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President presents ‘Standard’ to 125 Helicopter Squadron and ‘Colours’ to mechanical training institute of IAF

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The President and Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, Shri Pranab Mukherjee releasing the First Day Covers of Mechanical Training Institute (MTI) Tambaram and 125 Helicopter Squadron Pathankot, during the presentation of the prestigious President’s Standard and Colours, at Air Force Station Tambaram, Tamil Nadu on March 03, 2017. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa is also seen.

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the ‘Standard’ to 125 Helicopter Squadron and ‘Colours’ to Mechanical Training Institute of Indian Air Force today (March 3, 2017) at Air Force Station, Tambaram, Tamil Nadu.

Speaking on the occasion, the President complimented the 125 Helicopter Squadron and Mechanical Training Institute of Indian Air Force and said these units have a glorious past, embedded with rich heritage, stellar efforts and selfless service to the Nation. For their unflinching devotion, professionalism, ethos and courage, the Nation honours them with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation.

The President said that India is a responsible and emerging power in a multipolar, multilateral world. The ever changing socio-economic and geo-political scenario in our region of influence demands a strong deterrent against those with nefarious designs to affect the progress, prosperity and security of our Nation. Apart from providing deterrence against inimical entities, both external and internal, our Armed Forces have been at the forefront of providing succour to our citizens during natural calamities. The relentless and selfless operations showcase the fortitude and determination of its gallant air warriors.

The President said that the Indian Air Force has evolved into a technologically advanced entity whilst safeguarding the sovereignty of our Nation. The resilience and tenacity displayed by the air warriors is worthy of emulation by the youth of our country.

 

Oil India Limited celebrated 58th Foundation Day

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Oil India Limited (OIL), India’s second largest National Exploration & Production Company, celebrated its 58th Foundation Day with full fervor and zeal at it’s Corporate Office in NOIDA on 18th February, 2017. Various events were organized for observing the company’s 58th Foundation Day, which received a large participation from all personnel and their family members. The activities included Pledge taking, wherein Sri Utpal Bora, Chairman & Managing Director, OIL administered the Pledge to all employees of the company’s Corporate Office; a talk on health and holistic wellbeing by Dr. Ritu Gaur, Director of Saksham Yoga & Naturopathy Treatment Cum Research Centre, New Delhi; talk on building harmony in relationships by Sri B.K. Pius, Director, Prajapita Brahmakumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya; and a Walkathon & a Cleanliness Drive in Sector 15 A, OIL Residential Complex, Noida. Like in the Corporate Office, the Foundation Day was celebrated across all offices of the company across the country

NITI Aayog to partner with eminent Civil Society organizations

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Recognizing the important role played by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in effective implementation of government policies/schemes, NITI Aayog organized an interaction with the leading CSOs and key ministries of the Union Government in the national capital on Wednesday, March 01, 2017.

Over 17 leading voluntary organizations and 15 central ministries took part in the deliberations to take forward the social sector initiatives of the government. The voluntary organizations from all over the country, working across the spectrum of social sector services from education, health, geriatric care, women’s empowerment, rural development to handlooms, interacted with senior officials from Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Women and Child Development, FSSAI, Ministry of Minority Affairs, among others.

Highlighting the crucial role of CSOs in ensuring inclusive growth and development down to the last mile, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman, Dr. Arvind Panagariya said, “An effective partnership between the government and the CSOs will go a long way in efficient utilization of government resources, especially in the social sector.”

Emphasizing the potential of a collaborative approach to create a lasting impact on the lives of all citizens, NITI Aayog CEO, Mr. Amitabh Kant said that innovative solutions to eliminate poverty, hunger and all other forms of deprivation can emerge through greater coordination between CSOs and the government.

The meeting identified effective ways of strengthening partnership between CSOs and the government at the national, state/district and ground level for improving service delivery of major government schemes.

