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India, Israel to intensify cooperation in defence, fight against terror and investment: Modi

New Delhi: Reflecting on their growing proximity, India and Israel, on Tuesday, decided to further “broad-base” their already close defence partnership and intensify cooperation in combating radicalisation and extremism, while calling upon the global community to act tough against terror networks and states harbouring them.

The two countries also agreed to deepen their cooperation in a variety of areas including trade and investment, agriculture, water resources and cyber crime during extensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who is on his first visit to India.

Giving a gist of his talks with the Israeli leader, Modi, in a media statement, said people of both countries were constantly threatened by forces of terrorism and extremism and both sides agreed to intensify cooperation in combating them effectively, particularly having “practical and specific” engagement such as in the cyber domain.

“We recognize that terrorism is a global challenge, knows no boundaries and has extensive links with other forms of organized crime,” he said.

In an obvious reference to Pakistan, the Prime Minister said, “Regrettably, one of the countries of its origin and spread is in India’s neighbourhood.”

“We agreed that the international community must act with resolve and determination against terror networks and States that harbour them. Failure to act and silence of speech only encourages the terrorists,” he said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Noting that Rivlin’s visit has given a “crucial push” to efforts to build new pillars in bilateral ties, Modi said both sides noted the strength of the growing defence partnership and agreed on the need to make it “more broad-based” through production and manufacturing partnerships.

India is Israel’s largest buyer of military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapons systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains.

The two sides inked two pacts to strengthen cooperation in agriculture and water resources management sectors.

Referring to growing collaboration between the two countries, particularly in defence sector, Rivlin, the first Israeli President to visit India in two decades, said his country is ready to “make in India and make with India”.

Also asserting that nothing can justify terrorism, Rivlin said: “We stand together in defending our people and our values.”

Referring to Israel’s expertise in micro-irrigation in drought-prone areas, Modi said that water management and conservation, and collaboration in scientific research were identified as areas for priority engagement.

He said both sides agreed that the current trajectory of the Indian economy has opened up many promising opportunities for Israeli companies which can scale up their tie-ups with our India’s flagship schemes like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, and Smart Cities.

“Indian and Israeli companies can also work together in high-technology manufacturing, and services sectors. Make in India and as President Rivlin told me in our discussion, Make with India can generate jobs and benefit both geographies. Our partnership can generate jobs and benefit both geographies,” he said.

Modi said India was also grateful to Israel for its “clear support” to India’s bid for permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council.

On people-to-people ties, the Prime Minister said the 2000-year old Jewish community in India represents a thriving link to this past, adding people of the two countries were “biggest strength and the biggest beneficiaries” of the strong Indo-Israel partnership.

“Two-and-a-half decades of our friendship has brought rich dividends for both our nations. It has also strengthened voices of peace, stability and democracy globally. Your visit provides an opportunity to break new ground and shape new contours of our partnership,” Modi said.

In his remarks, Rivlin hoped Modi will visit Israel soon.

There were indications that Modi may visit Tel Aviv in first part of 2017 which will be 25th year of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries. India had established “full” diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1992 though it had recognised the country in 1950.

“As we approach this big milestone, we are both committed to advance our engagement on several fronts. And, build on convergences and commonalities in our interests and concerns on regional and global issues,” Modi said.

Rivlin was given a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier in the day. The Israeli leader also visited Raj Ghat and paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, after arrival.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 17:25 IST

