Commemorative Postage Stamp release on Engineers India Limited (EIL)

Commemorative Postage Stamp release on Engineers India Limited (EIL)

Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications & IT has brought out a Commemorative Postage Stamp on Engineers India Limited (EIL).

Commemorative Postage stamp on Engineers India Limited (EIL) has been released by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi during the Urja Sangam- 2015 organized by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 27.03.2015.

Engineers India Limited (EIL) is celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2015. Established in 1965, EIL has been providing engineering consultancy and services principally focused on the oil and gas and petrochemical industries. In 50 years of its existence, EIL has contributed immensely to the cause of nation building.

Department of Posts is happy to release a postage stamp to commemorate the milestone achieved by Engineers India Limited (EIL) which stands tall as one of the monuments of modern India.


Government to Invest 10 Billion US $ in the Chip Manufacturing Facilities Coming up in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh

Infrastructure for chip manufacturing and designing will be considerably strengthened in India to cater to the growing domestic demand and to cut down the imports in the next few years. Addressing the first Indian Electronics Expo organized by Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) in New Delhi yesterday, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India Shri RS Sharma, revealed that the government would be investing US$ 10 billion in the chip manufacturing facilities coming up in Gujarat and UP, where a consortium of manufacturing firms have come up to set up the production bases. India would also be investing US$ 400 million in developing an Indian version of micro-processor. These are part of the initiatives that are under way to create an eco-system that lays focus on high ended innovation. A dedicated fund, known as Electronics Development Fund had been created to leverage the use of venture capital funds to promote more start-ups in the country, he added.

Mentioning about the advantages that India is endowed with in the production of electronics goods in the country, Shri Sharma said that the frugal technologies that it has evolved has a higher value quotient and are suitable for many countries which are at the same level of development. The Secretary said that India provided an exciting hub for electronics investment mainly on account of the surging domestic market and infrastructure, logistics and financial support being provided to the investors, be they from India or abroad. China undoubtedly is the major producer of electronic goods in the world. Of late, many of the electronics giants are embarking on a China plus strategy, mostly focusing on India. Coupled with Make in India and Digital India program initiated recently by the government, the renewed interest in electronics production in the country can help India achieve the target set for zero import of electronics into the country by 2020.

Chairman, ESC Shri Vinod Sharma, observed that India’s electronics hardware production should increase at least by 10 fold to catch up with the demand and to meet the target of achieving zero import by 2020 as envisioned by the Prime Minister. India, he said, produces many frugally designed products that would be relevant to countries in Africa, Latin America and CIS. He referred to the example of mosquito repellent, which has frugal designing and cheaply priced but highly suitable to these countries.

The expo is attended by over 125 delegates from 26 countries. More than 30 Indian companies are displaying their electronics hardware products at the two-day expo.


ISRO gets Gandhi Peace Prize for 2014

The Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2014, has been awarded to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The Jury for the Prize met under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi this evening. The other members of the Jury were Justice H.L Dattu, Chief Justice of India, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the single largest Opposition Party in the Lok Sabha, Shri. L.K. Advani, Member of Parliament (L.S) and Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), an organisation of Government of India, is engaged in making space technology a catalyst of development to bring about societal transformation. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s mission is to provide the nation with space based services and to develop the technologies to achieve the same. Through the years, ISRO has upheld its mission of bringing space to the service of the common man and in the service of the nation. In the process it has become one of the six largest space agencies of the world.

ISRO contributes to the nation’s development through satellite based education, health care and connectivity to community activities for sustainable economic development. Besides this, ISRO through space technology has allowed for improved mapping of agricultural land and water-shed areas, providing advisories to fishing communities, giving information support for decentralised planning, creating data base of heritage sites, better climate and disaster management support and promoting a knowledge based society, which has led to social, economic and political transformation through non-violence.

ISRO also has through tele-medicine, one of the communication technology applications, has enhanced the healthcare services delivery, wherein a satellite tele-medicine network through INSAT system links the rural hospitals in the country with specialty hospitals to enable the rural populace to access the specialist medical consultations. Similarly, Tele-Education has demonstrated the unique capability of satellites in virtually taking the best teachers in the country to teach students in the rural villages.

The Gandhi Peace Prize for social, economic and political transformation through non-violence was instituted in the year 1995. The Award comprises an amount of Rupees One crore and a citation. Some of the previous awardees have been Dr. Nelson Mandela, Mr. Vaclav Havel, Dr. Julius K. Nyerere, Baba Amte, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan and Ramkrishna Mission.


