Date – 15/05/2018: First all-woman Post Office Passport Seva Kendra starts operations in Phagwara, Punjab

Date – 15/05/2018

First all-woman Post Office Passport Seva Kendra starts operations in Phagwara, Punjab

– The Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) run by an all-woman team began its operations Phagwara, Punjab. It was was inaugurated by Union Minister Vijay Sampla in the local head Post Office of Phagwara.

– This kendra was 192nd POPSK in the country and first one to be operated by an all-woman team. It was launched as part of Central Government’s initiatiative for women empowerment.

– It will  cater needs of people from Kapurthala, Nawandhar and Jalandhar rural districts. It will benefit people immensely in this area as town is NRI hub of Doaba region of Punjab. It will enable people of the region to get all facilities related to applying for and processing of passport applications.

Date – 27/04/2018: Bureau of Indian Standards grants first license for Liquid Chlorine on all India basis

Date – 27/04/2018

Bureau of Indian Standards grants first license for Liquid Chlorine on all India basis

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has granted First Licence to Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd for Liquid Chlorine on all India basis as per Indian Standard (IS) 646:1986. This is the First Licence granted on All India basis. The licence has been made operative with effect from April 2018 for a period of one year.

– Liquid Chlorine is in liquid form and stored in metal containers. It is usually used as gas obtained by evaporating liquid from metal container. It is used mainly in paper, pulp, water sterilization, textile bleaching and manufacture of chemicals.

– The approval of first licence will facilitate industry to get quality Liquid Chlorine with Standard Mark under BIS Certification Marks scheme. Indian Standard (IS) 646:1986 for Liquid Chlorine, Technical, prescribes the requirements and the methods of sampling and test for liquid chlorine, technical.

Date – 12/04/2018: IRNSS-1I: ISRO successfully launches navigation satellite

Date – 12/04/2018

IRNSS-1I: ISRO successfully launches navigation satellite

– The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched IRNSS-1I navigation satellite from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The satellite was launched on board of PSLV-C41 (height of 44.4 meters and weight of 321 tonnes) after the normal lift-off and was successfully placed in the designated orbit. It was overall 20th flight of PSLV-XL version and 41st successful mission of total 43 of PSLV.

– The IRNSS-1I is overall eighth satellite to join ISRO’s NavIC navigation satellite constellation. It replaced IRNSS-1A, the first of seven navigation satellites of IRNSS series that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed. IRNSS-1I was made by Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies in collaboration with ISRO.

– The IRNSS-1I was having lift-off weight of 1,425 kg and has life span of 10 years. It carried two types of payloads: Navigation and Ranging.  They are L5 and S-band navigation payloads and C-band ranging payloads. It also has corner cube retroreflectors for LASER ranging. It will be stationed in Geosynchronous Orbit at 36,000 km height.

Date – 12/04/2018: India, UK and Northern Ireland: Cabinet approves MoU on return of Illegal Migrants

Date – 12/04/2018

India, UK and Northern Ireland: Cabinet approves MoU on return of Illegal Migrants

– The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and United Kingdom and Northern Ireland on the return of Illegal Migrants. Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

– The MoU will facilitate that Visa Free Agreement for holders of Diplomatic passports as well as liberalization of UK Visa Regime travelling to UK legally, after its conclusion. It will ensure return of persons who have no lawful basis to be in territory of other Party after verification of nationality to its satisfaction. It will help in streamlining procedure of return of nationals who are caught to be staying illegally, belonging to other party in specified time-frame.

More than Rs.240 Crore released for 12 cities under HRIDAY Scheme


More than Rs.240 Crore released for 12 cities under HRIDAY Scheme

As per the information received from Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), a Central Sector Scheme, with a total outlay of Rs. 500 Cr. was launched on 21st January, 2015.

HRIDAY scheme aims at preserving and revitalizing the soul and the unique character of the heritage cities in lndia. Under the Scheme, twelve cities namely, Ajmer, Amritsar, Amaravati, Badami, Dwarka, Gaya, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Puri, Varanasi, Velankanni, and Warangal have been identified for development. The mission period of HRIDAY Scheme is till November, 2018.

HRIDAY Scheme supports the development of core heritage linked civic infrastructure projects which includes revitalization of urban infrastructure for areas around heritage, religious, cultural and tourism assets of the cities. These initiatives include development of water supply, sanitation, drainage, waste management, approach roads, footpaths, street lights, tourist conveniences, electricity wiring, landscaping etc.

So far, 63 projects amounting to Rs. 421.47 cr. for the12 HRIDAY Cities have been approved under the Scheme out of which 241.26 cr. has been released.

This information was given by Minister of State (IC) for Culture and Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Dr. Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

Setting Up of World Class Football Academy in Manipur under Consideration: Col. Rathore


Setting Up of World Class Football Academy in Manipur under Consideration: Col. Rathore

A group of 20 students along with their teachers from Chandel district of Manipur here today called on Minister of State (I/C) of Youth Affairs & sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore. The students aged between 11- 16 years are currently on a National Integration Tour organized by Assam Rifles.

During their interaction, it was conveyed to Col. Rathore that for all the students this is the first trip outside their home district and before this tour they never had any experience of journey by train or bus.

Col. Rathore asked the students about their hobbies, studies and their interest in sports. He noted the remarkable presence of 8 players in the Indian Squad from the Manipur state during the FIFA U 17 world cup and asked the students to prepare hard in the sport of their choice so that they can participate in future editions of Khelo India School Games. He said, his ministry is actively considering for setting up a world class Football academy in collaboration with the state government in Manipur.  Wishing well all the students for their future endeavors, he said the exposure during the tour will widen their horizon of thinking and they will realize their full potential to achieve best in their future career.

Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh launches six new user friendly features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform


Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh launches six new user friendly features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform

e-NAM integrates Central Farmer Database to increase the efficiency and reduce queue time

The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh today launched six new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform to make it more users friendly.Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture was also present at the event. e-NAM is one of the major and important flagship schemes of the Government of India which is being implemented by Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare with the objective of providing competitive and remunerative price to farmers for their produce through online competitive bidding process.

Addressing the gathering, Shri Singh said that it is the dream of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri NarendraModi to double farmers’ income by 2022 and that farmers should become part of mainstream development. He said that the objective was to bring more transparency and competition and provide remunerative prices to farmers. Keeping in view the need of making marketing of commodities easier for farmers, e-NAM was envisioned and launched in 21 Mandis on 14th April 2016 which has now reached 479 Mandis across 14 states and 1 Union Territory. e-NAM website is now available in eight different languages (Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Odia) while the live trading facility is available in six different language (Hindi, English, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi & Telugu).