Modi’s projects to make India a different nation: Taiwanese official

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Projects launched by the Narendra Modi government since 2014 have the potential to transform India into a different country and enhance its confidence and stature at the global stage, a senior Taiwanese official has said.”In 2014, there were two developments that changed the impression about India. First, people elected an able leader (Modi) to lead this country and elevate it to another level,” James Tien, Trade Representative of Taiwan in India, said. “Second, launching of projects like Make in India, Start up India and Smart Cities which would eventually transform India into a different country,” he said.He was speaking, on Sunday, at the ‘India Ideas Conclave 2016’ currently underway in Goa. “He (Modi) elevated the confidence level of India domestically and internationally,” Tien said, addressing the plenary session of the event. “Taiwan is not as lucky as other countries like India and US. It does not have natural resources. We have worked very hard to reach where we are now,” he said. “I’m always impressed with the economic miracle in Taiwan. Miracle will not happen just like that. In the last six decades, we have worked hard,” the official said. “Over the past 20 years, we are doing a wonderful job between our countries (India and Taiwan). Our trade volume has increased 600%.”We have also established 11 training centres, language training centres in some of the prominent universities and institutes–IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, JNU, you name it,” he said. “We would also like to provide scholarships for talented young Indian students to study in Taiwan. At this moment, we have 1,443 Indian students in Taiwan, of which over 200 have received scholarships,” Tien said.

Narendra Modi’s 100 smart cities: Who will put money on table? What it means for urban poor?

On the paper, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 100 smart cities plan has impressed everyone from the very beginning. The announcement of 27 new smart cities, on Tuesday afternoon, takes the total number of smart cities announced so far to 60.

The latest round includes Modi’s constituency, Varanasi. The Modi government’s plan to make 100 smart cities with a total state-funding of Rs 1.45 lakh crore, is ambitious in every sense, for the reason that it carries the potential to kick off the private investment cycle in India’s urban infrastructure and, if succeeds, set an example for other aspiring cities.

gujarat-smartcity-reutersgujarat-smartcity-reuters

A file photo of GIFT city in Gujarat. Reuters

Let’s look at what is a smart city. The website of Ministry of Urban Development, “the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities.”

It’s an ambitious plan indeed, even though political parties have been questioning Modi’s smart city scheme with respect to the choice of cities and the fate of existing cities. What one should note is that most experts agree that, at least on paper, Modi’s smart city project is a much better version of what has been experimented in the past to improve housing and infrastructure facilities in India.

The Congress-led UPA government’s years have seen schemes such as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana, which were later renamed later after Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Sardar Patel. Smart cities are next level of taking this experiment ahead. There is no harm in the repackaging and renaming exercise as long as the job is done in a better way.

But, the problem is on implementation and how the government will handle the socio-economic-jurisdiction issues ‘smart’ cities will bring in. The past experience, beginning with the PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) scheme in 1990s, should make one cautious while embarking on a fresh housing infrastructure revolution.

Consider these points:

For one, the biggest challenge for Modi’s smart city dream is securing the capital from domestic private investors and foreigners. This isn’t easy since profit-hungry private investors will be worried about the returns from the Day One, which should ultimately come from the user fees. As per the current plan, each new smart city will receive Rs 200 crore in the first year and the Rs 300 crore over the next three years. The state governments and local bodies which will have partnership in the special purpose vehicles (SPVs) at city level will match the center’s contribution. But, the contribution from the state will only account for only a fifth of the total fund requirement needed by the five-year plan.

According to Deloitte the 100 smart cities mission will require an investment of over $150 billion over the next few years with private sector contributing $120 billion. In other words, one fifth of the total investments in smart cities need to come from private sector.

The rest of the money should come from the private sector. “The government funding cannot be sufficient,” said Devendra Pant, chief economist at India Ratings and Research. “And it is a big challenge to get private investments. When you talk about urban infra projects, recovery will not be immediate. You should find out alternate way of revenue generation. Can private sector investor get returns to his investments? Nobody will come for charity.”

Though big cities still have a better chance to get funds, but the smaller ones in the list of hundred, will have to struggle, Pant says.

If one goes by the recent reports, the signals so far is that foreign investors, who are supposedly enthused about the prospects of investing in smart cities, haven’t really put money on the table. A 1 September Hindu Business Line article, which cited an RTI query, said no investment has come from foreign investors ever since Modi embarked on the 100-cities smart city journey some two years back. What does this mean? Foreigners aren’t as thrilled as us on India’s smart cities and are still skeptical to put money on the table.

