Friday, August 3, 2012

India and Belgium Sign MOU for Development & Modernization of Railway Sector

India and Belgium Sign MOU for Development & Modernization of Railway Sector.MOU to Focus Especially on Development of Railway Stations to International Standards. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the visiting Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs of Belgium, Mr. Didier Reynders and the Union Minister of Railways of India Shri Mukul Roy on bilateral co-operation for the effective development and modernization of railway sector of both the countries, here today. In pursuance of the Vision 2020 document promulgated by the then Minister for Railways, Mamata Banerjee, for modernization and development of major Railway Stations as vibrant centres of the life of cities for commerce, entertainment and social space, Indian Railways has identified stations for development to the international standards and signing of this MOU will especially focus in this direction. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Mukul Roy said that the MOU will usher in a new era of cooperation between two countries for effective development and modernization in Railway sector. He said that both Indian and Belgian Railways will benefit with mutual consultation and exchange of information services on development and modernization of railway stations.
Shri Mukul Roy further said that knowledge sharing on design and current practices in the field of Railway Infrastructure and deputation of specialists and experts in areas of mutual interests will bond the ties between the two countries further. He said that Belgium Government owned companies, namely Euro Station and Immostar, have vast experience in field of development of stations in and outside Belgium. These companies have extensive expertise in transforming historical railway stations into the modern international terminals and the experience gained by them can be gainfully emulated in India after suitable adaption to Indian conditions.
Shri Mukul Roy informed that both the countries have agreed to form Steering and Working Groups consisting of experts to determine and define detailed scope and modalities of the activities and projects to be undertaken by both the countries for mutual benefit. Shri Mukul Roy said that he is directing these groups to start working immediately and come up with workable recommendations. Shri Mukul Roy hoped that the cooperation between Indian and Belgian Railways reaches a new high with the signing of this MOU.
Speaking on the occasion, the Belgium Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs of Belgium, Mr. Didier Reynders said that the size of Indian Railway sector is truly impressive. He said the developments and opportunities in this sector are equally impressive in view of the vision and ambitions of the Indian Government. He pointed out that Indian Railway sector is a focus sector of Belgium economic diplomacy.
Referring to the existing Belgium involvement in Indian Railway sector, Mr. Didier Reynders said that several Belgium or Belgium-based companies are already firmly present in India and their activities range from the fastening and coating of rails to the delivery of parts for the train construction and software for safety and network management. Referring to today’s MOU, Mr. Didier Reynders said that this initiative will kick start Belgium cooperation for the development of world class railway stations in India. He expressed the hope that it will be a fruitful and long standing partnership. He also outlined the economic and commercial potential of Belgium and elaborated about the well developed Railway network of Belgium.
In his welcome address, Shri Vinay Mittal, Chairman Railway Board (India) said that with the signing of this MOU, a new era of construction and exchange of technical and managerial information in relation to the modernisation of railway station and commercialization of real estate around stations between the two countries will begin. Shri Mittal said that the rich experience of the Belgium Railway companies will boost Indian Railways’ endeavours in modernizing and upgrading its stations. He said that under this MOU, the areas of cooperation among others shall also include carrying out joint research and training programmes.
The Minister of State for Indian Railways, Shri K. H. Muniyappa was also especially present on the occasion.
CEO of Euro Immostar/Eurostation Mr. Herwig Persoons also spoke on the occasion. Also present on the occasion were Board Members and senior officials of Indian Railways and Ambassador of Belgium to India Mr. Pier Vaesen among others

2nd August 2012: On the 5th day of fast of Annaji and 9th day of the fast by Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai, Anna made the historic decision of giving the people of this country a political alternative.

He said, "I do not think that the Government has the intention of taking strong steps against corruption. Many people are asking me to give an alternative. Now I think that they are right and it is time to give the country an alternative." However he clarified that he would personally not participate in the elections.

Anna announced that since a lot of things need to be done now in that direction they will end the fast at 5 pm tomorrow.