Field Offices Under Chief Commissioners of Customs/Central Excise/Service Tax to Remain open tomorrow, 28th March, 2015 to Facilitate filing of Returns/Payment of Taxes

In view of closing of the current financial year, the Central Board of Excise and Customs [CBEC] has decided to keep open all the field offices under the Chief Commissioners of Customs/Central Excise/Service Tax on 28th March, 2015 (Saturday) to facilitate the tax-payers in payment of taxes/filing returns and in carrying out other procedural formalities and to provide any clarifications which may be required by the tax payers. This special measure taken by the Central Board of Excise and Customs [CBEC] is in addition to the 24x7 facilities which is provided by the Customs formations at the ports and airports.


FM Stresses the need for use of more Accounted Money and Discourage of use of Unaccounted Money: Focuses on use of Plastic Money such as Credit Card, Rupay Card and Cheques in lieu of Hard Currency

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said that there is need to take steps to encourage people to use more and more accounted money and discourage the use of unaccounted currency. In this regard, the Finance Minister said that with the progress in the growth of economy, more and more people should be incentivized to use plastic money such as credit cards, Rupay cards and cheques or any other negotiable instrument. They should be discouraged to use hard currency or unaccounted money, he added. The Finance Minister, Shri Jaitley was speaking at the Foundation Day function of Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) here today. The Finance Minister said that most developing countries such as U.K, U.S.A etc have a highest denomination of currency in form of 50 pound and 100 dollar currency notes respectively. He said that this helps in discouraging hoarding and use of unaccounted wealth. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley further said that as a result of financial inclusion, more and more households are now connected to banks and RuPay cards have been issued to people even to those below the poverty line. He said that there is now need to launch a campaign to create an awareness among them for using more and more RuPay cards which can be a game changer as far as India is concerned. The Finance Minister said that celebration of occasions like Foundation Day give an opportunity to analyse the performance of its employees and the organization as a whole as well as to decide the road map for future.

Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) is celebrating its 9th Foundation Day here today where the Union Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Shri Arun Jaitley was the Chief Guest. The function was also attended among others by the various dignitaries and senior officers of the Ministry of Finance and other Ministries.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Jaitley also appreciated the progress made by the Company in the production of Bank Notes and Coins and the steps taken to modernize the Units with capacity expansion through internal resources. He distributed the Awards to the selected Units for their excellent performance in different fields and also Excellent Individual Awards to the employees for their excellent performance. Shri Jaitley expressed his satisfaction that SPMCIL in a short span of about eight years has achieved most of the objectives of the Corporatization and it has doubled its productivity, successfully implemented Phase – I modernization of Mints and commissioned new Bank Note Paper line at BNP, Dewas. He expressed confidence that the Corporation will continue with its good performance in the years to come.

Earlier in his speech, Shri M.S. Rana, CMD of the Company highlighted the achievements of the Company since its formation in the year 2006. He gave a detailed account of the steps taken by the Company towards indigenization and modernization. Ink Factory has been modernized and indigenous production of Quick Set Intaglio Inks has started. A new paper line of 6000 MT per annum capacity at SPM, Hoshangabad is at advanced stage and the commercial production is expected during this year. Two Mini Finishing Machines for Bank Note Processing and two Bank Note Processing Systems have been installed. Besides, one Gold Refining Plant, one Silver Refining Plant and three Multi-Stroke Medal Presses have been commissioned. CMD further informed the audience that the Company has commissioned Blank sorting machines and three Multi-Stroke Medal Presses in the Mints. With regard to achievements in production and financial performance, Shri Rana stated that production of circulating coins has more than doubled to 7650 MPCS while production of Bank Notes has doubled to 8018 MPCS. Security Paper Mill at Hoshangabad has made highest ever production of security paper to the tune of Rs. 3240 MT. Ink Factory at Dewas has increased its production to 604 MT which is more than four times since the last eight years. The turnover of the Company has now risen to Rs. 3797.61 crores which is more than 150% since its inception and it has paid dividend at the rate of 20% of the net profits of the company for the fourth year in succession. The financial position of the Company is quite satisfactory. It has not only repaid the loan of Rs. 1110 crores but has also invested Rs. 1500 crores from its internal resources. The Company has achieved Excellent grading in the MOU for the fifth year in succession. It has also achieved Excellent grading for the fourth year in succession in Corporate Governance.