The Minister said that the agriculture ministry is now strengthening e-NAM platform with new and user-friendly features by rolling out MIS Dashboard for better analysis, BHIM payment facility by traders, mobile payment facility by traders, enhanced features on Mobile App such as gate entry and payment through mobile, integration of farmer’s database, eLearning module in e-NAM website etc.

  1. e-NAM Mobile App:

Mobile app is being enhanced in multi-dimension so that the entire operation for farmers and traders can be user friendly. Mobile app has been made multilingual. Now the Mandi operators can carry out one of the critical operation of Gate Entry directly from e-NAM Mobile App. This will also facilitate the farmers to do advance Gate Entry on Mobile app which in turn will reduce a lot of time for farmers coming in the Mandi and will bring huge efficiency and facilitate smooth arrival recording at the Gate. A new feature has been introduced for farmers where they can see the progress of their lot being traded and also real time bidding progress of price will be visible to farmers on Mobile App.

During the trade, facility of viewing the assaying certificate is made available to traders on the mobile app. Now, online payment by trader (buyer) can also be done from e-NAM Mobile App through debit card and net banking. This will help buyers to transfer the payment directly through the App and make it easier for traders in online payment to farmers. Also, SMS alert to farmer on receiving payment in their bank account will be sent thereby helping farmers in getting information of payment receipt.

  1. BHIM payment facility :

Currently e-NAM portal facilitates direct online payment to farmers through RTGS/NEFT, Debit Card and Internet Banking. Facilitation of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) through BHIM is another milestone in easing out payment to farmers which will also reduce the payment realization time from buyers’ account to the pool account and in turn disbursal to farmers.

  1. New and improved Website with eLearning Module:

A new website has been developed with improved and more informative features like live status of markets of e-NAM based on gate entry, latest information on events, dynamic training calendar etc. Also e-Learning module in Hindi language has been designed and incorporated in the website so that various stake holders can learn online about how to operate the system and continuously get trained on the system at their convenience. Currently the module is available in Hindi.

  1. MIS Dashboard:

MIS Dashboard based on Business intelligence will provide a greater insight into the performance of each Mandi in terms of arrival and trade. This will help the Mandi Board officials and APMC Secretary to compare the performance of each Mandi on daily, weekly, monthly/quarterly and Year-on-Year Basis. This will also enable officials and Mandi Secretary in doing actual trade analysis from commodity level to State level operation. This will also be beneficial for the Mandi Board and Mandi Secretary in planning and coordinating their operation post historical analysis.

  1. Grievance Redressal Management System for Mandi Secretaries:

This system will help Mandi Secretary to raise technology issues related to portal/ software and its operation and also track the status of redressal of their query online.

  1. Integration with Farmer Database:

e-NAM has been integrated with Central Farmer Database so that the registration process becomes easier and Identification of farmers can be done easily on arrival at the Mandi Gate which will increase the efficiency and reduce queue time. This will help in managing the load at the Gate more efficiently during peak time in Rabi and Kharif and reduce waiting time for farmers at the entry gate.

Bhatni-Aurnihar Line Doubling with Electrification


Bhatni-Aurnihar Line Doubling with Electrification

CCEA approves 116.95 Km long Bhatni-Aurnihar line doubling with electrification at a completion cost of Rs. 1300.9 crore

Likely to be completed by 2021-22

Doubling project will ensure higher speed, reduce train delays, enhance safety by allowing more time for track/block maintenance, and provide additional capacity for future increase in traffic

Decongestion of Mughalsarai-Allahabad route thereby benefiting passengers traveling to Eastern India especially Bihar, West Bengal and North East

By easing the connectivity in Varanasi district, often referred to as the Spiritual Capital of India it will give a boost to pilgrimage, tourism and the local economy

Electrification will lead to faster trains, reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable environment. Further, it will reduce fuel import dependence, and result in energy costs savings for Railways and forex savings for the country.

Generate direct employment during construction of about 28.07 lakh mandays

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved 116.95 Km long Bhatni-Aurnihar line doubling with electrification at a completion cost of Rs. 1300.9 crore and is likely to be completed by 2021-22. The project will cover the districts of Deoria, Ballia, Mau and Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh.

Aurnihar is junction station of Varanasi division having connectivity towards four sides namely Aurnihar-Chhapra, Aurnihar-Bhatni, Aurnihar-Jaunpur and Aurnihar-Varanasi. Present line capacity utilization of the section is 118% leading to congestion and slower train movement. The doubling project will ensure higher speed, reduce train delays, enhance safety by allowing more time for track/block maintenance, and provide additional capacity for future increase in traffic.

Allahabad-Mughalsarai route of North Central Railway is over saturated and there is heavy congestion at Mughalsarai. Doubling of this route will allow shifting of traffic from Mughalsarai-Allahabad route to this route thereby decongesting it. This will benefit passengers traveling to Eastern India especially Bihar, West Bengal and North East.

Further, by easing the connectivity in Varanasi district, often referred to as the Spiritual Capital of India it will give a boost to pilgrimage, tourism and the local economy

Electrification will lead to faster trains, reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable environment. Further, It will reduce fuel import dependence, and result in energy costs savings for Railways and forex savings for the country.

In addition, the project will generate direct employment during construction of about 28.07 lakh mandays.

Cabinet approves India-Morocco Cooperation Agreement in Railway Sector


Cabinet approves India-Morocco Cooperation Agreement in  Railway Sector

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Cooperation Agreement betweenIndia and the Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF) to develop long-term cooperation and partnership in different areas of railway sector.  The Cooperation Agreement was signedon 14th December, 2017.

The Cooperation Agreement will enable technical cooperation in the following areas:-

a. Training and staff development;

b. Expert missions, exchange of experience and personnel; and

c. Mutual technical assistance, including exchanging of experts.


Ministry of Railways have signed MOUs for technical cooperation in the Rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways. The identified areas of cooperation include high-speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc. The cooperation is achieved through exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology & operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest.

The MoUs provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector.  The MoUs facilitate exchange  of technical   experts,  reports  and technical   documents,  training  and seminars/workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.

Dr Jitendra Singh invites young Start-Ups to Northeast


Dr Jitendra Singh invites young Start-Ups to Northeast

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh invited young Start-Ups from all over India to come to Northeast and try their fortune through unexplored potentials of the region.

Addressing a gathering of participants, after going through the various stalls put up at the “Skill India” exhibition at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here today, Dr Jitendra Singh said, while all the avenues of livelihood and new ventures are gradually getting exhausted in other parts of the country and States, the immense unexplored avenues and potentials of North Eastern region are still available and beckoning the young entrepreneurs to come and try their luck.

