Conversion of Rivers Into Waterways



Conversion of Rivers Into Waterways 
A bill for declaration of 101 new waterways as National Waterways (NWs) was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of 2015 which has been sent for examination to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture. 


The exact model for development of waterways and the amount required for the development will depend on the feasibility study and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of related waterways.

This information was given by Minister of State for Shipping, Shri Pon Radhakrishnan in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. 


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Green Channel for Clearance of Coastal Cargo 
The Government proposes to introduce a green channel for clearance of coastal cargo from existing berths. Guidelines have been issued to all the Major ports to earmark exclusive berths, storage areas and gates for coastal cargo outside the custom bonded area of the Ports to facilitate movement of coastal cargo. Major Ports of Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, V. O. Chidambaranar, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mumbai and Kandla have already established green channel for coastal cargo.

This information was given by Minister of State for Shipping, Shri Pon Radhakrishnan in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. 

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Modal Shift of Cargo From Rail/Road to Coastal Shipping 
A scheme has been proposed to the shippers for transportation of cargo through Indian flag vessels, River Sea Vessels (RSVs) or barges on each trip having either a port or an Inland Waterway Authority of India (IWAI) terminal/jetty as the point of loading or the point of discharge for identified bulk or break-bulk cargoes, containers and vehicles.

The prescribed procedure for obtaining approval of the competent authority is being followed before its implementation.

This information was given by Minister of State for Shipping, Shri Pon Radhakrishnan in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. 


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Export of Iron Ore 
Government has approved exports under the Long Term Agreements (LTAs) to Japan and South Korea through MMTC for supplying 16.5 million tonne (MT) of high grade iron ore.

The foreign exchange expected to be earned is around US $311.05 million per annum at current sale prices against export of iron ore under LTAs.

At present production of iron ore in the country is sufficient to meet the demand of domestic steel industry however there may be regional shortages in some states like Karnataka due to legal and regulatory issues.

Export duty at the rate of 30% ad valorem on all varieties of iron ore with effect from 30.12.2011 and 5% ad valorem on iron ore pellets with effect from 27.1.2014 is imposed. Further, export duty at the rate of 10% has been levied on iron ore containing Fe less than 58% with effect from 30.4.2015.

This Information was provided by the Minister of State for ministry of Steel and Mines, Shri Vishnu Deo Sai in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 

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Modernisation of Steel Plants 

The production capacity and the quantum of crude steel produced during the last three years and current year, both in private and public sector is given below:-

(in million tonnes)
Year
Capacity
Production

Public 
Sector
Private
Sector
Total
Public Sector
Private Sector
Total
2012-13
15.93
81.09
97.02
16.48
61.94
78.42
2013-14
15.93
85.09
101.02
16.77
64.92
81.69
2014-15
20.43
89.42
109.85
17.20
71.78
88.98
April-June
2015-16*



04.49
17.96
22.45
Source: Joint Plant Committee (JPC)             *Provisional

Steel is a deregulated sector and role of Government is limited to that of a facilitator. The decisions to modernize and expand steel plants are essentially taken by the respective companies, based on commercial considerations. Public Sector steel companies namely, SAIL and RINL have undertaken modernization and expansion programme funded by their own sources.
Steel Authority of India Limited currently has no proposal to set up steel plant in a foreign country.
This Information was given by the Minister of Steel and Mines Shri Narendra Singh Tomar in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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Safety and Security of Foreign Tourists 

The Ministry of Tourism does not compile the data regarding crime against foreign or domestic tourists.  However, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs has started collecting data on crime against foreign tourists since 2014. During the year 2014, as per the information regarding states/UTs, there are 129 cases under the category “Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty” including cases registered, cases charge sheeted, cases convicted, persons arrested, persons charge sheeted and persons convicted under crime against foreign tourists.
Similarly 86 cases were reported under the category “Rape” including cases registered, cases charge sheeted, cases convicted, persons arrested, persons charge sheeted and persons convicted. Finally, 8 cases were registered under the category “Insult to the modesty of women” including cases registered, cases charge sheeted, cases convicted, persons arrested, persons charge sheeted and persons convicted under crimes against foreign tourists during the year 2014.

