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Commerce Minister emphasises the potential for synergies between India and Japan

The Indian delegation led by the Commerce and Industry Minister of State Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, participated in day-long India conference in Nagoya city, in Aichi Prefecture of Japan.

Governor of Aichi Prefecture, Hideaki Ohmura thanked the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for establishing the Aichi Desk in 2016 within the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Governor Hideaki acknowledged that the India Conference will further encourage the companies in Aichi Prefecture to invest in India.

Smt. Sitharaman commended the contribution of Aichi Prefecture towards manufacturing value addition despite high savings rate among the Prefectures in Japan. It was discussed that India could learn from Aichi Prefecture as to how manufacturing can grow along with savings. The Minister acknowledged the increase in FDI from Japan in recent years. Although Japan is the 3rd largest foreign investor in India (USD 25.2 Billion in cumulative FDI during the April 2000 – December 2016), behind Mauritius and Singapore (ranked 1 and 2) , it can be considered a top investor as the other two countries are used by companies from across the world to route investments.

Smt. Sitharaman urged the Governor to consider diversification of investment in other sectors such as Food Processing, Textiles, Medical Equipment, Electronics, Information Technology, etc. Both sides agreed for deeper engagement in future.

The Minister invited Governor Hideaki to lead a delegation of Japanese companies to MSME clusters in India to explore partnership and investment opportunities. It was discussed that the delegation could visit before the expected visit of Japanese Prime Minister in second half of 2017. Governor Hideaki mentioned that Aichi Prefecture companies have an appetite to grow their business overseas and hoped the partnership would bring prosperity to both sides.

The Minister reiterated the potential for huge synergies between India and Aichi Prefecture. She highlighted key reforms undertaken to ease the business operations in India including passage of Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, advancement of the Budget session, introduction of a new Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, reduction in corporate tax and commitment to level it with international benchmarks, etc.

Smt. Sitharaman also emphasized the importance of flagship initiatives including Digital India, Start-Up India, and JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, and Mobile) trinity in driving the future growth. She said India wants to increase the contribution of manufacturing sector to GDP to 25% and Japan is a natural partner in our goals.Ambassador of India to Japan Sh Sujan Chinoy termed Commerce and Industry Minister’s visit as a rare opportunity to review economic relations between the two countries.

A presentation on ‘Make in India’ was made by Secretary DIPP, Mr. Ramesh Abhishek. The Secretary highlighted the unparalleled opportunities and advantages that investors could leverage by Making in India. The Secretary stressed on the recent reforms undertaken on Ease of Doing Business, the investments being made and planned for skilling under the Skill India program, and strengthening of Intellectual Property Regime.

The Indian economy is more open than ever with 100% FDI allowed in most sectors and the impact was shown in the comparison of FDI data from before and after the launch of ‘Make in India’ initiative. Total FDI increased by 56% from USD 83.7 Billion during July 2012-September 2014 period to USD 130.4 Billion during October 2014-January 2017 period; during the same period equity FDI increased by 69% from USD 57 Billion to USD 96.1 Billion. Secretary further highlighted the huge investments India is making in Infrastructure development .

Several meetings with leading Japanese companies were held to explore areas of mutual cooperation. The Minister also held interaction with the Japanese and Indian media.

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PM greets people across India on various festivals

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has greeted people across India on the various festivals.

“Greetings to people across India on the various festivals. May this auspicious day bring joy & prosperity in everyone’s lives.

আমার বাঙালি বন্ধুদের জানাই শুভ নববর্ষ। আপনাদের সবাইকে ১লা বৈশাখের শুভেচ্ছা এবং এক অসাধারণ আগামী বছরের জন্য প্রার্থনা করি।

Shubho Nabo Barsho to my Bengali friends. Wishing you all on Poila Boishakh & praying for a wonderful year ahead.

ব\’হাগ বিহুৰ শুভক্ষণত অসমবাসীলৈ বহুত বহুত শুভেচ্ছা জনালোঁ।

Wishing the people of Assam on the auspicious occasion of Bohag Bihu.

என் தமிழ் சகோதர சகோதரிகளுக்கு இனிய தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துகள். இந்த ஆண்டு முழுவதும் மகிழ்ச்சியும் நல்ல ஆரோக்கியமும் வளமும் கிடைக்கட்டும்

Greetings on Puthandu to my Tamil sisters & brothers. May the year be full of happiness, good health and prosperity.

