Thursday, 22 February 2018

NDMA prepares States to deal with Heat Wave 2018

Timely action to enable States to effectively implement their Heat Action Plans

The two-day national workshop on Preparedness, Mitigation and Management of Heat wave concluded successfully today in Vijaywada with all stakeholders resolving to work towards effectively mitigating the impact of the imminent heat wave this year. The workshop was organised by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Shri Kamal Kishore, Member, NDMA, while discussing the way forward and emerging issues this year, said "the focus of our efforts should be on reducing the number of deaths. However, there is a need to look at heat-related illnesses so that the vulnerability of the most marginalised sections can be brought down".

At the technical session on Capacity Building & Enhancing effective response to Heat wave, the need to use specific awareness campaigns and outreach programmes to sensitise communities to take measures to reduce the impact of heat waves was discussed. The session also discussed heat resilience in the context of Sustainable Development Goals besides the issue of developing sector-specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dealing with heat related illnesses and deaths.

The session on Monitoring, Review and Updation of Heat Action Plan discussed the importance of coordination amongst all agencies and regular monitoring of the heat wave situation. It highlighted the significance of reviewing and updating Heat Action Plans to suit the changes in an environment besides the role of standardized documentation and reporting.

Heat waves often lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, stress and even a fatal heat stroke. With advance planning and preparedness, heat wave induced deaths and illnesses can be brought down.

In 2016, with NDMA's ‘Guidelines for Preparation of Action Plan – Prevention and Management of Heat-Wave’ and the pro-active approach of some of the most vulnerable States, the number of deaths in the country came down significantly. Taking the success story forward, NDMA in 2017 organized a national workshop on heat wave at Hyderabad in Telangana. Deliberations at the workshop along with timely updation of the Guidelines, regular follow-up, close monitoring and review, effective implementation by State Governments and awareness generation campaigns further brought down the number of heat wave-induced deaths in the country.

Three technical sessions - Heat Wave Action Plan and Risk Reduction, Early warning, forecasting and Preparedness for heat wave and Experience Sharing & lessons learnt for heat wave mitigation measures and emerging issues in 2018 -were held on the first day of the workshop.

Members and senior officials from NDMA, experts on heat wave, early warning and forecasting agencies, State governments and research institutions participated in the workshop.

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

'Inclusive' growth inherent to rise of 'New India': Dr Jitendra Singh

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 said here today that "inclusive" growth is inherent to the rise of "New India".

Addressing the Plenary Session of the International Conference of "Inclusive Tribal Congregation", Dr Jitendra Singh said the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's dream of "New India" is inspired by equitable growth of each section of society, regardless of the socio-economic background. The government has envisaged for itself the objective of empowering the poor to enable them to eradicate their own poverty, he added.

In the global world today, where distances and time - gaps have tremendously narrowed down, Dr Jitendra Singh said, "inclusiveness" is the only option available to move forward. The government is inspired by the ideology of "inclusiveness" which was postulated half a century ago by Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay, who defined the concept of "Antyoday", he added.

Dr Jitendra Singh said a series of innovative new programmes initiated by the Central Government in the last three years have been inspired by the idea of making every section of society a part of India's growth story and the most striking example of this are schemes like "Jan Dhan Yojana", "PM Krishi Vikas Yojana", etc. Similarly, this approach of "inclusiveness", he said, has been seriously conscious of the fact that over 70% of population of India today is below the age of 40 years and schemes like "Start-up India, Stand-up India" or "Mudra Yojana" are meant to ensure their "inclusiveness".

As for the tribes, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the best example is offered by Northeast, where we have more than 200 tribes but many members of the tribal communities have excelled themselves in their respective fields of activity and have today emerged as role models for other communities and so called mainstreams of society. This has also been partly possible, he said, because of modern technology and hi-tech means of easy accessibility to information and easy connectivity with peers across the world.

