Initiative to Invite SAARC Leaders for Swearing-In Last Year must be followed through to its Logical Conclusion, says President



Initiative to Invite SAARC Leaders for Swearing-In Last Year must be followed through to its Logical Conclusion, says President

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee today (February 8, 2015) met delegates to the Sixth Annual Heads of Mission Conference at Rashtrapati Bhavan.


Addressing the Ambassadors and High Commissioners who head India’s Missions abroad, the President said India demonstrated dynamism and bold leadership by inviting leaders of SAARC countries to attend the swearing-in of the new Government in May last year. That initiative must be followed through to its logical conclusion through incisive diplomacy even as we remain firm in protecting our security and putting in place impregnable security mechanisms.

The President said the one adage which never goes stale in international politics is ‘You can choose your friend but not your neighbour’. A strong message was conveyed to our neighbours that the region must decide whether to live in perpetual tension or understanding. Our initiatives in the neighbourhood must be followed up with concrete steps to consolidate and make permanent the advances we make in our relations.

Speaking on the issue of the global war on terrorism, the President said we have in recent days witnessed the horrific killings of innocent hostages in Syria, the attack on the media in Paris and the tragic killing of school children and their teachers in Peshawar. Terrorism is today an industry of evil. It is not just a threat to peace and security but an attack on humanity as a whole and civilization as we understand.

The President said India is one of the oldest victims of terrorism. There is no good terrorism or bad terrorism. Terrorism respects no religion, ideology or nation. It is no longer a debating issue. The international community must assert itself and tackle the problem by taking concerted, coordinated and determined action. This great menace and challenge to human values should be faced firmly and squarely through international cooperation. The President called upon India’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners to apply themselves to how this challenge can be addressed and to come up with ideas on how to mobilize the world to take concrete action that will mitigate and end this menace.

The President said last eight months have seen new vigour and dynamism in India’s foreign policy. President Barak Obama was our honoured guest for Republic Day. The visit was of substantive importance and not just symbolic. We also had visits by President Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China recently. We were able to strike a deal in the WTO that enabled progress in trade liberalisation without comprising on our freedom to take measures essential for our food security. The Prime Minister has been personally reaching out to the Indian diaspora.

Having entered the Parliament in 1969 and served as External Affairs Minister twice, the President said he has worked with many generations of Foreign Service officers. He was aware that the jobs of HoMs is not easy. He understood their difficulties. He was aware of how they have proved their mettle at times of crises and never let the Government down. The President recalled the role played by Missions during evacuation of Indian citizens from foreign countries affected by war and turmoil. He pointed out that Indian Missions have extended assistance to even people from neighbouring countries on such occasions.

The President India’s diplomats have shown exemplary courage, skill and willingness to help our people. The tasks of an HoM are exacting but he had no doubt that every one of them would live up to the high expectations that India had of them. He was confident they will do their utmost to ensure that India’s flag continues to fly high.

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PM chairs first meeting of Governing Council of NITI Aayog

PM to "TEAM INDIA":

• Let us forge a model of cooperative, competitive federalism; chart a common course to progress and prosperity
• Our biggest challenge still is how to eliminate poverty. Let us expedite the process of growth
• Forgetting all our differences, let us focus on the cycle of Investment, growth, job creation and prosperity
• Will move away from "one size fits all" schemes; forge a better match between the schemes and the needs of states
• Regional Councils under NITI Aayog can catalyse joint projects across member states
• States must fulfil their role in promoting shared national objectives

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today called upon all Chief Ministers to work with the Centre to forge a model of cooperative federalism, whereby the Centre and the States – TEAM INDIA - can come together to resolve differences, and chart a common course to progress and prosperity.

Chairing the first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, the Prime Minister described this meeting as one which had the potential to bring about historic changes. He said the Governing Council of NITI Aayog would help advance the national cause "as we jointly define it." Noting that India cannot advance without all its states advancing in tandem, the Prime Minister said the idea was to bring up all states together in the spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. He added that he envisioned different states competing with each other in promoting governance initiatives, in a spirit of "cooperative, competitive federalism."