കേരളത്തിലെ ജനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് എന്റെ വിഷു ആശംസകള്‍. വരും വര്‍ഷം സന്തോഷവും നല്ലആരോഗ്യവും പ്രദാനം ചെയ്യട്ടെയെന്ന് ഞാന്‍ പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കുന്നു.

On the special occasion of Vishu, I convey my good wishes to the people of Kerala. I pray the coming year brings joy & good health.

ପ୍ରିୟ ଓଡିଶାବାସୀଙ୍କୁ ମହାବିଷୁବ ସଂକ୍ରାନ୍ତିର ଅଭିନନ୍ଦନ । ନବବର୍ଷରେ ଆପଣମାନଙ୍କ ସକଳ ଆଶା ଓ ଅଭିଳାଷ ପୂରଣ ହେଉ ବୋଲି ମୋର ଶୁଭକାମନା ।

Greetings to all Odia people on Maha Vishuba Sankranti. May all your wishes be fulfilled in the coming year.” the Prime Minister said in a series of tweets.

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MoS Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurates NDMP review workshop

The Minister of State, Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, inaugurated a two-day workshop on the review of the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) here today. The workshop has been organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Kiren Rijiju said that it is imperative that we integrate Disaster Risk Reduction into our governance, adding that this review would majorly guide in managing future disasters.

The NDMP, India’s first-ever national plan for Disaster Management, was launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in June last year. The Plan itself provides for periodic reviews to accommodate emerging global practices and national experiences. The Prime Minister’s 10-point agenda on DRR, outlined during the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR in November last year, will serve as the guiding document in the revision of the Plan.

Calling the review of the Plan crucial for all stakeholders, Dr. P.K. Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, said that it was important to keep socio-economic realities and changes in mind while revisiting the Plan.

In its efforts to make the review process participatory and inclusive, NDMA had sought suggestions on the national plan from State Governments and Ministries of the Central Government.

Discussions at this workshop will form a part of the deliberations at the upcoming National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR), which will be held shortly.

Senior officials of NDMA and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), State Governments and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) attended the first day of the workshop.

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100 years of Champaran Satyagraha: PM to inaugurate Swachhagraha exhibition tomorrow;

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate an exhibition titled “Swachhagraha – Bapu Ko Karyanjali – Ek Abhiyan, Ek Pradarshani” in the national capital tomorrow to mark the 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s first experiment of Satyagraha in Champaran. He will also launch an ‘Online Interactive Quiz’ at the event which is being organized by the National Archives of India.

Speaking about the event in a series of tweets, the PM said that the Champaran Satyagraha was a historic mass movement which had a phenomenal impact and he urged the countrymen to become Swachhagrahis and create a Swachh Bharat.

“Tomorrow I will join a very special program, ‘Swachhagraha – Bapu Ko Karyanjali’ to mark 100 years of the historic Champaran Satyagraha.

There will be an exhibition showcasing Champaran Satyagraha & it will connect essential principles of Satyagraha with Swachhagraha.

The exhibition will also showcase the ground covered by the Swachh Bharat Mission in creating a mass movement towards a clean India.

A century ago, Indians became Satyagrahis and fought colonialism. Today, let us become Swachhagrahis& create a Swachh Bharat.

Champaran Satyagraha was a historic mass movement led by Bapu. Its impact was phenomenal”, the Prime Minister said.

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64th National Film Awards, 2016 announced

Kasaav awarded Best Feature Film and Sathamanam Bhavathi awarded as Best Popular Film providing Wholesome Entertainment

Akshay Kumar to be given Best Actor award for the film Rustom;

Uttar Pradesh awarded Most Film Friendly State Award; Jharkhand given the Special Mention Award

Ms. Surabhi awarded Best Actress for the Malayalam movie Minnaminungu-The Firefly
Rajesh Mapuskar given Best Direction Award for Marathi movie Ventilator

The 64th National Film Awards 2016 were announced today by the Chairpersons of the juries on Feature Films, Non Feature Films, Best Writing on Cinema and Most Film Friendly State Award. The Feature Film Central panel was headed by Shri Priyadarshan, an eminent Film filmmaker popularly known for his Malayalam movie Kanchivaram. The Chairperson for Non – Feature Film Jury was Shri Raju Mishra while the Chairperson for Writing Jury was Ms. Bhawana Somaaya. The Most Film Friendly State award which was introduced as a new category was announced by Shri Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, a popular Director in Telugu film industry. The National Film Awards would be presented by Hon’ble President of India on May 3rd, 2017.