PM Shri Narendra Modi's economic reforms are not mere economic reforms but also social and behavioral reforms with a long term impact, said Dr Jitendra Singh.

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) for NER

The first meeting of IMC on MAPs is scheduled to be held on 12th of March. The meeting will be co-chaired by Secretaries of DoNER and AYUSH.

The Ministry of Development of North-East Region (MDoNER) will be the coordinator for the IMC of MAPs.

IMC will also suggest actionable measures for enhancing the livelihood and economic transformation based on cultivation and sustainable management of MAPs resource in North East Region.

An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) has been set up for the North Eastern Region (NER). This was decided after a meeting between Secretaries of DoNER and AYUSH. The IMC is to create synergy in various programmes of the Union Government to enable medicinal and aromatic plants sector become vibrant and develop the resources to its potential.

The first meeting of IMC on MAPs is scheduled to be held on 12th of March. The meeting will be co-chaired by Secretaries of DoNER and AYUSH. The IMC will facilitate coordination among Ministries and Departments in various programmes being implemented on conservation, sustainable management and development of MAPs in NER for enhancing the livelihood and economic transformation.

The Ministry of Development of North-East Region (MDoNER) will be the coordinator for the IMC of MAPs. The Committee will review the existing mechanism or institutional arrangements for management and development of MAPs resources of NER. The IMC will identify gaps in the existing mechanism or institutional arrangements, suggest a policy intervention for optimally harnessing the MAPs resources of NER and accelerating the development of MAPs sector, suggest a Plan of Action for dovetailing of the schemes and programmes of concerned Ministries and Departments. The IMC will also suggest actionable measures for enhancing the livelihood and economic transformation based on cultivation and sustainable management of MAPs resource in North East Region.

The IMC will comprise members from various Ministries, Departments and several organisations in the relevant fields.

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

I appeal all State Governments to make mother tongue a mandatory subject at least up to high school level: Vice President

Private sector must play a bigger role in developing health infra;

MBBS graduates must serve in Rural areas for at least two years;

Delivers 11th Convocation address at Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu appealed all State Governments to make mother tongue a mandatory subject at least up to high school level. Delivers 11th Convocation address at Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, in Chennai today.

The Vice President said that a child can grasp and understand better in his or her own mother tongue than any other language. He further said that a child will be able to communicate and articulate her thoughts effectively in her native language. We can usually express our thoughts much better in our mother language, he added.

The Vice President said that we live in a multicultural and multilingual world. He further said since language and culture are intertwined, there is an absolute need to strengthen our indigenous languages including the many languages spoken by many tribal groups in our country. Language is the lifeline of a culture and in a way defines the larger social milieu in which a society lives, he added.

The Vice President said that lifes of the great people must be a part of History carriculum for all students including medical students and a country which forgets its history and culture will never prosper. He further said that one must remember the past and plan for the future and move accordingly. We have to revert back to our roots, we have to know our culture, he added.

The Vice President said that the private sector must play a bigger role in developing health infra. He further said that the society has given a lot to the medical students and they must give back to the society by way of serving the rural population by working at least for two years in rural areas. There is an acute shortage of doctors as also healthcare facilities in the rural area and drastic changes must be made to make healthcare accessible to everyone, he added.

Following is the text of Vice President's address:

"It is indeed a great pleasure for me to deliver the convocation address on the occasion of the 11th convocation of Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, (SIMATS) Chennai.

Today is a red letter for all the students, who are receiving their degrees. You are witnessing a major milestone in your career and I would like to congratulate all those who are graduating, their parents and the faculty on this occasion.

Dear students, a world of opportunities and challenges awaits you all as you bid adieu to this campus to start a new innings. No doubt, you will be missing your friends and the faculty, but the happy times you have spent here will always remain etched in your memory.

I would like to compliment Dr. N.M. Veeraiyan, the Founder Chancellor of Saveetha University for having contributed to the cause of this university which is providing quality education through a multitude of academic programmes. I am told that students are drawn from all over India and abroad, representing different sections. It makes Saveetha Institute one of the India’s most ethnically diverse learning centres.