Shri Narendra Modi said that the world has started looking at India differently, but "our biggest challenge still is how to eliminate poverty." He said jobs cannot be created, and poverty cannot be removed without growth. Therefore, he added, "first and foremost we should aim at a high rate of growth."

The Prime Minister noted that projects are often held up for want of timely decisions, and a project can get stuck at any stage in any forum. He said this prevents the people from getting benefits of the projects, and also leads to cost escalation. He requested the Chief Ministers to give personal attention to such factors which slow down projects. He urged all Chief Ministers to focus on the cycle of Investment, growth, job creation and prosperity. He also suggested that an officer be identified in the state governments to monitor and ensure a smooth resolution of the pending issues so as to expedite the project implementation.

The Prime Minister emphasized that the Centre wished to empower the states with finances, with technology and knowledge so that they are able to plan better and execute even better.

Shri Narendra Modi said that Cabinet Resolution setting up NITI Aayog provides for the appointment of Regional Councils with specific mandates for specific time periods. He hoped that these councils could help forge cooperation among two or more states facing a common set of problems or amicably settle disputes that delay progress. He said these councils could catalyse joint projects involving travel, transportation and tourism across member states.

The Prime Minister also expressed hope that through the mechanism of the NITI Aayog, India could move away from "one size fits all" schemes, and forge a better match between the schemes and the needs of the states. He said that for federalism to work well, states must also fulfill their role in promoting the shared national objectives. He said that the critical element for cooperative federalism to flourish is that states commit to the path they choose within the context of the shared national objectives and then deliver on that commitment.

Reflecting on the role of NITI Aayog as a think-tank, the Prime Minister said he sees great scope for states to learn from each other, work together among themselves and with the Centre. He said best practices can be shared among states, and a portal can be created through which state functionaries share their experiences.

The Prime Minister noted that in the last two and a half decades, the Indian economy has been transforming itself from a planned to a market economy. He called upon the gathering to deliberate on how the planning process should be reshaped.

"Our focus on Good Governance is the need of the hour," the Prime Minister said, adding that "whatever we do it should be well thought, it should be well-executed and it should have desired outcome."

The interaction was coordinated by Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley, and the opening remarks for the meeting were made by Shri Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.

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Maiden Flight LCA (NAVY) – Fighter Naval Prototype 2 (NP2)

“Indigenous Carrier Borne Fighter Program- Adrenaline Shot”

The Indian Naval Aviation, Carrier borne aircraft development program LCA (Navy) got an adrenaline shot in the arm on 07 February 2015. The first LCA (Navy) Fighter, Naval Prototype (NP2) made its maiden flight from HAL, Bangalore airport at 1227 hrs for 35 min. The flight was piloted by Captain Shivnath Dahiya, who is an experienced Test Pilot from Indian Navy with the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC). The launch was accomplished under telemetry control exercised by Test Director Commander J D Raturi and Safety Pilot Commodore J A Maolankar, the Chief Test Pilot of NFTC. The chase aircraft cover was provided by LSP2 piloted by Gp. Capt. Suneet Krishna (Retd) with the Test Director being Gp. Capt Prabhu and the Safety Pilot being Gp. Capt. RR Tyagi. The event marks the growth of indigenous LCA (Navy) program, aimed to achieve Carrier Compatibility technology demonstration including arrested landing and Ski-Jump take off, initially from the Shore Based test facility, Goa.

The first flight profile was stitched together to enable a comprehensive look at aircraft systems and probe known areas of the flight envelope. The aircraft achieved all the planned flight test activity. The performance of the aircraft in its maiden flight was flawless and executed professionally by National Flight Test Centre, headed by Project Director Air Commodore J Chalapati. NP 2 maiden launch marks the culmination of relentless design and build effort by several participating agencies. The focus and effort of HAL, ARDC under the aegis of Mr P S Roy, Executive Director is noteworthy. The LCA Navy Programme has been ably and whole heartedly supported by Mr. Suvarna Raju, the new Chairman of HAL. He lauded the efforts of Engineers of Aircraft Research and Design Centre of HAL for the complex landing gear design, which is significantly different from the Airforce version.