Need to enhance awareness among people to encourage organ donation: Health Secretary

Shri B P Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the One-day National Advocacy Conference for sensitization of State Governments and other stakeholders on National Organ Transplant Programme and function to commemorate the National Organ Donation Day, here today. He also released the Operational Guidelines of National Organ Transplantation Programme (NOTP).

Speaking on the occasion, the Health Secretary stated that organ donation is a pious thing and we must all do our effort to promote it. Expressing concern over the huge gap between supply and demand in the sector, he said that while we have good medical infrastructure, legal framework, programmes and professionals, we still have not been able to meet the demand of organs for the needy patients. We therefore, need to understand the challenges and work on them in a positive manner, he added.

The Health Secretary stated that enhanced awareness among people is needed to encourage people to donate organs. This requires involvement of the civil society, religious leaders and other stakeholders in creating awareness. He further stated that we should try to provide affordable and accessible organ transplantation.

After launching the Website of NOTTO (National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization), Dr. (Prof) Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services stated that lack of awareness is the main challenge behind less number of organ donors. He said that the Indian Medical Association at every level, and other stakeholders should be involved to create awareness among people to donate organs. He assured the state health secretaries and other representatives that Government of India will extend all assistance in their initiatives.

Present at the occasion were senior officials of the Health Ministry including Shri N S Kang, Additional Secretary, Special DGHS, Dr. B D Athani, State officials from Delhi, Gujarat, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.


 Prime Minister inaugurates Urja Sangam 2015 - India’s Global Hydrocarbon Summit

Launches LPG ‘Subsidy-Give It Up’ movement

Government trying to explore long term financing mechanism for infrastructure projects: Arun Jaitley

Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated ‘Urja Sangam 2015’ today at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, which is India’s biggest global hydrocarbon meet, aimed at shaping India’s energy security. Highlighting the import dependence of the nation, Shri Modi emphasized on working together to achieve energy security of the country. He urged all stakeholders to increase the domestic production of Oil and Gas to reduce import dependence from 77 % to 67% by the year 2022, when India celebrates its 75 years of independence, which he called as Amrit Parv. He added that by achieving the target, the citizens would pay a true homage to our freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country. He further said that import dependence should be brought down to 50 % by the year 2030.

He said that the western part of the country is having more economic activities whereas the eastern parts of the country have to be focused for development as eastern states are rich in natural resources.  For National growth a balance growth of every state and each part of the Country is required.

Focusing on achieving equitable and balanced national growth, he said that the Government is committed to expanding its National gas grid network from its current length of 15,000 kms pipeline to 30,000 kms cross country gas pipeline. The said move would help connect Eastern states with the rest of the country which will boost industrial development. Shri Modi also called for growing Jhatropa in non-agriculture and barren lands, which could be used for production of bio-diesel. He also emphasized the need to promote skill development in important trades to ensure development. There are ample opportunities for innovation in the energy sector that need to be explored, added Prime Minister.

The PM lauded execution of world’s largest cash transfer LPG subsidy scheme PAHAL in a time bound manner. Talking of its remarkable success, he stated that cash benefits 12,000 crore were made available to customers within a span of just 100 days, arresting leakage and bringing transparency.

Speaking on the occasion Hon’ble Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas [ I/C] Shri Dharmendra Pradhan talked about the initiatives the government has taken under the leadership of Prime Minister , Shri Modi. He emphasized the role of Petroleum companies in the national economy and underlined the need of Energy Security of the country. He also complimented OVL, EIL and Indian Oil’s Barauni Refinery for their 50 years of dedicated service to the nation.

Later, speaking at a Ministerial Session on ‘Framing Energy Security – Sustainability & Responsible Energy Investments, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said that India currently has 99 trillion cubic feet of shale gas reserves and 800 MMT of oil reserves, and that it has the potential to produce 20 million CUM of gas by 2020. She also added that India has created storage space for strategic oil reserves of 5.33 million tonnes at three locations. She also stressed on the fact that solar power needs lot of innovative interventions. At the valedictory session, Shri Arun Jaitley said that the focus should be on oil and gas exploration to reduce oil import. He also added that the government is also trying to explore long term financing mechanism for infrastructure projects.

Urja Sangam aims to showcase India’s potential in the hydrocarbon sector to the world and create an investor-friendly atmosphere, besides positioning India’s thought leadership by creating a new “Energy Security” platform. On the global level, the summit aims to firm up cooperation agreements with key global players.