He said the kind of political alternative he would suggest would aim at decentralization of power. He said that Gram Panchayat is the supreme body and it is they who solely have the right to take decisions over land, water, mines etc owned by the village. He also said there are around 6.5 lakh villages in India. He would move forward only when 3 lakh gram panchayats promise firstly that they would not vote for somebody who bribe them for vote and secondly that they would vote for the person he recommends.

Talking about the political alternative Annaji said even though he is studying the political alternative there are many questions on his mind. The most important among them being the selection process. He said that the right kind of candidate would be selected by studying their political vision, background, work for the society and dedication to the country. He said there are other questions also on his mind to which he is searching answers like funding, what happens if the person turns corrupt after coming to power, etc.

Strongly supporting Annaji's view, Arvind Kejriwal said, "today 23 eminent personalities had sent us a message to end our fast saying this deaf and dumb Government would never pass a strong law against corruption. They have asked us to give an alternative." (A copy of the letter written by eminent citizens was circulated earlier in the day) Arvind said this alternative is not a political party but an alternative kind of politics altogether.

Reiterating Annaji's questions he said there are many things that need to be answered like selection process, what is the candidates turn corrupt after being elected, how to educate voters not to vote for candidates who pay bribes, etc. He said the answers to these questions lies with the people and appealed them to send in their suggestions in the next couple of days.

Soon after this announcement, IAC reached out to its supporters through social media. An online survey is being circulated asking for people’s opinion at http://news.indiaagainstcorruption.org/iac_new/index.php/survey-on-political-alternative-by-anna-ji. Several TV channels and news portals also immediately started conducting polls which revealed more than 90 percent were in favor of creating an political alternative.

Throughout the day, as it was Rakshabandhan, many girls tied Rakhi threads on the wrists of the anshankaris.

Bollywood personalities Anupam Kher, Archana Puran Singh, Parmeet Sethi, Ranveer Shourey, Shiv Khera and Raghu of MTV Roadies fame also visited Anna at Jantar Mantar and appealed to the anshankaris to give up their fast.

In the evening a huge candle light rally was organised from India Gate to Jantar Mantar which was led by Anupam Kher, Archana Puran Singh and Parmeet Sethi. This rally witnessed participation of more than 25,000 people.

The vitals of anshankaris are as under:

Annaji: Pulse-94, BP-134/79, Sugar-85
Arvind: Pulse-74, BP-101/66, Sugar- 108
Manish: Pulse-78, BP-132/82, Sugar-77
Gopalji: Pulse-81, BP-117/74, Sugar-105

The donation collected yesterday was approximately 4.6 lakhs.

New Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and President Mohamed Morsi during the oath taking ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo
Egyptian government led by Prime Minister Hesham Qandil was sworn in before President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday.
The 35-member cabinet consists mainly of new members although it includes several key ministers who served under President Hosni Mubarak.
Hussein Tantawi, the chief of Egypt’s military council who was the de facto head of state since Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011 until Morsi’s inauguration as president in June, retained his post as defense minister which he has held since 1991.
Mohamed Amr was also reappointed as foreign minister, Mumtaz al-Said as finance minister, Ali Sabri as minister of military production, Mohamed Ibrahim as minister of antiques, Nagva Halil as social security minister and Nadiye Zahari as minister of scientific research.
A U.S.-educated engineer and former minister of water resources, Qandil has been dubbed “the first bearded Egyptian minister,” in reference to his links to the Islamists.
Meanwhile, only four of the newly appointed ministers are members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). They will be in charge of higher education, housing, youth, and mass media.
Speaking at a news conference in Cairo ahead of the ceremony, Qandil declared his cabinet a “people’s government” and called on Egyptians to “rally behind our elected president and to work with the government to achieve all of our goals.”
Those goals include improving the living standards in Egypt, ensuring freedom and social justice, he said. He also called for unity among Egyptians without religious discrimination.”We have to stop asking who is a Copt, a Muslim or a Salafi. I don’t see that. All I see is that we are all Egyptians and this should be the main principle,” he said.
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