In addition, Dr Jitendra Singh also referred to the decision taken by the Ministry of Northeast to provide “Venture Fund” to any youngster who wishes to set up an entrepreneurship in the region. He said, this provision will be in addition to the provisions already available in Prime Minister’s “Start-up India, Stand-up India” programme, which includes provision of tax holiday as well as 3-month exit period. He disclosed that over 65 proposals from youngsters all over India are under process to avail of the “Venture Fund” for setting up entrepreneurship in the Northeast. He also informed that the first lot of Venture Fund documents were handed over to the new Start-Ups by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi himself during his visit to Aizawl, Mizoram in December last year.

Launched a few months ago, Dr Jitendra Singh said, “Venture Fund” has already become popular among the youngsters. If we are able to move forward with the plan that we have envisaged for ourselves, he said, the day is not far when Northeast will become a favourite destination for young Start-ups from all over India. With its vast unexplored avenues, he said, those looking for livelihood will soon find a potential enterprise in the Northeast, particularly in fruit, food, handicraft and tourism industry, he added.

Northeast Venture Fund, said Dr Jitendra Singh, is the first dedicated venture capital fund for North-Eastern region and the initiative to set it up began in April last year. He further explained that “North-East Venture Fund” has been set up by North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi), which already has the mandate to encourage entrepreneurship in the region, primarily by offering support to the first-generation entrepreneurs. In addition, the NEDFi also performs the role of hand-holding and capacity building, he said.

Recalling Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s visit to Shillong in May, 2017 when he had stressed the importance of entrepreneurship in the region, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the region has huge potential for young Start-Ups unlike many other parts of the country and hoped that the patronage being provided by the Central government will make up for the constraints faced by a youngster when he sets out to be on his own.

Date – 05/02/2018: US Air Force chief General David L. Goldfein flies Tejas aircraft

Date – 05/02/2018

US Air Force chief General David L. Goldfein flies Tejas aircraft

– The Chief of US Air Force, General David L Goldfein flew a sortie in indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas at the Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. With this he became first foreign military chief to fly Tejas aircraft. He was accompanied by Air Vice Marshal AP Singh as a co-pilot during the short flight.

– General Goldfein was on an official visit to India to boost defence ties between the two nations. Earlier in November 2017, Defence Minister of Singapore Ng Eng Hen was flown in a Tejas fighter jet.

– The indigenous LCA is a single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter. It is fourth generation aircraft that can fly at 1,350 km per hour, with a payload capacity of 4,000 kg. It has been indigenously developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency, and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

– It has been pegged as world’s smallest and lightest supersonic fighter. It is tailless and has compound delta wing design. It is mounted with inbuilt MultiMode Radar (MMR), Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) systems.

– The first squadron of LCA Tejas named as ‘Flying Daggers’ based in Sulur, Tamil Nadu was inducted in July 2016.

Date – 03/02/2018: India wins Under-19 World Cup 2018

Date – 03/02/2018

India wins Under-19 World Cup 2018

– India has won Under-19 ICC World Cup 2018 by defeating Australia by eight wickets. With this victory, India became first nation to win Under-19 World Cup four times. It was India’s sixth appearance in the under-19 World Cup finals. It was India’s sixth appearance in the under-19 World Cup finals. Australia had made into the final five times, winning the tournament three times.

– The 2018 final match was played at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. Australia, choosing to bat first after winning the toss had set target of 216 runs (10 wickets) in 47.2 overs. India in the chase, scored 220-2 in the 39th over.

– India’s opener Manjot Kalra who scored 101 runs from 102 balls became second player in history to score century in ICC U-19 World Cup final, after Unmukt Chand. Indian team was led by Parthiv Shah and was coached by former batsman Rahul Dravid.

– It is an international cricket tournament organised by International Cricket Council (ICC) and contested by national under-19 teams. It was first contested in 1988 as the Youth World Cup and later was not staged again until 1998. Since then, it is held as biennial event by the ICC.

Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is leading the Indian delegation to 10th Global Forum for Food & Agriculture, Berlin, Germany from 18th -20th January 2018


Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is leading the Indian delegation to 10th Global Forum for Food & Agriculture, Berlin, Germany from 18th -20th January 2018

Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is leading the Indian delegation to 10th Global Forum for Food & Agriculture from 18-20 January, 2018 which includes the 10th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference.

The theme of this year’s event is “Shaping the future of livestock – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently”. The discussions will focus on sustainable and productive animal production among other issues.

Bilateral meetings with counterparts of Germany, Uzbekistan and Argentina are proposed on the sideline of GFFA to discuss issues to further enhance cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors.

About Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA)

The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference that focuses on central questions concerning the future of the global agri-food industry. It is held during International Green Week (IGW) and will be taking place in its current shape for the eighth time. The forum gives representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and civil society an opportunity to share ideas and enhance understanding on a selected topic of current agricultural policy. The GFFA is organised by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMEL) in cooperation with GFFA Berlin e.V., the Senate of Berlin and Messe Berlin GmbH.

Specific aspects of the GFFA’s main theme will be explored in more detail in different event formats. The opening event in 2018 will outline the key issue and explain how it will be addressed by the various GFFA events. The main events are the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference hosted by the BMEL, and the International Business Panel Discussion hosted by GFFA Berlin e.V.

The Agriculture Ministers will convene in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference (not public). With almost 90 ministers at the last conference, this is the world’s largest conference of agriculture ministers. A final communiqué representing the common position of the ministers is incorporated into the ongoing international discourse on agricultural policy.

The preliminary work for the main events is done on the preceding day in High Level Panels hosted by international organisations. The results of these meetings are incorporated into the final communiqué.

In expert panel discussions hosted by various organisers, the main theme is discussed from specific topical and regional perspectives. This ensures that the GFFA is closely meshed with current scientific thinking.

During the GFFA there will be a Cooperation Market where associations, companies, universities and the BMEL will showcase their activities in the agri-food sector. This – along with the Business Lounge – provides all the GFFA participants with an opportunity to withdraw from the bustle and conduct bilateral talks in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Making Warning Labels on fast food compulsory


Making Warning Labels on fast food compulsory

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has informed that Fast Food has not been separately defined under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and Rules and Regulations made thereunder. However, to address the issue of High Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS) in food and associated health risks, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) constituted an Expert Group. The Report of the Expert Group, with its gist, has been uploaded on FSSAI website i.e.  for the information of general public. Further, to help consumers make an informed choice,  FSSAI  has  decided to revise its labelling regulations to include mandatory declaration of total fat, added sugar, salt, trans fat and energy per serving along with its contribution to Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) on front of pack label.

The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Sh Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.

RFPs for manufacture of Ammunition by private sector Companies


RFPs for manufacture of Ammunition by private sector Companies

The Government has approved a proposal for manufacturing of ammunition for Indian Army by Indian Industry.  Request for Proposal (RFP) under Open Tender Enquiry for the said proposal has been issued on 25th & 27th March 2017.