Report of Committee on Traffic Optimization Presented to Railway Minister within Stipulated Time

The Committee Estimates Growth of 9 to 15 Per Cent in Freight Traffic During the Next 4 Years

The Committee Suggests Measuires to Increase Passenger Traffic

Use of Satelite Suggestd for Operation and Safety Needs

Specific Plans of Action Suggested for Zonal Railways

The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu received the Report of the Committee on traffic optimization from Committee’s head, Shri Mohd. Jamshed, Additional Member (C&IS) and (T&C), Railway Board at a function here today. The Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha was specially present on the occasion. Also present on the occasion among others were Chairman, railway Board, Shri A.K.Mital, Board Member, Members of the Committee and senior railway officials.
Speaking on this occasion, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that it is heartening to know that the Committee on Traffic Optimisation have submitted its report within the stipulated time frame. It is really an amazing document prepared by a Committee consisting of Railways’ own officers. The Minister said that the Committee has pointed out the potential of growth for Indian Railways and the roadmap suggested by the Committee, indicates that Indian Railways freight loading has the potential to grow between 9 to 15 per cent during the next 4 years against the growth of around 4% recorded during the last four years. The Railway Minister pointed out that the measures suggested by the Committee would be implemented in a mission mode. He called upon the railway officers to not only complete the freight loading traffic but work towards exceeding the target.  The Railway Minister also announced that this Committee continue to be in existence and will monitor the implementation of its recommendations.
 The Committee on Traffic Optimisation has examined and analysed the pattern of transportation growth both passenger and freight on Indian Railways in the last four decades and specifically during the last five years.  Various constraints that have been impacting the desired growth of freight and passenger traffic have been reviewed at length and various bottlenecks identified.  It is observed that growth of originating freight loading on Indian Railways has remained at a level of 4% during the last five years.  There has also been reduction in number of passengers being carried by Indian Railways except in PRS segment during last five years. Indian Railways growth has not been able to keep pace with the growth in GDP.
          The Committee has examined all factors impacting the growth of Indian railways including development of infrastructure, augmentation of capacity and saturation levels of all high density routes.  It has also identified specific bottlenecks requiring urgent attention including completion of last mile projects, specifically those connected to through put enhancement i.e. doubling of traffic facility, signaling and electrification works.  The Committee has also reviewed growth for various core sectors requiring high demand for transportation of selected commodities including Coal, Iron-ore, Steel, Fertilizers, Food-grain, POL and Cement, etc.  The Committee made the assessment to meet demand for transportation of Coal, Iron-ore and Containers.  Demands in other sectors will also be robust providing huge volumes of freight traffic for the railways to move.  The potential estimated by the Committee looks at growth of 9 to 15 per cent during the next four years.  The Great Leap Forward would be achieved only with completion of Dedicated Freight Corridor.  In the ensuing period various other capacity augmentation works will have to be completed, system improvements requiring changes in rolling stock and infrastructure maintenance practices will have to be looked at, capacity of terminals is to be augmented, utilization of alternate routes will have to be rationalized, wagon capacity scheme requires liberalisation, private freight terminals have to come up and rating structure have to be revised to provide more incentives in empty flow direction.
          The Committee has also looked at the growth of passenger traffic of Indian railways.  There has been decline in number of passengers in both sub-urban and non-sub-urban short route traffic.  These are identified areas which require rationalisation of fares.  The long distance reserved category traffic has shown robust growth, which has to be doubled during the next three years.  Full load running of trains, induction of DMUs and MEMUs, dynamic pricing for all Mail/Express trains and changes in scheduling of trains and their maintenance are some of the areas requiring attention.
          The Committee has also suggested using satellite for Indian Railways’ operation and safety needs.
          The Committee has also suggested specific plans of action for Zonal Railways who have been provided not only the potential targets but also various actions to be taken during 2015-16.
          Various policies requiring review and modifications have also been mentioned in the report. The report has been submitted to the Ministry of Railways for acceptance and implementation.
Earlier, the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) had constituted a Committee on 13/02/2015 to identify factors and issues affecting growth of traffic (Freight & Passenger) and suggest a plan of action for Traffic Optimisation in short term (during 2015-16) and long term (2018-19).  The Committee consisted of the following:
1.             Shri Mohd. Jamshed, AM(C&IS), Chairman
2.             Shri Rinkesh Roy, CFTM/ECoR, Member
3.             Ms. Sarla Balagopal, CCM/SR, Member
4.             Shri Prabhakar Pranai, CTPM/WR, Member
5.             Shri Mukul Jain, CTPM/SER, Member
6.             Shri H.D. Gujrati, Director/DFCCIL, Member
7.             Shri A.K. Gupta, MD/CONCOR, Member
8.             Shri V. Shanker, CFTM/NR, Member, Secretary.