A range of issues pertaining to social sector service delivery from allocation of funds to monitoring and evaluation processes, including self-regulation of CSOs, were discussed at the roundtable. Elucidating the nature and impact of work performed by the organization, each CSO brought to the table specific sector-wise recommendations to collaborate with government ministries and departments. Suggestions were made by leading voluntary organizations including Pratham, Help Age India, Sulabh International, Pradhan, Akshaya Patra and Prayas for developing a sustainable partnership between voluntary organizations and the Government.

Carrying forward the spirit of partnership, it has been decided that similar interactions to build strong partnerships for effective governance will take place at regular intervals.

 

Furnishing of Aadhaar mandatory for final settlement of Pension claims

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The EPFO has clarified that obtaining of Aadhaar should be mandatory for the time being only for final settlement of Pension and not in withdrawl cases. The EPFO had extended the date of submission of Aadhaar Number authentication by the members of Employees’Pension Scheme 1995 upto 31st March 2017.
However, news item appearing in few dailies suggested that Aadhaar is not required in settlement of pension claims. Accordingly, the EPFO reiterated that the requirement of submitting Aadhaar is not insisted for the time being only in withdrawal benefit cases under Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995. Furnishing of Aadhaar is still mandatory for final settlement of pension and scheme certificate cases.

Rs. 16,097 cr foreign exchange earned through tourism in Jan. 2017

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Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during the month of January 2017 were Rs.16,097 crore as compared to Rs.13,669 crore in January 2016 and Rs.12,100 crore in January 2015. The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during January 2017 over January 2016 was 17.8% as compared to the growth of 13.0% in January 2016 over January 2015. Based on the credit data of Travel head as available from Balance of Payments of RBI for the previous year, Ministry of Tourism estimates and releases the data of Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism in India, both in rupee and dollar terms, for the current month applying suitable inflation factor and current month Foreign Tourist Arrivals data.

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism (in Rs. terms)

  • FEEs  during the month of January 2017 were Rs.16,097 crore as compared to Rs.13,669 crore in January 2016 and Rs.12,100 crore in January 2015.

 

  • The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during January 2017 over January 2016 was 17.8% as compared to the growth of 13.0% in January 2016 over January 2015.

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism (in US $ terms)

  • FEEs in US$ terms during the month of January 2017 were US$ 2.364 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 2.032 billion during the month of January 2016 and US$ 1.945 billion in January 2015.

 

  • The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in January 2017 over January 2016 was 16.3% compared to a positive growth of 4.5% in January 2016 over January 2015.

 

India signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for US$ 63 Million for Tejaswini

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A Financing Agreement for IDA credit of US$ 63 million (equivalent) for theon 23rd February, 2017. The Financing Agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank. A Project Agreement was also signed by Mr. Mukhmeet Singh Bhatia, Principal Secretary, Department of Women, Child Development, Government of Jharkhand and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank.

The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills and thereafter provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of secondary education, depending on the inclination of the beneficiary. The project will be delivered in 17 Districts of Jharkhand. The project has three main components, (i) Expanding social, educational and economic opportunities (ii) Intensive service delivery (iii) State capacity-building and implementation support. About 680,000 adolescent girls and young women in the project Districts are expected to benefit from the program.

The closing date for the project is 30th June, 2021.

Three Forest Research Institutes Develop High-Yielding Varieties of Plant Species