Prior to the announcement of awards, the Jury Members of the 64th National Film Awards for Best Writing on Cinema submitted its report to the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col. Rathore today. The Jury Members for the Feature and Non- Feature categories submitted the reports yesterday to the Minister for Information & Broadcasting Shri Venkaiah Naidu.

Some of the prominent winners in various categories for this year National Film Awards included Kasaav in Best Feature Film category and Fireflies in the Abyss in the Non-Feature Film Category. Ms. Sonam Kapoor was awarded Special Mention Award in the Feature Films Category for her role in the movie Neerja. Movies in the languages other than those specified in the VIII Schedule of the constitution in the feature Film categories were also awarded. The award for the best Moran Film was given to Haanduk while best Tulu film was given to Madipu.

Best Film Critic award was given to G. Dhananjayan for his in depth analysis on a wide range of topics such as film genres, brands, new strategies in movie watching, taxation impact and ticket pricing. Special Mention Award was given to the K.P. Jayashankar and Anjali Monteiro for the book ‘A fly in the Curry’. Best Book on Cinema award was given to ‘Lata- Sur Gatha’ authored by Yatindra Mishra.

Special Jury Award in the Feature category was given to Mohanlal for his mastery in dealing with characters of various shades with unparallel acting brilliance.
Special Jury Award in the Non-Feature category was given to ‘The Cinema Travellers’. This year a new category ‘Best on-location Sound Recordist’ in the Non-Feature Film section of the National Film Awards was also introduced.

The state of Uttar Pradesh was awarded the Most Film Friendly State award for implementing a unique film policy. The State’s Film Policy included various measures to create a suitable environment, which not only invited shooting of films on a large scale in the State but also promoted other activities related to various aspects of film production including financial incentives for filmmakers.

The state of Jharkhand was given Special Mention Award for their Film Policy which provided growth opportunities to the local filmmaking talent from within the State.

Click here to see List of National Film Award Winners in Various Categories.

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India and ADB Sign $175 Million Loan Agreement to help improve Solar Transmission System

The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $175 million loan agreement to support construction of high voltage transmission systems to evacuate power generated from new mega solar parks to the interstate grid, and improve reliability of the national grid system here yesterday.

The loan will be given to the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID) and will include subprojects in various locations in India. As an innovative feature, the project is designed to adopt the country systems on both safeguards and procurement at the agency level. This will be the ADB’s first breakthrough of the country system’s application to a specific project.

Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of India while Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission signed for ADB.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary said that by supporting the construction of interstate transmission systems for the mega solar power projects, the project will enable transmission of surplus solar energy from States with surplus power to power-deficit States.

After signing the loan agreement, Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB for India said that the project will support the continued expansion of solar energy in India in line with the Government of India’s objectives, and contribute to climate change by increasing share of clean energy in the power mix besides increasing overall efficiency of the power system. He said that the adoption of POWERGRID’s safeguard and procurement systems will improve its operational flexibility and autonomy, and reduce the transaction costs and time for project preparation and implementation. As laid-out in the ADB Safeguards Policy, country safeguard systems constitute a country’s legal and institutional framework on environment and social safeguards.

In addition to the ADB loan of $175 million, the project includes $50 million co-finance from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) – a $5.8 billion component of the Climate Investment Funds aimed at providing developing countries resources to expand efforts in utilizing low carbon technologies and transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources.

POWERGRID will make an equity contribution of $135 million equivalent to support the total project cost of $450 million. The $175 million loan will be from ADB’s ordinary capital resources (OCR) and will have a 20-year term, an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s London interbank offered rate (LIBOR)-based lending facility. The $50 million CTF loan financing will come with a 40 year term.

The project will improve the capacity and efficiency of interstate transmission networks, particularly in transmitting the electricity generated from the new solar parks to the national grid. Apart from the evacuation of 2,500 megawatts(MW) of power from solar parks in Bhadla, Rajastha, and 700 MW from Banaskantha, Gujarat, POWERGRID is also including two additional subprojects that will increase solar power generation by 4.2 gigawatt and lessen carbon emissions by over 7 million tons every year.