The design teams guided by Programme Director ADA Mr P S Subramanyam have ensured that systems meet the stringent requirements of Carrier borne aircraft. The teams were ably supported by the Certification agency, CEMILAC and the Quality Assurance agency, CRI (LCA), Indian Navy, DRDO agencies, CSIR agencies (NAL & CSIO), other Public and Private Sector participants.

The ADA LCA (Navy) Programme Office, under Cmde C D Balaji (Retd) is exhilarated by the addition of NP 2 as a Flight Test platform. NP 2 has been built with vision and foresight. It addresses several systemic deficiencies observed whilst making progress on flight test of Naval Prototype 1. It incorporates most avionic hardware components promised to the customer, Indian Navy. During design and build NP 2 has been customized (Plug & Play) to incrementally accept modifications for Carrier Landing aids like Levcon Air Data Computer, Auto-throttle, external and internal Angle of Attack lights. NP 2 is the lead aircraft for arrestor hook integration, Derby Beyond visual Range missile and tactical data link. The small but dedicated team of LCA Navy Programme at ADA under Mr. P Thangavel and Cdr Sukesh Nagraj (Retd) and their HAL counterparts Vijay have a challenging task ahead to realise this vision with targeted, sequenced upgrade for maximum aircraft objective achievement and flight line availability. The inclusion of NP 2 into the LCA (Navy) flight test stable is a significant milestone in the indigenous Carrier borne aircraft development program.

The earlier Naval Prototype aircraft NP1 is a Trainer configuration and had done the momentous ski jump launch on 20 Dec 2014 at the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at Goa. India is only the third country in the world that has this kind of test facility and sixth to design an aircraft for aircraft carrier operations.

The flight was witnessed by a number of personnel of the LCA Navy team from various agencies with gusto and enthusiasm.

The successful maiden flight of NP 2 is a testimony to the tremendous efforts put in by Scientists and Engineers to enable flight of the first LCA Naval Fighter. With one Trainer and Fighter in its stable it can be stated “The indigenous Carrier Borne Fighter program is making headway & acquiring momentum”

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Indian Naval Symphonic Orchestra – 15

Indian Naval Band captured the hearts and minds of the music aficionados during an Annual Symphonic Musical Extravangza held at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi on 07 Feb 15. The world famous band regaled and enthralled the audience with a wide range of repertoire of stirring Martial Music, arragements of Western Classical, Indian Classical and other forms of contemporary popular and folk music.

During the melodious evening the band continued to relate closely to the audience, incorporating varied choices like fanfare, overture, jazz, fantasia, pop, swing music and patriotic music, while maintaining high standard of professionalism. The highlight of the evening was the signature performance by the young drummers of the Navy who presented ‘Drummers Light Tattoo’ to everyone’s delight. The band perfomed admirably under the baton of Commander VC D’Cruz, Direcor of Music, who is an alumnus of Pilar Music School, Goa and Trinity College of Music, London.

The harmonious evening was organised as part of the Navy Week Activites - 2014, at Siri Fort Auditorium. The Hon’ble Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.

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Week Long National Tribal Festival to Open on Friday Next

For the first time the National Capital will be dancing to the beats of our Traditional and Scintillating Tribal Performers not by the drumsticks but by Mridang and Mandar . As a part of the vision of the Prime Minister for uplifting the quality of Tribal lives and including them in the mainstream, a National Tribal Festival, showcasing the rich diversity in their Art & Culture, Music & Dance, and a special attraction – tribal cuisine is being held in New Delhi from 13 - 18 February, 2015. The festival will be inaugurated by Union Tribal Affairs Minister Shri Jual Oram . Shri Mansukh Bhai Vasava, MoS in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Senior Officers will be present on the occasion. There will be exhibition and sale of tribal products, medicines, paintings, etc. The festival will be simultaneously on at three venues i.e. Central Park, Connaught Place, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (for Culture and Arts) and Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi for display and sale of Paintings, Food Stall and Art & Craft. The event is slated to be a marvellous blend of art, culture and traditional tribal food and a must watch.