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Three institutes of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun, have developed 20 high-yielding varieties of plant species. The Variety Releasing Committee (VRC) of ICFRE, granted approval for the release of these varieties of plant species, at a meeting held here yesterday (Feb. 27).
Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, has worked, for more than a decade, on ten improved varieties of Melia dubia and three clones of Eucalyptus tereticornis, the timber of which is in high demand in the industry. The released cultivars of Melia, popularly known as Dreake, or Malabar Neem, not only have a high productivity per unit area, with an average of 34.57 cubic metre per hectare per annum, but also have an excellent bole form, which is a desirable characteristic for plywood industry. Similarly, the average productivity of the released varieties of Eucalyptus has been recorded as 19.44 cubic meter per hectare per annum, against the present productivity level of 5-7 cubic meter per hectare per annum. These clones have also been found to be resistant to pink disease and wall gasp. Research at Institute of Forest Genetic and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore, has resulted in the development of five inter-specific hybrids of Casuarina equisetifolia X Casuarina junghuhniana for use as timber. Similarly, Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur, developed two varieties of medicinal plant Rauvolfia serpentina.
The developed varieties have to go through stringent long field trials and testing before release. The VRC meeting that released the varieties was held under the chairmanship of Director General, Forest and Special Secretary, Dr. S.S Negi granted approval for the release of these varieties. The three institutes that have developed the varieties are – Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB), Coimbatore and Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur. Director General, ICFRE and Co-Chair of VRC, Dr. Shashi Kumar, Director, TFRI, Dr. Prakasham, Director, FRI, Dr. Savita, Director, IFGRB, Dr. Prashanth and two experts of the subject matter, Dr. D.K Khurana, Dr. Vishnu Bhatt, Shri Omkar Singh PCCF (HoFF), AGMUT and Dr. Amrinder Kaur, PCCF (HoFF), Haryana, were also present at the VRC meeting.
Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun established as an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, carries out the holistic research on forestry species. The nine Institutes under ICFRE are actively engaged in improvement of plantation tree species to improve yield, quality and productivity to meet the demand for domestic consumption by industries.
In its earlier efforts, ICFRE released 27 high-yielding clones in 2010, 2011 and 2014 of Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus Hybrid, Casuarina equisetifolia, Casuarina junghuhniana and Dalbergia sissoo and are in commercial production now. Of these, 27 varieties have been released in the past. Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore, developed 25 varieties and remaining two varieties of Dalbergia sissoo and Eucalyptus Hybrid were developed by Forest Research Institute, Dehradun.

 

Nation gets its first integrated heliport at Rohini in Delhi

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The Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati at the dedication ceremony of the First Integrated Heliport to the Nation, at Rohini Heliport, in Delhi on February 28, 2017. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Shri Anil Baijal, the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Shri R.N. Choubey and the Member of Parliament, Shri Udit Raj are also seen.

The Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati at the dedication ceremony of the First Integrated Heliport to the Nation, at Rohini Heliport, in Delhi on February 28, 2017. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Shri Anil Baijal, the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Shri R.N. Choubey and the Member of Parliament, Shri Udit Raj are also seen.

In a first, the First Integrated Heliport was dedicated to the Nation by Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with Pawan Hans today at Rohini Heliport, Delhi. After inaugurating the facility the Minister for Civil Aviation Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the heliport was an excellent infrastructure but pointed out that helicopter services in India are still at a nascent stage. He added that the facility will keep the cost under control as MRO facility has been incorporated. This would also help in job creation. Speaking to media later, he said that joy rides have a future. He also expressed the hope that the pilot training centre would come up soon.
The Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Jayant Sinha said that the Aviation sector is making history almost every day and that the heliport is one such event. He said that the facility will be useful in providing medical emergency, public safety and enhancing tourism. Shri Sinha also said that helicopter services could become economically viable if the prevailing 25% tax on ATF was reduced.
The Secretary for Civil Aviation, Shri R.N. Choubey said that it is part of National Aviation Policy to have four heliports, one in each region and Rohini’s heliport is the first step. He also said that helicopter operations could be shifted from I.G.I to Rohini.

The Rohini heliport has been completed in almost two years at a cost of nearly 100 crores. This Heliport will provide all helicopter operational facilities and will decongest busy Indira Gandhi International Airport, and also promote Regional Air connectivity through helicopters in the northern part of the country for regular passenger services, heli services, landing & parking of helicopters, Helicopters Maintenance Services (MRO), disaster management, helicopter emergency medical services (HeMS), law & order surveillance. The Heliport consists of a terminal building having capacity of 150 passengers, 4 hangers with parking capacities for 16 helicopters and 9 parking bays.