Secondly, how will the SPVs raise funds is a question. The government has clarified that the Centre’s contribution to smart cities will be strictly in the form of grant and the ULB is exercising its own discretion in utilising these funds as its equity contribution to the SPV. The SPV can access funds from other sources including debt and loans besides user charges.

But, raising money from bond issuances will not be easy for SPVs considering the experience of municipal bond issuances in the past, said Pant of India Ratings. “What will be the revenue model of that SPV? Till now, response to municipal bonds has been lukewarm. Not much money has been raised. It will be a test whether these SPVs will be able to leverage the grants given by central and state governments and raise money in the debt market.

Third, there is a likelihood of new smart city plans clashing with the existing limited infrastructure of cities. In cities where already there is chaos on account of inadequate infrastructure, such as a congested roads and land scarcity, how the designers of the new smart cities will prepare ground for world-class infrastructure is a question. So is how will smart cities accommodate the urban poor and migrant unskilled workers. One of the ways for the investors to recover the money they invest in such smart cities is through charging inhabitants for better services. This can make smart cities a costlier option for a large section of urban poor and can lead to social imbalance.

The bottom line is this: There aren’t two thoughts on the potential of the 100 -smart city plan. It is an idea that deserves attention. But, convincing investors to put in money in these new cities will be a huge challenge. Much of its success will lie in in execution. And even if that happens, the government will have to find out the answer for how the new world of smart cities will mean to the urban poor.

(Data support from Kishor Kadam)

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis embarks on 2-day US tour

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday embarked on a two-day tour to the United States.A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oracle will be signed during the tour. Under the MoU, the IT giant will assist the state in the ‘Smart Cities’ Mission.Fadnavis has undertaken this tour on an invitation from Oracle and it is the first the time that the company would be signing an MoU with an Indian state, a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.”The Chief Minister will address a global audience in ‘Open World’, a programme organised by Oracle. This is the first time a Chief Minister would get the opportunity to address a gathering at an event of this magnitude,” an official from the CMO said.”The company will play an important role in the government’s ‘Smart Cities’ mission. The Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Corporation, Mira Bhayander and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporations will get the benefit from Oracle in terms of technology, thereby helping them in the Smart Cities mission,” said the official.Oracle will also develop a Centre of Excellence (CoE) that will help in the ‘Smart Cities’ mission, he added.According to the official, Fadnavis is scheduled to meet California Governor Jerry Brown along with several officials from different IT companies and apprise them of the initiatives taken by the Maharashtra government under the ‘Ease of Doing’ business programme.Principal Secretary of IT department Vijay Kumar Gautam and Kaustubh Dhawse, an officer on special duty in the CMO, have also gone with the Chief Minister.

After President Mukherjee, PM Modi likely to visit African countries

Close on the heels of President Pranab Mukherjee’s maiden visit to three African nations — Ghana, Ivory Coast and Namibia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also likely to visit a few countries of the continent soon as part of India’s to outreach Africa.The indications of this plan was given by Mukherjee while he was addressing the Indian community here on Monday during a reception hosted by the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana K Jeeva Sagar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Recalling ‘age-old’ friendly relations of Indians with Africa, the President said the relationship has deepened over the years.”My first visit as President of India to three African countries is not accidental,” he said, adding it was a follow-up action initiated by the Prime Minister after India Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi last year.”Very recently, just a few days before Vice President Hamid Ansari visited Tunisia and Morocco. I am visiting these three countries and shortly Prime Minister is also going to undertake visits to four-five African countries to give a message that ‘Africa, we stand by you’,” the President said.Speaking to the Indian community, he asked them to join the campaigns launched by Prime Minister Modi such as ‘Digital India’, ‘Startup India, Stand up India’, ‘Clean India Mission’, ‘Smart Cities’ etc.The President said India’s trade with Africa is over US $70 billion and investments worth about US $35 billion.Addressing the community, he said their efforts were complementing many foreign policy measures taken by the Indian government to assist the friendly countries in Africa, including Ghana.He said India has extended over US $400 million of concessional credit to Ghana in the last few years for various projects.”Exim bank is also providing funding for a railway project. India-Ghana bilateral trade has reached US $3 billion and Indian investments in this country are estimated at around USD one billion,” the President noted.Mukherjee, during his talks with Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, said both the sides have agreed to take the trade to US $5 billion by 2020.He also praised the Indian diaspora for its engaging role as “force multiplier” in the country’s economic growth.”These giant strides would not have been possible without the active role of the diaspora. You have become force multipliers of India’s growing economic strength. I thank you for your commitment,” he said.