I am told that the university also has touched many lives through community service, particularly in health care. I am also informed that the university has adopted numerous innovations that created a unique platform of learner-centric education. I am glad to know that the campus is part of the National Knowledge Network that provides this university with a greater bandwidth for use.

Dear students, with the advent of the globally competitive educational environment, I strongly feel that every student should have adequate opportunities to gain knowledge, technical skills, self-reliance, and also a sense of responsibility as a fellow citizen. This can be better accomplished by providing quality academicprogrammes and exposing students to real life situations.

In today’s environment, students have to actively participate in the learning process with the teachers acting more as facilitators rather than textbook-type instructors. The instruction must be so designed as to make the students learn life-skills and knowledge. In fact, it has be to a continuous learning process in the medical field as the doctors need to keep themselves constantly updated with the latest knowledge and techniques.

I have observed that when students are empowered, they take ownership, develop passion and display dedication and commitment to pursue their academic goals. This is the reason why the Government of India has taken radical initiatives, including promotion of ‘Value-Based Education’.

In its pursuit of this vision, the government has initiated some highly innovative programmes, including Digital India, Skill India and Clean India, which are expected to spur the national growth.

Though, we have a long way to go to realise the fullest potential of our educational initiatives, India has remarkably transformed its higher education landscape for the last two decades. As a result, India has not only bettered its figures on enrolment but has dramatically enhanced its learning outcomes. India has 70 million student population; a force to reckon with. Among them are potential thought leaders, researchers, academicians, entrepreneurs and executives. 

India’s post-secondary education system is increasingly recognized as one of the best in the world. India has emerged as a regional hub of education and attracts global learners from all over the world. Students, faculty and employers now flock to India to learn, teach and recruit as India dons the mantle of a higher education leader and emerges as the role model for delivering high-quality education to vast numbers at affordable cost. 

India is one of the largest providers of global talent, with one in four who graduate in the world being a product of the Indian system. Tamil Nadu has performed remarkably well in the area of education and has emerged as the leader in the country in terms of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education.

Dear students, now I would like to flag an issue that is close to my heart. As you all are aware, there is an acute shortage of doctors as also healthcare facilities in the rural areas. India has less than one doctor for every 1,000 population, which is less than the WHO standard. This situation needs to be remedied. I feel that it should be made mandatory for MBBS graduates to work for at least two years in rural areas.

We cannot have two Indias with the cities having the state-of-the-art facilities and the rural areas lagging behind. The private sector must play a bigger role in bridging this gap, not only in terms of turning out more number of medicos but also in creating healthcare infrastructure. However, the private sector health facilities must not only be accessible to the needy and poor, but must also be affordable. The healthcare facilities in rural areas, particularly in remote places, need to be augmented through public-private partnership.

In a bid to improve the health infrastructure as also the manpower, the government has recently approved the setting up of 24 new government medical colleges. As a result, it is expected that there will be one medical college for every three Parliamentary Constituencies and at least one medical college in every State. Ultimately, the aim should be to have one medical college for every district in the country.

Ayushman Bharat Yojana is another initiative that seeks to provide quality healthcare to about 50 crore people in the country.

There is also a need to step up budgetary allocations to healthcare sector by various State Governments and the Union Government.

I am glad to know that the super-specialty hospitals of Saveetha Institute are providing health care services free of cost to the rural poor of this region. Others must also emulate this institute.

I am also told this institution has taken numerous steps to inculcate research culture among the students by giving an opportunity to faculty and students to involve in scientific, interdisciplinary, cross-professional research which is supported by grants.

We should remember our languages and protect our languages.

On the occasion of the Convocation, as Vice President of the nation I would like to advise all the state governments that every state must make it a mandatory to have mother tongue up to high school level. Other languages can also be taken up as additional languages. First you must master your mother tongue.