Pawan Hans has also prepared a roadmap to connect all the major destination from this Heliport such as Ex-Delhi to Shimla, Haridwar, Dehradun Mathura, Agra, Meerut and Industrial Hubs such as Manesar, Bahadurgarh etc. They will provide air connectivity between Delhi and neighbouring cities from Rohini Heliport. Regional connectivity will be fully achieved when we are able to connect at least all capital cities with district headquarters by air, which can be made possible only by combination of smaller planes and helicopters for seamless connectivity.
PHL is working on its business diversification and has devised a Strategic Plan – 2020 according to which company will be diversifying into small fixed wing and seaplane operations; Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) business and development of helipads and Heliports. It is working to develop four “heli-hubs” in line with the concept lines of the “Airport-Hubs” and Rohini is the First step into this series. These heli-hubs will be a one-point solution for the helicopter business and will act as a heliport for public passenger services, MRO facility for helicopter maintenance and also as a skill development centre for training of pilots, AMEs and technicians

 

Elections could be a subdued affair

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With SP in fragments and most parties feeling the heat of the demonetization drive of PM Modi, electoral politics in Uttar Pradesh could take an altogether different dimension this time round

By Prasoon Pant

With assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh just round the corner the political class is a bundle of nerves. While the recent demonetization drive has wiped out cash and many-an-aspirations of many “budding” ticket aspirants from all parties, it would be interesting to see how the political picture unfolds in the days to come—now with illegal cash out of the picture thereby promising to bring about a paradigm shift in the whole electoral process.

If the BJP hopes to gain with the current financial regime in place the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) has a lot of homework to do, especially now with the divisive internal politics that the party has fallen into. In fact, many say that SP has fallen prey to the same brand of politics that it is accused of promoting. The party is already facing anti-incumbency and further divisions in the rank & file has not gone down well with the public as even their ardent electoral support base in the form of Yadavs (of eastern UP) and Muslims is now in a disarray. The party also faces the added dilemma of keeping its flock loyal, at the district and the booth level as here, there is a possible danger of revolt and sabotage within the party organization during the elections, with their loyalties clearly divided now between CM Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav. Although Akhilesh Yadav has been the torchbearer for the SP in the last assembly elections and has shown some grit in weeding out the follies of his forbearers, this time whether he will be able to recreate the same magic is doubtful. “Everyone is in the know that Akhilesh has been used by the Yadav political clan to meet their own ends and hence it counts little if he has a good image or not,” remarked Rajiv Tyagi, a Muradnagar resident. “People this time will not be wooed by him as he has failed to come out of shadows of his father,” he added.

The SP’s main worry is not whether it will be able to fight a close battle with other parties or not; but whether or not it would be able to keep its own flock in check and from revolting against the party’s top brass—just before the crucial time of canvassing begins. This is specially more true after the recent announcement of contestants from Ghaziabad, many of whom were not seen as likely faces. One party insider told Ghaziabad Mail that many hopeful candidates were not shortlisted as contestants in West UP thereby increasing the likelihood of those turning up against the party and jeopardizing the prospects of SP candidates in many areas. Added to this is the constant infighting and bickering among SP party workers— who are not seen as disciplined by the common public. Also the anti-incumbency factor that is a vital factor in every election, is weighed heavily against SP and this is not going to make things better for them. “SP’s image has greatly been that of a party favouring Yadavs and Muslims and the Party has not been able to shed this image as yet,” said Hansraj Sharma, a resident of Raj Nagar, Ghaziabad. “Even if the SP leaders say otherwise, this favouritism will lead to its downfall,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Kumari Mayawati seems to have lost out on aggression with carefully crafted statements that are more reactionary in nature. The BSP is confident of the anti-incumbency in its favour and the BSP cadres feel that this time the party would be the natural choice of masses, who already suffer from the “mistrust” of SP rule. Not surprisingly, the party leaders alongside their supremo do not forget to mention the poor law & order situation in UP, in all their public interactions and utterances.