The Committee was given following terms of reference:
a)             To review the traffic growth both passenger and freight from 2010-11 to 2014-15 & constraints in achieving higher growth during this period;
b)             Identify bottlenecks which can be removed in short term (during 2015-16 and long run term (upto 2018-19) for capacity augmentation;
c)             Suggest innovative measures to enhance through put to achieve traffic growth of upto 15% in short and long term periods;
d)            Develop a brief action plan for implementation by Zonal Railways during 2015-16 towards optimization of traffic out put; and
e)             Suggest policy changes required to be undertaken by Railway Board to enable achieving higher traffic (Freight & Passenger) output.


Suresh Prabhu Inaugurates Landmark Lumding-Silchar (Assam) Broad Gauge Railway Line Project by Flagging off A Goods Train - Bringing This Region on the National Broad Guage Railway Map

Train Passenger Services to Start Soon on this Section

This Railway Line Heralds A New Era of Broad Gauge Connectivity in North-Eastern Region Working as Lifeline for Bark Valley in Assam and the States of Tripura, Manipur & Mizoram

The Railway Line will be Cruicial for the Supply of Foodgrains, Fertilizers, Petroleum Products the Region

This Rs.3500 Crore National Project Completed as an Engneering Marvel Despite Difficult Hilly Terrain, Geologially Unstable Hills and Difficult Law & Order Challenges
The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu inaugurated Lumding-Silchar broad gauge section (Assam) by flagging off a goods train via video conferencing at a function here today. The passenger train services will be started soon on this section. This is a landmark achievement by Indian Railways and important broad gauge railway connectivity project. Lumding-Silchar section is Phase-1 of the two phase broad gauge line project in this area. This Phase-I line provides seamless BG connectivity to Barak Valley of Assam with the rest of the country. The phase-II consists of gauge conversion of three sections namely; Badarpur – Kumarghat, Baraigram - Dullabcherra and Silchar-Jiribam, which will be completed by 31.03.2016. States of Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura will also be on Broad Gauge by March, 2016 on completion of works of Phase - II. These states are dependent on this line for supply of food-grains, fertilizers, petroleum products etc. This Lumdin-Silchar line is a milestone for the connectivity in the N.E. region and one of the largest gauge conversion projects of Indian Railways completed at a cost of Rs. 3500 crore. The project was completed despite difficult hilly terrain, geologically unstable hills and difficult law & order challenges and has been appreciated as an engineering marvel in all respects. A number of railwaymen sacrificed their lives in the completion of this project.
The Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha was specially present on the occasion. Also present on the occasion among others were Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A.K.Mital, Member Engineering and other Board Member and senior railway officials.
Speaking on this occasion, Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu said that opening up of Lumding, Silchar Broad Gauge railway line marks a historical day in the history of Railways in north-eastern region and he is  happy to be a part of this history. He said that this is an important mile-stone in the integration of north-eastern region to the nation. Shri Suresh Prabhu said it will accelerate development in the region. The Minister pointed out that an all time high fund allotment has been done for ongoing new line, gauge conversion and doubling projects in north-eastern region. Shri Suresh Prabhu congratulated railway engineers and the project team whose unrelenting efforts could make this project see a reality and BG train movement a possibility in a time bound and systematic manner. The Railway Minister said that this  railway line is the life line of Barak valley and the states of Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram.  I have flagged off a goods train today on this line and soon passenger train services will also start plying on this section, after the approval of Commissioner of Railway Safety. This will also ensure movement of essential commodities like foodgrain, fertilizers and petroleum products in this area. Indian Railway is committed to the development of railway connectivity in the north eastern region. He informed that Recently Meghalaya was brought on railway map for the first time and also capital of Arunachal Pradesh was connected to the National Capital by a direct train.
The 210 kms. long  Lumding – Silchar Railway Line is life line for Barak Valley and the States of Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram. These States are dependent on this line for supply of foodgrains, fertilizers, Petroleum products etc. After Gauge Conversion of Guwahati – Lumding line in 1994, the transhipment point got shifted from Guwahati to Lumding.  The Lumding-Silchar Gauge Conversion Project under the Northeast Frontier Railway was sanctioned in 1996-97 and was declared as a National Project in 2004. In the initial years of the project the flow of funds had been very meager and allotments increased from 2004. The project was hit by insurgency during the years 2006 to 2009 and Territorial Army had to be deployed in the region to curb the insurgency. Normal working could be started only after 2009.