Consequent to the uploading of the RFPs, a large number of queries and requests were received from the Industry regarding the various provisions of the RFPs.  A pre-bid meeting has also been held on 08.05.2017.  The feedback on the pre-bid meeting as well as queries raised by vendors have been examined in consultation with all stakeholders and a corrigendum to RFPs has been recently approved.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Dr. Anil Kumar Sahani in Rajya Sabha today.

Ministry of Shipping 2017- Year of Consolidation


Ministry of Shipping 2017- Year of Consolidation

For the Ministry of Shipping the year 2017 has been a year of consolidation, a year of building up on the good work of the past few years and strengthening the ground for further ongoing development.

  1. PORTS

1.1 Ports play an important role in the trade of the country. In fact they are the gateways for EXIM Trade. Over all the ports in India handle 90% by volume and 70% by value of India’s external trade.

Capacity and Traffic

1.2 In order to meet the ever increasing trade requirements of the country, the focus has been on the infrastructure development and capacity enhancement of the Ports. Over the years the cargo handling capacity of the major ports has been growing steadily as under:


Year Capacity
2012-13 744.91
2013-14 800.52
2014-15 871.34
2015-16 965.36
2016-17 1065.83

1.3 Traffic handled at the major ports has also been increasing as shown in the Table below:

(In MT)

Year Traffic
2012-13 545.79
2013-14 555.49
2014-15 581.34
2015-16 606.37
2016-17 648.40

(upto November, 2017)


Award of projects and investment

1.4 During 2016-17, 57 Projects were awarded, involving an investment of Rs. 9490.51 crore and additional capacity of 103.52 MTPA was created. In 2017-18, 59 projects have been targeted for award of which 12 have already been awarded. With a view to promote Port led development, the Sagarmala Programme was approved by the Cabinet on 25-03-2015. This is a flagship initiative of Government of India. Under this programme 142 Port Projects involving an investment of around Rs. 91,434 crore for capacity enhancement have been identified for implementation during the next 10-15 years.

Improvement in efficiency parameters

1.5 While increasing the capacity of major ports, Ministry of Shipping has been striving to improve their operational efficiencies through policy and procedural changes and mechanization. As a result key efficiency parameters have improved considerably. The Average Turnaround Time has improved from 87.36 Hrs in 2015-16 to 82.56 Hrs in 2016-17 and significant improvement to 63.33 Hrs during the 2017-18 (as on 31.10.2017). The Average Output Per Ship Berthday has increased from 13156 Tonnes in 2015-16 to 14583Tonnes in 2016-17 and to 14912 Tonnes in 2017-18(as on 31.10.2017). A study to benchmark the performance of Major Ports to comparable international ports was taken up with a view to improve the operational efficiency and profitability. Out of the 116 initiatives recommended by the consultants, 86 have already been implemented and the remaining will be implemented by 2019. The implementation of these recommendations is expected to lead to further improvement in the operational efficiency and productivity of the Major Ports in the coming years.

Policy initiatives to improve efficiency

1.6 The achievement of the Major Ports in terms of capacity augmentation, improved operational efficiency and higher operating surplus has been made possible due to certain pro-active policy initiatives taken by the Ministry of Shipping. A new Berthing Policy and Stevedoring Policy have been implemented. The tariff guidelines were revised to provide flexibility to port operators to align the tariff closer to market tariff subject to achievement of certain performance standards. 100% FDI is being allowed in PPP Projects in the Port Sector. The Model Concession Agreement is being amended with a view to obviate the problems being faced in execution of PPP Projects on account of certain provisions of the present MCA, in order to make the investments in the Port Sector more attractive. A new Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2016 to replace the existing Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 with a view to provide greater autonomy and modernization of institutional structure has been introduced in the Lok Sabha on 16.12.2016. The Bill has been examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and based on the recommendations made in the Committee’s Report, necessary Official amendments in the proposed Bill have been formulated. Inter –Ministerial consultations are being held before seeking approval of the Union Cabinet for introduction of the Official amendments in the proposed Bill.

Deendayal Port

1.7 In recognition of the invaluable contribution and sacrifices made by Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya towards serving the nation and also upliftment of the Poor & downtrodden, the name of Kandla Port has been changed to Deendayal Port. The Notification in this regard has been issued on 24/09/2017.

Ease of Doing Business

1.8 As part of promoting Ease of Doing Business to promote and facilitate business at ports, a number of activities which include elimination of manual forms, direct port delivery, installation of container scanners at ports, RFID based automation system etc have been undertaken. RFID system has already been put in place in 9 Major Ports and the system is expected to be in place in the remaining ports by March, 2018. Direct Port Delivery (DPD) volume is steadily growing. Further as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Green agenda, new schemes have been formulated for providing financial assistance to Major Ports for green initiatives and also for building their capacity for combating oil pollution. The ports are being rated on cleanliness. Major Ports are taking up renewable energy projects to generate more than 150 MW (solar & wind energy) in the next five years. 15 MW Solar and 6 MW Wind Powers has already been commissioned in the Major Ports during 2016-17 and by the end of 2018, 91.5 MW Solar and 45 MW Wind Powers is expected to be achieved. Focus is being given on setting up of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Coastal Economic Zones around major ports. SEZ at JNPT Smart Industrial Port Cities at Kandla and Paradip are under implementation.

1.9 100% cashless transaction have been achieved in all Major Ports, land records have been digitized, all ports pensioners linked with Aadhaar Biometric system etc.

Chahbahar Port in Iran

1.10 India is also engaged in the development of Chahbahar Port in Iran. An MoU has been signed between the two countries in this regard. Inauguration ceremony of the Phase-I of Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar, Iran was held on 3rd December,2017 by the Hon’ble President of Iran. At the ceremony the Indian delegation was led by Shri Pon. Radhakrishan, Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance & Shipping.


2.1 Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP)

  1. ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ (National Waterway-I: River Ganga) Project envisages to develop a fairway with upto 3 meters depth between Varanasi and Haldia covering a distance of 1380 kms at an estimated cost of Rs. 5369 crore. On completion, the project would enable commercial navigation of 1500-2000 ton vessels. The project is being implemented by the IWAI with technical and investment support of World Bank and is to be completed by 2022-23. The major activities under the project are construction of multi-modal terminals, jetties, river information system, channel marking, navigational lock, river training and conservancy works.

The project has been appraised by the Public Investment Board (PIB). The World Bank loan for the JMVP has been approved. The CCEA note on Implementation of JMVP has been approved by the Hon`ble Finance Minister subject to obtaining reconfirmation from Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change that Environmental Clearance is not required for maintenance dredging in rivers for navigation .

In the meantime, work has commenced on priority sub-projects i.e., construction of multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Haldia, Sahibganj and navigational lock at Farakka. The status of these subprojects is given below:

2.2 Multi-modal Terminal , Varanasi

Work order for construction of Phase-I(A), mainly offshore works, awarded on 13.05.2016 at a cost of Rs. 196 crore. Foundation stone was laid by the Hon’ble Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways on 12.08.2016. Contractor has commenced work and it is scheduled to be completed by May 2018.