Liquor, casinos too have place on Goa tourist map: Deputy CM Francis D’Souza

Goa Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza on Saturday said the coastal state is a place for liquor and casinos along with other tourist attractions and maintained the casino industry is generating revenue for the government.”Goa is a place for liquor, sun, sand, dance. It is also known for casinos, pilgrimage tourism, honeymoon destination, hinterland tourism and as Electronic Dance music (EDM) destination,” D’Souza said here. He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of national summit on `Smart Cities in Era of Digital India’ organized by Goa government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to a question on labelling the coastal state as a casino destination, D’Souza said “Goa is not known just for one thing. Casino is not the only reason for tourists to visit the state.” The BJP leader said there are several reasons for tourists to come to Goa. “Casino industry is helping the state government earn revenue. If we didn’t want it why did we allow it at the first place?” the Deputy Chief Minister asked.Drug trade and prostitution have given a bad name to Goa but these possibles can not be solved overnight, he maintained. Goa has four off-shore and more than a dozen on-shore casinos. BJP had promised to shift the off-shore casinos from river Mandovi during its 2012 Goa Assembly campaign, but it is yet to act on the promise.Opposition parties have criticised the BJP-ledgovernment for failure to fulfil its pre-poll promise.

Vadodara: Two cops injured in protest against encroachment drive

Vadodara: Two policemen were injured on Tuesday when a mob allegedly set on fire a police outpost and their six two-wheelers as they protested an encroachment drive by the civic body on Ajwa Road, the police said.

“The mob of nearly 200 people attacked the officials of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) when they reached Suleiman-Ni-Chal locality to carry out demolition. They set on fire a police chowki, six two-wheelers of policemen and also pelted stones,” Joint Commissioner of Police DJ Patel said.

“Two policemen sustained minor injuries and 50 Special Reserve Police personnel, along with local policemen were deployed to control the situation,” he said and added, “ten teargas shells were also fired by police to disperse the mob”.

The VMC, which is on a major demolition drive across the city as part of the Smart Cities project, had issued a notice on 28 May and gave three days time to people who were living “illegally” in the locality and evacuate the places.

File photo of Gujarat police. AFPFile photo of Gujarat police. AFP

File photo of Gujarat police. AFP

The people erected around 227 temporary houses on a plot which is reserved for a garden.

Meanwhile, VMC Commissioner HS Patel said the situation has been brought under control and the demolition was being carried out as planned.

“This is an effort (by mob) to stop demolition, but we are determined to carry out the operation. We know the drive is good for the city and we are not targeting any person, a group or a community but doing it as part of the Smart Cities project,” he told reporters.

“The notice was served on 28 May and VMC officials on Monday visited the spot to check the situation. It was found that none of residents had evicted the places. Hence, VMC was forced to carry out the demolition drive,” another VMC official said.

Gujarat govt to develop 300 smart villages: CM Anandiben Patel

Vadodara: On 57th Foundation Day, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Sunday said her government has decided to make 300 villages across the state self-reliant on the lines of smart cities.

“Now that the concept of Smart Cities has reached Smart Villages, the government decided to make 300 villages self-reliant, clean and hygienic during this year,” she said in an official release on Sunday.