What is most important is to promote the use of mother tongue.

A child can grasp and understand better in his or her own mother tongue than any other language. Not only that, a child will be able to communicate and articulate her thoughts effectively in her native language.

We can usually express our thoughts much better in our mother language. It has been found that children learn better, especially at the primary stage, if they are taught in their mother language.

We live in a multicultural and multilingual world. We need to preserve this multilingual nature of our world and the best way to do that is to preserve our individual languages and further enrich them.

Since language and culture are intertwined, there is an absolute need to strengthen our indigenous languages including the many languages spoken by many tribal groups in our country.

Language is the lifeline of a culture and in a way defines the larger social milieu in which a society lives.

Language plays an important role not only in communication but also in creating a bond of oneness among the people who speak the same tongue.

Life of the great people must be a part of History to all students including medical students. A country which forgets its history and culture will never prosper. You must remember the past and plan for the future and move accordingly. We have to revert back to our roots, we have to know our culture.

In the end, I would like you to be mindful of the path ahead which will be highly challenging. As stated by the former President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam:

‘Learning gives creativity,
Creativity leads to thinking
Thinking provides knowledge,
Knowledge makes you great’.

I would like to compliment the faculty members for their tireless commitment and extend greetings to all my dear young friends, who are graduating today. I would also like to congratulate eminent persons who are receiving ‘Honorary Causa’ for their exemplary accomplishments. I wish everyone a happy and rewarding future.

So to end this, I would say realize your potential, realize what you can do in life, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ as said by Mahatma Gandhi.

Make yourself, your parents and the country proud.

Thank you. JAI HIND !"

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Shri Nitin Gadkari calls for Innovation and Sharing of Resources, Information and Best Practices in the field of water conservation

Presides over the 37th annual general meeting of National Institute of Hydrology Society

The Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri Nitin Gadkari has called upon research organizations to innovate in the area of water conservation and sustainable management of water resources. He has stressed upon the need to study advanced technologies and procedures like cloud bursting and water accounting being used in other parts of the world, and adopt those that are feasible for our country. Shri Gadkari was addressing the 37th Annual General Meeting of the National Institute of Hydrology Society in New Delhi today. The Minister said that a lot of people and organizations are doing very good work in this field, and we need to network them on a single platform. Many departments are doing the same kind of work to achieve the same objective, but there is a lack of proper coordination and information sharing among them. In this regard Shri Gadkari suggested that a website should be created for sharing available resources, information and best practices available in different parts of the country. 

Shri U.P. Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation drew attention to the decreasing flow of water in many springs in the Himalayan Region and the need to start a programme for rejuvenating these springs.

Director, National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) Shri Sharad Kumar Jain made a presentation on different activities of NIH. The institute was setup in 1978 to carry out research and development in the area of hydrology and water resources. It has excelled in research and consultancy projects, developing world class laboratories, organizing training and mass awareness programmes. NIH is contributing in three major national projects – National Hydrology Project where its role is to provide training and R&D; National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem and Neeranchal National Watershed Project of the Government of India and World Bank. It is also working on various other projects like Interlinking of rivers, Snow/Glacier studies etc.

Shri Thakur Mahender Singh, Irrigation and Public Health Minister of Himachal Pradesh and senior officials of the Ministry also attended the meeting. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Projects worth nearly Rs. 4,000 crore approved in 9th executive committee meeting of NMCG

In the 9th Executive Committee meeting of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), projects worth nearly Rs 4,000 crore were approved including a 20 MLD Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for tannery cluster at Jajmau in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. This 3-phased project at an estimated cost of Rs. 629 crore includes pre-treatment unit in 380 individual tannery units, a 20 CETP with physical, biological and tertiary treatment, installation of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD)-based pilot plant of 200 KLD capacity among other components. The central share of this project is Rs. 472 crore. This is a major step forward in arresting the pollution in Ganga emanating from the crucial industrial town of Kanpur. The project will be executed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – Jajmau Tannery Effluent Treatment Association.