2.3 Multimodal Terminal , Sahibganj

Work for construction of Phase-I of the Terminal at a cost of Rs. 280.90 crore has been awarded on 27.10.2016. Foundation stone was laid by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 06.04.2017 and the project is scheduled to be completed in June, 2019.

2.4 Multimodal Terminal , Haldia

61 acres of land in the Haldia Dock Complex has been taken on 30 year lease from Kolkata Port Trust. Work for construction of the Terminal at a cost of Rs. 517 crore has been awarded on 27.12.2016 and is scheduled to be completed in Dec, 2019.

2.5 Construction of New Navigational Lock , Farakka

The work has been awarded on 15.11.2016 at a cost of Rs. 359.19 crore and is scheduled to be completed in April 2019.

2.6 Development of National Waterway-4

The Hon’ble Vice-President of India in the presence of Hon’ble Minster of Shipping and Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh laid the foundation stone for commencement of development work for Phase-I of National Waterway-4 from Muktiyala to Vijaywada on 3rd October, 2017. The project would facilitate movement of construction material for Amravati, the upcoming capital city of Andhra Pradesh. The work for dredging and setting up of floating terminals has commenced.

2.7 Movement of Cargo on NWs

The IWAI is focussing its energy on movement of cargo on the National Waterways so that by the time the terminals and other infrastructure are established they are utilized effectively. A pilot run of defence cargo (eight Army trucks and 20 personnel) transportation on IWAI’s Ro-Ro vessel, MV Gopinath Bordoloi (capacity 250 DWT from Pandu (Guwahati) to Bogibil (Dibrugarh) on National Waterway-2 (river Brahmaputra) in Assam was conducted successfully during 24th to 29th April, 2017. The pilot movement was part of IWAI’s sustained efforts to promote IWT on National Waterways in the North East.

IWAI’s cargo vessel MV V.V. Giri moved 240 metric tonnes of bagged cement of a prominent manufacturer from Lolaghat, West Bengal (Rupnarayan river) to Bhagalpur (on Ganga).

Transportation of 50,610 ton of cement from Gaighat (Patna) to Bhagalpur and 73,400 ton km stone chips from Sahibganj (Jharkhand) to Manihari (Bihar) on NW-1 was completed during April, 2017 by a bare boat charter agency.

2.8 Development of eight (08) new NWs

Mandovi, Zuari, Camberjua, Barak, Gandak, Rupnarayan, Alappuzha-Kottayam-Athirampuzha Canal and Sunderbans National Waterways were considered for development during 2017-18. The three NWs of Goa would be developed after signing of the MoU between IWAI, Mormugao Port Trust and Captain of the Ports, Govt. of Goa. The bandelling and channel marking in Gandak river has been issued and work will start shortly. Development of fairway in Barak river has been awarded and the contractor is mobilizing the equipment at site. The tendering for fairway and pantoon at Hemnagar of Sunderbans waterways is under finalization. The dredging and floating terminals at Rupnarayan river is also under finalization.

2.9 Raising of bonds by IWAI

On the basis of Finance Minister`s Budget Announcement 2016-17, IWAI was permitted to raise Rs. 1000 crore as bonds through Extra Budgetary Resources. IWAI raised Rs. 340 crore during the financial year 2016-17 and the balance amount of Rs. 660 crore has been raised in Oct, 2017. The EBRs raised are being utilized by IWAI exclusively for capital expenditure for development of National Waterways (NWs) during 2017-18.

2.10 Institutional funding for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs)- Allocation of 2.5 per cent of Central Road Fund

The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval to a proposal jointly moved by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) for amendment of Central Road Fund Act, 2000 to allocate 2.5 per cent of the proceeds of Central Road Fund (CRF) for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) and a commensurate reduction in the share provided for development of National Highways. To implement the decision, the Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has been introduced in Lok Sabha on 24.07.2017.

The decision of the Cabinet is a major boost for development of IWT sector which was not able to take off in the past due to low public funding. An allocation of 2.5 per cent of CRF proceeds would provide approximately Rs. 2000 crore per annum for the development and maintenance of NWs at existing rates of duties funding the CRF. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has estimated that approximately Rs. 25,000 crore would be required for development of identified projects on NWs till 2022-23.

2.11 Freight Village and Logistics Hub at Varanasi

To improve logistics efficiency, it is proposed to set up a Freight Village and Logistics Hub in Varanasi in continuation of the multi-modal terminal under construction as part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project. The estimated cost of the Freight Village is Rs.3055 crore. To set up the Freight Village, the Screening Committee of the Department of Economic Affairs appraised a proposal seeking technical and financial assistance of US$240 million (Rs. 260 crore) and the World Bank has agreed to the proposal . IWAI has been advised to set up a Project Management Unit for this purpose.

2.12 International movement of cargo on NW-16 (River Barak)

International movement of cargo has commenced on NW-16 (River Barak). The first consignment of 200 MT Limestone was transported by Bangladeshi vessel M.V. Mia Mou from Karimganj (Assam) to Ashuganj (Bangladesh) through National Waterway – 16 on 22nd September, 2017.

2.13 MoU between India and Bangladesh on Passenger and Cruise Services on Coastal and Protocol Route

An MoU on Passenger and Cruise Services was signed by the two countries on 08.04.2017 during the visit of Hon`ble PM of Bangladesh. The draft SOP for commencement of Passenger and Cruise Services has been discussed with and is under finalisation in consultation with MEA.

2.14 MoU between India and Bangladesh on Fairway development of Ashuganj-Zakigunj and Sirajgunj-Daikhawa stretch of Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route

An MoU on Fairway Development of Ashuganj-Zakiganj and Sirajganj-Daikhawa stretches of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route was signed on 08.04.2017. The fairway is to be developed by IWAI and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA). The tender documents for fairway development of both the stretches are under finalization. Ministry of External Affairs has agreed to bear the dredging cost of fairways development of the above stretches which would be Rs. 244.0 crore over a period of seven years.

2.15 Agreement between India and Bangladesh for use of Chittagong and Mongla Port for movement of goods to and from India

An MoU was signed by the two countries on 6th June, 2015. To administer the MoU, India forwarded a draft SOP for consideration of Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh desired that an Agreement is required for operationalization of the MoU. Therefore, it was decided that the Agreement as well as SOP will be finalized simultaneously during the Secretary (S) level talk at Dhaka on 07.12.2016.

Accordingly, the draft Agreement and SOP were forwarded to Govt. of Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh opined that the SOP will be finalised after signing of Agreement. The draft Agreement has been referred to Bangladesh for finalisation.