The major countries from where the arrival of foreign women tourists was on decline during the year 2014 are Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, Afghanistan, Japan and Republic of Korea.

The steps taken by Ministry of Tourism to ensure the safety and security of tourists including foreign tourists are as below:
i)          The Ministry of Tourism, on a pilot basis, has set up the ‘Incredible India Help Line’ to guide the tourists.
ii)         Adoption of code of conduct for Safe and Hon’ble Tourism, which contains a set of guidelines to encourage tourism activities to be undertaken with respect to basic rights like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourists and local residents, in particular women and children.
iii)        All the Chief Ministers of the State Governments and Administrators of Union Territory Administrations have been asked to take immediate effective steps for ensuring a conducive and friendly environment for all tourists and also request them to publicize the steps being taken/proposed to be taken to increase the sense of security amongst the present/prospective visitors and also to counter the negative publicity, if any.
v)         In the wake of some unfortunate incidents involving foreign tourists, Ministry of Tourism has also posted an advisory on its website www.incredibleindia.org.
vi)        Guidelines on Safety & Security of Tourist for State Governments/Union Territories and Tips for Travellers have been formulated in August 2014 and circulated to all State Governments and Union Territories.  These guidelines have been issued with an objective to help/provide direction to the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations in formulating guidelines for tourists safety and security.  The guidelines also includes ‘tips for travelers’ and cover the following:

·                  Precautions to be taken during pre-travel arrangements.
·                  Travel information on calamities/situations by the State Government.
·                   Identifying, locating tourists in times of emergency.
·                  Government communication and inter agency coordination.
·                  Regulations of service providers (Transport Services, Accommodation Sector).             
·                  Regulating leisure and recreational services including adventure sports.
·                  Address insolvencies and dispute settlement.
·                  Enforcement.


This information was given by the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma in reply to a starred question today in Lok Sabha.

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Plan to Develop Islands for Tourism Across the Country 
Promotion and development of tourism including tourism related infrastructure in their respective States/UTs including island is primarily the responsibility of the State Governments/UT Administrations. Ministry of Tourism under its various existing schemes extends Central Financial Assistance for development of tourism infrastructure to the State Governments/UT Administrations, subject to adherence to the scheme guidelines. In addition, under the recently launched Scheme of Swadesh Darshan, a circuit for development of Coastal Tourism has been identified for development of backwaters, mangrove and cruise tourism.

Under the directions of Ministry of Home Affairs, a sub-group of Task Force headed by the Ministry of Tourism comprising representatives from Ministry of Information & Broadcasting; Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Ministry of Shipping; Archaeological Survey of India; Coastal India Development Council; Indian Coast Guard and Maritime Board of Government of Gujarat has been constituted to provide inputs for identifying islands for holistic development. The sub group of Task Force will indicate islands with historic places and with tourism potential for holistic development.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question today in Lok Sabha. 

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Taj Mahal Registeres an Increase in Tourist Foot-Falls in 2014 Over the Year 2013 
Taj Mahal, a centrally protected monument, is looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). There has been no decrease in the number of total tourist foot-falls in the past two years. 6072501 number of domestic and foreign tourist visits have been recorded in 2014 against 5835342 in 2013.

No guidelines have been issued by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on the issue pertaining to religious grounds.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question today in Lok Sabha.

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Hunar Se Rozgar Tak Scheme 
Under the HSRT programme, courses are offered in hospitality trades namely Food Production, Food and Beverage Service, Housekeeping Utility and Bakery and Patisserie. The persons who are minimum 8th pass and in the age group of 18 to 28 years are eligible to take the courses. The programme is delivered by Ministry of Tourism (MoT) sponsored Institutes of Hotel Management, Food Craft Institutes, State Tourism Development Corporations amongst others.