The salient features of completed section of Phase-I are as follows
Phase – I: Lumding – Silchar Section (210 Km):
Cost                             : Rs 3500 crores
Major Bridges             : 79 no.
Minor Bridges             : 340 no.
Tunnels                        : 21 No. (Total length 12.86 Km)
Mega block to complete the gauge conversion was taken from 01.10.2014.
The work involved working at 101 locations simultaneously round the clock.
Many locations of bridges, tunnels and cuttings needed to be tackled during the mega block.Law and order situation also deteriorated, which was handled successfully by Territorial Army deployed at site.First Broad Gauge Engine reached Silchar on 13.03.2015 which was greeted by 20,000 strong crowd at the Railway station.First Broad Gauge trial train was taken to Silchar on 14.03.2015 and another complete train trial carried out on 15.03.2015. Lumding- Silchar section is being opened to goods traffic today and  passenger services will be started after inspection by Commissioner of Railway Safety in April, 2015. Lumding – New Hafflong Section has been inspected by Commissioner of Railway Safety.
This challenging project could be completed within the deadline of 31st March, 2015 as a result of round the clock working and tireless efforts of officers, staff and contractors of Northeastern .Frontier .Railway.
This line provides seamless BG connectivity to Barak Valley of Assam with the rest of the country. States of Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura will also be on Broad Gauge by March, 2016 on completion of works of Phase - II.
This line is bound to change the landscape of the region and usher the Barak Valley along with the States of Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram to the new era of socio-economic development.
Salient feature of Phase-II are as follows:-
Phase II:  Badarpur – Kumarghat, Baraigram - Dullabcherra and Silchar-Jiribam:
Total length                 : 224 Km
Cost                             : Rs 1600 crore
Mega block of remaining sections (total length 224 Km) viz. Badarpur – Kumarghat, Baraigram - Dullabcherra and Silchar-Jribam will be taken from 01.10.2015 and to be completed by 31.03.2016.
Alongwith this, the line from Kumarghat to Agartala, which was opened as  a Meter Gauge section in 2008, will also be converted to Broad Gauge in March, 2016.  This will provide seamless connectivity to the Capital of Tripura with the rest of the country.
Other Important developments in the North East:
Meghalaya has been brought on Railway map for the first time with commissioning of Dudhnoi – Mendipathar New Line.
Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh was connected with the National Capital with the flagging off of direct train between Naharlagun and New Delhi by Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Harmuti – North Lakhimpur section has been commissioned for passenger traffic and North Lakhimpur-Murkongselek section has been commissioned for goods traffic. With this, the entire Rangiya – Murkongselek and Balipara - Bhalukpong (510 Km) Metre Gauge line along the North Bank of Brahmaputra has been converted to Broad Gauge.


Centre releases additional fund to Drought affected States

The Centre today released additional funds of over Rs 337 crore to 16 States including drought affected States like Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and water scarcity affected areas of Rajasthan. Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water & Sanitation, Shri Birender Singh has approved release of additional funds as per the request of the respective State Governments under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).

The additional fund will help States to mitigate drought situation and address drinking water problems in water scarcity areas as well as for execution of piped water supply schemes in those areas, where the quality of water is affected.


Dr Harsh Vardhan Dedicates the “Apex Metrology Laboratory” at the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi Today

Union Minister Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan while pointing out that a significant number of best Scientists working abroad, in every field today are Indians, said that this shows that we could use innovative acumen and abilities of our countrymen to work for making our future brighter than our glorious past. He was dedicating the “Apex Metrology Laboratory” to the Nation at a function at National Physical Laboratory NPL in New Delhi, today. He said our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi also dreams to use the intellectual acumen and innovative abilities of the 65% of our country’s population, which is below 35 years of age, to convert our country into a sophisticated and successful model. Dr. Harsha Vardhan opined that we had inherited super intellectual genes from our ancestors.

