It presents an opportunity for long term economic prospects and regeneration of materials. Transitioning to an efficient circular economy will benefit industry and all stakeholders now and in future.

Addressing the inaugural session in New Delhi, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ramesh Abhishek said that the role of National Productivity Council is very important in the backdrop of the mammoth target of growth to raise the Indian economy to the level of USD 5 trillion by 2025 and USD 10 trillion by 2035. He said that our productivity must be comparable with our competitors in global and regional market value chain so that Indian products can remain competitive. The DPIIT Secretary asked the NPC to play a very critical role to enhance the overall productivity in the Indian industry and to work closely with industry associations. He also emphasized on the need of sensitization and creating awareness in industry, particularly MSMEs. Ramesh Abhishek commended DG, NPC, for her suggestions to work with FICCI on getting circular economy introduced and fast tracked. He said that thereishuge business opportunities in circular economy and the need of the hour is to work with industry to reduce use of natural resources. He said that transforming a linear economy into circular economy is a challenging task and our challenges are going to become even more daunting in the near future as we are looking at expanding our economy, the problem of waste, problem of resources will be even more severe. We have to work closely with industry to see how we can use those principles of reducing the use of natural resources, recycling and reuse and the concept of circular economy. Stressing on the cluster based approach, Ramesh Abhishek asked the NPC to identify some clusters.

Secretary, Department for Investment and Public Asset Management, Atanu Chakraborty and DG, NPC, Dr.Amita Prasad also addressed the inaugural session.

At series of functions are being organised between 12th to 18th February. Panel discussions on subjects like artificial intelligence by experts are also being organized to deliberate on the challenges, benefits and outcomes from implementation of circular economy.

Apart from workshopsin New Delhi, the 13 Regional Directorate of NPC at Kolkata, Chennai, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar and Chandigarh will organise seminars and workshops in coordination with State Governments, State PSUs and Businesses. The 23 Local Productivity Councils spread across the country are also organizing workshops.

Ministries involved in production, trade, autonomous bodies, PSUs, apex institutions especially FICCI, industry associations have also been requested to observe productivity week.

The circular economy follows the principle of preservation and enhancement of natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows. Circular economy has the potential to increase productivity and create jobs, whilst reducing carbon emissions and preserving valuable raw materials. It works by extending product life span through improved design and servicing and relocating waste from the end of the supply chain to the beginning – in effect, using resources more efficiently by using them over and over. The challenge lies in building circular economy knowledge and capacity.

 

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MM/ SB

Read more: National Productivity Week

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