In addition, there will be Bhil and Rathwa dance from Gujarat; Baiga dance from Madhya Pradesh; Gotipua dance of Odisha; Dance by tribes from Rajasthan; Kinnaur dance, Music from Barmour, Chamba from Himachal Pradesh Dance and Musical performance by Chhatisgarh; Group dance , Hojagiri dance, Bijudance and music of Tripura.

Moreover, there will be Seminars on Tribal folk lore etc..alongwith display and sale of painting , Art and Craft, Food items every day at Kharag Singh Marg, New Delhi.

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PM focuses on Team India, as vision of cooperative competitive federalism to take National Development Agenda ahead

Governing Council of NITI Aayog meets

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today chaired the first meeting of the Governing Council of the newly constituted NITI Aayog.

NITI Aayog has been set up on 01st January, 2015 replacing Planning Commission. The resolution constituting NITI which lays down inter-alia its objectives and structure, stands notified by the Government. As per this notification NITI Aayog comprises the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, its Governing Council comprising the Chief Ministers of all the States and the Lt. Governors of the Union Territories, experts, specialists and practitioners with relevant domain knowledge and a full time organizational frame work.

The full time organizational frame work comprises in addition of the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, Vice-Chairman, full time Members, part-time Members, ex-officio Members, a Chief- Executive Officer and a Secretariat.

Shri Rajnath Singh-Home Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley-Finance Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu- Railway Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh- Agriculture Minister have been appointed as ex-officio Members. In addition, Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari- Road Transport and Highways Minister, Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot-Social Justice and Empowerment Minister and Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani- Human Resource Development Minister have been nominated as special invitees.

The Government has appointed Dr. Arvind Panagariya as Vice-Chairman and Shri Bibek Debroy and Dr. V.K. Saraswat as full time Members. Smt. Sindhushree Khullar has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of NITI.

It may be recalled that on 07th December, 2014, in his consultation, meeting of Chief Ministers of all the States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories, the Prime Minister had outlined the vision of forming Team India for working synergistically towards National Development Agenda.

In the meeting of the first Governing Council, the Prime Minister further elaborated on this vision which is an embodiment of the concept of cooperative federalism. On this theme, the Prime Minister further added that he favored healthy competition for development among States.

It was pointed out the most important responsibility of NITI Aayog relates to promoting cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis. The Centre, through this framework will be an enabler in the rapid progress of States through Cooperative Federalism. Various suggestions regarding structured mechanism for interaction based on specific focus issues and relative strengths of States were sought.

Further, the views of the States on forming of Regional Council to address the specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or a region were also sought.

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PM announces constitution of three sub-groups within NITI Aayog; asks all states to set up two task forces under aegis of NITI Aayog


The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has announced that the NITI Aayog would constitute three sub groups: of Chief Ministers on the following themes:

• Sub-group to study the 66 Centrally Sponsored Schemes and recommend which to continue, which to transfer to states, and which to cut down.
• Sub-group to recommend how NITI Aayog can promote skill development and creation of skilled manpower within states.
• Sub-group to decide on institutional mechanisms to be evolved, and technological inputs, for ensuring that commitment to Swachh Bharat becomes a part of our life in perpetuity.

In his concluding remarks at the first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, the Prime Minister also asked all states to create two task forces under the aegis of the NITI Aayog One task force would focus on poverty alleviation, and the other would focus on future development of agriculture in the state, and how the Centre can assist the state in this regard.

The members of the sub-groups will be decided later, after Chief Ministers indicate their preferences.

The Prime Minister urged all states to use the upcoming school vacations as an opportunity to build and upgrade toilets, so as to ensure that the target of toilets for all schools is achieved. He also suggested that a portion of the funds under the MPLAD and MLALAD schemes can be earmarked for cleanliness-related activities, until 2019.

The Prime Minister appreciated the team spirit shown by all participating Chief Ministers in the thoughts and vision expressed by them during the meeting.
Initiative to Invite SAARC Leaders for Swearing-In Last Year must be followed through to its Logical Conclusion, says President Initiative to Invite SAARC Leaders for Swearing-In Last Year must be followed through to its Logical Conclusion, says President Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 8:31 AM Rating: 5

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