Patel was in Chhotaudepur town of the tribal-dominated district, to attend state-level Foundation Day celebrations. Gujarat Governor OP Kohli will also attend the event.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel. ReutersGujarat CM Anandiben Patel. Reuters

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel. Reuters

Announcing a slew of measures on the occasion, Patel in her message said, “the government will set up a Tribal university in the Narmada district, over 100 smart Ashram shalas, 10 new hostels for tribal girl students at a cost of Rs 3 crore, besides ‘Samras’ hostels at a cost of Rs 10 crore.”

“The government has reserved 33 per cent in jobs for women, under which 2,800 women have been employed in police department. There is a plan to provide jobs to 22,000 women this year,” she said.

This is in addition to providing 300 sq m land and Rs 5 lakh assistance to milk societies run by women to construct milk houses, besides providing chilling centres, milking machines and chaff cutters to 2.50 lakh Sakhi Mandals (Self-Help Groups) of 35 lakh women.

To realise the goal of health for all, Patel said, “we have started certain key schemes like screening of 78 lakh
women to test breast, cervical and mouth cancer besides treatment of 1,018 women cancer patients in super speciality hospitals free-of-cost, relief for poor and middle-class families under Amritam-Ma Yojna.”

Also, allocation under Ma-Vatsalya Yojna has been increased by 33 per cent to Rs 160 crore and the government is bearing the cost up to Rs 2 lakh for each such patient, she said.

“The government has decided to provide free medicine to diabetes and blood pressure patients. It has decided to spend Rs 102 crore on 100 vehicles in 108 ambulance service.

“The government has earmarked Rs 27,000 crore in the current financial year for farmers, agriculture and allied sectors, including loan up to Rs 3 lakh with 1 per cent interest for Rabi crop.

“Rs 9,500 crore for drinking and irrigation water, Rs 5,200 crore for filling up dams in Saurashtra, Rs 765 crore for drip irrigation in Rs 3 lakh hectares and Rs 495 crore for the Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme,” she said.

The state will bear the cost of Rs 126 crore for seeds, fertilisers and farm implements, Rs 120 crore as assistance to farmers buy tractor-trailers, loan at 5 per cent interest to help farmers buy cattle, Patel said.

“Cleanliness is our culture and Gujarat is poised to set an example before the nation. Gujarat has alone built 70 per cent of toilets built in the country. We resolve to ensure not a single village remains without toilet,” she said.

Gujarat has also shown the way to the nation in door-to-door waste collection, fulfilling the dream of
building house for urban and rural poor, she added.

The state government has built 1.37 lakh houses as against a target of 3.51 lakh houses in urban areas and another 2.70 lakh houses are being built in rural areas, she said.

“The government has introduced Lok Samvad Setu to ensure at least 90 per cent of people’s problems are solved at complainant level,” she added.

“We have started ‘Mukhya Mantri Yuva Swavalambi Yojna’ to provide equal opportunity, economic assistance and other facilities for them to pursue studies. We are providing textbooks, uniform and scholarships to 92 lakh children under this scheme and also Rs 35.42 crore assistance to meritorious students of the state for higher studies,” the Chief minister said.

The state government has announced a policy as per the Centre’s ‘Startup India’ and ‘Standup India’ campaigns.

A startup mission has been set up to realise innovative dreams of youth. The state government is spending crores of rupees to promote excellence in sports through Khel Mahakumbh.

It has announced new sports policy. It has presented third successive gender Budget for the empowerment of women, the Chief minister added.

Germany to help develop Kochi, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar as smart cities

New Delhi – Germany will partner with India to develop Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore as smart cities.

“Germany would contribute to India’s smart city programme and will help develop the cities of Kochi (Kerala), Bhubaneswar (Odisha) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) as smart cities,” State Secretary in Germany’s Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Gunther Adler, told reporters here.

Representational image. IBNLiveRepresentational image. IBNLive

Representational image. IBNLive

The three cities are among the 20 cities which are to be developed as smart cities, announced by Urban Development Ministry in January this year.

Germany had earlier set up a six-member joint committee with India to identify the cities which it could develop as smart cities.