Presently training courses are also in place to bring up tourist escorts, tourist facilitators, event facilitators, security guards, tour assistants, transfer assistants and office assistants. The programme is fully funded by the MoT. A total of 207156 persons have been trained since the inception of the programme in the year 2009-10 till 30/06/2015.

In December, 2014, the scope of HSRT programme was expanded to allow the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)/National Skill Development Agency (NSDA)/government approved private hospitality Institutes as also the industrial units, industry associations and skill imparting bodies with proven credentials for its implementation.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question today in Lok Sabha. 

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Foreign Tourist Arrivals register a growth of 10.2% in 2014 over 2013 & 2012 

The growth registered in the final figures of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during last three years was better than the provisional estimates of FTAs except for the year 2012. The provisional estimates and final figures of FTAs in India along with the growth rates over previous year is given below:

Year
2012
2013
2014
Provisional FTAs  (in million)
6.65
6.85
7.46
Growth rate (%)
5.4
4.1
7.1
Final FTAs (in million)
6.58
6.97
7.68
Growth rate (%)
4.3
5.9
10.2
    
One of the suggestions received for National Tourism Policy 2015, being prepared, includes the setting up of a National Tourism Authority/Board.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question today in Lok Sabha.


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Wi-Fi Service at Heritage Sites 


Archaeological Survey of India has identified 25 Adarsh Monuments (centrally protected monuments), to provide Wi-Fi facility, which would be available free of cost for the first 30 minutes and thereafter it is chargeable on additional usage.  List of 25 monuments is given below.

Details of Adarsh Smarak (protected monuments) identified for providing Wi-Fi facility

SL.NO.
NAME OF MONUMENT

STATE
1
Rang Ghar, Sibsagar
Assam
2
Vaishali- Kolhua
Bihar
3
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

NCT Delhi
4
Qutb Complex, Delhi
5
Red Fortj, Delhi
6
Rani-ki-Vav, Patan
Gujarat
7
Rock-cut Temples, Masroor
Himachal Pradesh
8
Leh Palace, Leh
Jammu & Kashmir
9
Sun Temple at Martand
10
Ruins at Hampi, Bellary
Karnataka
11
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
12
Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
Maharashtra
13
Fort at Daultabad
14
Monuments at Mandu
Madhya Pradesh
15
Group of temples at Khajuraho
16
Sun Temple, Konark
Odisha
17
Kumbhalgarh Fort, Kelwada
Rajasthan
18
Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
Tamil Nadu
19
Brihadeshwar Temple, Thanjavur
20
Taj Mahal, Agra

Uttar Pradesh
21
Group of Monuments at Fatehpur Sikri
22
Ancient Site at Sravasti
23
Excavated Site Sarnath, Varanasi
24
Group of Temples at Jageshwar
Uttarakhand
25
Hazardwari Palace, Murshidabad
West Bengal


This information was given by The Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question in the Lok Sabha today.

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Formulation of New Tourism Policy 

The Ministry of Tourism is currently in the process of formulating a National Tourism Policy 2015 with the aim of positioning India as a “Must Experience” and “Must Revisit” destination for Global Travellers, encouraging Indians to explore their own country and realising the potential of tourism as a major engine for economic growth, employment generation and poverty alleviation in a responsible framework.

The Ministry of Tourism has launched the following new schemes pursuant to the Budget 2014-15 announcements:

1)         Swadesh Darshan for integrated Development of Tourist Circuits around specific Themes.
2)         National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) to beautify and improve the amenities and infrastructure at pilgrimage centres of all faiths.