Another project in Kanpur was approved at an estimated cost of Rs 967.23 crore for rehabilitation and integration of sewage treatment infrastructure in Jajmau, Bingawan, Sajari zones under Hybrid Annuity-PPP mode. This project also includes construction of a 30 MLD STP at Pankha. The central government will do capital investment and 15 years Operation and Maintenance.

In Allahabad, a project worth Rs 904 crore for rehabilitation and integration of sewage treatment infrastructure in Naini, Salori, Numayadahi, Rajapur, Ponghat, Kodra sewerage zones in Allahabad was approved under Hybrid Annuity-PPP mode. An online monitoring system for all STPs and SPS for proper implementation has also been approved. The central government will do capital investment and 15 years Operation and Maintenance.

One project of in-situ/ex-situ bio-remediation treatment of drains going into river Ganga has also been given approval at an estimated cost of Rs. 410 crore. NMCG through CPCB and other PSUs identified major polluting drains meeting main stem wherein technology service provider will set up treatment facilities including containerized modular treatment plants for abatement of pollution of river Ganga and its tributaries. The identified drains were further classified into priority drains which require immediate intervention. 20 drains have been considered for treatment in the first phase of the project. The step has been taken to adopt swift, techno-economic and sustainable technologies like in-situ/ex-situ to manage the pollution load in drains for interim period of infrastructure development and also to manage the cumulative effect of direct discharging of sewage into river Ganga. The activity is packaging holistic approach being taken under Namami Gange programme to arrest the flow of sewage into river Ganga.

One project for rehabilitation with Operation & Maintenance of 15 years for Garden Reach STP (57 MLD) and Keorapukur STP (50 MLD) in West Bengal under Hybrid Annuity mode has also been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 165.16 crore. The central government will do capital investment and 15 years Operation and Maintenance.

Besides, three sewage infrastructure projects have been accorded revised approvals in Begusarai, Hajipur and Munger in Bihar at an estimated cost of Rs. 230.06 crore, Rs. 305.18 crore and Rs. 294.02 crore respectively. The central share in these three projects is Rs 161.04 crore, Rs. 213.63 crore and Rs. 205.81 crore respectively. The central government will do capital investment and 15 years Operation and Maintenance.

The meeting was chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and DG NMCG, Shri U.P. Singh and senior officials of Ministry and NMCG.

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kenya notified

Revised DTAA to improve transparency in tax matters, help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance, remove double taxation and will stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between both the countries.

The Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kenya was signed and notified in 1985. Subsequently, the DTAA was renegotiated and a revised DTAA was signed between both countries on 11th July, 2016. The revised DTAA has been notified in the Official Gazette on 19th February, 2018.

Some of the key features of the revised DTAA are highlighted as under:

  • In order to promote cross border flow of investments and technology, the revised DTAA provides for reduction in withholding tax rates from 15% to 10% on dividends, from 15% to 10% on interest, from 20% to 10% on royalties and from 17.5% to 10% on fees for management, professional and technical services.
  • The revised DTAA provides for a new Article on Limitation of Benefits to allow treaty benefits to bonafide residents of both countries, to combat treaty abuse by third country residents and to allow application of domestic law to prevent tax avoidance or evasion.
  • The Article on Exchange of Information has been updated to the latest international standard to provide for exchange of information, including banking information for tax purposes, to the widest possible extent.
  • A new Article on Assistance in Collection of Taxes has also been provided in the revised treaty which will enable assistance in collection of tax revenue claims between both countries.
The revised DTAA will improve transparency in tax matters, help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance, remove double taxation and will stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Kenya.

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

NDMA prepares States to deal with Heat Wave 2018

Timely action to enable States to effectively implement their Heat Action Plans The two-day national workshop on Preparedness, Mitigat...