3.1 Legislation

a. The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017

The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017 was enacted on 9th August, 2017. The Act consolidates the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of vessels and related issues and repeals five obsolete British statues on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters. The Act confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India and this jurisdiction extends upto territorial waters. This Act will fulfill a long-standing demand of the maritime legal fraternity.

Now, High Courts of all the coastal states will exercise admiralty jurisdiction over maritime claims which include several aspects not limited to goods imported and chattel as earlier, but also other claims such as payment of wages of seamen, loss of life, salvages, mortgage, loss or damage, services and repairs, insurance, ownership and lien, threat of damage to environment etc. The legislation accords highest priority to payment of wages of the seafarers. It also provides for protection against wrongful and unjustified arrest and has provision for transfer of cases from one High Court to another High Court.

b. The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016

MS Bill was referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee in December, 2016. The Committee has given its recommendations on 18th July, 2017. The recommendations of the Committee have been examined. Cabinet Note on proposal for acceptance/non-acceptance of the recommendations of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture and introduction of Official amendments to Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016 was circulated for interministerial consultations on 10.10.2017 and is expected to be approved by Ministry of Law. Thereafter it will be submitted to the Cabinet and then Lok Sabha would be requested to take up the Bill for consideration and passing along with official amendments.

3.2 Indian Maritime Sector

Shipping industry is one of the most globalised industries operating in a highly competitive business environment. This industry is far more liberalized than most of the other industries and is, thus, intricately linked to the world economy and trade. Indian shipping tonnage, which was only 1.92 lakhs Gross Tonnage (GT) on the eve of Independence, now stands at 122.32 lakhs GT with 1359 ships as on 31.10.2017.

3.3 Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy

The Government of India has an ongoing Rs. 4000 Crore Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy for 10 years (2016-2026) to encourage domestic shipbuilding. Under this policy, financial assistance will be granted to Indian Shipyards equal to 20% of lower of “Contract Price” or the “Fair Price” of each vessel built by them.

  1. Ministry of Shipping has on 31.10. 2017 rolled out an updated version of the web application, along with an amended set of guidelines, for facilitating the shipyards to apply under the policy.

3.4 Upgradation of Environment Management Plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards

A loan agreement has been signed on 15.09.2017 between JICA and Ministry of Finance for grant of soft loan of US$ 76 million for upgradation of the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards.

3.5 Shipping Corporation of India

A second hand VLGC size Gas Tanker was delivered to Shipping Corporation of India on 14th September, 2017 at Khorfakkan, UAE. With this, SCI has become a 6 million DWT company.

3.6 Cochin Shipyard Limited

‘Make in India’ by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) : Under the Make in India initiative, Cochin Shipyard Ltd. is constructing four passenger-cum–cargo vessels as per order placed by the Andaman & Nicobar Administration. Two vessels will have a capacity of 500 persons and 150 tonne cargo and the other two will have a capacity of 1200 persons and 1000 tonne cargo.

3.6.1 International Ship Repair Facility

Hon’ble Minister of Shipping laid the foundation stone for International Ship Repair Facility at Cochin Port Trust, Kochi on 17.11.2017. This facility is being developed by Cochin Shipyard Limited at a cost of Rs. 970 crores. It will have a ship lift and transfer system, six work stations and allied facilities and is expected to generate employment for 1500 persons.

3.6.2 Dry Dock

Cochin Shipyard Ltd is also setting up a Dry Dock, to augment its shipbuilding/ ship repair capacity, at a project cost of Rs. 1799 crores. The contract for the project, which is expected to generate employment for 1500 persons, will be awarded shortly and is scheduled to be completed in 30 months thereafter.

3.6.3 Issue of IPO

In order to raise funds for the above two expansion projects, Cochin Shipyard Ltd went in for an IPO by way of issue of 3,39,84,000 shares of Rs. 10 each amounting to Rs 33.984 crores . The issue opened on 01 August 2017 and closed on 03 August 2017. The issue was oversubscribed by 76.18 times.

3.7 Lighthouses

  1. Establishment of Technical & Heritage Maritime Museum at Muttom Lighthouse

A Heritage Maritime Museum showcasing migration from Vintage technology to modern state of art Aids to Navigation, Musical Fountain, Children Park and viewing gallery has been established to promote tourism at lighthouses.

  1. Solarization of Lighthouses

Solarization of all 193 lighthouses completed, generating approx. 6.0 MWh energy per day thus reducing approx. 6.0 ton of greenhouse gases per day.

c. Establishment of new lighthouse at Vembar

A new lighthouse at Vembar has been established at Vembar for safety of mariners plying near the region. This lighthouse was inaugurated a dedicated to the nation by Shri Pon Radhakrishnan, Hon’ble Minister of State on 19.11.2017.

3.8 Indian Maritime University

i. IMU has introduced 3 new courses BBA (Logistics, Retailing and E-Commerce), M.Sc. (Commercial Shipping Logistics) and M.Tech (Marine Engineering & Management) from the Academic Year 2017 – 18. IMU has signed a MoU with Southampton Solent University.

ii. IMU headquarters is built at 300 acres of land at a cost of Rs. 130.80 crore at Chennai. Its work have been completed and ready for occupation.

iii. IMU Mumbai Campus has been bifurcated into IMU Mumbai Port Campus and IMU Navi Mumbai Campus. A new Academic Annex Building for installing Simulators has been inaugurated in June 2017.

iv. IMU has launched Employees Grievance Portal in order to redress the grievances of the Employees of IMU. About 20 new Ordinances framed / old Ordinances modified and published in the Gazette. Agreement to set up a Center of Excellence (CoE) at IMU, Visakhapatnam Campus with SPV comprising IRS, Siemens & Ministry is on hand.

3.9 International Cooperation

3.9.1 International Maritime Organization

India got re- elected as a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council under Category ‘B’ by getting second highest number of votes during the IMO Council election held at IMO on December 1, 2017.

3.9.2 Agreements/ MoUs signed

  1. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the United Arab Emirates on Institutional Cooperation on Maritime Transport was signed on January 25, 2017.
  2. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Federal Transport Authority- Land and Maritime in the United Arab Emirates and the Directorate General of Shipping in Republic of India on the Mutual Recognition of certificates of competency as per the provisions of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW, 78) and amendments thereof was signed on January 25, 2017.
  3. An Agreement on Merchant Shipping between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus was signed on April 28, 2017.
  4. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Netherlands for bilateral cooperation in the fields of ports, maritime transport and logistics which was originally signed on February 12, 2008 and subsequently renewed on 10 May, 2011 and 11 May, 2014 was further extended on 11 October, 2017 for a period of 3 years, till October 10, 2020 as per the renewal clause mentioned in the said MoU.
  5. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Austria on October 3, 2012 on Technology Cooperation in the Shipping and Ports infrastructure sector was valid for a period of 5 years till October 2, 2017 and was further renewed for another period of 5 years beginning from October 3, 2017 as per the renewal clause mentioned in the said MoU.