The Minister said that the scientists with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), a constituent of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), are working on a project, titled “Technologies and products for solar energy utilization through networks” (TAPSUN), which brings under one umbrella several solar power generation, conservation and storage related projects for providing clean, efficient and affordable renewable energy solutions. Dr Harsh Vardhan said that this should contribute a “green” edge to the Prime Minister’s dream of solar energy and “Swacch Bharat” campaign, besides leading to achieving of his most cherished goal of making solar power cheaper and more efficient through intensive R&D.

The Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Shri Y.S Chowdary speaking on the occasion said that we should make such laboratories more visible, even by allowing students to visit such labs, may be by selecting them through competition.

Dr Harsh Vardhan was accompanied by the Director-General, CSIR, Dr M.O. Garg and Director, CSIR-NPL Dr A. Sen Gupta. He visited various R&D facilities such as the Indian Standard Time being kept using an Atomic Fountain Clock indigenously built at CSIR-NPL, the Clean Room complex, solar cell fabrication centre and superconducting materials laboratory. The scientists explained to him that the atomic Fountain clock is so accurate that it loses or gains only one second in 100 million years and is only among about a dozen such clocks worldwide.

Dr Garg said, “The intention behind erecting the new Centre was to bring under one roof all the R&D works in progress to achieve higher and higher levels of accuracy in measurement of seven international standards (SI) base units.”

The SIs are ‘Metre’ (for length), ‘Kilogram’ (for mass), ‘Second’ (for time), ‘Kelvin’ (for thermodynamic temperature), ‘Ampere’ (for current), ‘Candela’ (for luminous intensity) and ‘Mole’ (amount of substance). The laboratory serves the nation by providing traceability in the country at par with the international standards thereby catalyzing international trade, overall growth of the industry, strategic sectors and quality of products thus enhancing the quality of human life in India.

Dr Sen Gupta said that R&D in materials research at CSIR-NPL have led to several cutting edge technologies, that have resulting in improving the quality of human life in India.


Textiles Minister inaugurates 29th India Carpet Expo

The 29th Edition of India Carpet Expo was inaugurated at 11.00 AM today, by Honourable Minister of State for Textiles (I/C), Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar..

The Expo is being held from 27th to 30th March 2015 in Hall No. 8 to 11, at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

262 exhibitors are displaying their products from all over India. On the first day, around 200 overseas carpet buyers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, U.K. and USA registered their presence, besides 120 buying representatives.

Shri Virender Singh, Hon’ble Member of Parliament from  the carpet city Bhadohi : Shri Ajit Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Govt. of India; Shri J. S. Deepak, Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & CMD, ITPO; Shri Arvind Mehta, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce; and H.E. Ambassador of Slovak Republic, Charge d’Affairs from Embassy of Panama visited the fair today. They appreciated the display of carpets as well as the cultural heritage and versatility of Indian carpets.

The Carpet Export Promotion Council is giving a subsidy of US $800 to buyers from USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Chile and all other Latin American Countries; and US $550 to buyers from other countries towards air travel expenses. The Council is also providing complimentary hotel stay for the participants.

Briefing the media, Shri Kuldeep R. Wattal, Chairman, CEPC, expressed confidence that the Expo will generate good business and has requested the media to extend their full support for promotion of the event, in order to facilitate handsome business for the participants. He added that the newly elected Committee of Administration is taking all possible efforts for success of India Carpet Expo.

Dr. Sanjay Kumar Panda, Secretary (Textiles) & Mr. Samir Kumar Biswas,  Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), other senior Government officials from Central and State Governments, and representatives from trade and media were also present on the occasion.

India Carpet Expo: A Brief

The India Carpet Expo is being organized by Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC), set up by Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.

The Expo aims to promote the cultural heritage and weaving skills of Indian hand-made carpets and other floor coverings amongst the visiting overseas carpet buyers. It is an ideal platform for international carpet buyers, buying houses, buying agents, architects and Indian carpet manufacturers & exporters to meet each other and establish long-term business relationships. The Expo is one of the largest Handmade Carpet Fairs in Asia, which provides a unique platform under one roof, for buyers to source the best handmade carpets, rugs and floor coverings. It has become a popular destination worldwide for handmade carpets. India’s unique capability in adapting to any type of design, colour, quality & size as per the specifications of carpet buyers has made it a household name in the international market.