(Rs. in Crore)
Projects sanctioned under Swadesh Darshan
2014-15
Sl. No
Name of the Circuit
State
Name of Project
Amt. Sanctioned
1
Coastal
Andhra Pradesh
Development of Kakinada Hope Island Konaseema as World class coastal & Eco Tourism Circuit in Andhra Pradesh
69.83
2.
North East
Arunachal Pradesh
Bhaulpong – Bomdila – Twang in Arunachal Pradesh
50.00
3.
Buddhist Circuit
Bihar
Cultural Centre, Bodhgaya
33.17
2015-16
1
North East
Manipur
Development of Tourist Circuit in Manipur: Imphal-Moirang-Khongjom-Moreh
71.82
2
North East
Sikkim
Development of Tourist Circuit linking – Rangpo (entry) – Rorathang – Aritar – Phadamchen – Nathang – Sherathang – Tsongmo – Gangtok – Phodong – Mangan – Lachung – Yumthang – Lachen – Thangu –Gurudongmer – Mangan – Gangtok – Tumin Lingee – Singtam (exit) in Sikkim
98.05



 Total
322.87



(Rs. in Crore)
Projects sanctioned under PRASAD   (2014-15)
Sl. No.
Name of the City
Name of the Project
Amt. Sanctioned
1.
Gaya
Dev. of Basic Facilities at Vishnupad Temple, Gaya, Bihar
4.29
2.
Puri
Infrastructure Development at Puri, Shree Jagannath Dham – Ramachandi-Prachi River front at Deuli – Dhauli under Mega Circuit
50.00
3.
Mathura
Mathura – Vrindavan as a Mega Tourist Circuit (Phase–I)
14.93
4.
Mathura
Mathura Tourist Facilitation Center
9.35


This information was given by the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question today in Lok Sabha.
                      

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Government notifies new simplified “Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children 2015” 

Ministry of Women and Child Development has notified revised Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children 2015 effective from1.8.2015. The 2015 Guidelines issued by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) would replace the 2011 Adoption Guidelines.  

The revised guidelines have been framed keeping in mind the issues and challenges faced by CARA, Adoption Agencies and Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs).
These Guidelines are intended to provide for more effective regulation for adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children and would bring more transparency and efficiency in the adoption system. With the new guidelines, it would become possible for PAPs to track the status of their application making the entire system more user friendly.

Accordingly, Central Adoption Resource Information Guidance System (CARINGS), as an e-governance measure created for the purpose of facilitating adoption of children, has been revamped. CARINGS will facilitate the adoption of maximum number of adoptable children and ensure a smoother adoption process by curbing undue delays. For hassle-free adoption, CARINGS will contain a centralized data bank of adoptable children and PAPs. Clear cut timelines for domestic and inter-country adoption have been laid down to ensure early deinstitutionalization of such children.

All District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) will be connected online to CARINGS. DCPUs will be responsible for making newspaper publications of abandoned children and the expenditure, if required, could be incurred under Integrated Child Protection Units (ICPS) Fund. One DCPU member will also be part of the Adoption Committee.

Salient features of the Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015:

(i)                 Clear and transparent procedure for registration of resident Indians and provision for uploading required documents online.

(ii)               PAPs have an option to select an adoption agency of their choice for conducting Home Study Report (HSR) and preferred State also.

(iii)             Home study Report of PAPs can be prepared by SARA/DCPU empanelled social worker.

(iv)             Seniority of PAPs would be maintained from the date of registration.

(v)               The maximum combined age for married couple has been increased from 105 years to 110 years to encourage adoption of older children.

(vi)             Minimum 25 years age gap between the child and adoptive parents has been prescribed.

(vii)           More clarity in adoption of special needs children, older children and siblings. Older children and siblings would no more be considered as special needs children.

(viii)         All Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAAs) would be authorised to do In-country & Inter-country adoption.

(ix)             Inter-state adoptions made simpler to boost adoptions within the country; No permission of State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) is required for domestic adoption from another State.

(x)               NRIs would be treated at par with resident Indians in terms of priority regarding referral of a child. 

(xi)             Greater clarity in the process and documentation for OCI and Foreign PAPs living in India.

(xii)           Adoption expenses for different category of PAPs prescribed.

(xiii)         Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) would have a provision of renewal after a period of five years.

(xiv)         All adoptions (in-country or inter-country) to proceed on CARINGS, adoption outside CARINGS is strictly prohibited.

The new simplified guidelines are available on the website of the Ministry of Women and Child Development “www.wcd.nic.in” and website of CARA “www.adoptionindia.nic.in.”




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