The committee had two representatives of Urban Development Ministry, one from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, and three from Germany.

German Ambassador to India Martin Ney, addressing the press conference, said Germany is an ideal partner in India’s mission to create smarter cities as the country is “very strong at smart planning for urban centres“.

“We have developed the technologies to make life in cities easier. We have developed the processes to bring on board the stakeholders to make cities thrive and German companies have developed smart solutions to make smart cities,” he said.

Germany had already been engaged in various fields related to smart cities such as sustainable urban mobility, water and waste-water management, renewable energies and energy efficiency, the Ambassador said.

“We have been supporting important Indian initiatives such as ‘Swachh Bharat’, National Mission for Clean Ganga and Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Transformation,” he added.

Germany is India’s second largest bilateral donor with a record commitment of 1.5 billion euros (Rs 11,0000 crore) agreed last year, Ney said.

PTI

PM Modi does not have Alladin’s djin, smart city money can’t be spent on other things: Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi: Sending a clear message that money allotted for the Smart City project cannot be used for other purposes, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that “everything will be watched and observed”.

He said there was no politics in choosing Smart Cities as many BJP-ruled states do not figure in the list, so do the constituencies represented by many VIPs.

Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu. PTIUnion Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

Addressing a conference on ‘India Smart Cities Mission: Next Steps’, which was attended by senior officials from 23 municipal corporations across the country which could not make it to the first list of top 20 cities selected for the Smart Cities project, he asked for cooperation from the people for the success of the project.

Narendra Modi does not have an Alladin’s djin with which he can make every city smart. It requires public participation. Smart cities require a smart leader in action, vision, and implementation. (How can) a city be smart if people don’t cooperate with the administration. Everything will be observed and everything will be watched. Money cannot be spent for other purposes,” Naidu said.

The minister also emphasised on greater participation of people and local bodies. “Urban governance can no longer be business as usual. It’s not top to bottom approach, but bottom up approach,” he said.

Naidu said his own city could not make it to the first list of cities selected under the Smart Cities project.

He mentioned that there is no politics and discrimination in development which he said is the basic philosophy of this government. “I have always said that my cooperation depends upon your cooperation. Otherwise there is separation. There is no question of politics here. BJP-ruled states like Chhattisgarh, Goa and Jharkhand could not make it. Constituencies represented by many important people are not there. Because I don’t expect an MP to make a Smart City. It is the duty of the mayor and the municipal commissioner,” Naidu said.

PTI

Govt stresses on waste management to achieve smart cities

Terming lack of proper urban planning as a “major” failure for the country, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said the government will finalise comprehensive waste management rules next month to deal with the pressing problem. Addressing a Global Partnership Summit on Smart Cities here, the Ministers rued that cities “have been converted into slums” in the last seven decades and said it is more challenging to transform them into smart cities then building new ones. “Our single most failure after independence is in our urban and town and country planning. I wonder Nehruji bought great architects like Le Corbusier and built Chandigarh. But we never thought of waste management, sewage treatment and pollution,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister said this planning failure has to be corrected if the goal of smart cities is to be achieved. “In last 70 years, we have converted cities into slums…. We have to correct this planning failure. It is bigger challenge to convert the present city into a smart city,” he said. Noting that more than 80 per cent of the sewage goes into rivers due to unoperational treatment plants, Javadekar said government will make sure that the contractor who builds the plant be given the responsibility to operate it.”After 68 years of independence, 86% of untreated sewage goes into water bodies, not only in Ganga but all the rivers. “It is because the contractor only builds the sewage treatment plant and it is operated by somebody else who usually complains about its construction. Now we have taken a decision that the contractor who builds it, will operate it too,” he said.The waste management rules including plastic, hazardous, biomedical and e-waste management will be finalised next month, he said.”We are generating 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day of which only 9,000 gets corrected and 6,000 remains and will remain for centuries unless we manage it properly. For the first time in India, we will come with separate rules for construction and demolition, hazardous, plastic and solid waste management rules,” he said.On the issue of pollution, Javadekar said government has taken the decision to leapfrog to Euro-VI standards of emissions, vehicles and fuel norms by 2020. “The government is investing Rs 60,000 crore to improve quality of fuel and it will be ready with fuel of Euro VI norms by 2019. It is the real game changer as it is a permanent remedy to reduce vehicular pollution,” he said.