“The problem of this government is that incapable and inefficient people are sitting at the helm in most of the departments, commissions and authorities and the same is the case with the police,” pointed out Tejvir Bhati, a resident of Gr. Noida. “Getting a plum post in UP and especially in Ghaziabad or Noida, all depends on the connections you have with members of the ruling party,” he said and added, “At least, if this is not true this is the perception of the people in general.”

The BJP is largely fancying its chances on Prime Minister, Narendra Modi who is being projected as the first ever PM to have taken a sweeping decision to curb black money and corruption, apart from taking decisions on GST. “The PM’s image is definitely an advantage for the BJP, however all this would need to translate into BJP fielding reliable and people friendly candidates in elections and not just candidates with moolah in their pockets,” pointed out Sharad Tiwari, a resident of Noida. “The PM’s image and his rallies would be the opening the BJP has desired in elections, but the electorate knows that the  PM is not the CM candidate and here the party could be vulnerable,” he added.

“Also, the BJP should not forget that the BJP is the ruling party in the Centre and hence anti-incumbency factor could also come in here, albeit  to what extent is difficult to say now. The effects of the demonetisation move on the people’s mood is hard to assess as of now and this could play a definite part in the forthcoming assembly elections, said Manish Saxena, a Ghaziabad resident.

As far as Congress Party is concerned, it is a situation of being ‘better late than never’. The Congress Party  is searching for a neta that could connect with the masses. “The problem with the party is that the people of UP do not seem to take them as serious contenders in elections,” summed up Ravikant Sinha, a Meerut resident.

Autos, buses, taking commuters for a ride

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Barring a few, most auto and bus drivers try to take advantage of the commuting public going to and fro Vaishali Metro Station. Female commuters are often at the receiving end of these errant drivers. Ghaziabad Mail takes a look

By Prasoon Pant

Autos and buses stopping and being parked at and near the Vaishali Metro Station are proving a nuisance for the daily commuters. Although these autorickshaws are a convenient and affordable mode of travel for most of the commuters, especially working women their unregulated movement and virtually no fear of police and transport authorities is something going out of bounds. Many commuters complained to Ghaziabad Mail that while autos were the best form of last mile connectivity from the Metro Station, it would only augur well for all stakeholders to regulate their movement. “By taking such a move, the genuine autos will only ply making the roads safer for women commuters,” said Kamini Rawat, a daily commuter. Although the local transport authority is responsible for issuing permits to autos—both individual and shared—to ferry passengers, many of these are plying without the requisite permit and verification. Even the autowallahs claim that many among them were rogue and anti-social elements and the auto business would do well to get rid of them. Many of the auto drivers are minors, ineligible for a license and who drive irresponsibly on the road. Another daily commuter to Vaishali Metro Station, Trishla Sharma pointed out, “Although cops can be seen manning the movement of autos and other modes of transport nowadays, they have failed to initiate action against the rowdy auto drivers who often block the way and misbehave with the public.” In fact, the problem has engulfed the whole of Ghaziabad city where an increasing number of men and women have started travelling by the Metro.

While the shared autos, carrying 8 passengers at a time, travel up to Vasundhara, Vaishali, Indirapuram and Mohan Nagar the single autos ferry passengers only on demand. The drivers of these autos can be seeing wooing passengers as soon as they come out of the Metro station. Working women and girls especially seem to be on their radar. A commuter Nandini Gaur said; “These auto drivers constantly pester you once you are out of the Metro station, until you either accede to their demand or say a firm no. Last time when I refused likewise, an auto driver passed a derogatory comment on me. The police should immediately take measures to penalize such elements.”

The buses plying on the Link Road too can be seen parked haphazardly and flouting all norms. Many of the city bus conductors do not issue tickets despite charging for the full fare in advance. They can often be seen arguing with the passengers on this count.

When Ghaziabad Mail asked traffic police to initiate some action, the police promised to look into the matter in the light of these facts.

 

 

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