3.9.3 JWG/ JMC Meetings

  1. 1st meeting of India- Russia Joint Maritime Commission (JMC) was held through Video Conference on February 7, 2017.
  2. 1st meeting of the Joint Working Group between India and Greece on Maritime and Shipping Issues was held on March 6, 2017 through Video Conference.
  3. 1st meeting of the Working Group to discuss and finalize the BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement was held from November 28- 29, 2017.

3.10 Director General (Shipping)

3.10.1 Review of the process of distribution of examination fee to examiners/surveyors

A Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary (Shipping) to review the process of distribution of remuneration out of examination fee to examiners/surveyors and other related issues. The Committee had made 15 recommendations of administrative nature. DG Shipping has been directed on 22.03.2017 to implement 10 recommendations of administrative nature. The five recommendations having financial implications have been referred to Department of Expenditure for concurrence.

3.10.2 Merchant Shipping (Continuous Discharge Certificate) Rules, 2017.

New Merchant Shipping (Continuous Discharge Certificate ) Rules, 2017 have been notified vide notification No. GSR 883€ dated 14th July, 2017. The main objective of the new CDC Rules is to facilitate the issuance of CDCs and hence smoothen the entry of a budding seafarers into maritime profession. The restrictive conditions in the previous CDC Rules for getting an Indian CDC were hindrance for entering into the profession. This was against the mantra of ‘ease of doing business’ and were also contrary to the stated objective of the Government of India for increasing the share of Indian seafarers in global shipping industry.


4.1 Conference on Cruise Tourism

The Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Tourism had jointly engaged a consortium of M/s Bermello & Ajamil & Partners to prepare a report on the “Action Plan for Development of Cruise Tourism in India”. The consultant has given recommendations on regulatory issues for customer friendly and hassle free logistical processes. To reach out to the Cruise Lines and tour operators and various stakeholders, a conference on Cruise Tourism was held on 8th August, 2017 in Mumbai which was inaugurated by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Shipping. Three documents were released in the workshop, (i) India’s sea cruise Road map, (ii) Cruise terminal in India and (iii) SOP of the Mumbai Port Trust.

4.2 National Workshop on Cruise Tourism with stake holders

A National Workshop on Action Plan for Development of Cruise Tourism in India was organised jointly by the Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Tourism in New Delhi on 27.6.2017. Shri Nitin Gadkari Hon`ble Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways and Dr Mahesh Sharma, the then Hon`ble Minister of State for Tourism addressed the workshop in which representatives of all stakeholder organizations – both from the Government and the private sector – including regulatory agencies which deal with issues impacting cruise tourism participated. In India, cruise terminals are being developed at five major ports – Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Mangalore and Chennai.

The stakeholders at the workshop discussed several regulatory issues pertaining to various aspects of cruise port operations, namely, security, immigration, customs, ports and worked towards drawing up Standard Operating Procedures for all Government organizations for cruise vessel handling. The Ministry of Shipping, in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, has revised the SoPs for hassle free entry and exit of cruise passengers at various major ports in the country. These are based on the recommendations of a global consultant engaged by the Ministry to draw up an Action Plan to develop an enabling ecosystem necessary to promote and sustain cruise shipping in India.

4.3 Initiatives taken in cruise shipping

  1. To develop cruise shipping and tourism in the country, Government has constructed New cruise terminals at Mormugao port and Chennai Port.
  2. The revised SoPs have been implemented at major ports w.e.f 29.11.17.
  3. E-visa facility was extended to 5 major ports namely Mumbai Port, Mormugao Port, New Mangalore Port, Cochin Port and Chennai Port.
  4. A uniform tariff rate at all major ports has been fixed at $ 0.35 per GRT to attract cruise vessels in India.
  5. Facility for foreign flag passenger vessels to call at Indian ports without obtaining license from DG(S) has been extended from February, 2019 to February, 2024.

4.4 Coastal Shipping

On the request of Ministry of Shipping, Department of Fertilizer has included the primary movement of subsidized urea and P&K fertilizers by rail and/or coastal shipping or inland water transportation including road bridging on 29th March, 2017. Now movement of subsidized fertilizers by coastal route and road also qualifies for reimbursement of freight subsidy which will encourage the coastal movement of fertilizer.

Vision of the Government is ‘24×7 Power for All’ – All the States on board to achieve Target by March 2019: Shri R. K. Singh


Vision of the Government is ‘24×7 Power for All’ – All the States on board to achieve Target by March 2019: Shri R. K. Singh

Programmes to reduce Power Losses below 15% by March 2019 in all States on track, says Union Power Minister

Consensus among States on Ending Human Interface in billing process; Mandatory installation of Prepaid/Smart Meters to prevent corruption and increase compliance in Bill payments

States to ensure Cross Subsidization in Power Sector remains below 20%: Shri R.K. Singh

Separation of Carriage & Content in Power Distribution to be brought about through an amendment to Electricity Act

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Shri Raj Kumar Singh, chaired a Conference of Power and Energy Ministers of States/ Union Territories (UTs), held here today. A total of 17 States and 1 UT attended the Conference and deliberated on a host of issues including progress on Union Government flagship schemes at the State level and reform measures that need to be brought about at both Union and State levels to ensure 24×7 Affordable and Quality Power for All.

Addressing the media, Shri Singh clearly laid out Union Government’s Vision behind holding this Conference. The Minister made very clear that 24×7 Power is a Fundamental Right of every citizen of the country and all States will have to ensure that by March 2019. The States have arrived at consensus-based roadmap to bring down losses in State Utilities/ DISCOMS to below 15% by then and any gratuitous load shedding by them after that deadline would attract penalties. “There can be no justification to pass on the burden of our inefficiency to the consumer and this shall not be allowed post March 2019. It is for the Power Utilities to devise strategy to reduce their losses, the consumer must not be burdened with high power tariffs irrationally”, the Minister added.

During the Inaugural Session of the Conference, Shri Singh said that Power is at the core of economic growth of the country. “Without power there can be no development; We are on our way towards becoming a developed country and power reforms are top priority. Industrialization and job creation is not possible without affordable and quality power for all. We are about to add 40 million new consumers by December 2018 and expected economic growth of 8 to 9% in the next 5 years, power demand would increase manifold. Further, electricity will edge out other forms of energy in the coming future as it is more efficient and easy to transport. Electricity will take place of fossil fuels for mobility, cooking etc. and will decrease the imports of petroleum products. Becoming self-sufficient in Power is essential for our strategic autonomy on the global stage. In addition to this, renewable energy will take place of fossil fuels in the near future as storage systems become viable”, the Minister said.