Cash crunch stifles BMC in pre-election budget

It’s a catch-22 situation for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is presenting its budget for 2016-17 on Wednesday.On the one hand is the cash crunch, which demands that it go in for a no-frills budget, while on the other is the political pressure for populist decisions, since it’s the last budget for the Shiv Sena-BJP combine before the civic body goes to polls.The civic body has been able to use only 25% of the total funds meant for the projects for the city, allocated in last budget, and is going through revenue deficit.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources in the know-how claimed that there won’t be any additional allocation for cleaning of drains, education and road development. There will be no new taxes as well.While the budget for 2015-16 was Rs.33,514.15 crore, it’s expected that there would be marginal 7-8% rise in the total estimates.The civic body was expecting a revenue of Rs.7,900 crore budget as octroi collection in 2015-16, but the department could earn only Rs.5,230. The fall or the deficit in octroi was due to the fall in the international prices in crude oil and the commission BMC earns on per barrel rate.In 2015-16, the civic body’s revenue from the crude oil dropped to Rs.1,384 crore, compared to Rs.2,012 crore the previous year. “That’s a drop of Rs.628 crore, which is huge,” said a senior civic official from Octroi department.The other major source of income for the BMC was premium on fungible FSI. The civic body has earned a revenue of Rs.1,600 crore from the fungible FSI in 2015-16. It was Rs.1,850 crore the previous year.Sources also revealed that lack of administrative management in execution of the projects and red-tapeism have resulted in projects stuck either half way or not taken off at all. While it was projected that the civic body will use more than Rs. 7,618.11 crore for the projects for the city, the departments hardly used Rs 1,965.02 crore, that translates into a mere 25.79%.Considering that civic election is slated in February 2017, the focus of the ruling combine will be not to tax the voter more. The announcements will be populist and targets achievable. Though the Mumbai city is not included in the first list of ‘Smart Cities’, the projects envisaged for the ‘Smart City’ will be included in the budgetary estimates.”Apart from focussing on pending projects of last year, plans under the Smart City project will be included since they are citizen-friendly and also generate revenue for the city. Boosting tourism and focussing on four thrust areas of ‘Smart City’ concept may be included,” said a senior official.”We want to fulfill all the promises we made in February 2012 elections, before going to polls again,” said Shailesh Phanse, chairman of Standing Committee and Shiv Sena leader.

Maha smart city proposals worth Rs 29647 cr, Rajasthan’s Rs 6457 cr: Govt to name 20 cities today

The first 20 cities to be developed as smart cities will be announced on Thursday, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday.

There are 97 cities in the Smart City Challenge, and the names of the first 20 winners of the competition will be announced on Thursday, Naidu said.

Of the 10 cities submitted by Maharashtra, Mumbai has the lowest estimateOf the 10 cities submitted by Maharashtra, Mumbai has the lowest estimate

Of the 10 cities submitted by Maharashtra, Mumbai has the lowest estimate

These cities will be developed to have basic infrastructure through assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation.

Naidu was addressing about 100 senior officers of Army, Navy, Air Force and civil service, including 25 foreign officials, participating in a course on ‘National Security and Strategic Studies’ at the National Defence College here.

In the subsequent years, the government will announce 40 cities each to be developed as Smart Cities as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s plan to develop 100 Smart Cities in the country.

Rajasthan was the first state to submit Smart City plans last month. The state has proposed total investment of Rs 6,457 crore over the next five years for developing Ajmer, Jaipur, Kota and Udaipur as Smart Cities.