·          29th India Carpet Expo starts on 27th March, 2015


Storage Status of 85 Important Reservoirs of the Country as on March 26, 2015 

The Water Storage available in 85 important reservoirs of the country as on March 26, 2015 was 54.96 BCM which is 35% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This storage is 84% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 107% of storage of average of last ten years. The present storage position during current year is less than the storage position of last year but is better than the storage of average of last ten years.

Central Water Commission monitors live storage status of 85 important reservoirs of the country on weekly basis. These reservoirs include 37 reservoirs having hydropower benefit with installed capacity of more than 60 MW. The total storage capacity of these reservoirs is 155.046 BCM which is about 61% of the storage capacity of 253.388 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country. 



The northern region includes States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. There are 6 reservoirs in this region having total storage capacity of 18.01 BCM. The total storage available in these reservoirs is 5.80 BCM which is 32% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 36% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 31% of storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year but is better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period. 


The Eastern region includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. There are 15 reservoirs in this region having total storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total storage available in these reservoirs is 9.60 BCM which is 51% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 66% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 43% of storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year but is better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period. 


The Western region includes States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. There are 22 reservoirs in this region having total storage capacity of 24.54 BCM. The total storage available in these reservoirs is 9.82 BCM which is 40% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 51% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 44% of storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the storage of last year and also less than the average storage of last ten years. 


The Central region includes States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. There are 12 reservoirs in this region having total storage capacity of 42.30BCM. The total storage available in these reservoirs is 18.17 BCM which is 43% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 52% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 28% of storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the storage of last year but better than the average storage of last ten years. 


The Southern region includes States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are 30 reservoirs in this region having total storage capacity of 51.37 BCM. The total storage available in these reservoirs is 11.57 BCM which is 23% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 24% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 30% of storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period. 

States having better storage than last year for corresponding period are Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. States having lesser storage than last year for corresponding period are Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh. 


Government plans to launch - Ek Saal Desh Ke Naam 

A brain storming workshop was held under the Chairmanship of Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affair and Sports Shri Sarbananda Sonowal to discuss a new programme proposed to be introduced for “Youth Leadership Development – Ek Saal, Desh Ke Naam”. The workshop was attended by Secretary(Youth Affairs ), Joint Secretary(Youth Affairs), Vice Chairpersons, NYKS, Director General, NYKS, Director, RGNIYD and eminent persons/intellectuals like Dr. Vinay Sahasrabudde, Shri Amrut Bang, Shri V Muraleedharan, Dr. Jyoti Shukla, Shri Swadesh Singh , Shri Waman Kendre working in the field of culture, author, theatre, economy, social organisation , academics, etc. 

The group discussed the various issues like objectives of the programme, selection process for the fellows, course content, their training, etc. The group discussed as to how to nurture leadership talent among youth to meet societal challenges by way of comprehensive leadership training through exposure, experience, experimentation and enterprise and to equip them with the necessary skills, values and vision to increase the effectiveness of their work by giving them opportunity and atmosphere to develop their leadership talents by way of ‘Self Learning’ and to find more meaningful and joyful purpose for their life. The eminent persons discussed how to create a large group of young professionals having the desire and capability to understand and find answers to developmental issues. The members discussed ways to achieve the objectives by developing training and experience based learning process facilitating deeper search of these youth for leading a purposeful life. It is believed that such a pursuit of social problem solving will bring out the best among youth. 

Speaking on the occasion Shri Sarbananda Sonowal said that Scheme has objectives for the transformation of the ideology of the youth. The programme shall provide a learning experience to the youth to transform their outlook, offer opportunities and develop leadership qualities. While working for the programme, the youth will also understand the working of different departments of the Government and Centre State relationship. 


First meeting of sub-group on rationalisation of centrally sponsored schemes held by NITI Aayog 

The first meeting of the Sub-Group on rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes was held under the convenership of the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan at NITI Aayog today. The Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Rajasthan, and LG of Andaman & Nicobar attended the meeting. Member of NITI Aayog Shri Bibek Debroy and CEO, Smt.Sindhushree Khullar along with senior officials of the Aayog were also present at the meeting. The meeting discussed various aspects of rationalisation of the centrally sponsored schemes with a view to improve their impact. 

It may be mentioned that the Sub-group on rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes has been constituted as per decision taken in the first meeting of the Governing Council chaired by the Prime Minister on 8th February 2015. The sub-Group consists of 11 Members including the Chief Ministers of 10 States viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and LG of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. 
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