Government of India is providing funds to the States under ongoing Central Government schemes of over Rs. 85000 crores, for strengthening their power infrastructure. As the Country is power surplus presently, the States are now in a position to provide 24×7 power for all, which should be a primary obligation of the State Utilities, provided that the consumer pays for the power consumed, Shri Singh said. “It has been observed that some States are not able to bill the consumers effectively and are losing about 50% of the expected recoveries. Where the consumers are billed properly, the recovery is around 95%”, the Minister added.

Proposing a slew of reforms, Shri Singh said that in order to decrease the losses of the DISCOMs and make them viable, the Union Government is proposing to do away with human interface in meter reading and billing of consumers for power consumption. Mandatory installation of prepaid meters for small consumers and smart meters for large ones, with every connection in the future in each State, would prevent corruption and increase compliance in bill payments, the Minister stated.

“This will be a pro poor step as it will give the poor consumers flexibility to recharge that prepaid meters online through mobile phones, as and when they want, with a small amount at any given point of time. This would also do away with the human element in meter reading, billing and recovery of the amount from consumer and hence the corruption involved at the lowest level.”, said Shri Singh. Giving an example of a successful implementation of prepaid meters, the Minister said that Manipur has been able to reduce its losses by over 50% by installing prepaid meter in all its urban areas.

Shri Singh emphatically stated that if losses continue, no matter how much funds are injected into the Power Utilities, the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) would start building up again and the DISCOMs would ultimately become unviable in the near future. “This is an unacceptable situation and we have to make the losses a thing of the past”, he added. The Minister also requested all the State Energy Ministers to take continuous review of DISCOM losses with senior officials of the State electricity department and ensure that the leakages are plugged and 24×7 power for all is mandatorily ensured by all States.

Speaking about the separation of carriage and content, the Minister said that it is proposed through an amendment in the electricity act to segregate the carriage from content in the distribution sector. It is planned to introduce multiple supply licensees in the content, based on market principles, and continue with the carriage as a regulated activity. Shri Singh further said that it is also proposed to set in place special police stations and courts to settle cases in the power sector at the earliest.

Talking about the reforms in the renewable energy sector, Shri Singh said that India has pledged to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 and 40% of installed power capacity from renewable energy by 2030 as an action plan to fight climate change. To ensure the achievement of this goal, it is mandatorily ensured by State governments that the Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs) are fulfilled, the Minister added. Shri Singh also said that the Union Government is focusing on hydropower and soon the new hydro power policy will be formulated. “Hydropower is important as balancing power and will be instrumental in decreasing our dependence upon fossil fuels in the future”, Shri Singh added.

Stating other reform measures in Power Sector planned in near future, the Minister said that the Government of India is focusing on Make in India and the future industrialization and employment generation in the country has to be indigenous. “For giving a push to Make in India and Domestic Industrialization, we have to make quality power affordable for all and all States have to ensure that the Power Purchase Agreements are honored, tariffs are sustainable and the element of cross subsidization remains below 20%”, Shri Singh said.

Further, the Minister added that, to help the poor power consumers, the government is pushing for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of subsidy in power sector. This would make the industry more competitive and the burden of excessively high tariffs will be taken away from the consumers.

Ministers from the States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and UT of Puducherry were present during the Conference with their senior officers. Other dignitaries present were Shri Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary Power, along with other senior officers of the Ministry.

President of India to visit West Bengal, Mizoram and Nagaland from November 28 to December 1, 2017


President of India to visit West Bengal, Mizoram and Nagaland from November 28 to December 1, 2017

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will visit West Bengal, Mizoram and Nagaland from November 28 to December 1, 2017. This is his first visit to these states as the President of India.

On November 28, 2017, the President will attend a Civic Reception hosted in his honour at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata. On the same day, he will address a ‘Vigyan Chintan – Scientific Ecosystem in Kolkata’ event at Raj Bhavan, Kolkata.

On November 29, 2017, the President will visit the birthplace of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore at Jorasanko and Netaji Bhawan in Kolkata. He will also address the closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of the Bose Institute in Kolkata and visit the Ramakrishna Mission and Math at Belur.

On the same day, at the Raj Bhavan, Aizawl, Mizoram, the President will inaugurate housing complexes for economically weaker sections under the ‘Basic Services to Urban Poor Scheme’. On November 30, 2017, the President will address a special session of the Mizoram Legislative Assembly.

On the same day, he will meet and interact with various prominent citizens and NGOs in Kohima, Nagaland. On December 1, 2017, the President will inaugurate the Hornbill Festival and State Formation Day celebrations of Nagaland in Kisama, before returning to Delhi.

National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Suggests NITI Ayog to Bring Some of The Welfare Schemes for Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers Under Its Purview


National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Suggests NITI Ayog to Bring Some of The Welfare Schemes for Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers Under Its Purview

National Commission for Safai Karamcharis has suggested to NITI Aayog that some of the welfare schemes for Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers may be brought under its purview. Shri Manhar Valji Bhai Zala, Chairman, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis along with the members of the Commission Smt. Manju Diler, Shri Dilip K. Hathibed and Shri Swami Sadanand Maharaj held a meeting with Sh. Rattan P. Wattal, Principal Advisor, NITI Aayog on 17th November, 2017 to share their views and concerns on various issues of Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers.

The Chairman raised the issue of empowering the Commission by making it a statutory or constitutional body and bestow it with the powers of a civil court so that it can discharge its mandate effectively. The Commission also expressed its dismay at the slow pace of implementation of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” particularly the survey of Manual Scavengers. The Commission suggested the NITI Aayog for getting the survey of Manual Scavengers done through an independent third party having adequate representation of volunteers/activists from communities traditionally engaged in manual scavenging. Presently, the role of the Commission is merely of monitoring the implementation of the Central Government’s schemes for welfare of Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers. It has no scheme of its own. In this background, the Commission suggested that some of the welfare schemes for Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers may be brought under its purview.

Shri Ratan P. Wattal-Principal Advisor, NITI Aayog took note of the suggestions given by the Commission and assured the Commission that it would shortly convene a meeting of all the stakeholders on the subject to discuss and finalise a roadmap to achieve the ultimate objective of ending the inhuman practice of manual scavenging in the country .

President of India to visit Jharkhand tomorrow


President of India to visit Jharkhand tomorrow

The President of India, Shri Ram NathKovind, will visit Jharkhand tomorrow (November 15, 2017). This will be his first visit to Jharkhand as President of India.

The President will commence his engagements by paying tributes to freedom fighter Birsa Munda at his statue at BirsaChowk, Ranchi. Later in the day, he will grace the foundation day celebrations of Jharkhand state and inaugurate or lay the foundation stones of various projects in Ranchi. He will also receive the first copy of the Hindi translation of a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita at a function organised by the YogodaSatsanga Society before leaving Ranchi.

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