The other key states which have submitted their Smart City plans are West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

While Punjab has submitted a Smart City plan for Jalandhar, Jharkhand did so for Ranchi while Kerala handed in the proposal for Kochi.

Bengal has submitted plans for New Town Kolkata, Bidhannagar and Durgapur.

Karnataka submitted Smart City proposals for Davanagere, Tumakuru, Hubli-Dharwad and Shimoga.

Union Territory Puducherry, meanwhile, submitted its proposal for Oulgaret.

Maharashtra has submitted plans for 10 cities, including Mumbai, with an estimated cost of Rs 29,647.45 crore. The Mumbai proposal estimate of just Rs 1,118 crore is the lowest among all the 10 cities.

The Thane Municipal Corporation’s proposal with an estimate of Rs 6,630 crore tops the list, followed by Amravati worth Rs 5,305 crore and Nagpur – Rs 3,409 crore.

The other cities to submit their estimated proposals include Pune – Rs 2,932 crore, Solapur – Rs 2,921 crore, Kalyan-Dombivali – Rs 2,057 crore, Nashik – Rs 1,945 crore and Navi Mumbai – Rs 1,734 crore.

A total of 98 cities have been included in the Smart City Mission which have a cumulative population of about 13 crore and together account for 35 percent of the urban population in the country.

In order to support development of smart cities, the Urban Development Ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bloomberg Philanthropies, which will work as Knowledge Partner and support development and execution of a Cities Challenge under the Smart Cities Mission.

The Cabinet had approved the Smart Cities Mission in April this year and subsequently the Prime Minister launched this Mission on June 25, when the Mission Statement and Guidelines were also released.

With PTI

Government to announce list of first 20 Smart Cities today

The first 20 cities to be developed as Smart Cities will be announced on Thursday, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said yesterday.There are 97 cities in the Smart City Challenge, and the names of the first 20 winners of the competition will be announced tomorrow, Naidu said. These cities will be developed to have basic infrastructure through assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Naidu was addressing about 100 senior officers of Army, Navy, Air Force and civil service, including 25 foreign officials, participating in a course on ‘National Security and Strategic Studies’ at the National Defence College here.In the subsequent years, the government will announce 40 cities each to be developed as Smart Cities as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to develop 100 Smart Cities in the country.Speaking on challenges and the way ahead for urban development, Naidu said perpetuation of inequities in urban areas has serious implications for national security and hence, the government is committed to ensuring inclusive development under new initiatives like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban). Naidu stressed on the need for inclusive urban development, noting that “it was the need of the hour with ‘Young India’ becoming more and more aspirational”.He expressed concern regarding the exploitation of urban spaces by the well-to-do sections of the society at the cost of the poor and the marginalised and stressed on inclusivity while taking decisions related to urban governance.

India has the labour and the market for your product: Modi to French president

Chandigarh: As the fastest growing big economy in the world, India has both the skilled workforce to produce as well be the market for French products, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.

“India is the fastest growing economy in the world. We have the labour and the market for your products,” Modi said at the India-France chief executives meeting here along with visiting French President Francois Hollande, according to a tweet by external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup.

“I’ve had the opportunity of meeting President @fhollande five times in the last year,” Modi said, according to another tweet by Swarup.

Modi in Chandigarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndiaModi in Chandigarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Modi in Chandigarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Modi earlier met Hollande at the Rock Garden in the city created by French architect Le Corbusier, after the latter’s arrival here on a three-day official visit to India.

“Glad to welcome @fhollande in the city built by the great Le Corbusier. PM @narendramodi addresses the CEO’s Forum,” Swarup said in a separate tweet.

During Hollande’s visit, France is likely to sign a memorandum of understanding with Chandigarh to help it develop as a smart city, official sources said.

France has committed to help three Indian cities – Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry – to develop as smart cities.

“Defence, green economy, smart cities, infrastructure, transportation, water and financial sector on the agenda of the Indo-French CEO’s Forum,” Swarup tweeted earlier.

IANS