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Cinema is a powerful medium of communication: Shri Venkaiah Naidu Jury for 64th National Film Awards submits report to I&B Minister

Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Information & Broadcasting said that National Film Awards provided a platform to showcase the composite and rich culture of India through the medium of Cinema. While thanking the Jury Members of the 64th National Film Awards for submitting the reports for the Feature and Non- Feature categories of movies, the Minister said that National Film Awards, had established itself as the Premier Film Awards in the Country while honouring the best talent in the Film Industry.

Commenting on the role of Cinema as a powerful communicator, Shri Naidu mentioned that Cinema influenced the behaviour and societal norms and had the power to bring extraordinary changes in the lives of the people. Taking advantage of this medium, the Ministry of I&B had organised various Film Festivals targeting various sections of the society like Children Film Bonanza, Patriotic Film Festival amongst others.

Speaking on Regional Cinema, Shri Naidu mentioned that Regional Cinema today had evolved to the extent of becoming a natural competitor for Bollywood. Movies like Baahubali which had won several accolades had shown the potential of creativity, technology and animation in the Films Sector

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PMAY-G – From Houses to Homes

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) on November 20, 2016. The new Rural Housing programme is designed to meet the needs and aspirations of households. With a higher unit cost, it allows for construction using local materials and local house designs. Homes will have cooking area, toilet, LPG connection, electricity connection and water supply through convergence, and beneficiaries can plan their homes as per their need. Training programme for Rural Masons has been launched to meet a critical skill requirement for quality construction. The selection of beneficiaries has been through a rigorous process using Socio Economic Census (SECC) Data for those who are homeless or in 0, 1, 2 kutcha rooms with kutcha roof. The SECC Data has been validated by Gram Sabha and also subjected to space technology validation to ensure that there is no inclusion of errors. CAG’s Performance Audit Report, 2014 highlighted problem of ineligible beneficiaries covered under Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY). It has been completely taken care of through the 3 filter selection process under PMAY-G. A total of 44 lakh houses were approved for 2016-17 and the Ministry of Rural Development is working hard to complete all of them by December 2017. A completion period of 6 to 12 months is being followed in PMAY-G.

The thrust in 2016-17 was to launch PMAY-G with all the tasks completed regarding selection of beneficiaries, IT/DBT platform, space technology use, training programme for Rural Masons, finalisation of housing design typologies etc. The other major thrust was to complete most of the 36 lakh incomplete Indira Awaas Yojana houses which had been pending from anywhere between 1 to 4 years. As per the reports received from the States, a total of 32.14 lakh houses have been completed in 2016-17. On account of network and IT related issues on the AwaasSoft MIS, only 24.81 lakh completed houses have been uploaded on the AwaasSoft so far. The rest are in the process of being uploaded. The completion in 2016-17 is almost 2 to 3 times higher than those were getting completed in earlier years. 100% use of AwaasSoft MIS and IT/DBT system is being ensured.

As part of the Governance Reform, from anywhere between 2 to 20 Bank accounts in every District for the Rural Housing programme earlier, there is now a Single Nodal Account at the State level from where funds are directly transferred electronically on the AwaasSoft-PFMS platform to the beneficiary’s account.

The beneficiaries under PMAY Gramin have been selected up to 2022 based on the prioritisation and in a transparent manner. The three filters have ensured that the genuinely poor homeless and those living in dilapidated houses, have been selected. Large number of households from vulnerable groups and large number of women have been selected as beneficiaries. House design typologies incorporating disaster resilient features have been finalised and are being used by the State Governments under the programme. The workmanship and employability of trained Rural Masons is being improved by ensuring their assessment and certification as per the Qualification Pack endorsed by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

States like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Assam have taken the lead in the implementation of the PMAY-G. States like Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have done well in completing a very large number of incomplete Indira Awaas Yojana houses.

The Department of Rural Development plans to complete 51 lakh houses in 2017-18. An additional 33 lakh houses will be sanctioned for 2017-18 shortly. A similar number is proposed to be completed in 2018-19 making the completion during 2016-19 period of 1.35 crore houses. This will pave the way for Housing for All by 2022.

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Cabinet approves MoU between India and France on Technical Cooperation in Civil Aviation

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and its French counterpart, Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), France to implement Technical Cooperation Program in civil aviation sector.

The Technical Cooperation Program will be beneficial for enhancement of skills and expertise of AAI’s officers. This MoU is also beneficial for imparting training of engineers, technicians, managers etc.